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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 September 2019

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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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United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
9 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
muse mail

Army of Activists I’m half Indian but born American (I guess that would make me a third Indian because one of my parents is American). I’m a total Star Wars geek. Did you know that one First Order Star Destroyer holds 8,000 stormtroopers but 19,000 officers? Or that the Rebel Alliance was headed by Mon Mothma but founded by Bail Organa (who was killed by the Empire)? I’m a climate change activist and have done a speech to the New York Comptroller and the Teachers Retirement Pension Fund. I would love it if you did an issue on climate change. It is a pressing issue. It is my belief that if there are enough activists, climate change will be stopped! My favorite issue (as of July 2018) is the July/August 2018 issue. I’ve…

1 min.
this is the world’s biggest bee

Remember the bug that chased you away from your picnic last summer? No matter how giant it seemed, chances are it couldn’t compete with Megachile pluto. That’s the largest bee on Earth. Females have a wingspan of about 2.5 inches (6 cm). Males are about half as big. The species is also called Wallace’s giant bee. That’s because naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace found the bug in 1858. But no one else recorded seeing one until 1981. And then the enormous bee disappeared again. In early 2019, a team arrived in Indonesia to search for the missing species. They scoured the jungle, looking inside termite nests, where the bees like to burrow. Finally, they found what they were looking for: a single female Megachile pluto, alive and well. The researchers took the first-ever…

1 min.
a real replicator (almost)

IN THE Star Trek TV shows and movies, a technology called a replicator can make food and other objects appear out of thin air. In the real world, the closest thing we have is a 3D printer. It can build solid plastic objects in any shape, one layer at a time. But a new 3D printing technology is a little closer to Star Trek. Instead of building layer by layer, it creates an object nearly all at once. The method starts with a clear tube holding a light-sensitive gel. A projector shines a pattern of light onto the gel. At the same time, the tube spins. Wherever beams of light enter the gel from different angles and meet each other, the gel solidifies into plastic. The technology can complete a solid object…

1 min.
this dino’s spines really stood out

SCIENTISTS WERE surprised by the weird dinosaur bones they dug up in Argentina. The bones belonged to a new species, which they named Bajadasaurus pronuspinax. One of the bones was a back bone, or vertebra. It had a pair of huge spines jutting out of it. The spines were almost 2 feet (58 cm) long. The spines pointed forward, toward the dinosaur’s head. The researchers think Bajadasaurus had a set of these spines running all the way down its neck, kind of like a mohawk hairdo. It wasn’t the only dinosaur with spines. Other species had shorter spines, or spines that pointed backward. Scientists aren’t sure what their purpose was. But the giant, forward-pointing spines of Bajadasaurus probably helped the dino defend itself, the researchers think. Like a built-in fence, the spines…

1 min.
from bottle to building

THIS BUILDING in New Zealand is an architectural first: It’s made entirely out of old plastic water bottles. Architects designed the high-rise building as a way to recycle a lot of plastic at once. They also hoped it would raise awareness about the problem of plastic waste. To turn plastic bottles into a sturdy building material, engineers crushed the bottles into dense bricks. The bricks were strong enough to build a tower 40 stories tall. A contest is in progress for members of the public to name the plastic building. The high-rise holds apartments, offices, and shops. People who live and work there say the plastic tower is almost exactly like a traditional building, except for a faint crinkling sound on windy days.…

1 min.
zebra stripes stop flies from biting

WHY DO zebras have stripes? Scientists have made a lot of different guesses. They’ve wondered whether stripes camouflage zebras in a herd, help keep them cool, or confuse other animals that want to eat them. One idea has actually held up to testing: stripes help protect zebras from biting flies. To find out how, researchers took videos of flies as they buzzed around zebras and horses. From far away, flies seemed interested in both zebras and horses. But once they got close, they were less likely to land on a zebra. Something about the stripes made them fly away instead. Researchers further tested this by putting striped or solid-colored jackets on horses. Flies landed less often on horses wearing striped jackets. The flies that bite zebras and horses can carry diseases. So…