January 22, 2009

Ottawa boy’s invention to protect birds from crashing into windows

Eighth grader Charlie Sobcov wants to stop birds from dying in collisions with windows, but he doesn’t want to ruin anybody’s view.

For his latest school science fair project he has invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed — discreetly — right in the middle of a window pane.

“This paint is a colour that birds can see but humans can’t,” he said Wednesday on CBC Radio’s All in a Day. “It’s like putting a big stop sign in the middle of the window.”

The colour is ultraviolet, beyond the range of colours visible to humans. That means the “stop sign” lets birds know the window is solid, but is nearly invisible to humans.

Full story: Ottawa boy’s invisible invention warns birds about deadly window

January 7, 2009

9 year old boy rescues girl from pitbull

During jiujitsu lessons Tuesday evening, instructor Matt Baker asked 9-year-old Drew Heredia what he would do if put in a certain position he was teaching.

“I’d get on my back and do a choke hold,” he said.

It’s the same thing Drew did last week when he saved a 12-year-old girl from being mauled by a pit bull. Using a tactic he learned in class, he put the attacking dog in a chokehold and held it for at least 20 minutes until help arrived.

Nine-year-old Drew Heredia rescued a girl from being mauled by placing a choke hold on a dog, a move he learned while training at Bakersfield Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training Center. Drew attended a Tuesday evening class at the center and is learning a new move. His partner shown here is Derek Beltran.

Full story: Youngster rescues girl from dog

March 26, 2008

Got Kids? Don’t sweat it. Simplify Your Life.

Take my life, for example: I have a house full of kids, and yet I’ve found ways to streamline my life, to find peace and happiness among the chaos. How is this magic trick accomplished? Nothing magical, actually, but just little things that have simplified my life over the years.

The main magic trick, however: making my family my top priority, and choosing only a small number of priorities in my life. If you have too many things you want to do, or need to do, your life will become complicated. But if you choose just a few things that are important to you, you can eliminate the rest, and simplify your life greatly.

What follows is a list that might seem complicated to some — 25 items! Trust me, I could easily double this list, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead of trying to tackle everything on this list at once, choose a few things that appeal to you, and give them a try. Bookmark this page and come back to it from time to time to try out other ideas. Best yet, they might inspire new ideas of your own!

1. Self-sufficiency.

2. One calendar.

3. Toy bins.

Full story: 25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids

March 12, 2008

Is it a bad idea to praise your kids?

For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

Full story: How Not to Talk to Your Kids

July 31, 2007

A Father’s Worst Nightmare Comes True (Almost)

Got this amazing piece forwarded by a friend. Very smart story, but it will hit you on various levels if you are a father, and more importantly if you have a daughter (I do – 8 year old!). – Ravi Jayagopal.


“A father passing by his teenage daughter’s bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was neat and tidy. Then he saw an envelope propped up on the centre of the pillow. It was addressed “Dad”. With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and read the letter:

Dear Dad,

It is with great regret & sorrow that I’m writing you, but I’m
leaving home.I had to elope with my new boyfriend Randy because
I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom & you. I’ve been finding real passion
with Randy & he is so nice to me. I know when you meet him you’ll like him
too -even with all his piercing, tattoos, & motorcycle clothes.

But it’s not only the passion Dad, I’m pregnant & Randy said
that he wants me to have the kid & that we’ll be very happy
together. Even though Randy is much older than me
(anyway,40 isnt so old these days is it?),& has no money,
really these things shouldn’t stand in the way of our relationship,
don’t you agree?

Randy has a great CD collection; he already owns a trailer in the woods
& has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. It’s true he has
other girlfrnds as well but I know he’ll be faithful to me in his own
way. Randy taught me that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone and he’ll
be growing it for us and we’ll trade it with our friends for all
the cocaine and ecstasy we want.

In the meantime, we’ll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS
so Randy can get better; he sure deserves it!!

Don’t worry Dad, I’m 15 years old now and I know
how to take care of myself. Someday I’m sure we’ll be back
to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your loving daughter,
Rosie

At the bottom of the page were the letters ‘PTO’
Hands trembling, her father turned the sheet, and read:

PS: Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at the
neighbour’s house.I just wanted to remind you that there are worse
things in life than my report card that’s in my desk centre drawer.
Please sign it and call when it is safe for me
to come home. I love you !!