Brian Hare, an anthropologist at Duke University, recently proposed the idea that bonobos are in fact domesticated versions of chimpanzees. While we associate the word "domestication" with humans acting to tame animals, Hare's idea involves proto-bonobos domesticating themselves.
His basic idea rests upon differences between bonobos and their closest living relative, the chimp. They both descended from a common ancestor until the forming Congo River split its population. Isolated by their...
Recently during a conversation with a coworker, it became clear that very few people are aware of a critical resource shortage: helium. This gas is responsible for providing buoyant jubilation at birthday parties, facilitating lawn chair aeronautics, and serving in sensitive laboratory equipment. (Ever have an MRI...
Many of us have heard about the terrible air quality in Beijing, China in a very abstract way. On January 10, 2012 the Earth Observatory, a NASA operated imaging satellite, captured images of a large cloud of smog that limited visibility to 200 meters. Smog clouds like this are more common in the winter, due to a phenomenon known as temperature inversion. (Essentially, during the...
In order to be a liquid on Earth—normally, it's a gas—nitrogen (N2) must reach temperatures below -321° Fahrenheit. Here at the Museum of Science and Industry, we do a program called “Happy Brr-thday!” that routinely involves pouring liquid nitrogen into glass containers that are at room temperature, or approximately 70° F.
That is almost like taking a glass...
This past summer saw the shutdown of the Tevatron, a particle accelerator located at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. Guests at MSI have expressed some confusion about what Fermilab’s mission will be post-Tevatron. According to Fermilab's wesbite, their focus going forward falls into three groups of research.
The first is analyzing data from the Tevatron, the most high-energy particle accelerator/collider until the Large...
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