I don’t know anything about machines, so that looks like a cross between one of my mixing bowls (which reminds me, I need to make tuna salad tonight) and a hubcap, next to some cans of motor oil. It is, in fact, a solar-powered steam engine built by noted astrophysicist Dr. Charles G. Abbot. As any fool can see, the reflector focuses the sun’s rays on the boiler tube, which generates steam that drives the tiny engine. No duh.
But Abbot was smarter than the whole lot of us, retiring as both the director of the Smithsonian’s Astrophysical Observatory, as well as the first Smithsonian Secretary not to die in office. Furthermore, it appeared that he might never die out of office, as the bloke who was already 76 in the above image still yet had another quarter century to fiddle around with gadgets. He spent over 40 years developing and maintaining solar monitoring systems as his mission in life. Here you see him (in an almost Chester Conklin mustache) with his silver-disc pyrheliometer, which measured direct beam solar irradiance.
He invented the solar cooker, which was first built at Mount Wilson Observatory, the solar boiler, and held fifteen other patents related to solar energy. At 96, he was still going strong, holding what appears to be an extensive CVS receipt, but is actually a print-out of solar observations.
Curator of fishes, the vested Dr. Leonard Schultz, takes measurements of a parrotfish from Bikini Atoll in 1948. Bikini Atoll is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands, whose inhabitants were relocated in 1946, after which the islands and lagoon were the site of 23 nuclear tests by the United States until 1958. Before and after the Navy’s blasts, 70,000 marine life specimens were collected for testing, some of which you see in jars behind the good doctor. At this point, they had determined that surviving fish showed no anatomical changes, but they were concerned about future sterility and abnormal growths caused by radiation. The article states that “eventually, with the passage of time, the fish population will return to normal.”
While fish returned, the Atoll’s residents did not. In March 1946, the residents gathered their personal belongings and were transported 125 miles eastward to the uninhabited Rongerik Atoll, one-sixth the size of Bikini Atoll. A deep-rooted traditional belief that the island was haunted by the Demon Girls of Ujae, as well as inadequate food and water (and fish that made their legs go numb), made the move a complete failure. Families were moved to other islands and moved again.
In 1970, three families were resettled on Bikini island, totaling about 100 residents. But scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium-90 in well water, and the residents were carrying abnormally high concentrations of caesium-137 in their bodies. Even coconut crabs retained high levels of radioactivity and could not be eaten. Women noticed genetic abnormalities in their children. They were evacuated in 1980.
At this point, the atoll is occupied by a handful of caretakers. Marine life, despite being radioactive and sharks perhaps missing dorsal fins, seem to have thrived in the absence of humans.
I may have conquered using apps on a smart phone or removing jams from testy copy machines, but the technology of yore frightens me. I don’t get it now, and I certainly wouldn’t have gotten in back in 1955, at the University of Colorado.
Nope. Too many wires.
Next up: isotopes. Haven’t talked about proton/neutron stuff since high school, and I’m not gonna start now.
She is clearly steering a cardboard ship, but I know not what the men do.
Too many black holes and knobs in the cube. It doesn’t even fit in my pocket.
Get a load of this jet engine compressor! I’d rather feed a porcupine.
And this last one takes the cake, with “nurse aids performing the pleasant task of hairbrushing for a paralytic.” Pleasant? That looks like a nightmare.
Let me be the first to say I am so grateful that the earth does not look like an overflowing oyster shell, spilling like Niagara Falls into the nothingness. How odd it would be to have clouds below us.
Fun entomology-related fact of the day: The termcuckoo beeis used for a variety of different bee lineages which have evolved the kleptoparasitic (no, not like Winona Ryder) behavior of laying their eggs in the nests of other bees, reminiscent of cuckoo birds. Female cuckoo bees can be easily recognized, as they lack pollen-collecting structures and do not construct their own nests (you mean the males do chores?). They often have reduced body hair, an abnormally thick or heavily-sculptured exoskeleton, and saber-like mandibles (wikipedia).
Try using that in a sentence today: saber-like mandibles.