science museum of virginia
Recently I discovered a scrapbook at the Virginia Aviation Museum. Glued inside a bound ledger of the “Southern Fire Insurance Company, Inc. of Lynchburg, VA”, were newspaper clippings spanning from the early 1920s to the late 1930s describing various advancements and events in the progress of aviation technology. Eighty-two of the pages are filled with descriptions of Amelia Earhart, the Zeppelin, and Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition (even with a photo of the Stars and Stripes!).
On August 1, 1945, over one hundred US B-29 Superfortresses flew over Japan at around 20,000 feet. At this height they dropped 500-pound containers, each holding leaflets that warned the Japanese civilians of the necessity of surrender. At around 4,000 feet the containers opened and released millions of leaflets that fluttered down to the people below.
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…
Tuesday, December 21, is the Winter Solstice and usually considered the first day of winter. However, meteorological winter is already here! So what’s the deal? Well, the definition of winter depends on whom you ask.
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)?
Do you remember the first time you were on an airplane? My first flight was when I was in 4th grade to visit relatives in Arizona. Many of us experienced our first flight on a commercial airliner, complete with cushioned seats, in flight movies, and a snack. But what do you think it would have felt like to have your first flight in the open air cockpit of a Curtiss Jenny during World War I? (My guess: loud, bumpy, and no snacks). Native Virginian Thomas Love Chrisman did just that when he left school at the University of Virginia to serve in World War I.
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.