Boston school district switches to a more accurate world map, blows kids' minds

The Mercator projection maps we're all familiar with dates to a 16th-centry Flemish cartographer who wanted to emphasize colonial trade routes; as a result, it vastly distorts the relative sizes and positions of the world's continents, swelling Europe and North America to absurd proportions and shrinking South America and Africa. Read the rest

Colorful children's respirators make breathing poisoned air fun

The WOOBI is a sad sign of the times. It's a toylike respirator system designed for the 300 million children living in severe air pollution. Read the rest

Wishbone breaks: massive leak of popular survey site reveals millions of teens' information

Wishbone is an online survey creation tool that's popular with teens, who use it to post quizzes, one of the top ten social Iphone apps in the USA. All of its records have leaked: millions of records, including millions of email addresses and full names, as well as hundreds of thousands of cellphone numbers. Read the rest

Fancy flashlight finds first fluorescent frog

South American polka dot tree frogs are pretty cool, but Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboada found out they are even cooler when an ultraviolet flashlight is trained on them. They fluoresce.

Many animals can see beyond the spectrum visible to humans, and these frogs adapted with this trait. From the abstract:

Fluorescence, the absorption of short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation reemitted at longer wavelengths, has been suggested to play several biological roles in metazoans. This phenomenon is uncommon in tetrapods, being restricted mostly to parrots and marine turtles. We report fluorescence in amphibians, in the tree frog Hypsiboas punctatus, showing that fluorescence in living frogs is produced by a combination of lymph and glandular emission, with pigmentary cell filtering in the skin. The chemical origin of fluorescence was traced to a class of fluorescent compounds derived from, here named hyloins. We show that fluorescence contributes 18−29% of the total emerging light under twilight and nocturnal scenarios, largely enhancing brightness of the individuals and matching the sensitivity of night vision in amphibians. These results introduce an unprecedented source of pigmentation in amphibians and highlight the potential relevance of fluorescence in visual perception in terrestrial environments.

I'd make a Wikipedia article about dihydroisoquinolinone, but it would probably be an annoying and demoralizing fight.

Naturally occurring fluorescence in frogs (via Nature) Read the rest

Fearing border harassment, Girl Guides of Canada cancel all trips to Trump's America

The Girl Guides of Canada -- Canada's largest organisation for girls and women -- have a long tradition of visiting other scouts in the USA, to the benefit of both American and Canadian scouts, but that's come to an end, because Canada's Girl Guides are worried that Muslim girls, brown girls, and girls whose families come from countries singled out for discrimination by the Trump regime will face discrimination at the border. Read the rest

A kid-friendly electronics board that you can program from the web

Peegar is an Arduinio-style electronics kit that you design programs for by dragging and dropping Scratch-style objects around in a browser; when you're done, the program is converted to a brief snatch of sound that you transmit through the board by plugging a standard audio cable into your device's headphone jack. Read the rest

5-year-old wins Tulsa spelling bee, heads to nationals

Five-year-old Edith Fuller correctly spelled jnana to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. She's the youngest competitor in the bee's history. Read the rest

How to make a DIY blooming marshmallow

Dominique Ansel, the guy who created cronut and cookie milk cups (previously), also created the blooming marshmallow, which opens like a flower in hot chocolate to reveal a chocolate truffle. Popsugar reverse engineered one and shared their technique. Read the rest

Wonderful 30-second Rube Goldberg videos from Japanese children's TV

NHK's children's show Pythagora Switch features fiendishly clever, astoundingly amusing interstitial segments with beautiful little Rube Goldberg machines, possessed of a Miyazakiesque whimsy and a Mujiesque minimalism. These are wonderful -- and at 30 seconds each, you can watch a whole ton of 'em. Read the rest

For sale: the toy blocks Einstein played with as a kid

Richard Davies writes, "Einstein's childhood building blocks have been listed for sale on the AbeBooks.com marketplace for books and collectibles." Read the rest

America: where hundreds of thousand of underage girls are married off by their parents

The nonprofit Unchained At Last analyzed US marriage license data from 2000 to 2010 and learned that 167,000 children (almost all girls, some as young as 12) in 38 states were married off to older men: 31% of the girls were married to men who were 21 or older. Extrapolating from their data-set, Unchained at Last estimates the true total of child-marriage 2000-2010 as 248,000. Read the rest

Decelerate Blue: YA graphic novel about the kids who refuse to keep pace with totalitarian, high-speed consumerism

Decelerate Blue is a new dystopian science fiction YA graphic novel from Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro that tells the story of Angela Swiff, a teen who refuses to go along with the "Guarantee," a totalitarian philosophy that demands that everyone work, play and (especially) shop as quickly as is humanly possible.

Fifth-grade teacher has an elaborate personal handshake for each and every one of his students

Barry White, Jr teaches fifth grade English at Charlotte, NC's Ashley Park School. Every day, he greets every one of his students with an amazing, personalized handshake, to "bring them excitement and pump them up for a high-energy class." Read the rest

Sean Spicer defends handcuffing a 5-year-old American boy for hours at an airport immigration checkpoint

"To assume that just because of someone’s age and gender that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong." Read the rest

Make: an Arduino-based soda vending machine that fits in your school locker

Mistablik is an American high-school student who put his mind to finding alternate uses for the lockers that lined his school's hallways -- lockers that sit empty as students switch over to electronic textbooks -- and decided to build a tiny, secure, Arduino-based vending machine that would sell soda to his fellow students. Read the rest

Enter the dangerous world of finger skateboarding

Fingers of Steel chronicles the hardcore world of finger skateboarding. Warning: some of the tricks are so gnarly you'll wonder how fingerboarder Chris Heck escapes with fingers intact. Read the rest

My first Enigma machine: Mattel once sold a Barbie typewriter with built-in crypto capabilities

Slovenia's Maheno corporation manufactured a series of Barbie-branded and white label typewriters for kids, with a hidden feature that allowed their owners to use them to produce messages encrypted with a simple substitution cipher. Read the rest

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