Pacific Standard: Can You Learn to Judge Creativity?
“A new research paper suggests that amateurs can, indeed, be trained to be better judges of creativity — at least when it comes to children’s paintings.” Reminds me of the time when we were using children’s drawings in a particular company’s PR push … the creative director didn’t feel the drawings were ‘right’ and grabbed crayons and drew over the children’s work to ‘improve’ them. I felt that the children’s work should not have been altered, no matter what permissions had been obtained. Bothers me still.
Flickr: The Dinky Toys Pool.
Slate: Electroconvulsive therapy for autism.
[Puts me in mind of the old ‘cures’ for stuttering. Scalding the tongue with a hot iron. Trimming the sides of the tongue. Searing the lips. Putting spiked objects in the mouth to prevent the tongue from ‘resting’. And other whacked-out concepts that work for a day, a week, then stop. When I came of age, I appreciated Francis Bacon’s cure all the more: copious amounts of warm wine laved on the back of the tongue. That works every time!]
FrancisWade: Agent Orange 40 Years On - Heartbreaking Photos inside Vietnam Orphanages.
“I think there’s a lack of understanding about how damaging the effects of Agent Orange continue to be. Remember that the spraying of the dioxin stopped more than 40 years ago, so you’d think it was confined to history, but that’s not the case at all—thousands of children are being born each year with severe deformities that are likely linked to ongoing Agent Orange contamination of the soil and water.”
The Dish: A Bachelor’s Degree In Gettin’ Paid.
Happy to see NM Tech on the list.
The Airship: Today in Literary History - Percy Shelley Thrown Out of Oxford.
More often than ever appreciated, a troubled child becomes a brilliant adult.
Slate: Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, and the Hunger Games: Why teens love dystopias.
Movie review aside; I think young folk admiring dystopias is a positive thing. Still, I’d prefer a MacGyver-ish ‘leverage-what-you’ve-got’ cleverness than the bleak Road Warrior future we seem to be heading for.
Randal S. Olson: It’s impossible to work your way through college nowadays.
Design You Trust: Aston Martin Heritage pedal car.
Guardian.UK: Rightwing talkshow host to bestselling children’s author.
Pacific Standard: Thinking Racist Thoughts? The Problem Might Be Your Video Game Avatar.
“Our research suggests that people who play violent video games as violent black characters are more likely to believe that blacks are violent people.” As I’ve said before, in the absence of direct experience children will believe what they see. A video game experience can end up being congruent with a ‘real’ experience. Apparently that may go for adults as well.
Re/code: Never Forget That 16-Year-Old Girls Run the Internet.
“Two of the hottest social network apps right now are Secret and Whisper. These social interest networks share the category with platforms like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, but the latter three allow you to follow pinboards, people and companies to help improve the signal-to-noise. Secret and Whisper are fascinating additions to the category because they pronounce anonymity as a core feature due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter being posted.” Excuse me for pointing out, there ain’t no such thing as anonymity on the ‘net anymore.
Civil War Memory: “We Learned How the South Was Right.”
The comments are even more interesting: “An institution trying to sell a first-rate educational experience needs to cite a survey that isn’t fourteen years old. I doubt if most of my students have ever heard of Beavis & Butthead. As I discovered yesterday, I have students who don’t remember 9/11.”
The Atlantic: The Overprotected Kid.
Hmmm. I grew up playing in the street, around Princeton University’s campus. No adult supervision, unless you count the occasional stern reprimand from a police officer or a security guard. You learn fast what’s safe and what’s not. Better yet, we kids took care of each other. Olders herded the youngers. Tried to keep the troublemakers out of trouble. And the daredevils off high places.
SciAm: Antianxiety Drugs Successfully Treat Autism.
“Exactly how much impact the drugs could have on a given patient remains unknown, and no human clinical trials have yet been performed.” Think twice before diving on this one. Benzodiazepenes have one of the most insidious addiction profiles out there; it’s not the ‘high’ … it’s the withdrawal. Even when taking them, you start ‘chasing the half-life’ of the pills long before the next pill is due. The “Xanax twitch”, the inability to concentrate, the watching-of-the-clock. Don’t sentence your children to such an existence, without concrete evidence.
NY Times Sunday Review: The Incessant Selling of the Self.
Ghost in the Machine: Mr. Toad’s Cantankerous Contraption.
The Atlantic: Why We Can’t Stop Liking the Brands We Loved as Kids.
“People hold onto a deep fondness for brands, like Kellogg’s cereal and other foods with friendly mascots, that they were exposed to as children. The consumer brain is a bag of concrete mix before a person turns 13: Anything you can slip in the soft blend is likely to harden, along with our neural networks, by the time we become a money-spending adult.” Why some never escape the limited patterns they were raised within. Great rewards are available to those who dare to wield the jackhammer. It’s not easy, it’s not quick. Eventually, however, you can stand over your former prison and celebrate your escape.
Presentation Zen: Sam Berns presents “My Philosophy for a Happy Life”.
WaPo: How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness.
BBC: England ‘divided into readers and watchers’.
Guardian.UK: Fukushima’s children at centre of debate over rates of thyroid cancer.
If equipment sensitivity is suspected, it’s easy to prove. Pick another group of children, far removed from Fukushima, and run the same tests. Every experiment needs a control.
Independent.UK: Creative writing courses are a waste of time, says Hanif Kureishi.
“A lot of my students just can’t tell a story. They can write sentences but they don’t know how to make a story go from there all the way through to the end without people dying of boredom in between. It’s a difficult thing to do and it’s a great skill to have. Can you teach that? I don’t think you can.” Look, you give kids the basics. Many years later, once they have a stable of experiences, those seeds you plant will take root. It’s a worthy thing to do, teaching creative writing. Stories make up our modern internet!
CNN: Baby left in toilet now 27, curious.
Born in ‘87. Middle of the crack cocaine epidemic in a state that suffered particularly badly throughout. There were many worse outcomes than being left in a bathroom.