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  • Deepwater Update | BEYONDbones
    to stanch the flow The relief wells have been drilled and there seems to be no seeping All of that means that the oil spill is over 4 9 million barrels was pumped out in the Gulf making this the largest oil spill in the Gulf and the third largest oil spill in history BP is waiting on a pressure test to see if they need to initiate a bottom kill A bottom kill is when they drill to the bottom of the well and pump in mud and cement through the bottom of the well The spill has caused a lot of things to change A moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf was put into effect There have been several challenges to this photo credit uscgd8 Also the Mineral Management Services MMS has been broken up into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management The MMS was responsible for conservation and environmental protection on federal land used by energy companies as well as collecting royalties and enforcing regulations on companies that used federal lands to produce crude oil and natural gas They were plagued with accusations of corruption and ineptitude The new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management or Bureau of Ocean Energy has been subdivided into the Offshore Energy and Minerals Management and Minerals Revenue Management This means that the people who enforce the regulation are not the same people who collect the revenue The 4 9 million barrels that were pumped out into the ocean will have long reaching environmental consequences Some scientists worry that all the natural bacteria that ate the oil will help to form an area that is low in oxygen However a mass killing of fish does not require an oil disaster Numerous beaches were closed to tourists and locals alike Also some areas

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/deepwater-update-2/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Photo Show in the Butterfly Center | BEYONDbones
    for the Butterfly Center Zac is a Houston native He received a degree in horticulture from Sam Houston State College in 2007 and subsequently worked at Newton Nurseries here in Houston Then inspired by a trip to Costa Rica he picked up stakes and moved to Hawaii where he spent a year working for a bromeliad grower Luckily for us he returned to Texas last year so we could hire him to join our team Zac is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable plantophile and is especially fond of epiphytes such as orchids Nepenthes pitcher plants and of course bromeliads He is also an accomplished nature photographer and has his own website where you can see his work BanyamImages com The photos on display in the gallery include a series of photos taken in Hawaii and Costa Rica featuring plants of course as well as insects other animals and scenics On the other side of the display wall are photos of plants and butterflies he has taken in the Butterfly Center since starting work here last January Be sure to stop by to see Zac s photos when you next visit the Butterfly Center Professionals and amateurs alike will be inspired to

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/photo-show-in-the-butterfly-center/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Shhh… Science in action | BEYONDbones
    Tarim Basin mummies on display in a museum in Urumqi The Beauty of Xiaohe Courtesy of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum in Urumqi Oetzi lived about 5000 years ago while the Beauty of Xiaohe lived about 1 000 years later around 2000 BC In both cases DNA research has been carried out on these early human remains It seems that the Beauty of Xiaohe and her kinfolk had very close links with areas to the west of the Pamir Mountains In a previous blog the Pamirs are mentioned as part of the geography of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Specifically Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed that the Xiaohe people carried both the East Eurasian haplogroup C and the West Eurasian haplogroups H and K whereas chromosomal DNA analysis revealed only the West Eurasian haplogroup R1a1a in the male individuals Oetzi is of European origin the Tarim Basin Mummies are often referred to as Eurasian and Caucasian without much further information about where they may have originated from other than west of the Pamir mountains This is where the reference made above to the potential of future research comes in The techniques exist to investigate the Tarim Basin mummies in much greater detail The research has not happened yet In addition there are ways to establish where individuals were born and raised one of the most famous examples being the remains of an archer found close to Stonehenge Tests showed that he originated in the Alps probably Switzerland Austria or Germany He somehow made his way into what is now the United Kingdom where he was buried A similar scientific approach could be applied to the Xiaohe remains I am sure that one day this will happen Currently the Beauty of Xiaohe is receiving visitors at the Houston Museum of Natural Science Oetzi on the other hand remains safely ensconced in his refrigerated display unit in Bolzano Italy No word yet if he is interested in coming over to visit his long lost relative Don t miss Secrets of the Silk Road open now at HMNS See strikingly well preserved mummies tall in stature and fair in complexion that have lain in the parched Tarim Basin of western China for 3 800 years along with 150 objects drawn from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum and the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology in Urumqi 5 44 0 This entry was posted in Anthropology and tagged beauty of Xiaohe HMNS Homo sapien iceman mitochondrial dna Oetzi pamir mountains Tarim Basin urumqi Victor Mair Xiaohe by Dirk Bookmark the permalink About Dirk As curator of anthropology Dirk is responsible for the museum s artifact collection and is involved in its temporary and permanent anthropology exhibits Dirk is an expert in human cultures he curates the Museum s Hall of the Americas and specializes in native American cultures like the Aztec and Maya View all posts by Dirk 3 thoughts on Shhh Science in action Kyle Scarborough on September 13 2010 at 6 47 pm

