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  • Poisoning Pesky Pests | BEYONDbones
    caterpillars are not able to fly away from areas that are sprayed Furthermore plants or other objects near the spray nozzles build up a residue of the poison that is certainly not good for anything eating them or living in or on them Mosquito Misting System You may be surprised to learn that scientists working on mosquito control do not like these home misting systems any better than I do A couple of years ago while doing research on mosquitoes and careers in entomology for the new insect wing I talked at length to Dr Rudy Bueno head of the Harris County Mosquito Control Division part of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services www hcphes org I was impressed and frankly surprised by the conservative nature of their spraying programs For Dr Bueno s crew spraying is a last resort done in specific areas where their field workers have identified large populations of mosquitoes that may vector diseases such as West Nile virus not all mosquitoes transmit disease and where they cannot use other treatment methods such as getting rid of the standing water or treating with mosquito dunks They only spray when an outbreak cannot be controlled with more benign methods and here s the rub the sprays they use contain the same chemicals as the home mosquito misting systems Dr Bueno s concern is that through constant exposure to these chemicals that mosquitoes get through the home systems helps mosquitoes to evolve resistance to the chemicals making the county s spraying efforts much less effective and meaning that more potent and dangerous chemicals may have to be used to control outbreaks Photo credit akeg I asked Dr Bueno what he would recommend to the homeowner concerned about mosquitoes Their mantra in HCPHES is reduce the source in other words eliminate as much as possible any place around your home where mosquitoes might breed Some mosquitoes can breed in less than a tablespoon of water or even in wet leaves and can complete their life cycle in less than a week Most homeowners are fairly careless about leaving potential breeding spots on their property Clogged gutters plant saucers bird baths dog or cat water bowls and many other containers that hold water are all potential breeding sites So clean out those gutters and change the water regularly in bird baths and drinking bowls and turn wheelbarrows or pots or buckets upside down so they don t hold water Put mosquito fish Gambusia affinis a small native fish species that eats mosquito larvae into any outdoor ponds In areas of standing water that can t be drained you can use mosquito dunks floating donuts that release a bacterium Bacillus thuringensis israelensis that infects only mosquitoes One of the main places mosquitoes breed in Houston is in clogged storm sewers so be sure not to put leaves or other debris into these sewers Of course if you live next to a salt marsh or other area with shallow standing water

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/poisoning-pesky-pests/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Woolly mammoths to walk the earth again? | BEYONDbones
    her in pristine condition until she was uncovered 40 000 years later Interested So was National Geographic They created a documentary about Lyula the best preserved baby mammoth ever discovered Waking the Baby Mammoth premieres this Sunday April 26 at 8 p m Central time and follows Yuri s amazing find and the fascinating process of discovery as scientists work to unravel Lyula s mysteries Check out the video preview below They investigate the body of the mammoth learning how she briefly lived and theorizing how she died The documentary includes CGI graphics that help show how Lyuba and her family might have looked as they survived the harsh conditions of Siberia during the ice age Some other things you might not know about wooly mammoths The word mammoth is thought to have originated from an old Vogul word for earth Woolly Mammoths began dying out about 10 000 years ago around the end of the ice age A small population of dwarfed mammoths survived in Alaska until roughly 3 700 years ago however the majority died out long before then The first largely intact frozen mammoth carcass was discovered in 1799 in Siberia One of the longest mammoth tusks ever found was 16 feet long and weighed more than 200 pounds Photo credit robertpaulyoung Mammoths are very closely related to the Asian Elephant they share 99 4 percent of their DNA It is possible to take the sperm from a mammoth and impregnant the egg of an elephant and use a female elephant to incubate This would give birth to a mammoth elephant hybrid From there it would be possible to impregnate the hybrid to create an offspring that was even more closely related to the ancient mammoths In a similar process you could also take a woolly mammoth

