Archives for May, 2009
Photograph courtesy University of Pennsylvania
What makes animals glow? Some of them, like jellyfishes and scorpions, glow under ultraviolet lights because of naturally occurring proteins or other materials. Other animals, such as monkeys or puppies, glow because scientists have added new proteins into their DNA. The glowing mice in the photo above received DNA with the glowing protein from their father.
Check out the glowing gallery on National Geographic News.
We’ve been collecting denim for about two months, but we still have over a month to go! So far we have collected a total of 11,268 denim items! That’s enough cotton to insulate about 22 houses! Find out how you can participate, help us set a Guinness World Record, and help create insulation for homes that have been damaged in storms.
Have you and your friends donated your worn-out jeans yet? Tell us!
BOOK NAME: World’s Dumbest Crooks and Other True Tales of Bloopers, Botches & Blunders
AUTHOR: Allan Zullo
This book is about some of the world’s dumbest crooks, stupidest sports plays and other stuff like that.
Here’s one example. This robber robbed a store and was so tired afterward that he thought he’d sit down for a while and he accidentally fell asleep! In the store he just robbed! The police caught him while he was taking his nap.
Then, there was this lady who had a vending machine at her store. She brought her cat to work everyday. She was going to sell her vending machine, but her cat jumped in the machine trying to get some food. The cat ended up on a five-hour trip to the store of the new owner!
There is another one was about a quarterback on a football team during a game. His team was lined up and he took the ball to the ref and said it was a practice ball. Then he yelled “Hike!” He kept the ball and ran all the way to the touchdown. And the referees said it counted!
This book was interesting because it had so many funny stories about how stupid and funny people could be. The book has chapters about crooks, sports, animals, movie stars and a few others.
I hope you enjoy this book if you end up getting it. It’s really funny.
Sony Dong was arrested in March for trying to smuggle songbirds into the United States. He got caught when a Los Angeles International Airport inspector noticed feathers peeking out from the bottom of his pants and bird poop on his shiny black shoes. More than a dozen birds were strapped to his legs with buttoned cloth wrappings.
Exotic songbirds from Asia can earn high prices in the United States. The rescued birds might end up in a zoo.
Photograph by AP/Department of Justice
Read more about the bird smuggling case on National Geographic News.
BOOK NAME: Fudge-a-mania
AUTHOR: Judy Blume
This book is about two families that live in New York City, the Hatchers and Tubmans. The parents from each family like each other but the kids from each family do NOT like each other. The parents of the families decide to go to Maine for the summer. The kids think they are going live in houses next door to each other, like neighbors. This would be bad enough, but they actually have to live in the SAME house for the summer.
The main person in the story is Peter. He is the oldest kid in the Hatcher family and Fudge (not his real name) is the youngest. Sheila is the youngest kid in the Tubman family. Sheila and Peter are enemies. This makes for a lot of trouble during summer vacation. What makes it even harder is that Peter and Sheila are both given the job of taking care of Fudge during the summer and Fudge is a lot of work!
But it goes from bad to worse when Grandpa Tubman (Sheila’s grandpa) and Grandma Hatcher (Peter and Fudge’s grandma) decide to get married. This means Peter and Sheila, although they are sworn enemies, are now related and in the same family. But they made a promise that even though they are related, they will always hate each other!
I really liked this book. I tried to read it all at one time, but my parents told me I had stop reading and turn off my light since it was a school night!
Scientists in Denmark wondered if global warming could make Greenland’s wolf spiders bigger. During a ten-year study, they tracked spider sizes. In years when spring came 30 days earlier than usual, some spiders grew exoskeletons that were thicker than average, resulting in bigger bodies! In colder winters, spiders grew thinner exoskeletons. What’s more, during warmer springs female spiders grew larger than the male spiders did.
Photograph by Tom Uhlman/AP
As the Earth’s temperature warms, bigger spiders could become the norm. Researchers aren’t sure why warmer temperatures mean bigger wolf spiders. It could be because their prime hunting season is longer. Or perhaps longer summers allow the spiders to molt–shed their old exoskeletons–more often, letting grow bigger during their lifetimes. The study’s co-author, Toke Høye, is pretty sure that bigger spiders will also mean MORE spiders, because larger female wolf spiders have more offspring than smaller ones.
Read more about this spider study on National Geographic News.
Watch a jumping spider video on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: Explorabook: A Kids’ Science Museum in a Book
AUTHOR: John Cassidy
If you like science, you’ll love this book. It doesn’t tell a story, but it tells you a lot about different parts of science, like magnetism, optical illusions, reflections, light waves and bacteria. One of the pages of the book is actually a mirror on both sides. Another page is like a giant magnifying glass that you can see through, but it’s made of thin plastic, not glass.
My favorite part is the optical illusions chapter, which shows all kinds of photos and drawings that fool your eye into thinking it’s something else. On one page, there’s what appears to be a perfect square on top of a bunch of circles, but when you look closer you realize all the sides are curved. In one photo, there are two girls standing next to two mirrors and one appears to be twice the size of the other, but really they’re the same size because the mirrors are so different in size.
The book has a lot of funny pictures, including one of scientists smelling the arm pits of different people for an experiment. My brothers and I always laugh at that one. The book also comes with two packs of Agar, which you can mix with water to grow bacteria that you can see under a microscope. Bacteria likes to eat Agar.
This book makes science fun and funny.
Jeans continue to pile up at our office! Not only have celebrities Dylan and Cole Sprouse and Tiffany Thornton donated jeans, but we have received a total of 10,049 denim items from thousands of kids.
Do you like to dance? Snowball the cockatoo does! Aniruddh Patel at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego and colleagues studied Snowball, who seems to love “dancing” to Queen and the Backstreet Boys. He was really keeping time to the beat, too–the scientists would change the music’s tempo, or “BPM” (beats per minute), and Snowball would adjust how fast he was dancing!
Watch a video of Snowball in action.
Get the scoop on Snowball’s dancing on National Geographic News.
Watch more wacky parrot behavior on National Geographic Kids.
See more pictures of these celebs donating their jeans at KOL.
The chances to win cool stuff during Get Caught Reading month continues with this awesome Magic Tree House Passport contest from National Geographic and our friends at Random House.
Join Jack and Annie (the two main characters in the book series by Mary Pope Osborne, if you haven’t yet read them!) on an adventure across the U.S. What’s on their “road trip?” Hmm….ghosts in New Orleans, polar bears in Alaska, tornadoes in Kansas, surfing in Hawaii … a quick trip back in time to the Civil War and much, much more!
Here’s how it works:
STEP 1: Print the entry form.
STEP 2: Answer Magic Tree House trivia questions to earn official passport stamps and add all nine stamps to your map.
STEP 3: Mail it in for chance to win cool trip to the Grand Canyon for a family of four including a helicopter ride!
The Great Turtle Race ended on Thursday, April 29. Backspacer was the first to make it across the finish line and into the Caribbean! Find out how the other turtles placed and who won the other Race challenges on the Green Scene blog. How did your favorite turtle place?
Race a turtle in the Great Turtle Race game.
Visit the leatherback sea turtle Creature Feature.
Illustration by Chris Rooney
May is Get Caught Reading month. And you, our faithful DogEared readers can help spread the word.
Plus, we’ve teamed up with some generous book publishers and the Get Caught Reading folks to give you the chance to win prizes… um, just for reading. Yup! You read that correctly. JUST FOR READING. Which we know you love to do, well, as much as breathing!
Here’s how it works. If an adult you know catches you reading, fill out this card and send it in for a chance to win these cool prizes! And who doesn’t need awesome new book to load up your bookshelves or take on summer vacation?