Archives for October, 2009
Photograph by Lisa Poole, AP
Daylight saving time ends for most of the U.S. on November 1. But why do we change our clocks by one hour in the spring in the first place? “In the early 19th century … localities set their own time,” said Bill Mosley, a public affairs officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation. There was no standardized time until train travel became common. The U.S. railroad industry established time zones with standard times in 1883, and Congress made the railroad’s system a law in 1918. The next year, the decision of whether or not to observe daylight saving time was left up to individual jurisdictions.
Some places, like American Samoa, Hawaii and most of Arizona, don’t mess with Father Time. For those places that do observe it, though, the law says that people must set their clocks back to standard time at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. This Sunday, the sun will set an hour earlier. The switch to daylight saving time again on the second Sunday in March “adjust[s] daylight hours to when most people are awake and about,” Mosley said. During daylight saving time months, there’s less light in the morning and more light in the evening. Although more light in the evening isn’t helpful to everyone (like farmers), research shows that longer daylight hours decrease traffic accidents and crimes.
When updating legislation in the 1980s, Congress noted that daylight saving time has many benefits, including “more daylight outdoor playtime for the children and youth of our Nation.”
Read more about daylight saving time on National Geographic News.
Read about atomic clocks on National Geographic News.
Spend your extra hour this weekend reading a book! Get recommendations from other kids on the DogEared Books Blog.
Read about an invention that wakes you up with bacon on National Geographic Kids.
Participate in a costume swap with friends or other families in your neighborhood. See if your friends have some costumes they don’t want to use this year.
Avoid Halloween-store makeup kits. Use real eco-friendly makeup that mom can use long after the holiday is over. Zinc oxide is a great option to use in place of white face paint and can be used as the base for a number of costume make-up ideas. Brown, green, grey and blue eyeshadows, and dark eyeliner can be used to create ghastly-looking scars and bruises.
Encourage your family to hand out candy made with organic sugar or fair trade chocolate. Natural foods stores will often carry individually wrapped candies including lollipops, chocolates, and toffee. And it’s still sweet enough to not get tricked for handing it out.
Decorate a pillowcase or reusable canvas shopping bag to carry the trick-or-treating haul. Don’t buy a new plastic pumpkin this year, go old-school and decorate a pillowcase or canvas shopping bag.
BOOK NAME: Guinness World Records 2010: The Book of The Decade
If you like to see real-life weird things and lots of cool pictures, you’ll want to read this book. I’ve been a big fan of the Guinness World Records ever since I first learned about them when I was 7. I received the 2008 book from my parents for Christmas last year and really enjoyed looking at all the pictures and amazing records. But the 2010 book is even better because it has cooler records. My favorite record in the new book is the “Fastest Time to Solve a Rubik’s Cube by a Robot,” which is 1 minute and 4 seconds. (How is that even possible?)
I thought the most unusual record was “Most Underpants Worn At The Same Time,” which was 137. The photo in the book shows the winner wearing all the underwear and he looks like a baby wearing a huge black diaper. Another favorite is the “Highest Popping Toaster,” which is 8 feet and 6 inches. I don’t know why someone would need toast shot as high as the ceiling, but the photo in the book of the toast high above the inventor’s head is amazing. I’ve spent hours looking at all the pictures and records in this book and I can’t get enough of it. I might set a new record for most time spent looking at one book.
Photograph by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Team Germany won the Solar Decathlon contest to create a house that uses solar power to supply energy for everything in the house, from the computer to the TV. Architecture and engineering students from around the world competed in the decathlon. The winning house, built of solar panels and colorful acrylic panels the team called “sun freckles,” was one of 20 designs that were set up on the Mall in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
Watch a video and see the winning house on National Geographic News!
Would you want to design a solar house?
Nephila komaci is the world’s largest web-spinning spider. Or at least the female is! Her legspan can be as big as five inches (12 centimeters) wide. The males, however, is less than a quarter of the female’s size. Males have legspans that are only one inch wide (2.5 centimeters). There are bigger spiders on the planet (think tarantulas like the goliath birdeater), but they don’t spin webs.
Nephila komaci is a member of the golden orb-weaver family. All of these spiders are known to spin very big webs. They can be up to three feet (one meter) wide! The spider’s habitat is limited–it lives in small areas in Madagascar and South Africa. Although the spider was first identified at a museum in 2000, scientists didn’t know if it still existed in the wild until a field survey in 2007.
