Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Viewed by Voyager 1 

At about 89,000 miles in diameter, Jupiter could swallow 1,000 Earths. It is the largest planet in the solar system and perhaps the most majestic. Vibrant bands of clouds carried by winds that can exceed 400 mph continuously circle the planet’s atmosphere. Such winds sustain spinning anticyclones like the Great Red Spot – a raging storm three and a half times the size of Earth at the time of this photo, located in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. In January and February 1979, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft zoomed toward Jupiter, capturing hundreds of images during its approach, including this close-up of swirling clouds around Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


It’s officially fall. You may commence wearing scarves. 

(With all due respect to our southern hemispherians celebrating the arrival of spring, of course.)

This autumnal scene is from the Japanese periodical Bijutsukaia Meiji era design periodical that is heavy on designs and light on text. Our head librarian at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library wrote a blog post about how this journal fits in Japanese history. We’ve only digitized two volumes of the journal, but they are replete with Meiji designs and well worth exploring.

Want to learn GIF-making techniques? There’s still time to sign up for the second workshop on GIF making at the Digital Public Library of America on Wednesday, September 28


Octopus Eyes Are Crazier Than We Imagined

by Maddie Stone

The latest fascinating cephalopod insights come to us from a
father/son team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley
and Harvard University, who’ve learned that weirdly-shaped pupils may
allow cephalopods to distinguish colors differently from any other
animals we know of. The discovery is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Boring animals like humans and birds see color using a combination of
light-receptive cone cells, each of which contains pigments that are
sensitive to a different part of the visual spectrum. It’s only by
combining information from different cone cells that colors can be
properly distinguished. Hence, when a person lacks a particular type of
cone, he’s considered colorblind.

Cephalopods only have a single type of light receptor, which means
they should not be able to distinguish color at all. And yet, many
octopuses, squids and cuttlefish have color-changing skin that’s used
for elaborate camouflage ruses and courtship rituals. Clearly, these
colorblind animals have become masters of color manipulation. How? …

(read more: Gizmodo)

photographs: NOAA,
Roy Caldwell, and Klaus Stiefel


The Peace Corps Act

…The Congress of the United States declares that it is the policy of the United States and the purpose of this Act to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the people of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower, and to help promote a better understanding of American people on the part of the peoples served and a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people…

Act of September 22, 1961 (Peace Corps Act), Public Law 87-293, 75 STAT 612, Which Established a Peace Corps to Help the People of Interested Countries and Areas in Meeting Their Needs for Skilled Manpower, 9/22/1961.

Series: Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 – 2011. Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 – 2006

On March 1, 1961, President Kennedy signed the executive order establishing the Peace Corps. On September 22, 1961, Congress approved the legislation that formally authorized the @peacecorps​. Goals of the Peace Corps included: 1) helping the people of interested countries and areas meet their needs for trained workers; 2) helping promote a better understanding of Americans in countries where volunteers served; and 3) helping promote a better understanding of peoples of other nations on the part of Americans.


Photograph of Peace Corps Volunteer in Istanbul. From RG: 490 Selected Photographs of Peace Corps Activities (Chronological File). National Archives Identifier: 593652


Gemini XI Mission Image -Australia, 9/14/1966

File Unit: Gemini XI, 9/13/1966 – 9/15/1966Series: Photographs of the Mercury and Gemini Space Programs, 12/1960 – 2/1997Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 – 2006

Taken 50 years ago, more stunning images like this one from @nasa‘s Gemini XI Mission can be found in the File Unit Gemini XI, 09/13/1966 – 09/15/1966 in the National Archives online Catalog.


Register now to attend or watch the livestream of the National Conversation on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the National Archives at New York on October 21!

Featuring five different programs, this event is a part of a nationwide series of conversations on rights and justice in the modern era. Learn more and register to attend this free program in-person or online:

The “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” in New York City is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Perkins Coie LLP, and the National Archives Foundation.


A deadly fungus, chytrid, is attacking frogs’ skin and wiping out hundreds of species worldwide. A chytrid infection prevents the normal movement of water and nutrients through the amphibians’s skin. 

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Mountain yellow-legged frogs, found only in California’s alpine lakes, have been in steep decline due to the fungus (as well as predation by non-native trout). More than 90 percent of the population has disappeared.  

Now in a last-ditch effort, scientists are trying something new: build defenses against the fungus through a kind of fungus “vaccine.”

Read more about the effort to battle chytrid fungus here. And watch the video by PBS Digital Studios’ Deep Look here.

Video Credit: Josh Cassidy/KQED


It’s 3 a.m. and Whiskers has decided it’s time for breakfast. He jumps up on your bed, gently paws at your eyelids and meows to be fed. Annoyed? Cat behavior specialist Sarah Ellis says you have only yourself to blame.

Ellis says that cat owners reinforce negative behaviors when they give into them. “Cats are not necessarily born meowing and screaming at us for food, it’s a behavior that they learned,” Ellis tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

Instead of indulging Whiskers’ request for an early-morning snack, Ellis recommends adopting an “extinction schedule,” whereby you ignore the behavior entirely until it stops. If cat owners “can be really strong with that extinction schedule and just make sure at every occurrence of that behavior they do not reward it… it will stop,” Ellis says.

In her book, The Trainable Cat, Ellis and her co-author John Bradshaw describe how humans who understand basic feline nature can get their cats to come on command, take medicine and, yes, wait until morning for breakfast.

When it comes to encouraging the positive, Ellis recommends rewards over punishment — especially if the rewards are intermittent. “You don’t give a reward every single time,” Ellis explains. “This sort of keeps the cat guessing, they don’t know if running toward you this time will get the food or it’ll be the next time, and that actually makes the behavior more likely to happen.”

Who Says You Can’t Train A Cat? A Book Of Tips For Feline-Human Harmony