Wednesday Roundup: Conspiracies, Leopards and Chop Suey

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Conspiracy Theories: For those who have always harbored a fear of the Bermuda Triangle, or suspected that aliens have contacted Earth, the Air and Space Museum is considering launching an educational program on aerospace conspiracy theories, of which there are many. This week, curator Roger D. Launius of the Space History Division blogs at AirSpace about some of the most notorious conspiracies—moon landing didn't happen, Amelia Earhart is not dead yet and aliens on Mars, to name a few. Launius welcomes feedback in the comments section of the post.

Leopard Breeding: Last week on Around the Mall, we congratulated the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the National Zoo for their record-breaking breeding season for black-footed ferrets. Researcher JoGayle Howard, a reproductive physiologist at the National Zoo, has worked to develop techniques for artificially inseminating zoo animals. But Howard has long worked on the reproductive physiology of the clouded leopard, a medium-sized cat known for being difficult to breed. Smithsonian Science's points us to a video of Howard, complete with snapshots of these beautiful animals.

Chop Suey and Beyond: For the past few weeks, Noriko Sanefuji, a research specialist with the American History Museum, has been on a quest to chronicle the story of Chinese restaurants in the United States. Oh Say Can You See has based the blog series "Sweet and Sour" on her journeys and findings. Previous posts have documented the life of the fortune cookie, reminisced on growing up in a Chinese restaurant, and explored the significance of menus as historical evidence. This time around, Sanefuji delves into a food that predominated in Chinese restaurants but that is now seldom encountered—chop suey. In her quest, Sanefuji ends up in Hawaii, ducking into the Chinese restaurants and chatting with their owners.

Meteor Shower on the Way: The Perseids, an annual meteor shower, will reach their peak tomorrow and Friday, August 12 and 13. The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recommends viewing after midnight and in a dark place with as little light pollution as possible. Weather here in the D.C. area looks good, so fingers crossed for a spectacular viewing. Too busy this week? The Perseids can be viewed for weeks after the peak.

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