Read more about Nephila komaci on National Geographic News.
Put together puzzles featuring spiders on National Geographic Kids.
Get the facts on tarantulas in the Creature Feature.
BOOK NAME: Escape from the Carnivale: A Never Land Book
AUTHOR: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Hi, it’s Reed again. For my next book, I thought this was a really good adventure book. I hope you like my blog.
This book takes place in Never Land – an imaginary place that has mermaids and other mythological creatures. I’m pretty sure that all of you have seen Peter Pan or at least heard of it. This is the same Never Land from Peter Pan.
It all started off when this little girl, named Scallop, went down to play with the mermaids. The mermaids wanted to play “Deep Pearl Diving”. While they were playing one of the mermaids got lost. They didn’t notice until they got back to the shore. Scallop thought it was all her fault, but the other mermaids and her dad said it was not her fault.
Scallop is a princess of beautiful Mollusk Island. A pirate ship called the Carnivale is going to attack the island because they want the land to make a show with all the beasts that they’ve captured from Never Land – including mermaids.
The lost Mermaid, Surf, was caught by those pirates who were looking for weird beasts. The Captain of this ship is Captain Hook.
You’ll have to read the rest to know more about this fantastic story.
Thank you for reading my blog. Have a nice day!
Chimpanzees are more like humans than researchers previously thought. In a new study performed in Japan, chimps helped other chimps get juice by passing them objects such as straws (to drink the juice) or sticks (to reach straws they couldn’t reach). Researchers noticed that related chimps were more likely to help each other.
The chimps were trained to use sticks or straws to get juice, but they were not trained to pass things to each other.
Find out more about the research on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on chimpanzees in this Creature Feature.
Watch a video of a chimp solving a computer puzzle on News Bites.
Photograph by Beverly Joubert
Africa’s lion population is quickly getting smaller and smaller, and action must be taken immediately to save these majestic animals.To raise awareness, the National Geographic Society launched the Big Cats Initiative this month. This project will support programs and education that will help the big cats of the world, with a special focus on lions.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert are one of the big forces behind the project. They are National Geographic Explorers-in Residence who have spent over 25 years studying and working to conserve Africa’s animals, especially the big cats. They want people to understand that when it comes to saving the big cats like lions and leopards, the time to act is now. “”We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” Dereck says.
Learn more about the Big Cats Initiative on National Geographic.
Get the facts on lions on National Geographic Kids.
Play Crittercam: African Adventure on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: Mummies (National Geographic Kids)
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Carney
Mummies is about how mummies are made, and some famous mummies and different kinds of mummies. If a person is buried in a bog, they will be protected and can turn into a mummy. A mummy’s hair color can even stay if it’s buried in a bog.
Other mummies are wrapped in linen. It’s a special kind of cloth. They put them in a giant box called a sarcophagus. They stay in there for a long long time. You can find them in deserts, caves and other places. But you mostly see them unburied in museums like in Washington, D.C.
Two hikers found a very famous mummy named Otzi. Scientists found an arrow in his back and they think that’s how he died 5,300 years ago.
The book also tells you how Egyptians made mummies:
1. You take out the organs.
2. You take out the brain with a long hook and stick it up his nose and pull his brain out of his nose.
3. You wash his body and put salt on him.
4. You let him dry for 40 days.
5. You rub special oil on the body.
6.You wrap him up with linen and then put him in the sarcophagus.
In 1922, King Tut was found in a cave. He was 15 years old when he died and he was a king 3,300 years ago. Sometimes they find special gold and money where mummies were buried. You can see King Tut in his cave where he was found.
There can also be animal mummies. There can be dogs, cats, monkeys and even crocodile mummies!
I liked this book a lot. It was a really good book for my age.
Have you ever been to a swap meet? Swaps are a great way to conserve resources because instead of tossing out items that you don’t need anymore, you can exchange them for items that you want or need.
How Swaps Work
Go through your belongings and find items that you don’t use anymore. Be sure your parents aren’t planning to pass them down to a younger sibling!
Pick a date to have a swap party at your house, church, or school. Double check these dates with your parents, teacher, principal, or church leader to find out what works for them.
