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Stargazers take note: A new Pittsburgh Dark Sky Ordinance—the first in the country—aims to combat the effects of excessive artificial light, or light pollution, and give Pittsburgh back its starry, starry nights. How? By transitioning city and park street lights to dark-sky lighting that uses dimmers and timers, motion sensors, cooler bulbs, and shielding. The new lighting will save energy, too.
In 2014, fossil hunter Walter Stein stumbled across a set of bones on a ranch in Perkins County, South Dakota, and before long realized he’d found the horns of a Triceratops. A really, really big Triceratops, which Stein nicknamed “Big John” after the owner of the ranch. Stein would eventually sell the specimen to the Italian fossil-preparation company ZOIC. Fast-forward to October 2021, when Big John sold to an anonymous buyer for 6.65 million euros ($7.7 million) at a Paris auction—the highest price ever paid for a fossil at a European auction. Big John’s reconstructed skull measures 8.7 feet long and 6.6 feet wide with a basal skull length of 5.1 feet, making it the largest Triceratops skull ever found. While it was a windfall for the seller, scientists worry that the ongoing sale of valuable fossils to private collectors will prevent the specimens from being thoroughly studied.
Did you know some spiders can eat snakes up to 30 times their size? About 11 varieties of spiders are up to the task, most by catching the reptiles in their webs but others by venomous bites.
For weeks after the January 28 collapse of Pittsburgh’s Fern Hollow Bridge, the age, design, and maintenance of the city’s bridges were front-page news. Of Pittsburgh’s 446 bridges, the oldest is the iconic Smithfield Street Bridge, which opened in 1883 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Think that’s impressive? Consider the world’s oldest bridge still in use today. According to Guinness World Records, it’s the 3,000-year-old single-arch stone bridge over the Meles River in Izmir, Turkey, built in 850 B.C.—said to be crossed by Homer, who featured the River Meles in his poetry.
As early as 40,000 years ago, primitive artists invented the first color pigments using a combination of soil, animal fat, minerals, charcoal, and chalk—producing the colors red, yellow, brown, black, and white.
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