“I mean, public schools have never exactly been a bastions of freedom, and kids, like all humans, love freedom.”
“I mean, public schools have never exactly been a bastions of freedom, and kids, like all humans, love freedom.”
Back in 2012, the U.S. food truck industry for the first time blew past the $1 billion revenue mark (it in fact reached $1.5 billion that year), making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the national food and restaurant market. Still, food trucks are often seen as the enemy of local restaurants. Just as cab drivers have taken to protesting Uber and other ride-hailing services, brick-and-mortar restaurant groups have rallied in cities across the nation to ban or limit food trucks.
But what do food trucks actually mean for urban economies? What impact do they have on local restaurants, food industries, and our choices as consumers?
A recent study from Elliot Anenberg of the Washington, D.C. Federal Reserve System and Edward Kung of UCLA takes a detailed look at the economy and geography of food trucks in our nation’s cities. To get at this, the study uses unique data on food trucks from the U.S. Census Bureau and a dataset of daily Washington, D.C. food truck locations, as well as social media data from Twitter and Google Trends. The study is particularly interested in the connection between food trucks and new digital technologies—especially social media—and how food trucks make use of them. Here are its five big takeaways.
Food-seeking flocking behaviour.
Network effect, more nodes, and more importantly, more connections. Check out Valdis Krebs.
We, birds, humans, weasels, get bored eating the same stuff. And to maintain health we need to eat different stuff. Variety matters. Duh.
Even normal economics understands this power law effect.
See 3 and 2.
Complexity fans will have spotted the lack of underpinning theory in the otherwise excellent CityLab piece. So I provided it, in bold italics. You’re welcome.
Merry un-Christmas to all my readers
The rise of materialism, the decline of personal agency.
Probably the best article on children’s play this decade.
“…Digital technology professor Laura Pinto — the Elf on the Shelf is “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and” [deep breath] “reify hegemonic power.”
“Elf on the Shelf presents a unique (and prescriptive) form of play that blurs the distinction between play time and real life. Children who participate in play with The Elf on the Shelf doll have to contend with rules at all times during the day: they may not touch the doll, and they must accept that the doll watches them at all times with the purpose of reporting to Santa Claus. This is different from more conventional play with dolls, where children create play-worlds born of their imagination, moving dolls and determining interactions with other people and other dolls. Rather, the hands-off “play” demanded by the elf is limited to finding (but not touching!) The Elf on the Shelf every morning, and acquiescing to surveillance during waking hours under the elf’s watchful eye. The Elf on the Shelf controls all parameters of play, who can do and touch what, and ultimately attempts to dictate the child’s behavior outside of time used for play.
“The whole thing with panopticonism under the Jeremy Bentham structure,” Pinto said, “is that you never quite knew if you were being watched or not and that forced you into behaving in a certain way. The elf is the same way.”
By that point, Moses has developed “such arrogance that he started to think himself irreplaceable.” Jacobs, on the other hand, operates with equal determination but from a deep place of humility and compassion for the citizen’s experience. The two titans of urban planning soon clash over their differences, exposing the disquieting fact that no ideal is without its tradeoffs and that what is most effective, more often than not, comes at the expense of what is most ennobling.
An occasional series of provocations for management thinkers.
May contain elements of offense.
(File under: contentious and and half-baked)
WHY OH WHY DID THIS HAPPEN, CAN YOU SEE WHAT IT IS YET?
NB: My target here is managerialism, not committed, ethical, hard-working public sector employees and elected representatives.
Rearrange these into the correct order:
1. Give police targets determined by politicians, and managers subservient to them
2. Import managerialism into the public sector
3. Destroy the multi use approach to city and town street life – thanks planners, abandoning the streets after 8pm to ne’er-do-wells, clubbers, drunks, and the poor and desperate.
4. Think it clever to save social services budgets a few quid by buying cheap places in care homes for vulnerable kids in depressed towns like Rochdale.
