U.S. is investigating claims that TikTok violated children's privacy

The FTC and the Justice Department are investigating claims that TikTok, the popular social media app with close ties to China, violated a 2019 agreement to protect children's privacy. Read the rest

Investigation into TikTok as risk to U.S. children's privacy urged by 4 U.S. senators

The letter from 4 senators was addressed to Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of TikTok owner ByteDance.

Busted: 5-year-old driving car on Utah freeway

Utah Highway Patrol reports on an interesting traffic stop. Read the rest

How To Train Your Robot, a free kids book by an engineer and his 10-year-old daughter

My buddy Ken Goldberg, a UC Berkeley professor of robotics, his 10-year-old daughter Blooma, and science communicator Ashley Chase wrote a delightful children's book called How to Train Your Robot! Illustrated by Dave Clegg, the story, about a fourth grade robotics club, is a fun and understandable introduction to how deep learning can help robots gain new skills in the messy, unstructured human world.

Thanks to support from the National Science Foundation and UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, How to Train Your Robot is available as a free PDF online and student groups can request free hardcopies!

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Dad transforms cat-carrier into pod to protect baby from coronavirus, design inspired by 'Death Stranding' game

This dad in China created a 'baby pod' suit to protect his child from coronavirus. His ingenious DIY design was reportedly based on the action game "Death Stranding." Read the rest

Show your kids! Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor reads inspiring children's book from space!

Astronaut and physician Serena Auñón-Chancellor spent almost 200 days aboard the International Space Station. Here she is in orbit reading the wonderful book Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty.

(Story Time From Space) Read the rest

Police called to school over stolen juice box

On Friday, police were called to the Union School District in Rimersburg, Pennsylvania after a "known" juvenile allegedly robbed the school cafeteria of a juice box valued at 80 cents.

crop of image by Hp.Baumeler (CC BY-SA 4.0) Read the rest

The inventor of the ball pit was inspired by a jar of pickled onions

More than 40 years ago, Eric McMillan, a renowned designer of children's play areas, and his team created the ball pit, those troughs of brightly-colored plastic balls that children swim around in. (Ball pits also may be a giant petri dish of pathogens but, hell, the kids love 'em.) Apparently, McMillan--who went on to be known as the "father of soft play" for his numerous playful innovations like the "punch bag forest"--found his inspiration for the ball pit in his kitchen. From the BBC:

McMillan and his team came up with the idea for the ball pit in San Diego more than 40 years ago, when inspiration struck after looking at a container of pickled onions in the kitchen. “There was a jar of onions, and we were sort of saying: ‘wow, how about if you could crawl through those? And then – ding – we decided we’d try it,” he says.

The first ball pit, filled with 40,000 balls, opened soon after their epiphany. “People just went crazy about it. Thank God for those onions.”

More in this BBC podcast: "Pickled onions inspired me to design the ball pit"

image: "Children in ball pit in Nachshonit" by יעקב (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Glass screen protector for my Nintendo Switch

I use these screen protectors on my Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch gets handed from child to child. The Switch gets banged, bumped, dropped and treated like something a 5-year-old is struggling wrest from a 10-year-old. Screen protectors come and go, but thus far the Switch has been undamaged.

Three packs are nice.

[3 Pack] Screen Protector Tempered Glass for Nintendo Switch, iVoler Transparent HD Clear Anti-Scratch Screen Protector Compatible Nintendo Switch via Amazon Read the rest

Watch: 9-year-old girl kills Nirvana's 'In Bloom' on drums

Nandi Bushell channels drummer David Grohl as she drums to Nirvana's "In Bloom." Read the rest

Boy genius will graduate college at age 9

Laurent Simons is pursuing a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands. He's 9 years old. After graduation, he intends to earn a PhD in electrical engineering along with a medical degree. His longterm goal is to develop artificial organs for transplant. From CNN:

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But (mother) Lydia has her own theory.

"I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy," she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

"That is not unusual," said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, in a statement.

"Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport."

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Little boy meets Mickey Mouse 'in real life' for the first time

Perhaps you needed to be reminded that sweet and good things exist in this world. Read the rest

Why CBP won't accept supplies for separated children in migrant detention camps

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol basically just admitted openly that it has all the supplies needed to take care of the children separated from their families at the border—-toothpaste, soap, beds to sleep on-- CBP just won't give any of the stuff to the detained kids. Read the rest

Texas teacher who tweeted Trump her school was 'taken over' by 'illegal students from Mexico' may be fired

A Texas high school teacher may lose her job after tweeting to President Donald Trump that her school had been "taken over" by "illegal students from Mexico." Read the rest

YouTube pushes children's videos to pedophiles through content recommendation engine

A mom in Brazil became concerned as she watched the viewing numbers on innocent backyard clip her daughter posted to YouTube suddenly climb hundreds of thousands of views. The child posted a video of herself and a friend playing in the family pool. YouTube's recommendation engine had been suggesting the video as recommended content to viewers who'd just watched other videos that contained sexually oriented video content. YouTube's AI sexualized her kid and pushed her image to pedophiles. This happens a lot, apparently. Read the rest

Under Trump, EPA kills funding for kids' health research centers

“The Trump administration is ending funding for a network of research centers focused on environmental threats to kids, imperiling several long-running studies of pollutants' effects on child development,” report @CorbinHiar & @ArielWittenberg for @EENewsUpdates. Read the rest

Amazon told to stop selling kids' school supplies that contain over 80 times the legal limit of lead

This pencil pouch has over 35 times the legal limit of lead, 29 times the legal limit of cadmium.

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