React + Interact: From crunchy crickets to partying with a prince, science gets social

Royalty and cracking codes and castaways, oh my! It might sound like a plot summary of a new hit novel, but it’s actually a few of the highlights that our online followers liked and shared this week. From a fancy dinner with Prince Charles to edible insects to the difference between Dimetrodons and Uma Thurman, it was just another week in social media land for the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

It was an important week for NASA as Apollo 11 celebrated its 44th Anniversary of making the U.S. the first country to explore the Moon. Not only did they celebrate winning the Space Race, but they also helped build up a little boy’s dream of someday going to Mars. A 7-year-old boy named Dexter wrote NASA a heartfelt letter expressing his desire to go to Mars. NASA didn’t just answer him; they also sent him a ton of “cool space swag” as well as pictures of the Red Planet and the Curiosity Rover — once again proving that the United States has the best space program in the world!

In other news, Tom Hanks may not have been the only famous castaway. Several detailed aerial photos show a remote island that Amelia Earhart may have survived on for some time as a castaway. These photos didn’t show any volleyballs with faces hanging around, but there was still enough evidence to show that the famous flyer may have lived in island isolation for a short while.

Many social media followers of the Museum enjoyed a post showing just how delicious and nutritious crickets can be. In case you don’t follow us on Instagram, you too can view this young lady enjoy her crunchy cricket snack.

instagram.com/hmns

One of our many awesome Instagram snaps

Kate Middleton’s baby bump may have been drawing most of the news recently, but Houstonians should be paying particular attention to another British Royal: the Prince himself, as Prince Charles recently hosted a black-tie-dinner for a handful Museum patrons. The focus of this soiree was to discuss a partnership between the museum and the Hereford Cathedral, which currently houses one of the four 1217 Magna Cartas. The patrons were lucky enough to view the Magna Carta and the King’s Writ as well as enjoy a lovely dinner with the charming Prince.

image courtesy of CultureMap Houston

Read the whole story at CultureMap Houston

On an historical note, HMNS also blogged about cracking the code of the Rosetta Stone. It explains how the month of July in 1799 turned out to be the most important month in the history of understanding Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. It explains how the stone was discovered and used to bridge the gap between understanding ancient Greek and understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Pushing even further back in history to the age of the dinosaurs, Dr. Bob Bakker blogged about some fabulous Dimetrodons and some of their interesting anatomy. He even uses the beautiful Uma Thurman to further his explanation for a great read about one of our in-house exhibits. Once you read up on the Dimetrodon, make sure you come and enjoy it in person in our new paleo hall, curated by the wonderful Dr. Bakker himself.

breastplate

Although Dimetrodons have armored chests, they don’t look quite like this illustration by Bakker

These were just a few of the many stories that our social media followers enjoyed this week. If you missed any of it, make sure that you follow the Houston Museum of Natural Science on all of our social media channels. We are posting fabulous new information every day — and sharing yours, too!

It’s a Pixel Party: Get snap happy with us at Faberge: A Brilliant Vision on Sunday evening!

Photographers, get snap happy at this Sunday's Pixel Party!What, what, what are we doing?

We’re hosting a Pixel Party —  the next generation of photography soirees from HMNS. When? THIS Sunday, Feb. 10, in our utterly photogenic new exhibit Faberge: A Brilliant Vision.

Pixel Parties work like this: All Photographers are welcome to bring their cameras — even the ones housed in their smartphones — and check out our new Fabergé exhibit in a crowd-free, after-hours environment.

Post your masterpieces online in our Flickr group, on Instagram, on Twitter, or wherever you choose to share your work, and one of your shots might be featured in our weekly newsletter!

Bring your camera this Sunday and see Fabergé with the Pixel Party!

Photogs must have one of the following to participate:

(1) An active Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account

(2) A dedicated Facebook Fan Page for your photography

(3) An active photography portfolio online

Bring your camera this Sunday and see Fabergé with the Pixel Party!

All photographers must register by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 8 to participate. No late registrations will be accepted. Email webeditor@hmns.org with your name and a link to your online photo-sharing accounts, and you’ll receive an email confirmation giving you the go-ahead to attend.

Pixel Party is from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free to attend. Gourmet grilled cheese from Golden Grill will also be on-hand on the patio, but you guys have to pay for that.

 

April Fools! [4.1.11]

Happy April 1! If you’ve been following the Museum on Twitter for the last several weeks, you may have noticed our series of #TXfact tweets. Like:


If you brought every cow in TX to the city of Houston, cows would outnumber people by about 8 to 1. #TXfact http://ow.ly/3YCQs
@hmns
hmns

Today, we’re having a little bit of April Fools fun by taking the spirit of everyone’s favorite internet meme, Chuck Norris Facts, and combining it with our natural Texas pride!

Of course, the tweets aren’t factually true…but I think most Texans will agree they’re pretty accurate.

You can follow along today by following the #TXfact hashtag – we’ll be updating this post with tweets as they go out.

Create your own April Fool’s #TXfact and tweet it to us – we’ll include them here, too!

PS – did you know you can get $10 off an adult ticket to see the Texas exhibition by signing up for our email newsletter? And on top of the sweet discount, you’ll also stay up to date on everything happening here at the museum! Sign up here – you’ll receive a welcome email with a coupon to print out and bring in on your visit.


