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A Museum in Pittsburgh Gives Its Dinosaurs a Timely Makeover


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We listen to some music from Judy Kuhn …

Answer a question about the Space Race …

And tell about a new display of dinosaur bones.

Dinosaurs In Their Time

Dinosaurs are not what they used to be, at least not at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Katharine Cole tells us about big changes in the museum's Dinosaur Hall.

KATHARINE COLE:

The Carnegie Museum has one of the largest collections of dinosaur bones in the world. The only problem is that the way they were presented all these years was wrong.

Visitors might have come away with the idea that all dinosaurs were huge, slow moving creatures. But newer discoveries show that dinosaurs were generally smaller and faster than scientists once thought.

So directors of the Carnegie Museum decided to rebuild the ten dinosaurs in their collection. And they added new ones.

Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy businessman, built the Dinosaur Hall a century ago. He paid for a scientific trip that discovered a new kind of dinosaur. Those bones are still in the collection. But it was time to give the hall a makeover. Now, after more than two years and thirty-six million dollars, most of the work is finished.

The museum opened its new exhibit to the public on November twenty-first. The collection is now called "Dinosaurs in Their Time."

Museum officials say the aim is to show the great diversity of life that existed during the Mesozoic period. The dinosaurs are placed among examples of the hundreds of plants and animals that shared their environments.

Officials say they wanted to show the way groups of dinosaurs really lived. The rooms in the exhibit hold plants and animals that existed more than one hundred fifty million years ago. And they show how some creatures evolved into animals that exist today.

The new exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh is three times the size of the old one. It will hold nineteen dinosaurs once the second part opens in the spring.

The Space Race

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Cambodia. Rey Sopheak asks about the history of the space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

It began fifty years ago. In October of nineteen fifty-seven, the Soviets launched the first manmade satellite into orbit around Earth. It was called Sputnik One. Weeks later Sputnik Two was launched.

Their success was a victory for the Communists. It added to the tensions of what was known as the Cold War, which many people worried could lead to nuclear war. And it pushed Americans to teach more science and math in school -- and to work harder to reach outer space.

Three months later, the United States launched its own satellite. Then, in nineteen sixty-one, the Soviet Union sent the first person into space, Yuri Gagarin. American Alan Shepard followed less than a month later.

The race continued. The finish line was the moon. And it was reached when the crew of Apollo Eleven landed in nineteen sixty-nine. Americans returned to the moon five more times. No one has been back since nineteen seventy-two. NASA, the American space agency, hopes to send astronauts to the moon again by two thousand nineteen. That will be the fiftieth anniversary of the first landing.

Today, there is cooperation between the Russian and American space programs. Astronauts and cosmonauts share duties on the International Space Station. And other countries are expanding their space programs.

In two thousand three, China became the third country ever to send a person into space using its own rocket. Then, in two thousand five, it sent a crew of two on a five-day flight. Another manned trip is planned next year. And China launched a moon orbiter in October.

Other active countries include Japan, India and South Korea. Some experts say that space exploration today should not be compared to the Cold War space race fifty years ago. Just this week, a Chinese official said his country's moon orbiter has no military purposes and that China supports the peaceful use of space.

Judy Kuhn Sings Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro was one of the most influential singers and songwriters of the nineteen sixties and seventies. Judy Kuhn is a Broadway singer who has performed on concert stages around the world. Their talents combine on a new album. Shirley Griffith plays some of the music.

Judy Kuhn has been nominated for several awards for singing in musicals on Broadway in New York. She has also performed in musicals in other cities, in concert, on television and in movies. Her new album is called "Serious Playground: The Songs of Laura Nyro."

Judy Kuhn says Laura Nyro's songs live in a world where loneliness and loss exist side by side with joy in the pleasures of life. Here she sings "Sweet Blindness."

Laura Nyro was born in New York in nineteen forty-seven. She began writing songs as a teenager. Her songs combined the music of gospel, pop, soul, folk, rock and jazz.

When she was nineteen, she released the first of four albums of personal and emotional songs. Judy Kuhn says this opened the door for female songwriters who at that time were not recording their own songs.

Several of Laura Nyro's songs became huge hits when they were recorded by other performers. These include Barbra Streisand, the Fifth Dimension, Blood, Sweat and Tears and Three Dog Night. Here Judy Kuhn sings "Stoney End."

Laura Nyro died of ovarian cancer in nineteen ninety-seven at the age of forty-nine. Her music influenced many female singer-songwriters working today. Judy Kuhn recorded "Serious Playground" to honor the composer of these beautiful, sad and joyful songs. We leave you with "Save the Country."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our writers were Shelley Gollust and Nancy Steinbach.  Caty Weaver was our producer. Transcripts and MP3 files of our programs are at voaspecialenglish.com.

Send your questions about American life to mosaic@voanews.com. And please include your full name and where you are from. Or write to AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
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Source: A Museum in Pittsburgh Gives Its Dinosaurs a Timely Makeover
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