The 10 Kinds of Pandas You Find on the Internet

Everyone knows cute animals basically run the Internet. But what’s the best of the best when it comes to Internet cuteness?

panda bear wallpaper 9

I hereby put forth that pandas are the epitome of Internet animal cuteness, and should reign with their ever-powerful cuteness over the masses from a bamboo throne … which would have to be replaced constantly, because they’d eat it (in an adorable fashion, of course).

Don’t believe me? Check out the 10 kinds of pandas you find on the Internet:

(Or perhaps you’re already panda savvy, in which case you should totally come see Pandas: The Journey Home now playing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre.)

10. SAD PANDA

Because nothing’s more adorably sad than a sad panda.

 

9. A-LIST PANDA

When you’re this cute, A-listers can’t get enough photo ops — even though the pandas obviously hog the spotlight.

 

8. PANDA SWAG PANDA

You’d wear a hat of your own face, too, if it were this cute.

 

7. HAPPY PANDA

Nothing is filled with more joy than a happy panda.

 

6. SISYPHUS PANDA

Because when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

 

5. BABY PANDA

Don’t even pretend your baby’s this cute. #SorryNotSorry

 

4. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE PANDA

Sometimes you just need that extra push and WHO COULD EVER GET MAD AT A PANDA?!

 

3. PANDA POSERS

Everyone’s trying to rip off their adorableness.

 

2. PANDA WITH ALLERGIES

Tell me what’s cuter than a giant panda scared by a surprisingly loud sneeze from an eensie weensie panda. TELL ME.

 

1. ENDANGERED PANDA

Unfortunately, the endangered status of these miraculous creatures makes me a sad panda. However, these crazy-cute guys and gals are starting to make a come back! Learn all about the conservation programs in their native China and see how their population is beginning to rebound in Pandas: The Journey Home, now playing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre.

“These are the heroes who helped end a war”: Commemorate D-Day’s 70th anniversary at HMNS

Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day — the Allied invasion of Normandy — which would prove to be a critical moment in defeating the Axis powers of World War II. And we’re doing quite a bit here at HMNS to commemorate the day.

See D-Day: Normandy 1944 in our Giant Screen Theatre

First and foremost, we’re showing the 3D film D-Day: Normandy 1944 in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, with additional show times today at  5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

D-Day Normandy 1944 now showing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre

D-Day: Normandy 1944 now showing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre

Thanks to a generous donation from Gallery Furniture, all military personnel (veterans and active duty) can see D-Day: Normandy 1944 for free, with military I.D. (You can obtain tickets at the HMNS Box Office or Gallery Furniture locations.)

We spoke with Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, founder of Gallery Furniture, about the donation. “It’s important to remember the sacrifices [of veterans],” McIngvale said, “It’s just as relevant today as it was 70 years ago to say thank you.”

He considers this donation to be “the least we can do.” McIngvale said, “I am thrilled and excited to be involved with HMNS.”

We’re grateful for Gallery Furniture’s involvement and hope that military personnel from the Houston area will take advantage of this offer, valid through Veteran’s Day in November.

Catch Saving Private Ryan as we kick off our Take Two series on the Giant Screen

To further commemorate D-Day, we’re starting our Take Two series in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre with a screening of Saving Private Ryan tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Our Battleship Texas exhibit is now on display

To further commemorate the holiday, our Battleship Texas exhibit is also open now. Organized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, this exhibit highlights the history of the Battleship Texas in service to the United States Navy through World War II. It showcases 60 artifacts of the only surviving U.S. Navy vessel to have seen action in both world wars.

Objects on view include a never-before displayed flag from the ship and a shell that hit the vessel but did not explode, plus select pieces from the silver service presented to the battleship by the people of Texas, historical photographs and personal items from men who served aboard the Battleship. A special listening station shares crew member memories of service aboard the Battleship during World War II.

So there you have it folks. We’re commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day in a big way, and we want you to be a part of it.

