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  • Webisode: A Wild Ride [Hubble 3D] | BEYONDbones
    shuttle can duplicate errors and system failures that might plague a crew on an actual mission Learn about the flight simulator in this week s webisode Check out Hubble 3D in the Wortham IMAX Theatre This stunning 3D film reveals the cosmos as never before allowing viewers of all ages to explore the grandeur of the nebulae and galaxies the birth and death of stars and some of the greatest mysteries of our celestial surroundings If you come on Tuesday after 2 p m tickets are just 6 Did you miss the first four webisodes Astronaut Mike Massimino he s on Twitter takes us on a tour of the spaceship and explains how they train for missions Mike explains how difficult it is to get into space suits See the largest swimming pool in the world and how the astronauts use it to train for space walks Learn about the first mission to repair the Hubble Telescope 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Astronomy and tagged HMNS hubble Hubble 3D NASA 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/webisode-a-wild-ride-hubble-3d/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Dimetrodon Gives us a Nod | BEYONDbones
    of the axis is the biggest component There s a thick muscle attached to the neural spine that runs forward to connect to the back of the skull Reach around and touch the back of your own neck you ll feel the muscle Technical name rectus capitis posterior meaning pulls the neck straight back The great height of the neural spine in our D don means an exceptionally powerful action in pulling the head back and up That would be useful when grabbing big struggling prey There is a second set of thick muscles that s attached to the neural spine and runs outward to the outer corner of the back of the skull Technical label obliquus capitis Meaning Muscle that pulls the head obliquely This muscle turns the head sideways also useful when wresting with prey Joint Mechanics Now let s investigate how the joints operate The first vertebra behind the head is the atlas The name comes from a fancied resemblance to the Greek hero Atlas who held the globe in his muscular arms The atlas vertebra has two parts one above the other that together make a cup Into the cup fits a ball on the rear of the skull Check out the cup in our specimen We ll exhibit the neck bones in a special case so visitors can get a sense of how the living D don was an active dynamic bio machine D don is very close to the direct ancestry of warm blooded hairy mammals including us humans we are all warm blooded though some of us are hairier than others We will exhibit a cast of a human neck joint next to the D don to demonstrate how much evolution has taken lace since Red Beds times nearly 300 million years ago

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/dimetrodon-gives-us-a-nod/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Go Stargazing! May Edition | BEYONDbones
    moon Mars is very high in the evening sky although not as bright as it was in winter Since January 29 Earth has been pulling ahead of Mars on its faster orbit As a result Mars gets slightly dimmer each night for the rest of 2010 However during May Mars remains brighter than average and thus remains easy to see Look high in the west at dusk for a reddish point of light Jupiter is low in the southeast at dawn this month Look for it low in twilight as day begins to break It will be higher in the southeast by the end of the month In May you can watch as the Dog Days begin We are in the Dog Days when the Dogs have vanished from the sky As May begins Orion the Hunter is clearly visible due west right after sunset To his left aligned with Orion s belt is Sirius the Dog Star the brightest star we see at night Forming a triangle with Sirius and Orion s brightest star Betelgeuse is Procyon the Little Dog Star Throughout May watch as Sirius appears slightly lower and lower to the horizon each night until it is gone by May 31 By mid June Procyon is gone as well When the Dogs are up only in the day we re in the Dog Days Meanwhile spring stars are high in the south and east A distinct backwards question mark shape outlines the mane and forepaws of Leo the Lion Three stars forming a right triangle rise underneath they mark Leo s hindquarters The Big Dipper is as high as it ever gets in the north at dusk You can extend the curve of its handle to arc to Arcturus and then speed on to Spica These stars

