Calm, relaxing autumn weekend with the kid? Not if the publicizers of these stories from the worlds of science, medicine, education, safety, and parenting have anything to do with it:
- What better way to start the Friday Freakout than an interactive Stray Voltage Map, which shows you all the energized objects on the streets of New York City? You can zoom in from 1/4-mi. to your-kid's-armlength-scale in just a few clicks! [strayvoltagenyc.org via dt reader brent]
- Thinking of taking your kid to China? Wait, let me rephrase the question, Atlantic Magazine-style: "Thinking of filling up those little lungs" with hazardous levels of microparticulate pollution the likes of which haven't been seen in the US in decades?" [theatlantic.com]
- Holy smokes, a German study of the "melody contours" of newborn cries in France and Germany found that babies pick up the language of their mothers' mother tongue in the womb! This supports the famous 1993 "Je vousdrais aller au salle de bains study by Baldwin, Farley, Sandler, et. al., and proves once and for all that strapping a $150 Walkman on your pregnant belly will get your fetus into Harvard. [breathless press release]
- Except that the German researchers cherrypicked the data, which was gathered in a speciously non-rigorous way; they fudged the analysis; overstated the results, ignored the inconvenient fact that their claimed melody contours don't actually match adult French of German, and refused to publish their actual data, said a UPenn linguist this morning. And then he had breakfast. [languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu]
I'll add some more later; gotta go to Home Depot in Horse Country.