Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


“EVERYTHING CONNECTS TO everything else,” said Leonardo Da Vinci. And I get a sense of this while reading Science, published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recent science tidbits connect to how birds groom themselves and why critical race theory is not merely a fabrication. 

Birds Do It, So Does the Mars Insight. Martian dust on the Insight lander solar panels have been draining its power.

But science to the rescue: AAAS Science magazine, June 11, 2021, reports “Mars lander dusted, not done.” 

Initially, NASA tried knocking off the dust by jostling the panels with their deployment hardware. This proved ineffective, and specialists turned to a bird bath, sorta.

Science notes, “They had the lander’s robotic arm scoop up sand and drizzle it above the panel as the wind swept past at up to 21 kilometers per hour [13 mph]. The falling grains bounced off the panel, picking up and carrying away the smaller dust particles.… Controllers noticed an immediate bump in power and a gain of about 30 watt-hours of energy per sol, or Martian day.”

Image from The Spruce, March 11, 2020.

The Spruce reports how birds do it: “Dust baths, also called dusting, dirt baths, or sand bathing, are part of a bird’s preening and plumage maintenance that keeps feathers in top condition. The dust that is worked into the bird’s feathers will absorb excess oil to help keep the feathers from becoming greasy or matted.”

The Spruce continues, “The oil-soaked dust is then shed easily to keep the feathers clean and flexible for more aerodynamic flight and efficient insulation. Dry skin and other debris can also be removed with excess dust, and regular dusting may help smother or minimize lice, feather mites, and other parasites.”

Political Science. Critical race theory (CRT) has evolved through legal and academic scholarship examining racial justice. One example of it is The 1619 Project, published in The New York Times, August 2019. The series “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States national narrative.”

Image from National Education Association.

Then-president Trump directed federal agencies to cancel funding to any group citing CRT. Several Republican-controlled state legislatures have prohibited CRT from being taught in public schools. 

As if ignoring the issue will cause it to go away. By contrast, in January 2021 President Biden rescinded the Trump order..

The NFL and CRT. AAAS Science, June 11, 2021, reports, “The NFL Ends Racial Bias in Injury Payouts.” It describes, “Under the ‘race-norming’ policy, a scoring algorithm for dementia that physicians employed in assessing players assumed that Black men started their careers with cognitive skills inferior to those of their white counterparts.” Thus, it was “harder for them to show the same amount of injury-induced cognitive decline as white players and to qualify for monetary awards.”

Science says, “The NFL is “convening a panel of eight neuropsychologists, three of them Black, to develop a new algorithm.” It will be applied to past as well as future determinations.

More details are analyzed by Tracie Canada and Chelsey R. Carter in Scientific American, July 8, 2021, “The NFL’s Racist ‘Race Norming’ is an Afterlife of Slavery.” Briefly, they describe, “A statistical manipulation that underpaid Black players in concussion settlements exemplifies American football’s immersion in the legacy of slavery.” 

I wonder if this science can be taught in Republican-controlled schools. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021  


  1. Jim Hall (no relation)
    July 16, 2021

    Mr Simanaitis,

    It’s your blog, and therefore you can say whatever you want. I understand that you lean to the left politically, and basically despise President Trump, however I can get that anywhere on the great www. What I can’t get anywhere else, is you insight in to Road & Track magazine, automobiles, science and aircraft. I truly enjoy your writings on those topics, when you write about anything else, I basically don’t open up the text.

    • simanaitissays
      July 16, 2021

      Hello, Jim,
      You’re welcome to read what you wish. Many thanks for that.

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