RT @hmns: Texas’ state bird – the mockingbird – doesn’t just imitate sounds. It actually uses sarcasm. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rceE
@cwelsh
Chris Welsh



RT @hmns: Originally they were called “roadwalkers” – but they couldn’t get to Texas fast enough. #TXfact #RoadrunnersAreAwesome
@allison326
Allison


“Don’t Mess with Texas” isn’t just a reminder. It’s a threat. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rcKN
@hmns
hmns


@hmns Davy Crockett’s pet raccoon messed with Texas. We all know what happened to him. #TXfact


RT @hmns: Scientists have discovered that the sun only shines in Texas. Luckily for the rest of the world, we share. #TXfact http://ow.l …
@mingfire
Kristin Bird


Before deciding to build his city in Camelot, King Arthur scouted real estate in West Texas. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rgMt
@hmns
hmns


RT @hmns: Bluebonnets don’t grow at the roadside. Roads grow at the bluebonnet-side. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhoH
@ShanSoup
Shannon


Texas Lege considering a bill to standardize the font for all documents and signage in the state. Their first choice: COMIC SANS #TXfact
@etee
Ed T.



the texas power grid is impervious to EMP attack due to a reinforced coating from the polarized spinal fluid of alamo heroes #TXfact @hmns
@emilycivilize
Emily Kelsch


lol @hmns: The San Jacinto Monument used to be the tallest, free-standing structure in Texas. Until Yao Ming arrived. #TXfact http://ow. …
@im_ovi
Ovi


With recent expansion of its permanent exhibits, @hmns rocks more than all of Cleveland, Ohio. #TXfact
@CurrentlyVince
Vincent Aurelio



@hmns @watchkeep Texans learn to divide by zero while still in the womb #txfact
@jrios68
Juan A. Rios


@hmns All the greats weren’t born in Texas, they just got here ASAP. #TXfact
@kelblogg
Kelly


Little-known fact: Stephen F Austin opened Texas’ first cupcake bakery in 1830. #trendsetter #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhe8
@hmns
hmns


@hmns In Texas, Chuck Norris is just an average guy. #TXfact
@FriendofJeanN
FriendofJeanN


In Texas, the thesaurus lists “tall tales” as a synonym for “fact.” #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhhy
@hmns
hmns


@hmns the native Texas mosquito, aedes texicanus, is known to grow as large as a 747 #TXfact
@houston_tnt
Todd Tisch


RT @hmns: At 268,581 square miles, Texas is just barely big enough to contain all the awesome. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhjC
@gogosoto
Tanya Soto


@hmns The Red imported Fire Ants in West Texas build mounds bigger than the skyscrapers in Houston! #TXFact
@SusanJumps
SusanJumps


To: @hmns RE: #TXfactHopefully there are no yankees following you – they’d actually believe this stuff!
@CelticStorm333
CelticStorm333


In Texas, 10 gallon hats actually hold 100 gallons. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhmC
@hmns
hmns


@hmns #TXfact : Disneyland really wants to be the happiest place on Earth, so they are moving to Texas!!
@Orbitalmechanic
David Herriott


1845: TX becomes state, upsets Union’s Awesomeness Equilibrium. Other states don’t restore balance until…never. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhz0
@hmns
hmns


@hmns Only in the great state of Texas do plants have a Texas-sized attitude and fame! #corpseflower http://ht.ly/4rzgd #TXfact
@TAMEdComm
TAM EdComm


@hmns: There is actually something in Texas that’s “bigger’n Dallas”. Houston#TXFact
@CmputrAce
Jim Baker


On Sept. 14, 1836 at 10:01 am, Texas General Sam Houston realized that he had lost his pocket watch. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhHz
@hmns
hmns



@hmns In Texas, “hotter ‘n hell” is a valid unit of measurement. #TXfact
@faziarizvi
Fazia Begum Rizvi


Texans can lead a horse to water – *and* make it drink. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhJF
@hmns
hmns


The Texas state bird is the mockingbird. Because it just can help but make fun of the other states. #TXfact http://ow.ly/4rhZV
@hmns
hmns


@hmns 20% of auto wrecks in Texas are caused by cockroaches on the road. #TXFact


The Texas Pterosaur was the original Angry Bird. #TXFact
@etee
Ed T.

Science Doesn’t Sleep (9.11.08) Hurricane Ike Edition

Released to Public: Super Typhoon Cimaron Image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: pingnews.com

And neither will any of us in the Houston-Galveston area this weekend, as Hurricane Ike barrels in from the Gulf.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider whether you need to get out of Dodge – but please – let the people in mandatory evacuation zones get out first.

This is a high-tech hurricane – Ike’s got a Twitter feed. You can also get the latest from @chronsciguy and @HoustonChron.

And, since there are other things happening in the world of science…

The world survived the initial tests – so now the question is, will CERN discover The God Particle?

Astronomers observed a gamma ray burst that was briefly so bright that it outshone the galaxy that contained it.

Maybe you really shouldn’t walk under that ladder – superstitions may have originally evolved as a survival instinct.  

It’s the like Terra Cotta Warriors – but with trees. Scientists have found fossil forests in mines that span thousands of hectares.