Did you just uncover an interesting tidbit of knowledge related to current science? Tell us.
Courtesy Mark RyanToday is the beginning of Minnesota Museums Month, a celebration of the more than 600 museums in the state. Part of the celebration is the Twin Cities' hosting of the American Association of Museums conference convening this week at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where museum (and zoo) folks from around the country come to exchange new ideas with their colleagues, and see the latest exhibition and technological innovations. And to just get together to celebrate the world of museums.
Courtesy Mark RyanBut you don't have to attend the convention to join in the celebration, just head out to your favorite museum this month. My favorites here in Minnesota include the Science Museum (of course), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Bell Museum, but there are several hundred I haven't seen. What about you? Do you have a favorite Minnesota museum (or zoo)? Even if you don't live in or have never been to Minnesota, do you have a favorite museum somewhere else? Let us know your favorite museum, zoo, or special exhibit.
Compared to another wreck around the same time, passengers on the Titanic were much more calm and composed. According to economist David Savage, that's because the Titanic sank so slowly that social order had time to kick in and dictate people's behavior.
Spectacular video of rarely seen ocean life from Ted.com. And it's the first TEDtalk ever given by a fish!
Courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science InstituteThe Cassini spacecraft made a recent approach to Saturn's moon Enceladus a couple days ago and captured some remarkable images of the icy plumes of water and organic compounds spraying into space from the moon's south pole. Kind of like a trip to Yellowstone without the crowds. The spacecraft also passed by two other moons, Janus and Dione.
Some unusual features of Enceladus are the tiger stripes that scour the moon's surface near its southern polar region. These markings appear to be the result of tectonic forces at work beneath the moon's ice-water shell. The geysers were first observed back in 2005. During Cassini's recent flybys the spacecraft took a taste of the jet sprays, analyzing their composition with special instrumentation.
"Aside from water and organic material, there is salt in the icy particles. The salinity is the same as that of Earth's oceans.“ - Dr Carolyn Porco, head of Cassini imaging team.
The orbit of Enceladus is distorted by Saturn's strong gravitation. This exerts tremendous pull on the moon creating heat and the subsequent generation of geologic activity that expresses itself on the surface with the tiger stripes and the geysers that emanate from them. The amount of water vapor leads scientists to think that an ocean exists just beneath Enceladus's icy surface.
Enceladus is Saturn's sixth largest moon and was discovered in 1789 by English astronomer William Herschel
Courtesy Kmusser via Wikipedia Creative CommonsHollywood director James Cameron returned safely from a dive that took him nearly seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Encased in a narrow submersible of his own design, Cameron reached the bottom in an area of the trench known as Challenger Deep after a 2.5 hour descent. He spent three hours exploring the sea bottom using the well-outfitted submarine's cameras and sampling equipment to collect images, fauna, and other data from the silty seabed. The single-person capsule - built to withstand up to 1000 atmospheres of pressure - held up well under the eight tons(!) per square inch that six and a half miles of ocean water exerted upon it. As today goes on, I'm sure more information will come out about this remarkable feat. In the meantime, I'm really anxious to see what images he captured down there, and we'll all get that chance when the National Geographic Society - one of the expedition's sponsors - comes out with a planned future program about the dive.
A large portion of the famed White Cliffs of Dover collapsed sending thousands of tons of chalk into the English Channel. The chalk cliffs, which stretch for about 8 miles along England's southern coast, are the result of deposition of "coccolith biomicrites formed from the skeletal elements of minute planktonic green algae" that were once suspended in the upper water column of an ocean during the Cretaceous Period. The soft chalky limestone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate, nodular flint seams, and marine fossils. It's suspected that the rain-soaked cliff face was loosened from recent freezing. The Daily Mail has some very cool photos of the 300-foot rockfall. And here's a link to Discovering Fossils with info about the geology of the cliffs and fossils that can be found there. This informative website is written and designed by Roy Shepherd.
Courtesy NASAThis is a perfect Buzz Burst post because it is about a big burst of solar activity that took place on our Sun just yesterday. Two giant coronal mass ejections (CME) occurred on our local star on March 6. The initial burst is heading our way at a speed of 1300 miles per second, and is expected to reach Earth sometime early tomorrow around 1:25 AM EST. This is the kind of high-energy solar activity that can mess up our communications, electrical fields, and spacecraft. The second CME of the solar cycle, shown in this amazing NASA video recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), is shooting towards us at 1100 miles per second. Look for the spectacular images of the second flare's humongous shockwave moving across the entire face of the Sun at about a million miles per hour(!).
Teeny-tiny chameleon species discovered in Madagascar.
A team of Russian researchers have successfully drilled through miles of glacial ice and finally reached the surface of a long-buried lake. Scientists estimate the gigantic body of water, named Lake Vostok, has been buried under ice for more than 20 million years, and think the lake could contain forms of microbial life that existed before the Ice Age.
These geniuses obviously need to get a Netflix subscription for their research station. How many versions of this movie will it take before people pay attention?
Story on Earthlink
Courtesy Mark RyanJust so Mr. JGordon doesn't think he has a monopoly on Yale and treasure, here's another story coming out of the New Haven university. The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History has just announced that it is a recipient of a prestigious Save America'sTreasures Grant to re-house and preserve the collection of dinosaurs collected by Yale paleontologist O. C. Marsh. Back in the late 1800s, professor Marsh acquired one of the greatest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world. Most of the material was collected by his field workers in the American West, mainly in Colorado and Wyoming. The dinosaurs in the collection include such familiar specimens as Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus), and the three-horned Triceratops, all described and named by the pioneer paleontologist. The $450,000 grant was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama during a recent award ceremony in Washington, D.C. and will be used for storage upgrade, environmental controls, and other types of improvements that will stop the degradation of the historic and scientifically rich collection and preserve if for future generations.