Digital Genetics

Family

MIT Scientist Captures 90,000 Hours of Video of His Son’s First Words & Graphs It

by on Mar.08, 2011, under Family, Psychology, science, Society

MIT cognitive scientist Deb Roy, started a project five years ago, upon bringing his newborn son home from the hospital, to record his family’s movement and speech inside their house. Since then, Roy has used various techniques to analyze and distill the 200 terabytes of raw data into useful and interesting visualizations.

“For example, Roy was able to track the length of every sentence spoken to the child in which a particular word — like ‘water’ — was included. Right around the time the child started to say the word, what Roy calls the ‘word birth,’ something remarkable happened. ‘Caregiver speech dipped to a minimum and slowly ascended back out in complexity.’ In other words, when mom and dad and nanny first hear a child speaking a word, they unconsciously stress it by repeating it back to him all by itself or in very short sentences. Then as he gets the word, the sentences lengthen again. The infant shapes the caregivers’ behavior, the better to learn.”

Roy also compiled videos showing each time his son used certain words over a period of many months, clearly illustrating how those parts of the child’s linguistic capabilities evolved over time.

Click here for the full length article

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Salt Dough Creations

by on Nov.19, 2010, under Art, Cooking, Craft, Family

Looking for something fun and inexpensive to do with the kids? salt dough is the answer. The dough itself is very easy to make – the hard part is deciding what to make with it.

With christmas fast approaching, and a tree sorely needing decorating, salt dough provided an fantastic opportunity to make some homemade decorations and presents.

The recipe is simple:

  • 2 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Cup Table Salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 120°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix table salt and flour together. Gradually add 1/2 cup of water and mix to desired consistency. Knead the dough on a flat surface, adding a few more drops of water as needed (but not making it too moist).  Bake decorations for 2 1/2 hours or until firm and dry. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips:

  • You can store prepared salt dough in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two before using.
  • You can add color to the dough by mixing food coloring or paint into the water before adding it to the flour/salt mix. Alternatively, you can paint the finished baked dough with acrylic paint.
  • Painted objects should be sealed on all sides with polyurethane spray or clear varnish to make them lasting gifts or keepsakes.
  • After baking, smooth any rough edges with fine sandpaper. An emery board will also do the trick.
  • When adding small molded pieces, always put a dab of water in the spot where the piece is going to be added. baking will “cement” the piece in place.

More Resources

To help you with your own salt dough creations, I found the following resources quite useful:

 

 

My Fruit bowl prior to baking in oven

My fruit bowl experiment prior to baking in the oven

Post-oven fruit bowl

Post-oven fruit bowl

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