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Contact:

I'm LinkedIn and Google-Plussed.

Mail and packages, use maildrop:
Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Norm Sperling’s Great Science Trek: 2014

San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Palm Springs
Death Valley
Tucson
El Paso
Corpus Christi
Baton Rouge
Tampa
Everglades
Key West
Winter Star Party, Scout Key
Miami

MARCH 2014:
up the Eastern seaboard
mid-South

APRIL 2014:
near I-40, I-30, and I-20 westbound

MAY 2014:
near US-101 northbound
May 17-18: Maker Faire, San Mateo
May 23-26: BayCon, Santa Clara

California till midJune

JUNE 2014:
Pacific Northwest

JULY 2014:
Western Canada, eastbound

AUGUST 2014:
near the US/Can border, westbound
August 22-on: UC Berkeley

Speaking engagements welcome!
2014 and 2015 itineraries will probably cross several times.

Blogs

Catching Satellite Debris With Smart Nets

© Norman Sperling, February 6, 2011

Thanks to Dennis Normile, the Science Insider of Science Magazine, we've learned that last week's flap over satellite-catching nets began with mistranslation and ballooned as journalists and bloggers skipped fact-checking and blundered directly into copying and embroidery.

As far as I know, space nets have not yet been tried. I think they ought to be.

Hanny's Voorwerp: A Protogalaxy?

© Norman Sperling, February 1, 2011

An amateur astronomer, systematically classifying observations from a massive professional survey, noticed something that, at first glance, looked very odd. Further examination confirmed that it is definitely odd. She reported it to the astronomers leading the program, who confirmed all that. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has taken a much sharper image of the object. It is odd indeed.

Homeopathy: There's Nothing In It

Relayed from Jay Diamond, slightly enriched by Norman Sperling, January 27, 2011

Homeopathy is a popular but widely misunderstood form of alternative "medicine" based on pseudo-scientific principles. Homeopathic "remedies" are allegedly made by diluting questionable remedies with extraordinary amounts of water - often until there is only a slight chance of one molecule of active ingredient in the final treatment.

Extraordinary claims are causing consumers to forego traditional medical treatment, with estimates of Americans spending >$3B per year on this pseudoscience.

Stand up for rational thinking and scientific evidence. For more on the 10:23 campaign or homeopathy see http://1023.org.uk .

Why 10:23? Think Avogadro's Number. After the event, go to Trader Joe's and enjoy their delicious "Avocado's Number Guacamole".

San Francisco, February 5

You are invited to join like-minded skeptics in San Francisco on Saturday morning, February 5, to take part in the worldwide 10:23 campaign to raise awareness on this issue. Demonstrate, supply information, and perform a mass "overdose" to garner attention for this cause.

For more information on participation in the San Francisco event, send e-mail to: 1023@reason4reason.org . You MUST RSVP to participate in the "overdosing". See http://reason4reason.org

Water Birds

© Norman Sperling, January 23, 2011

My bike rides got boring. The same trees, the same curves, the same streams and beaches. Even scenic trails aren't so scenic after many years.

Lately I've paid more attention to a big variable: water and shore birds. My brother Barry, a long-time birder, commented that they're very attractive because they're big, and out in the open. I might point out the avocets and black-necked stilts to a passing kid: "Those are shore birds." "Yep", she'd reply, "they shore are".

Songbirds, by contrast, are small, flit by too fast to identify, and hide in bushes. You may merely hear them. Barry's quite an expert at identifying them by their songs but, for now, I'd rather actually see the birds.

The ever-changing array of water birds brings unpredictable variety to my rides.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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