Re: Guest Post - Links

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Obama and the Easter Bunny is the best!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 9:45 AM
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If anyone doubts Obama's imperial ambitions, check out the photo from May 24, 2014.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 9:51 AM
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Link 2, the Berkeley childcare article, wanted to upgrade my phone's browser, so I had to go to a computer.

The interesting thing in it to me was a reference to the history of the Lanham Act of 1940—which needs to be distinguished from the more familiar Lanham Act of 1946, on a completely different subject, Trademarks—which established a federal day care system during WWII. The author of a study of the WWII program and its effects, Chris M. Herbst of Arizona State, makes his paper available from his website.

Good stuff, another road not taken most of us, I surmise, have never heard of.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:10 AM
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Shouldn't child care cost more than college? Given that college students should not need to be watched and have their diapers changed 10 hours a day with a low child/staff ratio?


Posted by: metasarah | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:26 AM
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Obama and the Easter Bunny is the best!

There are a bunch of great photos. That one is good. I also like the Obama + Rembrant, and Obama swatting a fly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:27 AM
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On the OP's 2, arguing for government-subsidized childcare, I'm not clear whether the writer is arguing for individual subsidies to mothers of young children in order to pay for childcare, or whether she's arguing for something like this, again:

The only time the United States got anywhere near a comprehensive, universal system of birth-to-12 child care was when the whole nation was at war. In 1943, The Lanham Act created a system of all-day, government-subsidized child care centers that enabled women to take men's places in fields, factories, and offices.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:28 AM
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4: I don't mean to impugn the importance of child care, but it does require less training than teaching college.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:29 AM
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It's been a while since I read it, but I remember the article being more about childcare costs than what childcare costs more than. It's just a headline.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:35 AM
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Obama: charismatic as all get out. He'll be one of our best ex-presidents.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:38 AM
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Witt is right about the captions: "I'm including this photograph because the President just loved looking around at Cool Vintage Watches in Parkville, Missouri. 'A lot of cool stuff,' was how he described it to me afterwards. He said he could have spent a lot more time looking around in the shop, which had much more than just watches." "The President whistles along to Van Morrison's 'Brown-Eyed Girl' while shooting pool with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in Denver, Colorado. The President took great pride in beating the Governor at the bar the Governor founded."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:42 AM
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Obama probably is the best president during my lifetime (I mean, not that the competition is that seriously), but he's absolutely comes off as the most personally charming one. The sheer delight he shows whenever he's interacting with kids (and the way he kind of seems to be seeking out the opportunity to do that) sometimes makes me wonder if he decided to enter politics after someone described the job as shaking hands and kissing babies.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 10:46 AM
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7: I don't mean to impugn the importance of child care, but it does require less training than teaching college.

Less credentialed training, perhaps. The stakes are surely higher, however, and the value to society is, I'm afraid, higher. Also tuition at public universities is already subsidized (though to a lesser and lesser degree).

Determining what people should be paid according to how much training they require for the work is a problematic way of looking at things. The value of the work (assuming it's well-done, obvs.) is a more appropriate measure.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:02 AM
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I am depressed that my immediate reaction to the article about child care costs is, "this is so obvious and straightforward that nothing is going to happen."

I'm so used to reading articles that offer some sort of TED-style hook of either, "here is a problem that looks difficult but can be addressed more cheaply than you'd expect by doing X" or, "here is a problem which is invisible until you consider X and then it becomes obvious." That article primarily says, "childcare is incredibly time consuming and expensive and that fact contributes to and exacerbates existing social and economic inequality."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:11 AM
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4: only insofar as college should be free.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:19 AM
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Wait tho maybe child care should be too??? I'll need to think on this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:20 AM
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Less credentialed training, perhaps.

Children are our future, nothing is more important than the least and most vulnerable among us, looking into the eyes of a child, we see the universe, and so on.

But teaching an academic subject doesn't just require more 'credentialed' training than taking care of children, it requires more training in any sense you care to name. Taking care of children is laborious, and there are things you should know to do it well, but most people do it just fine with no deliberate training at all. No one successfully teaches the history of economics, or microbiology, with no training at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:21 AM
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4: True, on the one hand, infants need more minute-to-minute supervision. On the other hand, we generally assume college professors need more training, and students need much more space and facilities - especially at traditional 4-year residential colleges, but I'll bet that even an urban community college has more square feet per person than the average daycare. Jokes about college students aside, they generally expect more than just PB&J for lunch and want libraries with books that aren't just picture books, and, hell, the difference in physical size is big enough to matter too...

Also, maybe a rigorous accounting would show that childcare age 1-5 actually does cost more to produce a quality product than education age 18-22. That doesn't necessarily mean it should cost the consumer more, though. Every child needs daycare. Not even child goes to college, and arguably some that do, shouldn't. The thing that everyone needs should be affordable in at least some sense, or we get the problem described in the article.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:21 AM
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Counter example to 16: business schools, given the sense of "successful" that is clearly used by people running them/teaching at them.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:24 AM
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16: Taking care of children is laborious, and there are things you should know to do it well, but most people do it just fine with no deliberate training at all.

God this is annoying, LB. I'm not going to argue about it any more, but I invite you to successfully run a day care center *right now*. You can do it with one hand tied behind your back, right? Probably doesn't even call for much more than minimum wage, really. Just like anyone can be a garbage man person, since after all most of us take out the trash with no special training at all.

Bleah.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:28 AM
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Okay, I got that off my chest. No worries that I'm going to be aggressive or combative about this any more: the topic interests me. I think debating the relative value of childcare vs. college teaching is an absurd red herring, and I'd rather move on to how a gov't program might could work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:31 AM
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My girls have always gone to daycares that focus on families in poverty since their daycare was subsidized or partially subsidized as long as they were in foster care, so they've gotten free and at least supposedly nutritious meals at their programs too. Mara's daycare/preschool teacher at the community college that also trained daycare workers, who had 25 years on the job, was making so little that she'd have been eligible for subsidized daycare for her own child except that child support put her $3 over the limit for the month.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:34 AM
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No one who works in child care research and policy has made it a goal to have it be a well-paid profession by typical standards. The more common goal is to raise wages in the early care and education workforce to be at the level of K-12 teachers. Child care workers are grossly underpaid compared to K-12 teachers -- which is not a lucrative career path in itself -- and to provide high-quality early care and education takes a similar level of training and education.


