Math professor and philosopher Joel David Hamkins gave a guest lesson to his daughter’s second grade class. How does someone dedicated to “the philosophy of the infinite” present a math lesson to a group of seven-year-olds? By coloring pages!
We began with vertex coloring, where one colors the vertices of a graph in such a way that adjacent vertices get different colors. We started with some easy examples, and then moved on to more complicated graphs, which they attacked.
The aim is to use the fewest number of colors, and the chromatic number of a graph is the smallest number of colors that suffice for a coloring. The girls colored the graphs, and indicated the number of colors they used, and we talked as a group in several instances about why one needed to use that many colors.
They went on to map coloring, in which odd shapes must be colored so that touching border have different colors, using the fewest possible colors. Then he wrapped it up with Eulerian paths and circuits. In these lessons the fun part comes first, and the concepts underlying them follow as they go.
When you send your kids off to school you’re putting their young lives, and minds, in the hands of many different official school type folks, from teachers to district officials to security personnel, and these folks usually started working in the school system because they liked working with kids.
But, just like any position that comes with a bit of control over other human beings, there are those who take the job because they like being in charge, and sometimes because being in charge means making a lot more money.
Scandals abound in this article which reveals 6 Shockingly Evil Abuses of Power by School Officials, including a case where kids at a vocational school in Rhode Island were being put to work in a sweatshop making and bagging jewelry, and a case of misappropriated school lunch funds in eight California school districts which resulted in $170 million dollars being funneled into staff wages and catered school board meetings, while the kids found the quality of their school lunches lowered through no fault of their own.
It's enough to make you wanna home school your kids!
(NSFW due to language, like virtually every article on Cracked)
Someone once told me it’s a good thing toddlers are so cute and sweet and loving because that’s what keeps you from killing them. Grant Snider of Incidental Comics has an 18-month-old daughter and is well aware of the extremities of that difficult, dangerous, but oh-so-memorable age. He created this wonderful comic for Fathers Day. You can buy it as a poster. -via Laughing Squid
When you are a parent, you find yourself saying weird things that you never in your wildest dreams thought you’d ever say. That’s because children have no context, no sense of what should be, until you tell them. The classic example is “Get your feet off my plate!” How is a kid to know they aren’t supposed to put their feet in other people’s plate until you tell them? The reddit thread accompanying this video is full of such phrases. -via Daily of the Day
Jeff and Hillary Whittington welcomed their first baby, a girl they named Ryland, in 2007. Within a year they learned Ryland was deaf, so they arranged for a cochlear implant. As Ryland learned to hear and speak, one of his first complete sentences was "I am a boy." He never changed his mind about that. In this video, Ryland’s parents explain how they came to see him as a boy, and how much happier he is now as the son instead of the oldest daughter. This mini-documentary was unveiled last week at the sixth annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego. -via Metafilter
(Photos: Mathery Studio)
These things apparently don’t come in adult sizes, which is totally unfair because I would use them. The design firm Mathery Studio created an area in the National Gallery of Victoria where kids can get creative. They made helmets and sandals with built-in crayon balls. Kids strap them on and mark up the walls, floors, and furniture.
To my knowledge, these devices are not yet commercially available, but I can imagine a big market for them. Probably not for the home, though.
There’s a certain stigma attached to being a nine-year-old who can’t ride a bike, and people often assume that you don't know how because there’s something wrong with you or your family, which can make you feel like you don’t fit in with the rest of the world.
I was one of those kids who chose to ride around on a skateboard and scooter rather than learning how to ride a bike, and as young Sabre Norris of NSW Australia proves in this amazing video riding a bike isn’t the ultimate skill a kid can possess.
This video documents her 75th attempt to do a 540 on her skateboard, the one where she finally successfully completed the trick, and Sabre's skills demonstrate how amazingly skilled some young athletes can be.
-Via 22 Words
In 1927, Dorothy Gerber was straining vegetables through a seive to make them edible for her baby daughter Sally. Her husband, Daniel Gerber, owned a canning factory. He said that machines in the factory could carry out that process a lot faster. Dorothy proposed that he do precisely that.
