Sunday, April 18. 2010
I have joined a new venture with some friends. It is strictly a religious endeavor. As most who read this blog will know the church I attend is made of members that have their own callings or responsibilities in the congregations in which they attend. My friend Jon Madsen has such a responsibility that precludes him from being able to come to any Sunday School class. So he thought that he would like to be able to have a weekly discussion of Gospel principles and other points of LDS doctrine.
It is called The Iron Rodcast. The typical format for the show will be an expanded discussion of that weeks Sunday School lesson and then a random topic. That random topic could really end up being anything (hence the word random). Our first podcast was recorded last week and is now available for direct MP3 download here. I am not completely certain why we called the podcast Genesis considering that we are starting in Exodus, but whatever. I imagine eventually it will be available on itunes. I won't be posting regularly here on this blog about it but I did want to let all of you know that it is now out there and that you should go and take a listen.
Thursday, March 25. 2010
Well I am reporting on the children. Yesterday I gave all three of them (you can't exclude a four-year-old without serious consequences) a mini Hershey bar, and explained that if they still had it tomorrow morning they could trade it for a bigger one, but they had to keep it with them all day. I did this to present more temptation during the long school day.
E, age 9, instantly declared she was saving hers. This created an avalanche effect of mimicry. I'm not sure how the boys would have reacted without her to emulate. Not so much conclusive. She handed her mini bar back this morning matter-of-factly and is now hoarding the bigger version. I don't think she's going to eat that anytime soon either.
Preston, age 4, kept his with him all day and often lovingly took it out and looked at it, but it degenerated over the course of the day from a perfectly respectable mini candy bar to a completely liquid form, sloshing around inside its skin of wrapper, and then a tiny, crumpled, hardened wad of chocolate and wrapper that probably was only appealing to the dogs. He presented it to me this morning with almost relief.
Skyler, now 7 (!) was extremely excited (in fact he met me outside the bathroom door this morning) to have not eaten his candy; it was, however, cracked in half, which he was worried would ruin the deal. I would feel more positive about this response except again, he is a copycat, and he got the idea from E.
Maybe the study went perfectly fine and I'm just too much of a pessimist to believe any of my children have self-control. Because the alternative is believing they all do.
Monday, March 22. 2010
Just kidding, I wouldn't eat my children. They're too stringy.
I came across a fascinating article today that talks about Epigenetics: the study of the chemicals that cause your genes to turn on and off. The idea is that although changing your DNA is impossible, changing the behavior of your genes is simple. So much so, in fact, that we all do it. And more crucially, once we've changed the behavior of our genes, the behavior of our children's genes also change. So, for example, if you overeat for a year in your childhood, your children and THEIR children will have altered DNA, practically speaking. In fact, you will have shortened their lives by up to 32 years. (This study was done on children from an area of Sweden called Overkalix.)
Another example: what if you smoke? A lot? What if you started before you hit puberty? Turns out you not only put yourself at risk for cancer, etc -- you also put your children and grandchildren at risk for various health problems, and a significantly shortened lifespan.
When Pembrey, Bygren and Golding looked at the sons of those 166 early smokers, it turned out that the boys had significantly higher body mass indexes than other boys by age 9. That means the sons of men who smoke in prepuberty will be at higher risk for obesity and other health problems well into adulthood. It's very likely these boys will also have shorter life spans, just as the children of the Overkalix overeaters did. "The coherence between the ALSPAC and Overkalix results in terms of the exposure-sensitive periods and sex specificity supports the hypothesis that there is a general mechanism for transmitting information about the ancestral environment down the male line," Pembrey, Bygren, Golding and their colleagues concluded in the European Journal of Human Genetics paper. In other words, you can change your epigenetics even when you make a dumb decision at 10 years old. If you start smoking then, you may have made not only a medical mistake but a catastrophic genetic mistake.
Is anyone else horrified by the implication that we can ruin the lives of the generations to come by our stress levels, bad health, etc?
Monday, March 15. 2010
It seems a simple challenge: take a four-year-old, give him a marshmallow, and leave the room. Will he scarf that marshmallow right away? What if you tell him that if it's still there when you get back in 15 minutes, he'll get a second marshmallow? Will he resist temptation?
