The scientific tourist #361 — Feejee Mermaid

Brought to you by the “Mythic Creatures” traveling exhibition (seen at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science), it’s an odd concoction called a Feejee Mermaid:

Feejee Mermaid

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Casual Friday — the ingenious design of the aluminum beverage can

Another great explanatory video from Bill (“Engineer Guy”) Hammack — all about the aluminum beverage can you likely use every day but never give much thought to.

Bill details the choices behind the design of a beverage can — why it’s shaped the way it is, how it’s put together, and the surprisingly complex operation of the tab that opens the can.

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The scientific tourist #360 — Palaeotherium

Now on display in Paris in the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy (sadly, in a stairwell), it’s an excellent fossilized skeleton of a Palaeotherium Magnum:

Palaeotherium de Mormoiron

Palaeotherium is an extinct genus of quadrupeds, most closely related to modern-day tapirs and horses.  Based on the large number of their fossils that have been found to date, they widely roamed the forests that covered western Europe some 45 million years ago.  But Palaeotherium browsed on low-hanging leaves (up to about 1-1/2 meters above the ground), leaving it at a disadvantage when Europe dried out, and the ancient forests were replaced by grasslands.

Most species of Palaeotherium were small, measuring about 75 cm (2-1/2 feet) tall at the shoulder.  Palaeotherium Magnum was the largest of its kin, nearly reaching the size of a modern-day horse.

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Carnivalia — 5/27 – 6/02/2015

The past week’s (mostly) science-related blog carnivals for your reading enjoyment:

Carnival of Space #407

Friday Ark #522a

Health Wonk Review — the Pre-Memorial Day Edition

History Carnival 146 — Facets of Environmental History

Math Teachers at Play #86

Morsels for the Mind — 29/05/2015

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Carnivalia — 5/13 – 5/19/2015

The past week’s selection of science-related blog carnivals for you:

Carnival of Space #405

Friday Ark #520

Morsels for the Mind – 15/05/2015

 

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The scientific tourist #359 — Ahuizotl

This week’s sciencey image comes to you from the “Mythic Creatures” traveling exhibit — it’s a 500 year-old carving of Ahuizotl:

Ahuizotl

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The scientific tourist #358 — “Little Boy” atomic bomb arming plugs

Courtesy of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, here are two small bits of history you’ve likely never seen before — arming plugs for the “Little Boy” atomic bomb:

"Little Boy" Atomic Bomb Arming Plugs

From the placard:

Small metal plugs were used by the Enola Gay weapons officer to arm the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. He removed three green plugs that kept the firing circuitry inactive and replaced them with red plugs that closed the circuits. These plugs were found in the navigator’s compartment of the Enola Gay during restoration. It is not known whether the green “safe” plug is from the “Little Boy” atomic bomb or was used on a practice mission. The red plug was probably a spare.

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The scientific tourist #357 — Pioneer 5

Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, it’s (a very good replica of) the Pioneer 5 spacecraft:

Pioneer 5 (replica)

Pioneer 5 (a.k.a. Pioneer P-2, and Thor Able 4) was launched on March 11, 1960 on a Thor-Able rocket, to explore the space between the orbits of Earth and Venus.  It wasn’t a particularly large spacecraft by modern standards, weighing only 43 kg (94 lb) — but it provided the first maps of the interplanetary magnetic field (which had only been suspected to exist), and gave scientists new measurements of cosmic radiation.

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Carnivalia — 4/22 – 4/28/2015

The past week’s selection of science-related blog carnivals for your reading pleasure:

Friday Ark #517

The Everything-PPACA edition of Health Wonk Review

Morsels for the Mind – 24/04/2015

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The scientific tourist #356 — pseudoglyphs

It may be that when you look at this vessel, you’re thinking two things:

1) The decoration on it looks Mayan

2) You can’t read any of it

Pseudoglyphs

If so, you’re right on both counts — it’s a Mayan vessel, but the decoration on it only looks like Mayan hieroglyphs.  Basically, it’s Mayan-themed gibberish.

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