Posted by: Anonymous Child Care Researcher | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 11:41 AM
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I am depressed that my immediate reaction to the article about child care costs is, "this is so obvious and straightforward that nothing is going to happen."

Measured against the baseline level of pessimism that is appropriate for the prospects for progressive policy in this country, I contend that there is cause for optimism here. It may take a decade or two, but I seriously believe that something approaching universal childcare is attainable, albeit only for three and four year olds (i.e. universal pre-K). There is a rare degree of unanimity within the progressive policy community on this issue. The research on the social and economic benefits is compelling. The political benefits are obvious. It's the last missing pillar of the welfare state after Obamacare. If the standard is European-style creches in every town, I don't hold out hope for that. But high quality daycare starting at age three would be a meaningful win, and I am moderately optimistic it will happen.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:01 PM
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I contend that there is cause for optimism here

You may be correct. I've probably linked to this American Prospect article before.

But the United States has several stalwarts of early education, too. Even with budgetary challenges, Georgia, Arkansas, and West Virginia have all managed to create high-quality pre-kindergarten programs with strong enrollment over the past few years. But it is John Kaykay's home state, Oklahoma, that offers the single best example of how preschool can work when it's done well--of how it can elevate its students' learning, expand the horizons of the educational system, and enhance the entire community.

...

Even among the states that do well by their preschoolers, Oklahoma is exceptional. On paper, nine states have universal pre--kindergarten, meaning that all four-year-olds are theoretically eligible. But in most of those states, there isn't nearly enough funding for everyone to enroll. That's the case in New York, where fewer than half of four-year-olds participate in the "universal" program. Other states do a superb job with enrollment but a poor job of providing the education. Florida, for instance, has the highest percentage of four-year-olds in pre-K programs--76 percent, slightly more than Oklahoma, according to the most recent "State of Preschool" report by the National Institute for Early Education Research. But because Florida doesn't require its teachers to have a college degree in early education--and because the state spends so little on each child--just $2,422 per child per year, $5,000 less than in Oklahoma--the quality of the program is low.

Oklahoma's pre-K teachers don't make the piddling wages that prevail in much of the rest of the country. They're paid the same as elementary and high-school teachers. Christie Housley, along with all other pre-K teachers in Oklahoma, has not only a bachelor's degree but also certification in early-childhood education--so she knows how young kids typically learn to read, she can recognize the disabilities that tend to emerge at this age, and she understands the best ways to handle behavior problems. State law also mandates that pre-K teachers not have more than 20 students in their classroom and that they have an aide.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:11 PM
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22 is my impression as well. Thanks for verifying from a professional perspective. What are we to make of rampant claims that early childcare costs way too much?

It occurs to me that there may frequently be middle-men involved in the field: what a person pays to a childcare facility most likely does not translate to a particularly high wage to the caregivers themselves, who are perhaps independent contractors. I'm pretty sure this is true.

It looks to me as though a government-subsidized program shouldn't really be individual subsidies to parents, but downright SOCIALISM. Government-run daycare facilities.

Democrats have been on about universal pre-K for some time now, but I think the child care services under discussion would be pre-pre-K?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:14 PM
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Using the presidential pictures to pretend this is on-topic, but thank God the Romney waterheads aren't in the White House.

If Romney were president, one longtime adviser said, "There wouldn't be an ISIS at all, and Putin would know his place in life. Domestically, things would be in better shape."

And then there's this great statement.

His argument to his former supporters, says one who spoke with him, is that he came very close in the last election against an incumbent president with a good economy.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:16 PM
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Providing universal child care to 3 and 4-year-olds is an attainable policy goal, providing high quality care is not. UMC kids don't really need high-quality care because they are getting so much at home they can be in middling and even poor care situations and do great long term. Providing high-quality care to children who are in any way at-risk is extremely resource intensive. This is where it would be very helpful to have a workforce of highly educated and trained professionals who are decently paid and have chosen early education as a career because doing it well is quite challenging physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Most indicators of early care and education quality (accreditation, quality rating) that are publicly available really mean almost nothing other than that the program is meeting a basic level of care. Providing genuinely high-quality care as measured on observational assessments is incredibly hard and almost no programs meet that standard, even programs that are thought of as very good by the community. We know what it takes to provide genuinely high-quality care to at-risk children but it costs so much that it is not an achievable policy goal at this point in time.


Posted by: Anonymous Child Care Researcher | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:18 PM
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Geez, I should have previewed. Glad to see the updates on universal pre-K initiatives.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:20 PM
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That koala does not look happy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:24 PM
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Re: OP.3, I'm currently reading Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which is an interesting collection of short stories. I am a little surprised at how many of the stories are of small town Europe (given the title), but it does a great job of presenting less mainstream starting points.

It's more fantasy and faerie tale derived than sci-fi--at least so far--but I bet that very interesting sci-fi will bubble out in the next few years.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:24 PM
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John Kaykay

Obviously a Lectroid.

Oh wait, he's four. Sorry for making fun of your name, kid.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 12:52 PM
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OP.3 sounds lame as hell. Oh, sci fi worlds where gentrification is a crime? Snore.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:01 PM
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The Oklahoma story is hilariously awesome. Did we discuss it here? IIRC the state dept of education had a huge budget surplus, they knew they could never get a new government program past the Legislature, so they just announced that kindergarten would start a year earlier if anyone wanted.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:25 PM
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Providing universal child care to 3 and 4-year-olds is an attainable policy goal, providing high quality care is not.

Heebie County recently voted for and passed universal pre-K. Right now, statewide pre-K is available for anyone poor enough to qualify. It's separate from HeadStart, which is also here.

