We can’t really use the wind until we catch it. And what’s the most popular way to catch
the wind’s force? A windmill of course, which can do the work of many people. Inside the mill, a pole begins to spin. It goes all the way down into the mill. There it can do some pretty helpful things: It can turn a big stone wheel to crush grain. It can move a saw up and down to cut logs into lumber. It can pull up water from underground, which can be used to water crops.
For more fun with wind and solar power for kids (including a do-it-yourself solar-powered car), see Green Power Solar & Wind Power by Peter Lerangis at amazon.com.
If you’re really bored this summer, here’s a great way to have a bit of harmless fun; and it will only cost you 25¢. Find a place with lots of people walking by, like near a school or library. Place a little dab of superglue on a coin and stick it to the sidewalk (Gorilla glue or some types of epoxies work well, but use with care as the glues can be toxic and can actually glue your fingers together). Find a hiding spot and watch people try to pick up the coin in vain. If you wish to document your social experiment, use a camera to catch the frustration of your victims. For this and even more practical jokes, see AnnMarie MacKinnon’s Fun with Pranks, Gags, and Jokes, available at amazon.com.
Your carbon footprint says a lot about you, and how you use or abuse the natural resources around you. If you’d like to calculate your impact upon mother earth, there are several online resources to help you do so. (Image courtesy Kids Discover Conservation.)
Posted in Infotoons
Tagged animals, carbon footprint, CFL bulbs, climate, conservation, earth, ecology, energy, Infotoon, plants, pollution, science, thermostats
The nucleus of our galaxy (the Milky Way) is a bit of a mystery. Astronomers are aware that it’s packed with older stars and that it mysteriously gives off an enormous amount of energy, and these facts give rise to the theory that a super-massive black hole may be the cause. Some black holes are collapsed stars, and some are super-massive, having the gravity of a million stars. For more information on galaxies, visit the iTunes store and hunt for the Kids Discover Galaxies app. And be careful where you stand…
Posted in Infotoons
Tagged black hole, collapse, event horizon, gravitational, Infotoon, mass, radiation, relativity, Schwarzschild, singulariity, stars, supermassive
Kids Discover (with whom I’ve worked for many years) have created a video that shows what real learning is all about. “Change your perspective.” That’s my mantra, and I’m sticking to it. Enjoy!
Penguin Young Readers has just released the first two books in the Doodles of Sam Dibble series (Judy Press, author), and I thought it would be fun to show you a bit of the process with a little explanation of how Sam Dibble comes to life when I draw. Shown below is the second book, Double Trouble, and following are spread pages from that title.
A view of the initial layout, where I go in and actually doodle right on top of the page with pencil. You can see art notes from the art director that I’ve ghosted back a bit, to keep from interfering with what I like to call the “Stream of Consciousness.”
Then, I flip the page over, throw it on the light table (so that I can see my sketches), and begin the process of inking. This is usually where I do my left-handed work, to make it appear that someone much younger (Sam, in fact) is actually doing the drawing.
After that, I scan the art in black & white, use Photoshop to re-flip the image (so that it now reads correctly), and send it to the art director, who drops it back into the layout where it fits most nicely. Shown here is an actual printed page from that book.
So, where will that phone you have stuck to your thumbs be in 5 years? 10 years? A new term has recently found its way into our vocabulary, that of E-waste, or electronic waste. It is used to describe discarded computers, electronic equipment, mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, and so on. As consumers we are seemingly bent on always having the newest, shiniest, and most techie things possible, but we often give little thought to what happens to those items once we have tossed them aside.
Most electronic devices can be reused, resold, salvaged, recycled, or (if handled properly) disposed of. E-waste often contains lead and mercury, which are toxic chemicals that should never reach a landfill. This equipment should be returned to the manufacturer or to special centers for recycling. Think green!
There has been talk of using twin telescopes on opposite sides of the Moon that could be linked together, so that they are pointed at the same target at precisely the same time. Combine the information from each, and the image would be equivalent in sharpness to that from a single telescope as big as the Moon’s diameter—2,000 miles across. Such a lunar telescope could map surfaces of distant planets orbiting other stars. They would likely discover some planets that have their own continents and oceans as on Earth. Given of course, that we ever decide to visit the moon again. And I would hate to be the person that has to occasionally clean the lenses… (Excerpted from Kids Discover Moon Exploration)
Of the sacred calendar year (not to be confused with the solar calendar) that the ancient Aztecs followed (13 months of 120 days, or 260 days total), the five days at the end year were known as “nothing” days. Children born during those days were believed to be incapable of growing up to be decent citizens. In addition, it was believed that any argument began at that time could potentially last forever. And you think that our calendar is messed up…
Which type are you? Straight or curly? Or like me, just losing it? The “attitude” of your locks is actually based on chemistry (tell that to your stylist). Because hair is largely protein, and each protein contains atoms of the element sulfur, those atoms tend to push towards each other in an attempt to connect. If those atoms are far apart, the protein will bend and the hair will curl. If relatively close by, the protein does not bend and the hair is straight. No matter your attempts to correct it one way or the other, there are no permanent solutions… LOL! (Excerpted from Kids Discover Chemistry)