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Saturday, Feb. 13th, 2016

Science & Maker Faire Registration Deadline April 7

The inaugural Blunderbuss Science & Maker Faire will take place April 28-30th in Bozeman, Montana. It will be a symposium which fuses inventions, science projects, dialogue and problem solving events in a show-and-tell environment. The event will take place in multiple venues around Bozeman and will be open to the public. Our goal is to find garage projects, makers, tinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and problem solvers and provide a community of education, opportunity and creativity.

The original pirate shotgun, the blunderbuss is known for its utilitarian resourcefulness; it could fire whatever material fit down its barrel, including forks, knives, rocks, etc. As such, the blunderbuss was a fitting namesake and metaphor for the environment Blunderbuss seeks to foster, one in which risk-takers can discharge their creative shrapnel on the community – to fail comfortably or succeed incredibly – and learn. As stewards of resourcefulness, collaboration, ingenuity and innovation, Blunderbuss’ originators and dedicated staff are committed to making multi-generational education, open community dialogue and unhindered creativity of foremost priority. A community resource for mind bending.

Thursday, April 28th -Bozeman Public Library
6:30-9:30pm Talk show and dialogues on Crowd Funding and Patents & Intellectual Property. Followed by live music and libations.

Friday, April 29th -Baxter Hotel
4:00pm- 7:00pm Science & Maker Faire- Project presentations

Saturday, April 30th -Baxter Hotel
10:00am- 4:00pm Science & Maker Faire- Show-and-Tell

Makey Makey Battle of the Bands - MAP Brewing6:00-9:00pm


Partners: Start up Bozeman, City of Bozeman, Blackstone Launchpad, Bozeman Public Library & Foundation, HATCH, Blunderbuss, MakerCats, The Justin Wayne Show, The Handmade Movement, MAP Brewing, Bozeman Area Community Foundation.

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Friday, Feb. 12th, 2016

Montana's Most Distinctive Slang Word

According the Merriam-Webster dictionary slang is defined as “words that are not considered part of the standard vocabulary of a language and that are used very informally in speech especially by a particular group of people.” Slang words form within different cultures, countries or in this case states. A map designed and created by writers at show the most popular slang word used in each state. The final word chosen was by no chance random. Linguists were first called in to create a list of possible slang phrases or words that were already associated with each individual state. Online message boards were analyzed and colleges were surveyed to narrow down the options to about ten words. Ultimately the decision was left up to the writers at Slate. The final word chosen was based on the writer’s favorite of the group, some aren’t even words at all but are a popular and original phrase, and tie-breakers were broken by how “fun” a word was.

Curious as to what the map reads for Montana? Graupel: The official slang word of Montana. Graupel is defined as snow-like precipitation that resembles tiny ice balls. For those who find this word missing from their daily language the authors of Slate have provided readers with each word used in an example sentence. The example they have provided reads, “That rain was pretty annoying, but this graupel that stings when it hits you is just absurd.” Though it may be a word you have never or rarely find yourself using in context it makes much more sense than those of other states. Think about it. Montana is notorious for crazy winters; with below freezing temperatures being something you don’t think twice about. In any place, at least here in the United States, weather is a topic of discussion that inevitably comes up in all of our daily conversations. It only makes sense for a word describing an abnormal winter weather event to be the most popular slang word in a place where weather is already an extreme.

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MSU part of international team that detects gravitational waves 100 years after Einstein predicted their existence

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Neil Cornish, Montana State University professor and member of the LIGO gravitational wave detector team.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on Sept. 14, 2015, at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, LIGO, detectors, located in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation and were conceived, built and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy, and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Montana State University has been a member institution of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2007. Physics professor and MSU eXtreme Gravity Institute, XGI, co-director Neil Cornish leads the MSU LIGO group. Cornish, together with his current and past graduate students Margaret Millhouse, Tyson Littenberg, Paul Baker and Joey Shapiro Key, developed a novel method for extracting gravitational wave signals directly from the LIGO data. This analysis helped confirm the nature of the signal, and the consistency of the signal with the predictions of Einstein's theory of gravity. Results from the MSU team's analysis are displayed in the first figure of the discovery paper.

"The detection of gravitational waves by LIGO is a tremendous achievement capping decades of work by a large number of people," said Cornish, "but this is just the beginning. I'm even more excited about the discoveries we are going to make going forward, both with LIGO and other gravitational wave detectors." The eXtreme Gravity Institute at MSU is involved in two other gravitational wave projects: the North American NanoHertz Gravitational Observatory; and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna - a future space mission led by the European Space Agency with possible NASA involvement.

