Thursday, September 5, 2013

Free Range Kids Movement

Interesting...

http://www.freerangekids.com/

good thing I don't obsess over parenting blogs anymore.

For to See

i wove you a garland of poems before we met
which you cobwebbed like yesterday's mothballs

as if cotton had crawled inside the mouth of god
and died there
and its name was me

of course, your petty sidesteps only served to invoke
in me a greater fervor
a fever matched only by our very memes
and fleeting memories of a night and a day
shared in ecstasy
and spared the longevity of heartache.

i think…

I pour a drink despite
a shaking hand
and head full of brass tacks
and bliss

i kiss my future and she tastes of you
and a mourning of spent cigarettes
and second-hand emotions

I ocean over your body
the sea I see
eyes closed
against this torrent

my head bent in prayer and retrospection
ever since you deigned
to darken my door

lady, shade, scant dream

this seam I preen and prod
a road trod in reverse
like a novel lived back words
plots spiraling inward
to knots and scars and stories
we need bear witness

flit feathers like the birdsong in my mouth
when I touched you in my mind a year
before our fear
came realized
out a gate of our own making

a lust must longing for release
when no port is home
and our stars are the only map to heaven

9.5.13

Monday, July 15, 2013

Apps for Yer Children Part One

http://teacherswithapps.com/

Just found this one the other day, let me know if you find any that you or your child can't live without.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

the daily smatterings

mostly just the tabs I didn't get around to reading all the way, or closing, or doing anything more productive with than this:

https://plus.google.com/+MAKE

http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/08/google-maker-camp/ -

Google And Make Magazine Beat The Classroom With Virtual Science Camp For Teens


First Public Library to Hack a Maker Lab Together!

- Meet Makers @ Google

Google destroys boredom with summer ‘Maker Camp’ for kids 13 and up


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Your diet affects your grandchildren's DNA, studies say

Thanks for the link Sarah!

This is a no-shit, Sherlock sort of thing for me... and I hope a lot of you out there... but I suppose some folks haven't gotten the message yet.
________________
Original Article

By
Christopher Wanjek

Your Diet Affects Your Grandchildren's DNA, Scientists Say
By: Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience Bad Medicine Columnist
Published: 07/27/2012 10:00 AM EDT on LiveScience
You are what you eat, the saying goes. And, according to two new genetic studies, you are what your mother, father, grandparents and great-grandparents ate, too.
Diet, be it poor or healthy, can so alter the nature of one's DNA that those changes can be passed on to the progeny. While this much has been speculated for years, researchers in two independent studies have found ways in which this likely is happening.
The findings, which involve epigenetics, may help explain the increased genetic risk that children face compared to their parents for diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
The punch line is that your poor dietary habits may be dooming your progeny, despite how healthy they will try to eat. [10 Worst Hereditary Conditions]

