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  • Magic! Spotlight: Magician Curt Miller | BEYONDbones
    do the impossible especially when it is presented in a fun and entertaining way About twenty years ago I coined the tagline Magic plus Comedy equals Entertainment and I still believe that today I started performing magic when I was 11 years old and I had business cards when I was 13 Back then I dreamed of someday having a large theatrical Illusion Show in the tradition of the Great Blackstone Thurston and Doug Henning Realizing this dream of course was incredibly difficult and it took over 30 years Thousands of dollars were spent on props Assistants had to be hired and trained a theatre director was hired to take the show to a higher level and endless rehearsals were scheduled It was all well worth it though and I m very proud of the show we ve created I have an absolute blast each and every time we perform it I get to make people appear disappear float in mid air how cool is that To keep my passion for being a magician I am always working on new and wonderful illusions At our upcoming Houston show at The Hobby Center for The Performing Arts May 28 29 I am debuting an original illusion that s been in development for several years Inventing new magic is a real challenge as so many great illusions have been created in the great history of magic My new illusion is a twist on a classic It s called The Miller Self Sawing That s right I am going to saw myself in half It looks amazing and I m really proud of it Hey worst case scenario I can be in two places at once I hope to present this illusion at my appearance at HMNS in August as well By the

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/magic-spotlight-magician-curt-miller/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Ice Planet: Earth | BEYONDbones
    effect these have on our planet Ice Planet Earth On Wednesday May 26 at 6 30 p m Dr Mark Fahnstock will discuss the changes of our planet s ice cover specifically how it has changed over the past year decade and century Dr Fahnstock who studies the glaciers of Greenland and the Antarctic explains his research to the public Don t miss his lecture and the chance to learn more about global warming and our planet s weather Ice Worlds If you are interested in global climate change the Poles are the place to watch because changes there can have a dramatic effect on the whole planet When ice turns to water it changes from a reflector to an absorber of solar radiation When water turns to water vapor it becomes a powerful greenhouse gas When water vapor forms clouds it becomes a reflector once again In 2007 2009 countries around the world celebrated the International Polar Year with expanded funding for research on Earth s changing poles On Memorial Day weekend the Burke Baker Planetarium opens a new Ice Worlds show featuring what has been learned about the Arctic and Antarctic in the past two years Understanding the role of ice on our world is the first step in understanding how water amplifies any climate change Ice Worlds is a beautiful show including ice imagery from Earth s poles and from the different ice covered worlds in our solar system 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged Antartic antartica Dr Mark Fahnstock glaciers global warming HMNS ice ice in space ice worlds weather weather change by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations and on top of that working for one

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/ice-planet-earth/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Flat-Footed Reptiles to High Stepping Chickens | BEYONDbones
    are like those of raptor type dinosaurs The hand is almost exactly like a raptor dinosaur s 110 million years ago the first modern style birds evolve Hind legs have stiff ankle bones all fused together The wrist bones too are all fused together and no fingers have claws Want to know more about our current Archaeopteryx exhibit Check out this article on PlanetEye Traveler Interested in learning more about paleontology Check out our past blogs 3 0 0 This entry was posted in Paleontology and tagged archaeopteryx archosaur archosaurs bob bakker claws dino dinos dinosaurs evolution HMNS paleo Paleontology raptors talons by Bob Bookmark the permalink About Bob The Museum s Curator of Paleontology world renowned Dr Robert T Bakker or as some call him Bob is the leader of the handful of iconoclastic paleontologists who rewrote the book on dinosaurs three decades ago Along with other noted paleontologists Bakker has changed the image of dinosaurs from slow moving slow witted cold blooded creatures to at least in some cases warm blooded giants well equipped to dominate the Earth for 200 million years Dr Bakker can be found all over the globe notably leading the Museum s paleontology field program View all posts by Bob 3 thoughts on Flat Footed Reptiles to High Stepping Chickens Raptor Lewis on May 23 2010 at 12 27 am said I m interested in the environmental processes that required such traits to emerge Normally mutations in the DNA sequence when they affect the phenotype are spontaneous as there is a point mutation that may or may not change the reading frame occurs during Mitosis Mutations like these are said to be the backbone for Evolution So is it behavior that disrupted Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium That is something you could look into perhaps Well at this point what is your opinion Dr Bakker Steven on May 24 2010 at 4 45 pm said Raptor Lewis here is Dr Bakker s response Thank you for your question You ve asked a fundamental question It s intriguing that the very first evolutionary paleontologist Geoffroy St Hilaire had a hunch in the 1830 s that transformations occurred via changes in embryonic development He thought he could see how a crocodile could become a human he was close He also thought a puppy could come from an embryonic squid by being turned upside down Don t laugh Mollusk vertebrate evolution did happen sorta like that In the last ten years we ve learned a lot about how simple gene changes can alter the schedule of development of embryos Take the loss of fingers In the evolution of a bird wing from a lizard oid paw the outer two fingers disappear Those outer fingers are the last to develop in a normal embryo By suppressing the growth of the hand in the outer direction a simple gene change can cancel the extra digits Here s another sort of digit cancellation a primitive mammal forefoot like today s possum paw