"The XGI at Montana State University was launched just a year ago, at a historic time. The institute captures the enthusiasm of MSU and Montana for exploring great unknowns of extreme gravity,” said Renee Reijo Pera, vice president for research and economic development at MSU.

The discovery also has an unexpected Montana connection - the event horizon of the black hole that formed from the merger shares the same surface area as the state of Montana. But that is where the similarities end: the black hole rotates 100 times per second, and has a mass 62 times larger than the Sun. The power output of the merger briefly exceeded that of all the stars in the Universe. The total energy release was a billion billion billion times greater than the last eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, or a million billion times the energy required to completely blow the Earth apart.

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, LSC, a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration. The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain.

LIGO was originally proposed as a means of detecting these gravitational waves in the 1980s by Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus, from MIT; Kip Thorne, Caltech's Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, emeritus; and Ronald Drever, professor of physics, emeritus, also from Caltech.

Virgo research is carried out by the Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS, in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, INFN, in Italy; two in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland and the European Gravitational Observatory, EGO, the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy.

The discovery was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments compared to the first generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run. The U.S. National Science Foundation leads in financial support for Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC, and Australian Research Council also have made significant commitments to the project.

Several of the key technologies that made Advanced LIGO so much more sensitive have been developed and tested by the German UK GEO collaboration. Significant computer resources have been contributed by the AEI Hannover Atlas Cluster, the LIGO Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Several universities designed, built and tested key components for Advanced LIGO: The Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Florida, Stanford University, Columbia  University in the City of New York and Louisiana State University.

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Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 2016

Bernie Sanders Qualifies for Montana Democratic Primary Presidential Ballot Line

Volunteers for Bernie have collected and submitted enough signatures to guarantee Bernie Sanders ballot access for Montana’s Primary Election.

Montana, Feb, 10th 2016: Montana volunteers for US Senator Bernie Sanders have submitted enough signatures to put Sanders on the Montana Democratic presidential primary ballot.  The Montana primary is scheduled to take place on June 7th.

Volunteers carried petitions filed with the MT Sec of State by the National Bernie Sander's Campaign Signatures were collected in Butte-Silver Bow, Gallatin, Lewis & Clark, Missoula, Yellowstone, Park and Sanders Counties, among others.

“The energy for Bernie is high," said Park County for Bernie volunteer and retired actress Margot Kidder of Livingston. Though the Sanders campaign has no official campaign office in Montana, there are regular meetings of volunteers doing actual work to help him get elected. "We an enormous amount of active and committed volunteers across the state that are deeply engaged in reaching out on behalf of Bernie," said Kidder.

“Getting Bernie on the ballot in Montana feels great,” said Andy Boyd of Bozeman.  Now, we are focusing  on forming phone banks and calling voters in the early states like South Carolina and Nevada.

 For more information  on Bernie Sanders Campaign events in Montana visit

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Tuesday, Feb. 9th, 2016

MSU paleontologists discover evidence of new types of dinosaurs in Idaho

A team of Montana State University paleontologists have identified several new types of dinosaurs from fossil evidence discovered in eastern Idaho, demonstrating the presence of a much more diverse group of theropods in the area than was previously known.

The findings were published earlier this month in Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology. MSU doctoral student L.J. Krumenacker in the MSU College of Letters and Science’s Department of Earth Sciences was the lead author of the study. Others who contributed to the work were Krumenacker’s adviser, MSU paleontology professor David J. Varricchio, MSU graduate student Garrett Scofield and current Boise State University adjunct professor and former MSU graduate student Jade Simon.

The fossils, found in the Wayan Formation, which occurs on lands administered by Caribou-Targhee National Forest, represent at least three newly discovered types of theropod – the family of dominantly carnivorous dinosaurs which include animals such as Tyrannosaurus rex. In fact, these formerly unrecognized dinosaurs, which date back to about 95 million years ago, include small- to mid-sized tyrannosauroids, Krumenacker said. Based mostly on fossilized teeth, he estimates the possible larger tyrannosauroid was about the size of a horse, with the small tyrannosauroid being similar in size to a retriever-sized dog.

Also among their findings were a pair of fossilized eggs of a large oviraptorosaur –the largest dinosaurs known to have existed in Idaho. The eggs are the first evidence that oviraptorosaurs lived in the area at that time.

The discoveries are significant, Varricchio said. Dinosaur fossils are rare to find in Idaho and these are some of the few that date back to the middle Cretaceous period.

