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  • Of Chinese mummies, and a relative of a famous German WWI fighter pilot | BEYONDbones
    reached a site in the Lop Nor area this settlement contained a cemetery on a hill marked by wooden posts An example of this burial arrangement is on display at the museum as well The site was close to a river bed which Bergman named Xiaohe or Small River The cemetery itself got several monikers starting with Ördek s necropolis after a Uyhgur guide by that name who had discovered the site in the 1910s while working for the above mentioned researcher Sven Hedin Researchers established that the settlement and the associated cemetery belonged to the Gumugou culture also known as the Qäwrighul culture Another beauty found in the region a mummy known as the Beauty of Loulan also belonged to this culture Romgard 2008 p 13 After its initial discovery the Xiaohe site drifted back into anonymity It was rediscovered in 2000 A Chinese translation of Bergman s book Bergman 1939 became available in 1997 It brought the site to the attention of Chinese scientists who were able to re discover the site Romgard 2008 p 20 n 38 Hedin with Folke Bergman on Hedin s final expedition 1934 The Sven Hedin Foundation The Xiaohe cemetery contains the largest number of mummies ever found at a single site Romgard 2008 p 20 A total of 167 tombs were excavated many of them containing mummies with clear European features The earliest graves date back to ca 2000 BC Romgard 2008 p 21 The presence of woolen garments is a good indicator of very early links between West and East as sheep did not exist in early China Romgard 2008 pp 21 22 Northeast of Lop Nor near the oasis town of Hami archaeologists encountered a small number of mummies of Caucasian origin at the Yanbulaq cemetery Eight out of a total of 29 examined human remains were identified as such Romgard 2008 p 22 This cemetery dated back to the Bronze Age as well contains further proof of western cultural traits moving from west to east The presence of people of Caucasian extraction as well as woolen knit ware and mud brick architecture spread eastward to the Tarim Basin and then China Romgard 2008 p 22 Qäwrighul Cemetery located close to Bosten Lake in the Tianshan Mountains is part of the Chawuhu culture Romgard 2008 pp 15 16 23 24 It dates to 1000 400 BC Human remains encountered here display a mix of Caucasian and Mongoloid features The people who were buried here lived in an area that served as a passageway between the eastern parts of the Tarim Basin and parts further northwest Similarities in material culture between this culture and areas in Siberia and Kazakhstan imply that migrations occurred in this part well before the official opening of the Silk Road Romgard 2008 p 24 The idea that some of the basic building stones of civilization came from the west into China did not receive a universal welcome among Chinese scholars As late as December 1999 Chinese

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/of-chinese-mummies-and-a-relative-of-a-famous-german-wwi-fighter-pilot/ (2016-02-12)
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  • HMNS Expansion: The Story So Far [Oct. 2010] | BEYONDbones
    shape But rest assured much was accomplished those first six months albeit below the surface and behind the scenes to prepare the site and the museum for all the activity ahead HMNS Major Accomplishments from February to August 2010 Relocation of Existing Utilities at Donor Wing One of the first steps in the buildout process was to remove the existing utilities at the site of the new wing See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr Removal of Existing Delivery Driveway and Completion of First Phase of Permanent Delivery Driveway The existing delivery driveway was also removed and the first phase of the new delivery driveway was completed This is this after shot See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr Site Demolition and Rerouting of Underground Utilities This phase included site demolition and rerouting of existing utilities In this shot the contractor is installing a maze of pipes and conduits now covered by the new delivery driveway See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr Initial 3 Cut for the Building Foundation The contractor makes the initial foundation cut just 3 feet deep to begin with See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr Installation of 261 Soldier Piles for Foundation System This was taken during the installation of 261 Soldier Piles for the Foundation System of the new building See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr Forming and Pouring the Pile Cap Here the crew is forming and pouring the Pile Cap See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr But as the project entered its seventh month the signs of earnest construction activity appeared as the HMNS Expansion work kicked into high

