Mommyo gets bad news about her Christmas list and Other News of the Week

A few short hits today, cuz it’s Friday and I’m feeling depressed that I won’t be able to spend Christmas morning playing with my wicked cool Firefly LEGO set.

Mars Rover Curiosity sends back first photos ( After a successful landing on Mars earlier this week, the Mars Rover Curiosity transmitted these images of its new home back to NASA. In the distance you can see Gale Crater. The pictures were taken with the Curiosity’s Navigation Camera. Although these first images are black and white, NASA expects to receive and release color photos soon. (BTW: Are you following @sarcasticrover yet? Why not? Don’t you like to laugh?)

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Building for Birds (NPR): Millions of birds die every year in North America after crashing into the large glass windows of downtown buildings. That’s why New York City architect Guy Maxwell is looking for ways to break up the reflections of clouds, trees, and clear skies that make the glass so hazardous to birds flying by.

Free Reusable Lunch Bag (Annie’s Organics): If you or your child happen to be blessed with the ability to keep track of your empty lunch containers, you might be interested to know that Annie’s Organics is offering a free reusable lunch sack in exchange for two proofs of purchase for any Annie’s Homegrown, Honest Kids, Seventh Generation, or Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. Limit 3 per family. Details here.

Well, that’s it for today. I’ve got to get to work analyzing Adrian Drake’s Serenity so that I can mock up a prototype of my own (greatly reduced in scale, of course–135 pounds seems a bit too heavy for playtime).

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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