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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The American Family on the Moon

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 1:56 PM

This picture of a family was left on the moon on 23 April 1972 by Charles Duke. Captured in the photo is the astronaut, his wife, and their sons. The young family is sitting on a bench.

NASA-1.jpg
  • NASA

The picture (which captures some of my deepest feelings about the nuclear family) is still on the moon and it may even survive the extinction of our kind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maternal Leave and the US

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:57 AM

The information presented in this graph, which is by Think Progress, is not new. But it's still important to remind ourselves that the fact itself—zero universal maternal leave—causes no turbulence whatsoever in the American political system but abortion does...



What the graph simply says to me: When you are nothing but a mere thing (a clump of cells) you are something; but when you are finally an actual breathing person, you are nothing—a zero. But this is the American way, this idea that we all must start from zero. It's an illusion of fairness that obscures these most important of social factors: What class are you born in? What color is your skin?

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Darwin's Kids' Art Projects

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 3:18 PM

From the "famous people had personal lives, too" files: a collection of drawings Charles Darwin's kids did all over his actual On the Origin of Species manuscript:

Remarkably, this is one of only twenty-eight pages of the manuscript that still exist. The Cambridge University Library has given it the descriptive name "The Battle of the Fruit and Vegetable Soldiers," and so indeed it seems to be. As near as I can make out, it shows a turbaned soldier mounted on a blueberry squaring off with an English dragoon on a carrot-steed. Perhaps inspired by the 1839-1842 Anglo-Afghan War, and filtered through the Darwin household's fascination with plants and gardening?

There are lots of birds and vegetables, and their happy home (with a glimpse of Darwin's "thinking path"). The art is really great for kid art. Do they mean anything? Who knows. But go check 'em out.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Father of 3-Year-Old Who Shot 17-Month-Old Sister Writes a Parenting Column

Posted by on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 9:01 AM

And speaking of guns, you know that story yesterday about the 3-year-old who shot his 17-month-old sister? Well, in case you think it's just illiterate idiot hillbillies who leave their guns out in reach of their toddlers, it turns out the children's father is a "parenting columnist":

The 17-month-old daughter of a North Carolina parenting columnist is expected to recover after her 3-year-old brother shot her with his father’s gun.

... Justin Carper, who is a youth church leader and writes an unpaid parenting column for the Shelby Star, said that he never imagined that his son could have climbed on a stool and and then taken the gun from a “secret compartment” on top of his dresser.

Watch out, Charles—I think The Stranger may have found our next Parenting Issues Editor!

Also:

As of Friday, no charges had been filed against the father.

“We’re compiling the case and will present the case to the D.A. to determine if any charges will be filed for failure to secure a firearm,” Sheriff’s Capt. Shores noted.

“Regardless of the outcome, the parents have been punished more than any criminal justice system can do to them by this happening.”

No, I think throwing Carper in jail for a year would substantively add to the punishment, and perhaps deter others from being so careless. At the very least, a felony conviction would bar Carper from owning a gun, making both his family and society safer.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meet Two Kids With Three Legal Parents

Posted by on Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Scaremongers on the religious right often demagogue about the terrifying prospect of children having three—or more—legal parents. So let's take a look at two kids with with three legal parents:

Pretty terrifying, huh? (Thanks to Slog tipper James.)

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

An Intense Intergenerational Showdown at Starbucks

Posted by on Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

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From this week's I, Anonymous:

You were behind me in line at Starbucks. You were a fortysomething guy with your young son in tow. When he told you he had to go to the bathroom, you said, "Why?!" That got my attention. He continued, pleading with you to take him to the bathroom, crying that he REALLY had to go. Again you dismissed him, telling him, "That's what your diaper is for!" Clearly distraught, your child was forced to go in his pants, old enough to know better, but given no other option. What's worse is that after he was made to go in his pants, you berated him for asking and told him that "bathroom time is only when we are at home," and that he needs to get used to using his diaper in public. What kind of parent does that to their child?...