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/hmns-expansion-the-story-so-far/ (2016-02-12)
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  • See Comet Hartley 2! | BEYONDbones
    Many comets come inside the Earth s orbit as they approach the sun which means we look more or less in the sun s direction when seeing them at their brightest Hartley 2 on the other hand has a perihelion just outside Earth s orbit so Earth is passing roughly between the sun and the comet this month Therefore we can observe it while looking away from the sun in our sky Halley s Comet with tail Comets are made of ice and dust and are often called dirty snowballs We believe they are left over from the formation of the solar system As comets approach the sun ice changes into gas and dust embedded in the ice is released A cloud of particles expands out to form a coma around the comet s solid nucleus This coma may be a hundred thousand miles across Radiation pressure of sunlight and the powerful solar wind sweep gases and dust away from the comet s head forming tails pointed away from the sun Comets have bluish gas tails and yellowish dust tails Since Earth is passing more or less between the sun and Hartley 2 however its tails will be mostly oriented away from us and foreshortened from our point of view Hartley 2 s coma is now quite large in our sky so you should look for a fuzzy area perhaps bigger than the full moon not a single point of light The total brightness of the comet is about that of the dimmest stars visible so the farther you can get from city lights the better The large coma means that Hartley 2 s brightness is diffused over a large area and therefore the comet may look dimmer than its total brightness would suggest Averted vision which involves looking slightly away from the comet s actual position may help you see Hartley 2 if it is at the threshold of visibility If you choose a viewing site far from big cities and a night with no moon you may see the comet with the unaided eye The extended coma has a soft diffuse look comparable to the Milky Way band October 20 the day of closest approach to Earth has a large waning gibbous moon approaching its full phase on October 22 Before the full moon it may be easier to spot Hartley 2 at dawn after the moon has set Or you can look towards the end of the month with the moon is at Last Quarter Here is a chart showing Hartley 2 s position through November 3 2010 Note that the dates given are in Universal Time which corresponds to the previous evening for us Of the constellations shown Perseus rises in the northeast at dusk in mid October while Auriga comes up at about 9 30 also in the northeast Gemini the Twins rises closer to midnight Keep in mind that predictions for a comet s brightness are just that predictions many comets appear significantly brighter

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/see-comet-hartley-2/ (2016-02-12)
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  • There be pirates at HMNS | BEYONDbones
    isn t because they were the fiercest crews on the seas okay this one is true Rather the truth is stranger than fiction and that gives them a certain appeal Their conduct during the Golden Age of Piracy around 1650 to 1720 also gives you an amazing inside look at global politics and policy decisions at the time Most of what people today know about pirates comes from the movies like Pirates of the Caribbean or The Goonies but when it comes to accuracy these movies are more swishbucklers than swashbucklers In fact most of what we think we know about pirates is based on works of fiction like Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and like any good work of fiction it doesn t let the facts stand in its way Generally pirates were a democratic bunch with crews of every race nationality and social status but whose members were judged on their abilities not their affluence They had a solid business plan and opportunities for advancement within the company And my favorite they had disability insurance for the crew Now there were a few bad apples that spoiled the bunch and you know who you are Blackbeard but overall they conducted themselves in remarkable egalitarian way and were much beloved by the colonists who might find themselves in possession of goods from the continent and a significant discount through the good graces and skills of said pirates There is so much to say that one blog simply can t do it all so stay tuned for future blogs And now I leave you with a joke courtesy of a cherry Laffy Taffy wrapper What is a pirate s favorite vegetable The arrrrh tichoke of course Don t miss your chance to see Real Pirates The Untold Story of

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/there-be-pirates-at-hmns/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Halloween 2010 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science | BEYONDbones
    to the only dinosaur bone yard around At Tricks Treats T Rex our mad scientists will shock everyone with their spine chilling skills and our creepy scientists will create bizarre concoctions Discovery the scary side of science only at HMNS Then head on over to the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park for a special Halloween Challenger Mission Help out on our space ship as you salvage the abandoned Space Station Observer lost in 2025 and return it safely to Moonbase 1 Or aid the astronauts from mission control This event is only available the afternoon of Saturday Oct 30 and advance reservations are required Call 281 242 3055 for information Haven t had enough Halloween yet On Sunday Oct 31 we will be holding Spooktacular at our Sugar Land location Meet our mad scientists terrorizing taxidermists and a mysterious magician who will dazzle everyone with his amazing tricks To finish off this epic weekend join us for our Pirate Feast on Sunday evening Eat Drink and Plunder aboard the Elissa docked at Pier 21 on Galveston Island Hear tales of the Golden Age of Piracy and explore the historical and archaeological evidence for many new theories associated with pirates from a culinary perspective Learn about the evolution of the rum trade and how food affected the sea routes of pirates The Texas Seaport Museum will also be open for this event 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged costume party Halloween HMNS houston costume parties houston costume party pirate feast real pirates Spirits and Skeletons spooktacular 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/boo-frightfully-fun-halloween-events-at-hmns/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Edward Hitchcock | BEYONDbones
    to frogs to raccoons to barefoot farm boys He diagrammed where the toes fit in the footprint Soon the Reverend Hitchcock knew more about the animal sole than any other scholar Here are the clues he gathered from scrutinizing feet The dominant beasts who left their tracks in Jurassic rocks walked on their hind feet like birds The Jurassic creatures walked with their ankles high off the ground in long strides like birds These animals had three long hind toes spread out with the longest toe in the middle like birds There was a little toe on the inside of the foot pointing inwards and backwards like birds Then Hitchcock reconstructed the details of the foot skeleton of the Jurassic track makers He discovered that joints where two toe bones came together usually were supported by a thick pad of skin So using the pad marks in fossil tracks Hitchcock worked out the toe bone geometry The first toe had two bones the second had three the third had four and the fifth toe was absent The toe bone design was exactly like a bird s Hitchcock never suspected that his track makers were dinosaurs because at the time all dinosaurs were reconstructed with lizard like feet five toed and flat footed One discovery bothered Hitchcock occasionally he found imprints of the forefeet where his animals had rested The fingers had sharp claws things that normal birds didn t carry By 1840 Hitchcock was sure that a special subclass of birds had ruled the Jurassic birds with clawed hands But where were the fossil bones In 1861 the first skeleton of Archaeopteryx was discovered The bones testified that Hitchcock had been right Here was a bird with feathers and toes arranged perfectly to make Hitchcock s tracks Plus the hands

