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Wristwatches: high-tech is often highly desirable


Seiko Watch Man TV wristwatch. Click for video ad. (Seiko photo) “We may think of the Apple Watch as new and exciting but it is not the first effort to put the latest technology on our wrists,” explains Carlene Stephens, curator of the watch collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Arthur C. Clarke papers come to Air and Space Archives


A photo album of images of Arthur C. Clarke through the years. In the lower left photo, Clarke is with his brother Fred and their mother, Nora.

Panda Semen from China arrives at Zoo


Mei Xiang, a giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Caitlin Burrell, research scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, returned from China last night April 20, with frozen giant panda semen that had been stored at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base’s cryopreservation bank.

Bird nests: Variety is Key for the world’s avian Architects


A bird’s nest is a small bowl-shaped collection of twigs and straw built on a tree branch. Right? Well…maybe.

Rolled-Up Mystery Mineral may cause Craving for Piroulines


A pirouline (Flickr photo by user Zedonkk) Forget what you thought you knew about geology. Some minerals can roll up like flaky Belgian piroulines.

The Secret Life of Orchids – Part II: Pollinators

Orchids are beautiful, but their beauty can be deceiving. Most orchids don’t have any nectar, yet they cheat their pollinators into thinking that they do by attracting them with colorful, open flowers.

New Amphibian Rescue Lab in Panama

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute are working together as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project have opened a new safe haven for endangered amphibians.

Researcher Solves Puzzle of Cracks in Mid-Century paintings


Example of cleavage between cadmium colors painted over zinc oxide oil paint in Hans Hofmann’s “Trophy/Verso: Untitled,” from 1951.

Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Trees are Very Good at Planning for the Future


No one can exactly predict when the blossoming cherry trees will reach their peak, since it is all driven by the weather.

First Complex Organic Molecules Discovered in Infant Star System


For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, indicating that the conditions that spawned our Earth and Sun are not unique in the universe.

“Early Women in Science” Online Exhibition Profiles Trailblazing Women


Mary Jane Rathbun (1860-1943), Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image SIA2009-2095. “Early Women in Science” is an online exhibition of 16 women scientists who began their work before 1922.

3 new species of dwarf dragons discovered in Ecuador & Peru


Adult male of the newly discovered woodlizard “Enyalioides altotambo,” found in the Chocoan rainforests of northwestern Ecuador.

NASA’s Kepler mission receives National Air and Space Museum’s highest group honor

NASA’s Kepler mission is responsible for history’s first detection of Earth-sized planets orbiting other suns in their temperate “habitable zones.” The team in charge of NASA’s Kepler mission received the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s highest group honor at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Clouded leopards, from crisis to success: Q&A with Janine Brown


These clouded leopard cubs were born recently as a result of the highly successful work of the breeding program of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium at the Khao Khew Open Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand.

As Stars Form, Magnetic Fields Influence Regions Big and Small


The Cat’s Paw Nebula, also known as NGC 6334, comes alive in this infrared image from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Beautiful meteorites hold clues to solar system’s violent start


When examined under a microscope with polarized light, ureilite meteorites appear in dazzling colors separated by black bands of graphite and space diamonds.

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Andean Bears

Giant Pandas. Grizzlies. Koalas. You’ve probably heard a lot about these bear species, but what about Andean bears?

Newly named mites have thick skins to deter predators


This tiny ambush predator, a mite from the family Cheyletidae, lurks on a leaftop waiting for a tasty victim to pass by.

Golden Frogs with Unique Skin Microbes Survive Frog-Killing Fungus


One of the Panamanian Golden Frogs involved in the study. (Photo by Brian Gratwicke) A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society by scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) found unique communities of skin bacteria on Panamanian golden frogs that survived chytridiomycosis (ki-TRID-io-MY-co-sis) infections.

Pa Bell Speaks—Through a Microscope


How do you bring Alexander Graham Bell’s voice to life out of old, cracked deteriorating wax sound recordings?


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