My friend teaches the in the state-run system right now, and good lord it is depressing. She's got 22 high-needs four year olds. She splits one aide with several other classrooms. I cannot imagine.

OTOH, today was the first day of classes at Heebie U, and I handled 13 and 15 students without an aide EITHER, and I had a blast. I have warm fuzzies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:27 PM
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OK, i did not entire Recall Correctly. The linked article has the goods. Still awesome.

Eddins had first waded into the education issue to fix what seemed a discrete problem: Many school districts, especially in rural areas, were enrolling four-year-olds in kindergarten. Because the state's population was shrinking, these schools were facing declining numbers of students--and thus declining school budgets. Putting four-year-olds in kindergarten sometimes allowed the districts to bring in enough money to keep their schools open because they were receiving funds based on the number of children in school. But the four-year-olds were in classes designed to teach them at a kindergarten level, and they were lost.
Eddins was creative--some say stealthy--in winning support for universal pre-K. He presented the legislation as an amendment to the school law merely designed to fix the four-year-old problem. His bill did do that. But it also created a statewide four-year-old program that surpassed any other in the country. Among the changes it heralded was the ability of school districts to partner with outside entities on pre-K so the programs could be housed in a variety of settings, including tribal programs, churches, and assisted-living facilities. That shift paved the way for a massive partnership between the public schools and Head Start providers, such as CAP, a move that might have raised red flags for some Republicans--had they known about it.
Eddins was able to gloss over this groundbreaking aspect of his bill in large part because he was trusted and well liked; few of his fellow legislators felt the need to actually read the legislation. Instead, he summarized it. When he did, he chose his words carefully. "I didn't explain that we'd have this huge collaboration with Head Start," Eddins says. "I emphasized the part that said you could contract with private providers. Republicans have always loved that."
Eddins's bill also dodged several potential problems. It kept pre-K voluntary for parents, thus inoculating it from the criticism of social conservatives who believed that mothers should be home with their kids. By building its cost into the larger public-school funding formula, rather than funding early education separately in the state budget, it also protected pre-K from fiscal conservatives who might object to it as part of a "nanny state."

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:29 PM
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34: Heebie County recently voted for and passed universal pre-K. Right now, statewide pre-K is available for anyone poor enough to qualify

I can't tell what this means: is what the county recently passed, which is presumably not yet in force, different from the state-wide pre-K, which is already in existence? And if the statewide thing is dependent on being poor enough to qualify, what counts as poor enough?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:52 PM
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From what heebie said, there is means-tested pre-K statewide, but in her county, which is now different and more generous, it's universal: available to all without means testing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:55 PM
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It's confusing here, too. Statewide pre-K is currently available for the very poorest students, as well as kids of military people and a few other categories. HeadStart overlaps, but is available for slightly-less-poor kids.

Universal pre-K was approved locally, and is still being implemented. It will start in the next year or so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 1:59 PM
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More or less what LB said.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:00 PM
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This American Life on OK pre-K


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:01 PM
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O is post-K


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:02 PM
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Yeah, here Pre-K is for the absolute poorest (and I have no idea how they narrow that down to 2 classes AM and PM in our town; I'd think just the homeless population would practically fill the slots) and/or children with special needs.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:06 PM
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Yeah, here Pre-K is for the absolute poorest

and richest!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:07 PM
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Well, right. PUBLIC pre-K is for poor kids, including those in foster care, or kids with special needs. The artisanal hand-crafted Montessori is for the richest. I mean, Selah will have pre-K because her daycare does preschool too, and in fact they score much better on kindergarten readiness (woo, not worst in the state!) than the public pre-K kids do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:09 PM
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I'd think just the homeless population would practically fill the slots

Purely speculating - and I assume there's a bit of hyperbole in your statement - but A. pre-K is a narrow window, and maybe there just aren't that many homeless kids in that little slot, and B. is it possible that kids of that age can find (short term) housing with relatives, such that there are fewer homeless kids in the 3-4 slot than 5-6 or above?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:16 PM
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"Homeless" counts couch-surfing scenarios like that, specifically including kids placed with friends or relatives because otherwise they would be homeless in the commonly understood sense of the term. We don't (AFAIK) have any children living on the streets. We do have give or take a 10% homeless population throughout the school district, essentially all of them families.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:19 PM
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Just noting that the day care piece (No. 2 in the OP) is not about pre-K anyway, but about pre-pre-K. Ages 0.5 to 3. Obviously universal pre-K is a good thing if properly done, but it doesn't address this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:20 PM
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Which is a much more work-intensive age, because the kids are in diapers or potty-training. With pre-K, you generally require that the kids be in underpants, at least shakily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 2:59 PM
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Babies are the WORST!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 3:00 PM
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49: Wah! My mommy hates me!


Posted by: Opinionated Rascal | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 3:03 PM
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Child care for my two kids is probably going to be slightly more than my wife's net salary (and her salary is more than the U.S. household median income), and that's for bare-bones non-Montessori product (in a high cost-of-living city). My take on this is we're investing in her continued career 3+ years out, but I can understand why so many women say eff it and drop out.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 4:10 PM
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46: Ah, OK.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-14-15 4:11 PM
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"a departing United States Secret Service agent and his wife."

I'd think this is the one guy who doesn't need pictures of himself and his family online, let alone with a caption stating his occupation.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 1:11 AM
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Yeah, having his picture out there like that might make it a lot harder for him to score a Colombian hooker in the future.

(Too soon?)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 1:20 AM
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re: 51

Yes, Mrs Salmond and I would very much like to have a second. We literally can't afford it.

Child care for 2 kids would be about the same as her net salary, and her salary is a good bit over the UK median, too. We can't afford to live on my salary alone. Without childcare costs, if my wife only worked weekends, I suppose we could maybe just about make it work but it would be teetering on the edge of financial collapse.

I have no idea how other people afford it.


