If I remember correctly, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa was partly under construction when I visited in 2008, but I’m not sure which part I missed. I do recall the dinosaur exhibit, where I took this picture of an Archeopteryx.
I think it was in this room, which was awesome:
There are only five species in the order of monotremes – mammals that lay eggs – and they all live in Australia. Four of the monotreme species are echidnas, a sort of anteaters. The fifth is the single strangest mammal out there: the platypus.
The platypus is so unique, and so unmistakably different from any other animal, that I get really annoyed when people want to be super-specific and call it “duck-billed platypus”. As if we were at risk of confusing it with any of the many other different types of platypus. Oh, that’s right. There are no different types. There is just platypus.
I first saw a platypus at Healesville sanctuary, when I was 13. I most recently saw one at the British Museum. That one was dead. But my favourite platypus encounter was at Eungella National Park in Queensland.
The Netherlands gets a new king today. As a large part of his land is reclaimed sea or lakes, you will not be surprised to hear that one of his interests is water management. I previously wrote about the Cruquius Museum, set in a pumping station that emptied a lake in the west of the Netherlands. Centuries of fighting against the sea have made the Netherlands a world leader in land reclamation. Dutch engineers were responsible for draining the fens north of Cambridge in the UK, and improved the levee system in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
But even in the Netherlands, the sea sometimes wins. While the West coast is a neat line of dunes and dikes holding back the water, the North coast is a fringe of islands. These islands are part of the Frisian Islands archipelago that extends along the entire North coast of the Netherlands, the North East coast of Germany, and the South East of Denmark.
They weren’t always islands. At the end of the last ice age, they were the coast line. Continue reading
Tomorrow, the Exploratorium in San Francisco opens its doors in a new location at Pier 15.
Look how incredibly awesome the new building is going to be.
Because it isn’t yet open, no science tourists have been there yet, but it’s a good time to look back at both the old venue and some of the Exploratorium’s online ventures.
I visited the old location, at the Palace of the Fine Arts, in 2008, but I had virtually met the museum before that.
For a few years, the Exploratorium website listed a selection of interesting science websites. They put up a new list once every while, and yours truly once made the list! Easternblot.net was one of the “ten cool sites” on the Exploratorium website in June 2007! (That was when I updated it much more often…)
Proof from the WayBackMachine!
So when I visited in 2008, I knew I would like the museum, because the museum liked me! And indeed, I saw some cool stuff there:
Finback Whale Skeleton outside the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology – 2.5yo child for scale (Photo by Josh Witten – All Rights Reserved)
For being a relatively small town, Cambridge, England, has a lot of museums. I already showed you the Sedgwick and the Cambridge Science Centre. Today we’re visiting the Museum of Zoology.
The museum is hidden in a densely built courtyard, behind lecture halls and other buildings. You know you’ve found it when you spot the whale skeleton.
Inside, the museum has more skeletons, but these are a bit smaller than the whale outside. Continue reading