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/flat-footed-reptiles-to-high-stepping-chickens/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Tales from the Magic Crypt, Part 2: Living Artifacts | BEYONDbones
    animated and brought to life by talented magicians that the dialogue loop between the artifact and the museum visitor is completed The first performer to headline on the exhibit s stage was John Carney one of the world s greatest sleight of hand artists John performed at the Museum for the first two weeks then returned after a two week break to perform for another two weeks Tomorrow evening May 18 John will be the featured performer on CBS s popular Late Show with David Letterman which is celebrating a week of close up magic In the meantime a video of John performing his original invisible coin routine may be viewed online here and is featured in the Magic exhibit Currently featured as headliner on the exhibit stage is Canadian born magician Christopher Hart winner of many magic competitions and probably best known for his role as Thing in the three Addams Family movies The Addams Family 1991 Addams Family Values 1993 and Addams Family Reunion 1998 Ironically Christopher s stage performance has long featured a vignette with a disembodied hand which both predates his Addams family role and was independent of his casting in that role Even more ironic given his Addams family casting as a teenager he actually worked as a gravedigger and was nicknamed Lurch due to his lanky frame Christopher is currently closing his stage performances with this signature piece involving the disembodied hand that comes to life Other highlights of his current performances at the Museum are his superb card manipulation and a demonstration of pure digital dexterity in which the entire audience is invited to participate Christopher will only be at the Museum through June 6 so make reservations soon to come see him He truly is the real Thing For a full listing

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/tales-from-the-magic-crypt-part-2-living-artifacts/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Deepwater | BEYONDbones
    to 10 000 feet A fixed platform is fixed in place by cement or steel legs and can go up to 1700 ft A jacked up platform can use their legs to jack the platform up till it is above the water level and then jack back down to move to a new location They usually operate in up to 400 ft of water A drillship is not a platform at all but a ship that can be used to drill wells Its uses a series of thrusters to maintain position and it can operate in up to 13 000 feet of water Semi submersible rig photo credit roger melb So which one is the best one Because all the different offshore options can operate in varying depths and environments it really is dependent on the location Cementing has come up a lot in the news recently Most people may not know what that means After a well is drilled and the casing is laid in a special mixture of cement can be poured down to help support the well It can help to keep the pressure constant to reinforce the well walls or to plug up a well that is no longer producing The cement used for the wells very from well to well The mixture is based on the rock in the well and other variables such as the pressure at different depths If the pressure becomes too much an uncontrolled release can occur called a blowout It can be oil natural gas water or a combination of two or three of those One the most iconic examples of a blowout is Spindletop No one wants a blow out Not only does can it cause environmental damage but it can threaten the very lives of the people who work on rigs To stop this there are automated measures and human control methods For example an operator could notice a change in pressure in the drilling mud He would then try to relieve the pressure in a controlled method If all else fails a blow out preventer can be used A blow out preventer is a device that physically plugs the well so nothing can escape So if a blowout happens then what What happens when an offshore oil rig can t stop producing such as Piper Alpha or Deepwater Horizon Remote operated vehicles ROVs can be sent down to assess the situation and try to stanch the flow A remotely operated vehicle is just that a vehicle that is operated remotely by a person If the ROVs can not stop the well a containment dome can be lowered down to cover the leak A containment dome works by covering the area and then channeling the pressure off and in this case to collect the crude oil The first containment dome lowered down on the Deepwater Horizon was unsuccessful due to a build up of methane hydrates or fire ice on the dome There are plans to drop a