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/edward-hitchcock/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Astronomy Day 2010 | BEYONDbones
    million dollar 36 inch diameter Gueymard telescope which is used regularly for scientific research The 11 inch refractor mounted on one side of the Gueymard telescope was donated to the George Observatory by Preston and Donna Engebretson of Houston and has proven to be a wonderful addition to the retinue of telescopes housed in the domes The 11 refractor telescope provides impressive views of planets and deep sky objects alike The astronomy clubs from Houston and Beaumont come together this one day of the year for the purpose of sharing with the general public as much information about astronomy as possible in one day Local area amateur astronomers are part of the lecture agenda taking place indoors with talks starting at 4 p m and running every hour until 10 p m There are also outdoor presentations by amateur astronomers every half hour until dark learning tools for the young and old kid s activities face painting button making night sky constellation tours and the opportunity to impart your knowledge of night sky objects to the public Tables will be set up in the downstairs lobby and foyer by HCC Southwest Campus the Night Sky Network Land Sea Sky Advanced Telescope Repair and the usual Astronomy club table Be sure to visit the new NASA pop up displays set up downstairs in the main area These will display images and information on the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope The theme this year for the astronomy t shirts and for the entire event will commemorate the 20th birthday of the Hubble telescope Consider bringing your solar filtered telescope to set up on the deck in the afternoon hours to provide safe viewing of the Sun Also in the afternoon a simulated spaceship flight to the Moon in the Challenger Center

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/astronomy-day-2010/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Beach Bugs! | BEYONDbones
    plant and animal matter that washes up on the shore especially seaweed They do not want anything to do with people They obviously are not fleas not even insects However they jump similar to the way fleas do and they live in the sand so hence the name sand flea They are found all along the Atlantic coast so you ve probably seen them before There is a more malicious animal that sometimes goes by the name sand flea but more often is referred to as the chigoe flea Tunga penetrans is actually a type of flea but they are not like the more common cat flea that bites our domesticated pets They are the smallest known species of flea The chigoe flea lives in soil and in sand They feed on the feet of warm blooded hosts such as humans dogs cattle sheep and mice When the female is ready to reproduce she will burrow into the skin of the host which is where she stays until after she releases her eggs in about two weeks After this she dies and is sloughed off with the skin of the host They can jump no higher than 20 centimeters so they usually burrow into the foot or ankle So this is a little creepy but don t worry they re only native to the tropics such as Central and South America Sand Flies Horsefly photo credit Radu P This is a pretty general term that can really refer to any biting fly you would encounter at the beach besides a mosquito This could even be a type of horsefly that is associated with that type of habitat Most commonly the name sandfly refers to flies in the family Ceratopogonidae These are small biting midges only 1 4 millimeters in length that live in aquatic habitats all over the world Like mosquitoes it is only the female that sucks blood to get protein in preparation for laying her eggs The bite itself is too small to feel It s not until later when your skin starts to react with the proteins in their saliva that you start to feel the itch Because they go unnoticed they can bite you a lot that s why they are such a pest Bug spray is sufficient protection against these flies but I never wear bug spray and haven t been bothered by them so I don t think they re much of a problem around us Salt marsh mosquitoes I m sure almost everyone has run to the car to get away from these vicious mosquitoes and their painful bites Aedes taeniorhynchus and Aedes sollicitans are two common species found along the Texas coast They lay their eggs in brackish and saltwater pools left over from the tides There is no mystery about these ladies They re big they re hungry and they will come after you any time of the day whether you re swatting at them or not They are larger than

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/10/beach-bugs/ (2016-02-12)
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