Read the whole thing (and offer support and judgment in the comments) here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Cheerios Commercial Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Posted by on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM

According to AdWeek.com, this Cheerios spot was the most hated ad during the Golden Globes. As Adweek's Tim Rudd writes:

The ad shows a mom and her son having breakfast, when the boy pipes up and asks, "Did Nana ever give you Cheerios when you were a little kid?" This seemingly innocent question leads to an exchange that's supposed to be cute, though it leaves Mom practically in tears by the end...

Which brings up the big question:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Phoenix: A Great Place to Raze a Family

Posted by on Wed, Jan 1, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Jesus. What the fuck is up with Phoenix, Arizona? First there's this:

PHOENIX - Police say an Arizona woman who tried to kill her ex-husband and poison her four children, including a teenage daughter found dead in her home on Christmas Day, has told authorities she didn't want her ex to have custody of the kids.

Police say 35-year-old Connie Villa also told them she tried to kill all of her children by forcing them to ingest prescription narcotic drugs, according to CBS affiliate KPHO. Villa said she was not able to force one of her daughters, Aniarael, to ingest the drugs so she suffocated her to death with her bare hands, according to police, reports the station.

And now there's this:

PHOENIX — Police say a Valley father murdered his teen son with an ax because he thought the boy was a demon.

Happy New Year.

UPDATE: Jesus. Yet another one:

TOLLESON, Ariz. — A father and his two young daughters have been found dead inside a home in the Phoenix suburb of Tolleson in what police are calling a murder-suicide.

Tolleson Police Sgt. Obed Gaytan says the girls, ages 6 and 8, had been shot. Police identified the father as 45-year-old Alejandro Gallardo and said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Neighbors and those who work in the area told police they heard screaming coming from the home Wednesday morning.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Hacking Your Webcam

Posted by on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM

The view from here.
  • The view from here.

One of our previous tech stoners at The Stranger used to laugh every time I brought him my laptop. "Little paranoid?" he'd say, pointing at the square of post-it I used to cover my webcam.

I told him I didn't know what people were capable of doing, but if a little square of paper could give me a slight edge in the peace-of-mind department, I'd take it. "Nobody can spy on you," he'd say and roll his eyes.

Joke's on him:

Last week, researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Computer Science showed off an exploit that allows a hacker to take over some MacBook computers and activate their Web cameras without the users’ knowledge.

The webcam hacking technique, first reported by The Washington Post, is said to be similar to a tactic used to spy on Cassidy Wolf, a 19-year-old Miss Teen USA, who fell victim to a webcam hacker earlier this year.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the man responsible for the spying on Ms. Wolf. He pleaded guilty to charges in connection with his spying on her and a number of other women, using software that could snap a picture or record video of them without warning.

The Johns Hopkins paper, titled “iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED,” explains how the researchers were able to reprogram an iSight camera’s microcontroller to activate the recording functions and LED activation lights independently to spy on someone without giving that person any idea that the computer camera is in use.

Which, of course, brings up the question of what the NSA and similar agencies can do with similar hacks, either for "national security" or for spying on exes.

And that other tab you see open? "Mammals Suck," a blog by my old friend Katie Hinde, who grew up to become a milk biologist/anthropologist. Do some mammals produce different milk for boys and for girls? Do breast-fed babies cry more? Why do humans wean faster than our ape cousins?

Check it out on Mammals Suck! And thanks to Greg for the tech tip.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Social Engineering 101

Posted by on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Three toys that must be banned by the parent with an aggression that would impress even Stalin: Toy guns, toy cars, and dollhouses...



The damage that dollhouses alone have done to society is at a scale that challenges the abilities of the imagination. A toy I recommend for boys and girls? Buy something along the lines of this.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If You Named Your Baby Sophia, You Are So Unoriginal

Posted by on Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

The Washington State Department of Health has released its list of top 100 baby names for 2012, and surprisingly, Cienna is nowhere on it. The number one most unoriginal girl's name last year was Sophia (473 out of 42,719 girls born in the state last year), while the number one most boring boy's name was Liam (409 out of 44,696).

