Tag Archives: Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

From a Pentagon rescuer’s uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy

By Meilan Solly, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Sept. 8, 2021, 8:43 a.m.

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Following the tragedies that took place on September 11, 2001, curators at the Smithsonian Institution recognized the urgency of documenting this unprecedented moment in American history.

After Congress designated the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as the official repository for all related objects, photographs and documents, staff focused their attention on three areas: the attacks themselves, first responders and recovery efforts.

As time passed, curators expanded their purview to include the nation’s response to the tragedy, recording 9/11’s reverberations across the country. “This effectively put a net over the story, covering what happened on that day, then plus one month, plus one year,” says Cedric Yeh, curator of the museum’s National September 11 Collection.

“But [this net] had a lot of holes. I don’t mean holes in the curators’ work, but [rather], there were areas not covered because it was impossible to cover the entirety of the story.”

Source: Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

A new study finds very young dogs with little human contact can understand pointing gestures—and that the ability has a strong genetic basis

By Alex Fox smithsonianmag.com
June 3, 2021

A young puppy responds to a human pointing to a treat during an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona. (Canine Companions for Independence)

Dog owners might not be too impressed when they’re able to point out a fallen piece of chicken or a thrown stick to their pooch, but dogs’ ability to follow that seemingly simple gesture places them in rare air in the animal kingdom.

Some research suggests that even chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relatives, don’t understand pointing as well as dogs.

For decades, researchers have debated whether dogs obtain their ability to understand pointing by spending time with humans and learning it or if our furry companions are born with a capacity to comprehend this deceptively complex feat of communication.

Source: Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

Why Ecologists Are Haunted by the Rapid Growth of Ghost Forests | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

A study in North Carolina of dying trees may represent a foreboding preview of what
may come to coastal ecosystems worldwide

By Jim Morrison, smithsonianmag.com, May 17, 2021

Google Earth image of a healthy forest on the lower right and a ghost forest full of dead trees on the left. (Emily Ury)

For years, Emily Ury traversed North Carolina’s coastal roads, studying patches of skeletal trees slain by rising seas that scientists call “ghost forests.”

Killed by intruding saltwater along the Atlantic Coast, they are previews of the dire fate other forests face worldwide.

Related Content Haunting ‘Ghost Forest’ Resurrected in New York City

Ury knew that ghost forests were expanding in the region, but only when she began looking down from above using Google Earth did she realize how extensive they were.

“I found so many dead forests,” says Ury, an ecologist at Duke University and co-author of a paper on the rapid deforestation of the North Carolina coast published last month in the journal Ecological Applications. “They were everywhere.”

Source: Why Ecologists Are Haunted by the Rapid Growth of Ghost Forests | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

50 Things We’ve Learned About Earth Since 1970 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

On April 22, 1970, Americans pledged environmental action for the planet. Here’s what scientists and we, the global community, have done since

By Smithsonian magazine

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | April 22, 2020, 7:20 a.m

Image from Age of Humans: Microplastics infiltrate the food chain as animals inadvertently consume plastics. Tiny deep ocean filter feeders have been found with microplastics in their bodies, as have fish, birds, humans and other animals. (Luis Acosta / AFP via Getty Images)

When Gaylord Nelson stepped up to the podium in April 1970, his voice rang with powerful purpose. The Wisconsin senator set forth a challenge for America—a call to arms that he declared a “big concept”: a day for environmental action that would go beyond just picking up litter.“

Winning the environmental war is a whole lot tougher than winning any other war in history,” he said. “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”

–Gaylord Nelson

In the half-century since concerned people all across the United States took steps to repair a world rife with pollution, litter, ecological devastation, political apathy and wildlife on the brink, great strides have been made and major setbacks have been recorded. An estimated 20 million Americans volunteered their time and energy to live up to Nelson’s goal. Inspired by man-made disasters like the burning of Ohio’s Cuyahoga River and an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, environmentalists of the day pushed the nation and the world to recognize the damage they were inflicting on the planet and to change course. Social justice lawyers and urban city planners took up the hard effort of bringing this vision to the impoverished, the hungry and the discriminated.

Source: 50 Things We’ve Learned About Earth Since 1970 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine