natural history center

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The Brain Scoop:
How to Protect the Rainforest

Wherein I interviewed expedition leader and rockstar Corine Vriesendorp about what it means to conserve and protect the Amazon rainforest, in light of the overwhelming global demands for natural resources. 

This is the final installment in our Amazon Adventures series. We set out with the goal to share some of the fantastic conservation work of The Field Museum’s Action Center, and I hope we came even remotely close to spreading their complex and dynamic mission. If I never get to visit the rainforest again, this trip and all of the untold opportunities it held for me – as a communicator, passionate science enthusiast, and lover of the natural world – will forever be a highlight of my life. 

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Photographer Tony Gleaton died last Friday after struggling with a particularly aggressive cancer for 18 months. He was working, signing prints, talking to museums (several have his work in their collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem) and checking in with his friends right up to the last day.

There is still stigma to acknowledging blackness in many parts of Mexico, and Tony’s work raised the profile of Latinos with what is sometimes called “the Third Root” — Spanish, Indian, African — in Latino culture. His work eventually expanded across the Americas to form an exhibit called Tengo Casi 500 Anos (I Have Almost 500 Years) — Africa’s Legacy in Mexico that explores the African presence in the Americas. He’s also chronicled black, Indian and Mexican cowboy culture, as well as life in American Samoa and the Mississippi Delta.

When Tony returned to Los Angeles, he enrolled at UCLA under the GI bill, but left soon after, determined to work as a fashion photographer. He lived a hand-to-mouth existence in New York as a photographer’s assistant, then as a photographer. But he eventually tired of that life and worked his way back across the country, in an oil field and on ranches, and at rodeos where the cowboys were black and Mexican and Native American. The Mexican cowboys told him about the hidden villages of the Costa Chica, and photographing the residents there became his best-known work.

But it was physically grueling and after about 15 years, Tony stopped. (“60 ain’t 35, kid.”) Instead, he began a series of landscapes. He took beautiful images of striking, isolated parts of the country that have historical significance to people of color in the U.S.: western trails that black pioneers had blazed, views of coasts first walked by native peoples, and wide-open fields that had once been settlements established by freed slaves.

(top to bottom)

Tres hermanas- “Three Sisters”, Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero, Mexico, 1986.

Sin titulo- “Untitled”, Mango Creek, Belize, 1992.

Cazadores del mar- “Hunters From The Sea”, Corrallero, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1991.

El amado de Afrodita- “The Beloved of Aphrodite”, El Ciruello, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1990.

Madre Africa- “Mother Africa”, Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero, Mexico, 1987.

anonymous asked:

How does one find internships? Unfortunately, many of my peers are having trouble finding science-related internships, mainly ones relating to lab work, and I myself don't know where to start.

Google is your friend. Get intimate with it. There are a lot of databases/lists of internships floating around, but you usually have to dig a bit to find them.

Here’s an incomplete list of ones I’ve personally taken note of. Most are in the US or the UK, and they’re mostly available to international students. There are MANY more programs open to US and EU citizens; you guys have a lot more options.

LISTS of STEM internships/programs in all fields:

Specific STEM fields:

Astronomy and Physics

Environmental Science

Australian Programs

LISTS of Science Writing Internships:

Specific Science Writing Internships

Basically, do your research, because this is a hugely incomplete list, but hopefully this gets you started.

Spread this around! My extensive Googling skills have to be good for something.

This is a picture I took with my phone at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands. It is a scale showing how 1L (liter) of granite is lighter than 1L of basalt. This helps us visualize why plate tectonics never results in continents sinking underneath the ocean. Because continental crust is made of granite and oceanic crust is made of basalt, continents will never sink under the ocean because continents are always lighter than the ocean floor.

The pen is there for scale.

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Seriously, this guy is a real pro. South American common toad (Rhinella margaritifer). Their greatest defense is to just… not move. Imagine being a predator and you catch some movement out of the corner of your eye (if that’s your primary sense) - you stop, turn, look. Wait. Listen. All you see are leaves. Way to go, little toad. Evolution did you a solid. 

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As a paleontology lab volunteer at the Natural History Museum of Utah, this was my task today: unjacketing, “excavating,” cleaning, and consolidationg what turned out to be the rib of a phytosaur (a kind of crocodile relative).  A great day!

This morning I spied the pile of jackets on the cart.  They’re from the Triassic formation at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico (what I mentally think of as “that Coelophysis place”). The rib jumped out at me first thing, and I desired it so.  Lo and behold, my supervisor gives it to me as my task for the day. What luck!

As I opened the jacket, I realized that everything inside was crumbled to bits.  As I probed further, I had the horrifying thought that the so-called rib was no longer identifiable (at least by me, anyway) and was somehow summarily crushed in transportation.  After some calming from my supervisor (and his reminder that I was working bottom-in, so it would take a while before I would see anything), I hit pay dirt.  (I feel as if I’ve been waiting a life time to say that!)

The pictures show me removing the matrix and the thin, black rib becoming exposed.  Sorry for the not-so-good pictures, my fingers were covered in plaster, glue, or both, and honestly at the time I was far more interested in uncovering my specimen. 

It’s looking good so far, but I’ve got plenty of work to go, especially since the rib is broken in probably 30 or more places so I’ll need to do some serious gluing. 

Stay tuned next week!

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It’s mushroom season in Cascadia! Cohort 14 from our Graduate M.Ed. program learned how to identify our fungal friends this week at the Learning Center with mycologist Lee Whitford, who is leading a sold-out Field Excursion tomorrow at Baker Lake. Are you finding mushrooms where you live, and if so, what kinds?