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/woolly-mammoths-to-walk-the-earth-again/ (2016-02-12)
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  • True Colors in the Night Sky | BEYONDbones
    evening sky in May Not only does this set of stars include six of the twelve brightest stars at night but it also includes at least one example of each spectral class of star Astronomers classify stars into seven spectral classes in order from hottest to coolest O B A F G K and M Oh Be A Fine Girl Guy Kiss Me is the most common phrase we use to remember the order Astronomers learn what a star is made of by producing a spectrum of its light and noting which wavelengths are absorbed Black lines across the continuous rainbow spectrum indicate particular wavelengths absorbed which correspond to particular gasses in the star In the 1890 Draper Catalog of Stellar Spectra Williamina Fleming divided stars into fifteen categories from A to O based on the presence of hydrogen lines in the stars spectra Only much later did astronomers figure out the more interesting relationship between a star s spectrum and its temperature Annie Jump Cannon of Harvard eliminated redundant categories and merged others leaving us with the seven modern categories in the current order The hottest stars are bluish and the coolest stars are reddish with pure white stars in between This may sound counter intuitive at first If you think about it however you probably know that white hot is hotter than red hot and that the hottest flames are bluish In the sky tonight the three stars of Orion s belt are O stars Rigel is a B star while Betelgeuse is in the coolest M class Sirius the brightest star in the night sky is an A star The Little Dog Star Procyon is an F star Capella in Auriga is a G star as is our Sun The bull s eye Aldebaran is a K star At first glance all stars look white to us since starlight is scarcely bright enough to stimulate the color detecting cones of our eye When a bright M star is close to a bright O or B star however you often can see the difference by contrasting the two I invite you then to contrast Betelgeuse and Rigel in the sky and see if you notice a difference in color Photo Credit Sabrina Campagna We often describe G stars such as our Sun as yellow The Sun s rays even look yellowish when we accidentally glimpse it through say a canopy of leaves However sunlight is in fact white The yellow in the Sun s rays is an illusion created by our atmosphere The Sun emits light of a wide range of wavelengths including all colors of visible light This light interacts with the molecules of gas making up our atmosphere A molecule of gas though is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light As a result the shorter the wavelength of the light the more likely that the light will be absorbed or redirected after interacting with an air molecule This is called scattering Photo Credit law

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/true-colors-in-the-night-sky/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Selection of Mineral Specimens | BEYONDbones
    285 3 Cassiterite Tin samples from Squaw Canyon HMNS 782 4 Soda niter White Plains Nevada HMNS 1248 5 Mercury in soot Reddington Mine Knoxville California HMNS 285 6 Chrysotile Bajenova Urals U S S R 7 Borax Crystals New Boston Nevada HMNS 1251 8 Laying down Stream tin Cassiterite Malay Islands Collected from Kepong Dredging HMNS 791 Milsaps no M5478 John E T Milsaps One of the earliest collections acquired by the Museum belonged to John E T Milsaps a native Houstonian As an adult Milsaps joined the Salvation Army and eventually was given oversight for all territories west of the Mississippi In this capacity he traveled widely collecting wherever he went and then sent his collection back to Houston These mineral specimens are from his original collection and are representative of the storage and display techniques at that time The minerals were secured in the glass vials or bottles with a cork and wax seal This allowed the minerals to be handled but prevented them from being contaminated and assured that they could be moved and set up for display easily When the Museum was first started in the early 1900s it was called the Houston Public Museum The label you see here includes the original catalogue number M for Milsaps 5478 and the note of a second catalogue number 791 Beginning in 1970 in an effort to re order the mineral collection it was decided to catalogue all of the specimens a second time starting the record making and numbering process all over again J E T Milsaps contributed much to the citizens of Houston Throughout most of his life he not only collected objects and specimens but bought many books He gifted these anonymously to the City of Houston Within the Public Library his collection was

