Monthly Archives: January 2012

A music video to learn the primary colors with OK Go and Sesame Street

Between performing a dance routine on a group of treadmills and setting up an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine, the rock band OK Go has produced some of the most imaginative and refreshingly fun music videos of the last few years. So when Sesame Workshop decided to make a new video explaining the primary colors to young children, we knew exactly who to ask.

Today we released the music video for the “3 Primary Colors Song,” in which Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka and Andy Ross of the band OK Go help kids learn the colors red, blue and yellow and which colors they make when mixed together. We also released a game starring OK Go that allows kids to mix the colors however they want and make a painting of their own.

via Sesame Street Blog

 

If you like this also check out Will.i.am singing with the muppets – “I will always be the best me I can be.”

Around the world social network usage is rising, especially in Egypt and Russia

From the Pew Global Attitudes Project:

In 15 of 21 countries, at least 25% of those polled use social networking sites.

Israel (53%) and the U.S. (50%) top the list.

About four-in-ten of all adults in Britain (43%), Russia (43%), Spain (42%), Lithuania (39%) and Poland (39%). Among this group, Russia is the only country where nearly all internet users are on social networking sites. Only 6% of Russian internet users say they do not go on these sites.

Germany, France, and Japan are the only countries polled where more internet users say they do not go on social networking sites than say they do. While 35% of Germans use social networking sites, 44% go online but do not use such sites; the comparable numbers are 35% and 38% in France and 25% and 33% in Japan.

About three-in-ten are on social networking sites in Ukraine (30%), Turkey (29%), Jordan (29%), and Egypt (28%).

Social networking is generally more common in higher income nations; however, this is largely driven by the fact that wealthier countries have higher rates of internet access. People in lower income nations who have online access use social networking at rates that are as high, or higher, than those found in affluent countries.

In most of the countries surveyed, there has been only marginal change in social networking use since 2010. Two notable exceptions are Egypt and Russia – countries where the role of social media in recent political upheaval has been the subject of considerable attention. In both nations, usage has increased by ten percentage points over the past year, from 18% in 2010 to 28% in 2011 in Egypt and from 33% to 43% in Russia.

 


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Is the nuclear industry suffering from “regulatory capture”?

I was doing a little research on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when I found the following statement:

“Some observers have criticized the Commission as an example of regulatory capture

Just what does that mean?

In economics, regulatory capture occurs when a state regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for large firms to produce negative externalities. The agencies are called “captured agencies”.

via Wikipedia

Sounds eerily similar to what happened with Wall Street and the housing market.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this can happen the NY Times has a great article on regulatory capture:

“The commission’s defenders often argue that it must be cautious because increased costs from safety requirements could kill the nuclear power industry. But the cost of generating electricity from existing plants is actually low: the construction expenses have been paid off and running them is relatively cheap. Requiring the operators of plants to install new safety systems would not result in them being shut down…”

 

Is the nuclear industry suffering from "regulatory capture"?

I was doing a little research on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when I found the following statement:

“Some observers have criticized the Commission as an example of regulatory capture

Just what does that mean?

In economics, regulatory capture occurs when a state regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for large firms to produce negative externalities. The agencies are called “captured agencies”.

via Wikipedia

Sounds eerily similar to what happened with Wall Street and the housing market.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this can happen the NY Times has a great article on regulatory capture:

“The commission’s defenders often argue that it must be cautious because increased costs from safety requirements could kill the nuclear power industry. But the cost of generating electricity from existing plants is actually low: the construction expenses have been paid off and running them is relatively cheap. Requiring the operators of plants to install new safety systems would not result in them being shut down…”

 

For ADHD drugs it’s dependence vs abuse, not addiction vs dependence

Amy and I had a strong debate today about the difference between addiction and dependence. Both of us were using different explanations, so we resorted to the official definitions in the DSM-IV, the American Psychiatric Associations big book of disorders and definitions.

As you will read below their is no mention of addiction in the manual. They purposely excluded that term in favor of more descriptive ones. Which means that addiction is now classified as dependence or abuse.

Substance Dependence

The essential feature of Substance Dependence is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological, symptoms indicating that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance-related problems.

There is a pattern of self-administration that can result in tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive drug-taking behavior. A diagnosis of Substance Dependence can be applied to every class of substances except caffeine.

Substance Abuse

The essential feature of Substance Abuse is a maladaptive pattern of substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of substances.

Unlike the criteria for Substance Dependence, the criteria for Substance Abuse do not include tolerance, withdrawal, or a pattern of compulsive use and instead include only the harmful consequences of repeated use.

