Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Rear View of my daughter dressed as Mothman crossing the street.

Caterpickles Consults the 12-Year-Old: “What is Mothman?”

My daughter came down one morning dressed entirely in black, sporting a pair of gold-tinted sunglasses and a green knit cap with two blue feathers sticking out of it. She was clearly dressed up as some superhero, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out who. “I’m Mothman, Mommyo.” Mothman? Who’s that? Some crappy off-brand Batman?

Two side by side false color images of Uranus, show the planet encased in a rainbow of colors from pale green to red. Around it are white rings that run around what I can't help but think of as the planet's north and south poles. Uranus, it turns out, looks like it's tilted up on its side.

Who was Uranus?

While reading Dava Sobel’s book The Planets last week, I learned that Uranus is the only major planet in our solar system named after a Greek myth instead of a Roman one. Off-hand, I couldn’t remember any mention of Uranus in Greek mythology. So I decided to look it up. Who was Uranus? Why is he the only Greek god to get his own planet?

Rose bush with mostly dark pink flowers, and one or two orange ones.

Wordless Wednesday: Roses

My neighbor’s rose bush blooms in both orange and pink. I’ve never seen anything like it. When I asked, they told me that particular variety of rose was called Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors.

The bird of paradise flower has tall spiky orange petals and a blue poky thing. (Sorry, not a botanist)

Why did the Bird of Paradise flower evolve to look like that?

It’s easy to see how the Bird of Paradise flower got its name. It looks like a crane’s head crafted from flower parts. Now I’m no botanist, but even I know enough about plants to realize that when such a highly specialized and unique structure evolves in nature, there’s generally a reason for it. All of which made me wonder: Why did the Bird of Paradise flower evolve to look the way it does?

View of a remote control car from above, showing the tracks the car's tires have left on the bright orange dirt of a baseball field.

Wordless Wednesday: AI-powered race cars

Over spring break, my daughter went to a coding camp that taught her how to race cars using AI coding languages. The first day I picked her up, she told me excitedly, “Mommyo! My car runs on Raspberry Pi!” So of course, I responded: “What a coincidence. So do I!” #momjokes

Wordless Wednesday: Cherry tree in bloom

I had more or less stopped doing Wordless Wednesday posts last year, but recently my daughter told me that she missed seeing them. I have to admit, I missed them too. Pictures like these are a helpful counterweight to the news. So I’m resurrecting Wordless Wednesday as a regular feature of the blog.