Posted by: Alex Salmond | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:49 AM
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A friend of mine just got one of these:

https://www.knaw.nl/en/news/news/eight-promising-researchers-receive-ammodo-knaw-award-for-fundamental-research-1?set_language=en

Very cool.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:55 AM
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I'm ignorant: what's the difference between "daycare" and "preschool"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 5:02 AM
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Around here, I would understand 'daycare' as covering the full time the parents need to be at work. It might have an educational element, but the primary purpose is safety and supervision while the parents are unavailable.

Preschool, or nursery school, is a few hours a day and meant to be educational at whatever developmental level is appropriate.

You could have a day care with a preschool component, but if a kid is in for nine hours, to cover the full workday, it's probably not all preschool.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 5:16 AM
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And the distinction is meaningful in terms of goals. A middling quality day care, in which the kids are safe and reasonably stimulated in terms of availability of play and human contact, might not ideally serve the educational needs of a high-needs population of children. On the other hand, it would very plausibly improve their lives by making it possible for their parents to work. Educationally high-quality preschool is very important for kids in need, but free/affordable day care is separately important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 5:21 AM
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So does that mean that something like New York City's universal pre-K still leaves working parents having to find and pay for a daycare to send their kids to during the hours that aren't covered by preschool?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 5:32 AM
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Yes. It's not daycare, just preschool.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 5:38 AM
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That doesn't seem like nearly as much of a progressive achievement as I had imagined it to be.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:14 AM
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I hate it when the nanny state lives down to its name.

On Dec.‚ÄČ20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora [6 & 10--JPS], walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well. The children made it about halfway. Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:21 AM
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I guess the moral of the story is that a laminated card is essential. Which Mr. "I have a medical condition" should also know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:26 AM
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62: Well, there are two completely different progressive goals. Educational preschool really is a huge deal for poor and special-needs children. It just isn't going to help their parents maintain employment.

And vice versa, of course. Subsidized or free daycare is a huge economic boon to poor wage earners, but if it's not educationally/developmentally high quality, it's not leaving the kids any better off than if they were home with their parents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:40 AM
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63: A lot of the complaints are just about what CPS does as a matter of course and I'd hope the level of outrage would be the same for demographics other than UMC white free-range parents, except time on the Internet has convinced me this is often not the case.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:48 AM
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Why is CPS so consistently awful? Are there any states or localities where they're not? Is it a CYA problem?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 6:58 AM
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I dunno that the reaction is that different -- there was outrage over the woman who was (arrested? Hassled by CPS? I'm terrible with remembering details) over letting her nine year old play in a nearby park while she worked. There's some of the biased reaction you're talking about, but the outrage machine swings into gear for poor/minority parents being harassed as well at least sometimes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:01 AM
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I went to a private non-profit nursery school that I think was 2-ish to kindergarten. (The kindergarteners were the big kids.) They had a separate afternoon program at the same place that I signed up for when my Mom was in the hospital with my newborn sister.

Now the private school that I went to which started in the 1st grade has its own pre-K.

If I were rich, I'd probably have a nanny and then send my kids to boarding school at age 12. Coordinating more than one child's schedule at a time seems like too much.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:02 AM
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When I was 8 and 9, I used to walk to school by myself and a lot of other kids did too. You need a 13-year-old to accompany a child under 10?!

When I was 5 or 6 I flew alone (with extra supervision from the flight attendant). I don't think they do that at all now.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:14 AM
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I used to get rides home from school with the neighbor. Seven kids and an adult in a standard pickup cab with the youngest child steering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:33 AM
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There was an bumper sticker mocking Jimmy Carter ("Export Beef, Import Peanuts") on the back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:35 AM
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AIMHMHSBTDWIWTAOS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:36 AM
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When I was 5 or 6 I flew alone (with extra supervision from the flight attendant). I don't think they do that at all now.

No, I'm pretty sure they require a qualified pilot somewhere in the mix.

I can see how we got to the all supervision all the time state of affairs, but I don't see how we can begin to roll it back to something more reasonable, and that concerns me.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:53 AM
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IME, "preschool" means "the kids have to be potty trained", but in practice lots of people refer to anything beyond infant care as "school." We are still managing without daycare, but the Calabat will start at the university daycare in the fall; but I refer to it as "school" even though he'll be two.

Little to no maternity leave followed by expensive daycare surely doesn't help someone decide to keep working (especially if one has a job that rather than a career or profession they love.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:55 AM
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74: Well, they did give me my own lapel wings like the ones the pilots wore.

But what I meant is that I was dropped off for a commercial flight by adults and picked up by adults (my parents on one of the ends) and was an unaccompanied child. I think I might have even connected once, and when I did that a flight attendant sort of person met me at the gate and took me to the connecting flight


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:59 AM
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76 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 7:59 AM
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When I fly, they still talk about early boarding for unaccompanied minors. I don't know the age limit. Also, in the safety announcement they say that if the oxygen masks come down, you should put your own mask on before helping your child. If you're a woman with a small child, they repeat this to you personally. If you're a man with a small child, they don't. Because on the veldt, a man can just get another child by sexing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 8:03 AM
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My sister and I used to fly unaccompanied when we visiting my grandparents in London. Standby, too. So we'd hang about at Edinburgh with my Mum until a seat was available, then fly down, and get picked up. I think we were about 7 or 8.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 8:03 AM
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I'm pretty sure that I flew alone at 4 or 5. I know that we used to fly to visit my aunt and uncle in Telluride. I flew back with my mother once (3 or 4) from the airport in Montrose--definitely before my sister was born--and changed in Denver. When I went on my own that time, they drove me the 5 or more horus to Denver and spent a night in a motel. I'm pretty sure that this was during the before my sister was born (but that would have made me 4-almost 5). So, maybe I was 5, almost 6.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 8:10 AM
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Just booked an unaccompanied minor ticket last week and IIRC all of the airlines I looked at had a lower cutoff of 5 years old. Upper cutoff varied: some airlines allowed 12-y-o kids to just fly on their own without any special designation or fees, others you had to be 14 or 15 (which is ridiculous and presumably fee-driven). Granted I don't feel like I see a whole lot of unaccompanied 5 year olds these days but don't imagine it was ever super common.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 8:36 AM
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I can remember in elementary school it was completely normal for kids to walk to school - it's was common enough that the school had a bunch of snitches older kids (meaning fourth or fifth grade) volunteering as crossing guards in the local neighborhood after school (probably not for miles or anything, but certainly four or five blocks away).