The answer depends on the four-year-old, and surprisingly much depends on whether he has that sort of self-control or not. If he does succeed in resisting the marshmallow, he's much more likely to succeed in school and then in life as he grows to adulthood. If he stuffs it in his mouth as soon as you leave the room, he's much more likely to be impulsive, have behavioral problems, and fail at school as he matures.
Read the article for the full, very interesting, report on this unique test of will, especially if you are or plan on ever being responsible for the success of a child. Delaying gratification is a skill nobody really talks about, but one which can determine whether your child grows to be a failure or a success.
I tried this test on Preston, who (as we all know) has his share of behavioral problems, severe enough that the State classifies him as "special needs." With great ceremony and solemnity I presented him with a marshmallow. I placed it on the shelf in his room right at eye level and within reach. I explained that it was his, and he could eat it--BUT--if it was still on that shelf when I came back, I would give him a second marshmallow also, and he could eat both.
Then I left for 15 minutes. I waited with mild anxiety. Would he fail? Was he eating it RIGHT NOW? When I went back into the room he was sitting on his bed, hands clasped together between his knees, staring straight in front of him into space. This is his "time out" pose, oddly enough. And there was the marshmallow, sitting right where I'd left it, a foot away from him. When I came in, he leapt to his feet with a grin on his face, completely pleased with himself. And he scarfed those two marshmallows at the same time, stuffing them into his face with total satisfaction.
After reading the article I think I'll try it on my older kids, too--it's important information to know, whether your kid has impulse control or not. For one thing, you can teach them tricks to help them control their impulses if you know that they failed the test. I am going to buy mini candy bars, and big candy bars. I'll tell Skyler and E (6 and 9) that they can have the little one now, and it's theirs--BUT--if they bring it to me tomorrow morning uneaten, they get the bigger version of the candy bar also. We'll see how they do. Care to place bets?
Wednesday, January 6. 2010
It is clear some of us aren't as diligent about posting things to the blog as we used to be. With consult from AoD, Ladies & Gentlemen of The Homestarmy, it is my privilege to introduce a *new feature writer to our auspicious blog. For some time Listener Jim has been a weekly contributor to mine and AoD's podcast, Trek West 5. He has shown himself to be intelligent, articulate, and funny. He will be a nice addition to our team.
So with much fanfare and adulation, please welcome to our ranks: The Fox.
*Joey still needs to set a few things up for him in the database to give him author rights, but very soon he will be able to start writing.
Thursday, August 13. 2009
Wednesday, March 25. 2009
Posted on behalf of AoD.
Our ISP has announced that our server will be running from emergency/UPS power from 10:00 PM tonight (March 25) until tomorrow at 10:00 AM.
Wednesday, March 11. 2009
Corporal Punishment is BACK! Posted by The Mad Giggler in News at 08:32
In this NYTimes article, well, I'll just re-post it here.
Europeans Debate Castration of Sex Offenders
By DAN BILEFSKY
PRAGUE — Pavel remembers the violent night sweats two days before the murder. He went to see a family doctor, who said they would go away. But after viewing a Bruce Lee martial arts film, he said, he felt uncontrollable sexual desires. He invited a 12-year-old neighbor home. Then he stabbed the boy repeatedly.
His psychiatrist says Pavel derived his sexual pleasure from the violence.
More than 20 years have passed. Pavel, then 18, spent seven years in prison and five years in a psychiatric institution. During his last year in prison, he asked to be surgically castrated. Having his testicles removed, he said, was like draining the gasoline from a car hard-wired to crash. A large, dough-faced man, he is sterile and has forsaken marriage, romantic relationships and sex, he said. His life revolves around a Catholic charity, where he is a gardener.
“I can finally live knowing that I am no harm to anybody,” he said during an interview at a McDonald’s here, as children played loudly nearby. “I am living a productive life. I want to tell people that there is help.”
He refused to give his last name for fear of being hounded.
Whether castration can help rehabilitate violent sex offenders has come under new scrutiny after the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee last month called surgical castration “invasive, irreversible and mutilating” and demanded that the Czech Republic stop offering the procedure to violent sex offenders. Other critics said that castration threatened to lead society down a dangerous road toward eugenics. Continue reading "Corporal Punishment is BACK!"
