Liz.Mebane's blog

Odd Science 2010

Besides highly publicized science stories of 2010 (Gulf oil spill, Chilean miner rescue, bedbugs, etc.), there were some intriguing and somewhat odd science stories:

1. You think like a worm – The human brain’s center of deep thought is curiously similar to a clump of neurons inside the head of the lowly ragworm. So similar, in fact, that ragworms, which evolved 600 million years ago, probably share a common ancestor with us humans. Hmmm…

Question of the Week

It's snowing!  Snow showers are also predicted for Thursday and a winter storm might hit us this weekend.  Remember last December? 

Now for the Question of the Week:
What is the percent chance of a white Christmas in Richmond (in any given year)?

Question of the Week

In the film, The Polar Express, what restored steam locomotive was used as the model for the film's locomotive?  Where is it located?

See The Polar Express on the IMAX®DOME - the largest screen in Virginia .  This holiday classic is now showing daily at the Science Museum of Virginia.

More “Turkey Day” Trivia: Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey meat:  white vs. dark - What causes the color difference between white and dark turkey meat? The type of muscle fiber determines the color of the meat. Dark turkey meat has slow contraction muscle fibers. Slow contraction muscle fibers, sometimes called slow twitch muscle fibers, are used for extended muscle contraction in endurance activities and are supplied with lots of blood vessels, mitochondria, and myoglobin pigments, which give the red color to the meat.

Question of the Week

Model railroading has been around for over 100 years.  Can you answer these questions about model trains?

What is the difference between the scale and the gauge?

Which scales are the most popular?

See model trains in action this weekend, November 26-28, at the Model Railroad Show at the Science Museum of Virginia.

Answer:  A model railroad's scale is the model's measurement as a proportion of the original.  The gauge is the measurement between the rails of the track.

Watch the Sky Show: the Leonids

Want to wish upon a falling star? This is the week - the Leonid Meteor Shower peaks tomorrow. Earth is currently passing through the “tail” of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Often called a “dirty snowball,” a comet usually orbits the sun in an elliptical orbit. The comet’s nucleus, consisting mostly of ice and dust, heats as it approaches the sun. Particles begin to stream out behind it and form the comet’s “tail.” As Earth passes through this “tail” the particles collide with the atmosphere and we see a meteor shower.

Question of the Week

On this day in 1975, the last passenger train departed Richmond’s Broad Street Station, now home to the Science Museum of Virginia. On what date did the first passenger train depart?

Extra credit: How many passengers passed through the station on its busiest day? What was the date?

For more information on trains and the history of Broad Street Station, come to the 32nd annual Model Railroad Show Thanksgiving weekend, November 26-28, at the Science Museum of Virginia.

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