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 9:28 AM
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82: Yeah, that's how it was at my elementary school in Royal Oak in the late 60s to early 70s. There were adult crossing guards at Woodward Avenue -- for those of you familiar with the Detroit area.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 9:31 AM
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Per LB, the difference between daycare and preschool is that preschool ends at 3. We can pay extra for before/after care that upgrades preschool to daycare.

"Pre-K" was not a thing in the 80s, right? When my brother started talking about sending his kids to Pre-K, I was very confused. Is that just a new word for preschool? Here, we also have "transitional kindergarten" which means your kid is 4 1/2 and aged out of "preschool" but missed the deadline for real kindergarten.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 9:41 AM
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Yeah, I think pre-K is pretty new (I associate it with preschool that's attached to an elementary school, so you'd be in the same building or at least near the schoolage kids), and before the last 20 years or so it would have been nursery school or preschool.

On free-rangeness, if I remember the rules at the kids' elementary school, fourth-graders, so about ten, could leave on their own and could take home younger kids. We had the kids in an afterschool program (their tae kwon do classes had an afterschool class, bookended by time for the kids to hang out and do homework) I think through when Sally was in fourth grade, but when she was in fifth and Newt was in third, they walked home together (and the next year he was in fourth and she was in a different school, and he walked home with classmates).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 9:49 AM
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We still have adult crossing guards. There's one down the street from me. One day she was crossing the street with a couple of kids. There was a car stopped at the light. The light was green but the car wanted to turn, so the driver was waiting patiently. Another car came behind her and that driver was not so patient. He honked at the first car to go. He didn't make the light and the crossing guard berated him for the whole time the light was red. It made my day. AIMHMAOPPTH.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 9:58 AM
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Another car came behind her and that driver was not so patient. He honked at the first car to go.

I can't remember where I read this -- maybe Bikesnob, but somehow I don't think so -- but someone talking about being stopped at a crosswalk, with a baby in a stroller crossing in front, and another car honking from behind, and thinking that being in a car makes people literally homicidal. Honking, under those circumstances, is pretty much the same as saying to the driver in front "I think you should kill that baby. Just hit the gas and kill it." Very few people would say that if they weren't driving, but behind the wheel it seems much more normal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:05 AM
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Only if the baby is posing a clear and immediate threat to human life, or has annoyed me in some way.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:07 AM
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I've actually yelled at another driver, "You honked to get her to kill me" when, in the midst of me yelling at at a guy for honking at a car that was stopped so I could walk down the sidewalk (I was passing the entrance to a parking lot), he said, "This has nothing to do with you." He then rolled up his window and drove away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:11 AM
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Isn't it more likely that the second car couldn't see the baby?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:12 AM
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I think part of it was sexism. He was happy to try to intimidate a woman*, but more reluctant to try with a man.

*From the back, he could tell it was either a woman or 1983.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:13 AM
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90: If someone's stopped at a crosswalk, it's a pretty safe assumption that they're doing it for a pedestrian. the driver in the rear might not know it was a baby, but inciting the front driver to kill an adult (possibly Moby!) would be about as bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:17 AM
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92: I disagree it's a safe assumption. Sometimes people just sit there for no apparent reason (they're confused or playing with their phone or actually waiting to pick somebody up or looking for a parking spot, etc.). I'm not a big honker myself, but ascribing homicidal intent to a honker is a pretty big leap.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:19 AM
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You're the whole problem. When you are in a dense area full of tens of thousands of students and medical workers, it's a pretty safe assumption that somebody stopped is waiting for a pedestrian.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:22 AM
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I don't think we're talking actual homicidal intent, more thoughtless aggression that the honker hasn't actually connected with rational thought. It's not that they are homicidal, exactly, but that they're being too mindless to understand that compliance with their expressed wishes would mean homicide.

But assuming that the pedestrian traffic is completely invisible one car back, and that 'stopped for no reason at a crosswalk' is anywhere near as likely as 'stopped while a pedestrian legitimately uses the crosswalk' both seem like a stretch to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:25 AM
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OK, I'll stipulate "safe" as in "greater than 50% chance." But there's a non-trivial chance (say, 10-20%) that the driver ahead is just a dimbulb. Rather than assuming the honker is literally homicidal, I'd say it's, ahem, safer to assume they are jumping to uncharitable conclusions.

I am frequently the pedestrian with the stroller, so I feel like I should be immune from accusations of excessive motorist-love.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:29 AM
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"This has nothing to do with you."
Murderous rage is the only appropriate response to this.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:29 AM
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I flipped someone off last week for honking at me when I was proximal car to a crosswalk.

Since hurrying lady was behind me and I wasn't interested enough to turn around, I just raised my hand, palm forward with fist clench except one finger. The alternative gesture, which I haven't seen on the east coast, is a wrist rotation with both thumb and middle finger extension. Can be preceded by snapping the fingers, useless from one car to another.

There should exist a widely understood gradation of hand gestures-- I can think of only glare, then palms up to theatrically ask wtf, then clenched fist, then middle finger. In the other direction, there's really only the little wave to say "thanks for letting me in." I guess a thumbs-up would be possible, but people don't do that and it seems unnatural.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:32 AM
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Our district has free pre-K for half a year of kids. K cutoff is turn 5 by August 31 of the school year; Junior K aka pre-K is for kids turning 5 between Sept. 1 and March 31. Fortunately my breeding season is such that all our kids qualify for JK which saves a year of daycare/preschool payments for each kid. In neighboring supposedly wealthier districts they don't have the JK and K is only half day unless you pay more for full day which everyone essentially does. They also have higher property taxes. Suckers.
Our district policy is you can get off the bus on your own and supervise a younger sibling when you're in third grade, so 8-9 years old. That seems fairly reasonable, the bus stops around here are not very dense so a walk home can be as much as half a mile.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:32 AM
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But assuming that the pedestrian traffic is completely invisible one car back, and that 'stopped for no reason at a crosswalk' is anywhere near as likely as 'stopped while a pedestrian legitimately uses the crosswalk' both seem like a stretch to me.