Epigenetics
Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression from outside forces. Different from a mutation, epigenetic changes lie not in the DNA itself but rather in its surroundings -- the enzymes and other chemicals that orchestrate how a DNA molecule unwinds its various sections to make proteins or even new cells.
Recent studies have shown how nutrition dramatically alters the health and appearance of otherwise identical mice. A group led by Randy Jirtle of Duke University demonstrated how mouse clones implanted as embryos in separate mothers will have radical differences in fur color, weight, and risk for chronic diseases depending on what that mother was fed during pregnancy.
That is, the nutrients or lack of thereof changed the DNA environment in such a way that the identical DNA in these mouse clones expressed itself in very different ways.
Of mice and humans
Building upon this Duke University work, a new study led by Torsten Plosch of University of Groningen, The Netherlands, delineated the numerous ways in which nutrition alters the epigenome of many animals, including adult humans. The paper has been submitted to the journal Biochimie with lead author Josep C. Jimenez-Chillarón of the Paediatric Hospital Sant Joan de Deu, in Spain.
The researchers said that the diet of human adults induces changes in all cells -- even sperm and egg cells -- and that these changes can be passed on to offspring.
Such effects on a single generation have been known: Children born to mothers during the Dutch famine at the end of WWII had susceptibilities to various diseases later in life, such as glucose intolerance and cardiovascular disease, depending on the timing and extent of the food shortage during pregnancy.
In 2010, Jimenez-Chillaron and his colleagues took this a step further and found that overfed male mouse pups developed the telltale signs of metabolic syndrome -- insulin resistance, obesity and glucose intolerance -- and passed some of these traits to their offspring, which then developed elements of metabolic syndrome without overeating.
But what still is missing, Jimenez-Chillaron told LiveScience, is an understanding of how such information is remembered from generation to generation. Unlike a gene mutation, all of the epigenetic inputs to the DNA environment should be forgotten when a newly formed embryo begins to divide.
"The dogma is that during the process of meiosis [cell division], all epigenetic marks are erased," said Jimenez-Chillaron. "But our work, as well as [the work] from many others, suggests that this is not completely true. Although the majority of epigenetic marks is erased, some marks are spared for unknown reasons."
Attack on the DNA
A second study, led in part by Ram B. Singh of the TsimTsoum Institute in Krakow, Poland, published this month in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, examined nutrients that affect the chromatin. The chromatin is like the chemical soup in which DNA operates.
Aside from creating epigenetic marks, Singh's group speculates that these nutrients also can cause mutations, both good and bad. But the evidence is still inconclusive.
Hints of this were reported in a 2011 paper in Nature by Stanford University scientists who found lingering, positive effects on longevity from nutrition on three generations of the C. elegans worm.
"It is possible that eating more omega-3 fatty acids, choline, betaine, folic acid and vitamin B12, by mothers and fathers, possibly can alter chromatin state and mutations, as well as have beneficial effects...leading to birth of a 'super baby' with long life and [lower risk] of diabetes and metabolic syndrome," Singh told LiveScience. "This is just a possibility, to be proven by more experiments." [10 New Ways to Eat Well]
Both teams of scientists said that cells in an early state of development are more prone to epigenetic changes from nutrition than adult cells, hence the most notable changes are seen fetuses and infants.
Yet it may be only a matter of time, they added, until there is evidence of how we pass along to subsequent generations the consequences of our own nutritional habits.
Christopher Wanjek is the author of a new novel, "Hey, Einstein!", a comical nature-versus-nurture tale about raising clones of Albert Einstein in less-than-ideal settings. His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scarecrow by Fady Joudah


The rice field birds are too clever for scarecrows,
They know what they love, milk in the grain.
 
When it happens, there will be no time to look for anyone.
Husband, children, nine brothers and sisters.
 
You will drop your sugarcane-stick-beating of plastic bucket,
Stop shouting at birds and run.
 
They will load you in trucks and herd you for a hundred miles.
Old men will teach you trade with soldiers at checkpoints.
 
You will give them your spoon, blanket and beans,
They’ll let you keep your life. And if you jump off the truck,
 
The army jeep trailing it will run you over.
Later, they will accuse you of giving up your land.
 
Later, you will stand in distribution lines and won’t receive enough to eat.
Your mother will weave you new underwear from flour sacks.
 
And they’ll give you plastic tents, cooking pots,
Vaccine cards, white pills, and wool blankets.
 
And you will keep your cool.
Standing with eyes shut tight like you’ve got soap in them.
 
Arms stretched wide like you’re catching rain.

_________________________________________________

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Elementary School Budget for the 21st Century

Budget at my daughters' elementary school in Olympia, Washington



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Thesis Thing: Free Play and Democratic Education for A Better World

I won't hassle them too much for misspelling Democratic in their thesis title (I fixed it here)... since the rest of it is pretty good. I'm lucky my kids are enrolled in an alternative public elementary school that has a lot of free-play factors built into their curriculum and really strives to put a child's perspective first in most matters.

