***** BREAKING NEWS:
           PLEASE WELCOME THE LATEST MEMBER OF THE FD.COM TEAM ****

Suc30008We think that young Adam Samuel will have a bright career on our staff. After a nine-month, two-day trial period, he officially joined our fulltime roster on Friday, August 25, at 5:47 pm. He came to us at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, comparable to our other junior staff members when they joined the FD.com team.

In a hastily called staff meeting after Adam joined us, Tiny Girl and Small Fellow voted to change his FD.com security code name from "Small Fellow 2.0" to simply "Little Guy," and we will follow their wishes.

To see more of Little Guy's first photos, click here, and scroll the to the bottom. More will be added next week.

HOWEVER, WE'RE REALLY NOT SURE WE SHOULD BE BRINGING MORE CHILDREN INTO A WORLD WHERE ENTOMOLOGISTS ADVOCATE THAT KIDS KILL BUTTERFLIES

Did anyone else see the op-ed in the Times the other day, in which Wyoming science professor Jeffrey Lockwood came out against the kind of classroom butterfly-raising projects that Fellow and Tiny enjoyed so much in nursery school? His argument is that introducing butterflies from one locale into a different region could cause ecological havoc. Writing in a newspaper that lacks the peer review processes of legitimate science journals, Lockwood is free to say that while there is in fact no evidence of any damage caused by the release of classroom-raised butterflies, "the potential severity is sobering." So, what does he suggest as an alternative? Well, wedding planners could buy only neutered butterflies to release at their events, so there will be no crossbreeding of alien species:

But what about the eager students and future (might we say, larval) entomologists?

Kill them. Not the students, the butterflies. If the point of the educational venture is to teach important lessons, then here’s one: We are responsible for the harm that we may cause in the world. So once the butterflies have emerged, pop them in the freezer. Tell the children that protecting our environment is not always easy, that we must accept the responsibility that comes with bringing a life into the world, and that like other animals produced for our needs and wants (the industry refers to the butterflies as “livestock”) we owe the butterflies a quick and painless death.

And another thing: Kids love having rabbits in the classroom, but if the critters ever got out, they could cause incalculable damage to the local flora. Our recommendation: At the end of the school year, gather all the kids together and toss Senor Hoppy-Hops in the microwave. That'll teach them (the students, not the rabbits).

NOW THAT WE'VE HAD ALL THREE OF OUR CHILDREN, AND GOTTEN ALL OF OUR SOUVENIR PICTURES, WE'RE FULLY PREPARED TO ENDORSE A COMPLETE BAN ON NONESSENTIAL ULTRASOUND USE

A recent Yale study of pregnant mice revealed that prolonged exposure to ultrasound caused brain abnormalities in the developing mouse fetus:

“Proper migration of neurons during development is essential for normal development of the cerebral cortex and its function,” said Pasko Rakic, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurobiology and senior author of the study. “We have observed that a small but significant number of neurons in the mouse embryonic brain do not migrate to their proper positions in the cerebral cortex following prolonged and frequent exposure to ultrasound.”

Well, that does sound serious. The study's authors do not recommend a ban on medically valid ultrasound testing, as the benefits of the tests outweigh the potential risks, but they do advise that "non-medical" ultrasound tests be limited while researchers study the potential effects on primates. Joshua Copel, also of Yale and president-elect of the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine, agrees that "entertainment" use of ultrasounds should be discouraged, but he did point out that:

"there are large differences between scanning mice and scanning people. For example, because of their size, the distance between the scanner and the fetus is larger in people than mice, which reduces the intensity of the ultrasound. In addition, he said, the cranial bones in a human baby are denser than those of a tiny mouse, which further reduces exposure to the scan."

So if you really want that souvenir ultrasound photo with a little arrow pointing to your fetus' penis, he's not going to stand in your way. Props to the Associated Press, by the way, for getting Tom Cruise into the lead of their story on the study.

HAVING A NEW BABY PUTS US FRESHLY OF A MIND TO SAY, WE HOPE WE NEVER HAVE TO FACE THIS

After a lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union, Beth Haroules, concluded her statement yesterday condemning the use of electric shocks in schools, an angry, exasperated mother followed her out of the meeting room and into the hall.

The mother, Linda Doherty of Long Island, wanted to know why the NYCLU was trying to convince the New York State Education Department to ban aversive behavioral therapy, the only type of treatment that had worked on her severely autistic, violently self-destructive son. . . .

"It's torture," someone said. "The other programs have failed you, but that doesn't mean we should use corporal punishment."

"So these kids should die?" Ms. Doherty shot back. "My son should die?"

Find out more about the debate over the Judge Rotenberg Education Center of Canton, MA - the only school in the country that uses electric shock "as a behavior-shaping tool" - from the New York Sun.  Then kiss the kids goodnight.

August 28, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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