5. Close your children’s homes and allow the market to create cheap children’s homes in low cost areas.
6. Send vulnerable kids half-way across the country
7. Don’t see children and youth as valid members of society with needs, rights, and AGENCY, so don’t cater for their leisure and affiliation needs
8. Rack up business rates so that only poverty-level wages for fast-food work are viable in town centres.
9. Prioritise car theft, based on public complaint, over missing children who don’t complain because they don’t matter (“scrubbers” anonymous policeman, BBC Radio 4 Friday, September 12, 2014 13:37).
That was a trick question: there isn’t an order only a pattern.
Then wonder why the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal.
Discuss. Use both sides of the argument and the brain.
if you find this offensive is it less or more offensive than the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal?
Introducing ‘musings: half-baked
This is a new category, in some ways going back to my original idea of a scrapbook in the form of a blog. So half-baked musings are scraps of thinking, that I might do something with, or might pique my or someone else’s interest.
So here is the first one, file under ‘who should run the world and why’.
Very cool lady judge presiding over the Pistorius case. I’m going to extend the ‘the world should be run by 8 year old girls’ to include ‘successful black women of pensionable age’ (context: where black is an oppressed group within the dominant societies on this planet. Your culture may vary. May contain traces of nuts).
Despite being jovially couched, this is a serious notion. Its about experiences and perspectives. Its an idea emerging, slowly.
The idea is to specify, in a quasi-scientific manner, the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for a thing. In this case ‘running the world nicely’. It’s like a concept car for management systems thinkers.
Schneier is brilliant, and unpronounceable and difficult to spell. Coined the term ‘Security Theatre’. I was an unwilling participant in one when making an internal flight from a city in the UK to a city in the UK to speak at an event. On the return leg I spent a hours waiting in the departure lounge in Inverness with Tim Gill, another speaker. I had bought two bottles of scotch and hadn’t realised they needed to checked in. Eventually it transpired that these dangerous bottles containing possible explosives could be kept in the office for up to 7 days. [pause for the absurdity of keeping ‘bombs’ in an office in the centre of an airport to sink in] I was told they would be destroyed if not collected. Like I believe that in Scotland. I rang the mom and pop taxi firm I’d used and they agreed to store them for me until I could collect them. Which turned out to be never as I have not been back. But a mate was flyfishing nearby and collected them for me, a year later. Thank you, old chap.
Notice how human kindness has to work overtime to fill the gaps? One thing security theatre smashed effectively was trust, another is compassion. But humans, on a one to one basis, will always help. It’s a primate thing.
Footnote: my public school educated friend tipped them a tenner. That jarred. Been worrying at it for years. I think this is why, and it relates to the notion of ‘conviviality’ as described by Illich (googlim): it’s a class thing. Posh people, and don’t get me wrong, my friend has been a staunch supporter and had put plenty of work my way, do the tipping thing, working-class people don’t. Our expectation is that we help each other out without thought of reward. (There are exceptions and you can guess what they might be). I suspect that Hamish and Marie were bemused by his gesture and might have quietly donated the ten quid to charity. Having said all that, I wish I was half as gentlemanly as my posh friend.
Promoted by this posting on Facebook, nothing to do with this conference. Yesterday I visited the Children’s Day website, which had remarkably similar aims and draws on similar sources as the beloved Playday.
The two together provoked this thought:
Failure #4 is the failure to promote the key distinction between play for older children, over 5s, (and, to a lesser extent, from youth) and play in the early years.
They are different. The play we talk about is different. We weeble on about all children need play or all humans need play, but we miss the point about all this.
Which is this, to use an inflammatory metaphor:
The play we are about is after the apron strings have been cut.
It’s pavement play near your house, it’s playing out, is exploring, it’s hanging out with your peers, it’s that ‘when I look back I realise that most of my favourite play memories were of play with no adults around’ play.
I can unpack this, this is just the provocation, dear reader.
KIND THINKER OUT IN THE WORLD
Kind thinker, out in
the world, away
from the white towers;
down by the riv’r.
Forthright, flexible and firm —
the three frees.
Living, in the realm
of the possible:
not ‘they should’, only
‘well, maybe we can…’
Else we forget, the
value of play
and the value of
his playful life.
10:26 AM, Thursday, June 12, 2014, revised 2:02 PM Friday, September 5, 2014 , and again so the scansion is better Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 2:04 PM.
