The falling leaves, and other parts

Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history.

maple treeYou can blame Jaquandor for much of this post. A bit ago, he linked to this lovely poem about an old maple tree coming down.

I don’t think I pay attention to the trees, or nature generally, enough. A few months ago, a huge branch fell from our tree, a maple as it turns out, in the farthest part of the back yard. The massive branch, too heavy for me to move, barely missed the shed, but it turned into an accordion our compost container.

Just recently, the branches have been removed, and the tree is now clipped, but still massive. The last time said the tree was trimmed, we were told it may need to come down altogether in a few years if the clipping doesn’t help it regenerate. That’d be too bad, for it provides great shade.

Meanwhile, nearer to the house, an oak tree has sprung up. It wasn’t even there when we moved in in 2000, and we didn’t plant it, but it is thriving nonetheless.
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Also, Jaquandor did one of his random Wednesday Conversation starter questions. To wit:

“Should we get rid of the dollar bill in favor of a coin?
“And what changes would you make to US currency in general?”

Yes to the dollar coin (which Americans seem to have rejected). This still bugs me. The US Mint continues to make the Presidential dollar coins, four each year. 2015 brings Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, which I’ll buy in November from a vendor at thrice face value because they are no longer distributed to the banks.

Take Jackson off the $20 bill and put Harriet Tubman on it.

Leave the damn $10 bill alone; Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history, he was a founding father, I attend what was his church (albeit a different building), AND they’ve made a cool, hip hop Broadway musical about him. (The junior senator from our state agrees about Hamilton and the $10.)

Someone else suggested getting rid of the penny, which cost way more than its face value to mint; I’d be good with that as well. Canada has one dollar and two-dollar coins, as well as no more pennies, which pretty much ensures that the United States will maintain the status quo.
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When I visit Blogger blogs to make comments, usually for ABC Wednesday, I HATE the setting by which one has to verify one is not a robot by picking all the steaks, or salads, or whatever. The pics are small enough that it is really a hassle.

And it’s worse when the instructions are in, e.g., French. I had to pick out the “boisson”, which, oddly, I remembered from high school French as some sort of drink, but still.

I also hate the ones that ask me to do a math problem, and the word numbers are in, German. I guessed it was four plus two, but it’s likewise a pain.

I is for Inherently good?

“But if babies have positive feelings for the similar puppet, do they actually have negative feelings for the one who’s different?”

Watching CBS News 60 Minutes this summer, I noted that they repeated a story Born good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality. I found it fascinating, as I watched it for a second time.

“It’s a question people have asked for as long as there have been people: are human beings inherently good? Are we born with a sense of morality or do we arrive blank slates, waiting for the world to teach us right from wrong?”

There were a series of experiments done on children six months old at a clinic associated with Yale University: “In offering babies this seemingly small, innocuous choice — graham crackers or Cheerios — [researcher Karen] Wynn is probing something big: the origins of bias. The tendency to prefer others who are similar to ourselves.

“So will [baby] Nate, who chose Cheerios over graham crackers, prefer this orange cat, who also likes Cheerios — over the grey cat who likes graham crackers instead? Apparently so.

“But if babies have positive feelings for the similar puppet, do they actually have negative feelings for the one who’s different? To find out, Wynn showed babies the grey cat — the one who liked the opposite food, struggling to open up the box to get a toy. Will Gregory here want to see the graham cracker eater treated well? Or does he want him treated badly? Gregory seemed to want the different puppet treated badly.”

Reporter Lesley Stahl notes that the child went with his bias.

“And so did Nate and 87 percent of the other babies tested. From this Wynn concludes that infants prefer those ‘who harm… others’ who are unlike them.”

I can’t help but wonder if most people, including adults, react similarly, depending on whether they relate to different individuals in a dispute.

But there are also positive outcomes in this study. Especially as children get older, altruism develops, a sense of fairness.

Here is the video, and here’s a bonus feature, Is your child fair when no one is watching?


ABC Wednesday – Round 13