Friday, February 27, 2015

Funny Kids

For 9 months I was too sick for makeup. And for the last 7 weeks I've been too sleep-deprived for makeup. But today I felt good, so I put makeup on. Jack just looked at me, looked again, and then said, "Why dirt on eyes, Mom?"  He tried to wipe it off, and then said, "You have a goopy on eyes, Mom."  :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Energy-making home

Anda and I have spent a lot of time over the years dreaming up ways people could harness "people energy" to make electricity for their homes.

Things we've thought of:

Mini solar panels that charge just one lightbulb, mounted around the house on the outside or on the roof. The technology exists, but it's used for shoplights and for camping bulbs (or lights used in rural third-world areas).  I'd like to make some can lights that mount into an outside wall near the roof line, with the solar panel on the outside of the wall. I'd put a line of them all across the living room wall and use them in addition to regular lights. You'd have to wire them to a light switch, but that shouldn't be too hard since those camping lights and shed lights have switches.  Each bulb would have a battery that charged through the day and lighted the bulb at night--the bulbs aren't particularly bright, but a bunch of them would be fine.


Moving water. Lots of water moves into, around, and out of the house. There should be a way to harness that moving water energy on a micro scale to produce power.  Like, Anda said, why not a little generator that makes a bit of electricity when the toilet flushes and fills (on the clean water end, of course).  Or on the water main--they already have a meter there. Why not make the meter also a mini generator/battery charging kit?

Walking around. Anda says why not pressure plates under flooring and on stairs to use the impact energy to convert to useful power for the house?  They're doing this under a road in the Netherlands. Why not on a micro scale in your house?

There is a lot of thermal energy in houses. Why not put in a passive attic fan--the kind that vents heat out in the summer (these are all over in Las Vegas)--and capture the energy of the heat rising out of the attic?

Also, recycling heat. We are constantly venting heat off things--back of the fridge, back of the air conditioner, off the processors in computers. We wondered why we don't find a way to capture that heat (especially since it's the form of moving air a lot of times) to "repay" the cost of venting it (running the fans that get it off the machines).

None of these would make a lot of power. Nothing worth any money commercially.  But the idea we have is that each house might be able to collect enough little sources of power to make their own energy, at least in part, supplemented by the power company.  So the power company powers your fridge and computer, but you charge your phone and run all your lights from energy you make yourself.

Most of these are not possible for us to make ourselves, so we just keep dreaming.  But if I ever buy a new house or have money for remodeling, I'm totally going to make the can lights that are wired to mini solar panels outside.  That will be so easy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Did I just read that?

"The technology could later be used to repair spinal chords, improve epilepsy, and diabetes."

I'm not sure what "to diabetes" means...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Funny kids

The kids asked me to start recording funny kids things again here.

So a couple from today:

Nathanael categorically refused to eat the cupcake he decorated for his Kindergarten class party.  He said the teacher said he should decorate it, but since she didn't mention eating it, he didn't have explicit permission and therefore should not eat it. He made me email the teacher to ask if it was okay.

For this next one to make any sense at all, you have to know that all my boys have their molars crowned. All their molars. And their front teeth pulled. And it usually happens before they are 3 years old because they are born with corrupt baby teeth, so they don't remember getting the teeth pulled or crowned--from their perspective, the teeth have always been silver.

Okay, so today Elijah peeked into Emmeline's mouth when she was "talking" to Tim (oh, so so cute to see her, at 5 weeks old, trying to have a conversation with her daddy).  Anyway, Elijah rushed over to me all excited and said, "Mom! Emmeline is getting teeth already!"  I said, "She is?"  He replied, "Yes! When she opened her mouth, I saw silver!"


I guess the teeth just come in that way...

Now that I think about it, that would be less trouble if they came in crowned already.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Did I just read that?

"President Obama asks to end violence against women at Grammys"

The women attending the Grammys have traditionally been subject to violence, and the president is opposed....

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Seeing a picture

The other day, a friend posted a picture on facebook that her 2-year-old daughter had created. It was a pretty picture, of a rainbow of lines drawn on lined paper.

I looked at it and thought, "Wow. That little girl is a scientist! See how she saw the pattern on the page (lines) and then recreated it, changing the variables (the color of the lines) to see what would happen.  That's amazing."

Her mother posted, along with the picture, a comment about how her daughter is clearly an artist, having created something so beautiful at such a young age.

It was the same picture and the same little girl, but our interpretations of what was going on in her mind, and the long-term results of that way of thinking, were profoundly different. And probably equally right. Or wrong. Obviously we can't guess what a little girl is going to become based on one picture (although her mom has a much better grasp on that than I do!).

It made me wonder, though, how much of what our children become is influenced by how we, from the outside, interpret them and their actions. Actually, that's kind of scary. What if she was born to be an artist, and I looked at the picture and saw the mind of a scientist at work and therefore provided her with science tools and toys, science camps, science magazines....all in good intentions of giving her what she might love most.  What if my interpretations of my own kids actually holds them back from developing into what and who they are?


Being a parent is scary. There are a million billion ways to do it wrong and mess it up.

Good thing kids keep giving us feedback, so that we can adjust course when we screw up or misread something. Good thing kids don't have to be just one thing or another. Good thing it's not my job to make them into that one thing (whatever it is), to mold them or create them or determine who and what they should be. Good thing I'm not the boss of their lives or futures, not the determiner of their souls.

Good thing most kids turn out just fine despite us parents and our mistakes. Hopefully they forgive me some day when they realize all the ways I did it wrong (because they will, at some point, realize). My intentions are good. They really are.