Kidspace: Short stuff

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Fed goes kid friendly

Breathe a sigh of relief, Hilary Duff and Justin Timberlake. In the future, there could be less competition for your status as celebrity teen heartthrobs.

Instead of the big screen, a generation of middle schoolers might be setting their sights on seats in the Federal Reserve boardroom.

Huh?

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The Federal Reserve, which is the nation's central bank, launched a Web page geared to kids at www.federalreserve.gov/kids.

The page is part of the Fed's effort to bolster financial literacy among young people. "This new Web page provides younger students with a basic approach to the complexities of the Federal Reserve that is both enjoyable and interesting," says Mark Olson, a member of the Fed's board of governors. .

Of course, kids will be the ultimate judge of that.

Little guy, big score

Michael Tang of San Francisco doesn't let pins stand in his way. Bowling pins, that is. He's the youngest American ever to bowl a perfect game at a sanctioned event.

Michael bowled a 300 score last month in Pacifica, Calif. He was 10 years, 3 months, and 16 days old, which was three months younger than the previous record holder, according to the website of the United States Bowling Congress.

Michael's been bowling since he was 6, but says he doesn't want to be a professional bowler. Instead - watch out Tiger - he hopes to become a professional golfer.

Virtual cats and dogs?

Speaking of websites, did you know that even if Mom and Dad won't let you own a pet, you can adopt a furry friend online? It's true. But it's not what you might think.

The thing is, it's not a "real" pet. It's a Neopet, and, according to the website, www.neopet.com, more than 30 million "pet owners" already have one.

Visitors can choose from 52 different Neopets, but don't expect to find a golden retriever, Siamese cat, or hamster among them.

Instead, you can select a Shoyru, a winged dragon that stands on its two hind legs, or a Ruki, a virtual pet that's loosely based on the praying mantis.

And forget about playing "fetch." Neopets such as Eyries "can be ferocious at times," according to the website, and they inhabit the tropical parts of Neopia - where Neopets reside online, of course.

All kiwi - and some fruit

When a North Island brown kiwi hatched at the National Zoological Park in Washington two months ago, zookeepers were cautious. That's because it's been more than 30 years since one of these endangered birds, native to New Zealand, emerged from an egg at the zoo.

Unlike most birds, a kiwi doesn't have a special "egg tooth" to poke its way out of its shell. Instead it kicks its way out.

Zookeepers named the bird Manaia. In Maori (a native language of New Zealand) it means "guardian of the earth and sky."

The bird now weighs about 17 ounces. As an adult, it will weigh about three times that amount and live on a diet of worms, insects, and even small fruits and berries.

Thank a volunteer this week

When former President Richard Nixon signed an executive order in 1974 naming the fourth week of April National Volunteer Week, he started a trend. Each president since has signed a proclamation promoting the week in which volunteers across the country are recognized and celebrated.

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