Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Supreme Court gossip

Eric at Red State says Rehnquist goes next week and Luttig is the favorite with Roberts as the alternate. O'Connor goes by Labor Day and Garza is the man unless women are not cool with Bush, in which case Edith Clements is the man.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Deep questions

Upon the instigation of Rachel, I have now created my own blog. (Blatant plug, though not quite as blatant as the one Mike gave me below). Of course, now that I have a blog of my own devoted to my own rants, the question has become what is there left to post on this one. I could just post nothing and leave you all to refer to my personal blog but that seems against the family spirit. Rachel solved the problem by devoting her second blog to pure economics and keeping personal stuff out of it, but I have no such interest or expertise. My general decision is to devote my other blog to things that have nothing to do with my life and this one to more familial matters, but if someone has a suggestion for a different division of responsibilities, I'd be glad to hear.
(Btw, I was glad to see that my link knocked off the baseball reference one. Mwaaaah-hah-hah!)

stream of consciousness blog

a stray butterfly meanders across the flat screen of my monitor as i painstakingingly compose, transfixed, as are the rest of us, with the delicate perfection of our family dialogue. lurking constantly, Joseph pictures the family.... beloved Kedvale.... the homeland... the need to blog.. all treading, gamely fighting the challenge of our fragile sister's to blog blog and the blog some more... Oh, Tobie, i just want the car till you get back from Kollel.. then its all yours

The Loracs

Check out Tobie's Blog for the Loracs parody coming soon.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Potty Training for Economists 4

Yosef has gone three days without an accident. So he's officially potty trained, and will go to Kiddie land (or kidnelaath as he spelled it) Friday. I don't know if extravagant rewards is the best way to potty train, but it seems to have worked here. But the incentive system is limited, it only works with people who understand the payment system and have some idea of the future. I'm going to have to figure out how to potty train Chaim, who doesn't seem to have either. Or I suppose I could wait till next year for Chaim, he's only two, so there's no real rush.

Why I loved Star Wars

Sorry I lied in the last post I loved Star Wars but Mike edited it I had said unmitigated joy and appalingly clever. Truly it was the movie of the century.

My Life

Well, this is the general story, oh ever-noisy sister of mine. When we gleefully discovered that we now had e-mail access in our home, we did not know that the only computer with this access was in Mike's room and that using it entailed begging Mike to stop playing computer games long enough to check your e-mail, and then writing everything with Mike jumping about behind you trying to make you get off and singing 'There's a little bit of frog in all of us'. But I digress.
The real point of this all so rare post is to tell the world (i.e. family) about my summer plans. I actually am going to be doing this program in Boston- actually Somerville, where Mom and Dad once lived- from July 5 to August (I think) 13, after which I will be attempting to get some temp job and earn a wee bit of money.
That's about all that's new with me, other than the fact that I watched the new Star Wars with Mike and was unbelievably, unmitigatedly apalled. (I had to stick that in because Mike, who has been hovering over me as I type asked for words to describe the new Star Wars, so I had to sabotage his attempted post. Mwaaa-hah-hah-hah-hah. (Is that a good enough gloating laugh, Shmuli?))

Making some noise

Instead of checking the blog repeatedly for the newest yosef/chaim story or mike's political insights I decided that I should make some noise.
So Tobie-why haven't you posted in a while? What is the exciting news/strange thoughts in your life?
And Joe- why haven't you posted yet? Are you painstakingly composing a tell-it-all-breaking-news-stream-of-consciousness post or are you just LAZY?
And David- as far as fatherly bragging is going couldn't you have posted something more complimentary than Tom is thinking about crawling?
And Mom and Dad- must we carry this burden of running the blog alone on our frail, young shoulders?

Noisily yours

Friday, June 24, 2005

Is evangelicism the only branch true to Christianity left

On thye Dennis Prager show I heard an interview with one of the leading lights of liberal Christianity. The person was an archbishop in the Episcopalian church. He had written a book called Unmasking the Hate to Reveal the Love. In this instead of reinterperting passages he simply ignored them as primitive and not something I'm comfortable with G-d being a veangueful G-d. He said such insightful comments like if I'm an Egyptian I'm not comfortable with the story of Exodus. He is an example of why their membership is rapidly shrinking as they have no reason to choose this over atheism. Unfortunately it is also taking place in the Reform movement where the idea of a divine Bible has been regected.

