Author Archives: Eva Amsen

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

2014-11-22 13.15.29Last week I found myself in various conference venues in and around Washington DC. With just about an hour to spare before my trip back to the airport, I managed to briefly visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

According to Wikipedia, this is the most-visited museum in North America, and the most-visited natural history museum. It didn’t feel as crowded as some other museums, though. Maybe I got there on a rare quiet Saturday?

The central exhibit of the museum is the African elephant in the foyer. Like all elephants in rooms, it’s quite noticeable and unavoidable. From a floor above, you can learn all about elephants while walking around the balcony that overlooks the central elephant.

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Themed exhibits on the first floor covered life in the ocean, human evolution, and mammals. Topic-wise, the exhibits didn’t differ much from those in other natural history museums I’ve visited, but the displays looked more modern. Continue reading

Bat Caves of Kenya – The Brain Scoop

Early in 2014, Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop and Field Museum visited bat caves in Kenya, and the video of that trip is finally online. It’s only part 1, so there will be more, but there are already lots of shots of bats and poop and dark caves.

I’m always a little on the fence about bats: I like them, but they tend to make me jump when they swoop in front of my face when I least expect it. I think I’ll stick to watching them on video, where I can see more of them than just an unexpected flapping swoosh in the night.

Ethiopia’s first science museum

Last month, Ethiopia opened its first science museum, at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. From the news article:

Minister of Education Shiferaw Shigutie said on the opening ceremony that the museum levels up students understanding for science, and as a result contributes for the industry led economic policy of the nation to be followed in the near future.

The Addis Ababa Science and Technology University president Dr. Tarekegn Tadesse said for his part that students at all levels can make use of the museum with the center, for upgrading their knowhow in science.

Here’s a news segment about the opening. It’s mostly not in English (apart from a vox pop, and the words “science” and “museum”) but you can get some glimpses of what it looks like, although it’s mostly shots of people milling about at the opening reception, and a long shot of the entrance.

It sounds like the museum will be focusing on outreach to students, which is great! A few years ago, Ethiopia also launched a science academy.

Would love to see some better images of the museum, though!

Darwin bench

This past summer, several famous British books were scattered across London, in the shape of benches. The “Books about Town” benches were grouped in different trails, to make it easy to walk past all of them on a few walks, and still I didn’t manage to catch more than one bench in the wild before all of the benches were removed and prepared to be auctioned off.

Thankfully, the University of London kindly arranged to have all of the benches displayed for one last weekend, all together in Gordon Square Garden. Finally a chance to see them all!

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I photographed the Paddington bench and the Neverwhere bench, and fifteen others, including  some of books I didn’t know, but I managed to forget to take a snap of the one science book in the collection: Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. Here’s the official photo from the site instead:


Today, this bench, and all the others, will be auctioned off. Having seen similar projects in other cities, I suspect that some of the benches will be bought by organisations that will display them to the public again. I hope the Darwin bench gets a good home, so that you can visit it – wherever it will be next.

Map update

Remember paper maps, and how hard it was to fold them back up again, and how they would flap all over the place if it was a bit windy? All of that pales in comparison to the frustration of trying to figure out how to update our map in the new Google Maps system. That’s why this post is a week overdue, but I finally managed to add a few non-Finch-and-Pea spots:

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