Thus was born the Gerber baby products commercial empire.
To market his products better, Gerber held a contest to compose an image of a baby that could serve as a logo. Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist, made a charcoal sketch of a baby who lived nearby. This baby was Anne Turner Cook. Smith won the contest and Cook went down in advertising history at the Gerber Baby.
Cook is now 87 years old and every bit as lovely as she was eight decades ago. CBS News interviewed her about her life as the Gerber Baby. You can watch the video here.
-via I Own the World
Preschool graduation may seem a little silly, a little extravagant, but it can be awfully cute and good for a viral video. At this ceremony, every child was told to state his/her name and tell what they wanted to be when they grow up. Jathan Muhar is particularly ambitious, as his dream is shared by many full-grown men. -via Daily of the Day
A three-month-old baby starts to laugh, and Daddy gets tickled. Which makes the baby laugh, and tickles the dad even more, until everyone the room is laughing, including you from just watching the video. Nothing much else happens, but now you have a smile on your face, so that two minutes was well spent! -via Tastefully Offensive
School’s out, and life suddenly gets more complicated for someone who works at home. Every year, I wonder why kids get the summer off. You may have been told long ago that it’s an agricultural thing, because farm kids worked the crops during the summer. That doesn’t make much sense, since the real work of growing crops is planting, which is done by the time school is out, and harvesting, which happens after school starts in the fall. That explanation is a myth.
Before the Civil War, farm kids never had summers off. They went to school during the hottest and coldest months and stayed home during the spring and fall, when crops needed to be planted and harvested. Meanwhile, city kids hit the books all year long—summers included. In 1842, Detroit’s academic year lasted 260 days!
The summer school vacation evolved in phases, and you can read the whole story of how it happened at mental_floss.
(Image credit: Flickr user bass_nroll)
The Fine Brothers pull out the confusing stuff for kids again, this time exposing them to obsolete computers, the kind we used just a few years years ago. Oh, it’s an Apple II from the ‘80s. With floppy drives, no mouse, and it’s text-based on a black background. And no internet! When I had one of those, I thought it was the neatest thing ever, even though you practically had to know how to program just to use the thing. -Thanks, Benny!
You all know the song, you just don’t know the lyrics to this version. This guy met a girl and his whole life turned upside-down, so he made a little song about it. From campus life to a home in the country and a growing family, this is quite the clever way to announce a baby on the way! -via Geeks Are Sexy
Kids have always found fun ways to slide down the stairs, but while it's a fun indoor activity, it's not a particularly safe one. Thanks to the SlideRider though, kids of the world can finally glide down the stairs without making their parents worry about their safety -and the cool device can even be packed up and stored away in a small, simple bundle.
See more pictures of the prototype and learn more about the new invention and how you can track the idea over on Homes and Hues: The SlideRider Makes Your Stairs Into A Slide
We’ve seen GoPro footage from all kinds of extreme sports, and simple activities like hula hooping and jumping rope, but nothing will make you feel like a kid again quite like watching Gopro footage of a toddler in a swing.
The gentle rocking motion may put you in a trance, or leave you drooling all over yourself at your computer, so you’d better wait until you’re home before you watch this adorable video which was created to advertise the new GoPro HD HERO3+.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to start feeling like a kid again only to discover that you’ve got hours of work ahead of you, right?
-Via Laughing Squid
Boy oh boy did the future ever look bright through the eyes of folks living in the early 20th century, back when futuristic meant flying cars and food replicators instead of selfies and Google.
The futuristic world envisioned in the past sure does look like a lot of fun, it’s too bad we have to settle for our flash free 21st century blahs while we wait for our mechanical overlords to conquer the planet.
Here we see the nursery of the future as realized for the Ideal Home Exhibition held in Olympia, London in 1930. The nursery comes complete with comfortable baby tending helmet and gloves for mom, coffin like crib sure to quiet even the noisiest little bugger, and a shiny chair to warm your aching buns.