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/go-stargazing-may-edition-3/ (2016-02-12)
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  • History of the HMNS Guild | BEYONDbones
    order to bring it to the forefront of local attention On March 16 1950 at the Cohen House on the campus of Rice Institute Mrs Maffitt together with the then Museum Director John Vines and thirty nine ladies met to discuss their goals and strategy for improving the Museum The name that they gave their organization was the Museum of Natural History Guild At that meeting a list of Museum departments was created each with its own chairman co chair and agenda Each department was given specific assignments to be completed by the next meeting Each member was to select one specific project and one general project before leaving that meeting and dues were set at one dollar per year Mr Vines also solicited suggestions on ways to improve the Museum Contracts were made with the local and neighborhood newspapers to carry notices of summer classes for children Announcements of these classes were also broadcast on the radio Increasing Public Awareness To increase interest in the Museum by the Houston public speeches were made to civic organizations and schools and posters were given to municipal departments libraries and schools The Ways and Means Committee had several money making projects including selling ant houses fish bowls and engagement calendars for 1951 They also held a very successful used clothing sale According to the Museum newsletter the Guild raised 2 050 which went to pay the Museum teacher s salary the teacher was paid 290 each month The Guild also produced its first copy of Nature Notes from the Gulf Coast States edited by Mrs Maffitt a quarterly publication that was provided free to Museum members and was financed by advertisements single issue sales and subscriptions Each issue included information about how to become a member of the Museum Dr J Brian Eby Museum Board President wrote in 1951 that the Guild was making valuable contributions to the Museum and urged that their work be both continued and expanded Volunteer Committee Chairman Mrs Edward Pearson found a supply of dependable steady workers half from the Junior League who volunteered to supplement the Museum staff A letter was also sent to the HISD School Board requesting 1 000 to help pay for the teacher at the Museum In May 1951 Guild members appeared at a City Council meeting to request that the city s contribution to the Museum be increased from 9 000 to 12 000 per annum however the City Council felt that there were far more pressing issues such as street maintenance and the building of storm drains Expanding the Guild Mission The Guild focused on simple easy ways to make the Museum more attractive At the Guild s suggestion the Museum created a summer class schedule that allowed parents to pre register their children An immediate objective of the Guild was a new classroom addition which would expand the children s programs and serve in the summer as a movie theater for nature movies This addition at the zoo building

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/05/history-of-the-hmns-guild/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Go Stargazing! July Edition | BEYONDbones
    rises at about 11 p m it will be a late evening object next month In the west a distinct backwards question mark shape outlines the mane and forepaws of Leo the Lion Three stars forming a right triangle are to its upper left they mark Leo s hindquarters This month the Lion serves as the backdrop for the great planet race described above The Big Dipper is high in the northwest at dusk You can extend the curve of its handle to arc to Arcturus and then speed on to Spica These stars high in the west and southwest respectively by dusk tonight Arcturus by the way is the fourth brightest star we ever see at night but the brightest one Americans ever see in all of July In the east look for the enormous Summer Triangle consisting of the stars Deneb Vega and Altair This triangle is up all night long in July hence its name Scorpius the Scorpion is in the southeast at dusk Sagittarius the Archer known for its teapot asterism is to its left Between these two star patterns is the center of our Milky Way the brightest part of that band as wee see it On a cloudless night far from the big city see if you notice the Milky Way glow near the teapot of Sagittarius Summer Triangle Moon Phases in July 2010 Last Quarter July 4 9 36 am New Moon July 11 2 40 pm 1st Quarter July 18 5 11 am Full Moon July 25 8 36 pm photo credit steelight The new moon of Sunday July 11 will align precisely with the sun and Earth casting its shadow on the Earth This will cause a total solar eclipse Unfortunately the shadow s path is entirely over the South Pacific

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/06/go-stargazing-july-edition-3/ (2016-02-12)
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  • What a Croc! | BEYONDbones
    discolored rock strongly suggests that the tail does have a shark outline unlike that of all known modern crocodilians Even better compare the caudal processes bumps on the top of the vertebra in the area of the fin to those farther up the spine The processes in the tail fin area are longer and reverse orientation they point toward the head possibly as support for the fin The fin is real Armor This croc does not have any There are no osteoderms bony plates inside the skin anywhere The osteoderms in modern crocs do not provide complete coverage and thus are not much use as armor however a modern croc has muscles between its osteoderms that can stiffen up the skin during rapid land movements Apparently Geosaurus got along without them Legs The arms are very short in proportion to the legs quite unlike modern crocs Salt Gland Many animals have glands to secrete sodium chloride because they live in or on life from the ocean and eat way to much salt This animal is said to have chambers in the skull for a salt gland but I cannot see it I guess I will take their word for it A modern croc has a salt gland in its tongue while many birds have theirs in the skull Analysis Modern crocs are slow swimmers and thus ambush predators A shark like tail suggests this was a higher speed predator A modern croc has about 5 of its weight in osteoderms and their absence would improve the water speed at the expense of land speed I think we have caught this croc species in the transition stage of becoming a true marine predator It still had clawed limbs to crawl out on the land to mate and lay eggs but their smaller size would certainly help reduce drag If this evolutionary path had continued the croc s descendants might have ended up looking like Ichthyosaurs air breathing reptiles that gave live birth and looked remarkably like modern dolphins Remember a saltwater croc in Australia is called a marine crocodile but it does not have many adaptations to live in the marine environment besides a salt gland in its tongue An Ichthyosaur is a reptile completely adapted to a marine environment What happens when a Steneosaurus trys to ambush an Allosaurus at the water hole There are other crocs found in the Solnhofen limestone including long legged land crocs dwarf ones and a substantially armored one Steneosaurus featured by Dr Bakker in this wonderful drawing To read more about the Geosaurus check out Dr Bakker s blog References Wikipedia Criosaurus Dakosaurus Geosaurus A nice discussion of aquatic crocs is at http en wikipedia org wiki Cricosaurus Modern croc using those teeth on a turtle ahmedsadat posting on YouTube 2008 Crocodile eats turtle http www youtube com watch v cSKAXOFvi6c Salt glands it is claimed that the skulls have a chamber for salt glands see Fernández and Gasparini 2008 Naturwissenschaften 2008 95 1

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/06/what-a-croc/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Summer Nights: Tell me more, tell me more | BEYONDbones
    the same bells and whistles Here is an example The most important things we are looking for on the bill are kilowatt hours used price per kilowatt hour and total cost If your bill has any month by month graphic on how much electricity you use or a yearly average that could be useful as well photo credit this lucid moment Once we get the number of kilowatt hours and the price per hour we can move on to reading the electric meter As a small child I was fascinated by the mechanical cipher and spent some time one summer afternoon deciphering its markings 2 decades ago and in a much smaller town my electric meter looked like a series of small clocks that go up to 10 over a rotating rotor disc The display dials would turn to show the number of kilowatt hours used If you have a digital electric meter there is no challenge in reading it It shows the current total amount of kilowatt hours that the electric meter has counted This is not the number you have used in a week or a month or a year but the total amount it has counted in its life time To figure out how many kilowatt hours you have used in a day month or year all you need is two sets of numbers To see how many kilowatt hours you use a month record the reading on the electrical meter at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month Then subtract the smaller number from the larger That will tell you how many kilowatt hours you have used in a month There are a number of devices and computer programs that can help chart your energy usage such as Google PowerMeter Now

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/06/summer-nights-tell-me-more-tell-me-more/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Your Archaeopteryx Questions: Answered! [Pete Larson] | BEYONDbones
    the water the more it can hold in solution Perhaps even daily fluctuations from night to day caused this accumulation over the centuries With the great preservation of bones and some soft parts what was the level of anoxia in the water column Because of the reef that protected this lagoon the wave action was limited within the lagoon itself If you were to measure the amount of dissolved oxygen you would see a decrease with depth depleted at least in part by resident organisms Presumably the bottom was very anoxic to the point that it could not support animal life This however created a great environment for fossil preservation What does the Archeopteryx fossil do for the evolution of evolution i e the progression from Darwin s theories of natural selection and evolution to modern evolutionary theory to future understanding both paleo and contemporary Soon after its discovery arguments were made dismissing this discovery as the missing link between birds and dinosaurs Dinosaurs do not have feathers let alone flight feathers dinosaurs do not have furculae wishbones Archaeopteryx does not have serrated teeth dinosaurs do etc It turns out that some if not all theropods meat eating dinosaurs have feathers including flight feathers Theropods have furculae even T rex And some theropods have non serrated teeth etc Archaeopteryx IS the link between dinosaurs and their evolutionary offspring birds In regards to the shark fossil Hybodus what would be a modern ancestor Hybodus is part of the Order Hybodontiformes of the Superorder Selachimorpha Sharks The entire group became extinct at the end of the age of dinosaurs the KT boundary 65MYBP When you first find these fossils are they of a different color and then change once they hit our oxygen air another wards does our oxygen change these fossil in anyway shape or form As one who has collected a lot of fossils from a lot of different localities and ages I can tell you that you often witness color changes Usually this is due to the drying out of the surface of the fossil You can test this by licking an unconserved fossil or even a rock and see an immediate brightening of the colors Occasionally a thin white film of gypsum if there is pyrite in or near the specimen can grow quickly over the surface of a fossil literally overnight that will hide its true color Atmospheric oxygen is not a big problem however some fossils particularly those preserved with unstable minerals near or within can combine with atmospheric water and create such chemicals a sulfuric acid that can destroy the fossil Can you briefly summaries the other fossil evidence for early bird like creatures other than Archaeopteryx We actually have a very good record of fossil birds from a second locality Liaoning China where we also find feathered non avian theropods that is about 20 million years after Archaeopteryx Archaeopteryx is 145 MYBP and Liaoning is 122 MYBP in the Early Cretaceous For those of

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/06/your-archaeopteryx-questions-answered-pete-larson/ (2016-02-12)
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