Brain Birds Are Big Show-offs

What would it be like to devote your entire life to creating an attractive piece of art? Just ask the Bowerbird, a group of unique birds found in Australia and New Guinea. Why are they unique? Well, like you, they like to show off and impress others. Like you, they spend a lot of time collecting things. And like you, they decorate their homes and dance around when someone comes to visit.

Under My Thumb

At the January OMSI After Dark, more than 40 people gave us their thumbprints (and their bacteria) to help grow a bacterial lawn. A bacterial lawn describes the appearance of bacterial colonies when all the individual colonies on a petri-dish merge together to form a field or mat of bacteria. What we hope to see is a patchwork of the different types of bacteria and fungi.
 
Here is a picture of ours in a large dish.

Ask a Scientist - February 2012

Have a science related question? Ask away! We'll track down an answer from one of our OMSI scientists and each month post the answers. 


Q: What is the scientific reason behind what happens when you put a cup of water in window sill and the water disappears? - Janet

A: Water evaporates over time - the water molecules change from a liquid into a gas. The water becomes part of the air you breathe. And it might condense onto the window on a cold day, turning back from a gas into a liquid!

Ask a Scientist! Grossology Edition

Have a science related question? Ask away! We'll track down an answer from one of our OMSI scientists and post the answers.


Q: How long does it really take to digest gum? My second grade teacher said thirty days. -Savannah

A: It's a lot less than thirty days - more like thirty hours. After you chew the sugar out of gum, if you swallow it the gum passes through your body like any other indigestible fiber. Just like the fiber in lettuce, bread or any other food, gum will pass mostly unchanged through your intestines and come out the other end in one or two days.

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