New Words

Ruti already has two useful words: Ma-Ma, for me, and Na-Na for nurse.

However, she's decided to pick up a totally useless word. Nah-Nah forKnock-Knock. I could tell what she meant because Chaim was going Knock-Knock and pretending to knock, and she was imitating him.

By now, I'm completely sick of knock-knock jokes. Yosef got a joke book a few days ago, and he understands the whole joke idea, even if they're incredibly lame. But Chaim just likes knocking and then me saying who's there. And Ruti doesn't even get that.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pet Peeve

People who don't draw mechanisms in organic chemistry reactions! Today I was trying to help someone study organic chemistry and whenever I would try to explain logically why that was the wrong answer by drawing the mechanism and that he should use another reagent he would raise his hands up defensively: we only learned three mechanisms acid base and i forget the other one. So I would stop and swallow and say well we just don't do it that way, and try to make up a set of definitive sounding rules like OH- trumps Cl- and OR trumps OH but only in acid etc. But seriously if you're going to learn organic chemistry learn it right! In the end the study session ended at an angry standstill because I would insist on drawing the mechanism of every reaction and he would just stare at it angrily and demand to know when the acid/base part came in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Peta hypocrisy

Check out this website which shows just why these sickos at PETA have no moral high ground at all and shows their arbitrary disregard for all life which doesn't fit in with their plans.

What would Mom say?

This woman had chosen Faith as the second name for her then unborn daughter (after the child's grandmother Faige) until she read Freakonomics, which listed Faith as a name chosen by relatively uneducated parents. Instead she chose Robin. Either she doesn't understand the difference between corelation and causation or she is concerned only with her personal status. In any case I'd bet that in 25 years Faige is more associated with education than Robin.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Shmuli was wrong.

Shmuli predicted that the Yankees would lose and had no chance after being down 10-2 however after a 13 run 8th inning featuring back to back to back (kind of like a triangle) homeruns it was 20 -11 Yankees. Thuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuh Yankees win Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuh Yankees win

Joe, please come for Shabbos

I know we are at fault for missing the last Joe Shabbos. Rachel is "allergic" to Skokie and all and prefers to come only rarely, but between Mom and me we got her to agree to come this Shabbos. I personally feel the need to apologize in person for assuming you were a troll. I'm sure Rachel and Tobie feel the same way.

Why Dick Durban is for abortion

Based on his comments to the Senate we seem to have several reasons why Dick Durbin is against abortion. 1. The fetus henceforth called the detainee is forced in the fetal position for 9 months. 2. The detainee is force-fed and not allowed freedom to move around. 3.The detainee is often forced to listen to loud music when the mother (or turnkey) plays Mozart to help develop the babies brain functions. This is clearly torture and the sooner they are released the better.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ignoring Chaim

It's nice to know that even if I ignore my children they will still develop useful skills. Chaim is currently climbing to the top of our bookcase with books in hand and throwing them face down into a small box below.

Ice Cream

I think Rachel failed to account for the cost of parental consumption of Ice Cream. At first I wasn't eating any, but it seems now I take whenever I dole out ice cream to the boys. I'm probably catching up to Rachel in total ice cream consumption, which is no mean feat because I also eat real food.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy Birthday David

Thanks to the miracle of technology, I can offer birthday wishes easier than ever before.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Potty Training for Economists 3

Yesterday, our potty training efforts ran into a rare, but recognizable economic problem: the backward bending labor supply. Yosef has had as much chocolate ice cream as he wants, so he sees no point in working hard to pee in the potty. We probably could have get more effort total if we'd kept the ice cream reward small, rather than giving lots of ice cream for each success.

