ICYMI: Highlights from the week that was Oct. 9 – Oct. 15, 2016

A whale of a warehouse, The New York Times was obsessed with panda sex and OMG Adele went to the Zoo (no word on whether she shares the Times’ obsession.)

For news about the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, please search A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story.


How Buying Choices Define American Middle Class Living

NPR – All Things Considered, Oct. 10

NPR’s Ari Shapiro meets with Peter Liebhold, curator for work and industry at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, to discuss the “stuff” — consumer goods, home and car ownership, debt or a college education — that defines what it means to be middle class as part of “The New Middle” series. Read the transcript from “All Things Considered.”

Adele Got a Private Tour of the National Zoo

Washingtonian, Oct.11

Singer in red dress on stage

Adele performs at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

During her concert at the Verizon Center Monday night, Adele mentioned that she visited Smithsonian’s National Zoo during her stay, and that she loved it. More from Zack Bu for Washingtonian.

 Scientists discover hundreds of footprints left at the dawn of modern humanity

The Washington Post, Oct.12
Plain showing fossilized footprints

The Engare Sero footprints. (Liutkus-Pierce et al., 2016)

The footprints weave intricate paths across the desolate landscape. Some tracks race straight toward an unseen finish line; others meander, the outlines of their ancient owners’ toes and curves of their arches carved deeply into the sun-baked earth. Read more from Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post.

The bones in the Smithsonian’s ‘whale warehouse’ are relics of a lost world

The Washington Post, Tales From the Vault, Oct. 12
Historic photo of two men standing next to enormous model of whale

Remington Kellogg, right, and scientist Leonhard Stejneger examine the Nation Museum’s full-size model of a sulphur bottom or blue Whale. (Smithsonian Institution Archives)

The smell hits you first: a nose-wrinkling, fishy stench, cut by the sharp reek of formaldehyde.

Then your eyes adjust to the dim fluorescent light, and the sight takes your breath away. Read more from Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post.

The Obsession With Panda Sex

The New York Times, Oct. 13
Close up of giant panda face

(Joshua Paul/Associated Press)

It is really no mystery why the giant panda’s puritanical sex life attracts lots of attention. The bear is amazingly cute, its numbers are perilously low, and it’s fun to read (and write) about the extraordinary efforts of zookeepers and scientists to fan the creatures’ passions in the inexplicably tiny annual window of opportunity — one to three days — that nature has allotted for generative panda lovemaking. Among the tricks resourceful humans have tried, according to a recent report in The Times, is “panda porn” — videos of pandas making love that male pandas watch in the privacy of their cages. Read more from the New York Times Editorial Board.

Posted: 21 October 2016
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