“We don’t really have many dinosaurs from this time period,” he said. “This new evidence is really filling in the time, temporal and spacial gap.”

Krumenacker, who hails from Idaho, has been searching his home state for dinosaur remains for more than a decade – since he was an undergraduate at Idaho State University.

“He’s made himself the expert on Idaho dinosaurs,” Varricchio said. “He’s largely been the person to describe the Idaho dinosaurs.”

But aside from fossilized evidence of Oryctodromeus cubicularis – a burrowing dinosaur that lived around the same time as these newly discovered tyrannosauroids – the Idaho finds have been limited at best.

“It’s just disappointing,” Krumenacker said. “You’d like to find more. But it just drives me to look more. Persistence pays off – now we’ve found these other fossil localities giving a lot of more data on the animals present at the time.

“The challenge is identifying the animals based on the fragmentary specimens we find,” he added. “I put my best effort into it. It’s possible I could discover some identifications are wrong if we find more complete remains later. But I’d be thrilled because then we’d have an even better understanding. I’d really like to find more.”

The specimens will be curated at the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello, which holds the permit that allowed the collection of these fossils. A permit is required for all vertebrate fossils collected from federal lands.

This press released is derived, in part, from an article published in Historical Biology on Feb. 1, 2016 © Taylor & Francis, available online:

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Friday, Feb. 5th, 2016

MSU, Wilcoxson’s partner to create new ‘Bobcat Batter’ ice cream

Montana State University and Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream have partnered to create Bobcat Batter, a new Bobcat-branded ice cream flavor available in Montana stores.

Bobcat Batter features a cake batter ice cream with a blue frosting wave. It is now available in half-gallon cartons at grocery stores across Montana, including at Rosauers, Heeb’s and Albertsons in Bozeman.

Bobcat Batter first debuted last fall in MSU’s renovated Miller Dining Hall as part of the university’s Montana Made Program, which seeks to increase access to local food products. At the time, the new ice cream flavor didn’t yet have a name, so the university sponsored a community-wide naming contest.

“We are thrilled to see that the product we debuted at Miller is now available at Montana supermarkets, said Michael Kosevich, general manager of MSU University Food Services.

Matt Schaeffer, president of Livingston-based Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream, said he is proud of the partnership that has been developed between his company and MSU.

“I feel privileged to be a part of this,” Schaeffer said. “I like being associated with MSU. I think it’s a great combination.”

Julie Kipfer, MSU director of trademarks and licensing, agreed the new ice cream flavor showcases a great partnership.

“Working with University Food Services and Montana-based Wilcoxson’s, we were able to develop a locally sourced product that creates excitement with a new generation of Bobcat fans and engages our alumni across Montana,” Kipfer said. “We love to see Montana businesses succeed and benefit from these collaborations.”

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Monday, Feb. 1st, 2016

Bozeman Fire Warns of Potential Scam

The Bozeman Fire Department is warning residents about a potential scam concerning fire department equipment and funding being conducted in the area.

We have had reports of a caller contacting residents stating that they are a member of the Bozeman Fire Department and that they are collecting funds for fire department equipment. The caller advises that donations can be made in the amount of $50, $75, and $100 dollars via a credit card.

Bozeman Fire does not solicit via phone nor does it use third party solicitors for any funding activities. If you receive a suspicious call please do not provide them with your personal information or any payment information and report the suspicious call.

For additional information you may contact Fire Chief Josh Waldo @ 582‐2351

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Thursday, Jan. 28th, 2016

Skijoring Hits Bozeman

Gallatin County Regional Park saw action this past weekend that had yet to shake things up in Bozeman! On Saturday and Sunday, skier and riders competed in the first ever Duckworth Montana Classic Skijoring Race.

This was the first such completion to be held in Bozeman, according to event organizer Whitni Ciofalo. Along with being the current Bozeman race director, she is also a Founding Board Member of Skijor America.

82 teams signed up on Friday night to compete in Saturday’s races. 32 of those teams were in the Novice Category, which competed first. Some of the skiers I spoke to had tried the sport before, or had a least practiced a few times but there was more than one brave soul who had never attempted before!

When asked what appealed to them about skijoring, the most popular answer from skiers was “the speed.” Bozeman resident Glenn said his reason for wanting to give it a try for the first time was, “It just looks fun!” When I caught up with him after his first run, Glenn was grinning as he told me “It was easier than I thought.” Glenn’s rider was his friend Rick who explained all horses respond differently to towing a rope and skier. Rick’s horse Pepper was indifferent about the experience, a result of being a horse used in Mounted Cowboy Shooting Competitions.