In case you're interested in avoiding this same mistake for your own children, here is a sampling of the top ten most boring and unoriginal boys and girls names in Washington State:

BOYSGIRLS
LIAM409SOPHIA473
MASON408EMMA456
ETHAN394OLIVIA438
ALEXANDER357ISABELLA324
BENJAMIN336AVA310
NOAH329EMILY303
WILLIAM317ABIGAIL275
JACOB314ELIZABETH254
JAMES313MIA230
MICHAEL313ELLA229

Take it from David Goldstein (the "John Smith" of Judaism), you can do better.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Breastfeeding Yoga

Posted by on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Yes, there is such a thing in the world, and this is what it looks like:

To clear two things up right off the bat, no – that picture of her nursing daughter Naia wasn’t staged, and no — she wasn’t hanging from the tree as many commenters thought!

Well, now that you have seen that, look at this—the trailer for the movie Fuck for Forest (NSFW):

What are you afraid of? It's sperm. It's organic.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Toy Guns?

Posted by on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I went to a rodeo in Eastern Washington over the weekend. A vendor was selling lots and lots of these plastic guns to kids—mostly to 8 and 9-year olds. The "NOTICE" sticker on the box isn't a warning or anything. It simply states the soft bullets aren't included. Without the bullets, the gun, which runs on three "AA" batteries, just makes this really creepy "Atta-Tat-Tat-Tat-Tat-Tat-Tat!" sound.

Maybe in a world that includes bus driver shootings, this isn't the BEST idea anyone ever had? Or maybe a squirt gun is plenty-fun?

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  • Kelly O

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Friday, August 2, 2013

What's Going On In This Photo?

Posted by on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Click the photo, to feast your eyes on some maaaagic! Also: I LOVE MY FAMILY.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Me on Rachel Belle

Posted by on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Rachel Belle of KIRO radio interviewed me about my article, "My Parents Told Me the Sad Truth About America." She pronounced my name correctly, she asked great questions, and she posted the whole thing damn here.

From the comments of this post...

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My one bone to pick with this comment: Mainstream rap used to be more diverse, more democratic, more about the full spectrum of the black American experience. But around the late 90s, mainstream rap made a huge transition from the many to the one, the gangsta. Why? Recording corporations only promoted the gangsta. Why? Because the gangsta sold the most records. And who was and still is buying most of these records? White Americans. You will find few feedback loops in American popular culture that are more toxic than this one.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

Posted by on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:45 PM

And it looks like the future could be glorious. Exhibit A: The Fine Bros. latest "Kids React" video, in which a bunch of ridiculously adorable kids watch the "controversial" Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family and share their thoughts. (Amazing fact #1: Not one kid understands how the ad could be offensive until the adult interviewer explains.) I love this.

Friday, July 12, 2013

And Why Is Zimbabwe in USA Today?

Posted by on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Damn!

The Washington Post has spotted an almost too-hard-to-believe nugget from an international report on corruption: A hospital in Zimbabwe charges women $5 for every time they scream during labor.

In theory, it's to curb "false alarms," but it's really about "separating mothers from their money," writes Max Fisher.


Zimbabwean hospitals also typically charge a $50 delivery fee, which may not sound like much until you realize it amounts to a third of an average citizen's yearly income, says Transparency International. That helps explain why so many women opt to give birth at home, and why the United Nations estimates that eight Zimbabwean women die each day in childbirth.

Do they also charge for grunts and puffs?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lunchtime Quickie: Well, There's More Than One Way to Teach a Baby a Thing

Posted by on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

"Swim to the stairs... go, go, go!" JUST WOW, BABY GIRL. Just wow.

h/t Michael!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Being Human Beings

Posted by on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

BBC:

Delivery men in Ninghai, in China's Zhejiang province, caught a young child as she fell from a building on Thursday night.The group heard the little girl's cries from five storeys up. The men managed to break the toddler's fall by catching her with outstretched arms. At least two of them suffered injuries.
The little girl, on the other hand, managed to escape with just a minor wound on her face.
Apparently, the girl woke up from a nap, found her parents were not around, and climbed out the window. I don't think there's a more stupid animal than a human child. Their dependence on society is like nothing else in nature. And yet this heavy dependence, this profound dumbness is the very soil of our social genius.

