Thank a Scientist
By Jerry Shulz
As a rank amateur trying to put together a competent racing car, two things have become abundantly clear: first, I do not, nor will I ever claim to be, a mechanic, and second, I continue to be amazed by the efforts of scientists, inventors and engineers for the discoveries that make our amazing automotive technology – as well as countless other aspects of modern life, available to humankind.
I guess I feel the need to declare my awe and appreciation for STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – because it seems that at least in the popular press and in an alarming fraction of our society there is a sentiment that science is not ‘real’, the province of tricksters, con-men, or charlatans.
To me, this points out a troubling problem in our educational system, since for anyone who has studied the basic sciences – and we all should have, beginning in our primary years – nothing could be farther from the truth.
Science, and the venerable ‘scientific method’ that defines modern science, came about precisely to prevent the misconceptions and misunderstandings of things in our world, of our reality. These misconceptions and misunderstandings are exactly the fodder of those who would manipulate, coerce and deceive others for their own purposes. These are the real tricksters, con-men and charlatans we should all fear.
A few things for which we owe the scientists and inventors of the past:
° Modern medicine – an understanding of our biology
° Electricity, and what to do with it
° Modern hygiene
° An understanding of nutrition
° All of mathematics
° The ability to travel other than by foot! (Yes, a scientist/inventor came up with the wheel!)
° Space travel
° Engineers of all kinds (their fields are all predicated on scientific discovery)
° An understanding of ecology, the interrelatedness of all life on earth
° Almost any other thing you can think of in today’s world
So why has science been given such a bad name in the minds of some these days? Because not all scientists are good scientists! Like any other profession, there are credible, dedicated, well-intentioned people, and there are likewise crooks, charlatans and manipulators whose goal is deception.
There are bad actors in every field. In the Law, Finance, Entertainment, Education, Religion, and yes, even the sciences, there are those who use their specialized knowledge to attempt to gain an advantage unethically. But that is not the fault of whatever field from which they come. Instead, it suggests the existence of character flaws in the individual or organization.
Most recently, science has come under attack by those with political axes to grind. Real science has nothing to do with politics, other than to make information available so informed, reasonable decisions can be made. Even “Political Science” itself, while a necessary study in a complex modern world, is too subjective in nature to withstand rigorous scientific analysis.
So, what, in my opinion, sets science apart from other disciplines and makes it more trustworthy, more believable? Two fundamental principles – tools - that underly true science: the Scientific Method, and “Peer Review”.
Volumes have been written about the so-called Scientific Method, but in a nutshell, here it is:
The scientific method
- Make an observation.
- Ask a question.
- Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
- Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
- Test the prediction.
- Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
The Oxford Unabridged Dictionary defines it as “A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”
As such, the scientific method does not involve pre-conceived ideas, it starts with an observation and a question. Always doubt the intentions of one who starts to address a problem with the ‘answer’! A study that starts with an attempt to prove one’s own belief is not a scientific study.
The second tool the sciences use, and the one that sets it apart from most other disciplines, is “Peer Review”. When a scientist determines to answer a question under study, there is what is sometimes considered a seventh step in the method, that of publication. This involves submitting the study to scholarly journals overseen by acknowledged experts in the respective field under study. If a study is deemed to be relevant and valid by the editors of the Journal, and is published, it now comes under review by others in the field, who are at liberty to either agree and support the study or to take exception to it and offer criticism. In this way, the consensus of all who weigh in as credentialed experts in the respective field is approached.
With exceptions, this consensus is rarely static, and it is hoped that new study will further refine our understanding as time moves on.
So, the next time you’re having a blast at an autocross or on a race track, thank a scientist – for the powerful, reliable engines we use, the continually refined suspension technology, the sticky tires, the improved asphalt, the state-of-the-art timing gear, the safety equipment, but most of all, for the adrenalin and good times!
You Might be a Duck Fan if ...
By Tim Steck
You might be a Duck Fan if your mother-in-law had season tickets to the UO Women’s Basketball and the Track & Field games before the records were even computerized.
I actually married into a Duck family back in 2003 and Peggy’s mom, who was a UO grad, had season tickets to the Women’s Basketball games since … well we asked the UO office and they said they could only see info since they computerized the records which was in 1996. I’m not really sure when was the first year she got WBB Season tickets.
I started to go to the games in 2003 which were held in Mac Court and have only missed a very few since then, probably could count them on one hand.
Matthew Knight Arena was opened in 2011 and the 1st WBB game was on 1/23/2011 vs Oregon State. The score was Oregon 81 – Oregon State 72. It was the first sold out game (any sport, men or women) at Matthew Knight Arena with the highest attendees to date. Per the research I did, there were 12,369 people there when the arena only holds 12,364 – go figure. All other sold-out games were listed as 12,364 attendees.
You might be a Duck Fan if you went to the WNIT WBB Tournament games in 2010.
The OU women’s team didn’t make the NCAA tournament in March 2010 but was invited to the WNIT tournament. We went to the three games on March 18th, 23rd and when they lost to Cal on March 25th, all of these games were held in MAC Court.
You might be a Duck Fan if you went to watched the UO WBB team play the Pilots in Portland.
