Our Own Mortality-How Some Feelings in Children Never Change

My son is experiencing the same fears of death that I did as a child. What should I tell him?

As a child, I was terrified of death. It was often in the twilight hours, between the moment of lying down and the imperceptible instant of slipping off to sleep, that the terror would arise…

Religion and spirituality were of little or no solace. Even to my young mind, they struck me as fantasies that had been elaborately constructed and forcefully imposed in order to stave off the horror…

Growing up on a farm brought with it, moreover, the omnipresence of death…trips to the slaughterhouse, or winter diseases that had my brother and me chiseling shallow graves for animals into frozen earth as young children… Life was imbued with death.

Today, my eldest child, at the age of 6, has fallen prey to these same fears.

…Our existence has numerous dimensions, and they each live according to different times. The biological stratum, which I naïvely took to mean life in general, is in certain ways a long process of demise — we are all dying all the time, just at different rhythms.

Authentic existence is perhaps less about boldly confronting the inevitable reality of our own finitude than about recognizing and cultivating the multiple dimensions of our lives.

It is in this regard that my twilight conversations with my oldest son take on a very different light… they certainly leave traces of an intense moment of sharing something that will carry on in both of us…

Source: Why We Never Die – The New York Times

The Last Generation Without Internet. What We Can Do

As soon as I saw its title, I couldn’t not read what came next: What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet…

“Being in this situation puts us in a privileged position. ‘If we’re the last people in history to know life before the internet, we are also the only ones who will ever speak, as it were, both languages. We are the only fluent translators of Before and After.”

Boredom is a fantastic motivator for doing something and spurring imagination.

Don’t let technology rob them of tent forts or lemonade stands or board games. Of course, activities are determined by a child’s age, but I feel for the kid who’s never learned to lie on his back and “see” animal shapes in the clouds.

Dragons, dinosaurs, and unicorns are waiting to be found.

Being able to fix, create, or do things with your hands.

Teach your kids to buck that temptation by learning how to do things themselves. Fix a running toilet; hang a ceiling fan; change the lightbulb on your car’s headlight…

Teach manners and focused attention.

I’m convinced that training/coaching/teaching your children to completely disconnect from their phone when they’re with other people or at work is a skill that will distinguish them and set them apart from the pack.

Source: Something to learn from the “last of a dying breed” | The Art of Simple

Cesarean delivery linked to increased risk of obesity

Individuals born by cesarean delivery were 15% more likely to become obese as children than individuals born by vaginal birth — and the increased risk may persist through adulthood, according to a large new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In addition, individuals born via cesarean delivery were 64% more likely to be obese than their siblings born by vaginal birth.

“I think that our findings — particularly those that show a dramatic difference in obesity risk between those born via cesarean and their siblings born through vaginal delivery — provide very compelling evidence that the association between cesarean birth and childhood obesity is real,” said Chavarro. “That’s because, in the case of siblings, many of the factors that could potentially be playing a role in obesity risk, including genetics, would be largely the same for each sibling — except for the type of delivery.”

Source: Cesarean delivery may lead to increased risk of obesity among offspring — ScienceDaily

Rename and Rebrand Key to Success for Lab Grown Meats

For years, food technology companies have referred to their products as “cultured” or “lab-grown,” but as these new businesses start to make a first foray into the public eye, they are also pushing ideas that may make people uncomfortable—such as meat grown in labs.

 To get over that, there’s a push to coalesce around a new term: “clean food.”

By opting for this terminology, the industry hopes to better communicate to people the ethos behind their products, rather than the actual processes (which often do occur in a laboratory) used to deliver them to the kitchen table.

Research suggests the biggest influence on a person’s opinion of a particular food is how they “expect” it will taste. Giving fun, enticing names to healthy foods increases the desire to try them. Why not call broccoli “broccoli bites” or carrots “X-ray vision carrots?” Renaming foods to make them sound more appealing resulted in an increase in the sale of vegetables in the school cafeteria by 27%.

Source: To lure people put off by the freakiness of lab-made meat, the industry wants to call it “clean food” — Quartz

Impact of Alcohol on Fertility From Consumption to Abstinence

The study did not distinguish between regular and binge drinking, which is important because alcohol can affect the menstrual cycle. And the male partner’s alcohol intake was also not taken into account, which is known to affect sperm quality.