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this is Petra
she works the night shift at a natural history museum/science center, oblivious to the fact there is an Evil Lab under it. of course Plot Happens as it always does and security is getting weirdly heightened and she’s not sure what’s going on but it’s probably not good. she didn’t sign up for this craziness she just wanted to sit around with the dinosaur bones and old rocks at night

(not my character, she belongs to Mark, a friend o mine)

anonymous asked:

60... :D

60. “Why don’t they just kiss already?” 

Griffith Observatory, California Science Center, Natural History Mus-”

“No, no, no” Mulder said shaking his head

Scully leaned back into her seat and sighed, “Okay Mulder, I give up, you decide”

Mulder smirked and shifted closer to her. Unlike their usual experiences in the sky, this trip was first class, courtesy of Hollywood, which meant they had large adjoining seats and could move the seat rest between them. Skinner sat two rows back in the middle and fell asleep the minute the plane ascended. 

“Scully, I can think of a lot of things to do right from our hotel room. We’ll never have to leave” he whispered in her ear

His warm breath on her skin made her entire body twitch. The soft kisses he was beginning to place on her neck did not help the situation. 

“Mulder, not here. Skinner is right behind us” she said, struggling to get the words out without moaning on a crowded plane. 

“He’s fast asleep, so is everyone else on this plane.” he said to her as his hands began roaming under her blanket. That did the trick, Mulder’s hands could make her forget anything and anybody. She turned her face to his and captured his bottom lip with her own lips. 

He closed his eyes and placed one hand on her hip, the other behind her head, and lost himself in her roaming tongue. 

“Scullyyy” he said from a place deep within his stomach. That voice, the hands, the heat spilling out of his body, Scully couldn’t tell him to stop even if she wanted to, and she didn’t. 

Their adventure was interrupted by the lights coming on in the plane and the captain speaking over them. Scully pulled away instantly, and Mulder threw his head into her shoulder and groaned. She couldn’t suppress a laugh, and rubbed the back of his head in sympathy. 

“They’ll be time later” she told him with a voice that was a little higher than her normal one. 

He leaned back into his own chair and turned his head back across the aisle. Skinner caught his eye, and smirked at him, the kind of smirk a man gave a man walking out of a bar with a girl on his arms. It made Mulder cringe. 

He turned back to face Scully, and grinned at her flushed cheeks, “What are we gonna do for the next 2 hours?” 

She titled her head to him, “We could watch a movie, first class means an unlimited selection, I think I even saw Caddyshack on the list” 

Mulder gave her his signature puppy dog look of despair, “You’re killing me, woman.” 

She laughed and turned on the monitor, ultimately choosing a movie other than Caddyshack, so that Mulder didn’t completely combust next to her. She handed him his headphones and he draped the blanket over them. 

“Mulder” she began to say with a warning tone 

“Relax Scully, we’re just watching a movie” 

She raised one eyebrow at him but settled into her seat anyway. 45 min later, she was curled up by his side, and his arm was around her shoulders, his fingers playing with the strands of hair falling onto them. 

He wasn’t paying attention to the movie, just watching her. He loved seeing her this at peace. 

“Why don’t they just kiss already?” she asked him 

It took him a minute to realize she was talking to him “Hmm?” he said, turning back to the movie. 

“Colin Firth, why doesn’t he just kiss her?” 

Mulder chuckled and nuzzled his cheek into her hair, “Maybe he just needs some time. A couple of years, six or seven maybe?” 

Scully nodded and snuggled closer into his body, “It’ll be worth the wait” she told him after a short pause. 

Mulder smiled and placed a kiss on her head before turning back to the movie, “Ya, it will.”

What does it take to defeat infectious diseases in the 21st century? The American Museum of Natural History and The Carter Center invite you to explore the innovative collaborative approaches being developed around the world to combat disease.

On January 12, join former President Jimmy Carter, who will be joined by Dr. Jane Carlton, director of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University, Dr. Donald Hopkins, vice president of health programs at The Carter Center, and parasitologist and Museum CuratorMark Siddall for a dynamic conversation that will unravel the science and politics of disease eradication.

Get tickets for this event now.

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The Brain Scoop:
The Bird Calls of Amazonia

Ernesto speaks bird. At least, he’s got an incredibly strong association with who’s talking to him, flying overhead or sitting in the treetops. Where I can’t differentiate crickets from ant birds, Ernesto has a comparative library of sounds logged in his own memory bank, as well as in his iPod.

In our latest episode, we traveled out into the jungle to accompany him on a leisurely afternoon stroll (read: I about passed out of dehydration), to record what we might hear, and hope to see something, too. 

Check out our other posts from the Rapid Inventory 27: Tapiche-Blanco Peruvian Expedition! 

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The Brain Scoop:
Jungle Atop a Desert

We found a desert in the middle of the jungle.

I’ve got taller trees in my backyard than the ones we discovered in this region of the Peruvian forest, and the secret to their stumpiness was found in the nutrient poor sand where geologists would typically expect to find soil. 

Not only do these Rapid Inventory programs require a variety of biological scientists to get a comprehensive understanding of the region, but geological researchers as well! The observations made by Bob Stallard and Trey Crouch are invaluable to our understanding of this environment, and their discoveries are like a beautiful contextual glue that holds everything together. 

ROOT MAT

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How to Cut a Trail in Amazonia

Before our biologists can survey an area of previously undocumented forest, they need a few things - a place to put supplies and equipment, a kitchen, an area to wash clothes, and trails on which to walk and map out the biodiversity. Alvaro del Campo, the logistics guru for the Peruvian Rapid Inventories, taught me how they identify where the trail in question ought to be cleared in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the landscape.

The map below does a great job of illustrating the land that has been protected so far because of these surveys, as well as the proposed areas. We were on RI:27, Tapiche-Blanco!