February 21st, 2008

Maybe FRP is really, really good for kids

Or at least better for them than any of the other current commonly available activities.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514

It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.


.....

Sad because self-regulation is incredibly important. Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ. Children who are able to manage their feelings and pay attention are better able to learn. As executive function researcher Laura Berk explains, "Self-regulation predicts effective development in virtually every domain."

A few thoughts about Cuba

Castro could have been a lot worse. Afaik, he never committed mass murder, and he made reasonable arrangements for succession. Many Communist dictators didn't manage to do as well.

Still, if Cuba ever opens up, it's going to turn out to be a lot worse than many people think. Guys, if people take a major risk of dying to get out of a place, it's bad. It doesn't matter what the health care system or the literacy rate is, there's something very wrong.

While I'm strongly opposed to the embargo-- it's an massive infringement of freedom for Cubans, and a presumptuous one for Americans, it's far from the whole reason Cuba is so impoverished. Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world, and if Cuba had much worth selling, it would get smuggled into the US.

Very bad news if true

http://www.star-telegram.com/dallas_news/story/486413.html

Dallas police say the secret service told them to stop checking for weapons at Obama rally this past Wednesday.

This is extremely ugly if it's accurate, so I want to check on it. The claim that the secret service told the police to stop checking is hard to verify, so I want to start with something easier. Was anyone on my friendslist or anyone they know at the rally? Were they checked for weapons?

If this is true, what then? What's a reasonable way of applying pressure so that the Feds at least can't be so blatant?

I wish I could say that I believe my government wouldn't behave like that, but I'm not that trusting.

It wouldn't even have to be racism-- it could just be going after the Democratic candidate who's more likely to win the general election.

Is there any way to track whether white hate groups are being monitored at least as actively as usual?

Link from supergee.