Addiction vs Dependence/Abuse

The DSM views abuse and dependency as a continuum, meaning addiction is not, in their eyes, an on-or-off proposition, but a disorder with degrees of affliction. The distinction is important when compared to 12-step programs, which preach that one is either addicted or not, and if you are, you are powerless over such addiction.

via Powerless No Longer

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For ADHD drugs it's dependence vs abuse, not addiction vs dependence

Amy and I had a strong debate today about the difference between addiction and dependence. Both of us were using different explanations, so we resorted to the official definitions in the DSM-IV, the American Psychiatric Associations big book of disorders and definitions.

As you will read below their is no mention of addiction in the manual. They purposely excluded that term in favor of more descriptive ones. Which means that addiction is now classified as dependence or abuse.

Substance Dependence

The essential feature of Substance Dependence is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological, symptoms indicating that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance-related problems.

There is a pattern of self-administration that can result in tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive drug-taking behavior. A diagnosis of Substance Dependence can be applied to every class of substances except caffeine.

Substance Abuse

The essential feature of Substance Abuse is a maladaptive pattern of substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of substances.

Unlike the criteria for Substance Dependence, the criteria for Substance Abuse do not include tolerance, withdrawal, or a pattern of compulsive use and instead include only the harmful consequences of repeated use.

Addiction vs Dependence/Abuse

The DSM views abuse and dependency as a continuum, meaning addiction is not, in their eyes, an on-or-off proposition, but a disorder with degrees of affliction. The distinction is important when compared to 12-step programs, which preach that one is either addicted or not, and if you are, you are powerless over such addiction.

via Powerless No Longer

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The Secret To Success? You Have To Learn How To Fail

Craig Stecyk, Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta

Hear the name Stacy Peralta and you instantly think either: A) I love Stacy Peralta! or B) Who the heck is she?

He is the highest-ranked skateboarder of his time, turned multi-million dollar businessman, turned filmmaker. He is also the creator of, and father-figure to, the Bones Brigade, a skate team that featured the era’s top competitors, including Tony Hawk.

While heading up the Bones Brigade, Stacy went on to produce almost a dozen videos, which became some of the most influential skateboarding flicks of their time and set him on a path to film-making. His film Riding Giants, which traces the origins of surfing, specifically focusing on the art of big wave riding, became the first documentary film to open the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and established him as a powerful filmmaker and storyteller.

His latest documentary, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography is not only a look-back at his life, but more importantly, an insider’s view on the evolution of skateboarding and how its pioneers and legends (like Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guerrero, and Mike McGill) were driven by sheer passion to create an art form. They were true innovators.

This was hands-down my favorite film from Sundance 2012 and in this intimate interview at the Sundance Cinema Cafe, Stacy shares his secret to success:

The secret is I had to learn how to fail. That’s the secret to success…is that you’ve got to learn how to fail. Because you fail more than you succeed.  You’ve got to get up off the ground and that’s the thing about success. You have to learn how to take those punches. When we skateboarded, we banged ourselves up all the time. But if you didn’t learn how to fall, if you didn’t learn how to bang yourself up, you couldn’t continue.

The film, expected to get a distribution deal for a theatrical release, is not a movie about skateboarding, but an emotional journey about passion, self-expression and the drive to create something meaningful and beyond the realm of possible.

Opinion: forget about global warming, instead focus on your local issues and your quality of life

I wrote this as a comment in response to a WSJ article where 16 scientists argue with other scientists about global warming.

 

I, too, chafe at the global warming paranoia, not because I don’t believe it is happening, but because I understand how many would question it. Not only is it catastrophic, but it is also very hard to “see.” One overly hot day or overly cold day, or even a decade, could be argued a million ways.

The issue here is not just global warming —  it is also the smaller issues that add up to it. Overfishing in our seas has wiped out populations, disrupted food chains, eviscerated industries, ruined livelihoods, and more. It took an awful lot of folks seeing that destruction to finally come on board for sustainable fishing.

Water use in California, Arizona, and Nevada is wiping out the Colorado River, forcing everyone downstream of it and millions of Mexicans to face ever harsher conditions. The river is now practically dry before it completes its journey. It’s not like this is necessary either. Americans, and specifically those in drier areas, can stand to drastically reduce their water use. Cutting their use by a full 75% would barely make their lives harder.

I could keep going with more of these. Many would think that they are unrelated to global warming, but to me they are the components that comprise the problem as a whole (i.e. overconsumption, greed, waste). The reasons for their occurrence are varied, but the solution to them always results in lower carbon emissions.

I find it frustrating that our leaders have latched onto global warming as the cause of the decade. Perhaps they think it will scare enough people to action. I always expected it to have the opposite reaction, even a perverse “might-as-well-give-up” reaction.

If, instead, we localized these issues and focused on improving lives (i.e. make environmentalism selfish) I think people would be compelled to action. With the added benefit of preventing catastrophic global warming problems.

Plus, in my opinion, this is what the world will look and act like anyways, if we are to solve the climate change problem.