On the other hand, I think I've figured out how to solve the problem of the rewards being expensive. Yosef is promised that when he is fully potty trained he'll go to KiddieLand. That seems a reasonable time to stop all rewards. If he was rational, then he would have no incentive to ever potty train, ice cream every day is worth more than one day at the amusement park. But he's 4, and so has a very high time discount. For a 4-year-old one day at the amusment park today may be worth more than ice cream every day, at least I hope so.

E-mail Dick Durbin Now

Yesterday, Dick Durbin compared the US in Guatanamo Bay to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. His basis for this accusation is an e-mail where an FBI agent alleged terrorists were subjected to temperatures cold enough for them to shiver, lack of airconditioning and sometimes were denied bathroom breaks during interrogation. He has since refused to apologize. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20050616-121815-1827r.htm.
As Illinois residents, we should make sure to let Dick Durbin know how irresponsible his remarks are. You can contact him at his web site http://durbin.senate.gov/. Be sure to fill in an Illinois address, otherwise he doesn't care about you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Should listening to bad music be grounds for divorce?

Rachel lays the foundation for a future wife-beating charge. All I can say is that it was Chaim, not me, who wanted to listen to Uncle Moishe

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Michael Jackson

Shavu'ot has been over for all of half an hour at the moment and already the news has reached us here in Israel that Michael Jackson has been acquitted. Of all charges. The overwhelming reaction was a curious one, although I myself shared it- one of disappointment and a sort of... disgusted thwarted-ness. (yes, I know I invented that word). As if what happened to Jackson had any effect on our own lives. And it wasn't just moral outrage, which would be somewhat logical, but instead as if it were some sort of personal vendetta. Now, I happen to hate and despise Jackson, but why? Why don't I just feel a distant sort of negative moral disapproval? Nor do I think that it's just his alleged crime, because other people have been accused of similar things without my feeling personal loathing. But somehow, there's something about just the sight of that man's terrifying, perverse face that makes me wish he had not only been convicted but also sentenced to death. So much for my high faluting (sp?) notions of justice.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

GREETINGS

Hi, I'm creating a post. Rachel got me this far. Since I'm tongue-tied with email, I think I'll stop here.

Potty Training for Economists 2

So, far potty training is going great. Yosef is willing to wear underwear and drink large quantities of lemonade on demand (It takes 3 to 4 cups to get him ready to pee). And today he was able to pull down underwear, and then pee in a reasonable amount of time.

Of course, that means I need to confront a worry I pushed to the back of my mind: How do I ratchet down the incentives? Right now Yosef gets chocolate ice-cream for each pee, and he gets a present for four pees. We also give Chaim chocolate ice-cream and presents whenever Yosef gets rewarded, because he would spend hours crying otherwise.

Unfortunately, that works out to a ridiculous amount of rewards. If Yosef actually was fully potty trained, then he would be getting ice-cream 5-6 times a day, and getting 1-2 presents. Chaim would be getting the same. That works out to about $20 of toys and enough ice cream to make real food pointless.

"What about the dark places?" "You must never go there, Simba."

Today, about two hours before Shavu'ot, our school's fridge blew a fuse or something, which would normally be quite a problem. But apparently, no, it is not a problem because deep in the misty, shady recesses of our building is a giant walk-in industrial fully operating refridgerator. Now, the funny thing about this whole story is that for the last ten months, we have been continually complaining about the fact that the refridgerator in our lunchroom does not actually work, that our milk is continually spoiled, that we don't have enough room for all of our personal food, etc ad infinitum. And the school continually shrugged and told us that there was nothing that they could do. And now, two days before the end of the year, we discover that actually there was something they could have done, had they cared. Distinctly fishy.
Well, once we entered this crazy and secret realm behind a little door marked No Entrance, we decided that we had to explore (see if there was anything else exciting that the school was hiding from us) Among other things, we discovered: A secret, locked door to a giant room, unoccupied that none of us had ever seen; a ice-cream freezer, unfortunately empty; several staircases and winding passages leading to locked doors; and, finally, a roof. A huge, gorgeous (well, covered with chimneys, wires, and a dusty satellite dish) roof, with a waist-high wall going around all of it, at the top of a flight of stairs that had constantly been there behind a door on our very own floor that we were told never to enter. Now the funny thing about that is that earlier in the year, we loved to hang out on the roof just outside of our common room window, reading, sun-bathing, etc. Then one day, out of the blue we were informed that we were not permitted on the roof due to its lack of any fence, etc. (Some of us suspected that this was actually due to the fact that we were visible from the street) Be that as it may, nobody thought to inform us that up just one flight of stairs, was a completely secure, well-fenced, invisible from the street, giant roof. Again, distinctly fishy.
I'm not quite sure what the point of the whole rant is, but I enjoyed venting, and that's worth something, too. It is just possible that the school never knew about the roof, although you have to wonder why we were forbidden from using the stairs. And I suppose that the administration could not have known about the fridge, either, but then how did they suddenly discover it today?
The saddest part about the whole thing is that these crazy discoveries came at this point of the year. The roof, especially, looks like it would have been a very fun place to hang out and learn or read. It's a shame that I won't really get a chance to do so, assuming that I would have been daring enough to ignore the school's injunctions. The silver lining is that Miri also discovered all these things, giving her the chance to be the Shana Bet girl who secretly knows everything next year.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