Pick a theme! You can have a winter swap to swap winter coats and boots, winter sports gear such as ice/hockey skates, sleds, or even snowboards and skis. Or you can have a summer swap to exchange rafts, snorkeling gear, camping equipment, kayaks, and boogie boards.
Or you can set up a swap based on the items your are swapping. Books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and toy swaps are great way to get some new media to keep you busy.
Costume swaps and clothes swaps help you to exchange items that are too small for you for something that fits! Maybe you can plan a Halloween costume swap.
Ask people to bring only those items that actually work and are clean.
Donate any leftover items to charity.
Photograph by Robert L. Curry
Did you know that there are more than 40,000 species of spiders, but only one species is known to be vegetarian? The jumping spider is named Bagheera kiplingi after the character of Bagheera the panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Bagheera kiplingi lives in Mexico and Costa Rica and eats the buds that grow on acacia plants. Ferocious acacia ants live in the acacia’s hollow thorns and defend the plants from intruders such as Bagheera kiplingi. The spider must leap from thorn to thorn to collect its food while avoiding the ants, according to Christopher Meehan the biologist who led the study. “It is utterly surreal to see a spider use such effective hunting strategies to hunt a plant,” he added.
Read more about this plant-loving spider on National Geographic News.
Put together puzzles featuring spiders on National Geographic Kids.
Watch a video of a jumping spider on National Geographic Kids.
LCROSS mission picture courtesy NASA
This morning, NASA’s LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) intentionally crashed into the moon’s surface in hopes of uncovering traces of ice near the moon’s south pole. The impact created a crater of about 100 feet (300 meters) wide and scattered 200 tons of material on the moon’s surface.
Impacts on the moon aren’t unusual. Other objects similar in size to LCROSS, such as meteors, hit the moon every month and more than two dozen NASA objects are already scattered across the moon’s surface.
Learn more about the LCROSS crash on National Geographic News.
Check out pictures of moon exploration on National Geographic Kids.
Quiz Your Noodle and find out how much you
know about the moon on National Geographic Kids.
Play Pluto’s Secret on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Newspix/Rex USA
Violent storms can be disastrous for baby flying foxes in Australia. Strong winds can knock the babies from the protection of their mothers’ wings, and many have not learned how to fly. Luckily for the bats, there are volunteers to swoop in and rescue them.
One particularly fierce storm sent hundreds of baby bats helplessly to the ground. Over three days, volunteers transported the babies to the Australian Bat Clinic & Wildlife Trauma Centre. Doctors at the clinic treated the bats for injuries and broken bones and monitored them until they learned to fly.
Read the full story by Scott Elder in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic Kids, on newsstands now.
See a video of flying foxes on National Geographic Kids.
Read a story about Dunia, a rescued baby gorilla, on National Geographic Kids.
Watch the video of frogfish swimming near Cocos Island.
Easily mistaken for a sponge when standing still, this frogfish–a favorite of the Ocean Now expedition team–waddles the seafloor beneath Chatham Bay off Costa Rica’s Cocos Island. Learn more about Cocos and see more of the frogfish at ocean.nationalgeographic.com.
BOOK NAME: The Get Rich Quick Club
AUTHOR: Dan Gutman
This book is about three 12-year-old friends named Gina, Rob and Quimby, who want to become millionaires by the time they’re teenagers. They start their own club to come up with different ideas on easy ways to get rich, but they couldn’t come up with anything. That is until Gina said they might as well just sit in her yard to wait for a UFO to land and Rob yelled “That’s it! We could make a UFO!” They then made a photo of what appears to be a UFO by throwing plates and other things in the air and taking blurry pictures of them. They took their best photo to the boss of a newspaper company who paid them for it and then they became famous and were on TV. It ended when Rob feels guilty and tells everyone that the picture is fake.
My favorite part of this book is the very end, when there’s a huge surprise. I don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say that they don’t end up with a lot of money, but they do get to see something very amazing that I think most everyone would want to see.
I liked the whole story because I thought it was funny how these kids made everyone think there had been a UFO.
The oldest known fossil skeleton of a human ancestor–a female Ardipithecus ramidus specimen nicknamed “Ardi” (pictured)–has been found, scientists revealed yesterday.
The find reveals that our ancestors underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago. Ardi lived 4.4 million years ago, according to researchers.
See more pictures, a map, and read a report of the discovery on National Geographic News.
Learn more from Science magazine.