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

Rambutan Is the 'Hairier' Cousin of the Lychee Fruit

Its name is a derivative of a Mayan word for "hair" and by the looks of it you can see why. But how do you eat a rambutan and what does it taste like?

The Slow Loris Is a Cuddly-looking Primate With a Toxic Bite

When threatened, the slow loris licks venom secreted from a gland under its arm. Licked and loaded, the loris is ready to poison an attacker with a bite.

Sylvester Graham Invented Graham Crackers to Curtail 'Evil' Urges

Graham crackers were invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham as part of a radical 19th century diet. His goal? To curb joy and desire.

John Quincy Adams and John Adams: The First U.S. Political Family Dynasty

What did these two U.S. presidents, who were also father and son, have in common beyond their first and last names?

Dik-dik: The Tiny Antelope With the Embarrassing Name

The name dik-dik comes from the repetitive 'dik' sound the tiny female dik-dik makes when she feels threatened.

Molasses: The Sticky Story of a Dark and Syrupy Sweetener

The wonderfully thick, dark syrup called molasses has been used in cooking for centuries and is still prized around the world today for its smokey sweetness.

Paprika Is Way More Than Just Deviled Egg Dust

Paprika comes from the dried Capsicum annuum variety of red peppers, and can range in flavor from sweet to very hot.

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?