Kittens! Knitting! Dinosaurs! Oh My!

A post with infinite cross-gender appeal. Ah well. It can’t be helped. It’s that sort of Friday.

First, the Kittens.

This is a developing story.... Details on the Cat In the Fire Hat to be released as they become available.

Did you know that the NY Times has a science page dedicated to news about cats? No really. The Four-Year-Old and I discovered it just this morning. She’s particularly fond of the slideshow about the “catios” people are building so that normally indoor-only cats can spend a bit of time outside.  Once upon a time I would have thought that sort of thing was crazy, but after two hours of intense lobbying by The Four-Year-Old, I’m beginning to see the advantages of a completely enclosed outdoor space.

(And no, I didn’t read The Four-Year-Old the story about the man who murdered his business partner by feeding him a poisoned cat stew. No good could have come from that.)

Now the knitting.

No, I’m not about to commit another egregious act of public knitting, I promise. I’m simply going to share word of a group called Knitting Behind Bars. It’s a rather unique outreach program that teaches men at a minimum security prison in Jessup, Maryland to make hats, dolls and other small items (penguin sweater, anyone?). The weekly knitting group is so popular there’s actually a waiting list to get in. The NPR interview with founder Lynn Zwerling is here. Or, if you prefer, you can visit the Knitting Behind Bars blog.

And finally Dinosaurs:

  • Look! Over there! A black Archaeopteryx! Apparently for the first time, scientists can tell from the fossil record what color the feathers were on some dinosaurs and early birds.
  • Artist's rendering of a Massospondylus (Image by Nobu Tamura via Wikipedia).

    And finally, a dig at a South African site has turned up the world’s oldest nursery. So far researchers have uncovered 10 separate nests at the 190-million year old site. The find includes both embryonic Massospondylus (a prosauropod dinosaur) as well as hatchlings, suggesting that Massospondylus parents allowed their young to live in the nursery long enough to double in size before kicking them out into the cold cruel world.

Happy Friday, y’all.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to Kittens! Knitting! Dinosaurs! Oh My!

  1. Tempie Brumby says:

    Knitting has been one of my hobbies and i really love it. * Our own web-site


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