Experienced skijorer Darren Anderson traveled to Bozeman from Vail, Colorado to compete in this weekend’s races. He said the Duckworth Montana Classic was the second stop of the Skijoring America Circuit. Although there was also an event taking place in Driggs, Idaho that weekend, his rider chose Bozeman’s event so he came here because “You go where your horse and rider want to go.”

The races were well attended by skijoring enthusiasts but also many Bozemanites who weren’t familiar with the sport. Some folks were simply out walking their dogs at the park, saw the horses and went over to see what all the fuss was about! No one appeared to be disappointed in what they saw! Crowds cheered as teams raced over ramps and flinched when there was a wreck.

According to the Skijor America website, the history of the sport as it exists today can be traced back to Colorado in the late 1940’s. Two close friends “were impressed by the prospect of skijoring, however, they couldn’t understand why anyone would want to go that slow!”

And so, what was originally used as a form of transportation has transformed into a fast, thrilling, and sometimes dangerous sport. Leave it to Bozeman, a home for many skiers and equestrians, to embrace the sport and finally get it the attention it deserves!

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Friday, Jan. 22nd, 2016

Scout Day 2016 hosted by the Museum of the Rockies

Since 2012, Museum of the Rockies has hosted Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts from around the region in its annual Scout Day event.
On Saturday, March 5, from 9am to 2pm, Scout Day will return once again, and it promises to be one of the most exciting ever. Scout Day 2016: Trek Through Time will focus on MOR's world-renown paleontology collections and feature the Museum's Curator of Paleontology, Jack Horner.  It will also feature MOR's two new exhibits, Across the Andes and National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photographs.

Scouts, and their families, will be able to meet Jack Horner during a special presentation about dinosaurs, and watch a custom-produced program at MOR's Taylor Planetarium. These special activities have limited seating. Tickets are required and will be available during registration.
Scouts will also be able to fulfill badge requirements as they participate in engaging activities, including a mock dinosaur dig, creating a constellation, playing a rock cycle game, geocaching, digital photography and more. More information is available on the Museum's website,

The first 300 scouts to register for Scout Day 2016: Trek Through Time will receive a commemorative participation patch. Pizza lunch will be available for purchase between 11am-1pm during the event.
Scouts from around the region, as well as non-scouts, are invited to attend. Scouts may come as a pack or troop, or individually with families.
Scout Day 2016: Trek Though Time is free to scouts and families who are members of MOR. Non-museum members who are active members of the Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts will receive a special discount of $6.50 per Scout and $9.50 Scout Leader. Regular MOR pricing applies for non-members who are not scouts.

Pre-registration is required by Friday, February 26, 2016, and late registrations will not receive program discount.  Registration fees for this program are non-refundable.
Scout Day 2016: Trek Though Time is presented by Museum of the Rockies in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming and the Boy Scouts of America, Montana Council.

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Thursday, Jan. 21st, 2016

Physics for the People: MSU professor and AM 1450 KMMS join forces

Montana radio listeners can now tune in to a weekly, live radio segment about physics, astronomy and the cosmos with Montana State University Assistant Professor Nico Yunes and well-known Bozeman radio personality Chris Griffin of AM 1450 KMMS.

Each Wednesday from 8-8:30 a.m., Griffin and Yunes will discuss everything from theories about black holes and the big bang to the physics behind the Global Positioning Systems that have become ubiquitous in consumer electronics.

“There can be no physics without communication. I love to reach out and share my love for the amazing world of physics,” said Yunes. “Chris has been so gracious to invite me to his show to have an engaging and exciting dialogue about the science that surrounds us everyday without us even noticing it.”

Yunes is an internationally recognized leader both in his area of specialty, Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and in public outreach and education about physics.

Among his many accomplishments, in 2015 Yunes earned the Young Scientist Award in General Relativity and Gravitation from the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. In 2013, he was awarded a $500,000 National Science Foundation Career Award, and in 2010 he was chosen as one of NASA’s Einstein Fellows.

He is also well known for leading the team that created “Celebrating Einstein,” a science festival that commemorated Einstein’s 100th birthday in 2013 with public presentations, art installations, film and music  performances that blended art and science. The next year, Yunes followed up by organizing and performing at “Rhythms of the Universe,” which combined spoken word poetry and physics.

Yunes is co-director of the MSU eXtreme Gravity Institute as well as MSU’s Gravity Research Group.  

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