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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The scientific tourist #355 — Lulu-Belle

Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., I present to you the Lockheed XP-80 Lulu-Belle:

Lulu-Belle

If your memory is good, this bird may look a bit familiar to you. Lulu-Belle was the prototype for the P-80 Shooting Star, the first operational U.S. turbojet fighter to see full production. Designed and built in an amazing 143 days, the airplane first flew on January 8, 1944. It became the first U.S. aircraft to exceed 800 kilometers (500 miles) per hour in level flight, and its P-80 and F-80 descendants barely missed active service in World War II. Continue reading

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The scientific tourist #354 — the Me 163 revisited

I talked a bit about the Me 163 some time back — but a recent trip to Washington D.C. left me with a bit of time for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, which meant I was able to get some shots of their copy of the “Komet:”

Me 163 B-1 "Komet"

This is a B1 model of the craft — so, in the middle of its development history, and the only variant to see operational (if ineffective) use.

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The scientific tourist #353 — Hammurabi’s Code

Here, on display at the Louvre in Paris, is the Code of Hammurabi — a compilation of legal rulings dating back to about 1754 BC:

Hammurabi's Code

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The scientific tourist #352 — Pula Arena

Brought to you from the scenic town of Pula, Croatia — it’s an ancient Roman amphitheater, best known as the Pula Arena:

Pula Amphitheater Panorama

But this is no mere antiquity.  The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers entirely preserved, and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World.  Its construction started during the reign of Augustus (31 BC – 14 AD), and it was enlarged and revised until 96 AD.  It was used for gladiatorial shows until the 5th century, then fell into disuse until restoration began around 1800.  It’s now used for concerts, theater presentations, and other public events — it can seat some 5,000 people.

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Carnivalia — 3/11 – 3/17/2015

The past week’s selection of (mostly) science-oriented blog carnivals:

Carnival of Space #397

Friday Ark #511

Health Wonk Review: Spring Forward Edition

History Carnival #143

Math Teachers at Play #83

Morsels for the Mind — 13/03/2015

 

 

 

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