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.

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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.

 

Help us help you: Name our new paleontological pal and win a guided tour of the new Hall of Paleontology!

By now you all should be acquainted with our new mascot:

T-Rex Trying to fit in!

He’ll be hanging out with us for the indefinite future, and it occurred to us that it might be polite to give him a name.

Well, that hasn’t gone smoothly, as you might imagine. In fact, the entire process reminds me of the infamous family shutout of ’92, when my sister was incubating and my two name suggestions — Maleficent for a girl, Pooch Patrol for a boy, naturally — were vetoed without so much as a vote.

Although in hindsight I think “Annie” does have a nicer ring, I’m dedicated to making this naming exercise a touch more fair. And that’s where you guys come in!

Here are the contest details: Leave a comment either here or on HMNS’ Facebook page with your suggestion of a name for our new spokes-dino. The top five submissions (read: our most favorite) will be selected by our online team, and then put to a vote on Facebook. The winner will get a guided tour for four of the new Hall of Paleontology — with more than 3 billion years and hundreds of species to cover, don’t you think you want a docent?

The power of social media is yours to harness, so use it!

The name nomination contest ends Friday at 5 p.m., so get your thinking caps on and come up with something our tireless T. rex can be proud of — just don’t ask him for a high five.

Science Doesn’t Sleep (8.13.08)

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Creative Commons License photo credit: nicolasnova

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

The Internet is only 5,000 days old. That is an astonishingly brief period of time to go from writing letters to Twittering your Facebook status. So, what’s in store for the next 5,000?

What if you could edit video as easily as a photo – without being a staffer at Industrial Light & Magic? A program called Unwrap Mosaics is in the works to help you do just that – easily.

It’s like our very own Loch Ness Monster - a Texas sheriff’s deputy caught something very weird on film. Chupacabra, perhaps?

~ My Python (DE NIRO) ~
Creative Commons License photo credit: KhayaL

Don’t worry – the Burmese pythons are going to stay in Florida (rather than expanding their habitat to over 32 states, as originally predicted.) The bad news? They could destroy the ecosystem of the Everglades.

Return of the Jedi: student researchers at Drexel University have developed a video game that you control with your mind.

CERN fired up the Large Hadron Collider – and we’re still here. Find out how it went at Daily Galaxy.