Monday, November 21, 2011

The Febrile Muse Turns One: Many Thanks

Origin of Enthusiasm; painting by Lisa Stevens 2010
December 2, 2011 marks the one-year birthday of The Febrile Muse. Thank you to each and every reader.

My heartfelt thanks also to collaborators and editors: Genegeek and Gjerda are fantastic people to learn new things with; gotta love their enthusiasm. Speaking of enthusiasm, Bora Zivkovic at Scientific American  must be the most enthusiastic editor alive, along with my editor Lisa at NYJB, of course. Amy at, Robert at, and Cesar at Twisted Bacteria ooze enthusiasm for their science as well.  Some great writers and artists are: Joanna Lee, ArtologicaGlendon MellowMegan Pearce, Curtis Andrews, Bruce Taylor, Richard Nickel, Jr. at the Kingston Lounge, Richard Benjamin from the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Amy Fraser, and Jack Zipes. The list is not all-inclusive, and authors of books I have mentioned in the past year are included in my thanks, but the above people have recently directly inspired me to write, edit, grow, and enjoy the whole process.

I also appreciate the people who have hired me to write and edit, the people who have let me read their books, my family, and now the people I will work with as a clinical pharmacist at a wonderful rural hospital. The Febrile Muse's followees and followers on twitter and facebook have also been fantastic in leading me to interesting reads and visuals.

Original Source of blackboard writing unknown,
but found on The
Because of you all, it has been a fantastic entry into the world of writing infectious disease science, medicine, pharmacy, literature, art, and history on the internet; I look forward to another year...and the ideas keep piling up...thanks to you.

What's coming up you say?

For December, The Febrile Muse will post articles about holiday gifts for the infectiously inclined and Ghost Maps and epidemiology. A guest-post is also coming soon--about HIV and the treatment advances of the last 30 years.

Do I really need to say who these guys are?
photo from Wikipedia
For the New Year, comedy will receive some attention. We all need a good laugh, so there may be some references to "The Three Stooges" or "Seinfeld." For 2012, there will also be serious posts like discussions of pogroms, Riverblindness, and much Inflammatory Language (a series of primers). In addition, endless books (like "Petroplague") and movies (like "Contagion") portray infectious disease (and microbes in general) in various lights.
What a Turkey
Thanksgiving craft photo by Aimee
Herring; found on

Book reviews of "Legend" by Marie Lu  and "Bacteria: the Bad, the Benign, and the Beautiful" by Trudy Wassenaar will pop-up on NYJB. What could they possibly have in common? Hmmm, you'll have to read and find out.

Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday (if you are in the States) and a wonderful Winter/Summer (lots of Australian readers). Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post from

by Dr. Amy Rogers, author of Petroplague
Magazines make a great holiday gift for kids. They’re relatively inexpensive, encourage reading, require no wrapping or shipping, and keep giving pleasure all year long. This year, consider giving your young people a magazine to foster their natural scientific curiosity and their science literacy.  Subscriptions also make great teacher gifts.
Here are some popular science-themed periodicals for kids of various ages:
Ranger Rick (1-year auto-renewal)Ranger Rick: The granddaddy of kids’ science/nature mags.  I used to get this when I was a kid back in the 70′s, and my daughter gets it now.  Ranger Rick is an award-winning publication of the National Wildlife Federation; target age is 7 -14.  This is a clean, high-quality magazine that emphasizes nature, animals, and ecology.  Excellent photography, accurate articles.  In significant contrast to its competitor NGKids, Ranger Rick is not commercialized: no promotions of pop culture movies or games, in fact NO ADVERTISING at all.   Highly recommend.
The National Wildlife Federation also publishes similar themed magazines for younger kids:
  • Your Big Backyard for ages 4-7
  • Wild Animal Baby for ages 2-4
Kids Discover: Another periodical with super-high quality content.  Kids Discover is a little different: each issue features a single nonfiction topic in the natural or social sciences and explores it in depth.  Not just a nature magazine!  Excellent photography and uncluttered layout.  Forages 7-12.  Highly recommend.
National Geographic KidsNat Geo Kids (NGKids): Produced by the famed explorers and photographers of National Geographic.  For ages 6-14, you’ll find great photos in this snazzy kids’ magazine.  Emphasis on animals, nature, ecology.  My daughter enjoyed it for years.  However, each issue typically has a feature article that ties in a promotion for a new movie or other pop culture thing–advertising disguised as news.
Nat Geo also publishes NG Little Kids for ages 3-6.
The following magazines I have not seen in person:
Know, the Science Magazine for Curious Kids.  A cartoony-type layout with content that features a central topic in each issue and includes home science experiments, articles, and of course games.  Looks pretty cool.  Recent featured topics: bats; ocean science; It’s Elemental.  For ages 6-9.
By the same publisher: Yes Mag, the Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds.  Target age: 10-15.  I’m going to buy this one for my family this year.  Here’s what they say about themselves:
As kids get older, their questions change from the simple (Why do onions make you cry?) to the complex (Why do molecules stay together?). YES Mag, for ages 10 to 15, answers the tough questions in a way everyone can understand. With a mix of great photos and illustrations, humour, and long and short articles, YES Mag is sure to engage, entertain, and educate.
Cobblestone Publishing produces a variety of high-quality, no-advertising literary and science magazines for kids.  A subscription to one of these would make a great teacher gift for the classroom.  Here are their science offerings:
Odyssey: Adventures in Science.  For ages 10-16.  Upcoming topics.  What the publisher says:
ODYSSEY believes that science is an exciting adventure, and that it can lead to a lifetime of scientific inquiry and satisfaction. That’s why each 52-page themed issue is packed with articles by acclaimed writers and scientists – information that talks “to” (and not “down to”) young readers. ODYSSEY helps children keep pace with the rapidly changing world of science by presenting its most exciting discoveries, and it prepares children for the challenges and rewards of the future.
ASK. For grades 2-5.
How did great scientists and thinkers get their start? By asking questions! Each themed issue of ASK invites newly independent readers to explore the world of science and ideas with topics that really appeal to kids: What makes wind? Where do colors come from? Were pirates real? Filled with lively, well-written articles, vivid graphics, activities, cartoons, and plenty of humor, ASK is science kids demand to read!
Click: Science for grades K-2
And the last magazine from the Cobblestone/Cricket group, Dig isn’t “science”, it’sArcheology and History for grades 5-9. Fun!
Dr. Amy Rogers writes thrilling science-themed novels that pose frightening “what if?” questions.  Compelling characters and fictionalized science—not science fiction—make her books page-turners that seamlessly blend reality with imagination.  She is a member of International Thriller Writers Debut Class (2011-2012).  In her novel Petroplague, oil-eating bacteria contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles and paralyze the city.  Learn more at and  You can also follow Amy on twitter (@ScienceThriller) and on her Facebook fan page.
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