Fall Foliage, Day 61 - Washington, D.C.
Today was our city-tourist-day.
In the morning, Alfie and I went on a nice long geocaching hike for about an hour and a half to get him nice and tired for the rest of the day. After leftover soup for breakfast, we packed up and drove into the city.
We dropped Alfie off at a sitter’s house for private doggie day care after realizing that in DC there’s a difference between SE and NW streets. This was my first time using the Rover app, and it worked out well! It reminded me of an airBNB but for pet services.
Then Christian and I found street parking on the National Mall and headed into the Smithsonian Natural History museum. After a short break in the middle to recover from the field trip-flashbacks, we managed to see basically every hall and exhibit by 4, when our parking was up. We took way more pictures than this but these are the highlights:
Here’s what Christian learned:
Rubies are the same as sapphires (Aluminum oxide minerals, or corundums), just with different trace element impurities that make them different colors. I.e.: a red sapphire is a ruby.
A carat is a measure of weight equal to 0.2 grams. Ex: a 10 carat diamond weighs two grams. It comes from the carob tree’s seeds, which weigh about 0.2 grams and were used to weigh gems.
It would be difficult to recognize iron, aluminum, or platinum ores on a hike. They just look like discolored rocks (much easier in mine craft).
Pyrite is freaking cool.
Evaporating seawater will get you salt (NaCl), calcite, sylvite, gypsum, and some magnesium compounds.
The idea of plate tectonics (that the earth’s crust is shifting around) is only about 50 years old.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin hauled 838 pounds (380kg) of moon rocks back to earth. We flew people TO THE MOON in a SPACESHIP and they took EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS OF MOON and FLEW IT BACK TO EARTH.
I didn’t learn this at the Smithsonian, but when the astronauts came back from THE FREAKIN MOON scientists were terrified they might have contracted some kind of moon virus or that the moon rocks would transform into moon crabs and take over our planet, so they were in a quarantined trailer with no outside contact for a few weeks until they convinced us they weren’t taken over by a moon pathogen that was trying to lie its way out of the trailer to take over our planet.
Ancient Egyptians were really worried they wouldn’t have an afterlife if they weren’t good enough people. A lot of the hieroglyphics on their sarcophaguses were things like “when I was alive I donated a lot of stuff to poor people and was pretty nice to everybody so please bring me back to life k thx”, which is what I’d put on my cryogenic chamber.
Most mummies of animals are fake. Apparently there is/was a huge industry around them for good luck?
Aquatic bugs can breathe underwater because they carry a bubble of air down with them. Fresh oxygen gets absorbed into the bubble of air from the water as the bug breaths it out. It’s like a scuba tank that can refill itself from the water.
The White House and the Capitol Building are two different things, and they don’t look the same, but they’re pretty close together.
We had some trouble finding the next parking spot since most of the street parking was closed 4-6:30, but eventually we found a garage near the White House. Then we walked over to the Lincoln Memorial just at sunset.
Passing the front of the White House this time, we got back to our car and went to pick up Alfie, who had been snoozing on the couch with his new doggie friend.
Then it was back to the campground for dinner and relaxing.