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/shhh-science-in-action/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!! | BEYONDbones
    bit tricky but certainly not impossible Be aware of your surroundings and what s going on with your body You should always inspect your body for insect bites and investigate things that may be making you itch and why Take your lifestyle and activities into account to rule out other pests Do you spend a lot of time outside or do you have pets Don t mistake mosquito and flea bites for bedbug bites If you find yourself going to bed unscathed and waking up with itching or irritation it may be something to look into Due to the way they feed bedbugs will sometimes leave 2 or more bites in a row next to each other but not always If you see bites like this it is a telltale sign Since bedbugs don t cause symptoms in everyone there are other signs to watch for Inspect your sheets for tiny blood smears and molts shed skins For this reason it is helpful to have white or light colored sheets Inspect your bedroom mattress and even your couch for small crawling bugs If you find something bring it in to show us or send a picture We are ALWAYS happy to help the public by identifying insects What should I do if I have bedbugs photo credit JMazzolaa First it is important to get a positive identification Show the bug s to a competent Entomologist Most pest control operators should know how to identify one but again we are a sure thing If you do have bedbugs DO NOT try to treat them yourself Washing your sheets with hot water or even throwing your mattress out will not fix the problem Bedbugs will more than likely be hiding in other places Call a reputable pest control company to treat the problem Scientists are constantly developing new pesticides to combat them and some companies can do hot steam treatments which will eliminate all stages of the bugs They cannot take heat above about 115 degrees F These services may be expensive but they will work What can I do to prevent getting bedbugs Again don t be paranoid That won t do you any good and it will just stress you out You can be preventative by doing certain common sense things that will help protect you against most pest insects Make sure your house is in good repair seal up cracks fill holes etc Most pest insects especially bedbugs can come in through and hide in tiny spaces Keep your house clean and clutter free Have a squeaky clean disinfected home is good to keep the cockroaches away but not necessarily bedbugs All they need is a host you or your family However by eliminating clutter around your home you re eliminating harborage and hiding places This will make it a less attractive environment for them and if they re there they will be much easier to treat Be well prepared and make smart choices when traveling If you re

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/sleep-tight-dont-let-the-bedbugs-bite/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Spot the Planet Uranus with the Naked Eye | BEYONDbones
    years for Uranus to reappear near the same stars Thus Uranus although plainly visible went undiscovered for centuries For example in 1690 John Flamsteed was cataloguing stars and constellations numbering stars in each constellation from west to east However the star he catalogued as 34 Tauri 34 in Taurus was in fact the planet Uranus Replica of Herschel s telescope In March 1781 William Herschel became the first to identify Uranus as a planet when he observed it in his telescope As Uranus is about twice as far from the sun as Saturn Herschel s discovery doubled the size of the known solar system Herschel wanted to call the new planet George actually Georgium Sidus in Latin after his patron King George III German astronomer Johann Elert Bode who had calculated an orbit for the new planet suggested calling it Uranus because in Graeco Roman myth Saturn had been the father of Jupiter and Uranus the father of Saturn Here are charts showing the relative positions of Jupiter and Uranus from now into the new year The event depicted is a triple conjunction in which two outer planets align on three separate occasions only a few months apart This occurs when distant planets align while Earth is on the same side of the sun as they are As Earth passes the slower outer planets we see them slow down stop and reverse direction for while We see the planets resume direct motion once Earth has pulled far enough ahead on its much faster inner orbit As a result we see three conjunctions instead of just one The three closest alignments of Jupiter and Uranus occur on June 8 2010 September 18 2010 and January 3 2011 At all three Jupiter is less than one degree about the width of an