Twice we drove up to Portland to the Chiles Center on the campus of the Portland Pilots just to watch a single game against the Ducks. On 12/5/14 we beat the Pilots (72-49) and they had an attendance of 313 for that game. Last season on 12/4/2021 we drove up to the Chiles Center in Portland to watch the ladies beat the Pilots again with a score of 62-59.
You might be a Duck Fan if you went to every PAC-12 WBB Tournament since 2017.
Peggy and I have gone to every PAC-12 Tournament since 2017. They are always around the 1st weekend in March. In 2017 and 2018 they were in Seattle and but starting 2019 they have been in Las Vegas with the exception of 2021 which had no spectators because of Covid-19. During the past years of the PAC-12 Tournaments we have had other close friends that went with us including Jim and Bonnie Mueller (every year), Bill and Cheryl Baugh (2 years), Jerry and Cherrie Braunberger (1 year). OK, we like some Beaver fans. We are going in 2023 too but this time it will be just us. I have purchased the tickets for the tournaments throughout the years and this year they messed up with our seat selection (we usually get the same seats every year) and for some reason this year another sales rep gave our seats away but our rep made it right by giving us front row Floor seats for the 11 games in the PAC-12 WBB Tournament. We will be seated around the 3-point line. We have never sat on the floor level for any basketball game and we will have to see what it will be like.
You might be a Duck Fan if you flew to Las Vegas just for a mini two-day tournament.
In late December 2017, we and the Mueller’s flew to Las Vegas on the 20th, the games were on 21st and 22nd then we turned around and flew back to Eugene on the 23rd. We won both games by 22 and 41 points, it was worth the trip.
You might be a Duck Fan if you saw the UO WBB play in the First and Second round NCCA Tournament in March 2018.
These two games were at our home court in Eugene which made it nice to go to. We won both of those games 88 – 45 and the second game was 101 – 73.
You might be a Duck Fan if you drove to Walnut Creek, CA to watch the WBB play a mini two-day tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday.
In November 2018, Peggy and I drove down to Walnut Creek (just east of San Francisco) to watch the Ducks play. Walnut Creek is Sabrina Ionescu’s home town. It was just under 500 miles and under 8 hours of driving. We drove down on Wednesday; Thursday was Thanksgiving and the games were on Friday and Saturday. We drove back home after the last game on Saturday. This was the only time I can remember ever being away from “home” for Thanksgiving. That felt a little strange. But we found a restaurant that served a more or less traditional Thanksgiving dinner and we still had a “Thanksgiving” dinner. It wasn’t even close to what my mom used to have when I was a kid or what Peggy does now.
You might be a Duck Fan if you went to see the UO WBB team play in the First and Second round NCCA Tournament in March 2019.
These two games were at our home court in Eugene which made it nice to go to. We won both of those games 78 – 40 and the second game was 91 – 68.
You might be a Duck Fan if you went to see the UO WBB team play in the NCCA Regionals in March 2019.
5 days after the above 1st and 2nd Round games, we drove to Portland and watch the WBB team beat two more teams heading their way to the Final Four that year.
You might be a Duck Fan if you watched the UO ladies play Team USA on November 9th, 2019.
What a game. This was the very first game that the WBB team had played this season and with an attendance of 11,530 (almost a sellout) the then # 3 Oregon’s women basketball team handled the U.S. Women’s National Team its first lost by a college women’s team in 20 years with a score of 93-86. They are only the second college team that has ever beaten Team USA.
You might be a Duck Fan if you still went to every home game no matter what their record was.
We went to all the home games in the 2012 – 13 season when they only won 4 games ALL YEAR. We played Samford University (Birmingham, AL) on 12/28/12 and the attendance was only 1,118. No that’s not a typo. The good news was that this was one of 4 games they won with a score of 72 – 61. Our next game was with Portland (in Portland) and it has an attendance of only 438.
You might be a Duck Fan if you drove to San Diego to watch the Lady Ducks play in the San Diego Invitational.
We started our journey about 6:00pm on Friday night December 16th, 2022 and we drove straight through to Torrance, CA which is just west of Los Angeles. It was about a 13-hour drive. We stopped in to the Del Amo Fashion Center to do some shopping in the 8th largest shopping center in the US. It was big, too big for Peggy. I use to live just a hop, skip and a jump from this mall and back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I have shopped there many times. We shopped for only a couple of hours. We then got back in our car and continued a couple more hours to our motel in San Diego. We had Sunday and Monday to do some touristy things before the games started on Tuesday. The Ducks won their 1st game and we also watched the other teams play to see who our competition would be on Wednesday. As expected, it was the #3 Ohio State team. Our hotel was within walking distance of the arena which made it nice because we didn’t have to drive to the games or worry about parking. Wednesday came around and we checked out, walked over to the arena and watched the two losers of Tuesdays games play each other. Now it was the Ducks turn to play Ohio State. Ohio State, being the #3 team in the nation, I wasn’t surprised that our Lady Ducks didn’t beat them. The game was over around 5:30, we walked back to our car which was still parked in the hotel’s parking lot and left for home. We started the 15-hour drive back home and pulled into our driveway just before 9:00 Saturday morning. Needless to say, we were tired.
We are Duck Fans, especially for the UO Women Basketball team!!
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