New Blog Project

In sharing stuff on Twitter and Facebook, I feel like I could be writing more instead of just sharing a quote. That is where the blog comes in, but I also feel like RRRv4 is all over the place. So, I started a new one: Polymath Parent.

Some self-imposed rules:

  1. Semi-anonymous: I’m not going to use names on it. No photos.
    • It’s not anonymous because I am still using the WP Jetpack sharing options to put them on my public Facebook page. I’m not anonymous, but anyone stumbling across it from WP might not know how to find them.
  2. Mainly going to talk about science, observations, and tie together what I am reading about parenting applies to the kids.

Maybe I will keep it up. If not, then I can always eventually roll them back up into this one.

Also, maybe it will encourage me to blog more here too.

WiFi Management for Parenting

I’ve been futzing for what feels like a year with the WiFi trying out various things. Basically, instead of the wife turning off all the WiFi and none of us having it, I’ve been playing with a few things to bring some sanity.

  1. The first approach was the wife disconnected the wifi router. That meant all of our devices were dead in the water too. No streaming devices. No laptops. Phones were using up data.
  2. Technically, I have a couple routers. One from the ISP and another I bought. So, I moved the devices to use the ISP router. However, I only want the devices on it, so I have not provided anyone else access to it. That still left the problem of the wife yanking the router all the humans are using for their phones.
  3. So, next, I replaced the router with a newer one that included a guest network feature. I built this router so that we connect to a new name and the teen connects to the old name which is the guest network. The nice thing about it was I the ability to schedule when it was available. We tried various settings to deal with different issues. For example, it doesn’t come on until 8am after the bus comes because when it was coming on at 7am, the bus would be missed a couple times a week due to watching videos while getting ready to lose track of time. We have not really settled on a shutoff time in trying to figure out what is appropriate for getting homework done while not enabling playing video games.
  4. I could manage access to the video games through router, but it is one of those things where you block one thing and the activity just moves on to the next thing. (Youtube, Netflix, etc.) So, it is a game of whack-a-mole where I want a sledgehammer.
  5. He complained about the WiFi being unstable. He described sudden extraordinarily high ping rates, a pattern of issues in the hour before cutoff, and other stuff. Part of that problem is he is in the basement while the router is a floor up, 25 feet away, with a staircase, ductwork, pipes, and stairs in the way.
  6. So, I rebuilt the guest network on an extender. Now, in theory, the WiFi router talks to the extender down the hallway. The extender sits directly overhead. It still might have to deal with some ductwork and pipes, but it should be significantly better.
  7. Also, I have Smart outlet that will turn it off when we need to cut him off. I set it on a schedule which is nicer because I can say an earlier time Sun-Thu and later Fri & Sat. Also, it can also be managed through an app which is easier than an obscure webpage URL and desktop designed web page.

Peril of Good Intentions

Defeated in college

I ran across a friend’s Facebook post about parenting and related a description of a college psychology professor’s eugenics lecture. The reply was that eliminating the genes of less intelligent people seems like it could help improve society. This seeming promise is why it has been tried many times. Before the Holocaust shifted to genocide, it dabbled in eugenics and mimicked United States eugenics programs.

But, let’s assume that a eugenics program stayed away from genocide. I still have issues with this…

Why a specific person is intelligent or not tends to be not so clear cut as good or bad genes. Psychologists tend to be pretty sure that most of intelligence comes from genes. I personally think genes provide recipes for brain cells and a layout of those cells. The brain cells still have to be grown and connections established in the brain. Exposure to various experiences in the raising of the child help achieve the potential provided by the brains. If a person both has good genes and was raised in such a way to maximize their potential, then I think a person ought to become the person we want them to be. Are we at a point where almost all children can are provided the experiences to reach this potential? Not even close. I think people who think we reasonably are at this point feel that eugenics or genetic modification are the ways to push beyond our plateau. I would prefer we fix the environment before we start punishing people for lack of socioeconomic resources or programs to help.

Biases cloud our conclusions in situations where we are not usually aware. It was thought the reason orchestras were almost all male because they were better performers. They shifted to a better mix of genders after the practice of blind auditions became common. Why? Because there are biases which affect opinions assessments beneath our ability to tell. We see similar issues when it comes to intelligence assessment and especially jobs in skilled fields. IQ tests have fought hard to get better at not being WEIRD. Anonymous names on papers change the grades students get and which conference submissions are accepted. Some of meritocracies could be doing much better.

When people think they are objective and unbiased then they don’t monitor and scrutinize their own behavior. They just assume that they are right and that their assessments are accurate. Yet, studies repeatedly show that stereotypes of all kinds (gender, ethnicity, age, disability etc.) are filters through which we evaluate others, often in ways that advantage dominant groups and disadvantage lower-status groups.

The eugenics movements were confident the physically & mentally unfit, materially poor, and atheists needed to controlled. People of color just happened to commonly be identified as meeting their criteria. I will be skeptical of any similar movement to be truly objective because even though they truly intend to be, the prior ones thought they were too. Hindsight shows they were not.

Of course, the abomination that I am was the reasoning for why my parents were not allowed to marry in my home state. It was deemed bad for the Caucasian race to allow mixing with inferior races. That probably fuels my own bias against this kind of thing.

Ashley Merryman: On Parenting

Cannot believe I have yet to read NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children! It looks to have all the things I love: scientific studies debunking common assumptions, policy, school programs, etc. At least it is already on the wishlist. Also, I follow NutureShock on Twitter. A list of articles on the topic.

The first part on praise is something I passed around to several people. My parents were pretty good about making me work hard on things I’d given up on doing because I didn’t succeed easily at first. Seems like it would difficult for a parent to be disciplined not to ever praise innate qualities, so maybe it is okay once in a while?

The latter part of this on kids and sleep deprivation is interesting. I knew sleep really helped the brain. More than just the capability of male fruit flies to breed. For example, very tired people have worse trouble driving than those who are intoxicated on alcohol. It hadn’t occurred to me sleep deprivation would have consequences to learning.

Ashley Merryman: On Parenting from PopTech on Vimeo.

31 ways for you to use your blog

This is just a personal exercise to track what I have done and might ought to try.
Done To-Do No way

Welcome to MY world: 31 ways for you to use your blog

Not sure what to blog about? You can blog about anything that interests you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Keep a daily journal of your life.
  2. Post a quote du jour.
  3. Document your daily successes.
  4. List your goals.
  5. Describe a recent adventure.
  6. Compliment a friend.
  7. Write a restaurant review.
  8. Detail a recent date.
  9. List your favorite hang outs.
  10. Share a poem of yours.
  11. Offer tips in your area of expertise.
  12. Write about your favorite hobby.
  13. Describe a class you’re taking.
  14. Review a movie.
  15. Gossip about celebrities, coworkers, or friends.
  16. Outline your diet and exercise plan.
  17. Share interesting bits of information.
  18. Rate a book you’ve read.
  19. Describe your dreams.
  20. Write an editorial about a current event.
  21. Ask questions of other bloggers.
  22. Share jokes and funny stories.
  23. Describe a project you’re working on.
  24. Tell heart-warming pet stories.
  25. Offer dating or parenting advice.
  26. Write a short story.
  27. Speculate about the direction of the stock market.
  28. Highlight your favorite clothing stores.
  29. Share a mouth-watering recipe.
  30. Post a photo of the day.
  31. Share twenty things others should know about you.