In “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” Ben Stiller returns to the movie screen as security guard Larry Daley for another adventure among animated artifacts and historical figures. The museum and research complex houses more than 136 million objects, works of art and specimens. Check out seven iconic items from the museum’s science collections, including a few that come to life under Daley’s watch.
Archive for May, 2009
The Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, forever changed how humanity views the cosmos. Along the way, the observatory has opened eyes to the expansion of the universe, the evolution of stars and the beginning of time. As Hubble’s expiration date nears, what’s next in the realm of big science? Check out seven projects that a consortia of scientists, government agencies, and private corporations are working on hard to get off the ground. Technological and budgetary hurdles may prove insurmountable for some.
Demand for the mercury compound vermilion was strong enough to support a large-scale mercury mining industry in the Andes as far back as 1400 B.C., according to a new study.
A bright red pigment, vermilion was used in ancient Andean rituals and is frequently found adorning gold and silver ceremonial objects in ancient burials of kings and nobles in South America.
The glittering “grills” of some hip-hop stars aren’t exactly unprecedented. Sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago, a new study says.
Maya and other ancient peoples of southern North America went to “dentists”—among the earliest known—to beautify their chompers with notches, grooves, and semi-precious stones, according to a recent analysis of thousands of teeth examined from collections in Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Ancient “hobbit” feet contain clues that the diminutive fossil creatures, found on the Indonesian island of Flores, had a very different style of walking than that of modern humans, according to a new analysis.
“In several ways, their feet are what we call in the business ‘primitive,'” said study co-author William Harcourt-Smith, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The finding, he added, is further evidence that the 18,000-year-old fossils represent a unique species, Homo floresiensis.
The latest reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise follows the story of a young James Kirk on his way to becoming captain of the Starship Enterprise. The movie gives Trekkies a fresh dose of fictional high-tech wizardry. But is any of this possible in the real world? See how 10 pieces of Trek tech, from teleportation to warp drive, are faring here on Earth.
NASA, the U.S. space agency, has put people on the moon and robots on Mars, and has sent a probe rocketing towards Pluto and beyond, but contrary to popular belief it did not invent the powdery drink mix Tang. In fact, General Foods began to test-market the orange-flavored concoction in 1957, a year before NASA was born. However, the space agency did help launch Tang on the road to fame when astronaut John Glenn, in 1962, selected the mix for eating experiments in orbit. Tang flew on all Gemini and Apollo missions, a fact that General Foods used to its advertising advantage. Check out nine more technologies tied up with NASA’s history.