Highlights from this weekend’s database update

1. Most heavily annotated science song ever? The May 2011 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases devotes five pages to a science song called The Crab Hole Mosquito Blues — one page to the lyrics and four pages to 23 footnotes and 19 references. As recounted by the first footnote, “The presentation is a chronologically, scientifically, and factually correct poetic and musical history of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (VEE) viruses and epidemics through 1971…. The title reflects the discovery that Deinocerites pseudes, the crab hole mosquito, found along the Pacific coast of Central America was a competent vector of the epidemic and epizootic VEE virus that was causing disease and death in equids and humans at the time.” Thanks to my colleague Fred Buckner for pointing this out.

2. Least age-appropriate science song ever? The database now includes the 14 CDs of science songs offered by the website SongsOfHigherLearning.com. I haven’t had time to preview them all, but one jumped out at me during my feverish copying and pasting: the Early Science CD, billed as suitable for kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade. It includes a song called Matter, which talks about the five states of matter. Wait — five states? Perhaps you were laboring under the illusion that there were only three states of matter. This song sets us straight, however, by listing all five: solids, liquids, gases, plasmas, and Bose-Einstein condensates. It elaborates, “Now you see plasma up on the stars or even a neon sign; high temperatures charge up the atoms and create plasma. Bose-Einstein condensates are more like super atoms; they clump together at 0 degrees Kelvin.” Let’s just say my hat is off to any K-2 teacher who is able to get their class to understand that.

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