Thanks for the video go to ScandalMgr.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Commerical of Multiracial Family Makes America Nuts

Posted by on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 8:21 AM

You can guess why the comments section for this Cheerio ad had to be disabled...


The monster dying in America does not die quietly; as it melts into a steaming pile, it bawls, yells, screams.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

'Mother in UK Forced 14-Year-Old to Get Pregnant'

Posted by on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Good god:

An American mom in Britain, prevented from adopting a fourth child, forced her eldest adopted daughter to impregnate herself with syringes of sperm bought on the Internet.

The daughter was forced to artificially inseminate herself seven times over a period of two years. When she was 16, she became pregnant and gave birth when she was 17. Caregivers became suspicious of the child-adopter/life-ruiner sociopath "because she was trying to prevent her daughter from bonding with the new baby."

We don't want any of that attachment thing," the mother said when a midwife suggested that the girl might want to breastfeed. After several such incidents the midwives alerted social services and police got involved in July 2011.

And just to cap off this most fucked-up tale, the child-adopter/life-ruiner wanted the unborn child to be a girl, and therefore subjected the adopted daughter/surrogate mother to "acid douches containing vinegar or lemon juice in the belief that this would influence an unborn child's gender."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Future Children of Mars

Posted by on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Guardian:

A few months before he died, Carl Sagan recorded a message of hope to would-be Mars explorers, telling them: "Whatever the reason you're on Mars is, I'm glad you're there. And I wish I was with you."

On Monday, 17 years after the pioneering astronomer set out his hopeful vision of the future in 1996, a company from the Netherlands is proposing to turn Sagan's dreams of reaching Mars into reality. The company, Mars One, plans to send four astronauts on a trip to the Red Planet to set up a human colony in 2023. But there are a couple of serious snags.

Firstly, when on Mars their bodies will have to adapt to surface gravity that is 38% of that on Earth. It is thought that this would cause such a total physiological change in their bone density, muscle strength and circulation that voyagers would no longer be able to survive in Earth's conditions. Secondly, and directly related to the first, they will have to say goodbye to all their family and friends, as the deal doesn't include a return ticket.

...Nevertheless, the project has already had 10,000 applicants, according to the company's medical director, Norbert Kraft. When the official search is launched on Monday at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, they expect tens of thousands more hopefuls to put their names forward.

A human colony on Mars? Does this mean raising children on Mars? If so, this presents a profoundly troubling ethical question. It's fine if an adult woman or man wants to go to Mars and spend the rest of his/her life being bored to death by a planet that has little to nothing going for it. But to be born in this world, to realize it's not your world, and to feel everyday the frustrated instincts for a world that has rising from its buzzing surface a warm and biotic halo. What if these stranded children demanded that we on Earth come right away and rescue them from a boredom that has no beginning or end? They did not ask to be born on Mars. They are being punished for a crime they never committed. And what if they sue us Earth humans for trillions? What are the rights of these Martian brats? And finally there is this...
But the Mars One website states: "While a cosmonaut on board the Mir was able to walk upon return to Earth after 13 months in a weightless environment, after a prolonged stay on Mars the human body will not be able to adjust to the higher gravity of Earth upon return.

"There is a point in time after which the human body will have adjusted to the 38% gravitation field of Mars, and be incapable of returning to the Earth's much stronger gravity. This is due to the total physiological change in the human body, which includes reduction in bone density, muscle strength, and circulatory system capacity."


