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Muse: The magazine of science, culture, and smart laughs for kids and childrenMuse: The magazine of science, culture, and smart laughs for kids and children

Muse: The magazine of science, culture, and smart laughs for kids and children November/December 2018

Kids who can't help wondering whether video games really kill their brain cells, or what a gentleman ladybug is called, will find the answers here, in articles written by award-winning authors and accompanied by high-quality illustration and photography. MUSE is perfect for any kid interested in science, history, and the arts. Grades 5-9

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9 Edities


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muse mail

“I got to snorkel and see how important the reefs are to our ocean’s ecosystem.” Hi Jack. Wow, your trip sounds fun. Snorkeling is magical. I’m interested in the health of coral reefs too and recently found out that some sunscreens have safer ingredients for coral. Maybe other readers will have suggestions for books about coral bleaching or marine biology. Anyone? —WHATSI Diving into Marine Science Have any readers here ever wondered what our world would be like without coral reefs? I recently watched the documentary Chasing Coral, which talked about coral bleaching. I learned about this interesting topic and strongly feel that others need to learn about it. Also, I just went on a trip to Belize and stayed on Glover’s Reef. I got to snorkel and see how important the…

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when ants explode

CERTAIN ANTS in Southeast Asia have an unusual way of fighting back. When another bug bothers them, these ants explode. They cover the attacker in bright yellow, spicy-smelling goo. The fluid is toxic and tangles the attacker’s legs. The exploded ant dies—but its colony is a little safer. There are other types of exploding ants. But this is the first new exploding ant species that scientists have officially described since 1935. They named the species Colobopsis explodens. That’s a better name than what researchers called it until now: “yellow goo.” One of these stories is FALSE. Can you spot which one? The answer is on page 39.…

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bot the builder

PEOPLE CAN save money on furniture by buying parts in a box to assemble at home. But it isn’t always easy to put together a bookshelf or a table correctly. Now engineers in Singapore have built a robot that can assemble a simple IKEA chair from a pile of scattered parts. A 3D camera takes pictures of the chair’s parts while they’re scattered on the floor. That lets the robot map out what it needs. It has two big arms with gripping fingers. Force sensors on the robot’s “wrists” allow it to hold parts delicately or to push them together strongly. Researchers programmed the robot with the sequence of steps for assembling the chair. The robot spent 11 minutes and 20 seconds planning what it would do, from picking up pieces to…

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a world record with a cherry on top

PIE MAKERS in the Midwest made a tasty achievement in the summer of 2018. Using 2,847 cherry pies, they set a world record for the largest pie chart made out of pie. The record was set at an annual cherry festival in Michigan. At one booth, visitors could sample six types of cherry pie and report which flavor they liked best. On the last day of the weeklong festival, the organizers tallied up the results. (The winner, with 35 percent of votes, was a sour cherry pie with a crumb topping.) Then the organizers gathered all the festival’s remaining pies. They arranged the pies in an open field in the shape of a giant pie chart showing the poll results. Each wedge in the pie chart was made of actual pies…

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tracking an ancient hunt

WE KNOW sloths as sleepy, slow-moving animals that climb in trees. But thousands of years ago, bear-sized giant sloths walked the Earth. Like woolly mammoths, these animals lived near prehistoric humans but are now extinct. Researchers discovered a set of ancient footprints in New Mexico belonging to some of these giant ground sloths. The prints were mixed together with footprints of humans—who may have been hunting them. The tracks are probably between 10,000 and 15,000 years old. The sloth prints zigzag around. In some places, the prints show an animal rearing up on its hind legs. And the human prints overlap the sloth prints. The researchers think this is the site of an ancient hunt or chase. But there’s another possible explanation: after sloths walked here, humans may have found the fresh…

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the real sea stars are these whales

HUMPBACK WHALES are the sea’s most famous singers. But whales of another species might be even more impressive vocalists. We just never noticed it until now. Bowhead whales live in the Arctic, at the top of the world. Scientists there placed microphones underwater to record the whales’ calls. They heard bowhead whales singing many different songs. New songs frequently arose and then disappeared again, almost like trendy pop music. Over three years of recordings, the scientists heard 184 different songs. Male bowhead whales might sing to try to attract females. Or maybe they’re just waiting to be invited onto The Voice. That’s the news! Go to page 39 to see if you spotted the false story.…