The only things missing are a remote controlled robot bartender and a cigarette rolling machine!
The Social Security Administration has released the most popular names for new babies in 2013. Nationwide, Sophia was the most popular name given to baby girls (again), and Noah is the most popular name for boys, after 14 years of Jacob at the top of the list. You can see the top thousand names for boys and girls at Nameberry. However, when you break the naming trends down by state in these maps at the Huffington Post, they look quite different. While Noah is tops nationwide for boys, both William and Liam (which is a short form of William) feature prominently. Liam was number one in 18 states.
For baby girls born in 2013, Emma was the top name in 27 states, while the #1 ranked Sophia was first in only 11 states. The differences can be attributed to several factors. Noah and Sophia may rank #2 (or at least high) in many states, or there may have been more babies born in states where those names are preferred.
These maps can now be added to Reuben Fischer-Baum’s animated tracking of names by state for both boys and girls. -via mental_floss
See also: The Most Groan-Inducing Baby Names of 2013.
Kids are pretty darn cute by default, but when they dress up, pose or play a role they suddenly become ten times cuter.
Sometimes it’s the ridiculous tiny adult look that cracks us up, other times it’s because young kids are generally silly little critters, so when they try to act all serious for a moment it’s downright hilarious.
The stylish 4-year-old in this charming photo series is Ryker Wixom, a name truly fit for an internet sensation in short pants, and since his mom Collette has started posting these mighty funny model pics on Instagram, and on their blog Mini Style Hacker, they have amassed tens of thousands of followers.
Not bad for a kid who can barely read his own fan mail!
Dan Tran and his wife Anne Tran made a time-lapse video of her pregnancy, but wanted it to be a little more entertaining than the usual picture-a-day video. They added vignettes that show the passage of time through the holidays and the nursery preparation along the way. It turned out to be a charming document even for those outside the family! In case you’re wondering, they now have a little girl. They did not mention whether they named the baby something that rhymes with the rest of their names. -via Buzzfeed
(Batgirl Onesie now on sale at the Neatoshop)
I proposed "Svetlana" for our second daughter. Or, if we had a boy, "Bruce Wayne." My wife said, quite firmly, no. She said that Svetlana was too exotic and that no explanation was necessary for Bruce Wayne.
In my defense, I must say that my proposals were established names correctly spelled. Some parents, however, do not take this approach. The U.S. Social Security Administration recently released its data on baby names for 2013. Nameberry, a website devoted to baby naming, informs us of the bad news:
As you might imagine, most of these names are pretty far out on the ledge. There are lots of kree8tiv spellings of more conventional names: Finlea and Massyn, Londonn and Karsan. There are names from around the world freshly introduced to America: Junhao and Mokshith and Motoki. There are original combo names — Charlotterose and Marcusjames — and there are new word names and place-names and surname-names — Revelation and Tokyo and Thoreau — and there are even a couple of wonderful old names revived for the modern world: Hypatia and Thisbe, Romilly and Calisto.
But all these newborn names look downright sedate compared to a handful of choices it’s hard to believe were given to even one baby, much less five….or ten….or 63.
Yes, 63 girls were named Vanellope. 5 were named Sierraleone. 10 boys were named Rydder. 5 were named Subaru (hopefully after the constellation, not the car company).
Drawing is a skill that comes really easy to some people, and with time and practice they are able to render hand drawn illustrations on a masterful level, but a select few are actually born with the ability to draw on a higher level.
11-year-old Dusan Krtolica is one of the lucky few born with an amazing drawing ability, and the incredibly detailed drawings of nature he spends hours creating on a daily basis reveal both his advanced drawing skills and his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of animals.
Dusan clearly has a bright future ahead of him as an artist, but he says he would like to study and become a zoologist, so perhaps we'll get to see a fully illustrated guide to the animal kingdom created by Dusan in the near future.