New Scores

Evil 5 Smallball 0
0-97 7 1-86 6
George's new attempted acquisition (do better than in the election) 2 We won 116 3 years ago 1
We injure Ken Griffey 10 The third high salary AL East team 1
We are family 18 We are low-paid 2
We need a new stadium 6 Pitching wins championships but hitting wins the AL West 5
1-0 losses 6 Ahead of the Yankees 3
Still haven't beaten the Braves 7 Bud Selig 5
13 in a row 5 MoneyBall 3
Can you guess the teams? Can you come up with better names? Please Comment.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Media Bias and Polls

It is my completely unresearched impression that the GOP generally polls better during election season than other times. I wonder whether this is because media bias has a much greater effect away from elections, when the politicians have much less reason to invest effort to counteract the establishment media and voters have much less willingness to seek out alternative news sources. This would suggest that when using current polls to predict election results, one should give the GOP a little bump. It also suggests that media bias really doesn't help the Democrats much.

Elections!

(Taking my last morsels of energy I'm sitting up straight in bed and using shift just so you can have a professional looking blog.)

I'm sure you're all dying to know is it time for a change or is time for action, did good (blue and white shirts) or evil (red shirts) win.

I was incredibly impressed with the forces that run the Tohar-Tikvah team. Election day they had their representatives at all the important intersections on campus, passing out the paper to take into the polling booth. They even came into the library where I was studying and checked at each desk if the people had remembered to vote. Near the polling booth they were giving away free popsicles, cotton candy and coffee (there were hot dogs too but they got eaten quickly). As I've mentioned I have a good guys shirt which is a valuable commodity election season- your guys don't speak to you because that would be insulting to campaign to you and the other guys don't campaign you because they know you're not a swing voter. As I was walking out of the dorm 8 o'clock (when the polls close at 9) a guy wearing a tohar-tikvah t-shirt carrying a megaphone, said to me motioning with the megaphone to the dorm building profiled in the setting sun
"is there still work to do?".
[I'm not satisified with how that sounds because it was one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time. Read those last lines again and picture the irony.]

But election day was fun. The teams got into shoving matches inside the voting area, where they were kicked out by the judges, vicious rumors were spread about each other. The bad guys would yell out comments about "its time for a change" as the polling guys carried them away (slight exaggeration). And this morning in anticlimatic end to the exuberant campaigning Tohar-Tikvah taped signs on some bulletien boards and telephone poles. "Thank you for your support. Thanks to you we won by 800 votes..."

NPR Bias

On the way home I heard a couple of enviromental stories mentioned. Both of them were strongly pro-Kyoto and brought on no opposing people to discuss accuations that the White House changed the science in global warming reports. NPR said as a way to disprove the opinion that global warming is unclear that 11 Academys of science said it was. However there was no mention of scientists who disagreed.

