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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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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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

Today I walked to school. The Red sox won last night.

“Today I walked to school. The Red sox won last night.”

From my school journal when I was 7, turning 8 in 3 days. (back in the 1970s)

I think I walked pretty much by myself on the way to school, and maybe with 2 or 3 friends on the way back. I remember having to wait in class until all the buses had left before the walkers were released.

I mean, that’s pretty amazing, given that my school was a full 1/2 miles walk and on 2 roads without a sidewalk. But I don’t remember thinking anything of it. It was just normal. Today (2015) that would seem pretty unusual I think.


— Marco’s Village
“I wrote an article a year ago that described my son Marco’s roaming range. Well, he’s 6-1/2 now, and I’m happy to say that this range has expanded considerably. I call the area pictured below “Marco’s Village” because he’s familiar with many people and places within this area. He feels safe here, and we feel comfortable letting him roam within this area.”

— A 1979 first-grade readiness checklist asks if your child can travel alone in the neighborhood, but not if she can read.

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Filed under free-range kids, kids -- freedom and responsibility, safety, shifting baseline

ecovillage AND don’t fly

Article title could read… if everyone lived in an ecovillage and DIDN’T FLY… (old news that flying wrecks one’s footprint score since it makes it so easy to go so far….)

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Sherry Turkle: Alone Together

Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other

Read the 1 star reviews
e.g. “I think there is also a nostalgia at play here — treasuring the forms of communication one grew up with rather than the new because they are familiar and comfortable. Understandable, but not a great basis for a critique.”

I’m sure she has some (possibly) valid points, but she could probably sum them up in a 5 point outline or a 5 page paper or article. Not 360 pages.

My quick points would be:
1. easier to keep difficult emotions at arms length (text not phone not face-to-face)
2. can’t always easily discuss complicated stuff this way. some combo of online and F2F helps.
3. allure of the device (consumerism) and/or screen (we are wired for moving things, blue light, etc)
4. motivation of companies to sell devices and sell monthly plans vs our personal interests
5. personal info / privacy concerns
6. time suck

But it’s not all bad of course so have learn to live with it. Some huge advantages:
1. info resource of web/youtube/etc
2. cell phones/GPS–security

In other words, I think we can learn to live with it. Just as we’ve learned (eventually) to live with widespread access to books, radio, phones, tv.

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Filed under technology influences