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

A brilliant political strategist and Putin critic, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been poisoned, imprisoned and recently ended a hunger strike. What's next for him?

By Patty Rasmussen

With a very friendly personality, the Egyptian Mau can be trained to do almost anything a dog can do, from walking on a leash to fetching a ball.

By Patty Rasmussen

Magpies are much-maligned as harbingers of doom, thieves of shiny objects and songbird eggs, but they're smart, monogamous for life and actually hold funerals for one another.

By Patty Rasmussen

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Reconciliation is a secret weapon the Senate uses to pass huge tax and spending bills quickly through Congress. It's how the Senate just passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. So what is it, and what does it mean?

By Patty Rasmussen

The most obvious feature of Manx cats is their lack of a tail, but there is a lot more to them than that, including the fact that they have dog-like personalities and make great pets.

By Patty Rasmussen

Getting lost in a book is one of life's greatest pleasures, but is a digital book just as pleasurable as a paper book? And which format is the best for learning?

By Patty Rasmussen

Halloumi cheese, delicious all by itself, is a great alternative to meat because, fried or grilled, the flavor can't be beat.

By Patty Rasmussen

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This pretty pink fruit is part of the flower of a climbing cactus. The plant likely originated in Central America but you can find the fruit almost anywhere today.

By Patty Rasmussen

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?

By Patty Rasmussen

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.

By Patty Rasmussen

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

By Patty Rasmussen

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

By Patty Rasmussen

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

By Patty Rasmussen

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.

By Patty Rasmussen

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

By Patty Rasmussen

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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?

By Patty Rasmussen

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?

By Patty Rasmussen

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?

By Ed Grabianowski & Patty Rasmussen

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?

By Patty Rasmussen

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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.

By Patty Rasmussen