Sunday, September 27, 2009

99% sure??

When someone says they are 99% sure of something, they probably don't mean that. If they were 99% sure, then they would be willing to bet on it with 99-to-1 odds. That is, they'd be willing to bet $99 for the chance to win $1.

Fradulent Data

This article references the Gambler's fallacy and Benford's Law, which I thought were fascinating when I first learned of them a few years ago. The article continues with a really interesting and somewhat shocking discovery, that a polling company has been producing fraudulent data for several years.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spanking makes kids dumber

From an NPR article here.

This guy has conducted two studies (published here and here) that suggest that not spanking leads to higher IQs. There have been other studies that demonstrate the connection between spanking and lower success rates as adults.

It's often difficult to make conclusions from statistical data like this; it could simply be the case that kids are poorer and dumber because their parents are poorer and dumber, and that poor and dumb people just happen to spank their kids more often. However, he claims he was able to adjust for socio-economic factors, indicating that the relationship between spanking and the child's IQs is causal.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Video Game Nostalgia

I had Thunder Force III on Sega Genesis when I was a kid. I tried over and over to beat it, then I watched a friend beat it, and after that it was easy. The greatest part about this game is the ending. Hilarious.

In a flash the planet of ORN
disappeared completely.

ORN could no longer control
the huge amount of energy
that had accumulated
after he lost his owner.

The Emperor ORN
had been disturbing
the Union of the Milky Way
for a long time.
What was his true character?
It was a huge bio-computer which
had been made in the beginning
of the space age.

Besides,his computer brain was
developing extraordinary,and he began
to have his own will.

He denied the existence of human
beings and finally he exercised
a program to kill
the whole human race.
It was evidently human beings
who had given him this idea.
Therefore human beings should
think of the meaning deeply.

Anyway the war was over.

And a peaceful time came soon.
It might be for a short time.
Human beings,think about
what you have done.

After the important mission was
completed,STYX turned over
his airframe to the base
fellows waiting for them.
Jean and Sherry,you might aware of
the real meaning of
"true peace"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some more none-of-your-business

When Erinne was still pregnant, we saw a woman on the train hit her toddler. It was about 11pm, the woman was on the phone with an ex-boyfriend trying to get back together with him, and her child was in a stroller crying for attention, so she smacked her for being annoying.

Why didn't we say anything? Why didn't we do anything? First, It was not on obvious enough case of abuse to call the police. More importantly, if a mother is in the habit of hitting her child, then she's not going to stop just because some stranger on the train suggested it to her. Furthermore, anything we say to her is more likely to cause more harm to the child. I'd bet (and give you 2-to-1 odds) that if we had said something, she would have only become more angry at the child and been even harsher to her when they got home.

Which brings me to my story from today...

We went to the farmer's market. Erinne fed Ada at home before we left, and then again at the market before we left for home. On the streetcar, Ada got a little fussy. We interacted and played with her to keep her in a good mood. Apparently she just needed a change of scenery, because once we got off the streetcar she stopped crying.

However, while we were on the streetcar, a woman with a very concerned look on her face asked us if our child was hungry. I told her that we just fed her. She then said that our baby is cute, but by that time I had turned away and stopped responding to her.

Then, another woman made faces with Ada, and I turned Ada to her and let them interact. Then, she slipped in "Oh, do you want mommy to feed you, huh?".

I've already explained in a previous post that comments like this are inappropriate. But they are also pointless! If we were indeed neglecting the needs of our child, a comment from a stranger isn't going to correct our behavior. It is analogous to the woman who hit her child.

So, here's the conclusion that I am getting at. It does not matter if the parent is in fact doing something wrong (assuming it is even possible to make that claim objectively), because their behavior cannot be fixed with advice from a stranger on the train. Best case scenario is that you have no effect. Worst case is you piss off the parent and they take it out on their child.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Unsolicited parenting advice

I'm shocked by the things people say to us. It's like having a baby suddenly makes it OK for people to say all kinds of things to us that would otherwise be inappropriate. You wouldn't go up to a stranger and tell them that you think their clothes are ugly. You would not point at a couple across the street because they look adorable. And, you wouldn't call your mother/father/sibling just to tell them that they need to do the dishes more often. But, you would tell someone to their face that they're not doing the right thing with their baby?

First, let's distinguish between what is appropriate advice and what is inappropriate advice. It is certainly OK for someone to give advice when it is requested, or when it helps solve a problem we are having. It is not OK to give advice that contradicts our current actions or parenting style. So, for example, when Erinne posts a status update on Facebook and asks for suggestions on getting our baby to sleep, the responses that we get are appropriate. When someone points to us and says, "your baby cannot breathe in that wrap," or when a friend says that we should not feed our baby whenever she wants to eat, that is completely inappropriate.

The most offensive thing about these comments is that they presuppose that we are incapable of making good decisions for our child. We researched extensively and came to a conscious decision about how we want to raise our child, and it is not OK to tell us that that is wrong.

OK, I'm done talking about why some things are inappropriate. Next, I want to give some concrete examples of things people have said to us and why these things are incorrect, not just offensive.

"Your baby can't breathe in that wrap! Your baby is too hot in that wrap! Your baby is cold and needs a blanket!" We have had these things shouted at us. We have had a nurse roll her eyes at us because she did not believe us when we said our baby is fine.

I usually try to respond to these comments by providing as much information about the subject as I can, to show that I have educated myself on this and that I know what I am doing. Do people really think I don't know if my child is suffocating? Perhaps if I looked older and dressed better, I would appear more responsible and people would not do this to us?

Then, there's the advice we get from people regarding how to raise our child. If you find yourself giving us parenting advice that you know is in contrast to our chosen method, you might want to stop and ask yourself if your belief actually comes from a rational study of the facts, or if that's just what you believe. Also, don't assume you know more about this than we do; having raised a child yourself does not make you more qualified.

Rather than finish this article with examples of parenting advice that people give us inappropriately, I will follow it up with an article that talks about our particular parenting strategy and the advice that people sometimes give us that contradicts our strategy.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The School Speech

Conservatives (ok, just the ignorant ones) are going ape-shit over Obama's speech that he will give to schools across the nation tomorrow.

Check out the woman in this video.

Holding back tears, the mother says, "Thinking about my kids... in school, having to listen to that just really upsets me." When asked what she is concerned the President might talk about, she pauses for a few seconds and says, "Socialism. Indoctrinating my kids with what he believes."

You can't see it in the video, but during that pause before she answers, in her head the woman is going "derrr, doot doot doot I have no idea", and then like a parrot she just repeats what others have been spouting.

Fortunately, every concerned citizen with Internet access can view the exact and entire content of the speech at Read it. Read it and show me the part where he attempts to indoctrinate kids into his socialist agenda.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Things just disappear...

I had a sushi mat. Yesterday I realized that I had not seen it in over a year. Where did it go?