A fitting obituary is here:
David has kindly given me permission to share his list of media coverage of what I have labelled ‘play/child-related issues’.
The list is a partial one, as he explains below. He says:
“Interesting research fact: There have been more than 50 articles, news reports, and radio pieces in mainstream media (New York Times, Slate.com, Washington Post, NPR, KQED, ABC News, etc.) in the United States on children’s play since the beginning of 2014.”
“So right now I’ve collected data on the 50+ media references since start of 2014. I’m in the process of going back year-by-year over the past 5 years to see if 2014 does indeed stand out as having a significantly higher number of ‘mainstream media’ (broadcast, print, web) discussions of play. I can easily provide you the 50+ references for 2014 with date, publication, url, title, etc., it’s all in a Microsoft Word doc.”
“I am … interested in looking at things from a different perspective, ie., is there a potentially larger social-cultural shift occurring in America that is either allowing or actively encouraging this sort of mainstream media coverage to happen? In other words, why now? Why these particular stories? What does this say, if anything, about American society in 2014?”
My own cynical view is that this media kerfuffle does not, of itself, signal a change in US (or UK) society. I wish it did. Nevertheless, if nothing else the covering is cheering, and may inspire. Feel free to use the list anyway you wish.
Please contact David directly if you have any questions or requests. For my part I will update this item whenever I can (not guaranteeing!).
DAVID’S LIST ( as of MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2014)
The Overprotected Kid
The Atlantic, March 19, 2014
Why Free Play is the Best Summer School
The Atlantic, June 20, 2014
Recess Without Rules
The Atlantic, January 28, 2014
Inside a European Adventure Playground
The Atlantic, March 19, 2014
How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play
The Atlantic, June 30, 2014
Kids These Days: Growing Up Too Fast or Never At All?
National Public Radio, March 20, 2014
Where the Wild Things Play
National Public Radio, August 4, 2014
Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too
National Public Radio, August 6, 2014
Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain
National Public Radio, August 6, 2014
When Kids Start Playing to Win
National Public Radio, August 5, 2014
What Kids Can Learn From a Water Balloon Fight
National Public Radio, June 25, 2014
For Kids With Special Needs, More Places to Play
National Public Radio, August 27, 2013
Kids Need More Structured Play Time, Not Less
New York Times, May 1, 2014
All Children Should be Delinquents
New York Times, July 12, 2014
Mom Faces Felony Charge for Letting Girl Play in Park
ABC News, July 28, 2014
Play for Children: Form and Freedom
Huffington Post, July 11, 2014
If Children are Learning, Then Let Them Play
Huffington Post, November 1, 2013
Dad Charged With Endangerment After Son Skips Church to Go Play
Huffington Post, June 30, 2014
Stressed Out in America: Five Reason to Let Your Kids Play
Huffington Post, February 28, 2014
Banish the Playdate
Huffington Post, July 24, 2014
Best Type of Play? Let Kids do What They Want
NBC News, 9News Colorado, August 6, 2014
How Play Wires Kids’ Brains for Social and Academic Success
KQED California, August 7, 2014
Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play in Kindergarten
KQED California, July 23, 2014
A Land Where Kids Roam Free
KQED California, July 18, 2014
Can Free Play Prevent Depression and Anxiety in Kids?
KQED California, June 29, 2014
Cities Want Young Families to Play and Stay
Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2014
Playing Children, Out of Sight and Mind
New York Daily News, August 4, 2014
Visiting Lecturer Says Play is Effective Learning Tool
Iowa City Press-Citizen, August 1, 2014
In This Era of Helicopter Parenting, Letting Your Child Play is a Crime
Charleston City Paper, July 23, 2014
Play: The Work of a Child
Green Bay Press Gazette, July 12, 2014
The Best Toy for a Kid on a Plane is Not an iPad
ABC News, July 23, 2014
Send the Kids Outside to Play: Study
Chicago Tribune, July 17, 2014
Even Playing Dress-Up Teaches Children How to Handle Emotions
Springfield News Leader, July 11, 2014
Letting Imagination Win
Washington Post, August 8, 2014
Ten Ways to Fix the Mess That is Kindergarten
Washington Post, August 7, 2014
Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Washington Post, July 8, 2014
Are We Overprotecting Our Kids?
