Thursday, June 17, 2010

Technology and kids

In this week's Economist, the Technology Quarterly included an article about Dean Kamen. Kamen, who is based in Manchester, New Hampshire, is perhaps best known for inventing the Segway self-balancing scooter, but he also invented the insulin pump, the home dialysis machine, and has registered upwards of 440 patents in the last 40 years.

You can read the full, fascinating article through the link above, but I especially wanted to share a couple of quotes from Kamen:

"If you look at the way science and technology are presented today, it's worse than they just don't get their fair share of time. It's like somebody brilliantly set out to undermine any prospect for the average kid -- especially girls and minorities -- to feel excited about science. When children see a scientist on television, it's either a squeaky, geeky misfit kid or a middle=-aged white male with frizzy hair and a German accent."

"Technology is easy to develop. Developing a new attitude, moving the culture, is the difficult part... The reason it takes technology 15 or 20 years to come in is because 15 years is the time it takes a kid who saw it when he was young to become a functioning adult."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Critique of Disney

I can never resist some good criticism of Disney... apparently Disney's now marketing to boys which means girls can't be the title character... Also check out Allison Bechedel's youtube about the lack of female characters in film... Kind of takes the fun out of summer...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Action on Wednesday for a Clean and Healthy Maine

Hello Everyone,

The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is at it again...there is going to be a small event - a "Smell Off" this Weds. at 12 noon to illustrate the problem of fragrances in personal care products.  Local "celebrities" will try to smell which products are safe.  It will be short, sweet and silly - In Lobsterman Park, in Portland (right in front of the Nickelodeon).  We will release a national report on chemical fragrances in products: ).

It will be great to have a few people there to watch and add to the fun - if you're downtown, going to the Farmer's Market, etc... stop on by!  Let me know if you have any questions!  Tell all your friends!


Kristine Jenkins
Outreach and Organizing Director
Environmental Health Strategy Center
565 Congress Street, Suite 205
Portland, Maine 04101

Become a fan of EHSC on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

A Cautionary Note - NYT on too much internet stimulation

As the primary blogger for the FSP blog, I'm slightly taken aback by this NYT article (Hooked on Gadgets...) .  It really just affirms what has already been suggested by last year's "Is Google Making You Stupid" essay in the Atlantic, but the bits that resonated gave me pause... e-mail as catnip and all that. . .  I will be off-line for at least 2 weeks in June and wonder if my brain will snap back into shape a bit (silly-bandz style?) or if the change is a bit more permanent than that?

I'm curious if other adults see any of themselves in it and even more curious what you think it might mean for our kids?

Fwd: Fantastic Fathers Photo Contest - Final Call for Submissions

Healthy Fatherhood Alliance
Fantastic Fathers Photo Contest

father photo banner top

Win Great Prizes!

A five-pack of tickets to see The Sea Dogs vs. The Akron Aeros game on Fathers Day, Sunday, June 20th
See your picture on the big screen at the game
Prizes from Coffee By Design

Take this opportunity to honor your dad (or grand dad, or father figure) and get him on the Sea Dogs' big screen! Submit a favorite photo in one of four categories: sentimental/memories, humorous/playful, active/activity, or multi-generational. One winner will be chosen from each category, and will be shown on the big screen along with runner-up photos during the Fathers Day game.

father photo contest categories

The Healthy Fatherhood Alliance is made up of:
Dads, Boys to Men, STRONG Fathers Network, The BirthPlace at Mercy, Maine Health, Just for Dads, Real Life Real Talk, Kids First Center, Breakwater School, PROP, DHHS, and many more individuals

Make a Donation

The Healthy Fatherhood Alliance is a community coalition sponsored by Boys to Men

Submission Deadline: June 11, 2010

Submit photo along with your name, address and phone number to

Winners will be announced on June 14, 2010

Our thanks

To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident. Boys to Men employees and Board members and their immediate family members are not eligible. Your submission of the photo and entry form is your guarantee that you are the holder of any copyrights for that photo. By submitting a photo for the contest, I hereby consent to the use of this photograph singularly or in conjunction with other photo-graphs for advertising, publicity, or other purposes associated with the Healthy Fatherhood Alliance. I understand that the term "photograph" as used herein encompasses both still photographs and motion picture footage.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Girls Math Classes Include Lessons in Anxiety

