Help the Museum of Discovery name its two new opposums

A few weeks ago the Museum of Discovery took in two orphaned opossums. While their siblings were able to be rehabilitated and turned back into the wild, these sisters were not.

Because of this, the staff was happy to give them a safe home at the Museum of Discovery. Since they have joined the museum family family they have been thriving and grow more and more each day! Once they are old enough and comfortable with people, they will join the animal ambassador program to help teach about wildlife and conservation.

The Museum recently asked the public to offer name suggestions and received some great ones! Museum staff voted on all of the suggestions and narrowed the list down to four name pairs. Now they need your help to choose the winning names!

Vote here.

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Tonight’s $2 Terror Tuesday feature at CALS Ron Robinson – THE BRAIN THAT WOULD NOT DIE

The Brain That Wouldn't Die Poster$2 Terror Tuesdays continue tonight (6/18) at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater with 1962’s THE BRAIN THAT WOULD NOT DIE.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is a 1962 American science fiction horror film directed by Joseph Green and written by Green and Rex Carlton and focuses upon a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive. He keeps his fiancé’s severed head alive for days, and also keeps a lumbering, misshapened brute (one of his earlier failed experiments) imprisoned in a closet.

The film starred Jason Evers (billed as Herb Evers), Virginia Leith, Anthony La Penna, Adele Lamont, Paula Morris, Bruce Brighton, and Lola Mason.

The showing starts at 7pm.  Cost is $2.

1945 Commissioning of USS Little Rock

Following the 1944 launch of the USS Little Rock, there were still several months before the ship was ready to officially join the US Navy fleet.

On June 17, 1945, the USS Little Rock was officially commissioned and joined the fleet.  While Europe had surrendered by this time, the war in the Pacific continued.

The commissioning took place at the US Naval Yard in Philadelphia.  At the start of the ceremony, an invocation was given by the Ship’s Chaplain, Lt. C. L. Dickey.  Then Rear Admiral Draemel, the Commandant of the Fourth Naval District gave an address.

The simultaneous raising  the ensign, jack and commissioning pennant were accompanied by the National Anthem.  This marked the actual moment the ship joined the fleet.  Captain W. E. Miller, then ceremonially reported to the Commandant that the ship had been placed into commission.  He was then formally placed in command of the USS Little Rock.

The First Watch was set, followed by an introduction of Little Rock Mayor Dan T. Sprick.  Captain Miller then made an address, and Chaplain Dickey provided a benediction. The crew of the USS Little Rock was dismissed, followed by “Retreat” on the bugle. The program ended with tea being served to the crew in the respect messes.

Any member of the original crew  during the ceremony was issued a card indicating he was a Plank owner.  This entitled him to ownership of one of the planks on the weather deck of the ship.

Remembering LR Mayor John Widgery

On June 17, 1802, future Little Rock Mayor John Widgery was born in Portland ME to Mr. and Mrs. William Widgery.  His father died in 1804.  At the age of 11, John Widgery entered Bowdoin College.  He was the youngest student admitted to the college.

Widgery studied law with his uncle, Nathan Kinsman.  He married Ann L. Woodward, who was from Boston MA.  According to Bowdoin College records, he later “wandered away into the Southwest” spending time “in the Cherokee country.”

Widgery spent most of his adult life in the south. For a time Widgery was clerk of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He then moved to Little Rock prior to 1840.  By 1840, he was Recorder for the City of Little Rock.

According to media reports at the time, several tradesman groups encouraged Widgery to run for Mayor in January 1841.  He did run but lost to Rev. Samuel H. Webb.  The next year, Widgery ran again and this time was elected Mayor.  He took office in January 1842.  On May 24, 1842 he resigned from office.  He later served as Secretary of the Arkansas Senate (where he made $8 a day when the Senate was in session).

Widgery eventually settled in St. Louis.  He later returned up north.  He died on August 2, 1873 in Portland ME and is buried there.  He and his wife did not have any children.

No known painting or photograph of Mayor Widgery exists.

Tonight on CALS Ron Robinson Theater stage – Phil Plait lecture – Strange New Worlds: Is Earth Special?

Phil Plait lecturing

The Central Arkansas Library System and Central Arkansas Astronomical Society present an evening with Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait.  The program is at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater at 7pm.

Our search for exoplanets, planets outside our own solar system, has so far yielded thousands of strange new worlds but, none of them appear to be anything like our blue-green Earth. Is our world truly special? Or, maybe, the question should be: how Earth-like does a planet need to be in order to be like Earth?

Come join us for an evening with Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait, author of the Bad Astronomy blog and the books, Bad Astronomy and Death From The Skies.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

For as long as he can remember, Dr. Phil Plait has been in love with science.

“When I was maybe four or five years old, my dad brought home a cheapo department store telescope. He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked,” he says.

After earning his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Virginia, he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope as a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy website and blog, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book Bad Astronomywas released in 2002, followed in 2008 by Death From The Skies! He can most recently be seen in Crash Course Astronomy, a 46-part educational web series he wrote and hosted that has over 20 million views. He hosted the TV show Phil Plait’s Bad Universe on the Discovery Channel in 2010 and was the head science writer for Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, due out in 2017. Dr. Plait’s blog has been hosted by Discover Magazine and Slate, and is now on Syfy Wire.

Dr. Plait has given talks about science and pseudoscience across the US and internationally. He uses images, audio, and video clips in entertaining and informative multimedia presentations packed with humor and backed by solid science.

He has spoken at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute (home of Hubble), the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and many other world-class museums and planetaria, conferences, astronomy clubs, colleges and universities, and community groups. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Pax TV, Tech TV, Syfy, Radio BBC, Air America, NPR, and many other television and internet venues. His writing has appeared in DiscoverSky and TelescopeAstronomyNight Sky, Space.com, and more.

This event brought to you by the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society and the Central Arkansas Library System and made possible by funding provided by the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.

Happy 183 to Arkansas

Today is the 183rd birthday of the State of Arkansas.

For those who remember the Sesquicentennial – yes it has indeed been 33 years since that celebration! (We are now closer to the Arkansas Bicentennial than we are the Sesquicentennial!)

Congress approved it as the 25th state on June 15, 1836.  (On June 22, 1868, Arkansas was readmitted to the union following the Civil War – but it is the first statehood date that is celebrated.)

On January 30, 1836, a convention was held in the Arkansas Territory for the purpose of adopting a constitution which would be submitted as part of a request for statehood.

The law granting statehood also established the state as a judicial district known as the Arkansas District.  The judge for that district would be paid $2,000 a year.  (The equivalent of $52,230 today.)  An attorney for the US was also created. That position would be paid $200 in addition to his stated fees. (The equivalent of $5,223 today)