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/spot-the-planet-uranus-with-the-naked-eye/ (2016-02-12)
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  • How To Evolve a Wing | BEYONDbones
    pinky the outermost finger The claws on the inner three fingers were strong useful for climbing trees and the sides of cliffs The fourth finger evolved into an organ we see in no other creature Finger four became immense as thick as the thigh or thicker The finger could be folded back where it joined the wrist for walking on the ground When flying the giant finger four was stretched outwards Schematic of a generic pterosaur wing pencil drawing digital coloring photo credit Arthurweasley Solnhofen fossils showed that the wing surface was attached to the finger four and to the sides of the body and the inner edges of the hind leg So dactyls could flap like a bat using up and down strokes of both arm and leg to make the power stroke Dinosaurs and Birds Archaeopteryx Birds evolved their wing by another wonderfully unique method Their hand bones were 99 identical to those in small meat eating dinosaurs Only the three inner fingers were retained Darwinian processes had clipped off the pinky and fourth finger Solnhofen fossils prove that specialized wing feathers were attached to the second finger So Archaeopteryx flew with the feathered arm Raptor type dinosaurs like Velociraptor and Microraptor had evolved feathers very like those of birds But these small dinosaurs evolved hind leg wings to assist the arms Flight feathers were attached to knee and shin as well as to the forelimb When a tiny raptor like dinosaur evolved into Archaeopteryx the feathers were lost from the hind legs leaving just the arm to do the work of flying Bats Bats are specialized mammals and no bats had evolved in the Jurassic The first bats appear much later about 55 million years ago Bats use strong skin to make the wing But unlike dactyls

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/how-to-evolve-a-wing/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Have fun and save money? Too good to be true? Not any more | BEYONDbones
    great way to do two projects for the energy of one There is also nothing stopping individuals from using the website If you just want to learn a way to save money on your electrical bill you re more than welcome to visit us We would love for you to tell us about it so we could share your stories with others and encourage them photo credit aloshbennett What exactly will the website contain It will have energy conservation tips updated regularly to help you save electricity and money Grand philosophical thoughts such as Turn the lights off when you leave the room We explain how to read an electrical bill and a meter We tell how a smart grid differs from a smart meter We ll also show you the math and calculations behind how to choose which light bulb you should use In addition there will be all the information you need to teach about energy from the science of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources And that s just for starters We ll keep updating the website with the latest and greatest energy conservation news and information We will also tell you what conservation events are going on in the community such as the City of Houston s Green building tours or the next NEED workshop for teachers Energy in the News will keep you up to date on the exciting developments in energy You might be wondering why were doing all this One answer is we want children and adults to be excited about science and learning Another reason is that because the electrical demand of the country will grow by 30 in the next 25 years we need an alterative to putting up coal fired power plants Another might be the deep seated need to

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/have-fun-and-save-money-too-good-to-be-true-not-any-more/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Camels of the Silk Road – Free Family Event! [Guest Post] | BEYONDbones
    Yo Ma helped organize the Smithsonian s Annual Folklife Festival celebrating the Silk Road I was honored to present programs on the National Mall for two weeks Closer to home our camels visit Texas schools libraries faith based institutions and museums throughout the year Now I know those hardened camel men as well as the camels working the oriental trade routes had it tough the varied conditions of plains deserts and mountains are nothing to sneeze at not to mention disease and banditry along the way But as I plan my camels next journey down the Silk Road the logistics I have to consider carry their own challenges Hauling six camels from our farm in Central Texas to Houston may not be like going from Xi an to the shores of the Mediterranean but I bet my pre trip checklist isn t that different Water check Foodstuff check Camels OOPS I should introduce my camels They re really the stars of the show Along for the ride will be Irenie Gobi Richard Marianne Ibrahim and Xi an yes really Gobi and Xi an are appropriately named Bactrian camels the two humped variety native to Central Asia while the other four are Arabians the more common and numerous one humped species found from North Africa through the Middle East and into India I ve decided to bring both species as well as a variety of camel related artifacts representative of the different societies living along the length of the Silk Road to demonstrate just how widespread and varied the cultures along the routes were But back to the camels Each has its own personality and my family and I will be happy to help you get to know them You may hear stories from my 10 year old son Pecos about

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/08/camels-of-the-silk-road-free-family-event-guest-post/ (2016-02-12)
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