Ongoing feelings of Unreality

This is a bit of a random (one of the top five seminary girl words, btw) post, in that it doesn't really discuss anything economic, political, family-related, or any other content that anyone else might care about. But here I am, with a computer and a bit of free-time, so I'm going to write it anyway. Today we have a party for the end of the year (referred to by everyone, including the principal, as the Last Supper), after which finals are over and we have only Shavu'ot together before being sent home. I don't know about the rest of my school, but it still hasn't hit me at all. I mean, I am fully capable of comprehending the fact that the year is over and we are all leaving, but it feels as if it going to be happening it at least three months. In fact, the party this afternoon also feels as if it will not occur for quite some time now. This happened to me at the end of high school as well, but certainly not to this extreme. This may be because seminary itself, as a one-year thing, has a very ephemeral, artificial feel to the whole thing. I'm expecting that it will hit me about two weeks after I have gotten home, so look out for me sitting up suddenly in the middle of the night and shouting 'What? Seminary's over!?'

(Ok, that was a bit of an odd post, but frankly, no one has posted almost anything for days and days now and someone needed to get the show back on the road.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The dangers of conflicting incentives at the library

I went to the library and was informed I owed $3 and had a book overdue. The librarian asked if I wanted to renew it which I said no to due to the $3 fine for renewing. Then he said it will stop the fines. But I responded saying the max is $5 so this doesn't help me. Dad then encouraged renewal not knowing the fine system as I did. This led to a forced renewal on me.

Trolls

I suppose I am partly to blame. After all, I not only let my own friends in, but I also encouraged Mike to do the same. There is a difference, of course, between 15 yrs old and 25 yrs old (My relevant freinds are younger than me). Think of these posts and comments as part of a conversation. Spouting "Yankees suck!!!"or similar stupidities at random intervals is not appropriate in conversation and is not appropriate here. I would prefer to keep comments open to all, but if this continues we may decide to end that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My summer plans

Well, taking Talia's noble example, I'm going to use this blog as a forum for all the news that may or may not have been transferred over the Mom Radio. Basically, I find myself without a summer job, having been turned down by IDT for coming back home too late (at least that's the reason that I've been told). This means that, sadly enough, I am forced to find a real true job without the conveniences of nepotism and find myself at something of a loss. Tragic, but true. So I've been considering options, but am pretty busy now with finals and also it's a bit tricky to find a job in Chicago from Israel. I'd google it or something, but have no idea what I'm looking for. I was thinking maybe something like a temp agency that Rachel did once (do you have any information about this at all anymore?) or maybe I can waitress at one of the various Chicago restaurants, but this whole job insecurity thing is making me very very nervous. Never before have I known the fear of being one of our city's legions of unemployed.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Fair and Unbiased Media?

This is a quote from a Lileks.com http://www.lileks.com/screedblog/index.html. I just want to share it with you

Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:

What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?

"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."

Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –

"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."

Oh. So we lost, then.

Election Season

Tension fills the air at Bar Ilan as election day approaches. No-you haven't missed anything in the news, the government is still standing (Sharon is visiting us tomorrow by the way), but on Wednesday are the hotly contested Student Union (Agudah) elections. In a conveniently metaphorical turn of events the two parties are maof-otzmah vs. tohar-tikvah-lavi-hador haba (lots of parties merged): maof-otzmah means flight-strength and they have red t-shirts with very facist wings sprouting out of their name, tohar etc. means purity-hope-lion-the next generation and their t-shirts are white and blue. Now Tobie- is this not a battle between good and evil?
Some of my friends are very active and they've forced on me a free good guys t-shirts which I now feel obligated to wear, and once I'm wearing it work on the vote. (So far two people in my chemistry class have agreed to vote for tohar-tikvah, that is if they remember to vote.)
The politics of the election: the bad guys say that the good guys (the incumbent party) have too high cellphone bills, have a really useless secretary on the staff and are corrupt . Unfortunately the head of the party doesn't help the image problem by never walking anywhere without one or two campaigners trailing behind, looking haggard, and chain smoking. The good guys counter-that all the phone calls were important, and the secretary's been here 19 years and we can't fire her and "we don't talk we do".
Compared to disengagement politics that are enveloping this country, its a good outlet to just have to deal with whether there will ever be online registration and whose stealing whose money.
Until Wednesday....

