Kidspace: Short stuff

Once, women couldn't vote

Susan B. Anthony would be proud: Women's rights in the United States have come a long way since she was arrested for attempting to vote in the presidential election of 1872. Back then, women couldn't own property or sign a contract, much less vote.

March is International Women's History Month. It was established by the United Nations to recognize women and the role they have played in shaping women's rights around the world.

One of the most significant achievements for women has been the right to vote (called suffrage).

Women's suffrage movements arose throughout much of the Western world in the late 1800s and early 1900s. New Zealand was the first nation to grant women the right to vote. That happened in 1893. But Canada (1917), the US (1920), Sweden (1921), and Britain (1928) followed suit.

It wasn't until years later that countries including France (1944), Japan (1947), India (1950), Switzerland (1971), Portugal (1976), and South Africa (1994) passed laws that let women vote.

Mission to Mars (and beyond?)

Would you like to go to Mars? It could happen sooner than you think. On March 23, a spacecraft entered the "red planet's" atmosphere after a journey of 330 million miles and seven months. Then it began sending back images of Mars's surface.

The satellite, called the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will spend about two years mapping the planet's surface and searching for signs of water. It's also there to look for potential landing sites. While there aren't any people on this mission, NASA officials hope the information they receive will enable them to send people to Mars in the future.

Speaking of space, Cassini, a satellite circling Saturn's fourth-largest moon, Enceladus, has made an interesting discovery. The satellite has transmitted back to Earth high-resolution images of an active ice-particle geyser and what appears to be water vapor. Prior to the discovery, scientists believed active volcanoes existed only on Earth and on one of Jupiter's moons (Io), as well as possibly on one of Neptune's moons (Triton).

Dancing dolphins

Scientists recently announced a cool discovery about dolphins. Using math, scientists figured out a formula that describes how a dolphin "dances" on water like a ballerina. A dolphin will slowly rotate underwater, prior to emerging. When it pops out of the water, less resistance from the air enables a dolphin to increase its speed. A final twist of its tail allows a dolphin to pirouette about seven times before diving back under the water. However, scientists suggest the dance isn't just playing. Instead, a dolphin dances to rid its body of parasites.

Baseball's new kid on the block

When the 2006 Major League Baseball season opens next week, St. Louis Cardinals' slugger Albert Pujols will have something to look forward to - a new outfield wall to hit home runs over. (He hit 41 in 2005 and was named the National League's most valuable player.) That's because the Cardinals are the latest major league team to build a new ballpark.

It will be completed in time for the team's season home opener April 10. It replaces the diamond that the Cardinals had called home since 1953.

Play-Doh turns 50

You don't have to be a kid to love this toy. Adults also have fun with Play-Doh. The doughy concoction was created in 1956. But did you know that at first Play-Doh wasn't made to play with? It was originally a molding compound used in construction. And it came in only one color, off-white.

A half century later, more than 2 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold. That's enough to create a Play-Doh "snake" that would wrap around the earth about 300 times. Rose red, purple paradise, blue lagoon, and garden green are the most popular colors.

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