I had the most awesome college job ever. I worked in the library repairing books. An elderly gentleman named Chuck taught me how to reinforce spines, replace covers, and repair torn pages (with a tiny iron and special fabric – never scotch tape!). I even learned some binding techniques. I loved that job.
For Muse’s latest issue on dreams, I wrote an activity that teaches kids how to make their own dream journal. Yep, those are my hands in the article sewing the binding. Unfortunately, photos and text fall pretty short when it comes to teaching this kind of thing. Hopefully the kids go online and watch a video on YouTube (like I did when I started this project — I hadn’t sewn a coptic binding in 10 years).
Ever since I first learned that a fungus can turn ants into zombies, I’ve wanted to write about it. I finally got the chance! My editor wanted a piece on “real zombies” in time for Halloween. This was a dream assignment for me. I love bugs, especially spiders. Ants are pretty cool, too.
Here are some creepy facts I learned while working on this article:
- Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that makes rats attracted to cat pee. The parasite can live in humans, too… and some scientists think it changes human behavior as well.
- The ant-fungus can make its host climb to a specific height, face a specific direction, and bite down at solar noon.
- The jewel wasp leads along a zombie cockroach twice its size by holding its antenna – the cockroach follows like a dog on a leash.
- Some killifish have thousands of worms in their brains. Yet they live, though they do display some wacky behaviors that make them more likely to become bird snacks.
Which real zombie is your favorite?