Monthly Archives: June 2013

ARTICLE WITH BAD (and/or purposely misleading) REPORTING:
“Before his death, father of ADHD admitted it was a fictitious disease”

Not true! ADHD is real. Over-diagnosed (confused with kids not being compatible with conventional school/sitting), and over-medicated, but for some, very real. In case you see the above article about the “father of ADHD” going around, check out the sources and read the original articles. You will not be impressed. For example:
– CCHRInt — CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology
– And info on Bradlee Dean who is also quoted…

And most importantly, at the wikipedia page for Leon Eisenberg” the so-called father of ADHD it says:
“In February, 2012, the German weekly publication Der Spiegel reported in its cover story that Eisenberg spoke of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in his final interview, seven months before his death, that ADHD as the prime example of a “fabricated disease”. Eisenberg remarked that instead of prescribing a ‘pill’, psychiatrists should determine whether there are psychosocial reasons that could lead to behavioral problems.[10] It was later suggested by native German speakers referred to at the website that while Eisenberg claimed the prevalence of ADHD to be overrated, he did not mean to say the disorder itself was not real.[11]”

No one would argue with that. Over-diagnosed. But real for many. And actually, even if he did say it was straight-up fictitious, that doesn’t really hold much weight with me anyway as there are plenty of examples of people who were once top in their field and later in their careers (or after retirement) being not as much. The field continues on with new research and new understandings.

I have a feeling that in years to come we will have a much better understanding of what ADHD is and what is leading to it. As we have with other disorders like Multiple Sclerosis.

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The post linked here talks about the types of fear we have in discussing change in schooling:

The problem I have with this is that it I think we can do quite well by simply living by example. Yes, there is even fear in this. But it doesn’t need to go the next level and be a movement like “Occupy”. We can just choose alternative options for our kids — homeschooling, Sudbury or other democratic schools, Montessori, Waldorf, etc. Others will see this and it will gradually build.

The problem with this is… parents need real choice for school for their kids without the burden of worrying about $$/tuition. I don’t think vouchers will work, because there will always be strings attached for assessment/testing and many parents don’t want that. Better to head in the direction of more local control.

Maybe ideally it would be more like college in the US. Where most people pay mostly out of pocket, but there is need-based aid available.

That way, property taxes could go way down (since in many areas, half goes to the public schools), and people would be free to use that extra money saved on school. So it would be close to “tax neutral”. And people without kids would not be penalized.

I am sure I am over-simplifying because there are lots and lots of people who work in education–teachers, administrators, textbook writers, and on and on–and many will resist because it will impact their livelihood directly. That’s understandable.

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Filed under alternative education, homeschooling, local, school, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

“…out of 122 hospitals, [only] 19 would actually give a price quote”

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Filed under health, health insurance

Sudbury Valley as the 21st century coffeehouse …

These recent articles make me think of Sudbury Valley School and I apologize if this has been written about before, but…

How Coffee[houses] Caused the Enlightenment — Steven Johnson

Social Networking in the 1600s

See also:
1. article: “Engineering Serendipity”
e.g. Yahoo wanting employees to work at the office so they can mingle around the watercooler

2. article: GROUPTHINK The brainstorming myth. BY JONAH LEHRER
“Building 20 [at MIT] … ranks as one of the most creative environments of all time, a space with an almost uncanny ability to extract the best from people. Among M.I.T. people, it was referred to as “the magical incubator.””
(See also the design of private offices and huge lunch tables at offices like Fog Creek Software)

3. The discussion of three levels of learning/interest: “curious probing” vs “entertainment style” vs “unstoppable mastery learning” from “Do People Learn from Courses?” in the book: The Sudbury Valley School Experience, pages 90-99

Chapter: “The loneliness of the Information-Age Learner” from book: “Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept” especially pages 221-225
–information-age exposure enabling ever-widening possibilities for discussions
–interests being pursued on 2 levels: “local” level (at school) and “world-class expertise” where students with a passion need to begin to connect with other experts in their narrow area of interest (as any one does…)

4. The discussion of the breakdown of communities where children can interact freely, with the benefit of the presence of capable adults — roughly around page 133 in the book “Reflection on the Sudbury School Concept” (1999)

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Filed under common knowledge vs specialization / exposure vs expertise, experts, freedom, future, motivation, passion, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, talent vs skill

The personal vs the aggregate in computers (and hence, programming)

This resonates with me as well.

