Name Our New Corpse Flower!

Lois Update! [Corpse Flower]
Hi, Lois!

You remember Lois the Corpse Flower, right? Of course you do. Because no one could forget our favorite stinky plant!

As it turns out, the fine folks at CultureMap – the home of @CorpzFlowrLois tweeter @stevenjthomsonreceived a Corpse Flower as a gift after Lois’ twitter identity was revealed.

Now, as Zac, our horticulturist, will tell you – corpse flowers are tricky beasts. They are rare outside their native Sumatra for a reason. They require constant, skilled care. And, of course, a habitat capable of maintaining jungle-like humidity levels.

As much as the CultureMappers loved their new flower – their lovely offices do not yet boast a greenhouse. So, they donated it to the museum, making theirs a much happier plant – and giving Lois a new roommate.

It’s going to take a lot – of time, and sass – for this little-sister leaf to live up to Leave-Em-Wanting-More Lois.

And there’s just no way for that to happen as long as our newest corpse flower remains nameless.

Lois, as you may know, is named after the mother of Eddie Holik – the former director of the Butterfly Center who acquired her 7 years ago.

We thought we’d give you the honor this time.

Help Us Name Our New Corpse Flower!

Here’s how:

Leave a comment on this post with your suggested name. You have until July 15 to get your entries in, and you can post as many as you can think of – just don’t forget to fill in the “email” field, or we’ll have no way to contact you if you win.

On July 18, we’ll post the finalists here on the blog. Be sure to come back and vote for your favorite!

July 25 – the first anniversary of Lois’ bloomday – we’ll announce the winning name for our new corpse flower!

What’s In It For You?

Bragging rights! And, a private tour of the HMNS Greenhouses (not generally open to the public) with Soni and Zac, our horticulturists + a museum membership (which has some pretty cool benefits).

Ok, ready? Go!

new guy1
I need a name!

Name That Plant! [Win 2 Butterfly Center Tickets]

Name That Plant!

There are a couple of reasons our Cockrell Butterfly Center is famous for it’s butterflies. One, they’re amazing. And two, they’re in the name.

They would be sad indeed, though, without all the tropical plants that live in the Center, which provide both food, and a place for butterflies to lay their eggs.

Even beyond the plants our butterflies need for their habitat, our Butterfly Center staff maintain a diverse array of species that are worth a visit all on their own. The plant pictured above is one of them.

Which one, you ask? The answer will be revealed in a post from Zac, our horticulturist, as soon as someone guesses correctly! Leave your guess in the comments here to enter – and be sure to include your email address, so we can contact you in you win.

What do you win? The first person with the correct answer gets a pair of tickets to come see the plants (and butterflies) in person. Now…go!

Discover Ancient Ukraine! [PHOTOS]

Five Things You Might Not Know About Ukraine:

1. It was at the center of Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe.

2. At 603,550 square km, it’s only slightly smaller than Texas.

3. Ukrainian tradition dictates that it’s capital city, Kiev, was founded by Vikings.

4. It boasts this stunning castle, which you can now eat Italian food in.

5. Stunning artifacts from Ukraine’s long – as home to one of the world’s oldest recorded cultures – and rich history are currently on display here at HMNS, in our new, two-part exhibition, Ancient Ukraine: Golden Treasures and Lost Civilizations.

Just how stunning? I am so glad you asked. We’ve just posted a new Flickr set that gives you a sneak peek into this fascinating exhibition.

Ancient Ukraine Exhibit at HMNS
The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images from the 11th to the 19th Centuries
The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images from the 11th to the 19th Centuries
Ancient Ukraine Exhibit at HMNS
Ancient Ukraine Exhibit at HMNS

Want to see more? Check out new Flickr set and visit the museum to experience Ukrainian history for yourself!

Changing Energy Policies Across the Globe

Nuclear Power Plant
Creative Commons License photo credit: Intamin10

Japan will cut its electrical use by 15% this summer. After the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, their electrical production capability has been decreased. Nuclear power plants made up for a quarter of their electrical production. After the disaster at Fukushima, public opinion in Japan has shifted against using nuclear power. Because of this, some plant managers in Japan are postponing turning their reactors back on after scheduled maintenance. Not only are they concerned about making sure their reactors are safe, they don’t want to take the reactor down again once new government regulations come into effect.

Time for some 101 facts about Japan.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, Japan is an island, or rather, a chain of islands. Japan is an energy power house. While it is only the 10th most populated country, it is 3rd  in electrical generation. (America has double the population and is the largest electrical producer, China has the largest population and is second in electrical production.)

Japan does not have a lot of crude oil or natural gas. Most of what they use is imported. That’s one of the reasons they turned to nuclear power for electrical production. It takes fewer imports to run nuclear facilities than the coal, oil, and natural gas equivalents. There have also been fewer uranium crises than oil crises during the last 50 years.

In order to reduce electricity usage, the Japanese government has called for office thermostats to be turned up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the entire summer. This is an easy way to save electricity, however it would be very uncomfortable in a 3 piece suit and tie. The government is promoting a new “Super Cool Biz” look. They are encouraging people to wear shorts and polo shirts. The government is getting some resistance. While I would love to have to wear only polos and shorts (guess what I’m wearing now) at work, a nice suit and tie does bring off a certain professional air.

Upolu Point Wind Farm
Creative Commons License photo credit: footloosiety

With all that has gone on, some countries are rethinking their strategy for nuclear power.

Germany has decided to shut down all of its nuclear reactors over the next decade. Nuclear power generation currently (ha, a pun) accounts for nearly a quarter of their entire electrical generation (coal counts for about half, and renewables counts for about 16%). They plan to convert all the nuclear power generation into renewable. There may not be as much hot air in Germany as there is in the States, but Germany is the second largest producer of wind produced electricity (with the United States being first). In fact it makes up nearly 7% of their total electricity generation.

If the German government wants to bump wind up to over 30% of their electrical production, not only will they need to install more wind turbines, but they’ll also need to replace the older models with new and more efficient models. They will also need to bump up their solar energy. While Germany is one of the top installers of photovoltaic cells, solar only accounts for a few percent of their energy production. With more efficient cells, it should not be too hard to move that number up.

The Italians also voted to abandon nuclear power again.

They abandoned it after Chernobyl and do not have any actual nuclear plants. The vote was more a comment on their current Prime Minister who favors the use of nuclear power.

France is still a proponent for nuclear generated electricity to remain in the EU’s energy mix. France is one of the largest producers of nuclear generated electricity. It accounts for over 80% of their electrical power generation.

As with most exciting things in the world, we’ll have to watch and see what unfolds.