Putting school kids in the criminal database

When I first saw the title "Put young children on DNA list, police urge", I thought of those fingerprint cards. The ones where you take your child’s fingerprints and keep it in case they ever get kidnapped. So when I read the article, expecting to see a "keep kids safe" theme, I was horrified to see it was a "identify the bad kids" article.

The director of the Scotland Yard wants teachers to identify potential "future criminals" – kids who misbehave in elementary school. He wants their DNA recorded in a database so that they can identify them when they commit crimes later in life.

So not only would your child be suspended for carrying his dad’s Leatherman to school but now he’ll also be branded for life as a "potential criminal".

Multiple personalities are good for you

I often feel like there are multiple Stormy’s. Each one has her own set of friends and interests that the other friends don’t know much about. There’s my open source personality, my mom personality, my massage school personality, my raise guide dog puppies personality, my ombudsman personality, my ice hockey playing personality, my karate personality, my emergency medical technician personality, … (Although lately the first two have been taking over the others – unfortunately as I like each of them!)

So it’s a good thing that multiple groups of friends and multiple personalities might be good for you. I had heard that having more than six social groups makes you healthier but today I read that having multiple personalities keeps you stress free:

People who report they are more "multiple" suffer less from
stress-related conditions. Say "Judy" has a sporty personality, A, and
an academic personality, B. If A loses a tennis match, A is annoyed,
which results in tensed muscles and a backache. If A was the only
personality Judy had she would be tense all day. But if she goes off to
college, switching to Judy B, her muscles relax because B doesn’t care
about the tennis match. So Judy suffers less than if she was only
personality A.

It looks as if normal multiplicity could prove useful in helping people function in an increasingly complex world.

Most ridiculous offer yet from United

I don’t get it. You can now pay United more money so that you get an extra measly 1,000 frequent flier miles on your next trip.

Receive an extra 1,000 bonus miles on your next United roundtrip for just $20. Simply register
and pay $20, and your account will be credited with 1,000 bonus miles after your next paid,
qualifying flight on United, United Express® or TedSM.

Nobody needs 1,000 miles for $20 unless you just happen to be 1,000 mile short – and then you’ll be short when you are trying to use your miles to fly somewhere not when you are buying a ticket to fly!  To put it in perspective, you need 25,000 miles to fly anywhere so you’d be paying $500 for a roundtrip ticket in the US – something that currently goes for about $250.

I’ll stop ranting now and try to figure out why in the world United thinks this is a good offer. Or even a valid offer.

We are addicted to information!

Throughout history, information has been scarce – and important to staying alive. So we try to accumulate and learn as much as possible. Now what used to be a survival technique is now keeping us glued to our monitors. From the WSJ article Why We’re Powerless To Resist Grazing On Endless Web Data:

new and richly interpretable information triggers a
chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turn causes us to
seek out even more of it. The reverse is true as well: We want to avoid
not getting those hits because, for one, we are so averse to boredom.

It is something we seem hard-wired to do, says Dr.
Biederman. When you find new information, you get an opioid hit, and we
are junkies for those. You might call us ‘infovores.’ "

He compares it to food. We are programmed to eat lots so that we don’t starve. Even though food is abundant now, we still eat lots. Even though information is abundant now, we still want more and more!

The real problem with the Law of Attraction

The real problem with the Law of Attraction is that people explain it as "wish for it and it will happen." It’s like once you start wishing for for what you want, you no longer have to try to get it. Steve Pavlina has a great explanation for why the Law of Attraction doesn’t work that way:

A common manifestation exercise is to try to manifest a blue
feather somewhere in your reality. You hold the intention to see a blue
feather sometime in the next 24 hours. What’s the most direct solution
to that intention? Is it to wait patiently and let the universe bring
it to you somehow? Why not simply do a Google image search? You’ll find
your blue feather within seconds. Problem solved. Next.

If you really want something, and you are trying to use the Law of Attraction to get it, you have to do your best to get it. Think positive, know you’re going to get it and work at it!

If you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a lottery ticket.

When can kids tell that a mistake is a joke?

It’s related to when they can tell that you are lying. I knew that kids could start lying around two years old – or even 18 months. ("Is your diaper dirty?" – "No!") A new study shows that:

Toddlers as young as 19 months are able to distinguish jokes from mistakes

Before this, mistakes are just as funny as jokes. About 19 months they’ll start trying to correct the mistakes and only laugh at the jokes. And about 25 months they can start to realize you might be able to lie, and they can tell if you are making a mistake on purpose to be funny. "Oops – I put my shoe on my ear!"

One Laptop Per Child in the US

I’ve been thinking about setting up a program where a school in the States gets a laptop for every child in the school and a school in Mexico gets a laptop for ever child. They’d then be sister schools and you could set up email penpals and so on.  I’ve had several computer savvy teachers offer to help. Now it looks like kids in Birmingham are all going to get OLPCs!

The mayor of Birmingham, Ala.,
Larry Langford, had the […] thought and the result is that the city
will be deploying 15,000 OLPCs to its school system.

will be given to all first- through eighth-graders in the city’s school
system. Some of the computers are expected to be deployed as early as
March, with the rest to follow by the beginning of the 2008-9 school
year. The first of these small Linux laptops will be used in pilot
programs as teachers get up to speed on these computers.

I wonder when they will get them. I’m still waiting for the one I bought on Christmas Day … Speaking of orders and execution, OLPC is now hiring a CEO.

Now “I Am Legend” makes sense

I did not like "I Am Legend". It was all wrong, especially the ending. For example, why were the darkies attacking humans? They couldn’t possibly need human flesh to survive or they’d all be dead. Fewer humans, less food, no darkies. So why were there so many of them? And then what Will Smith’s character does at the end was not at all consistent with who he is. I didn’t like the movie at all – I said as a science fiction book it would never survive.

Turns out "I Am Legend" was a book first and the movie makers changed the ending! Go see the alternate ending for "I Am Legend" that will leave you feeling much better about the movie.

Social networking for babies

Here’s a business idea I think will work because I was looking for one and thought about starting it myself.  It’s social networking for babies. Mothers create profiles for themselves and their babies. They can connect to friends and record milestones like first step, first solid food, etc. I bet moms will love comparing their baby to others. I kept looking up milestones in the books to see when I could expect them and how my kid was doing.

Plus anything that helps connect new moms with other moms is a good thing. It’s not easy to find other moms interested in the same things you are.