Kids & Teens
Muse: 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 April 2019

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

United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Issues

in this issue

7 min.
muse mail

Cat Chemistry The first thing I’m going to say in this letter is not “I love your mag!” It’s . . . um . . . OK, I really love your mag! I am a human inventor that made a potion to turn myself into a cat, but I messed it up and now I can turn into a cat and back again whenever I like! (That’s called serendipity.) Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how to make the potion because a) I don’t remember, b) it’s supposed to be a secret, c) it might be dangerous, and d) you wouldn’t be able to make it anyway, because it uses rare magical ingredients and is a spin-off of the Polyjuice potion. As a human believer and a cat feeling the effects of global warming, my favorite issue…

1 min.
do i know you?

Sure, you don’t recognize everyone. Sometimes you see your friend’s cousin or your mom’s coworker and don’t remember meeting them before. But in general, you’re a superstar at knowing faces. Researchers think the average adult can recognize around 5,000 people. To figure this out, scientists recruited 25 people. The subjects spent an hour listing every person whose face they knew: family, friends, teachers, doctors, and so on. People were still listing names and descriptions (like “dentist’s receptionist”) after an hour, though they’d slowed down. Then they spent another hour making a list of famous people they could recognize, such as singers, politicians, and actors. Finally, the researchers showed the subjects photos of celebrities and asked whether they recognized each one. They found that people knew many more celebrities that they hadn’t thought…

1 min.
ai outsmarts cyberbullies

CYBERBULLYING HARMS kids and adults alike. But it’s hard to catch or prevent. That’s why researchers are trying to create a computer program that can find bullying posts online. Scientists in Belgium looked at a collection of almost 200,000 social media posts, some in English and some in Dutch. Humans had combed through these posts to figure out which ones were aggressive or inappropriate. The researchers used artificial intelligence (AI) to find patterns in the posts. Then they had their program look at a new set of social media posts and try to find the cyberbullies. The program didn’t do a perfect job. But it could be a step toward stopping online jerks.…

1 min.
europa gets stabbier

JUPITER HAS dozens of moons. But scientists are especially interested in one, called Europa. It’s covered in thick ice, which may have a salty ocean underneath. This makes the moon a good place to search for life. NASA is working on plans to send a robotic lander to Europa. But the robot may have to tread carefully. Researchers calculated how ice evaporates from Europa. They found that near the moon’s equator, tall ice spikes might form. These spikes could be almost 50 feet (15 m) high—the size of a five-story building. Icy blades like this also form on some mountains on Earth. On Europa, they could mean danger for a robot.…

1 min.
world’s biggest life form becomes world’s biggest buffet

QUICK: WHAT’S the largest living thing on Earth? Are you picturing a whale? Blue whales are the planet’s biggest animals. But the heaviest single organism on Earth is a plant. Thanks to hungry deer, though, it’s shrinking. This gargantuan growth doesn’t look like just one plant. It seems like a whole forest of aspen trees. But underground, the trees are all connected, making up one giant organism. New trees spring up from the roots of others. All the trees in the grove have the same DNA. The grove, called Pando, may have been growing in Utah for hundreds or even thousands of years. Pando covers more than 100 acres and is estimated to weigh 13 million pounds (5.9 million kg). Pando is slowly shrinking, and scientists fenced off parts of the forest…

1 min.
the real piggy banks

PIGS ARE known for being intelligent animals. No one realized until now, though, that they were smart enough to be bankers. A farmer in Kentucky liked to give her pigs fresh apples and grapes for special treats. But last year she noticed that although the pigs were still taking the fruits, she never saw them eat any. She investigated the pens and found hidden stashes of apples and grapes. She also saw some of the pigs rolling the fruits toward others with their snouts. Convinced something weird was going on, the farmer called a biologist from the nearest university. Researchers came to the farm and started observing the pigs’ behavior with cameras. It seemed that the pigs might be trading fruit for favors, such as a good spot at the water trough.…