Tuesday, August 02, 2016

July 11


Downtown Des Moines.  A lot of it has a human scale and a pleasant aspect.

The science museum has a large building, with interesting spaces.

They introduce some of the interns at the museum.  (At least -- that's what I remember about who these people are.....)

I think these displays are fun, and I appreciate all of each person's different interests.  Ellie doesn't mention yoga, but it's something she knows about, too.

The thing I like best about Celeste's intro is her portrait with the dog.

Love this dog.............  Looking up into her/his jowls?  Cool.

The museum was oddly empty.  A huge space, but not that many exhibits.  And those that exist seem to be about inviting random behavior until success appears, rather than about learning how something works so one can consistently get it to work.  Odd.

They have several art pieces that were clearly quite costly.  I suppose if your donors want to give you art rather than science, you say "Thank you!" and hang up those donations, but it would be a more interesting science museum if it had more science.

At least they have lots of space to put science when they get more money to add it.

This was my favorite thing.  It's like a microscope, only it's video.  The embiggened image on the screen is one we're seeing through a camera's eye, as well as seeing it through lenses, rather than seeing the subject through the lenses directly with our own eyes as we would with a regular microscope.

It's really easy to use -- stick something under it, zoom as much as you like (to a point), then focus.  Those gold-colored slider things on the front of the vertical gray tube zoom and focus.) 

The white disks under the camera are slices of tree branches.

Tree slice, closeup.  I wonder what all the colored dots are.  Random specks of crayon?

Spider legs laminated to a piece of card stock.

As with any microscope, preparation of your subject makes a difference.  Lamination is not the best choice for preserving our "hairy" leg for viewing (note all the broken pieces at right....).

They have one of these, down where you can touch it.

The lit up plasma inside behaved quite differently, sometimes, when it was touched.  I couldn't feel anything, but my fingers on the glass clearly had an impact on the contents.

They had the same "nano" exhibit we saw in Reno, but the coolest thing (the nano particles of iron in water[?]) was not ... clean?  The particles were glopped together rather than behaving like a liquid, the way they did in Reno.

This is part of that exhibit, I believe.  It was stuck to the back wall of an elevator.  I did not know this.

They have a Foucault pendulum.  I'm guessing this is another quite expensive item that doesn't, in my humble, teach much science for as much as it cost.  It's pretty, with its pendulum swinging right over Iowa on every stroke, but an odd choice of expenditure, in my opinion.

I am coming to think the Reno science museum was brilliant to include that big interesting climbing structure.  Little kids, turned loose in any space, will sooner or later want something *active* to do.  (For many of them, they will always and only want active things to do, I think.......)

Putting in a play structure gives those kids somewhere to be where they are not banging mindlessly on the other exhibits.  This makes them happy, and makes people who are actually interested in the exhibits happy, too, because the exhibit areas are quieter and less crowded.

Our national Mall in Washington, DC, needs a huge playground.  Get those noisy bored kids out of the museums, and let them use up their energy (and make their noise) *outside*................ 


I think this was the evening we ate at Eatery A, which was interesting and tasty. I would eat there again, if I lived in Des Moines.


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