Father/son gingerbread Apple ][+

Nathan writes, "My son and I decided gingerbread houses were boring, so we built a gingerbread Apple II computer instead, including the interior with power supply, motherboard, and an expansion card." Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). Read the rest

The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor

Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military. Read the rest

Roller Girl: Newberry-honored coming of age graphic novel about roller derby and difficult tween friendships

Victoria Jamieson's 2015 graphic novel Roller Girl won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award and it's easy to see why: Jamieson's story of a young teen's interest in roller derby is the perfect vehicle to explore the difficult and even traumatic way that girls' friendships change as they become teenagers, while never losing sight of the core story, about personal excellence, teamwork, and hard-hitting, girl-positive roller derby.

Nimona: a YA graphic novel that raises serious, unanswerable moral quandries with snappy dialog and slapstick

I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking, brilliant comic Lumberjanes, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona, which was collected and published by Harper Teen in 2015.

“I made a spaceship for my son's one year birthday”

Check out this incredible spacecraft made by IMGURian revmuun for their beautiful one-year-old baby boy. What a fantastic wondrous thing to build for your kiddo!

About the image below, revmuun says, “You can see him playing with the control panel. You can also see the hinges that help detach the control section from the body for easier transportation.”

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Petition: don't add all adult sites to the British national internet censorlist

The UK Conservative government is pressing on with their insane plan to block all adult sites (including ones that are legal for adults to access) for all UK internet users. Read the rest

Letter to my black daughter under a Trump presidency

Hi Kid,

On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn't fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your country. I said it was going to be OK. I explained that, "politics goes back and forth, and this year it just wasn't our turn. Remember when I was for Obama and you were for Hillary, and she lost the primary, but you ended up liking Obama?" Your thirteen year-old defiance broke through your tears, as you declared, "No, this is different!"

You then spouted off a litany of things I didn't know you thought much about:

"It's different because Donald Trump doesn't have the basic morals of everything our country stands for. He doesn't even have the morals of a normal Republican. It's not that the other side won. It's that the person who won is literally against half of the people in the country. He doesn't like Muslims, Mexicans, anyone who is LGBT, he definitely doesn't like women, or people of color. He doesn't like ME. It seems like he only likes people like himself -- white males. How can he be our president?"

He's our president because people voted for him and he won the election. I will be raising you under a Donald Trump presidency until you go to college in four years. Read the rest

Eleanor & Park: a terrifying YA romance that has rescued its readers and frightened their parents

Last week, the National Coalition Against Censorship honored Rainbow Rowell for her refusal to be back down on the frequent challenges to her multiple-award-winning, bestselling 2013 novel Eleanor & Park. I was there, and got a copy of the novel, and have read nothing since, and now that I've finished it, I find myself profoundly moved.

Kids explain how banned and challenged books helped them and even saved their lives

Banned Books Week has come and gone but we can be sure of one thing: the coming year will be marked by challenges to the same kinds of books that were controversial this year, and in years past.

Comedy writer has exactly the right response to his kid's Fahrenheit 451 permission slip

Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh's son came home from school with a permission slip that he'd have to sign before the kid could read Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451, which is widely believed to be an anti-censorship book (Bradbury himself insisted that this was wrong, and that the book was actually about the evils of television). Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly open hardware maker-box for kids that funds a kids' makerspace

Noah Swartz writes, "Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called 'Monthly Make-It' and it's a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent to your house every month." Read the rest

Bake: spooky chocolate chip cookies

Long story short: start with a reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe (this one has chia!), bake and decorate with sugar pears, slivered almonds, food coloring markers (I didn't know that these were a thing, but these are a thing!) and some sculpting tools. (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

Make: jointed, hot glue-gunned cardboard toys

The Grid Kit makes a range of DIY toys that you punch out of precut cardboard sheets, glue-gun and assemble; the finished toys have working joints and can be painted or left plain. Read the rest

Shel Silverstein's filthy not-kids' book, "Uncle Shelby," beloved of George RR Martin, is back in print

Back in 2009, I found a rare, used copy of Shel Silverstein's raunchy, hilarious not-kid's book Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only, after George RR Martin told me it was uproariously funny and a don't-miss. Read the rest

Social media site targeted at teen girls is leaking 5.5M+ passwords right now

I-Dressup is a social media site aimed at teen and tween girls, where users play and interact with fashion. Six days ago, Ars Technica's Dan Goodin contacted I-Dressup to tell them that they were leaking more than 5.5 million cleartext passwords, and that a hacker had already downloaded 2.2 million of them. Read the rest

Kid makes a diorama of her neighborhood disguised as an RPG rulebook

Jim Jones writes, "I have been playing The Warren, Marshall Miller's role playing game about being rabbits, with my three kids for a little over a month. We play in an area based on our suburban neighborhood. My second grade daughter chose to do a diorama of a suburb for school so she could talk about our game and we built it so that it appeared in the rule book for the role playing game itself." Read the rest

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