Boing Boing 

"Stranger Danger" to children vastly overstated

Oft-cited stats about child abduction puts kidnappers behind every bush. But the numbers are old and frequently mangled, distorting our understanding of genuine risks to children.

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Be terrified: new Grimm's Fairy Tales book

It's no secret that the Disney-fied versions of fairy tales that we grew up with in modern times pale in comparison to the originals, told by the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

The originals were often dark and gruesome cautionary tales that taught children about the dangers of the world. Now, for the first time, an English translation of the first edition of the original tales as told by the Brothers Grimm has been published by Princeton University Press. Even the cover of this book is scary!

Playmobil's political incorrectness

Tanya Schevitz on how Playmobil’s bold stereotyping can be a teachable moment with her 5-year-old, or not.

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'The Cat Says The Lid Stays Closed,' from Jonathan Mann's 'Animals' album

[Video Link] "The Cat Says The Lid Stays Closed," an animated ditty from the Album "Animals" by Jonathan "Song A Day" Mann. Give him some dough if you like his work.

Children confused by Walkmans

Oldness now officially begins with the dawn of the iPod. Today's youngsters no longer find portable cassette players amusingly old-fashioned; they now have no clue whatsoever about any music gadget old enough to contain moving parts. Just to rub it in, they nevertheless understand the historical context and say very funny, insightful things about consumer technology! [Video Link]

Jim Henson and Raymond Scott's "Wheels That Go" (1967)

"Wheels That Go," a gorgeous 1967 short film by Jim Henson, starring his son Brian, with music by pioneering jazz and electronic music composer Raymond Scott. You'd recognize Scott's big band music from hundreds of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Many of those familiar tunes are available on the compilation Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights. Scott's experimental electronic pieces, like the one in this film, can be heard on the collections Manhattan Research Inc. and the Soothing Sounds For Baby series. (via Experimental Music on Children's TV)

Poverty does more damage to kids than crack

Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have been following and studying the brains and lives of so-called "crack babies" for more than 20 years. Now, they're beginning to publish their findings, and what they're finding is not what they expected. The researchers saw few statistical differences between kids exposed to crack in utero and those who weren't. But they did find big differences between the exposed babies and the controls when compared to children who grew up in wealthier families. Now, they're coming to the conclusion that it's poverty — not crack — that may present the biggest risk to children's neurological development and their later opportunities in life.

Music with Children: Playing the Recorder (1967)

NewImage

NewImageHere is some delightful music for a Monday morning: "Music with Children: Playing the Recorder" by music educator Grace Nash (1909-1990) and friends. (via Toys and Techniques)


Day care worker bites child to show that biting is wrong

A biting incident got someone kicked out of a Cincinnati-area day care on Thursday. That someone was day care worker Robin Mullins, 56, who bit a young child "to teach him a lesson," according to court records. From Cincinnati.com:

According to court documents, the 5-year-old bit another child at Andrew’s Friends Pre-School & Daycare, 9870 Pippin Road, Colerain Township.

He was taken to the office, where Mullins allegedly bit him on the arm… She left a mark on the boy and caused an injury, police said.

"Day-care worker accused of biting 5-year-old" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

Toddler can't seem to get to sleep, despite it totally being naptime

About this video, the parents say: "We popped open our baby monitor app in time to see what really happens when Jude is 'trying to go to sleep.' Hilarious." (Thanks, Tara McGinley!)

Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre

In Mother Jones, the story behind "Letters to Newtown." This project was instigated by Boardwalk Empire prop-master, freelance illustrator, and Newtown resident Ross MacDonald, and it serves to digitally archive some of the half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Jacques Hebert of Mother Jones, the magazine putting this all together with Tumblr, explains, "These messages of love, hope, and sadness have been on display in Newtown Town Hall, and have been viewed by many residents. To broaden access to these cards and preserve them as memories of what Newtown residents and the nation experienced on that tragic day, Mother Jones in partnership with Tumblr is launching the 'Letters to Newtown' project."

"The project will aim to digitally preserve these cards (the town of Newtown can't afford to store them any longer and many will be turned into ash for a future memorial site) by photographing them and uploading them to a special Tumblr for the world to see."

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Growing Up Gay in 2013: Joe Schwartz, the teen in "Oddly Normal"

My friend John Schwartz at the New York Times wrote "Oddly Normal," a wonderful book about how he and his wife Jeanne worked through challenges to learn how best to support their son Joe, who is gay.

In the Atlantic today, Alice Dreger interviews Joe, who is now 17 years old, "to expand on some of the themes explored in the book and answer some questions raised by people who have commented on it."

Joe is a really interesting person, and the interview is terrific. Go have a read.

(Photo: John and Joe, shot by Ethan Hill for the NYT)

A casting agency for all of your creepy horror child casting needs

(Video link) Do many people tell you your child is "interesting"? Or "precocious"? Or "downright terrifying"? If you have a special child with a very specific talent for scaring the living bejesus out of people, then here is the fictional casting agency for you (by Barely Political)! (via JoBlo)

Kids are receiving more CT scans than ever, but is radiation risk worth it?

There has been a steep increase in the number of CT scans given to children in emergency rooms across the U.S., mostly for "kids presenting with belly ache," but the appendicitis rate hasn't budged. Findings published today in the journal Pediatrics detail the spike in use of x-ray-based scans, which are associated with concerns over cancer risks down the road. Study lead Dr. Jahan Fahimi, quoted in Reuters: "For every six or seven kids that go to the ER for belly ache, one is going to get a CT scan."

Children’s Hospital upset by creepy clown ads for Rob Corddry's TV show, "Childrens Hospital"

Snip: "People in clown costumes and makeup are not allowed in Children's Hospital Los Angeles.'We do observe a no-clown policy because they can be scary for some kids." More on the controversy surrounding creepy clown billboards for Childrens Hospital. FWIW, I drove by another set of ads for this show every day on the way to radiation treatment this summer, and they totally creeped me out. The ad shown here is a little more distinguishable, but I can totally see how some parents and children might confuse the campaign for the real deal. (latimes.com)

Ask science: Does sugar really make children hyper?

"Why aren’t my kids hyper after binging on sugar?" asked Gillian Mayman at Mind the Science Gap, a blog featuring the work of various Master of Public Health students from the University of Michigan.

The punchline: "A review of 12 separate research studies found that there was no evidence that eating sugar makes kids hyper."

The post is great, but greatest of all? The animated GIFs used to illustrate it. (via @Boraz)

[SPOILER] A review of the film "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," by two young boys in the back seat of a car

SPOILER ALERT! [Video Link]. To be fair, I felt and reacted precisely this way about the most recent episode of Breaking Bad.

Glittery henna crown on child cancer patient in chemotherapy (photo)

Sara's Henna, a henna shop in Hong Kong where ladies go to doll themselves up with temporary designs based on Indian tradition, did something really cool: inspired by Henna Heals, they traveled to Children's Cancer Hospital Pakistan, and spent some time with Maryam, "the most patient & radiating young girl undergoing chemo, yet wearing a beautiful smile." She wore her sparkly Henna Crown for the Muslim holy day of Eid last Sunday.

This seems like a seriously awesome thing to do in pediatric cancer care centers. As soon as I get through radiation, I'm gonna talk to the peeps at my hospital about doing something like this with kids and adults in chemo. Never underestimate the healing power of a little beauty-fussing.

Alan Alda attacks science jargon in "Flame Challenge," a science communications contest for young people (video)

In this PBS NewsHour segment, science correspondent Miles O'Brien reports on a contest launched by actor and author Alan Alda that challenges scientists to explain the science behind a flame, while flexing their communication muscles. The judges are thousands of 11-year-olds.

Below, the winning video entry: "What is a Flame," by Ben Ames, a quantum physicist working on his doctorate at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. I loved it, but more importantly, so did the kids.

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Space nerd family fun in LA this weekend: NASA JPL open house

Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA opens its doors to the public for an annual Open House.

The event, themed "Great Journeys," will feature a life-size model of Curiosity, the rover currently bound for Mars aboard NASA/JPL’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft; demonstrations from numerous other space missions; JPL’s machine shop, where robotic spacecraft parts are built; and the Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists use tiny technology to revolutionize space exploration.

JPL Open House includes hands-on activities and opportunities to talk with scientists and engineers. For the first time ever, cell phone users, using text-message capabilities, will be able to take part in a mobile scavenger hunt. “The Voyage” scavenger hunt participants can search for secret capsules hidden across JPL and unlock secret codes.

JPL’s Facebook page is here. If you go and tweet from the event, use the #JPLOpen hashtag. Details are here, and more photos are here. (photo: NASA JPL)

Toddler kicked off plane after iPad deprivation tantrum

A family from Washington state had to cancel an island vacation when their flight was grounded after their 3-year-old son pitched a tantrum.

The toddler had been quietly playing with an iPad while waiting for the plane to take off, the father said. When the iPad was taken away—you know how all electronics must be stowed during takeoff and landing—all hell broke loose.

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Deep question about Public Enemy, from 7-year-old girl

Scott Matthews shared a photograph with me, and I'm sharing it with all of you, with his permission. His daughter Sasha handed him this note yesterday. Sasha is a pretty special girl, in no small part because she's already been on Boing Boing once before. What, indeed, does it really mean?

(thanks, Scott + Amy + Sasha)

The Bald Princess (a 4-year-old's drawing of Xeni, for women with cancer in chemo)

I've been blogging and tweeting about my experience in treatment for breast cancer, including what it's like to go through chemotherapy. The chemo drugs I received made all my hair fall out (not all kinds do, but mine did). I've been going around "commando," as people with cancer say—bald, no wigs. Scarves or hats only when it's too cold or sunny to go bare.

