Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Feed the World

Recursive Legos!

YouTube - Mindstorms Autofabrik: ""

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lego takes New York!

The new Lego store in New York is now officially open! They have loads of events and giveaways to celebrate this momentous event; if you live in NY and don't go, I will never forgive you.  You've been warned.

Rockefeller Center
620 Fifth Avenue
New York City, NY 10020
The event is held outdoors and will be happening Rain or shine.

Tuesday June 29th: 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
The first 500 customers who spend $35.00 or more will receive an exclusive Lego I Love NY T-Shirt (Child Sizes only)

Wednesday June 30th: 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
The first 500 customers who spend $35.00 or more will receive an exclusive Lego NY Apple T-Shirt (Child Sizes only)

Thursday July 1st
The first 500 customers who spend $35.00 or more will receive an exclusive Lego Apple Set.

Insider Tip: If possible the best time to go is after Day 1 that’s when the model really starts to take shape.

Image Credits:
NYC Skyline by DragonArt used under Creative Commons
Lego Apple Courtesy of Lego

Thanks for the tip to GeekDad .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Geekiness for Girls

They have more jewelry and really cool wallets on their website, too! A small catch though: these pieces are not kids' toys... too easily swallowed, and once swallowed, the magnets can join and.... you shudder. So, aside from having to hide them from your toddlers (which can't be an easy task), these are really cool. Check more out Dinomighty Design - their stuff is inexpensive enough to impulse buy it, gotta love that. :)

Here we go again

18 weeks.  And, just now, things have started to not belt, tie or sit in their usual places.

Just like with Wombat, this is what finally tells me that it is real. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Raising an Enterpreneur

Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur who entrepreneur-ed well enough to now coach other entrepreneurs, gave a TED talk on how to help nourish creativity and can-do attitude in your kids (instead of squashing it down as traditional schooling tends to do). I summarized his key points below the video, so you can skip down to those if you are short on time.

I think he raises a fascinating point - that the better you want to do in school, the more conformist you must become. School rewards following the rules, taking what others tell you at face value and, most importantly, believing that whoever wrote a book knows better than you. Looking back on my schooling (in Russia, all of these schooling attributes are taken to an art form. Russian intelligentsia specifically prizes someone who thinks over someone who does... but hey, that's a whole other post), I must agree with him.

I wish, when I was in school, someone had told me that most people (and books) don't really know what they are talking about - or, at least, seem much more knowledgeable than they are. Just because someone dismisses an idea doesn't mean it's bunk, just because something has been printed does not make it true, and just because someone is a grownup in a suit does not give them authority in any subject. And, most importantly, just because no one you know does what you want to do does not mean it's not worth doing. Wombat, take notes.

Key Points for your Entrepreneurial Kid:

1. No Allowance!
Allowance teaches kids the wrong things: get some money just because... or just for showing up. It's limited, like a salary, and determined by your... seniority! You didn't realize you were running your family like a union? Well, now you know.

Instead, have kids propose doing projects around the house, and have them bid - and negotiate - how much they want to be paid for the projects. Help them sell things and toys they don't need. Help them figure out what services the neighbors might pay for. Help them set up a lemonade stand.

This way, they will learn skills that will help throughout life. These skills require much more practice then just taking a paycheck.

2. It's your money. Make it work for you.
Set up 2 piggy banks for each child: one as a "toy fund", from which they can buy whatever and whenever, and another for "savings fund". Take money from the savings fund on the regular basis and deposit it into an investment account.

This will help you teach the kids about investment fundamentals (not to mention delayed gratification skills!) It will also teach them that the amount of money you have is finite. A lot of them (heck, a lot of us) seem to have a hard time getting that.

3. Have kids read you bedtime stories.
A couple of nights a week, instead of reading a story to the kids, ask them to tell you one. Pick a few random objects (a computer... a stuffed animal.... a sock.... and keys.....) and ask them to tell a story involving all of those actors.

You will teach them to make stuff up on the fly. :) No, seriously, this is a really important skill that have saved my personal bottom many many times. Being able to (on the fly, with no prep) produce a well-sounding, coherent and smooth story will help you tremendously in whatever you do.

4. Point things out
When you get poor customer service at a car rental shop, and your kid sees it, point it out. Say "this is a lousy employee, doing a bad job for this business". When you see good service or performance from an employee, point that out too. Let your kids learn what good and bad employees look like. They might have to find some someday.

5. Don't medicate (for Pete's sake!)
Oh, this is my personal pet peeve. Wait, let me get on my soap box. Ahem.

Besides Cameron's points (loads of successful CEOs are bipolar, attention deficit can make it easier to juggle many tasks, etc etc), there is simply no doubt that we are medicating kids that are completely normal. Normal, just not as quiet or easy as we'd like them to be. Don't take my word for it - go read neuroscience papers - and see that when you are popping a brain-altering pill, you really have no idea of just how it alters your brain. What's worse? The doctor who gives it to you doesn't either. Medicating your nervous system is a lot like, um, off-shore drilling: you'd be stupid to do it unless you really, truly, honest-to-God have no other option whatsoever. Climbing off the soap box now. Ahem.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It would be funny if it didn't make you cry

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