First off, let's get one thing straight: You suck as a parent. This is obvious because you're human and thus almost certain to do unforgivable things like leave your baby alone in his or her crib for several hours at a time just so that you can sleep. But let's assume for the sake of argument that you never sleep: How do you really know that your sleeping child is healthy? By staring at her all night long? Please. It's time to admit that you have no idea how to raise a child, and that you should outsource the job to your friends in Silicon Valley. Let's face it, they're probably smarter than you, and their kids will probably have higher IQs than your kids and get into better colleges. So heed their advice, and buy these indispensable baby-rearing gadgets.
Withings Smart Kids Scale
During scheduled check-ups, your pediatrician will typically weigh your baby to make sure that his growth curve falls within the range of "normal." But given that your baby may go days, weeks, or even months between check-ups, how do you know he hasn't suddenly forked off onto an inexorable path towards anorexia or morbid obesity? That's why you need the Withings Smart Kids Scale. It weighs your baby and automatically transmits the measurements to a smartphone app. You can use the app to tweak your feeding strategy, stuffing or starving your infant into total normalcy.
Owlet Vitals Monitor
A sensor woven into your baby's sock tracks her heart rate, blood-oxygen levels, skin temperature, and "sleep quality." It streams this data in real time, along with any "roll over alerts," to your iPhone, where it's logged in perpetuity by a special app. Rest assured knowing that the slightest perturbations in your child's bodily rhythms will be brought to your immediate attention, enabling you to constantly wonder if you ought to rush her to the hospital before it's too late. Only 6 percent of Owlet customers have babies with health issues, according to Owlet founder Jordan Monroe. But nobody has health issues, you know, until they do.
Unfortunately, sensors and smart scales can't monitor everything that matters to your baby's health (and ultimate fantastic success in life). For that, you'll need the Babies' Diary, an app that tracks nursings, diaper changes, baths, doctor visits, baby length and head size, and the duration of stroller walks and play sessions. Concerned that constantly updating these details might detract from, say, your quality time with your child? Don't worry about it! Just sleep less.
True Fit iAlert Convertible Car Seat
When a VC drives his little guy around Menlo Park, how does he really know the kid is buckled in and happy? He could turn around and check on him, but who has time for that while updating their Baby Diaries and negotiating the gridlock on Sand Hill Road? That's why the True Fit iAlert Convertible Car Seat is such a lifesaver. For just $399.99, you get a seat that's fully integrated with your iPhone. You'll never have to take your eyes off the screen again to know that your child has overheated, jumped out the window, or been abandoned by you in the parking lot.
Why Cry Baby Cry Analyzer
Do you know why your baby is crying? Neither do the geniuses who rule Silicon Valley. That's why they own the Why Cry Baby Cry Analyzer. Who needs common sense when you've got algorithms?
Locate 1 GPS
Until robot nannies become viable, you may need to hire a human to help take care of your baby while you're at work. Instead of trusting your nanny's judgment, bug your baby's diaper bag with the Locate 1 GPS. For only $500 (and a $15 to $50 monthly service fee), it can tell you where your baby is going, if he has exceeded a certain speed limit, and whether he has crossed into any "forbidden zones" that you may wish to designate, such as East Palo Alto. The Locate 1 will also come in handy once your baby gets his own drivers license.
You can put your fetus on the waiting list of an exclusive preschool, but don't count on it being accepted without BellyBuds. As any good parent knows, children exposed to music in the womb develop sooner than children who aren't. Sure, affixing two giant suction speakers to your engorged belly every night might not sound like fun, but neither is raising a child that can't even get into MENSA.
To the long list of problemslinkedtoincome inequality, you can now add another: political gridlock. As illustrated above, the dramatic fall and rise of income inequality over the past century correlates remarkably closely with the level of political polarization in the US House of Representatives.
On its face, this correlation seems incredibly counterintuitive. As a greater share of wealth concentrates in the hands of the top 1 percent of income earners, you'd expect the other 99 percent of Americans to act as a more-unified voting block, electing politicians who'd level the economic playing field.
But that hasn't happened. And nobody really knows why.
The creators of this chart, which accompanied a paper in the most recent issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, float a laundry list of explanations: the ideological influence of free market capitalism, falling rates of voter turnout among the poor, higher standards of living, gerrymandering, and the influence of money in politics.