A Failure of Economics

So far, my incentives scheme for potty training hasn't been working very well. We now have the rule that TV is only for boys sitting on the potty. Similarly, there are special potty books, to be read only by boys sitting on the potty. And of course, Mommy stays home to pay special attention to boys sitting on the potty. So Yosef and Chaim are very well bribed to sit on their potties. This was a little rough at first, Chaim spent half an hour crying "No, No" this morning, demanding to watch TV on the couch, but he calmed down and was willing to sit on the potty.

So I had the two boys sitting on their potties, eating potato chips and drinking lemonade. This worked great for Chaim, we had three pees, and he got three gold stars. Of course, I'm not sure he really understood everything, and I don't know if he'll even try to hold it in if he's wearing underwear.

However, Yosef was much more challenging. He was completely fine for the first two hours. But then he finally got a full bladder, and he really had to go. Of course, he's crazy, so he absolutely refuses to pee in the toilet. By the last hour, he was dancing around the apartment, holding his penis and crying. He peed a little whenever he let go, but he absolutely refused to sit on the potty to pee, stand near the potty to pee or even pee in the bathtub. Yelling at him didn't make a difference. He just kept on demanding a diaper to pee in. Obviously, I need incentives to make him pee on the potty, not just sit on the potty.

Tom is thinking about crawling

Tom is thinking about crawling. He can rule, scoot, do a three-legged reach. I don't even know exactly what he does sometimes but he ends up far from where he began. He doesn't crawl yet though.

Joana is trying to teach him by putting toys just out of reach. I don't know if this helps him crawl or just makes him sad.

A fair system no gerrymandering

My idea for this is a simple program although I don't know how to program. It would set a mean density and then shrink or enlarge grid squares based on the ratio of density to the average. Then it would cut the state into congruent shapes equal to the amount of Representatives emphasis would be put on a high ratio of area to perimeter ensuring that you'd get close to square districts these would ensure fair elections and prevent political redistricting. It also makes me want to take up programming.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bench Economics

Over the weekend, I invented for my self a new outlook on social bargaining or something like that (yes, Rachel, I know you must think it cute the way I pretend that I can use fancy-shmancy technical terms). We davened at a place that had long benches in front of tables. The way the tables were, you could either be close enough to rest your siddur on the table OR close enough to stand up for the necessary parts. Over the davening, there was subtle shifting in and out, everyone being just a little bit selfish but also interested in evening up the bench and occassionally helping their friends who were trying to avoid having to push the bench back. In the end, the bench ended up just far enough to stand a bit tightly and just close enough to lean the siddur on the table a bit uncomfortably having to lean forward a bit. This solution was the worst possible for every individual person, but possibly the best for the group as a whole (we were behind in davening, so we won't all standing or sitting as one, meaning that it could never to good for all of us). I don't quite know what the whole thing meant, other than that social bargaining works, but it felt like it was illustrating something, and that's a lot of fun too.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Have You Ever Wondered About Darth Vader's Inner Life

Go here to read his blog http://mfdh.ca/starwars/darth-vader/.

How an Economist Does Potty Training

Now that Yosef is done with school, we're really focusing on toilet training (Before the school asked us to stop toilet-training, because it made him so unhappy at school). Our goal is to toilet train Yosef and Chaim together, because it seems more efficient. Hopefully, Chaim's learning will pressure Yosef to learn too.

So far, we've discovered one major problem: Yosef does have self-control, but it seems to be control of not peeing in potties. Last night, I noticed him holding his penis, and he asked for a diaper. So I put him on the potty for an hour, while we read. But nothing happened, then five minutes after we put a diaper on he peed. I don't know if Chaim has the same self control, but he hasn't peed in the potty once, which seems more than random bad luck.

