Seven icons of science at the Smithsonian

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: May 22, 2009   View Article

In “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” Ben Stiller returns to the movie screen as security guard Larry Daley for another adventure among animated artifacts and historical figures. The museum and research complex houses more than 136 million objects, works of art and specimens. Check out seven iconic items from the museum’s science collections, including a few that come to life under Daley’s watch.

“Nanodiamond” Find Supports Comet Impact Extinction Theory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 5, 2009   View Article

The discovery of tiny “nanodiamonds” supports a controversial theory that a catastrophic bombardment of space rocks altered the course of Earth history.

About 12,900 years ago, Earth was escaping the grips of an ice age when something triggered a sudden refreeze.

“Blood Diamonds” and How to Avoid Buying Illicit Gems

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 8, 2006   View Article

Growing awareness that a diamond’s luster may hide an illicit past is adding another “C”—conflict—into the lexicon of gem buyers already accustomed to gauging color, cut, clarity, and carat.

“Conflict diamonds,” also known as blood diamonds, are those sold to fund armed conflict and civil war. Human rights organizations link more than four million deaths and millions more displaced people to the trade in conflict diamonds.

Nearby Star System Could Spawn Carbon-Rich Planets

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 7, 2006   View Article

An unexpectedly large amount of carbon—the basis of life as we know it—surrounds a young nearby star where astronomers believe rocky planets are forming, according to a new study.

Such an environment might spawn tar-covered, diamond-rich worlds and life-forms that consume oxygen-rich foods, one scientist speculates.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach