Monthly Archives: July 2015

Find the parent? or call 911?

Several times in the last few weeks I have heard of cases where a stranger finds a kid fine and safe but without their parent and calls 911 instead of just finding the parent.

This includes:
1. Stroller right outside starbucks. With dog attached on leash! Call 911 or find parent in line?
2. Mom picking up a car seat at an apt building — like a craigslist purchase — and kid is sitting in the car in the parking lot like 20 feet away. Call 911 or ask adult by open door if it’s their kid?
3. This article. (Kid playing at park within view of house)

Comment there from someone at that I hadn’t heard of before…

“At the National Association of Parents, in radio and press interviews, we have advocated for a triage of calls reporting children alone:

(1) Does the child appear to be hurt?
(2) Does the child appear to be in distress?
(3) Does the child appear to be in imminent danger of harm from an identifiable source of harm?

If the answer to all three questions is “no,” then law enforcement has no business getting involved (other than MAYBE to drive by to confirm that the answer indeed is “no”). Otherwise, the misuse of finite resources and the misapplication of authority becomes routine.”

That’s maybe more than some people can handle… but seems totally reasonable for folks to ask themselves the 3 questions and talk to the kid and/or look for the parent first.

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Filed under free-range kids, free-range parenting

The Origin of The King Ravine Rock Glacier in The Presidential Range of the White Mountains of New Hampshire


(Good photos and diagrams at the link above…)

“A Masters Thesis written in 1978 by Diane Eskenasy, then a University of Massachusetts grad student, was titled The Origin of The King Ravine Rock Glacier in The Presidential Range of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her thesis, and several others on various topics, somehow, or other, ended up at Tuck Shelter some years ago and they’ve been sitting in the book shelf there to be read by a few curious souls. I’ve been curious about the “rock glacier” in King Ravine for years and have wanted to camp in King Ravine for a few days to explore its nooks and crannies. The rock glacier is reported to be the only one of its kind in New England. They are commonly found in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. Ms Eskenasy wrote: “King Ravine, one of the north facing cirques on the Presidential Range, contains an inactive rock glacier, a mass of rocks having the morphology of an alpine glacier.””

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Poor Claude (Monet)

“I was born undisciplined. Never, even as a child, could I be made to obey a set rule. What little I know I learned at home. School was always like a prison to me, I could never bring myself to stay there, even four hours a day, when the sun was shining and the sea was so tempting, and it was such fun scrambling over cliffs and paddling in the shallows. Such, to the great despair of my parents, was the unruly but healthy life I lived until I was fourteen or fifteen. In the meantime I somehow picked up the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, with a smattering of spelling. And there my schooling ended. It never worried me very much because I always had plenty of amusements on the side. I doodled in the margins of my books, I decorated our blue copy paper with ultra-fantastic drawings, and I drew the faces and profiles of my schoolmasters as outrageously as I could, distorting them out of all recognition.”

== Claude Monet (On November 26, 1900 the Paris, France newspaper “Le Temps” published this autobiographyquoted in: Denis Rouart (1972) Claude Monet, p. 21 : About his youth


“J’étais un indiscipliné de naissance ; on n’a jamais pu me plier, même dans ma petite enfance, à une règle.

C’est chez moi que j’ai appris le peu que je sais. Le collège m’a toujours fait l’effet d’une prison, et je n’ai jamais pu me résoudre à y vivre, même quatre heures par jour, quand le soleil était invitant, la mer belle, et qu’il faisait si bon courir sur les falaises, au grand air, ou barboter dans l’eau.

Jusqu’à quatorze ou quinze ans, j’ai vécu, au grand désespoir de mon père, cette vie assez irrégulière, mais très saine. Entre temps, j’avais appris tant bien que mal mes quatre règles, avec un soupçon d’orthographe. Mes études se sont bornées là. Elles n’ont pas été trop pénibles, car elles s’entremêlaient pour moi de distractions. J’enguirlandais la marge de mes livres, je décorais le papier bleu de mes cahiers d’ornements ultra-fantaisistes, et j’ y représentais, de la façon la plus irrévérencieuse, en les déformant le plus possible, la face ou le profil de mes maîtres.”