Tuesday, January 27. 2009
Ahem, ahem, ahem, ahem.
I have an announcement to make. As part of our continuing effort to improve the earth, Mrs. Johnny Elbows and I have started a blog. Our blog is a food blog. We will be posting recipes on it. Some of them will be old favorites, some will be new inventions, and some might be chronicles of our disastrous attempts to create something new.
You can find our blog here.
Feel free to let us know what you think.
Friday, December 5. 2008
I'm reposting this from the New York Times for two reasons. 1) Tijuana is like home to me and it rips me up that this stuff is going on there. I've been to some of these hospitals. 2) If I don't repost it here, I know none of you will actually click on the link to read it.
By MARC LACEY
Published: December 4, 2008
TIJUANA, Mexico — The sedated patient, his bullet wounds still fresh from a shootout the night before, was lying on a gurney in the intensive care unit of a prestigious private hospital here late last month with intravenous fluids dripping into his arm. Suddenly, steel-faced gunmen barged in and filled him with even more bullets. This time, he was dead for sure.
Hit men pursuing rivals into intensive care units and emergency rooms. Shootouts in lobbies and corridors. Doctors kidnapped and held for ransom, or threatened with death if a wounded gunman dies under their care. With alarming speed, Mexico’s violent drug war is finding its way into the seeming sanctuary of the nation’s hospitals, shaking the health care system and leaving workers fearing for their lives while trying to save the lives of others.
Continue reading "Hospitals Now a Theater in Mexico’s Drug War"
Wednesday, October 8. 2008
Monday, September 29. 2008
Earlier today, Sideshow shared an article from CNN with me. His comment on the article was, "If lawmakers spent half as much time trying to get things done, as they do blaming one another, we'd be a lot better off."
Sideshow, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you. I believe that the men who wrote the Constitution not only knew that things like this would happen; I believe that they expected it and wanted it to happen this way. I believe that the men who wrote the Constitution believed, like I believe, that hasty decisions are, generally speaking, poorly thought out and poorly implemented.
Our government isn't designed to get things done quickly. In history class, we learn about the checks and balances that are built into the Constitution, but as our history teachers praise these checks and balances, they often fail to point out what their real purpose is. The checks and balances help to preserve freedom by making it hard to pass laws. They make it so that our government can't get anything done. They encourage politicians to sit around pointing fingers instead of accomplishing things.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have them pointing fingers--at least then their hands aren't reaching into my wallet.
Thursday, June 19. 2008
A new domestic wiretap law is looking like it will soon pass the House of Representatives (see this article for more information).
Among other things, this law will, for all intents and purposes, grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications providers who, illegally, cooperated with past wiretap requests. Why are our representatives issuing a "Get Out of Jail Free" card to these organizations who deserve punishment for their criminal actions? This quote from the above-referenced article is very revealing:
In other words, according to Representative Hoekstra, these organizations deserve to be let off the hook because they were patriotic. Perhaps, according to Hoestra's definition of patriotism, they were patriotic. I have to say though, that I have a different definition of patriotism. Continue reading "Patriotism and Wiretaps"
Sunday, October 28. 2007
Bush Presidency = French Revolution? Posted by The Mad Giggler in News at 08:54
I read this fascinating comparison of the French Revolution with the Bush Presidency today. Agree or disagree with how Bush has run the country since 9/11, the parallels are quite interesting.
Here's an example:
If the French [Revolution] had a slogan, it was that attributed to the great orator Louis de Saint-Just: "No liberty for the enemies of liberty." Saint-Just's pithy phrase (like President Bush's variant, "We must not let foreign enemies use the forums of liberty to destroy liberty itself"). . .
Here's the link for those who want to read it: Bush's Dangerous Liaisons
Tuesday, October 16. 2007
Well, not really. TimeSelect was a really stupid and shortsighted idea, but I'm happy to have access to the op-eds again. For instance, this piece from Stephen Colbert via Maureen Dowd(y).
A Mock Columnist Run Amok
So, I'll try to add something with more content next time, AoD. Stop yer whinin'!
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