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 July/August 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

6 min.
muse mail

Theoretically Serious I’m a serious Whovian, Star Wars fan, and nerd from Ravenclaw, and I would really appreciate it if you would do an issue on theoretical physics and multidimensional topology and geometry. Please mail me a set of slides containing the safest strains of your “scented microbes.” Also, the blueprints for the Color Gun. If you don’t publish this letter, I WILL send my little brother to annoy you, and when he’s finished doing that, I’ll send an army of lime green fire-breathing jackalopes, each of which is armed with a lightsaber to wipe out your army of hot pink bunnies at Muse HQ. This is NOT an empty threat! I’d also like to say that the lime green fire-breathing jackalopes LOVE chocolate and WILL eat all of yours if you…

1 min.
is this color alarming?

EVERYONE KNOWS fire trucks are red—right? Maybe not for much longer. Several US cities are testing out new fire truck designs. If you spot a hot-pink fire engine zooming down your street and blasting opera music, don’t be surprised. It’s important for other drivers on the road to recognize fire trucks and get out of their way. That’s why most fire trucks are painted a bright red that’s easy to spot. They also use blaring sirens to get the attention of drivers. But psychology research has shown that in most weather conditions, bright pink gets more attention than red. And for city dwellers who are used to hearing sirens on the street, classical music is more surprising. Fire departments hope the new truck design will keep firefighters safer on the road. If…

1 min.
space snowman

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft left Earth in 2006. It became the first craft to study Pluto up close in 2015. Then it kept flying. In January 2019, New Horizons sent pictures of the most distant object humans have ever studied. It looks like . . . a snowman. This space rock is called MU69, also known as Ultima Thule. It’s just 19 miles (31 km) long. Researchers think its two parts gently collided billions of years ago, soon after the solar system formed. The space snowperson has been in one piece ever since. New Horizons has sent more data and pictures of MU69 back to Earth. They will take a while to arrive. The details could help researchers understand how the planets in our solar system formed.…

1 min.
these teeth tell a story

WHEN YOUR DENTAL hygienist scrapes plaque off your teeth, you’re probably happy to have it gone. But scientists were glad a medieval skeleton still had its tooth gunk. That material revealed something surprising about the history of writing. The skeleton came from a woman who lived in a German monastery about a thousand years ago. Researchers wanted to study material from her teeth to learn more about the woman’s diet and mouth bacteria. But under a microscope, they discovered a bright blue substance. The blue came from lapis lazuli, a kind of rock. In medieval Europe, lapis lazuli was extremely expensive. It was used to make a blue pigment that only went into the most important books. (Back then, people had to write and illustrate books entirely by hand.) The researchers think…

1 min.
these spider moms make milk too

MILK IS FOR mammals. Human moms make milk to feed their babies, as do other furry species and dolphins and whales. Animals like fish, reptiles, birds, and bugs don’t make milk. Or so we thought. But now researchers have discovered milk from a very surprising mom: a spider. The species is a jumping spider called Toxeus magnus. When a mother spider’s eggs hatch, she starts leaving little droplets of a nutritious, milky liquid around the nest. The baby spiders drink these droplets. After about a week, they start drinking the milk straight from their mother’s body, just like baby mammals. The little spiders stay in the nest and keep drinking milk for about 20 days, until they’re almost grown up. They’re lucky to get so much attention from a parent. Most baby…

1 min.
beach bot looks out for turtles

BABY SEA TURTLES have a challenging start to life. Their mothers bury eggs on beaches. When the babies hatch, they have to crawl up through the sand, then dash to the ocean. To avoid predators, sea turtles usually hatch at night. They then follow the brightest light, which should be the moon and stars reflecting off the ocean. But artificial lights can lead baby sea turtles in the wrong direction—which means they won’t survive. Some researchers are addressing this problem with a robot. Scientists sent a little four-wheeled rover onto three beaches in North Carolina. The robot carried light sensors. Patrolling the sand at night, the robot measured how much artificial light—such as the light from a hotel—reached the beaches. The crawling robot let researchers measure light pollution in detail, from a…