Katie Couric Show, July 9, 2014
Should Parents Let Their Kids Take More Risks?
PBS NewsHour, May 9, 2014
Does Overprotecting Children Put Them at Risk?
CBS News, March 20, 2014
Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods
Slate.com, May 2014
What Playfulness Can Do For You
Boston Globe, July 20, 2014
How the American Playground was Born in Boston
Boston Globe, March 28, 2014
A Parklet Rises in Boston
Boston Globe, July 14, 2014
Help Kids’ Imaginations Soar
Miami Herald, July 13, 2014
For July, Let Kids be Kids
Columbia Daily Tribune, July 13, 2014
The Cognitive Benefits of Play: Effects on the Learning Brain
7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders
Forbes.com, January 16, 2014
Too Much Too Soon: Why Children Should Spend More Time Playing and Start School Later
Forbes.com, January 30, 2014
Why Playful Learning is the Key to Prosperity
Forbes.com, April 10, 2014
Mom Arrested After Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park by Himself
KTLA News, July 31, 2014
“For my street – and the others who have shared their experiences – new and rich connections have grown from sharing time and fun on the street during playing out sessions. And they have changed the way I feel about living here for the better.”
We know more about regenerating a rainforest or a prairie than we do about regenerating the public realm.
We really need to get out more.
And we really need to study more.
PlayingOut, is one neccesary, but—of course—of itself, insufficient condition for this regeneration of the public realm to take place. Pun placed intentionally!
Read and follow their excellent bloggery.
What follows is the (obviously) unofficial view of a senior police officer on the subject of ASBOs, ABCs and other legal attempts to control the nuisance of children.
The officer is commenting on a report, which you can read by following the link below.
The officer said:
“I am writing in a non official capacity – my role is that of *** in ***
If I can take the opportunity to comment on your ABC report. I thought it
was spot on and I will ensure it will be sent to my officers responsible for
delivering and working with those who deliver ABCs.
I do see a use for ABCs but as you point out, when the system is vague
and threatening it does nothing to inspire me that this is a tool that will
be of any merit or worth.
Surely children who may be experiencing problems in their lives require
support and should not be growing up in an authoritarian environment?
Thank you for a thought provoking report.”
The report he or she is commenting on is this one:
Report re: The Compatibility of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with
Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights
By Jan Cosgrove and Matthew Cosgrove
Have any of our noble play-related university lecturers done any work in this area? I would love to see it.
You can find out more about FPFC here:
Read this blog, please. If you value any of my bloggage, read this other bloke’s blog. We need to bring as much as we can of this level of surgical precision to management.
If psychology can be a science, (a claim I find dubious having obtained a degree in it from an excellent college ranked number 3 or 4 in the UK, Hindustani).
(Hindustani? How could this idiotphone think I meant that when I wrote incidentally? This is why the robots well not take over just yurt)
As I was saying, if psychology can be a science then so can management.
There was a brief kerfuffle in the business schools about why they didn’t see the crash coming and why they failed to teach ethics to MBAs. Six months later all forgotten. Gary Wossname would have put on a conference or earned a big fee for meaculpaing, or both. Business school profs make admen look shamefaced and moral.
I’m not advocating Taylor’s Scientific Management. We have some better science now. And proper true facts are harder to come by in management consultancy. But we could work a lot harder than we do to seek truth amid opinion and cant.
Please read the wise words of the junior doctor.
If you saw the Mail on Sunday today you would have seen the above headline.
According to Wikiquotes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 4-time US senator and academic, once said “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”. Rather than writing an extensive counter-diatribe of rhetoric on the ridiculousness of the article, the irresponsible attitude to health reporting and Jeremy Hunt in general, I have decided to try a new form of discussion. I call it ‘The Facts’.
Here are the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines for referring patients to a specialist with the suspicion of cancer. http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG27*
This is how common bowel cancer is: there are 47.2 new cases per 100,000 people per year (crude). This equals around 40,000 new cases nationally, which means nearly 1 case per UK GP per year.
This is how common breast cancer is: there are 155…
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