The Blair Babysitter Project
July 22, 2019
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
– Rabindranath Tagore
The Blair Babysitter Project
Some interesting names are attached to today’s parenting styles: Free-Range, Tiger, Helicopter, Lawnmower, Lighthouse. In The Netherlands, one tradition parents follow is “dropping.”
A term found in Dutch scouting tradition, it’s a summertime ritual that has parents dropping groups of youngsters in the forest at night, with only a rudimentary GPS system to find their way back to camp. It’s part of an overall parenting philosophy that children should be raised to depend more on themselves than adults and learn to solve their own problems.
The practice, which is loosely based on military exercises, has variations. Sometimes adults follow the children, without guiding them. Or organizers might blindfold kids on the way to the dropping. Adults have even been known to hide in the underbrush and make scary animal noises. It’s all part of a collective belief that even for children who are tired, hungry or disoriented, there is benefit to being in charge of their own destiny.
Incidents have occurred of droppings gone awry, which has led other Europeans to call the tradition a “perilous adventure.” In 2011 and 2014 children walking along a roadside were struck by cars and killed, leading to greater regulation of the practice.
Dropping is such a normal part of Dutch childhood that people elsewhere in the world who are questioned about it might shrug off concerns as “droppingsdrama.” But a Dutch journalist who raised her children in New Jersey admitted it probably wasn’t the nicest thing to do to kids.
The Voiceless Voice Their Concern
- For almost two straight months in Hong Kong hundreds of thousands of protestors have demonstrated against the government.
- On Sunday a crowd estimated at 430,000 took to the city’s streets. Police in riot gear fired teargas after protestors ignored orders to restrict rally boundaries. The movement began as a demonstration against the government’s extradition bill championed by the Chinese territory’s leader, Carrie Lam.
- It’s now evolved into a wider call for more democracy, an investigation into allegations of police brutality, and Lam’s resignation. (Guardian)
- Chinese Money in the U.S. Dries Up as Trade War Drags On (NYT, $)
Abe’s Sun Is Still Rising
- Japan’s conservative governing coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have won a majority of seats in the upper house of parliament after Sunday’s national elections. The victory makes Abe Japan’s longest serving prime minister at a time when the country faces multiple challenges — a rapidly-aging population, tensions with Asian neighbors, and upcoming trade talks with an unpredictable White House counterpart.
- Abe had hoped the coalition would win enough seats to be able to revise the country’s pacifist constitution, in place since the end of WWII, but voting fell short. (NYT)
Na, Na, Na, Na…Na, Na, Na, Na…May, May, May…Goodbye
- UK prime minister Theresa May is stepping down, and the October 31 Brexit deadline is looming. Choosing the next leader is one of the most important decisions confronting all Britons in a generation or more.
- Unfortunately under the UK’s parliamentary system, the next prime minister will be elected by just 160,000 members of May’s governing Conservative Party — that’s less than one percent of the electorate.
- Young voters overwhelmingly want to stay in the EU. Their frustration is expressed by a 21- year-old civil engineering student who said: “The Tories have made a complete mess of Brexit … It’s not too late to avert the crisis, and the public is desperate to have its say, but instead we are being shut out further and are forced to watch this slow-motion car crash. It’s brutal.” (NYT)
- For Boris Johnson’s Clan, Blood Is Thicker Than Political Conviction (NYT, $)
- Philip Hammond, U.K. Finance Chief, Says He’ll Quit Rather Than Serve Boris Johnson (NYT, $)
Additional World News
- U.K. Fears Iran Is Taking A ‘Dangerous Path’ After Seizure Of Tanker (NPR) And Iranian coastguard’s radio exchange with UK warship emerges: ‘If you obey you will be safe’, Iranian vessel tells crew of British-flagged tanker in Gulf (The Guardian)
- Suicide Bombing at University Kills 10 as Violence Surges in Afghanistan (NYT, $)
- A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington (NYT, $)
- Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market (NBC)
That’s One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap In Subscribers
- On July 20, 1969, during President Richard Nixon’s administration, the Eagle module from Apollo 11 landed at Tranquility Base, the Moon, and US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on that silvery celestial orb. The feat inspired a generation of youngsters to become scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
- 50 years later President Trump has spoken of returning to the moon. But results from an anniversary eve survey taken by The Harris Poll at the request of Lego revealed that for Western countries at least, kids today are more interested in becoming YouTube vloggers than astronauts. (Wikipedia, Ars Technica)
- 50 Years After Apollo 11, Here’s What (And How) Astronauts Are Eating (NPR)
Let’s See If The Show Is Better Than The Book
- As of this writing, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III is scheduled to be questioned by House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee members on Wednesday, July 24 for five hours of nationally televised testimony.
- Democrats are wagering that by tuning in to see what they hope will be a vivid, compelling narrative of Russian attempts to undermine American democracy, the Trump campaign’s willingness to accept Kremlin assistance and the president’s repeated efforts to thwart investigators and obstruct justice, Americans who have not read Mueller’s 448-page report, and only get information from conservative news outlets, will become enlightened. It might be a long shot, and the stakes could not be higher. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Los Angeles police spied on anti-Trump protesters: Case is one of several across the US of police targeting anti-Trump and anti-fascist groups with monitoring and criminal trials (The Guardian)
- A Murderer Deemed Too Old for Violence Was Just Convicted of Another Killing: The 77-year-old man, who was free despite a long history of violence against women, was convicted of an attack nearly identical to his killing of his wife 40 years ago. (NYT, $)
- Trump’s Electoral College Edge Could Grow in 2020, Rewarding Polarizing Campaign: Re-election looks plausible even with a bigger loss in the national popular vote. (NYT, $)
- Dollar stores are everywhere. That’s a problem for poor Americans (CNN)
- The Future of the City Is Childless America’s urban rebirth is missing something key—actual births. (The Atlantic)
- Andy Ngo Has The Newest New Media Career. It’s Made Him A Victim And A Star: “A single man standing there with a camera who never got hit and never hit back before in his life.” (BuzzFeed News)
People See, People Do
- Elaine Hatfield, a psychological researcher from the University of Hawaii and her husband, Dick Rapson, have spent a good part of their careers studying what they call “emotional contagion.” It’s the idea that, while people unconsciously mimic physical movements of other people around them, they also mimic emotions.
- The couple contends that emotions leak out a person’s face in very measurable, consistent ways called microexpressions — fleeting, involuntary expressions of feelings that last a fraction of a second. After years of research, Hatfield and Rapson say they have found our automatic mimicry of these microexpressions can actually produce the corresponding emotion inside of us.
- Supporting this theory are many studies which have shown that one of the ways emotions are produced is from the outside, in; the extent of the effect remains under debate. (NPR)
- The Simpsons: How the show’s writers predict the future: They’re the most-famous animated family on the planet and have been entertaining viewers for more than 30 years. (BBC)
- The Disturbing Sound of a Human Voice: Hearing people talk can terrify even top predators such as mountain lions, with consequences that ripple through entire ecosystems. (The Atlantic)
- Born to Walk Barefoot: Shoes protect our feet, but they also alter our strides and could increase the wear on our leg joints. (NYT, $)
- 5 lies you’ve been told about generational wealth: Here’s what you have wrong about people who inherit money. (Fast Company) And Want to Raise Financially Successful Children? A 30-Year Study Says Teach Them This 1 Thing: A newly published study makes a strong link between a specific behavior set and future income. (Inc) And Keep the Bare Minimum In Your Checking Account (Lifehacker)
“In a wide variety of human activity, achievement is not possible without discomfort.” – Alex Hutchinson
“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammed Ali