If you’d like to learn more about D-Day and WWII, check out our three-part series by our Curator of Anthropology, Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout

And let us remember the words of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as he spoke to soldiers about to make the invasion at Normandy:

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

D-Day, Part II: “We will accept nothing less than full victory”

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a three-part series exploring the history and significance of D-Day as we approach the 70th anniversary of the battle. Click here to read part one. For information on D-Day: Normandy 1944, the 3D film now showing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, please visit us online.

General Dwight Eisenhower speaking with paratroopers, June 5 1944 (Image Wikimedia).

General Dwight Eisenhower speaking with paratroopers, June 5, 1944 (Image: Wikimedia)

“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!” – General Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 6, 1944. 

With these words, General Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his message to the troops as they headed for the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. 

Once the decision had been made at the Trident Conference to open a second front and invade Western Europe, preparations needed to be made to ensure the mission’s success. This involved deciding when and where to land, devising measures to deceive the Germans, and working out all the logistics to make these plans work.

As to the “where,” the German High Command assumed that the Pas de Calais in Northern France was the likeliest place for an Allied invasion. This was not unreasonable. At 21 miles, it marks the shortest distance between German-held territory and Allied-held territory. To put things in perspective, this distance of 21 miles is slightly less than the length of the causeway across Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans.

The Germans looked at this spot as a jumping off point for their own invasion of England. One photo shows German officers, including Herman Goering, standing on the beach at Pas de Calais, looking at the white cliffs of Dover. That was as close as they would ever get.

German officers standing on the beach at Pas de Calais, looking at the white cliffs of Dover

 

Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. The city of New Orleans is visible to the south of the lake. The causeway is the straight line crossing the lake, covering a distance equal to that between Calais, northern France and Dover, England. (Image: Wikimedia)

Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. The city of New Orleans is visible to the south of the lake. The causeway is the straight line crossing the lake, covering a distance equal to that between Calais, northern France and Dover, England. (Image: Wikimedia)

The Allies selected Normandy for various reasons. It had good beaches, which were protected from western gales by the Cotentin Peninsula, or Cherbourg Peninsula. While it was further away from England than Pas de Calais, Normandy was also not the place where the Germans expected the landings to happen. The beaches in Normandy remained within easy reach of fighter airplanes, guaranteeing that there would be sufficient air cover to protect the troops when they hit the beach. By 1944, the German air force was no longer as powerful as it once had been.

As to when to invade Normandy, the Allies relied on tides, available moonlight, and good weather. Coming in with full knowledge of the tides would allow the boatmen of the landing craft to get close enough to the beach, while still being able to avoid the extensive belt of beach obstacles. In 1944, it was determined that optimum conditions would exist toward the end of May.

Once a “where” and “when” were decided upon, it became necessary to deceive the Germans. An operation this size could not remain hidden. The Allies decided that the best course of action was to make the Germans look the wrong way. The Allied deception plan – known as “Operation Bodyguard” — employed various schemes to mislead the Germans.

Inflatable tank, used during Operation Bodyguard. (Image Wikimedia).

Inflatable tank, used during Operation Bodyguard (Image: Wikimedia)

Fake infrastructure and equipment (including inflatable replicas of tanks and vehicles) was used to simulate non-existing army units. Radio traffic was generated to reinforce that impression, with messages exchanged among these make-believe units. Well known military figures, most famously General Patton, were also part of the deception plan. General Patton took on a high visibility profile in Southeast England, the area where the non-existing First United States Army Group was supposed to have set up camp. Ghost armies would continue to play a role during the remainder of the war.

The Allies also made use of diplomatic channels, double agents and other very creative ruses to leak tidbits of information to deceive the Germans into believing the main invasion would happen anywhere but Normandy, and that any action there would be part of a diversion and nothing more. Eventually, after an agonizing delay because of bad weather, the invasion was launched. D-Day was underway.

Wave after wave of airborne units had gone in ahead of the main body. Their job was to secure bridges, and secure the flanks of the invasion area. The invasion area was 50 miles wide; a mind-boggling distance roughly equal to what separates Houston from Galveston, or Washington, D.C. from Baltimore.

American, British, Canadian and other Allied forces came ashore that day facing a well-entrenched enemy. For more than a year, Marshal Rommel had been in charge of fortifying the mainland against an invasion they knew would come one day. A huge workforce had been employed to build strong points from Norway to the border with Spain — a distance of about 1,500 miles. A giant German version of the French Maginot line, these fortifications were named the Atlantikwall.

