lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Free Range Kids

New York Sun Columnist Lenore Skenazy touched a nerve when she published an article about dropping off her nine-year-old son at Bloomingdale’s in New York and letting him find his way home on the subway. She continues the theme in a new blog, Free Range Kids. The story seemed to trigger a nigh universal response in readers (at least those who weren’t horrified enough to check the GPS Lo-Jack devices installed on their own kids) to recount their own independence experiences.

For me, it had to be riding my bike to summer league baseball games, probably about the same age as the Skenazy kid, maybe a little older.

It’s interesting to think about our children as an investment. If we really do that we should recognize that there’s a limit to the optimal level of investment we can productively make – teaching your kids to read is good; writing their term papers is probably counterproductive. My intuition is that as a society we tend to overinvest in things we think make our kids happy but don’t; more likely they secretly give us more satisfaction that our kids. I’m looking at you, Webster’s dictionary I got for my sixth birthday.

Since my intuition isn’t really worth a damn, I googled up some stuff from Steven Levitt, the economist of Freakonomics fame, who points me to the Greater Good Center at Berkeley with this note:

The Greater Good Center’s stated goal is to raise “happy and emotionally literate kids.” Those are laudable goals, but certainly not the only ones, or even the first ones that come to mind. I care most about raising kids who are happy and successful as adults, even if that happens to mean that they aren’t very happy as children. I want my kids to like me when they are grown up, but I also want them to do what I tell them to do, the first time I tell them to do it. I don’t want my kids to be sissies, the way I was — I want them to be tough, and able to take whatever criticism and misfortunes the real world has to offer. I also want them to be creative, and to take risks (but not too many risks).

I have a feeling the statistics on likelihood of abductions would be persuasive to people like Levitt. That’s NOT to say there aren’t dangers to take into consideration. Chapter 5 of Freakonomics outlined the now popular comparison of swimming pools and guns. Spoiler alert – having a swimming pool in your backyard is statistically more likely to harm your child than having a gun in the house.

So if we’re interested in making ourselves feel better our parenting, by all means no subway pass for junior; if we’re really interested in keeping our kids safer we shouldn’t let our actions be dictated by the sensationalism we see on the news.

Then again, I don’t have kids – so what the hell do I know.

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Twitter Account for Sale, With Friends Like These Who Needs Telemarketers?

Via TechCrunch we learn that former Rocketboom-er Andrew Baron has put his Twitter account up for sale on Ebay

Description
I really love my Twitter account but I feel like I haven’t been using it the way I want to. Quite honestly, I feel sorry for all of my followers because they wind up with my tweets in their timelines and I haven’t been able to utilize the medium the way I want to. I also participate in another Twitter account over on Rocketboom so I’m thinking I’ll post more over there and start up a new account to do what I want to do next.

It would be silly to just delete this account I have here, especially if there is someone out there that had like interests and had something to say or wanted to get involved in some relevant conversations. In terms of monetary value, I have no expectations or needs at all so I decided not to put a minimum bid on this. Whatever will be, will be.

http://twitter.com/andrewbaron

The winner of this auction gets my account with all of my followers. The account is in my name now, but the winner of the auction can pick any other name that’s available on Twitter for the transfer. For example, you could have http://www.twitter.com/x where x=any name thats not already taken. You can change it yourself at anytime too, one of the cool features about Twitter settings.

So basically it’s like getting a new account with your own name, but having a pre-installed audience.

The first sign of value to most people would be the number of followers I have (the audience size). At the beg. of this auction, there are 1397 followers and I am actually quite proud of the actual quality of these followers, moreso than the number. Feel free to explore everyone to see who’s there.

Also, as with any dynamic group, there is obviously risk. My followers could jump ship at anytime. There is no guarantee on this part. People will come and go, thats just the way it is. Whether you represent a company, a group or just yourself, this group will not want to be sold to, Im sure. The successful winner will share a reciprocal value with the followers.

Finally, I’d just like to give props to all of you out there who are following me on Twitter. No offense what so ever – we can easily find each other again.

http://twitter.com/andrewbaron

At least he was considerate enough to notify his Twitter contacts beforehand. From the feed -

Lots of people are really offended. Lots think its really interesting. Im mostly amazed at the larger questions this raises. 44 minutes ago from web
Getting lots of and lots of feedback. The amount of questions this is provoking is really amazing. about 1 hour ago from web
Thanks @zadi I was thinking it could be be better. Maybe everyone here could help someone out who has great ideas but cant plug in. about 1 hour ago from web
This Twitter account is now for sale. Followers included. Ebay listing here: http://tinyurl.com/3zs6kl Thanks for your support! about 1 hour ago from web
Ok, well, you’ve had plenty of time – no one seems upset. Im going to set it up, brb. about 6 hours ago from web
Im seriously considering auctioning this Twitter acct. on Ebay. No offense or anything, I wanted to check with you 1st. Any objections? about 7 hours ago from web

Hopefully who ever buys it will come up with a socially redeeming use for this, but somehow I doubt it.

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Starbucks and ‘Laissez Faire’

The Wall Street Journal’s David Boaz has ignited a tempest in a coffee cup by revealing that Starbucks, which now offers customized gift cards emblazoned with a phrase or statement of your choice, rejected the phrase “laissez faire“. In response the blogosphere has launched an irony and awe campaign.

Consider for a moment the source of our consternation: a coffee company is censoring the customization of our gift cards. We have jumped the shark, people. Repent and be saved.

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Samuel Mockbee and Rural Studio, Following Function

For evidence that there are few things more beautiful than good choices, boldly made read Clay Risen’s article Following Function in The Morning News, about the late Samuel Mockbee‘s Rural Studio.

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Video: Amazing Bike Skills

Video: Amazing Bike Skills

I can, um… pop a wheelie.

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Why I shop at Borders and buy on Amazon

and why when the time is right, I hope Amazon will buy them.

Borders is increasing the number of books that it displays with the cover facing out (rather than the spine facing out), even though this shelf-space-eating approach will require cutting inventory at each store up to 10%. Says one analyst: “Breakfast cereals are not stocked end-of-box out. […] It’s a little bizarre that it’s taken booksellers this long to realize that the point of self-service is to make the product as tempting as possible.”

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

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Houston Police Department Tests Unmanned Spydrones

Acting from a tip from farmers convinced the government was turning their pasture into some sort of Area 51, Click2Houston stumbled onto a cadre of Houston police surreptitiously testing an unmanned aircraft. As for the purpose of the craft, it looks like our beloved red light cameras were just the tip of the 1984-iceberg.

Montalvo told reporters the unmanned aircraft would be used for “mobility” or traffic issues, evacuations during storms, homeland security, search and rescue, and also “tactical.” She admitted that could include covert police actions and she said she was not ruling out someday using the drones for writing traffic tickets.

No posts on the subject yet from Big Chief Hurtt on his newly minted HPD Chief Blog

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Cal Marching Band Plays Old Skool Video Games

Link: Cal Marching Band Plays Old Skool Video Games

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Sometimes Dilbert hits a little too close to home…

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Dilbert: April 26, 2007

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Dilbert: April 26, 2007

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Recommended: We Made This, a Design Blog

we-made-this.jpg

We Made This. Recent Highlights: Letterhead: Booze and Robots, Raw Shark Texts

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