Bye Bye Wild Thing and Other News of the Week

Our favorite of the various Maurice Sendak tributes wandering around Facebook this week. This comes to us via  the Eric Carle Museum. (Illustration by Bob Englehart, the Hartford Courant’s editorial cartoonist)

Happy Friday morning, y’all! Just a quick Caterpickle this morning as The Five-Year-Old and I have a very important tea party to get to.

First up, from our correspondent in Houston comes word that plant-eating sauropods may have – ahem – emitted enough methane to make the already warm Mesozoic climate just that little bit warmer. Like modern day cows, sauropods relied on methane-producing microbes to digest the tough plants they ate. According to Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University, these super-sized dinosaurs “could have produced more methane than all modern sources – both natural and man-made – put together.”

Next up, healthcare for the masses as envisioned by Middlesex Hospital in 1810:  Only those deserving poor who could get the appropriate letter of recommendation from a member of the board of governors for the hospital (or at the very least a patron with lots of money to donate) need apply. To receive care, all potential patients must report to the hospital promptly at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.

And finally, a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic has been declared in Washington State. Some 1,200 cases have been reported already, and officials expect that number to climb to 3,000 by year’s end. Whooping cough outbreaks occur every once in a while in part because the vaccine’s protection wanes over time, and few adults realize they need to get a booster shot.  An adult booster shot — called Tdap because it protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis — has been available since 2005, but fewer than 1 in 10 adults have received it.

And now I’m off to be feted by a posse of three-, four-, and five-year-olds. If past experience is any guide, it’s going to be awesome. 🙂

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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 Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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