Latest Posts

Do You Suffer from Cellphone Separation Anxiety?

If you feel anxious when you don't have your phone nearby, you are not alone. With some 6 billion cellphones in circulation on Earth, we depend on them for a huge range of services: texting friends, sharing selfies, ordering food, getting news, watching movies, accessing clouds, etc....Read more
Tags: mineral
Have you seen your cell phone lately? Photo by Devin Reese, Smithsonian.

How Mummies are Made

The most familiar mummies are the Egyptians, buried in elaborate tombs and surrounded with treasures to escort them into the afterlife. But, not all mummies were Egyptian, or even of the ruling class. Mummies have been found around the world, in circumstances ranging from honored leaders to unfortunate victims....Read more
Egyptian mummy and its X-ray at the National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian image by Chip Clark.

A Crystal the Size of a School Bus?!

In South Dakota miners found a crystal of a mineral called spodumene that was 42 feet long and weighed 90 tons. While it's an extreme example, the massive crystal showcased one of the incredible qualities of the rock in which it was found, known as "pegmatite." Unlike most rocks, pegmatites contain unusually large crystals of a wide variety of minerals....Read more
Tags: geology
Blue beryl that crystallized as a 6-sided hexagonal crystal, not bus-sized but beautiful. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian.

Discovering Weird, Wonderful New Species in the Open Ocean

When we think about the ocean, we may visualize sea turtles swimming around coral reefs, sea urchins anchored in tidepools, dolphins breaching the surface, or even shrimp gathered around deepwater sulfur vents. But most of the ocean is just open water, miles and miles of it from below the surface to thousands of feet down. This ocean midwater is the largest habitat on Earth! ...Read more
The red paper lantern jellyfish, a strikingly beautiful animal in the web of midwater ocean life. Photo by Karen Osborn, Smithsonian Institution.

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