October 8, 2021
6-year-old: School picture day is coming up.
Me: I'll add it to the calendar.
6: Can you wash my cape?
--James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn; @XplodingUnicorn
weekly survival tip
Anyone else struggle to get more than, “recess was fun” when you ask your children about their day?? Yeah, we thought there might be a few of you out there. That’s where this piece comes in: actionable tactics to get your littles to open up and share…it does sometimes happen…
The only likely way to have missed the news about the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who testified before Congress earlier this week, was if you buried your head under your blankets and pillows for a few days. (And listen, no judgments here…) But her story, and what she has uncovered about Facebook’s nearly unflinching pattern of choosing profits over people (a refrain in all the media coverage) despite the real dangers such choices have created for teenagers, our cohesiveness as a society and our democracy no less, is truly incredible. So, if you missed any of the news, here’s a few items to catch you up. First, Haugen’s full interview with 60 Minutes, when she first revealed her identity, is worth watching. Then you might read up in a Bloomberg Opinion piece why her revelations and her testimony may be so impactful. In short, with the trove of tens of thousands of documents she shared this supremely well-spoken woman, armed with a Harvard MBA and several patents under her name, “revealed what many suspected but couldn’t prove: that Facebook created more lenient secret rules for elite users, that Instagram made body issues worse for one in three teen girls, and that Facebook knowingly amped up outrage on its main site through an algorithm change in 2018, potentially leading to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building.” It’s damning, to say the least. But given her clear suggestions for how to handle these problems, she also gives regulators a way better way to respond than they’ve had before. Finally, if you want to read the actual complaints against Facebook that Haugen’s lawyers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on her behalf, head to CBS News.
Another woman making news, but this time because of her spectacular fall from grace, is Elizabeth Holmes. The founder of the now-defunct blood testing company Theranos is currently standing criminal trial and facing up to 20 years in jail for her actions. If you need background on Holmes, her company and now her trial, check out The Dropout, a podcast that digs in deep on the whole sordid tale. We’ve also appreciated this opinion piece and this reported story that both explore the impact her lies and mismanagement have had on other female entrepreneurs. In a word: it’s been bad. Once looked upon as a hopeful example of how women could not only break into the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley founders, but dominate that world, Holmes’s fraud only seemed to further shore up women’s exclusion from that space. “The fallout of her fraudulence served to calcify the barriers,” Lindsay Crouse writes in her op-ed, “especially when it comes to the smart women trying to execute on their own visions in her wake.”
The fight to protect the environment, to slow climate change, to safeguard wildlife and human life is not an easy one. And given the increasingly dire predictions by scientists and experts about how quickly the world is warming and the resulting catastrophic consequences for our futures, it’s also not so easy to remain positive. But Jane Goodall does. In fact, the 87-year-old environmentalist who was the first to discover that chimpanzees use tools after spending many solitary months in the Tanzanian forest observing them when she was just 20, is as hopeful as ever. It’s what her new book entitled, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times,” is all about: “the centrality of hope to activism.” Coming out later this month, the book focuses on her argument that being hopeful is key to our survival, key to staving off apathy and inaction. “If young people succumb to the doom and gloom,” she says, “if they lose hope—that’s the end.” Some may (and do) call it naïve. But that kind of optimism sounds a lot better to us than the alternative. We’re here for it, Jane, all day long.
We all want our kids to be active (seriously, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t). But doing those activities safely is just as important as doing them at all. That’s where helmets come in, even for your littlest iksplorers who are still only old enough to ride in the Chariot behind your bike. Everyone needs a helmet. But picking—and finding—the right helmet can be tricky. The guidance here from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a useful place to start with a comprehensive overview on why helmets are so important, how to fit them properly and which ones to use for which activities. Because, although we might wish it were otherwise, few helmets cross over from one sport to the next.
When it comes to buying those helmets, there are lots of good options out there. But our favorites include Nut Case and Poc. We love Nut Case helmets because they are well-priced and have sizes that actually fit babies, which is not an easy feature to find. Check them out here. You can also read a review of these helmets on a new website called Kids Ride Bikes by our friends from Tales of a Mountain Mama. And, when you’re done with that, they’ve got other resources for all things biking and kids that may prove helpful. Another helmet we’ve used for a long time (for ourselves and the littles) are Poc helmets. We love how safe they are and, while they’re definitely on the pricier side, we find the quality is high.
Now that you have your noggins protected, you can head over to our Adventure Goodies page to see what new items we have there that your iksplorers might need—it’s constantly evolving! We’ve got books and environmentally-friendly toys and even wool socks! Have a look. You won’t regret it.