7 Quick Takes Friday


M(3yo) and I learned that we had been duped for years by Eric Carle’s classic of children’s literature, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. That line – “He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself.” Sounds so nice and domestic, but – Nope. Turns out that caterpillars shed their furry skins to reveal the chrysalis inside. And Boy. Is. It. Disgusting. The process of skin shedding, that is. (No need, faithful reader, to point out that we had been getting our information about the caterpillar life cycle from a book that has the caterpillar eating chocolate cake and an entire sausage, not to mention a lollipop at one point… We have repented. And still like the book.)

The Youtube video that set us straight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQOFh1exp3A


M(3yo) learned the concept of zero last night at dinner. Three dried apricots turned into four and then five as her daddy divided them and they counted while she ate – and then, once her mouth was quite full, there were – how many? – left on the table. Zero. One small step for a three-year-old, one giant leap for assorted civilizations.


I learned from The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt that “It is inconceivable that you would ever see two chimpanzees carrying a log together” (p. 204).


More immediately relevant, according to Haidt’s research:

Liberals have a three-foundation morality, whereas conservatives use all six [Care/harm, Liberty/oppression, Fairness/cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, Sanctity/degradation]. Liberal moral matrices rest on the Care/harm, Liberty/oppression, and Fairness/cheating foundations, although liberals are often willing to trade away fairness (as proportionality) when it conflicts with compassion or with their desire to fight oppression. Conservative morality rests on all six foundations, although conservatives are more willing than liberals to sacrifice Care and let some people get hurt in order to achieve their many other moral objectives. (p. 184)

Lots of other fascinating info where that came from.

TED Talk by Jonathan Haidt on the same subject: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html


Cooking cheat: A jar of good pasta sauce + lentils + diced carrots + a couple pinches of dried thyme, a bay leaf, and some water = a lentil soup good enough that we were all happy to eat leftovers for lunch the next day.


S(1yo) learned how to (very realistically) cough at will. And he can fake-laugh, too, but only when he feels like it.


Turns out that “Contrary to widespread misconceptions, [Thomas] Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase the popularity of the toilet, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock. He was noted for the quality of his products and received several royal warrants.” Ah well. Thanks, Wikipedia.