Counterpoint: Don’t Go To College (?)

Here is a very successful software engineer (Instapaper founder) with his thoughts on college:

“In The Talk Show Live at WWDC 2014, I joked about college not being necessary if you thought you didn’t need it.
Attempts at humor are often missed. In this case, a lot of people missed it, which was my fault. To clarify, I was joking.”

“I was a C student because I was (and am) a slacker and lacked the self-discipline to do better, not because it’s the smartest path to take. Performing better opens more doors.”
[snip... read on]

The funny thing about these two snips is that they are contradictory… On the one hand, he says go to college, on the other hand, he says that he personally was a lazy/slacker C student and sorta wasted his opportunity. My guess is that hie figures he would have been EVEN WORSE off hand he not gone to college. Perhaps he feels that he got a lot out of college in the non-academic realm. Great!

My current thinking is that these posts/articles where people argue about whether or not college is “worth it” are moot because really, if you are a privileged teenager trying to decide one way or the other, it is likely pretty clear which way to go.


1. time
2. money
3. opportunity cost of the time/money (IOW, it’s not only the money spent, it’s that if doing something else, you might be MAKING money)
4. what you want to learn about – outside of concerns for employment. (college doesn’t HAVE to be only about career prep!)
5. On the other hand… it reasonable to also think about future work – depends a lot on what kind of work/life you want. Obviously if you think you might be seriously interested in becoming a doctor or structural engineer or ____ then certain degrees will be required. But that’s no different than the certifications/licenses needed to do all different types of work… dentist, plumber, electrician, etc.
6. Your personality
7. Other options for learning/doing the same things (e.g. many things can be learned on one’s own if you are the sort of person who is self-directed especially if you have thought through #1-#6)

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Simple.TV vs Aereo — A Replacement Review

I just bought a Version 1 Simple.TV (aka STV1 or STV-1000 or “the white one”) via Amazon with “Lifetime Premier Service Included” for around $120 total.

What you will also need:
– a spot to put it such that it has ethernet and antenna access (no wifi, but one could use a powerline ethernet adapter)
– an ethernet cable long enough to reach
– a second OTA antenna
– a spare USB2 or USB3 hard drive
– a little patience
a Roku, chromecast, etc. (But you probably already have one if you’ve been using Aereo)

I only needed to buy an extra ethernet cable and for now am putting up with an old smallish HD and a less-than-ideal antenna (meaning I am not getting one of the 17 channels I should be getting) but I wanted to test things before I bought something better.

I mean, it’s not as easy as the zero set-up / zero hassle of Aereo, but it’s working well.

– no monthly fee. It will be break-even in 10 months
– quality of programs seems to be at least as good as a the aereo quality we were getting via our Roku 3.
– slightly better show guide layouts both in Roku 3 and browser

– no ABC until I get a better antenna
– not cloud… one needs a place to put the gear (and the patience for setup) and stuff can break and who has time for more junk?
– My white rev1 has only one tuner, but there is a rev2 model with 2 tuners, though I have heard it has a fan, so this is a tradeoff depending on where you need to put it
– Their scheduler for recordings doesn’t have a few nifty filters that the Aereo one had, but fingers crossed that it will improve
– My old USB drive is only 40GB so it holds 17 hours which is good, but I had 60 hours with aereo, so I might buy a $50-$60 drive like this one and then I’ll have even more than 60 hrs

I will update this in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going… whether it’s a pain, or what.

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Our experience with kids and lyme disease in a tick endemic area (Massachusetts)

If you live in Massachusetts or any of the other tick-endemic areas in this world, nightly tick-checks just have to be a part of your bedtime routine. Brush teeth, check for ticks.

But even that will not ensure that you or your kids don’t end up with Lyme, because guess what… in some large % of cases (including our son) one never finds a tick or a bulls-eye rash.