The former is very possible depending on the combination of cars: a compact behind an SUV, frex. I agree that the latter is more tenuous, but drivers are dicks.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:32 AM
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Pedestrians might be hidden at certain moments but if the driver is at all paying attention he should see them at some point. And if he's not he should reserve judgment.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:33 AM
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97. Just as "suck my dick" is a more serious insult than "fuck you", so is the corresponding hand gesture more expressive.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:34 AM
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I agree that the latter is more tenuous, but drivers are dicks.

We're all on the same page here, then. I didn't mean to suggest that drivers actually wanted to see blood and guts on the streets, just that they thoughtlessly act as if they did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:36 AM
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Always drive like the guy behind you is lazy, stupid and mean.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:39 AM
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98 is what I do when somebody honks at me to move more quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:39 AM
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Isn't it fully technologically possible at this point to produce a car that can't hit a pedestrian? (Meaning the car can detect a pedestrian in its immediate vicinity and prevent a driver from hitting them.) Or a cyclist for that matter. This is the Unsafe at Any Speed of our times. When is some enterprising plaintiffs' lawyer going to file a class-action against the automakers on behalf of people injured by cars?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:39 AM
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104: That's the wrongest thing on the internet. There's no way to watch in front of you and do that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:40 AM
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People other than the car's occupants, I mean. It seems like nearly all of the safety improvements that have been made to automobiles have been focused on keeping the occupants safe. It's time to protect everyone else from the car as well.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:41 AM
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81: Huh, Air Canada is 8.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:42 AM
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107: Also the guy in front of you and the guy next to you. Basically, just don't move the car.

108: Googles self-driving tech can do that. Integrating it into a non-self-driving car would probably mean a lot of your car refusing to move while you stomp on the pedals, and thus a total rejection of the feature on the market.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:44 AM
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106. No, because right-of-way. The most common accident is a left turn failure to yield. Both vehicles need to be equipped for this system to work, and this basically means an automated system to drive like a grandmother when there's any traffic around.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:44 AM
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My French cousin visited New York every summer of her childhood. When she was six, her mom lost her at CDG. Looked every where, alerted airport officials, the whole deal. They finally found her on the correct plane, in her correct seat. She had gone on ahead by herself, somehow ducking under the gate attendants (no one else had boarded yet).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:45 AM
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106: I think just setting and enforcing a 25 mph speed limit on urban roads (excepting a few expressways and whatnot) would accomplish 95% of what you want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:45 AM
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111: My grandmother drive into a building.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:46 AM
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113: Vision Zero, baby. Our fearless leader here in NYC has done exactly that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:47 AM
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I don't understand 111. So both cars stop, or only one car stops if only one car is equipped. What's the problem?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:50 AM
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It can be difficult to find the right grandmother to calibrate to.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:50 AM
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In her defense, it was a government building the the government would, thirty years later, provide health insurance to people under the age of 65.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:52 AM
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116. eg. Equipped left turner is texting or inattentive, does not check whether lane is clear before turning in front of bicycle or other unequipped vehicle.

117. There's a John Currin painting of Bea Arthur that would not help.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:55 AM
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Neither of my grandmothers could drive


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:56 AM
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88: Liberals always refuse to consider the ticking baby scenario.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:56 AM
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119: I believe the equipped car could stop itself before it actually got in the way of the oncoming unequipped vehicle/pedestrian/bike.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 10:59 AM
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122. Don't take this the wrong way, but what do you believe about the refrigetaion of food? In any case, for this to work, either the detection system needs to extend very far, which won't work technically, or the driver needs to be limited to only moving slowly, which won't work socially.

There are actual self-driving cars. Their behavior in traffic approximates that an extremely timid and careful driver.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:06 AM
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119.1: I'm still not getting it. Either the turn is dangerous and the equipped car won't make it or the other driver is being reckless, and you can't expect the tech to avoid a collision even when some other driver/biker is determined to plow into you.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:07 AM
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On seeing 123, I think (?) we agree. The proposed feature, as I understand, would have your car refusing to drive if it thought your were being a dick. I don't think drivers would stand for it. (This is part of the reason Google wants to go full self-driving; cutting the human out entirely sidesteps these kind of issues.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:10 AM
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119. If the equipped car is smart enough to prevent a dangerous turn, then this is not a minor tweak possible with current technology, but rather a full-on self-driving car.

Governor circuits that prevent going above the speed limit were possible years ago, or universal detection and fining of speeding/red light running.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:10 AM
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It seems like it could be easier to sell cars with a "no seriously there's something in front of you stop driving you ass" alarm than an automatic breaking system. I don't believe for a second that this would prevent more than a fraction of car-runs-over-pedestrian/biker accidents, since the number of drivers who would cheerfully not bother looking directly in front of them when driving around in densely populated areas* is probably similar to the number who wouldn't bother paying enough attention to the alarm.

It would be easier to sell in a "avoid running into things, moron" way, though. The main benefit is that I bet it would make suing people (or arresting them if cops felt like it which is very unlikely) who run over pedestrians or hit bicyclists a lot easier. "He came out of nowhere" is a lot harder to sell when it comes along with the car going "BLLAAAAAAPPPP" whenever someone is really close in front of you.**

*So many drivers. So, so many.

**Also it would be nasty to tailgaters. Maybe the alarm could come with painful electric shocks or something too.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:11 AM
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It can be difficult to find the right grandmother to calibrate to.