Fortified coastline of German-occupied Europe, known as the Atlantikwall, shown in green. (Image Wikimedia)

Fortified coastline of German-occupied Europe, known as the Atlantikwall, shown in green (Image: Wikimedia)

From 1943 to 1944, bunkers, observation points and gun emplacements were constructed at a feverish pace. Among these fortifications was a series of bunkers and gun emplacements at a location called Pointe du Hoc, a rocky promontory overlooking Omaha Beach. Allied intelligence surmised that these strong points sheltered huge 155 mm artillery pieces which, it was feared, could wreak havoc on the landing beaches. These guns had to be neutralized, and the U.S. Army Rangers were selected to do the job.

Pointe du Hoc bunker, remains of charred ceiling beams, evidence of the intense fighting that took place here. (Photo Dirk Van Tuerenhout).

Pointe du Hoc bunker, remains of charred ceiling beams, evidence of the intense fighting that took place here (Photo: Dirk Van Tuerenhout).

Intense fighting ensued. Bunkers were attacked with all available weapons, including flamethrowers as well as naval artillery. Much to their surprise, the Rangers established that the artillery, thought to have been in the emplacements, had been moved inland. They were able to locate and destroy them, as well as a huge ammunition dump nearby. In doing so, they saved a lot of lives.

Pointe du Hoc. US Ranger monument. (Photo Dirk van Tuerenhout)

Pointe du Hoc, U.S. Ranger monument (Photo: Dirk van Tuerenhout)

The commanding officer of the Rangers was Colonel James Earl Rudder. He was wounded during the attack, but survived and eventually became the sixteenth President of Texas A&M University. Among the huge armada of ships firing at the German fortifications was the USS Texas. She sailed up and down the coast, firing at Pointe du Hoc as well as the coastal guns defending the port of Cherbourg. Some of the Rangers wounded during the Pointe du Hoc operation were treated on the USS Texas.

By the end of the day, Allied forces had become sufficiently entrenched on the Normandy coast. It would take another year before the “1000-year Reich” came crashing down. That part of the story will be covered in the third and final blog on this topic.

D-Day Normandy 1944 now showing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre

D-Day Normandy 1944 now showing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre

The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Wortham Giant Screen Theatre is now showing D-Day: Normandy 1944.  The film is running exclusively at HMNS in the Houston-Galveston area through November 11.

Click here to read the next in this series, D-Day, Part III: “We are coming by day and by night”

Celebrate Memorial Day all weekend long at HMNS

It’s almost Memorial Day weekend! Once again, it’s time for family, barbeques and — if you’re the traditional sort — white pants and shoes. And that’s not to mention the action-packed weekend we have in store at HMNS!

With a movie premiere in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, two brand new special exhibitions (highlighted by a historic reenactment), several limited engagement exhibits, and our stunning permanent exhibit halls open to you, this is sure to be a weekend to remember!

Here’s the breakdown:

On Friday, May 23, the epic 3D film D-Day: Normandy 1944 opens in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre. Telling the story of the largest Allied operation of World War II through a stunning visual spectacle, the film’s seamless transitions between live action, animation, and CGI bring this historic battle to life.

We’re also opening two new special exhibits on the same day: Battleship Texas and Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters.

Battleship Texas, organized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, highlights the history of the Battleship Texas in service to the United States Navy through World War II. On the other hand, Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disastersimmerses you in the most powerful natural phenomena on Earth: earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

From Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26, you’ll find members of the Sixth Cavalry, a WWII reenactment and technological preservation group, camped outside the museum. A non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the memory of our nation’s veterans, the Sixth Cavalry will display military vehicles, including a half-ton truck, Jeeps, and a half-track outside the museum.

On Memorial Day, May 26, they will perform a two-bell ceremony at noon to honor those who have fallen.

In addition to our permanent exhibit halls, special exhibits Magna Carta and Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces are here for a limited time.

So there you have it — something for everyone, all weekend long at HMNS. Come see us!