One solution is to make a Truman Show of the lives of these Martian children. They can never know of Earth, never know where their parents really come from. They have to believe this is all there is and will ever be...
MarsSunsetCut.jpg
  • 19 May 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, NASA

Saturday, April 6, 2013

This Is Beyond Categories

Posted by on Sat, Apr 6, 2013 at 5:41 PM

So, three people were found shot to death in Idaho at a location that is both a pit bull breeding/sales location and a pot grow site. Children who survived the shootings were alone for a day. Beyond my ability to get my head around.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tom Cruise = Deal Breaker

Posted by on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 4:44 PM

These days I find everything about Tom Cruise to be so incredibly annoying that I cannot value a film in which he appears. Even though Tom is popular with older folks (like Goldy), I suspect I am not alone in this sentiment. Maybe it's the whole Scientology thing, or maybe it's just that the man simply seethes with insecurity. I really love post-apocalyptic movies, but because Tom Cruise is in it, I can't get excited about Oblivion. Naturally, this bit of musing facilitates the need for a scientifically and legally binding Slog Poll™.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lunchtime Quickie: You Deserve a Break Today

Posted by on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

There's a lot of stress in the world. And there's also THIS...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bloomberg the Social Engineer Goes After Teen Pregnancy

Posted by on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM

But here is the problem:

Whatever choices women make at work and in life, those choices are easier if they delay child-bearing. Having a kid while you are a still a teenager can seriously curtail your options. Which is why it is good news that American teen-pregnancy rates are at historic lows! The rate of teen pregnancy has been falling since 1991 and dropped again dramatically in the last four years.
So, I must ask, why in the world, as the crisis is abating and fewer teens are facing the challenges of early child-rearing would the city of New York spend $400,000 on a campaign to publicly shame teen parents? That’s why this week’s letter goes to the man who signed off on that campaign.
An image of the ad is here. In the way I admire Robert Moses for being a master builder, I admire Bloomberg for being a muscular social engineer. But Moses built horrible expressways, and Bloomberg often makes mistakes. Teen pregnancy is actually on the decline; leave that matter alone. But what is on the increase?
A government report released on Wednesday shows pregnancy rates among women in their early 20s falling nearly 18 percent from 1990 to 2008. But pregnancies among older women rose far more dramatically: rates for women ages 40 to 44 went up nearly 65 percent. There were just 11.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age group in 1990, compared with 18.8 in 2008.
This is what Bloomberg should be really addressing. Science has made what was once rare very common—middle-age pregnancy. Because humans as a whole should be making less babies, it's not at all good news that older women are now "picking up the slack." If babies are to be made, it makes more sense and seems more fair that it should be the business of younger women. Instead of shaming teenagers, Bloomberg should be shaming middle-aged women. The more rational and social thing for them to do is not contribute to the overflowing human pool but absorb the surplus—adopt a child.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sexualizing Children

Posted by on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 7:27 AM

ABC:

The Brockton, Mass., boy, born Luie Rivera Jr., refers to himself as a "Coke Boy," rides (without a seat belt) in a Ferrari and slaps a woman's bottom, in a raunchy music video that is stirring controversy as it goes viral. The video has also triggered an emergency investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families after local police filed a complaint against the boy's father, Luis Rivera, alleging child abuse or neglect.
The family's attorney denies any wrongdoing by father or son and calls the investigation "racially motivated."
"White child actors are depicted in far more serious scenes, including violence and sexual content, and they get awards," Boston attorney Joseph Krowski, Jr. told ABCNews.com. "A young Hispanic male who raps - he gets an investigation."
I know a lot of white people will roll their eyes at the claim by made Lil Poopy's family and lawyer. It's the race card yet again. Minorities can only see racism everywhere. This is nothing but the exploitation of a child by his parents, and so on and so forth. I actually do think the boy is being exploited and the state should intervene, but white people, you can't tell me there's a real difference between what Lil Poopy's parent are doing and, say, what JonBenet Ramsey's parents did to her...

And there are lots of parents like Ramsey's parents and no one is asking the state to intervene in their middle-class form of sexual exploitation. Ramsey was sexualized, but in away that fits middle-class aspirations and realities. Lil Poopy is being exploited, but in away that fits under-class aspirations and realities.

Monday, February 11, 2013

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Junk in the Trunk

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