Of course, correlation isn't causation—we can't say whether inequality fuels political polarization or vice versa. The widening ideological chasm in Congress has certainly prevented Washington from correcting the sort of policy mistakes—tax cuts, financial deregulation, "free trade" deals—that continue to enrich the few at the expense of everyone else. The question is whether the further growth of inequality will eventually change that, or, as it has in countries such as Egypt, fuel a politics ever more defined by extremes.
Buried in a Brazilian television report on Sunday was the disclosure that the NSA has impersonated Google and possibly other major internet sites in order to intercept, store, and read supposedly secure online communications. The spy agency accomplishes this using what's known as a "man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack," a fairly well-known exploit used by elite hackers. This revelation adds to the growing list of ways that the NSA is believed to snoop on ostensibly private online conversations.
In what appears to be a slide taken from an NSA presentation that also contains some GCHQ slides, the agency describes "how the attack was done" on "target" Google users. According to the document, NSA employees log into an internet router—most likely one used by an internet service provider or a backbone network. (It's not clear whether this was done with the permission or knowledge of the router's owner.) Once logged in, the NSA redirects the "target traffic" to an "MITM," a site that acts as a stealthy intermediary, harvesting communications before forwarding them to their intended destination.
Behind closed doors, textbook reviewers appointed by the Texas State Board of Education are pushing to inject creationism into teaching materials that will be adopted statewide in high schools this year, according to new documents obtained by watchdog groups. Records show that the textbook reviewers made ideological objections to material on evolution and climate change in science textbooks from at least seven publishers, including several of the nation's largest publishing houses. Failing to obtain a review panel's top rating can make it harder for publishers to sell their textbooks to school districts, and can even lead the state to reject the books altogether.
"I feel very firmly that 'creation science' based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption."
"Once again, culture warriors in the state board are putting Texas at risk of becoming a national laughingstock on science education," said Kathy Miller, the president of the Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit group that monitors religious extremists and "far-right issues." TFN and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) obtained the review panel documents in response to a state open-records request.
What's more, because Texas has one of the nation's largest public school systems, publishers tend to tailor their textbooks for that market and then sell the same texts to the rest of America.
Here are five striking examples of comments submitted to publishers by the state review panels urging them to water down scientific teachings.
One reviewer directly implored the textbook companies Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scientific Minds to teach "creation science":
I understand the National Academy of Science's [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that "creation science" based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.
Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories.
Another reviewer, Ray Bohlin, told the publisher Pearson/Prentice Hall that climate change isn't real because we "don't really know that the carbon Cycle [sic] has been altered." But even if it was, he continued:
In reality we don't know what climate change will do to species diversity…Question seems to imply that ecosystems will be disrupted which qwe [sic] simply don't know yet.
In the same review, Bohlin repeatedly promoted Signature in the Cell, a book written by Stephen Meyer—director of science and culture for the creationist Discovery Institute—without disclosing the fact that he is a fellow there:
There is no discussion of the origin of information bearing [sic] molecules which is absolutely essential in any origin of life scenario. Meyer's Signature in the Cell easily dismisses any RNA first [sic] scenario. The authors need to get caught up.
Reviewers examining the Pearson/Prentice Hall textbook also refer to "THE DISCREDITED PEPPERED MOTH SCENARIO" and "the replacement of discredited 'Peppered Moth' misrepresentations." (Starting during the industrial revolution, populations of peppered moths gradually changed color to match tree bark that had been darkened by soot from local industry—camouflage that made them less vulnerable to predators. After the plants closed and the pollution cleared up, the moths eventually returned to their lighter color. The moth example has been upheld as a classic case of evolution in action.)
Few of the textbook reviewers who were critical of the teaching of evolution and climate change possessed any scientific credentials, according to NCSE. Among those who did, several were active in anti-evolution organizations such as the Discovery Institute.
According to the groups, the Texas Education Agency has declined to release documents showing what changes, if any, the publishers have agreed to make in response to these reviews. A public hearing on the books will take place next week in Austin, followed by a final vote to approve or reject them in November.
The outcome of the foreclosure crisis—and the fate of many investors who bet on it—may hinge upon a city council vote tonight in a little-known working-class suburb (see update below). The Northern California town of Richmond (population: 105,000) will decide whether it wants to become first city in the country to use eminent domain to rid itself of underwater mortgages. The securities industry has threatened to make life miserable for Richmond and its residents if they move ahead with the plan.
In late July, Richmond sent letters to 32 banks and other mortgage holders, offering to buy 624 underwater mortgages at discounts to the homes' value. None of the offers were accepted. Richmond must now decide whether it will use eminent domain—a power more often used to build roads or shopping malls—to seize the homes, paying a court-determined fair market value.