The Cactus Who Wanted to Be a Christmas Tree

Katie loves Christmastime. Getting presents is nice, and playing in the snow with her friends is fun, but what she likes best are all the pretty decorations...

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Sunny and Victor: Best Friends Forever

Bears and rabbits are not supposed to be friends, but the story of how Sunny Bunny and Victor Bear became “best friends forever” is a tale of friendship...

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Some Poems About Life

(30 Actually) Gems of Wit & Wisdom

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Saving the World, One Cauliflower Stem at a Time

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but on April 20, 2016, I wrote “A Simple Way to Feed The World.”  Based on a National Geographic magazine cover story of March 2016 (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/ ), “Too Good To Waste: How Ugly Food Can Help Feed the Planet,” it discussed the challenges of having two billion more

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Where is Pumbaa When We Need Him?

Maybe I’ve spent too much time around teenage boys, but an April 6, 2018 podcast segment of the NPR program Science Friday got my attention — an interview with Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, authors of Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Yes, this is serious science.  Specifically, it’s called “flatology” —

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How Do Birds Synchronize Their Movements?

Something else you might have wondered about in your spare time — how do large flocks of birds seem to move in perfect synchronization? Are they following a leader?  No, the reaction time would simply be too short.  The best explanation is what scientists call a “maneuver wave.”  Wayne Potts, a zoologist who published in

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R.I.P. — Spider Number 16

Something I heard on the radio today — the world’s oldest spider’s death has been announced.  The exact date is unknown, but it was sometime in 2016.  Known to science as Number 16, this female trapdoor tarantula somehow lived an incredible 43 years.  Its home was in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt region and it should’ve

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How Winning a Court Case Cost 10,000 Lives

With all the heat about illegal immigration, it’s refreshing to find an occasional point of light.  One such point (three points, actually) is the “Border Trilogy”, a series of three podcasts from National Public Radio’s Radiolab.  It goes a long way toward explaining how we got to where we are today, including a court case

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The Secret History of Play-Doh

If you grew up with Play-Doh, you might be surprised to learn about its original purpose — it was invented as a wallpaper cleaner. In an earlier time, coal was the preferred home-heating method.  But burning coal produces soot, which sticks to wallpaper.  So Kroger was looking for a product that would clean wallpaper.   In

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Happy Birthday — Traffic Lights

Can you imagine a time when there were no traffic lights?  They really weren’t needed until the appearance of automobiles.  Roads were crammed with horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, bicycles, and pedestrians, and suddenly you had a vehicle that could go 40 miles an hour. According to an article in the May 2018 issue of Smithsonian magazine,

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The Holocaust Was Worse Than You Think

Think genocide and the first thing you probably think of is the Holocaust.  Yet every once in a while, evidence surfaces that the Holocaust was even worse than most of us can imagine. Take the Reverend Patrick Desbois, a French Roman Catholic priest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Desbois).  His grandfather was a French soldier in World War II who

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