Interesting women's enews about how to keep from passing on the "girls can't do math" stereotype...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oil Spill Day of Action from

* EDIT : MOVEON is hosting a vigil on Tuesday in South Portland - Host: Mary K—fellow MoveOn member
Where: Mill Creek Park - Broadway/Ocean Street (in South Portland)
When: Tuesday, Jun. 8, 2010, at 6:00 PM

Next Tuesday, Meet Up!

Next Tuesday marks 50 days since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, pouring millions of gallons of oil into a vital part of the coastal ecosystem.
To mark the day, we're working with partners on an Oil Spill day of action next Tuesday, and we're encouraging folks to take the day to host candelight vigils, call members of Congress and demand aggressive energy policy to break our addiction to oil, or to plan an even more massive event on June 26.
Why do all these activities? Because we know politicians are finally listening to us, and starting to call for aggressive changes to the way the United States uses energy. We're the biggest per capita emitters of Carbon Dioxide on the planet, and we've so far done an abyssmal job of changing that. We can't just hope that the Gulf disaster forces a change--we have to work for it.
So we hope you'll think about what you can do, with your friends and your neighbors, to make sure the pelicans on the beaches, the out of work fisherfolk, and those who live downstream from Louisiana's oil refineries, can hope for better.

BP, BPA, Plastic Bags and Silly Bandz

I've been writing a post (or op-ed) in my head for a while, now, about silly bandz but I just can't get my words out... I am torn between not wanting to be one of those people who always has to spoil the fun, not wanting to be so pessimistic that I just see the bad in things, but also wanting to voice the enviornmental underside of the silly-bandz phenomena. Not sure where that leaves kids -- it isn't right to simply shame them out of wanting what they want (and, as I know from my own experience, it doesn't really work, just creates guilt and shame and desire) but at the same time, some consciousness raising has to be a good thing.  I've talked to my own kids -- and a few of their friends -- about my worries about something that is designed to make you want to buy more, more, more and about how it doesn't seem that great to have so much plastic around... any parental wisdom out there?

Someone shared this video with me -- students at an elementary school in Grafton, VT created a display that shows how many bags per minute are disposed in the U.S.   Clearly, we do not want to be drilling 5,000 miles into the ocean just so we can conveniently schlep our fruit in the grocery store... but is this a kids problem or an adult one?  What is right for them to think about and what are they going to face, because it is happening, right or wrong?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pirates in Damriscotta, June 12th


The Mystic Pirates sail into the scenic midcoast towns of Damariscotta and Newcastle. The pirates invade at high noon, complete with a pirate ship laying down a barrage of cannon fire. Pirate activities, beginning at 10 a.m., including games, re-enactments and music will continue until 4 p.m. Children will be involved in a drama to find the Lost Treasure of the Mystic Pirates. Special pirate-themed menus will be featured at local restaurants during the event and into the evening. The event benefits Lincoln County Family Holiday Wishes.


Venue Name: In - Town Damariscotta
Main Street Damariscotta, ME 04543


June 12th, 2010


10:00 to 4:00



Contact Information

Name: Greg Latimer
Phone: (207) 380-9912

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing @ MSMT on June 14th

We're going to the 1pm show and would love to see others there!

Two Beans Production of
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
JUNE 14th
1:00pm and 3:00pm
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is a young adult novel written by Judy Blume in 1972. The first of the Fudge Books, it focuses on fourth-grader, Peter Warren Hatcher, and his annoying brother, Farley Drexel.  Farley hates the sound of his legal name, much preferring “Fudge” for any and all occasions.  Their observations, accompanied by Peter’s pet turtle, lead to fun adventures.
BALCONY                                $  8
SUPER SAVER                         $  8

Amazing Resource List

This was posted on the Cumberland Family Network -- a great resource for anyone in the general area.... I don't have time to fix all the links now, but will try to go back and do it at some point...