Go granny, go granny, go granny go!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:12 AM
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126: The current self-driving system has both (1) detailed maps including the locations of stop lights, etc. and (2) sensors for detecting objects moving around you and avoiding collisions. The proposed safety feature could trash (1) and have just (2). I guess that means you still have the giant sensor wart on top of the car, so that makes it even less marketable.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:19 AM
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127.2: "For just $1000 extra, your car will testify against you in court!"


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:19 AM
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Here, we also have "transitional kindergarten" which means your kid is 4 1/2 and aged out of "preschool" but missed the deadline for real kindergarten.

In PDBS, a non-zero number of parents put their Kindergarten-eligible children in the local equivalent of transitional kindergarten for an extra year so that they can be the oldest rather than the youngest kids in their school class. It's basically academic red-shirting.

I know of no evidence that it confers any advantage, but I know from my preschool teacher neighbor that it happens, and that the parents believe it will give their kids an academic edge.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:21 AM
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127. Most Hondas (and I think all, for 2015) have that alarm already.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:23 AM
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I read the other day that they're releasing (like, this model year, possibly for sale right now) a Chevy (I think) that will not only parallel park for you, but also find a space to park in. I confess to not understanding how a car can identify legal parking spaces, especially since it's (legitimately) not always possible for humans.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:26 AM
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I'd bet that if it worked, the insurance company discount would more than pay for the cost. Unless you knew you were a shitty driver.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:26 AM
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134 to the collision thing, not the parking thing. I'd probably pay $1,000 for a car that could park better than I can.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:28 AM
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For just $1000 extra, your car will testify against you in court!

The driver of adoption will be insurance premiums. There are already issuers experimenting with discounts based on remote monitoring of driving style, measuring things like speed, abrupt braking, and aggressive acceleration, and rewarding cautious drivers with lower premiums. Whenever insurers can price good risk more competitively and steal market share, they will. And the concomitant deterioration of the risk pool for non-participating drivers will eventually create irresistible incentives for everyone to allow the insurer to electronically monitor their vehicles. In states that give auto insurers wide latitude to risk rate (i.e. most of them), it's completely inevitable that this will become normal.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:30 AM
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I was thinking less a warning beeping sound like they do for things behind you, and more an industrial strength fog horn, for the "OHSHITBRAKEBRAKE" reaction it would get in drivers rather than the "Oh hold on let me check my front of the car" reaction that's more likely with how things are now.

But I do wonder how long it will be before someone appeals to that alarm in court to show someone was being really super reckless not just normally reckless.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:30 AM
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133: Probably it gives you a yes/no on whether a spot is big enough? I confess to not having a good gut instinct for this.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:31 AM
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133: Integration with one of these apps. (NB: I have no idea if that's actually what it's doing.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:40 AM
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I think just setting and enforcing a 25 mph speed limit on urban roads (excepting a few expressways and whatnot) would accomplish 95% of what you want.

Yes, sure, and the other 5% would be accomplished with single-payer health care and steeply progressives taxes on wealth and income.

A 25 mph speeding limit on urban roads is BIG GOVERNMENT NANNY STATE SOCIALISM. What I am proposing is freedom enhancing flashy new private sector technology. ("Drive as dangerously as you want! With a clean conscience! We won't let you hurt anyone!")


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:40 AM
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You're soft on crime. Some of the people breaking the 25 mph speed limits that already exist might be black people. We'd better stop them all. Right after warning me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:44 AM
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Further to 136, I have a slightly less confident prediction that something similar will happen with life insurance and wearable fitness devices (or smartphones equipped with accelerometers). I'm less confident because there are technical challenges, the regulatory environment is different, and life insurance just is a different kind of market. I am pretty certain that such products will be offered in the near future, but I don't think it will become the market norm. Depending on how fast the cost of genetic testing comes down and how slow lawmakers are to prohibit discrimination on that basis, it's possible that genetic testing rather than behavioral monitoring will be the new frontier for life insurers.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:47 AM
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142. Genetic Information Nondiscrimintaion Act limits what insurance companies can do with this data. Not sure how tight the implementation is, but the most basic use of tests by insurance companies is banned.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 11:57 AM
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Gattica! Gattica!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:03 PM
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My son's birthday is 12/24, but he was ready to move up with his preschool class, so he went through life as the youngest one in class.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:06 PM
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Gattaca has got to be the weirdest dystopia/triumph of human will movie in existence. It's not just ambiguous it's that the film itself looks like it's trying to give an example of why that system would be bad but simultaneously is doing it in a particular case where the system would be a really good idea. It's like someone trying to argue for the acceptability of torture by referring to a ticking time bomb scenario, but for some reason picking one where the person to be tortured is (known to be ) completely innocent by everyone involved and doesn't know anything about where the bomb is.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:16 PM
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139: Jeez, that didn't even cross my mind, even though I know those apps exist (and may be coming soon to my burg). That makes infinitely more sense than a car hunting unaided.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:18 PM
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the person to be tortured is (known to be ) completely innocent by everyone involved and doesn't know anything about where the bomb is.
I FAIL TO SEE THE PROBLEM WITH THE SCENARIO YOU DESCRIBE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED DICK CHENEY | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:18 PM
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I mean, I suspect that 138 is the truth (that's not how the blurb was written, but that's likely on the journo, not the company), but 139 would deliver on more of the promise.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:19 PM
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Some of the newer garages around here have sensors in each spot that make a light above the spot turn red or green (no more getting suckered by the Prius hiding behind the Expedition) and at the entrance to the garage tell you exactly which level you need to go to to find an available space.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:20 PM
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145: There are strong trends in sports to have clusters of players near level cutoffs like that: basically, pro-quality talents will benefit from playing against older competition, and end up reaching the pros at a higher rate.

