What’s on The Seven-Year-Old’s mind this week?

Our semi-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross the The Seven-Year-Old’s desk.

In the news:

What do animals see in the mirror?
(National Geographic)
Dolphins, apes, and elephants can all recognize themselves in the mirror. Put a flamingo in front of a mirror and he thinks he’s at a party. Dogs, not so much.

Elephant makes a stool–First known aha! moment for species
(National Geographic)
My Seven-Year-Old cheered this week when she learned that fellow seven-year-old Kandula the Elephant has figured out how to use a stool to reach fruit in high places.

Kandula's new trick (Photo courtesy Foerder/Reiss, CUNY)

Kandula’s new trick (Photo courtesy Foerder/Reiss, CUNY)

Meet a newly discovered aquatic species, the ruby seadragon
(CNET)
Loyal reader and official Caterpickles Norwood correspondent, Victoria Moreno-Jackson, aka the crafting genius behind Sumo Peanut, sent The Seven-Year-Old this news clipping about a newly discovered seadragon. The discovery increases the number of known seadragon species by 33%. There are now three, the leafy, the weedy, and the ruby. Guess which one has the best marketing team. Here’s a hint:

3D model of the ruby seadragon courtesy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

3D model of the ruby seadragon courtesy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Why is sleet? How the atmosphere turns snow into an icy, frozen hell 
(The Vane)
You are always welcome to read the whole thing, but I confess to only skimming the article on my way to this key point:

“Sleet, also called ice pellets, is essentially a frozen raindrop. Sleet forms when a snowflake falls into a shallow layer of warm air a few thousand feet above the surface, allowing the snowflake to begin to melt. Due to the shallow nature of the layer (which is only one or two degrees above freezing), only the outer edges of the snowflake have a chance to melt before it re-enters the sub-freezing air near the ground.

Once the partially-melted snowflake enters the sub-freezing air, it begins to refreeze around the tiny ice crystal that remains in the heart of the snowflake. The droplet completely freezes by the time it reaches the ground, striking the surface as an ice pellet.”

A sampling of this week’s books:

Feb20Covers

  • Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels by Bill Smith, Doug Chiang, & Troy Vigil:  The Seven-Year-Old would like me to point out that she’s not reading this one cover-to-cover, just the interesting bits.
  • A Small, Elderly Dragon by Beverly Keller: Almost a fairy tale, a charming story about a dragon who begins to think he is too old to go on a proper rampage.
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss: “The moral of this story, Mommyo, is don’t get mad or green goop will start falling from the sky.”
  • Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming: Based on a true story. How a child’s thank you note in response to receiving a box of chocolate from America sparked a friendship that helped save a small Dutch town struggling in the aftermath of WWII.

Related Links:

 

 

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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