A Brief History of Bog Butter

Yup. Our Irish ancestors (okay, my Irish ancestors) used to put their butter and cheese in peat bogs.  These ancient blocks of butter and cheese are being studied by archeologists. They may have been deposited in bogs as form of cold storage, a religious offering, or for some other still unknown reason. Some of these big globs of bog butter are thousands of years old.

Writing for Smithsonian.org Jason Daley writes, “In 2009, a 77-pound, 3,000-year-old oak barrel of the stuff was found in County Kildare. In 2013, a turf cutter in County Offaly found a 100-pound, 5,000-year-old chunk. Many examples of the butter are found in Irish museums, including the place dedicated to the golden spread, Cork’s Butter Museum.”

Read more: A Brief History of Bog Butter
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This Ancient Mosaic Depicts a Thrilling Chariot Race

A rare  2,000-year-old mosaic depicting a Roman-era Chariot Race was unearthed on the island country of  Cyprus.  This mosaic is 85-feet long and is one of only nine known to exist.  The names of horses and riders are included in the mosaic providing a very human glimpse into the past.

Reporter Casey Smith reported for nationalgeographic.com that the names of horses and riders were included in the mosaic providing a very human glimpse into the past.


Become a Citizen Scientist During Total Solar Eclipse | NASA

NASA wants you to be a citizen scientist. They are inviting members of the public to assist them with collecting data during the August 21, 2017, eclipse. Even if you are not in the path of the total eclipse, you can still gather important information.

NASA has developed an app that walks participants through the research project and will enable them to capture needed data during the eclipse.

From the NASA website:

“The public will have an opportunity to participate in a nation-wide science experiment by collecting cloud and temperature data from their phones. NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program Observer (NASA GO) is a citizen science project that allows users to record observations with a free app.

“On Aug. 21, NASA GO will feature a special eclipse experiment. With the app and a thermometer, citizen scientists can help observe how the eclipse changes atmospheric conditions near them, and contribute to a database used by students and scientists worldwide in order to study the effects of the eclipse on the atmosphere. Observers in areas with a partial eclipse or outside the path of totality are encouraged to participate alongside those within the path of totality. ”

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Rich Melnick


Citizen scientists are a valued but often hidden partner in scientific research.  If you are interested in more citizen science projects, visit Zooniverse, an online platform that matches volunteers to academic research across many fields.

Says the Zooniverse website:

“The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers—hundreds of thousands of people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. “



How Cats and People Grew to Love Each Other

Stefan Sirucek reported for National Geographic in December 2013 that a then recent study showed that cats and humans began hanging out together as far back as 9,500 years ago.

Reported Sirucek:

“Today’s domestic cats are believed to be the descendants of ancient Near Eastern wildcats, and the previous discovery of a wildcat buried near a human in Cyprus roughly 9,500 years ago suggests some type of long-running relationship. The Egyptians famously thought very highly of cats, keeping them domestically and even administering medical treatment to them some 4,000 years ago.

Now a new study marks possibly the earliest known evidence of a beneficial relationship between humans and cats. Researchers analyzing 5,300-year-old cat bones, found at the village of Quanhucun in China, determined that the bones match up closely with those of modern domestic cats—and that people may have even fed the animals. “

10 Historic Women Scientists You Probably Don’t Know

 In 2011, science writer Sarah Zielinski shared biographies of 10 women scientists lost to history.

As a huge fan of dinosaurs, it was a pleasure to see her list included Mary Anning,  (1799 – 1847),  a prolific fossil hunter whose finds included Ichthyosaurus, the “fish-lizard.”

According to Zielinski, she also found long-necked plesiosaurs, “a pterodactyl and hundreds, possibly thousands, of other fossils that helped scientists to draw a picture of the marine world 200 million to 140 million years ago during the Jurassic. ”

Like many women scientists in history, she was self-taught. Her studies included anatomy, geology, paleontology and scientific illustration.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ten-historic-female-scientists-you-should-know-84028788/#Cff5VXSls3qS9cAW.99

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Library of Congress’ 25 Million Digital Catalog Records

The Library of Congress has made 25 million digital catalog records available for anyone to use at no charge. The free data set includes records from 1968 to 2014.

They range from readings from poetry and literature by the original artists to historical cartoons to Abraham Lincoln Papers to papers from Clara Barton’s life. It’s massive and comprehensive and all Free!



Armenia’s Zorats Karer Site an Intriguing Mystery

Zorats Karer, according to Smithsonian.com, ” consists of a prehistoric mausoleum and nearby, over two hundred neighboring large stone monoliths, eighty of which have distinctive, well-polished holes bored near their upper edge.” The site has probably been inhabited on-and-off from the prehistoric to medieval civilizations.

Located in the continent of Asia, Armenia covers 28,203 square kilometers of land and 1,540 square kilometers of water, making it the 144th largest nation in the world with a total area of 29,743 square kilometers, according to the World Atlas.

Helicopter image of Karahundj

Tourist agencies may plug the site as the Armenian Stonehenge but the resemblance is superficial.  According to Professor Pavel Avetisyan, an archaeologist at the National Academy of Sciences in Armenia, “was mainly a necropolis from the Middle Bronze Age (1,500 to 1,200 BC) to the Iron Age (around 600 to 900 BC ). Enormous stone tombs of these periods can be found within the area.”

Avetisyan’s team dates the monument to no older than 2000 BCE, after Stonehenge, and also suggests that it served as a refuge during times of war in the Hellenistic period (332 BC to 32 BC), reports Smithsonian.com.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/unraveling-mystery-armenian-stonehenge-180964207/#iKZtX5VAL4JSUGJW.99

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