I suspect there are too many confounding factors for something similar to apply to academics, but maybe there's a weak effect?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:21 PM
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146: Huh? Isn't the premise of Gattaca that Ethan Hawke is barred from a high-prestige profession because of his inferior genetics and he uses Jude Law's cells to get the job? How is a system that genetically predetermines your career options a good idea?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:23 PM
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Isn't it fully technologically possible at this point to produce a car that can't hit a pedestrian?

http://www.euroncap.com/rewards/bmw_pedestrian_warning.aspx

It issues a warning from speeds of 10 km/h up to 60 km/h when a collision with pedestrian is imminent and simultaneously preconditions the brakes for a faster response in case the driver applies them. As a final measure, the car will autonomously apply the brakes shortly before the collision in case the driver does not respond to the warning given.

Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:32 PM
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152: The world portrayed in isn't exactly a dystopian hell. Apart from the fact that Ethan Hawke is disqualified from being an astronaut, it seems pretty pleasant. And he gets to go out with Uma Thurman.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:34 PM
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Not quite sure where "Gattaca" disappeared to in 154.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:35 PM
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Hmm, looking at the page I linked in 153 again, nowhere does it say "car avoids hitting pedestrian."


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:37 PM
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Genetic Information Nondiscrimintaion Act limits what insurance companies can do with this data. Not sure how tight the implementation is, but the most basic use of tests by insurance companies is banned.

GINA exempts life, disability, and long term care insurers.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:40 PM
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152: The job he is going for is astronaut, and he is genetically likely to get a really early heart attack.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:41 PM
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146, 152 - His bad genes specifically leave him with a heart defect (and it isn't just "a propensity for heart problems" - we're also actually shown that he has an irregular pulse or something like that.) The idea that you maybe shouldn't have someone doing mission-critical shit in the manned space program who has a bad heart actually doesn't seem so bad to me. I've always imagined the six-months-later of that movie, where a launch vehicle and ten astronauts are lost because Ethan Hawke's heart goes out at the wrong time.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:42 PM
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Pwned, but at least I added value.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:43 PM
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127: This is an option on some current-model Subarus; we got it in our Forester. It's vision-based, and is more geared at not hitting the car in front of you, or a wall. It sounds an alarm, and if you don't do anything, will hit the brakes for you. It's supposed to be able to avoid hitting things at all if you're under 20mph. Not amazing, but probably better than nothing.

So the tech is getting there, slowly.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:43 PM
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Astronauts don't need hearts. There's no air in space so it doesn't matter if you can circulate oxygen or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:43 PM
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158 got there first, but yeah - he is genetically excluded because he has a serious heart defect*, which, you know, would exclude you from being an astronaut right now. And we don't have loads of civilian passengers on the rockets either.


*And remember one of the biggest things he has to disguise is that when he does the running tests his heart seriously freaks out and can't keep up. Dude is absolutely going to kill a whole lot of people.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:44 PM
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Was it made clear that his mission is going to be solo? So he's only endangering the trillions of galactic credits his corporation has invested.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:47 PM
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I like this- splits your headlight beams to avoid blinding oncoming drivers, detects objects (deer, etc.) on the side of the road and highlights them for visibility. Better than that illuminated conductive road crap that was only going to cost $100M per mile.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:50 PM
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Oh, I forgot what particular profession he aspired to and got distracted by the fact that he starts the film as a janitor.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 12:56 PM
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157: We need public long-term care insurance so badly. Otherwise, it's how do you make sure to qualify for Medicaid.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 1:03 PM
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Child care costs: I think around here costs slightly less than my salary or my wife's, so we're slightly ahead to stay at our jobs based on that. But (a) getting to daycare might cost money too, maybe not if we can bike or take the bus there but we might have to buy a car, and (b) what's with the hours? Daycares seem to go 8 to 3 or maybe 9 to 4, but who works those hours? I normally work 8 to 5 and my wife works 9 to 5 or 6. We're going to either have to make drastic changes in career, or have one of us pick up and the other drop off. Which limits options for daycares...

152
145: There are strong trends in sports to have clusters of players near level cutoffs like that: basically, pro-quality talents will benefit from playing against older competition, and end up reaching the pros at a higher rate.

As I understand it, the trend is that pro athletes tend to have birthdays just after the cutoff (that is, cutoff is September 1, Hall of Famers born September 2), so they tend to be the oldest people in their grade. That way they do better in sports in early years because a three-month age difference is a significant fraction of your development when you're six, and continue to get more encouragement from parents and attention from coaches over the following years. I'm too lazy to look this up, of course.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 2:26 PM
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I had an idea for Gattaca 2. Carefully studying Ethan Hawke, they discover the missing gene for willpower, after which genetic screening becomes completely perfect.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 3:47 PM
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You need to find one of the daycares where daycare workers send their kids.
Our current one is 8-6 with a 7am option for an extra per-use fee whenever you need it. Previous one was 8:15-5:30, the extra half hour at the end of the day makes such a difference e.g. when there's traffic and you're not freaking out about making it on time.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:13 PM
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168: Seriously, look where poor people go. (Or don't, if it's awful.) We could leave Selah 7 am - 6 pm, though we generally don't. But the difference between that pickup time and 5:30 at Mara's daycare has been a huge, huge benefit.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:15 PM
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the trend is that pro athletes tend to have birthdays just after the cutoff (that is, cutoff is September 1, Hall of Famers born September 2), so they tend to be the oldest people in their grade. That way they do better in sports in early years because a three-month age difference is a significant fraction of your development when you're six, and continue to get more encouragement from parents and attention from coaches over the following years.

My understanding is that this is a "trend" in that there is a statistically significant effect, but narratives like the one above seem to vastly overstate its importance. Pro athletes have birthdays all throughout the year, there are just slightly more pro athletes with birthdays just after the cutoff than you would expect based on random chance. The just-so story summarized above probably has some truth to it, but is mostly just a lazy journalistic narrative. You don't have to hold your kid back in school in order to make her into a professional athlete.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:18 PM
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You're probably more likely to have a pro athlete if you send your kids to a daycare where they have to fight to survive.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:29 PM
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Birthday effect


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-15-15 4:36 PM
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169: so right. This drove me nuts when I saw the movie but no one else seemed to notice. I guess dualism is just very compelling.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 01-16-15 5:49 AM
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