-Via Laughing Squid
This is a video I had jotted down several years ago and put into a file marked "Mothers Day," which I then lost track of. I mentioned the state of my computer files a while back. This parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the opening number at the Mothers Day service at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2010. The lyrics are at the YouTube page. Happy Mothers Day, y'all!
(Photo: Caroline Bird)
Irina Vasylkova, 25, boarded a Polar Airlines flight between Yakutsk and Zyryanka, two cities in eastern Russia. She began to experience labor pains shortly after takeoff. Christina Kondratiev, a stewardess, moved her to a seat where she would have more legroom and asked the passengers if there was a doctor on board.
To their good fortune, there was not only a doctor on the plane, but an obstetrician. Dr. Elena Sleptcova stepped forward to offer her help. The first child was born in midair. The second was born after landing as the plane was taxiing to a gate.
The mother and her two babies were taken to a hospital, where news reports indicate that they are doing well.
This scheme might work, but it’s so horrific that I had to laugh. Of course, every parents dreams of ways to motivate their children to put in an effort in school, but the drawback to this particular plan is that you have to wait until the grades are actually a little better, and that day might never come. It’s the latest comic from Ryan Hudson at Channelate. -via Daily of the Day
The more modern Americans wants to expand gender roles and the career and lifestyle choices for their children, the more the toy aisles become segregated. Once upon a time, toys were mostly small and safer versions of adult objects of all kinds, but over time they were divided into boys toys and girls toys, with color-coding to match. Now they are in entirely different sections of stores. Stefanie Eskander is the Design Manager for girls’ toys at Toys “R” Us, and also collects vintage toys. She has some thoughts to pass along about how toy lines have changed over the years, and how gender preferences have complicated the business.
Pink is a funny thing. In the early days of the 20th century, pink was not necessarily a girl color. I’ve even heard that pink was considered a popular color for boys because it was a lighter version of red, which has always been seen as powerful and masculine. But as the 20th century went by, pink became a much more popular color for girls. I’ve heard they’ve done scientific studies that show that women and girls and even female babies are more attracted to redder colors than boys, but I take all of that with a grain of salt. I think girls’ attraction to pink is societal for the most part.
For my entire life, my favorite color was always red. From the time I was little, I loved wearing red shoes or a red dress. And if I had loved blue, I would’ve worn blue. So even though I didn’t wear a lot of pink growing up, I can see why pink is popular.
Do you know that when Barbie came out in the 1950s, her original look didn’t have a smidgen of pink in it? I don’t think Barbie started using pink as her primary color until the ’70s. Barbie was supposed to be a high-fashion doll, so her first outfit was black and white, not pink. But Barbie really is to blame for all the pink: Mattel actually has a copyrighted color now called Barbie Pink. They own rights to that pink, and you can’t use that exact formula on anything that isn’t Barbie.
Today, pink is a very young color. In other words, younger girls tend to like pink much more than older girls. Older girls are a little more sophisticated. By the time they’re 8 or 9 years old, they’re more conscious of the fashions they’re wearing and the media trends they see, which isn’t all pink. So younger girls tend to like pink and the older girls tend to like other colors. You don’t see the Monster High girls wearing pink. That’s not their schtick. They’re wearing colors that are more edgy and modern.
Eskander has more to tell us, about the lack of toys for school-age girls, the effect of licensing on toy design, and some neat tidbits about the toys of decades past, at Collectors Weekly.
Kids know how to lie, alright, but the art of overlooking the brutal truth is sometimes beyond their powers. Buzzfeed has a collection of 15 Mothers Day cards, made by kids, that disclose way more of their underlying feelings than they should. And you know that these are the cards that Mom will keep forever, if not for sentimental reasons, then for the laughs. What do you wanna bet they'll be pulled out twenty years later and shared at the family holiday gathering? And thanks to the internet, these cards will be available public long after the kids have grown and learned better.
Oh, in case you need to be reminded, this Sunday is Mothers Day.
Google made this video for Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s only coincidence that it’s composed of Google products. But it would be nice to send this to your favorite teacher and tell him/her how much you appreciate what they do.