You do whatever works for you to get through this. Going around bare-headed is what works for me.

Julie Zwillich just tweeted me this fantastic drawing made for me by her four-year-old daughter. It's me. She calls it "The Bald Princess."

If you know a woman or girl receiving chemotherapy, maybe you'd like to share this with them, too. Good days always follow the bad.

What we teach children about police

"Someone is causing a lot of trouble."


Josh Stearns, a reporter who has covered the Occupy movement extensively, asks, "Why is this children's book teaching my kid about SWAT vehicles and Riot Control practices?" From his blog post:

Visiting the local library yesterday my son picked out a book all about police. I was stunned when, after pages and pages of info about police cars and police offices, there were these two pages about Riot Control Trucks and SWAT Vans.

Even after months of tracking conflicts between police and the press I still have a profound respect for much of law enforcement and the jobs they do in our communities. However, the descriptions of water cannons being turned on protesters and the taunting opening on the SWAT page, “Someone’s causing a lot of trouble…,” all seemed out of place. Given the increasingly militarized response we have seen to citizen protests, seeing Riot and SWAT teams portrayed this way in a children’s book was troubling.

More scans here.

If you'd like to pick up a copy as a gag gift for your favorite police-beaten Occupier, the book is "Police Cars." Google Books has a few scanned pages here.

Animated Russian "Winnie the Pooh" from 1972 is quite the Nietzschean bummer

[Video Link] SoyuzMultfilm's "Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," 1972, presents the iconic tale of Pooh and pals with a tone very different from more familiar adaptations. For starters, Pooh is an annoying, aggressive hedgehog of a bear; Eeyore seems to be paraphrasing Nietzsche, and needs antidepressants even more badly than his English-speaking cousin. Here's another, and another, and another, and another. Update: As blogged on Boing Boing previously, in 2008! (thanks, Rusalka!)

Just look at this banana peel trucker hat (for a banana)

Just look at it. Contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader Laser Bread, who explains:.

My kids were grumpy at breakfast this morning, so I had this idea to make a quick banana peel trucker hat for the banana to wear using the peel of the banana. This cheered them up and it made the banana look relatively hip.

How to make:

1 or 2 bananas. One to make the hat, one to model the hat. This could also be made using one banana. Carve the shape of the hat using an x-acto knife. Leave one of the banana peel sides longer, to make the rim of the hat. Most bananas come with a little sticker. Use this sticker to serve as the logo on the hat, if you want your hat to have a logo.

Simple project, takes about 5 minutes yet the memories will last a lifetime.

Memorable moments in motherhood, from 20 moms in Brooklyn

Jon Cotner from the Hairpin tells Boing Boing, "To celebrate Mother's Day, my fiancée Claire Hamilton and I talked with 20 moms during an overcast, leafy walk through Brooklyn. We asked them to describe memorable moments of their motherhood. Here's the link."

Cancer patients and nurses in Seattle Children's Hospital perform Kelly Clarkson's song "Stronger"

[Video Link] The pop hit, as performed by patients and nurses in the Hematology/Oncology ward of Seattle Children's Hospital. Not a big fan of Kelly Clarkson's music myself, but I can't help feeling admiration for the staff and people with cancer in this video. Anything that makes you feel stronger during this process is a wonderful thing. A behind-the-scenes video below.

Update: BB reader autark says,

My wife works in Hem/Onc @ Childrens and apparently Clarkson is all cool with this, and broadcast her response to a big screen they set up for the kids to see yesterday.

Oh yeah, and the film maker is/was a patient, he's been getting mobbed by media interviews for the past couple days.

And Clarkson's response is here. Very cool of her.

(HT: @scanman)

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To do in LA this Sunday: Organize a kid-friendly hackerspace

My friend Tara is organizing a meeting at Crashspace this Sunday for interested parties to discuss the possibility of creating a child/family-friendly hackerspace in the greater Los Angeles area. They're seeking volunteers, looking for an appropriate space, and brainstorming sustainability models. You can bring your kids to the meeting!

Babies driving robot wheelchairs (super cute video)

[Video Link]

Here's an amazing feel-good video with which to end your week, via the National Science Foundation. The really awesome footage starts around a minute and a half in.

"James C. (Cole) Galloway, associate professor of physical therapy, and Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering -- have outfitted kid-size robots to provide mobility to children who are unable to fully explore the world on their own."

The robotic assistance devices are designed to help infants whose mobility and independence is limited by conditions such as autism, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.

I understand that these will be among the many exhibits on display at the USA Science Fest at the Washington, DC Convention Center on Sat., April 28th. Babies probably not included.