Stories tagged On this day

Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.

Bone Wars lithograph of Stegosaurus remains: One of the many lithographs produced under the direction of Yale paleontologist O. C. Marsh during the infamous late-19th century "Bone Wars".
Bone Wars lithograph of Stegosaurus remains: One of the many lithographs produced under the direction of Yale paleontologist O. C. Marsh during the infamous late-19th century "Bone Wars".Courtesy Mark Ryan
As I've admitted before in these pages, I'm a big, big fan of the history of paleontology, especially that involving the infamous "Bone Wars" that took place in the American West during the 19th century. So I was real happy to hear that PBS is running a segment on its American Experience series tonight titled Dinosaur Wars. It's all about that legendary feud between paleontologists Othniel Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. Several of the dinosaurs seen here at the Science Museum of Minnesota (and elsewhere) were first discovered and named by these two scientists as they raced to outdo each other in collecting and naming fossils. The show is scheduled for 8pm tonight (here in the Twin Cities), but as usual check your local listings for exact times in your area. If you can't wait until then or can't watch tonight, Rebecca Hunt-Foster over at Dinochick Blogs, gives a nice, lengthy synopsis of the program's content.

LINK
PBS Dinosaur Wars page

Happy birthday, Arthur Lakes!

by Anonymous on Dec. 21st, 2010

Arthur Lakes: Portrait at the Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
Arthur Lakes: Portrait at the Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, ColoradoCourtesy Mark Ryan
Today marks the birthday of Arthur Lakes (1844-1917), a geologist, artist, and teacher who discovered some of the first dinosaur remains in the western United States. During the spring of 1877, Lakes was out measuring rock formations above Morrison, Colorado when he and companion John Beckwith stumbled upon the huge fossilized bones of dinosaurs. When Lakes sent samples to Yale paleontologist Othniel Marsh, it started the great western bone rush that would soon escalate into the infamous Bone Wars between Marsh and his arch-rival Edward Drinker Cope. While in Marsh's employ, Lakes created several iconic watercolor paintings of the diggings that occurred in Morrison, and later at Como Bluff in Wyoming. You can read more about Lakes in a post I made last year on his birthday.

Aurora alert

by Gene on Dec. 15th, 2010

According to the Aurora Alert mailing list, a solar event on Dec 14th may produce auroral displays (northern lights) starting around midnight tonight, Wednesday 12/15, and continuing Thursday 12/16 and possibly Friday 12/17. Your best bet for seeing the lights -- if they occur -- is to get away from the city, find a dark place with a clear view to the north, and look low on the horizon. Clouds will block your view, so if it's overcast, don't bother.

Mask of Tutankhamun mummy
Mask of Tutankhamun mummyCourtesy Bjorn Christian Torrissen
On Nov. 26, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter made a small hole in a sealed doorway and, holding up a candle, shed light onto King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Luxor, Egypt, for the first time in more than 3,000 years.
Read more about this fascinating discovery at findingDulcinea.

Alfred Wegener's 130th birthday!

by Anonymous on Nov. 01st, 2010

Alfred Wegener in Greenland, November 1, 1930: This last known photograph of Alfred Wegener (left) was taken on his 50th birthday, not long before his death. Fellow explorer Rasmus Villumsen is seen on right.
Alfred Wegener in Greenland, November 1, 1930: This last known photograph of Alfred Wegener (left) was taken on his 50th birthday, not long before his death. Fellow explorer Rasmus Villumsen is seen on right.Courtesy Archive of Alfred Wegener Institute via Wikipedia
Where would modern geology be without Alfred Wegener? This remarkable scientist's theory of continental drift (which he first proposed in 1912) is the very basis for the current groundbreaking (pun intended) theory of plate tectonics. Wegener was born November 1, 1880 in Berlin, and although he earned a doctorate in astronomy, his main interests were meteorology and climate.

When he noticed how Earth's large land masses seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces (e.g. South America fits with Africa), and how some fossils and rock types on different continents also seemed to match up with each other, it occurred to Wegener that continental drift could be the only reasonable explanation. His new theory also better explained earthquakes, volcanism, and mountain-building. But because he wasn't a trained geologist, Wegener's hypothesis was not at all well-received by the geologists of his day. It wasn't until the 1950s, after ocean floor mapping (by the naval military during World War II) and data from paleomagnetism and paleoclimate studies became available that Wegener's theory finally began to be embraced. Unfortunately, Wegener wasn't able to enjoy his vindication, since he had died decades before during a meteorological expedition to Greenland.

SOURCES and FURTHER INFO

Wegener biography on NASA's Earth Observatory page
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Previous Buzz post about Wegener
More about plate tectonics

Road trip!

by Liza on Oct. 28th, 2010

Kinda.

The Science Museum's mummy will be taking a little trip to Children's Hospital tomorrow afternoon to undergo a CT scan. We hope to come away from the scan with a 3D model of the mummy’s inner workings and new clues that reveal more details about his life, a more precise age and cause of death. The results will be developed into new interpretative tools that will make their debut in the months leading up to the opening of the King Tut exhibition.

Thanks to the cooperation of Ed Fleming, our collections services staff and the staff at Children's, we've been granted permission to invite media to photograph the mummy as he's prepped for scanning tomorrow. He's become quite a sensation already, with more to come:

The Science Museum mummy to get a CT scan

Science Museum mummy to undergo CT scan

Science Museum mummy to get CT scan

WCCO-AM will also be airing an interview with Ed Fleming about the project during news breaks today and tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

Mexico earthquake location
Mexico earthquake locationCourtesy USGS
A fairly strong earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude (6.7 according to the USGS Earthquake site) caused some panic but so far no reported injuries or major damage to population centers along the Gulf of California. The quake, which struck just before noon local time, was centered about 65 miles south of the coastal city of Los Mochis, and about 6 miles beneath the surface.

LINKS
News source
USGS Earthquake site

Hubble image of Comet 103P/Hartley 2
Hubble image of Comet 103P/Hartley 2Courtesy NASA, ESA, and H. Weaver (The Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab)
Periodic comet 103P/Hartley 2is currently visible high in the evening sky. Learn more here.

The Deep Impact spacecraft has been redirected to fly past Comet 103P/Hartley 2 on November 4. Read more about that here.

President Signs NASA Authorization Act: President Barack Obama signs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 in the Oval Office, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010.
President Signs NASA Authorization Act: President Barack Obama signs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 in the Oval Office, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010.Courtesy Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Obama signed the NASA 2010 Authorization Act into law yesterday, giving approval for $58.4 billion to be spent on NASA programs over the next three years.

The details are yet to be ironed out, but we do know that the budget includes one more shuttle flight (meaning there are three now remaining (STS-133 (Discovery), November 1st, 2010; STS-134 (Endeavor) February 26, 2011; and the newly added STS-135 (Atlantis) likely in June 2011), the life of the International Space Station will be extended to at least 2020, and the development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle will start as early as 2011.

101010: 101010 = 42.
101010: 101010 = 42.Courtesy jimmowatt
"101010 (base two (binary)) equals 42 (base ten). Oddly enough, this is evenly divisible by the number of days in a week (7 (lucky)); and equally oddly, is also evenly divisible by the number 6 (which is generally designated as being unlucky). Both a Ying and Yang situation seem to be incorporated into this date." HubPages.com

10 (base ten) = 1010 (base two)

(base ten): 10 x 10 = 100

(base two): 10 x 10 = 100

42 is the answer to everything

In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the
"Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything" was 42.
Fortytwoday.com
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