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.
ArtDaily: Very first Wolverine artwork, not known to exist, surfaces for auction at Heritage.
Letterology: Press Kit.
“Various model press kits included tiny rubber type, spacers, ink, adhesive back picture dies, tweezers for handling type, an inking brush, ink ribbon, mounting slugs, the rotary press and paper. Instruction manuals encouraged kids to print up handbills and postcards to advertise their yardwork and baby-sitting services, and to write and publish home, school and club activities in newspapers.” This one’s before my time; but I remember one of my friends had a press like this. Very cool then ... still cool today.
Public Books: Stop Defending the Humanities.
“This negative stereotyping takes wing, in part, from the sense that humanities academics and the students whom they send into the professions acquire their privilege too easily, exempt from the hard scrabble of working in small business, farming, factories, supermarkets, and so on.” Yet the ‘liberal arts’ universities are the crucible for future captains of industry. Bite (and amputate) the hand that feeds you. Go figure.
nakedcap: What Good Are Children?
“Recent work by Benjamin et al (2013, 2014) confirms that people do not exactly maximise their wellbeing when making life decisions, but they often come very close. If so, those whose wellbeing will be improved by having children will have children, and those whose wellbeing would be worsened by having children will not. ”
NY Times: When May I Shoot a Student?
Mixing guns and young men’s first experiences away from home is a supremely bad idea. The anarchy and idiocy I experienced in my first years in college remain a mental trauma.
Slate: Breast-feeding study - Benefits of breast over bottle have been exaggerated.
“When children from different families were compared, the kids who were breast-fed did better on those 11 measures than kids who were not breast-fed. But, as Colen points out, mothers who breast-feed their kids are disproportionately advantaged—they tend to be wealthier and better educated. When children fed differently within the same family were compared—those discordant sibling pairs—there was no statistically significant difference in any of the measures, except for asthma.” Higher risk of asthma. You’re not subjecting your child to a guaranteed life of asthma. Now, can people stop fearing the occasional bottle?
ScienceDaily: Causal link found between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis & autism in new study.
Interesting. I believe one can have D levels tested via mail order kits. Thanks, Dan B!