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Filed under outdoors, quotes, school = prison, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, The three Rs

effects #37: The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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Filed under erik-green, green, legal action, personal action vs movements, productivity vs procrastination, shifting baseline

Ergo, Sudbury Valley School

“Children learn to read the way they learn to talk. Reading, like speaking, is a social activity best taught by communities and through relationships. Children learn by watching older people, especially older children, read. They learn to read by discovering that important things they want to know are in the symbols. They learn to read because of the pleasure of discovery and praise from parents, teachers, siblings, and friends for their achievements. They learn to read because it both makes them part of a broader community and because they become independent of others, more grown up. Children learn to read because it gives them a private place to visit, and because in the end, they learn to love to read because it opens their imaginations to unseen worlds.”

Ergo, Sudbury Valley School

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Filed under collaboration, communication, community, motivation, private, reading, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

encouraging casual collaboration… also at google

I’ve read about this at Apple, Yahoo, MIT Building 20, and Fogcreek

Now google:  
“food sources are strategically placed between two separate work teams, and the goal of that placement is to draw these different folks together and nudge them to interact and collaborate.”


Yahoo, MIT:

“At Fog Creek, we deliberately have rows of long tables in our cafeteria. … with long ones you just go and sit at the end of the row. You end up speaking to different people every day…”

“When Steve Jobs designed a new headquarters for Pixar, he obsessed over ways to structure the atrium, and even where to locate the bathrooms, so that serendipitous personal encounters would occur.”

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Filed under collaboration, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work

The 7% smaller house

So you’re going to build an already-small superinsulated “pretty good house” (look it up).  And you’re thinking of doing double-stud walls.  Just remember that the extra 6″ or so adds up.  It’s on both sides of the house, so it reduces the usable space by 1 foot in each dimension — x and y.

Let’s say you are building a boring rectangle that is 24×32 (inside dimensions).  Well, that’s a 768 sqft.  If you had instead built 25×33 (with single stud walls) then that is 825  sqft interior.  In other words, you are giving up 57 square feet with your insulation.  And that’s 7% of 825.  So your house is now 7% smaller!!!  Just be aware.

Instead you could do:

1) larsen truss

2) 4″ of polyiso added to the outside.

These are probably both harder than double-stud walls, I am just commenting that you should compare apples-to-apples — same interior square feet — when comparing options for how to build.

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Filed under erik-green, green

A “free-range parenting” reference which predates 2008

I doubt Lenore Skenazy in the US had heard this reference when she coined “free-range kids” but interesting nonetheless.

“Maybe it’s your rational free-range parenting which has made a bully of your son…”

From BBC sitcom: “My Family” Season 1 Episode 02 (2000)
Pain In The Class

at approximately 23min 30sec

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Filed under free-range kids, free-range parenting

Sad college kids

Another sad book that could surely be a long NYer article instead, but still.

At Stanford: “Often brilliant, always accomplished, these students would sit on my couch holding their fragile, brittle parts together, resigned to the fact that these outwardly successful situations were their miserable lives.”

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out
Recent studies suggests that kids with overinvolved parents and rigidly structured childhoods suffer psychological blowback in college.

Seems to me this approach to kids is going about things backwards and also forgetting that kids are fully human people. So I say something more like this…

1. Start with unconditional love.

2. Next add exploration, conversation, art, moving your body. Personal freedom and responsibility. Pursuit of happiness.

3. Then, maybe when you are 14 or 16 or later, add in thinking about adulthood. Maybe this will include college, maybe not. Who cares! Life is both too long and too short to be miserable as a kid.

Sounds kinda like Sudbury Valley School.

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Filed under attachment parenting, college, depression, happiness, kids are complete people, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

“It makes me feel like the car doesn’t care about me” (car with no wifi)

“It makes me feel like the car doesn’t care about me” (car with no wifi)
Commercial for Chevrolet 4G LTE WiFi In-Car Entertainment

Did she really just say that?!?!?!


– Novelty effect

– Shifting baseline

– Screen Addiction
(My take is that screens can suck you in and use up time (not necessarily “waste”…) but for most people (not just kids) it doesn’t get out of control, but for some % of people it does. Either due to a combination of genetics and/or personal circumstances.)

– Movie: Her (2013)

– Led by Robots, Roaches Abandon Instincts – New York Times

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Filed under novelty effect, shifting baseline, technology influences