Schools today don’t play fair. We’re on a crooked path educationally because of an addictive dependency on academics. Unmistakably our reliance on experts, instruction, and anything curricula related has caused a destructive path to our society and the way in which we relate to each other and the natural world. We’re an “uptight” and “rigid” society that has almost forgotten how to play.
Our traditional school system in archaic, unsustainable, and fails at preparing students as citizens to take utmost responsibility with their education and in facing the critical issues and concerns of our times. Play barely makes the class schedule or curriculum agenda. Little time in schools is devoted towards providing non-structured and uninterrupted activities for kids to freely choose. Conventional schools have the home field advantage on academics and play is usually the first to be ejected, suspended, cut from the budget or other wise broken up into chunks of time on the school bell schedule, we call recess. Recess, a time when youth common freely play, has culturally become marginalized by the high demand of standardized testing, prescribed curricula, methodologies, and surveillance measures sprung forward from bureaucratic policies and demands. In school the pupil is “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value (Illich, 1972).” In a world of academics there is no balance, imagination, creativity, and our natural pull in childhood to freely play receives a crushing blow. The purpose of these pages is reexamine the value of free play as a trusting way for youth to follow their interests and guide themselves towards taking on more responsibilities.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What is Radical Parenting?


Came across this article: Extreme Parenting: What Radical Parents Do Better Than You... and it got me to thinking about how I define myself as a radical father, and what's so radical about the way that I parent? So here are some thoughts, enjoy them:

I thought it was a little dumbed down... but I guess that's the point. At least its giving gender-neutral parenting a bit of limelight, even if its getting boxed as 'radical' when its more widespread than most folks would imagine.

To me, radical parenting means parenting for your child with their perspective in mind, with the knowledge and toolbox of an adult at hand to draw lessons from in a shared experiential mutually educational relationship. It means humbling and educating oneself in order to educate and raise a creature capable of changing our world for the better. In order to do this one must invariably challenge the given norms of our day and age, from rampant capitalist consumerism, to coercive schooling, cultural imperialism, and general apathy and ignorance.

Developing the ability to teach yourself these lessons in order to impart them to your child while juggling work and responsibilities and family and life and flying by the seat of your pants is the hard part.

thanks for the pic Microcosm!
I thought it was befitting
I attempt to hold these intentions in my heart and mind while juxtaposing them with the hurdles of generational poverty, corruption, crime, gender bias, domestic violence, and an increasingly authoritarian, militarized society and government in bed with huge corporate conglomerates waging wars on drugs and terror and effectively wiping out the bio-diveristy and general well-being of our planet at a rapid pace. Then I try not to scream, or you primal-screamers can scream at this part, and swallow my pride and fear and forge and forage ahead, into this future, hand in hand with our children.

And here I still have the pipe-dream of raising non-violent, anti-authoritarian little tree-hugging people without an evil bone in their bodies... when the sad truth of the matter is that I should probably ramp up their radical sustainable eco-activist herbal Ewok monkeywrenching training camp time so that they're ready to go out and kick the shit out of capitalism with a smartphone and a laser rifle by age twelve... (you got that Technoccult?)

I better get a move on.

Here's the Radical Parenting Reading List from wiki's infoshop. Check with the folks at Last Word Books, Olympia's awesome radical independent bookstore, they've probably got some of 'em in stock.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Teaching Good Sex



“Grand slam,” called out a boy (who’d later tell me with disarming matter-of-factness that “the one thing Mr. V. talked about that made me feel really good was that penis size doesn’t matter”).
“Now, ‘grand slam’ has a bunch of different meanings,” replied Vernacchio, who has a master’s degree in human sexuality. “Some people say it’s an orgy, some people say grand slam is a one-night stand. Other stuff?”
“Grass,” a girl, a cheerleader, offered.
“If there’s grass on the field, play ball, right, right,” Vernacchio agreed, “which is interesting in this rather hair-phobic society where a lot of people are shaving their pubic hair — ”