Also, if you can’t find what you are looking for on the calendar consider trying one of these fun places:

All Play Family Entertainment Center

Bradbury Mountain State Park

Casco Bay Lines

Children's Museum and Theater of Maine

Desert of Maine

Funtown Splashtown

GreenLight Studio

Happy Wheels Skate Center

It Takes Two Farm (Windham)

Maine Academy of Gymnastics

Maine Audubon Society/Gilsland Farm

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co.

Maine Wildlife Park

Merrill Auditorium

Peek-A-Boo Children's Center

Pick & Paint Pottery Shop

Pineland Farms

Portland Headlight

Portland Museum of Art

Portland Stage Company

Portland Symphony Orchestra (Kinderkonzerts)

Portland Trails

Smudge Art Studio for Kids

Southworth Planetarium

Westerly Winds Golf & Sports Park

Winslow Park

Wolfe's Neck Farm


York's Wild Kingdom


  Portland Sea Dogs Baseball

Local Libraries:

  Prince Memorial Library (Cumberland)

  Falmouth Memorial Library

  Gray Public Library

  Merrill Memorial Library (Yarmouth)

Playgrounds: (Note School playgrounds are generally only recommended during non-school hours)

Cumberland - Wilson School - Tuttle Town

Cumberland - North Yarmouth Memorial School

Falmouth – Plummer-Motz School

Falmouth - behind Staples/Rainbow Toys

Freeport - Winslow Park

Freeport - Morse Street School

Yarmouth - North Road/Shipyard

Yarmouth - Rowe School on School Street

Yarmouth - Apple Woods on Applecrest Drive

Portland - Payson Park

Portland - Eastern Prom

Portland - Deering Oaks


Cousins Island, Yarmouth

Macworth Island, Falmouth

Wolfe's Neck Park, Freeport

East End Beach, Portland

Willard Beach, So. Portland

Cresent Beach, Cape Elizabeth

Scarborough Beach

Higgins Beach, Scarborough

Pine Point Beach, Scarborough

Biddeford Pool, Biddeford

Ferry Beach State Park, Saco

Old Orchard Beach

Here’s to a fun filled month!

The Cumberland/North Yarmouth Family Network Leadership Team

Julie, Lalla, Jen, Marnie, Bethany & Allison

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Testimony to the Second Shift

Arlie Hocschild wrote the Second Shift back in the 80s, detailing the gendered division of labor that left mothers with far less leisure time than fathers and less money, too.  Since then, there have been huge debates in the "time use" studies about when and how gender shapes our use of time. 

Last week, the NYT reported on a brand new study that reveals a persistent (if closing) second shift for mother's.  Mothers spend, on average, 27% of their time on housework, versus 18% for dads; and mothers were reported to have 11% of their time in "leisure" compared to 23% for dads. Interestingly,  the couples who fought the least about housework were the ones with an explicit and rigid division of labor. . . this is similar to Hoschild's findings 20+ years ago that more traditional marriages actually split housework more evenly, because men were more inclined to be chivalrous.  Interesting stuff.   

Kathleen Gerson has a new book out that examines the gap between young people's ideas about how the division of labor should and will be and what the structural realities end up pushing them towards... maybe she'd be an interesting P4P speaker someday?

(from her website:)
Kathleen’s most recent book, The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America (Oxford University Press, 2010), addresses a new generation’s experiences growing up amid changing families and blurring gender boundaries. The Unfinished Revolution shows how irreversible but incomplete change has created a growing clash between new egalitarian ideals and resistant social institutions. Although young women and men hope to fashion flexible, egalitarian gender strategies, they are falling back on less desirable options that are fostering a new gender divide between “self-reliant” women and “neo-traditional” men. The solution to these 21st century conundrums is to finish the gender revolution by creating more flexible, egalitarian workplaces and more child-supportive communities.

On the other hand, the bloggers at Equally Shared Parenting encourage us to push harder and make it happen, now.