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/100-years-100-objects-selection-of-mineral-specimens/ (2016-02-12)
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  • The lost fleet of Khubilai Khan | BEYONDbones
    kamikaze has come down through history as a potent phrase more famous for its use in World War II when pilots crashed their planes into the sides and decks of enemy ships Many people do not remember the legendary events of several hundred years ago when Mongol invaders twice tried and failed to add Japan to the globe spanning empire started by Genghis Khan Khubilai s grandfather Archaeologists seeking traces of Khubilai s invasion were finally successful in the 1980s when evidence of the ships and the battles fought around them surfaced from Imari Bay off the southern coast of Kyushu I was fortunate to join a team of Japanese archaeologists in 2001 when they found and began to excavate the remains of the Khan s lost fleet What they found and what I had the opportunity to dive on was amazing scattered timbers swords armor ceramic pots used to store food and water and amazing technological marvels in the form of clay bombs filled with gunpowder and metal shrapnel that the Mongols hurtled at the Japanese from ship mounted catapults These bombs the earliest explosive devices ever found and used in naval warfare are a reminder that modern technology dates back centuries and that China as one of the oldest civilizations on earth was an early innovator and inventor of many things that we still use today such as gunpowder and paper In my presentation on Tuesday night I am going to share images and impressions of the invasions of Japan by the Mongols and show you what was found underwater and what we ve learned from the excavations including the incredible work done by Texas A M nautical archaeology graduate student Randall Sasaki Join us at HMNS Tuesday night as Dr Delgado presents the story of Khubilai Khan

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/the-lost-fleet-of-khubilai-khan/ (2016-02-12)
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  • The egg-zilarating, egg-stravagant, sp-egg-tacular EGG! | BEYONDbones
    species except the King and Emperor lay two eggs Fresh eggs will sink in water while stale ones float do not eat the floaters Chickens lay different colored eggs including shades of white brown pink blue and green If you leave an egg soaking in vinegar for one day you can take it out and bounce it The reason is the vinegar or acetic acid reacts with the shell or calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide is released as bubbles taking the calcium along with it An egg s shell has over 17 000 pores Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D In ancient Rome meals often began with an egg course The Romans crushed the shells in their plates to ensure no evil spirits could hide there Eggs especially rotten ones and other foods have been thrown in protest since the time of Vespasian nearly 2 000 years ago Eggs were chosen because of their less than lethal and messy nature as well as ease of procurement The ovum or egg is the largest cell in the human body and can usually be seen with the naked eye 0 0 0 This entry was

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/the-egg-zilarating-egg-stravagant-sp-egg-tacular-egg/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Be a tree hugger! Earth Day at HMNS | BEYONDbones
    about conservation discover how to create butterfly habitats and understand new environmental technology The best part When you hug a tree literally you get your very own sapling to take home So go on get a little closer to nature Be a tree hugger This event is FREE to the public Join in the fun in the Grand Entry Hall this Saturday afternoon 0 0 0 This entry was posted

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/be-a-tree-hugger-earth-day-at-hmns/ (2016-02-12)
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  • VIDEO: Terra Cotta Warriors set to invade HMNS | BEYONDbones
    amazing breathtaking etc But it was so much more than that Me standing in Pit 1 Here I was standing in Pit 1 at the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum amidst thousands of life size warriors dating to around 200 BC one of the most sensational archeological finds of all time How can I simply find the right words to describe this After walking into the Pit on my initial visit I turned to my colleague Lisa and commented when I was growing up never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be in China standing at this legendary site And I must admit China was not on my Bucket List However I advise you to add it to your list if you haven t done so It is estimated that more than two million people a year travel to Xi an to view the famous clay warriors Because I can t seem to find the appropriate words to describe how excited I am about the arrival of the special exhibition Terra Cotta Warriors Guardians of China s First Emperor opening May 22 as well as explain to you just how grand this experience will be for visitors without gasping for air out of pure enthusiasm I recruited our Curator of Anthropology Dirk Van Tuerenhout to share his thoughts His commentary is mixed with video I captured during my trip Click on the play button below to hear his tale of the First Emperor and the Terra Cotta Warriors and what you can expect to see in this unprecedented show Has anyone ever visited China s Terra Cotta Warrior Museum If you can put your experience in words please share your story with us 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Anthropology and tagged Anthropology Bucket List

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/04/video-terra-cotta-warriors-set-to-invade-hmns/ (2016-02-12)
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