Patty Rasmussen

Contributing Writer

Patty Rasmussen is a freelance writer based in the Atlanta area. She’s written about everything from Major League Baseball to economic development to the reason why calico cats are almost always female. Patty enjoys writing for HowStuffWorks because it means she’s usually picked first for trivia teams.

Recent Contributions

Polio Doctor Jean Macnamara's Work Reminds Us That Viruses Can Be Vanquished

Dame Jean Macnamara's research helped eventually lead to the Salk vaccine for polio. Her lasting legacy as an advocate for people with disabilities still lives on today.

What You Need to Know About Chloroquine and COVID-19

U.S. President Donald Trump has been touting the malaria drug chloroquine as a possible miracle drug for coronavirus. Should we all be taking chloroquine?

What Is Social Distancing and How Do We Do It Right?

Social distancing is definitely not something most of us are used to. After all, we humans are social creatures. So what is it exactly, and how are we supposed to do it?

What's the Difference Between Quarantine and Isolation?

You've probably heard the word "quarantine" a lot in relation to the coronavirus. But how is it different from patient isolation?

Squirrels Can Be Left- or Right-handed

But, squirrels that strongly prefer one hand over the other aren't as good at learning, one study suggests. What does this mean for you and me?

What's the Best Way to Leash Your Dog?

Retractable leashes, martingale collars, slip leads, harnesses, choke chains – this dog walking business is way more complicated than you thought. So, with all the options out there, what is the best way to leash your dog?

Elk Are Huge, Aggressive and Unpredictable

Elk are some of the most majestic animals in the world, but also some of the most aggressive. Here's what you need to know about the territorial elk.

Penguins: The Monogamous Tuxedoed Birds That 'Fly' Underwater

There are up to 26 species of penguins in the world, most of whom mate for life, and while none of them can fly, they swim like Olympic champs.

Bald Eagles Aren't Really Bald, Plus 6 Other Facts

The national bird of the United States has taken on iconic status as the avian avatar of freedom, but its wingspan and steely gaze guarantee its status in the pecking order of prey birds as a symbol of strength.

Goofy-looking Emus Are Leggy, Flightless and Very Friendly

The female emu may lay the eggs, but the male emu does all the caretaking. And that's just one fascinating thing we learned.

What's the Difference Between Whiskey and Bourbon?

You might think the difference is only in the name, but it's more than that. The slight variations in recipes, aging and even geography make whiskey and bourbon two different alcohols.

Why You Should Stop Raking Fall Leaves, Stat!

Stop bagging those leaves and putting them curbside to be hauled off to the landfill. There's a better way — for your lawn and the environment.

Massive 'Angel Oak' Has Witnessed 500 Years of South Carolina History

On Johns Island, South Carolina, stands an oak tree so big and beautiful that people come just to stand under its branches and feel the magic.

Vincent van Goat and Friends Help Vanquish Western Wildfires

Wildfires have become a frightening reality in California and elsewhere as climate change creates drastically drier conditions. Using goats to eat underbrush and create firebreaks is now a routine part of the firefighting arsenal.

3-D Printing Is Revolutionizing Veterinary Medicine

3-D printing is helping animals — both wild and domestic — recover from injuries that might once have meant euthanasia.

How the Shar-Pei Got Its Wrinkles

The Shar-Pei is one of the most unusual looking dogs around — that is, if you can find the dog under all those adorable wrinkles.

Female Citizen Scientists Set Sail to Tackle Ocean Plastic

EXXpedition founder Emily Penn will captain the 300, all-female crew in its first Round the World sailing voyage.

A Calico Cat Wears a Coat of Many Colors

Kittens inherit their coats from their mothers, and no two calico cats look alike. Not even twins.

If Your U.S. Money Gets Shredded, You're Not SOL

What happens when your cash gets damaged due to fire, flood or Fido deciding to eat it? Are you just out of luck?