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

Why Does the Kookaburra Laugh?

There's more to Australia's kookaburra than the cheery song you learned as a kid, but what is it that makes the kookaburra laugh?

Can Dogs Lose Their Ability to Smell?

It's not uncommon for older dogs to lose their sight or even their hearing as they age. But can they lose their ability to smell, too?

How the Swing States Work

Candidates in U.S. elections spend an enormous amount of their time on swing states. But what exactly are these states and why are they so important?

Is It a Dog? A Raccoon? No, It's a Raccoon Dog!

Technically they're called tanuki, but these furry critters might as well be called raccoon dogs because that's what they look like. So are they just as domesticated and loving as the canines we know?

Ankylosaurus: A Tank-like Herbivore With a Killer Club Tail

Ankylosaurus was a dinosaur with short, squat legs that allowed it to run at about 6 miles per hour – fast, but not fast enough to outrun a large carnivorous predator like Tyrannosaurus rex.

19th-century Time Capsule Discovered Beneath Confederate Memorial

Conservators from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources opened the 126-year-old time capsule July 2, 2020 and are preserving what they can.

Can You Become Ambidextrous Later in Life? It Depends

Most people throughout the world are right-handed. So can they teach themselves to use their left hands, too and become ambidextrous?

Tear Gas Used at Protests May Help Spread Coronavirus

Many health experts are gravely concerned about how the massive protest crowds, chanting and especially use of tear gas could accelerate the spread of coronavirus.

How Many Houseplants Do You Need for Good Indoor Air Quality?

For decades we've been told having houseplants can improve our indoor air quality. But is this true? And do you need to live in a veritable jungle to get better air quality?

Remembering Israel 'IZ' Kamakawiwo'ole, the Voice of Hawaii

Known for his lilting cover of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' which he sang while playing the ukulele, IZ was a big part of the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

Some of us get it, some of us don't – the scourge of so many nature lovers everywhere – but did you know that our four-legged friends are also susceptible to the three-leaved menace?

What Does It Mean If Your Blood Oxygen Level Is Low?

A low oxygen level in your blood is a good indicator of a COVID-19 infection, but what exactly does that mean and how do doctors test for it?

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! You Know the Jingle, Now Hear the Chia Pet Story

These quirky clay figurines sprout "hair" seemingly overnight. But what is it that has made the Chia Pet an international sensation for 40 years?

What Are the World's Biggest and Baddest Jigsaw Puzzles?

If you're a fan of jigsaw puzzles, get a load of these. Some hold Guinness World Records as the biggest. And some are just incredibly hard to solve.

Brush Up on Parseltongue to Greet the New Salazar Slytherin Snake

A new species of green pit viper found in India has been named after the founder of Harry Potter's Slytherin house.

What's the Biggest Dog in the World?

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. But a few breeds stand out for being, well, exceptionally large. Which hold the records for being the biggest?

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?