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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 March 2020

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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

5 min.
muse mail

Surfer Girl My name is Allison, but you can call me Alli. I live in a city with no ocean but that doesn’t stop me from surfing. Every summer I go up to San Francisco to visit my aunt. My brother and I go to a camp where they teach us how to surf. Although it is a really fun camp and it is the best part of my summer, it makes me very sad when I see plastic floating in the ocean. I can find everything from straws to bags of chips. Of course, I do my part and pick up the trash when I see it, but there are millions of pieces of trash in the ocean that we can’t see. I wonder how we can fix this problem.…

3 min.
contest spotlight

Bob the Crow This is how I saved a damsel: I was flying over the park and once I spotted my lunch, I swooped down to get it. Today, it was a little girl feeding some birds popcorn. I landed next to the girl and she gave me some food. “I’ll name you Bob,” she giggled. Suddenly, the girl’s mother said it was time to leave, and the girl ran up the path to catch up. I flew to another bench, pooping on people as I went along. When I do, they like to tell all their friends about the wonderful experience. As I was sitting on the bench, a guy shooed me off, then sat on it. I flew away, then U-turned and attacked, all the other crows oohing and ahhing…

1 min.
how to not get eaten in the ocean

YOU MAY THINK BABYSITTING IS TOUGH, BUT CLEANER SHRIMP HAVE AN EVEN HARDER JOB. These are little critters that run “cleaning stations” in the ocean. When fish and other animals visit the cleaning stations, cleaner shrimp crawl all over their bodies, nibbling dead skin and parasites. Everyone wins: the shrimp get a meal, and their visitors get clean. But there’s always a risk that a big, hungry visitor will decide to eat the shrimp instead. To find out how cleaner shrimp stay safe on the job, researchers left video cameras near two cleaning stations on an ocean reef. They gathered footage of one cleaner shrimp species and hundreds of visitors. They saw that cleaner shrimp are choosy about their clients. If a visitor was a predator, the shrimp were less likely to…

1 min.
a lot (of plastic) to swallow

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME KETCHUP WITH YOUR DINNER? How about a sprinkling of plastic? We’re swallowing tiny plastic bits all the time, scientists say. These microplastics are too small to see. They get into the world in lots of ways. For example, when plastic trash breaks down, it turns into microplastic bits. Researchers estimated how much microplastic the average American eats in their food, drinks in their water, and breathes in their air. The total? More than 70,000 tiny plastic bits every year. No one knows whether these particles are harming us. But if you want to swallow less plastic, you could start by skipping bottled water, which is estimated to carry more of the particles than tap water.…

1 min.
one dizzy dino

MANY DINOSAURS HAD TOOLS BUILT INTO THEIR SKELETONS. It’s not always clear what those tools were for, though. For example, the stegosaurus probably used its tail spikes for self-defense. But scientists aren’t sure why it had bony plates on its back. A newly discovered dinosaur species might have the most unusual tool of all: a giant screw built into its face. Researchers discovered fossils of the new species, which doesn’t have a name yet, in eastern Asia. Its skull is bizarre. In the middle of the snout, there’s a bony appendage shaped just like a screw. Near the fossils, researchers found traces of deep, narrow holes in the ground. They think the dinosaur drilled these holes with its face. The animal would have had to put its head down, stick its screw…

1 min.
ancient human gets a fresh face

TODAY, THERE’S ONLY ONE HUMAN SPECIES ON EARTH. BUT LONG AGO, WE HAD COMPANY. Our most famous extinct relatives are the Neanderthals. We had other ancient cousins, too, called Denisovans. Researchers have found only a few Denisovan bones, so we don’t know much about them. But a new tool has given us a glimpse of what Denisovans looked like. Scientists studied a finger bone from a Denisovan girl. The girl lived about 74,000 years ago. Earlier research had decoded the girl’s DNA. Now, the scientists looked at something else: chemical changes that turn genes on or off. These kinds of changes affect how we look and act, even though our actual DNA code stays the same. The scientists compared these chemical changes in the Denisovan girl to the same kinds of changes…