Tag Archives | Children

Pets – The New Kids

traveling-with-pets-in-a-carGinger Strand writes for Orion Magazine on the modern day pet industry at Global Pet Expo 2007:

As you glide down over central Florida into Orlando International Airport, the Earth glitters up at you as if strewn with diamonds. The lush, landscaped grounds of the airport are ringed, like much of the Sunshine State, with a circlet of man-made lakes.“All this was once swamp,” the driver of the Mears private van—Florida’s idea of mass transit—tells me. We pass a sign for Boggy Creek Road. “They built canals and retention ponds to drain it and built the airport on top.” We pass a rectangular lake crisscrossed with overhead tracks from which cables tow waterskiers in mechanized circuits. We pass a billboard announcing Shamu’s All-New Show. Traffic slows to a crawl because this is the highway to Disneyland, and the driver switches to unfurling a fairly comprehensive, if unattributed, recap of An Inconvenient Truth.

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Why Have Children?

image courtesy Matt Romack

Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Retire. Die.

Why step three? Is it part of an egotistical drive to preserve one’s DNA? A desire to raise the most exotic pet of all – a human? A need to obtain a trophy to prove you had unprotected sex?

None of those, says a team of Cambridge and Stanford researchers. Instead, Dr. Partha Dasgupta and Dr. Paul Ehrlich posit, it’s part of the age-old question of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Physorg reports on the duo’s study which uses …

… data from several sources to compare population growth rates between people in Africa—where population growth is exploding in some areas—with others where it is not, to show that when people experience peer pressure to have large families and also feel pressure to keep up with the consumption habits of other people where they live, the result can be explosive population growth.

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Creepy Easter Bunny Photos

Early Christianity had a classic “habit” of retro-fitting Pagan seasonal celebrations with quasi-literalist Catholic theology, and this has resulted in some truly surreal mashups of cultural traditions.

For example, ritual symbols of fertility and renewal that were intended to honor the Goddess of Spring (who was known as Eostre, Ostare, or Eastur), originally held immanent seasonal meaning. However, these same symbols were eventually stapled haphazardly into a culture-collage of rabbits, eggs, grass, and an undead savior returning from the grave for your soul.

Add contemporary Capitalist opportunism to the mix, and the result is one of the most disturbing manifestations of Christo-pagan-consumerism: the Shopping Mall Easter Bunny. Enthroned like a springtime Santa in a pastel cardboard holiday-land of cellophane grass littered with jellybean droppings, this crypto-pookah has been terrifying generations of children for years.

Some of the other seasonal holy-day mashups retained at least some coolness (halloween costumes & Christmas gifts).… Read the rest

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Reality TV Show Planned Focusing On Children Who Recall Their Past Lives

My spin on this would be a Maury Povich-style “my bad kid” episode focusing on children who are the reincarnations of Nazi officers, bloodthirsty cannibals, et cetera. Via the Huffington Post:

A Los Angeles production company is currently holding a nationwide casting call for children who claim to have, or have had, past life memories for a new reality series, “Ghost Inside My Child,” scheduled to air on the Bio Channel later this year.

A pilot episode of the series aired a few months ago, with three kids who had gone through various steps of recovering memories of their alleged past lives.

One case from the first show concerns James Leininger. At the age of two, Leininger reportedly started having terrifying nightmares of his death. Ultimately, the family came to believe that he was the reincarnation of James Huston, a fighter pilot who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.

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Dad Receives Visit from Authorities After Posting Pic of Son with .22 Rifle on Facebook

Picture: Shawn Moore (C)

New Jersey resident Shawn Moore received a visit from authorities after posting a picture on Facebook of his eleven year-old son Josh holding a .22 rifle that had been given to him as a birthday present. I live in the Deep South, and being given a rifle or shotgun by your father is a common rite of passage in some families. I never had one as a kid, but most of my friends did, and I was the odd man out. In those families, the firearm was traditionally held by parents for safe-keeping and only brought out to use for target shooting or hunting under adult supervision. The South is still largely rural, and how to keep and maintain firearms is considered an essential skill for most boys – and some daughters.

I don’t know what life in New Jersey is like. I know that down here there’d be much outrage from political officials and private citizens alike if something like this happened.… Read the rest

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Gates Foundation And Rupert Murdoch Unveil New Database To Track K-12 Students’ Personal Information

Kids’ grades, behavior, medical issues, and more—with their names and social security numbers attached—will be tracked by their public schools, entered in a database, and sold to private companies, in the name of improving educational services, Reuters reports:

The most influential new product [at the SXSWedu conference this week in Austin] may be a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

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Presenting Amazon’s Predator Drone Toy For Kids

Looking to instill your children with some patriotic values? That’s where the Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds U.S. Military Aircraft – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator comes in, for sale now via Amazon:

The RQ-1 Predator can serve in a reconnaissance role and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.

The customer reviews explain:

“Educationally, this toy can’t be beat – inculcating a predilection for indiscriminate, imperialist violence against non-combatants from oppressed and marginalized communities is precisely in accordance with truly “American values!”

“I’m purchasing one of these drones for my nephew as a visual aid. I’m training him that if he can use these drones to kill enough innocent people he’ll be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year twice and win the Nobel Peace Prize someday.”

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Anti-Vaccine Book For Kids Extols The Virtues Of Measles

Via Salon, the new hot genre of children’s books. No word on whether “vaccine vampire” young adult versions are on the way:

Measles is responsible for thousands of tragic (and preventable) deaths each year. Which is perhaps why so many reviewers are panning a new book by Stephanie Messenger, an Australian author and anti-vaccine activist. According to the author’s page, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles” was written to:

Educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body.

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Study: Parents Lie Frequently To Their Children To Control Their Behavior

And we wonder why grown-up society looks the way it does. BPS Research Digest reveals what you suspected:

We teach our kids that it is wrong to lie, even though most of us do it everyday. In fact, it is often our children who we are lying to. A new study, involving participants in the USA and China, is one of the first to investigate parental lies, finding that the majority of parents tell their children lies as a way to control their behavior.

Gail Heyman and her colleagues presented parents in the USA and China with 16 “instrumental lies” in four categories – lies to influence kids’ eating habits (e.g. “you need to finish all your food or you will get pimples all over your face”); lies to get the children to leave or stay put (“If you don’t come with me now, I will leave you here by yourself); lies to control misbehaviour (“If you don’t behave I will call the police”); and lies to do with shopping and money (“I did not bring any money with me today.”).

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Body Pleasures and the Origins of Violence

A classic article, deserving a place in the Disinfo archives. James W. Prescott outlines the link between modern child-rearing practices and their impact on development, psychological well-being and adult behavior. He covers deprivation of loving touch, sexual repression, infant neglect, and the results to the adult psyche. Joseph Chilton Pearce started this conversation and Prescott fleshes it out. The discussion of these issues is still ongoing.

Via The Origins of Peace and Violence website:

The sensory environment in which an individual grows up has a major influence upon the development and functional organization of the brain. Sensory stimulation is a nutrient that the brain must have to develop and function normally. How the brain functions determines how a person behaves. At birth a human brain is extremely immature and new brain cells develop up to the age of two years. The complexity of brain cell development continues up to about 16 years of age.

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