I don't know how to solve these complex psychological issues. But I do know how to create incentives. So far, we've told Yosef that he only gets to watch TV if he's on the potty, and he has special ABC books that could only be read by somebody on the potty. We've also discussed presents for going to the potty. I told him we would get gold stars, and when he had enough gold stars he could get a present. He suggested 4 gold stars gets a pack of alef -bet cards which seems fair to me. He is also promised a trip to Kiddie-Land when he's fully potty-trained (He insisted Bubbe and Papa take him, not me). Chaim wasn't so vocal, but we decided he would get a blueberry picking trip if he got potty-trained.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Why Are Jews Smarter?

The New York Times reports about a study that links intelligence to genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs unique to Ashkenazi Jews. This study predicts that carriers will be more intelligent than average. If so, the child of two carriers has a much greater shot of being super smart to balance his/her much greater chance of being dead.

Do soldiers come from large families?

This article in the New York Times suggests that parents are one of the principal obstacles to military recruiting. I suppose this makes sense. Young men are less risk averse than any other adult group. I wonder, though, what the effect is on a parent's attitude of the number of children he or she has. I imagine that parents with only one or two children would be less willing to have a child in the military than a parent with four or five children.Now, of course, people from larger families are probably more likely to enter the military for reasons independent of family size. Nevertheless, I wonder how much family size, if you could control for the other factors, predicts likelihood of military service.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What's a Feminist Anyway?

Over on Apt3W I manage to get the family enmeshed in a discussion about feminists while ostensibly discussing why people go into academia. My definition of "feminist woman", as I mention in the comments there, is a woman who has a strong identity with women as a victimized group. What does the word mean to you? Do you think it should mean something different then its general use? I'm especially interested in hearing from the females among you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I now have DSL

I am posting from hime faster than ever

Are We Allowed to Discuss Politics on this Blog?

The FEC is right now working on rules regulating the Internet. According to campaign finance law, the FEC can regulate anything of value, including blogs that get lots of readers. This has attracted bipartisan outrage against the possibility of bloggers not being allowed to discuss politics. How could we escape the boredom of our lives if we could only discuss family matters on a family blog. Or, even worse, conversation could be restricted to sports. E-mail the FEC at internet@fec.gov to express your outrage. You need to include your home address. For more info go to http://fec.redstate.org/story/2005/5/20/122244/721.

My Life

Now isn't what the blog was really meant for- pretending to know what's going on in each others lives by reading impersonally exchanged posts instead of relying on Mom's transmission.
So the Mom news monitor got an early release on this story- but I'm going to be back in America for the summer. In August I'm going to be doing research with my professor from Stern on palladium nanoparticles (oooooooooooooooohhhhhhh) and hopefully in September I'll be home in Skokie. More details later. (And no I'm not deserting Israel. It's just like that good feeling you get when the alarm goes off and you can hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone!

Short-Lived Butterflies

Today, Yosef's class had a butterfly festival. They performed the "Very Hungry Caterpillar", he was the pickle and he performed beautifully when he stood up at the appropriate time when Arun read the book. He and the class also sang songs about caterpillars.

However the butterfly release did not go nearly as smoothly. When he opened his container the butterfly did not fly away to freedom, one of its wings was broken. I dumped it in a bush and told him that it wanted to fly away later. I noticed several of the other kids had to share butterflies, presumably their butterflies had already died.

Why does the class use such fragile butterflies? I bet moths aren't so easy to kill, they don't even die when they fly into your face and get swatted. Do 4-year-olds care that moths are ugly looking? If the kids did care I'm sure they could find pretty moths.

Deep Throat unmasked

See here for this story http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0506010242jun01,1,4280484.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed
Well it turns out Deep Throat was the associate director of the FBI W. Mark Felt leaving many problems with the whole thing. 1. He was too high up to be in any physical danger for his revelation so his annoynominity was based on his desire to keep his job which is not what was he is portrayed as. 2. Why he went to the press and not the FBI is strange since an FBI investigation would accomplish his goals of unmasking the criminals who perepetrated the Watergate break-in. So it appears that Deep Throat was someone who instead of using his position to conduct an inquiry based on true evidence went to the press instead which has very broad limits on what it can say. Which makes you wonder was Nixon involved in Watergate to a criminal extent.