Move Over, SUE, There’s a New T. Rex in Town

Of all the dinosaurs in all the world, SUE the T. rex might be the most famous. The most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, SUE is likely also the most well-traveled. Her bones, or at least casts of them, have been displayed all over the world. The casts I saw in Nova Scotia came with bilingual displays written in English and Arabic! But there’s a new king of the dinosaurs in town, and his name is Scotty. Named after a bottle of Scotch the scientists toasted his 1991 discovery with, Scotty is only 65% complete, compared to SUE’s...

Why I’ll (Probably) Never Write a “Real” Book

“So when are you going to write a real book?” Children’s writers in my audience are probably groaning right now, because this is a question we’ve all been asked at least once. Most of us come back with an expression of comically-exaggerated confusion and something along the lines of “As opposed to all of the imaginary ones?” Inside, though, we are typically seething with rage or welling up with existential despair, because what the questioner really means is “When are you going to write a book for adults?” The implication, of course, being that books for kids are in...

Earl Bakken: The Man Who Changed Our Hearts

Earl Bakken passed away last week at the age of 94. Not many people have heard of Bakken, but he saved millions of lives all around the world. In 1949, Bakken founded Medtronic, a garage-based medical equipment repair shop that made $8 in its first month of operation. In 1957, an infant with a heart condition died after a blackout disabled her plug-in pacemaker. At her surgeon’s request, Bakken invented the world’s first portable model, powered by an external battery taped to the chest. A few years later, he and his partners licensed designs for the first implantable pacemaker....