Friday Sprog Blogging: FSB year in review.

With only a few days left in 2007 (and having temporarily fled my children for a cat-free location, so as to give my immune system a chance to recover from cat allergens), this Friday I offer the sprog blogging year in review:


  • Sunrise, sunset (Jan. 5), in which the sprogs think about the reason for time-zones.
  • A child's garden of empiricism (Jan. 12), in which the winter cold turns the Free-Ride family to thoughts of experiments we might do in the garden.
  • What's for dinner (Jan. 19), an appreciation of alliums and of the various plant parts we eat.
  • Just Gimme Some Truth (Jan. 26), in which the sprogs think about epistemology without ever using that word for it.



  • Roll the dice (Mar. 2), in which the Free-Rides generate some experimental results with gambling devices.
  • Mythical (or theoretical) creatures? (Mar. 9), in which the sprogs grapple with the problem of how to determine which creatures really exist.
  • Be a sport (Mar. 16), in which we consider how playing sports could really be learning physics.
  • Kitchen table conversations concerning water (Mar. 23), in which the elder offspring is revealed to be a neo-Aristotelian, Dr. Free-Ride's memory is revealed to be gappy, and the family evaluates the likelihood of being menaced by icy skeletons.
  • "Dinosaur Day" declared (Mar. 30), in which we offer ideas for making your own clay pteranodon.


  • Rabbits (Apr. 6), a discussion of rabbits.
  • Five second rule (Apr. 13), wherein the sprogs discuss the plausibility of the rule, as well as whether it is more applicable to broccoli or a sticky lollipop.
  • Fragments of conversations about nature (Apr. 20), in which we discuss local wildlife, charismatic megafauna, and the prospects for a backyard chicken.
  • Bioblitz! (Apr. 27), in which the Free-Rides present a census of a week's worth of local wildlife.


  • The future (May 4), in which the sprogs ponder the nature of time and get clearer on just what a test-tube baby is.
  • Science flutters by (May 11), wherein the sprogs discuss the butterfly life cycle and natural selection.
  • What's the buzz (May 18), a consideration of bees.
  • Ravens and crows (May 23), in which the sprogs celebrate the 300th birthday of Linnaeus by discussing genus-species classification.
  • Oh, grow up! (May 25), in which the younger Free-Ride offspring considers the differences between caterpillars and kindergarteners.
  • Our version of hearts and flowers (May 25), in which the elder Free-Ride offspring thinks about circulation.


  • Sea creatures in the library! (June 1), in which the younger Free-Ride offspring reports on traveling touch-tanks.
  • A chat about mental illness (June 8), wherein Dr. Free-Ride reaches for the vocabulary to put brains, health, and mental illness in a context a second grader can understand.
  • Art inspired by the space program (June 15), in which the younger Free-Ride offspring offers a vision of ants in space for which I'd still like further explanation.
  • Psychic powers? (June 22), in which the sprogs consider how to tell whether psychic powers are real, and what one might do with them if they are.
  • Wild animal sightings (June 29), in which Dr. Free-Ride and the younger Free-Ride offspring compare notes on animals spotted in northern and southern California.


  • Pest management (July 6), in which we consider snails, weeds, and food-webs.
  • Field trip to the Exploratorium (July 13), wherein kids learn about camouflage, play with sand, and drink from a toilet.
  • Scare-owls (July 20), in which we consider which features would be required of an effective decoy predator, and which would just be really cool.
  • Hear hear! (July 27), in which the sprogs learn what the ear bone is connected to, and how this leads to hearing.


  • Summer outings in review (Aug. 3), in which the sprogs present the high points of various museums and related centers of edutainment.
  • Thoughts while hiking (Aug. 17), a postcard of science-related conversations from Yosemite.
  • Fixing a hole (Aug. 24), in which the Free-Ride offspring consider the particulars of critters that live in holes in the ground, as well as speculating as to whether penguins could use computers to retrieve Friday Sprog Blogging posts.
  • FSB goes CSI (Aug. 31), in which the sprogs consider possibly incriminating sources of DNA left by cats.


  • Adaptive strategies (Sept. 7), in which talk of Canada geese and their poop turns to a consideration of the reproductive advantages to plants of being eaten or not eaten.
  • Why school? (Sept. 14), a consideration of the flying formation of Canada geese.
  • Random bullets to start off the school year (Sept. 21), in which, among other things, we consider how to breed a dragon, and our commenters provide many excellent suggestions as far as a first computer programming language.
  • Circuitry (Sept. 28), an appreciation of Snap Circuits and some of the concepts they help to convey.


  • More about matter (Oct. 5), a discourse on how properly to assign states of matter to important things like latex balloons and spit bubbles.
  • Talking and listening (Oct. 12), in which the sprogs examine the link between outward appearances and whether one's ideas are given a fair hearing.
  • Scaling problems (Oct. 19), wherein we discover that there is a middle ground between three days and three thousand days (at least when it comes to keeping things tidy), that a moment is a flexible unit of time, and that germs aren't as small as atoms.
  • Matter matters we need to pursue (Oct. 26), in which the Free-Ride offspring ponder sublimation, solutions, and denatured proteins.


  • You learned *what*? (Nov. 2), in which it is discovered either that music class is not a reliable source of information about animals, or that the younger Free-Ride offspring likes pulling our chain, or both.
  • Humans and animals (Nov. 9), in which the younger Free-Ride offspring shows familiarity with the classification schemes yet claims humans don't quite fit into them.
  • Did it have to be fish? (Nov. 16), wherein the sprogs examine the corn-planting advice Squanto offered the Pilgrims and consider other possible sources of fertilizer.
  • Seasonal art projects, and questions they raise (Nov. 23), in which we gaze a little too deeply upon the hand-turkey.
  • Eyes and empiricism (Nov. 30), in which Dr. Free-Ride is reminded that some scientific matters seem ill-suited for hands-on investigation in the home.
  • Academic integrity for first graders (Nov. 30), wherein Dr. Free-Ride and the younger Free-Ride offspring try to get to the bottom of why copying someone else's homework is problematic, and seek strategies for convincing a friend not to copy.


  • Nighthawks (Dec. 7), a discourse on birds that seem to share a niche with bats.
  • Random bullets of December (Dec. 14), in which we investigate relative sizes of microbes, strategies for green gingerbread construction, and the peculiar nature of the younger Free-Ride offspring's dualism.
  • Co-evolution (Dec. 21), wherein a cool symbiotic relationship between monkey and crocodile is proposed, should the right selective pressures present themselves.

The Free-Ride family wishes you and yours a year of many productive conversations and fun explorations of this nifty world we share. Thanks for being part of our conversations here!


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I thank you to you, the sprogs, and your better half form me. I learned much on many subjects. I hope 2008 is an even better year for Friday Sprog Blogging, and that your immune system is, persuaded to behave itself around cats.

BTW, John Scalzi's (Old Man's War) daughter Athena just recently turned nine. Since you have one close to that age, I figured the two of your could get together and commisserate with each other. :)

Thank you for the always interesting and insightful posts.

2008 could be a very exciting time to learn about statistics, politics, and the Boogie Man(Karl Rove).

I am looking forward to the Sprog Blog insights.