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/deepwater/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Top 10 Animal Power Moves | BEYONDbones
    we bring you information about exhibits and events going on around the museum Our experts talk about dinosaur theories lost cities and cultures and the latest happenings in our solar system But every now and then we like to bring you something completely new from an outside source Today we bring you a video from the vlogbrothers as they discuss some of the most awesome offensive and defensive habits of animals From the sixth sense of the Platypus to the karate kick of the giraffe check out these amazing abilities from around the animal kingdom Can t see the video Click here 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged animal defense animal kingdom cool animals HMNS vlogbrotehrs by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country After all he majored in History at Vassar College Within three months of graduation he landed a spot in the PR department and has not looked back since He is fast becoming a communications fanatic spending a tremendous amount of his time promoting

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/top-10-animal-power-moves/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Digging Sideways For Science | BEYONDbones
    So the best way is to use Nature s Bulldozer Here s how it works Nature cuts into rock layers using rivers and streams River banks and the sides of arroyos show us cross sections of the rock We use these natural cuts to search for the layers rich in fossils Edaphosaurus pogonias My HMNS crew has walked hunched over for days at a time scrutinizing the banks of gullies in North Texas without seeing a thing worth digging But we must have patience In the Permian Red Beds for instance we do find new sites on average every two days Last month we found four spots that had bones of the fin back Edaphosaurus one of the earliest plant eaters that ever evolved We didn t dig those four spots because the bones were few and fragmentary But we found a fifth spot in the bank of a gully that had a whole vertebral column of the fin back Dimetrodon the top predator of the time Here we dug in sideways and recovered a large part of the skeleton including hips and shoulder To get the Cretaceous Tertiary transition fossils we go to Raton New Mexico Here steep river banks expose the sediments from 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs went extinct We can dig in sideways and excavate thin zones of black clay that preserve pollen and spores from the plants that lived just before and just after the great dino extinction To find fossil hominids in Africa first we d search aerial photos looking for cuts made by rivers and streams into sediments laid down about 2 million years ago Think Sideways 1 0 0 This entry was posted in Paleontology and tagged australopithecus bob bakker Cretaceous cretaceous tertiary Dimetrodon dinosaurs edaphosaurus extinction fossils HMNS paleo

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/digging-sideways-for-science/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Private and Public Museum Collections – Rules and Guidelines for exhibitions | BEYONDbones
    to another difference between private and museum collections Nearly all museum collections are held in the public s trust which means that museums must always do what s best for their collections in fulfillment of their mission statement Museums cannot willy nilly acquire inappropriate objects or get rid of something valuable just because the market for it is hot Private collectors can buy and sell as they wish museums have far more constraints and rightfully so When it comes to loans a private collector isn t going to lend thoughtlessly but still the decision is their own Museums have many procedures and documentation to go through before making or receiving a loan The decision of whether or not to lend who or where to lend under what conditions and for how long are thoroughly vetted again according to policy by curators and usually with opinions from conservators and or collection managers as to the object s condition Storage and care of a collection can differ between private owners and museums Obviously any owner of a collection is going to do their best to care for the objects but a private owner isn t legally or ethically required to do so So while a private owner could keep a priceless historic specimen in a dusty non climate controlled storage shed again it s their personal property a museum can t Museums are obligated to do the best they can within their means to protect and preserve the collections that they hold in the public s trust HMNS presentation of historical objects in the Magic exhibit When it comes to exhibiting objects a private collector can build or rent an exhibition space if they so choose and present the objects in whatever fashion pleases them Permanent and temporary museum exhibits require stringent climate light and security conditions so that the objects are kept as safe from damage as possible Museum curators put a lot of time and research into their exhibits often re interpreting familiar objects with recent discoveries in their curatorial field Especially at HMNS we want our patrons to have the most current validated scientific knowledge so even a permanent exhibit will be up dated and refreshed from time to time Once our new expansion is finished you ll see quite a lot of this My point here is that museum exhibits are less likely to remain static and more likely to continue to evolve A museum curator puts their own stamp on an exhibit s context and objects but probably not forever A private collector need never change the context or viewpoint of their personal collection exhibition Neither way of exhibiting objects is right or wrong just different Well this post has barely scraped the surface of all the complexities concerning museum collections And surely there will continue to be controversies in the public and private museum world whether inadvertent or malicious But I hope this post reassures the reader that museums do hold high legal and ethical standards

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/private-and-public-museum-collections-rules-and-guidelines-for-exhibitions/ (2016-02-12)
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