See also:
Battle for the planet of the APIs
“The official line from Twitter is that RSS is “infrequently used today.” That’s the same justification that Google has given for shutting down Google Reader. It reminds of the joke about the shopkeeper responding to a request for something with “Oh, we don’t stock that—there’s no call for it. It’s funny though, you’re the fifth person to ask today.””

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“When we do complex roofs in high snow load areas like ski resorts we typically have the roof deck act as the air control layer and provide a high level of thermal resistance at the roof deck (either rigid insulation directly above the roof deck or high density spray foam directly under the roof deck – and then we provide an over roof creating a vented space over the top of the entire assembly. In essence we created a vented unvented roof hybrid. An unvented primary roof assembly with a vented over roof.”

from comment#53 here:

Lstiburek’s Rules for Venting Roofs
You need an airtight ceiling, lots of air flow, plenty of soffit vents, and deep insulation at the attic perimeter

Awesome awesome article on insulating roofs.

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Filed under erik-green, green

NRJ (energy)

We came home to a HOT house after an afternoon out at a picnic. It was probably only a sunny 80F today. Forgot what that felt like after living in superinsulated splendor for 3 years. 🙂

So that got me pondering the MASS-SAVE proposal for insulating (some) of our house — The walls. And part of the attic. Areas that can be done easily with either cellulose or foam board. It’s something like $5000+ for which their is a $2000 subsidy. Plus I believe an option for a 0% loan. With an estimated payoff of something on the scale of 5 or 6 years.

But as an exercise, I think it’s important to consider what that $3000 (after rebates and tax credits) could pay for in other energy-savings or green-house gas reductions:

1) Pellet stove
2) More solar PV panels
3) The up-charge on buying a hybrid like a prius vs a civic or something like that.
4) A nice trailer to make grocery-shopping by bike easier perhaps
5) Windows/doors upgrades — not all, just some

Probably a good deal of insulation wins in dollars. Certainly it wins in comfort. And our IAQ would clearly be better with some better air-sealing of our attic.

This is also a reminder to go back to basics for a moment with a simple heat-loss calculator like Marc Rosenbaum’s excel or’s web app. I have some similar “payoff” numbers from Mass-Save, but better to do it myself to really get it.

**NRJ is a fun way to say Energie in French. Since recall… a J sounds more like G in English.
And click the speaker to hear it.

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Filed under erik-green, green

the personal cloud

Awesome awesome video of Doc Searls on the personal cloud. We have personal computers. And — he nails it — we should (we will soon) have personal clouds. He explains it very well using some physical object analogies. “Life Management Platforms” “We are in charge”


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Filed under programming

low-flow showerheads review

Over at the wirecutter they write in their article about showerheads: “If you go less than 1.5 gpm you’re going to have to spend so much time in the shower rinsing off that you will waste more water than if you didn’t.”

That’s totally not true (in my experience). We have been very happy with our 1.0 gpm Bricor and that includes the resident with VERY LONG AND THICK hair. No complaints. At all.

It’s also probably news to the 140 people giving this 1.25 GPM showerhead (Niagara Earth Massage) a 4.5 out of 5 star rating at Amazon. It’s also a cheap experiment, since it’s less than $10.

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Filed under erik-green, green, shopping, stuff

2040: Our robot… paradise?

“…I chose Lake Michigan because its size, in fluid ounces, is roughly the same as the computing power of the human brain measured in calculations per second.”
(see cool animation in the link below…)

Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?
Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.

“What are the signs of a computer-driven economy?
1) First and most obviously, if automation were displacing labor, we’d expect to see a steady decline in the share of the population that’s employed.
2) Second, we’d expect to see fewer job openings than in the past.
3) Third, as more people compete for fewer jobs, we’d expect to see middle-class incomes flatten in a race to the bottom.
4) Fourth, with consumption stagnant, we’d expect to see corporations stockpile more cash and, fearing weaker sales, invest less in new products and new factories.
5) Fifth, as a result of all this, we’d expect to see labor’s share of national income decline and capital’s share rise.
These trends are the five horsemen of the robotic apocalypse, and guess what? We’re already seeing them…”

Exciting times. Hard to say whether to be optimistic or pessimistic. Probably it will all work out and best to focus on 2013!


How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, MIT Technology Review
By David Rotman on June 12, 2013
“Then, beginning in 2000, the lines diverge; productivity continues to rise robustly, but employment suddenly wilts. By 2011, a significant gap appears between the two lines, showing economic growth with no parallel increase in job creation. Brynjolfsson and McAfee call it the “great decoupling.””


Filed under computers, future, predictions, work