Wednesday Roundup: Wabbits, Mangroves and Art-O-Mat

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What’s Up, Doc? His buck teeth and long ears may be timeless, but Bugs Bunny has reached a ripe old age. It was 70 years ago yesterday that everybody’s favorite “wascally wabbit” first popped his head out of his rabbit hole and posed the notorious aforementioned question to arch nemesis Elmer Fudd. Arguably the most famous cartoon character of all time, Bugs Bunny ushered in the Loony Tunes era that enraptured adults and children alike. Complete with slippery banana peels, plummeting planes and extensive carrot chomping, the Smithsonian Libraries blog posted a 1943 video of Bugs, alongside other links of interest, in tribute to his life in television.

Introducing the Art-O-Matic: Following the ban on cigarette vending machines in the late 1990s, artist Clark Whittington co-opted the machine and re-purposed it as an art dispenser for cigarette-sized, original works of art. The “Art-O-Matic” took off, and now Whittington oversees 83 over 90 such machines, one of which just arrived at the Luce Foundation Center for American Art. According to Eye Level, at five dollars per work, you can get your own miniature art straight out of this 60-year-old vending machine. Works include everything from jewelry to sculptures to collages, all handmade by an international array of artists.

It is an exciting time... As a result of a recent effort to broaden accessibility and searchability of all the Smithsonian has to offer, Smithsonian has produced a prototype of the Smithsonian Commons, a centralized online forum for the “Smithsonian research, collections and communities.” Featured recently by We Love DC, the Commons will open the doors to a global audience interested in the Smithsonian who aren't necessarily able to travel to the museums in Washington, D.C. Explore, vote and comment on the prototype in order to shape the final product!

For lucky iPhone and Android owners, the Collections Search Center (CSC) has recently enhanced their mobile web portal, so that you can find any object in the collections that strikes your fancy while on the go. Simply visit the CSC Web site on your phone, and you’ll get to see the new and improved version.

Holy Mangrove! This past Monday, the National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean Portal blog celebrated International Mangrove Action Day. If you missed out this year, you can still listen to  a podcast of Dr. Candy Feller of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), in Edgewater, Md., speaking with SERC ecologist Dr. Dennis Whigham about the importance of these twisted, tropical plants. If you did take a moment out of your day for the mangroves, they invite you to share your celebration with other readers.

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