Friday, November 18, 2011

Nikki Post: What's a Tweet-up?

I follow a local Twitter feed that tells people about special events going on in the Denver area. (I Know Denver, by the way.) Last week, they posted a notice that the Denver Museum of Natural Science (DenverMuseumNS on Twitter) was having a "tweet-up," which is a group get-together that you learn about on Twitter. (That's my definition anyway. The Urban Dictionary definition is much cruder.) All they asked was that we a) enjoy ourselves and b) tweet about our experiences and use the hashtag "#dmnstweetup."

For those who aren't Twitter-knowledgeable, a hashtag is like a common link that people on Twitter use to talk about a certain topic. Someone could search for the term "DMNSTweetup" on Twitter and see all of the tweets that people at the tweet-up using that tag were making. Hashtags range from the practical, like the tweet-up hashtag, to the ridiculous like the recent "#thingslongerthankimkardashiansmarriage.")

The tweet-up met up after regular museum hours so we could have free access to the T-Rex Encounter. Animatronic dinosaurs that follow your every movement?! FOR FREE?! Sign me up!! AND we were being given this special access by the curator, Joe Sertich ("Curator Joe"). Check out the website for the details; it's a lot cooler than I could describe. While I'm fairly certain she'd freak out from fear, I'd love to be able to take Mia (my three-year-old niece) to the exhibit. I can see her roaring back at the T. Rex if surrounded by the right audience. ;)

Before I post screen-shots of my tweets, here's the "official" picture Steve and I took with Sue, the museum's famous dinosaur: And here's pictures of other museum-goers having fun with the same green screen:

WHOMP WHOMP for me. :(

 After spending an hour wandering around the exhibit, we were blessed with a special treat: we got to go "backstage" in "the Bone Room," where the museum houses the fossils and bones that are a part of the Snowmastodon Project. Up in Snowmass, CO, a ski town, construction workers were digging a reservoir when they kept unearthing mastodon and mammoth bones, along with the bones of other ancient animals large and small. They stopped their digging, and scientists and volunteers from DMNS swarmed into town. The sheer amount of bones they found is incredible. And these bones are considered "modern fossils," meaning that minerals from the earth haven't replaced the bone. (Thanks to Scientist Steve for helping me phrase that correctly!) So instead of having to brush away the dirt from the fossils gently so as not to destroy the bones, the excavators just had to wash the dirt away. Seriously, read about the project; it's insanely impressive and geek-out worthy.

Note to scientists: I asked Curator Joe if I could touch the tooth first, and I touched it EVER SO GENTLY. Steve, when I asked if he wanted me to take a picture of him touching a mastodon tooth: "I'm a scientist. I appreciate things with my eyes and my mind." His loss. :P

BONUS!!! Just found this video of the Saurornitholestes that another tweet-up visitor posted!

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