In a linked editorial, Annie Britton from University College London, says that the results “offer some reassurances” to couples trying to get pregnant and suggests that “total abstinence may not be necessary to maximise conception rates” because “if alcohol is consumed moderately, it seems that this may not affect fertility.”

“However, it would be wise to avoid binge drinking, both for the potential disruption to menstrual cycles and also for the potential harm to a baby during early pregnancy. If a couple are experiencing difficulty in conceiving, it makes sense for both partners to cut down on their alcohol intake,” she concludes.

Source: High alcohol intake associated with slightly decreased female fertility: But total abstinence may not be necessary to improve conception rates — ScienceDaily

Your Math Skills Will Rub Off on Your Kids

Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released University of Pittsburgh study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission — the concept of parental influence on an offspring’s behavior or psychology — in mathematic capabilities.

“Our findings suggest an intuitive sense for numbers has been passed down — knowingly or unknowingly — from parent to child. Meaning, essentially, the math skills of parents tend to ‘rub off’ on their children,” said lead researcher Melissa E. Libertus, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and a research scientist in the University’s Learning Research and Development Center. The Department of Psychology is within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “This research could have significant ramifications for how parents are advised to talk about math and numbers with their children and how teachers go about teaching children in classrooms.”

Source: Parents’ math skills ‘rub off’ on their children: First evidence found of intergenerational transmission of an unlearned, nonverbal competence in mathematics — ScienceDaily

Who Loves the First Day of School…THIS KID!

This week’s happiest thing on the internet has been found, and it’s this kid who is SO PSYCHED for the first day of fourth grade.

The boy, named Kevin, told Fox 7 Austin he was so excited to go back to school and learn his favorite subjects, math and science.

Looks like Kevin already has quite a bit more than just one friend.

Source: Try Not To Smile While Watching How Psyched This Kid Is For The First Day Of School – BuzzFeed News

Educate Your Kids on the Right Way to Approach a Dog

Bringing your dog or puppy to a public setting is a great way to help him socialize, build confidence, and gain better manners and control.  The dog or puppy is introduced to all the fun things life has to offer. During a recent training lesson, I took five month-old Cora, a Labrador retriever puppy, to an outdoor shopping area for a meet and greet. Skateboards, food stands, and running kids all competed for her attention, but when a group of four young squealing girls ran straight up to her and put their hands on her all at once, Cora cowered.

I asked the girls to back up so we could start over. I gave each girl a treat to offer the puppy. One at a time, they crouched down sideways so Cora could approach from the side at her own pace. Each girl took a turn at this, offering a treat and keeping her hands down so Cora could decide how much or how little direct contact she wanted. At first, Cora came up cautiously, but after gobbling a couple of treats, she was fully recovered from the surprise and licking each girl’s face in turn…

Source: Teach Your Kids The Right Way To Approach A Dog – Sniff & Barkens

Dogs Actually do Understand Your Speech and Intonation

Dogs have the ability to distinguish vocabulary words and the intonation of human speech through brain regions similar to those that humans use, a new study reports.

Attila Andics et al. note that vocabulary learning “does not appear to be a uniquely human capacity that follows from the emergence of language, but rather a more ancient function that can be exploited to link arbitrary sound sequences to meanings.”

Researchers used fMRI to analyze the dogs’ brain activity as the animals listened to each combination. Their results reveal that, regardless of intonation, dogs process vocabulary, recognizing each word as distinct, and further, that they do so in a way similar to humans, using the left hemisphere of the brain.

Source: Dogs understand both vocabulary and intonation of human speech — ScienceDaily

Sugar in Breast Milk Could Protect Babies From Infection

A type of sugar found naturally in some women’s breast milk may protect newborn babies from infection with a potentially life threatening bacterium called Group B streptococcus, according to a new study from Imperial College London.

These bacteria are a common cause of meningitis in newborns and the leading cause of infection in the first three months of life in the UK and globally.

The new research, on 183 women in The Gambia and published in the journalClinical and Translational Immunology, suggests a sugar found in some women’s breast milk protect babies against the bacteria.

Source: Breast milk sugar may protect babies against deadly infection — ScienceDaily