Here there be dragons

For some, when they figure out who they want to lead their country, they ask themselves which candidate seems more like a regular guy or gal, someone they could see themselves comfortably have a drink with.

Smarter people take the question further, and ask what one New Zealander asked of his prime minister: are you a regular guy, or a shape-shifting reptile bent on driving humanity toward enslavement?

Prime Minister John Key responded, saying he went to both a doctor and a veterinarian to make sure, and the answer came back that he was not.

Now it’s Obama’s turn.

Continue reading

Man vs. Nature: The Path to Victory

Bullying, and how to stop it, has been a major topic lately. Now a school in New Zealand is making news for possibly having found the solution: eliminating safety.

Principal Bruce McLachlan of Swanson Primary School in Auckland signed up to be part of a study two years ago to see what happens when you give children more freedom at recess, but McLachlan went further and got rid of the rules altogether.

The boring, sterile playground equipment is gone, replaced by trees to climb and the “loose parts pit” full of random things like tires and a fire hose to play in. Now the kids are free to ride skateboards and scooters, explore the natural elements around them, and play something called “bullrush” which sounds like something that should be studied for concussion rates. The results showed the kids were more active, which is what was expected.

What was completely unexpected by the researchers were the number of behavioral changes shown. Continue reading