My theory is that the statistics for numbers of cases is still low, even after the CDC upped them by 10x in August 2013. And that also the cases are going to (obviously) skewed towards people who are active outdoors people during the non-winter months. It has been my experience that pretty much everyone I speak to not only either themselves or someone they know had a deer-tick on them, but also knows someone that has been treated for Lyme! That’s pretty scary.

Our kiddo’s Lyme symptoms:

1 – Low-grade fever (his was never higher than about 102F and was often 98.6F in the AM and spiking a bit to 100 or 101 in evening). And no other flu-symptoms. Active happy jumping around kid. Only felt lousy enough to give ibuprofen for like 2 days but the late afternoon/evening fevers kept coming.
2 – Complained a bit of head hurting when jumping up and down
3 – He noted his knees hurt a little running around one day
4 – And then finally on the day we went to the doc he did start to have a rash or 2… but they we’re those resolved within 1-2 days of starting antibiotics. (amoxicillin since he’s under 8) (I think he experienced a flare as well, during the day he began treatment as explained in BURRASCANO’s guide below. It also discusses all of the above.)

Anyway, that was enough to start treatment right away and fingers crossed that he doesn’t experience “Chronic Lyme” symptoms or as CDC calls it, Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).

The key is to advocate for yourself and read the PDF linked here:


Sixteenth Edition
Copyright October, 2008


In which you will learn that the most important thing is to begin initial treatment with AT LEAST a 6-week course of the appropriate antibiotic (and dosage) and adjust according to evidence of any flare-ups which happen in intervals.

Also excellent: the IDSA guidelines from 2006

“Antibiotics recommended for children
are amoxicillin (50 mg/kg per day in 3 divided doses [maximum
of 500 mg per dose]), cefuroxime axetil (30 mg/kg per day in
2 divided doses [maximum of 500 mg per dose]), or, if the patient is 8 years of age, doxycycline (4 mg/kg per day in 2
divided doses [maximum of 100 mg per dose]) (A-II).

(and the 2010 review of these 2010 guidelines)

And for a great piece of investigative journalism on the topic as you wait and hope and pray that your Lyme situation resolves completely with antibiotics (and rest, exercise, and nutrition), this is it:

Cure Unknown (Revised Edition): Inside the Lyme Epidemic, by Pamela Weintraub

and online:

The Lyme-disease infection rate is growing. So is the battle over how to treat it.
JULY 1, 2013, The New Yorker

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Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail
and an interesting quote from a book mentioned in the article: “First of all, as I see it, no one has any ability whatsoever to figure out what is going to be important to people….”

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The power of letting kids do what THEY want

His vexed look was saying, “How dare she question the depths of my knowledge. She doesn’t know me.”
— SVS student, age 5

This is such a great blog post. I just re-read it today. This pretty much sums up why we wanted our kids to go to SVS as little kids. (Our 9-year-old is in his 6th year already… he started when he was 4.) Some people might think that SVS is more useful as kids get older. But I think that is quite mistaken and this blog post captures this very well.

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Kids’ free play correlated with social “success” as adults

New research from Germany finds people who recall having plenty of free time during childhood enjoy high levels of social success as adults.

Free time as kids was also linked with high self-esteem and the flexibility to adjust one’s goals.

Noted at:

The original research article (abstract and free PDF download of article):

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Sudbury Valley and Free Kids related links – 5/15/2014

When Adults Take Over Children’s Fun

“Schoolification” of Sports (from the unschool subreddit)

Interview with Hanna Rosin (news report video)
“The Overprotected Kid.”

A Useful Reminder: Louis C.K. Was Bad Before He Was Good

“I could see that the experience of meeting her was confusing to many of them. They were at the conference in support of learning through play, but here was a young woman who really had learned through play—through true, self-directed play, without coercion—and they found it hard to believe. I wish Nina had been invited as one of the principal speakers.”

The (Mandatory) Science Fair….
“Parent1: You mean I get an A on his science project?”

How to find the perfect job… from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs)

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Filed under alternative education, kids -- freedom and responsibility, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School