Vox: Five fascinating charts on the plummeting teen birth rate.
I’d just heard about the dropping rates via radio on the way home, and here’s extra info. Saves me having to go dig.
ABC News: Laura Ingalls Wilder Memoir to Give Gritty View of Prairie Life.
OpenCulture: Watch the First Episode of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy.
“The whole story plays out as if Mary Shelley and Fritz Lang collaborated to make Dumbo. Tezuka throws in a lot of wacky slapstick comedy, which just barely takes the edge off the story’s Dickensian melodrama, which relentlessly mines all those primal fears you thought you got over. In short, it’s brilliant.” Tezuka was a genius. Period.
Pacific Standard: Violent Video Game Play Triggers Risky Behavior.
“In a study that tracked thousands of teens over time, it found strong links between playing mature-rated, risk-glorifying games and a wide range of potentially harmful behaviors, including drinking and cigarette smoking.” Apparently when you reward risky behavior in virtual space, that translates to real-world behavior.
Day later: 12% of gamers hallucinate sound effects after they stop playing. So, perhaps we now have an idea what might have been going through the shooter’s mind at Sandy Hook?
Design You Trust: Little Giant Girl Marches through Liverpool.
Check the children’s faces, versus the adults. Adults are smiling; kids look a bit unsure. Having fantasy ‘come to life’ gives kids pause; ask any performer at Disney World. Or your average seasonal Santa Claus.
The Airship: I Read All of the Harry Potter Books for the First Time Over the Last Month.
Someone had to say it.
Guardian.UK: US climber condemned for filming his children in Mont Blanc avalanche.
CNet: iPhone 5S vs. train goes exactly like you’d expect.
I despair of youth today. An iPhone won’t derail a train. The concept behind using pennies was not to derail a train, but to put enough of a slicker material (copper offers less traction than the rails, working as a lubricant) between the wheels and the rails to slow or stop the train.
Not enough kids are growing up in rural areas, sans helicopter parents. I think it’s a huge, HUGE problem.
NPR: ‘Rocket Girl’ Is A Jetpack-Powered 21st Century Angel.
“It seems DaYoung wasn’t any ordinary teenager in her version of 2013. She was a member of the New York Teen Police Department. Now back in 1986, armed only with her flight gear and some awesome fighting moves, she beats down baddies of all stripes while pursuing her mission to stop the evil mega-corporation Quintum Mechanics.” Sounds like fun.
NCBI/PubMed: Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children, Religious and Secular.
“Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.”
The Economist: Low-cost fertility treatment - Maybe babies.
“Last year Belgian researchers tested a shoebox-sized IVF laboratory built from cheap glass tubes that uses baking soda and citric acid to create the carbon dioxide needed for fertilisation to occur. Pregnancy rates matched those from a standard laboratory and set-up costs are 85-90% lower.” The turkey-baster solution.
Metafilter: Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.
Learn of creationism, and how far people can rationalize belief. I think back to my own childhood, in which I got both versions ground into my brain. I have to say I rationalized the Biblical story as a nice narrative that was more archetypal than literal - symbolic, in other words. Had no words for that perception as a child, but I clearly remember that was the flavor of my unspoken thoughts. I preferred evolution because, at the time, it gave me dinosaurs. And I loved dinosaurs. Genesis, Adam and Eve didn’t stand a chance against Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Especially when I could walk over to Guyot Hall on the Princeton campus and see a real Tyrannosaurus skull (larger than I was, black as the hinges of Hades, teeth longer than my child’s hand).
Paris Review: Notes from the Milk Cave.
“Even if someone had told me ‘twenty minutes per breast per feeding,’ it would still have taken sitting down every two hours for forty minutes for me to understand, because just like every other aspect of pregnancy and motherhood—morning sickness, contractions—the imagined experience turned out to be laughably unlike the experience itself.”
Vox: The ‘not everyone should go to college’ argument is classist and wrong.
More useful, applicable intelligence is never a bad thing. Problem is, not all colleges are in the business of increasing intelligence.
Reason.com: Mom Jailed Because She Let Her 9-Year-Old Daughter Play in the Park Unsupervised.
Pffft. I walked by myself to kindergarten. Today, state-enforced helicopter parenting? Man, I’m so glad I grew up when I did.
SciAm: Kids on Screen-Time Diet Lost Weight and Got Better Grades.
“Parents are in a much more powerful position than they realize.” The ‘idiot box’ remains the ‘idiot box’ … or so it seems here.
Salon: Is J.K. Rowling the new George Lucas?
Hemmings Find of the Day: 1959 Chevrolet Impala.
Little old lady across the street from us had one of these. What only kids who grew up in the era can tell you — playing in the street, you got the hell out of the way of those fins as they came backing out of the driveway.
CR4: Best Engineered Toys, Past, Present and the Future.
Hypochondria in medical students and doctors: When to worry about health symptoms.
“Medical student syndrome is a well-documented phenomenon, a one- to two-year phase during which aspiring physicians think they’ve contracted whatever disease it is they’re studying.” Anyone who’s had a child become a physician knows this well. The internet allows us all to be hypochondriacs. Too many conversations these days begin with … ‘organ recitals.’ Such casual conversations about health used to be reserved for those over 60.
Guardian.UK: Harry Potter makes first appearance for seven years as he turns 34.
A weighted hors d’oeuvre? When other projects don’t match their expectations, authors tend to return to the ‘never again’ stories.
NY Times: Why the Research on Viewing Is Best Ignored.
“Anyway, yes, television affects our lives, as do microwaves, cellphones, cars, polyester, Tupperware. You can either study those effects to death — ‘Study Finds That Trying to Keep Up With Studies of TV Viewing Causes Insanity’ — or just accept that there’s a good-bad trade-off in watching television, and that you should negotiate it as best as you can, using common sense. ”
Slate: Neuman Celano library study - Educational technology worsens achievement gaps.
Flickr: Harry’s model car collection - all for sale.
If you’re of the same vintage as I, you’ll recognize at least two.
Guardian.UK: Autistic boys exposed to higher levels of hormones in womb, study finds.
“In the study, some boys exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb developed perfectly normally, while others exposed to low levels were diagnosed with autism. The results cannot indicate whether an individual will go on to develop autism or not.” What causes the hormone boosts in a subset of pregnant women? Points to some interesting hypotheses. BPA, soy have been shown through scholarly studies to have hormonal effects on amniotic fluids, or so I seem to recall.