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Niche Blog Friday: PlayGroundology April 9, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun, Niche Blogs.
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What is it about playgrounds that are so intriguing? A sense of nostalgia? A lost sense of innocence? A yearning for the simpler pleasures of life? Whatever the draw is for you, PlayGroundology is a blog you will want to check out. PlayGroundology is a blog dedicated to sharing “all things bright, beautiful and occasionally tarnished about the world of playgrounds. What I found most intriguing were [1] the awesome design of some of these structures and [2] the completely dangerous, now-banned structures. While many of the latter will make you wonder how these things were ever legal, one must also wonder if our overly-litigious, overly-protective society hasn’t killed the element of fun. Make sure to click links to the Flickr galleries dedicated to cataloging specific aspects of playgrounds.

From Hanami's Flickr Stream

From the Neato Coolville Municipal Playground (Set) on Flickr

'Helicopter' ride photo from the I Played at Dennis the Menace Park and lived Set

(Thanks to Matt Bucher for the lead!)


Generation iPhone: it’s not you, it’s your baby February 4, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Over the last month I have repeatedly run into situations where children were kept occupied by iPhones, literally, for hours. (Okay, the first time was when I was babysitting and couldn’t handle playing pirates with a six-year-old and a three-year-old boy and I handed them my iPhone which they instantly knew how to navigate.) A few weeks ago, out to dinner with my friends, their daughter kept herself busy throughout the evening by playing with an iPhone. I also ran across this post from the Appleblog, “I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster?” And now, Mashable excitedly reports that Elmo (the world’s favorite Sesame Street character) has not only an iPhone but an iPhone app. What does it all mean?

From AtomicJeep's Flickr photostream, Creative Commons licensed

I’m not a parent. So I’m not going to say that you won’t run into me in a few years pushing an iPhone-clutching-baby in a stroller. And I do understand that the apps these children are using are educational, artistic, and intellectually stimulating. The woman I babysat found out my ploy and asked that I curtail her sons’ iPhone use to thirty minutes a day. Kudos to her. My friends’ daughter is older and they only used the iPhone to keep her occupied during an adult situation. Understandable. I know she spends most of her time indulged in crafts, so the iPhone seemed more like a reward. But what about these small children like the three-year-old from the Apple blog? We all know technology is addictive. Everyday, studies are published questioning its effect on attention span, social skills, physical fitness levels, and even brain function. While the iPhone might not be proven to be bad, it hasn’t proven to be good (yet).  What’s going to be the results of a generation brought up on apps?

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover? January 26, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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We have a friend, J.S. who works as a youth librarian at a Public Library. Recently, she brought to our attention the age old question of, “Can you judge a book by its cover?”

In her experience, kids seem to have no idea what kind of books they like. When asked outright, “what kind of books do you like”, some children will reply, “paperback” or “hardcover.” Many of them are more focused on what their friends will think if they are caught reading the book, than on what is inside. In part, this adds to the popularity of movie-tie-in versions of books, with famous actors on the covers. J.S. says the movie-cover versions of The Lord of The Rings are far more popular than the editions with the original artwork.

As a librarian, and perhaps as a reader, this is discouraging, especially in cases where the movie has been changed from the original story in the book. J.S. cites Cheaper By the Dozen as an example of this. The classic novel was turned into a cute movie, and children that enjoy the movie and then seek out the book with the picture from the movie on the cover are sure to be surprised since the story is quite different.

J.S. points us to an amusing post she found while looking into book covers, which collects a series of books that have been egregiously disadvantaged by someone’s apparent lack of any taste whatsoever.

What do you think? Can you judge a book by its cover? Would you ever pick up that Sherlock Holmes book above?