Olympics withdrawal got you down?

Birds' Nest at Night
Creative Commons License photo credit: chumsdock

Are you suffering from Olympics withdrawal? Take your own travel adventure to China with the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

In less than a year, you can travel to China to see the most famous attractions of the country AND the longest total solar eclipse of the century.

The Olympics have shown us the new China – historic, modern and beautiful. The Houston Museum of Natural Science will explore its wonders during our trip to see the total solar eclipse in Shanghai next summer.

The trip includes three days in Beijing with time to climb the Great Wall, visit Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the most famous Olympics venues, including the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

The trip also includes Xi’an with its Terra-Cotta Warriors and Wild Goose Pagoda followed by a trip south for a Yangtze River cruise, ending at the Three Gorges Dam, as well as sightseeing in Shanghai.

Eclipsed? Not totally.
Creative Commons License photo credit: James Jordan

But the highlight and final event is the total solar eclipse, with the dark new moon passing in front of the sun, blocking all but its beautiful outer atmosphere from our view for six full minutes. From a special location near Shanghai, we will watch this rare celestial event, occurring over one of the most populous and modern cities in the world.

If you have any questions about this historic event or the trip we’re planning to witness it, please leave me a comment on this post.

(Can’t wait until July? Some of China’s most spectacular archaeological treasures – the Terra Cotta Warriors – are coming to Houston this May.)

Science Doesn’t Sleep (8.11.08)

Galaxie d Andromède
Creative Commons License photo credit: índio

So here’s what went down after you logged off.

Tonight is the best time to view the annual Perseid Meteor Shower - check it out at the George Observatory, open all night, starting at 9 p.m. In the hours just before dawn, it’s possible to see a meteor every minute.

Your mother was right (about the solar system) – we are special.

In an effort to understand their contribution to global warming, 21 US cities will measure and disclose their carbon emissions as part of a global effort run by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Proof that magic is often science in disguise: scientists have created an Invisibility Cloak that bends light to make objects invisible. Currently, it works on a nano-scale, but could soon be enlarged.

China’s massive cutbacks in pollution-producing industries in advance of the Olympic Games was intended to help athletes compete at their best – but it’s also giving scientists an opportunity to study what happens when “a heavily populated region substantially curbs everyday industrial emissions.”

Science Doesn’t Sleep (7.30.08)

heaven below
So, how deep do you think
this thing goes?
Creative Commons License photo credit: alonis

So here’s what went down after you logged off.

Despite being repeatedly accused of plotting to destroy the universe, the physicists at CERN have retained their sense of humor – and they’ve used it to create a rap video explaining just what they’re up to over there. And – probably not surprisingly – it’s the best, simplest explanation I’ve seen yet.

In an effort to discover new species – and set a world record – Russian explorers will attempt to get to the bottom of Lake Baikal – the world’s largest and deepest lake.

New research is challenging whether scientists really discovered preserved soft tissue from a T. rex – or whether it is just bacterial slime.

68- to 145-million year old plant fossils in India are being crushed up for road construction. (via)

A lab in Beijing will be made available to test “suspect” female athletes’ gender - a tradition that goes back 50 years.

Titan – one of Saturn’s moons – has confirmed, natural electrical activity, one of the factors that scientists believe increases the possibility of the formation of life.

Science Doesn’t Sleep (7.15.08)

Honeybee 117
Creative Commons License photo credit: cygnus921

So here’s what went down after you logged off.

Float like a seabird: sting like a bee. Conservationists hope honeybees will help protect endangered seabirds in Japan from the crows that regularly attack them.

Truck drivers, construction workers, factories and other smog-producers in Beijing have been banned from operating in the city in advance of the Olympics, in effort to improve air quality during the games. But, will it work?

Entomologists at London’s Natural History museum may have discovered a new species to add to the 28 million currently classified there. Somewhere deep in the rainforest? Nope – in their very own garden.

Everything will (probably) get a whole lot better, according to the 2008 UN State of the Future report.

One thing Columbus did not bring to the New World: stomach ulcers.

Farms are going vertical: imagine skyscrapers developed to produce 30 stories of arable land.