Does Japan really need more people?

Japan population is decreasing:

C’mon, Japan, Procreate!

Despite a slight uptick in the fertility rate in 2010, Japan’s population just keeps on falling. The country’s population decline last year was the worst since the government started keeping records in 1899.

The number of deaths minus births came to 125,700, surpassing the 100,000 threshold for the first time, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. There have been more deaths than births in Japan for four years in a row now, making the country a demographic time bomb and a laboratory for the rest of the world when it comes to aging.

The ministry said the nation’s birthrate stood at 1.39 in 2010, up 0.02 percentage point for fourth straight year of gains. But the birthrate has stayed well below the ratio of 4.54 and 2.16 compared with the baby booms in 1947 and 1971, respectively. None too encouraging. And consider this statistic: according to Kathy Matsui at Goldman Sachs, there are more pets in Tokyo than children under the age of 14. [Source: WSJ]

Is procreation the ultimate goal for a civilization?

Parents worry over the wrong things

According to NPR parents are worrying over the wrong things.

These are the top 5 things parents are worrying about according to Christie Barnes, mother of four and author of The Paranoid Parents Guide:

  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs

But how do children really get hurt or killed?

  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning

And the explanation?

Why such a big discrepancy between worries and reality? Barnes says parents fixate on rare events because they internalize horrific stories they hear on the news or from a friend without stopping to think about the odds the same thing could happen to their children.

Read more at NPR.

Black American kids are cheaper

Did you know it is, in average, $8,000 cheaper to adopt a black baby than a white one? And that boys are cheaper by $2,000?

Discount babies

THE market is not politically correct. It often assigns lower values to humans (their wages) based on their race or sex, even after controlling for education and experience. It’s just as cruel to children. A few years ago I was disturbed to learn that it’s cheaper to adopt black American children than white. I recently had lunch with NYU Stern School economist Allan Collard-Wexler, who has estimated adoption price sensitivity. He found just how much adoption fees are sensitive to the race and gender of a baby. It’s about $8,000 cheaper to adopt a black baby than a white or Hispanic child and girls tend to cost about $2,000 more than boys.

What can explain the preference for non-black girls? The preference for girls is interesting because people tend to favour male biological children. The authors speculate this may be because girls are considered “safer” in terms of dysfunctional behaviour. The data also includes same-sex couples, which tend to favour girls (both male and female partners), even more than heterosexual couples. (Source: The Economist)

Ah, sensitive issues. Still interesting though.

8 year old passes Microsoft Cert, wants create “new operational system”

Wow, just wow. He wants to create a new operational system. Okay I don’t mean to laugh at his little mistake. He is the youngest certified computer system administrator. This is just ridiculous. It also goes to show how useless these certifications actually are.

And when congratulated by Microsoft, the 8 year old Casalan’s reaction was gold “The Microsoft officials gave me computer games and DVDs with cartoons when I passed the exams because I am a child. That was nice, but I’m not really interested in those things.” I somehow think the Microsoft officials did what’s most appropriate.

Marko Casalan, 8, is officially world’s youngest IT whizz

At the age of 8, Marko has become the world’s youngest certified computer system administrator and was deemed the Mozart of Computers by the press after passing exams for IT professionals with the computer giant Microsoft.

“The Microsoft officials gave me computer games and DVDs with cartoons when I passed the exams because I am a child. That was nice, but I’m not really interested in those things,” young Marko told The Times.

“I’d like to be a computer scientist when I grow up and create a new operational system.”

His parents, who are IT experts and run a computer school for children, are considering sending Marko abroad to a specialised institute of learning for gifted children, as none exists in Macedonia.

“Marko displayed exceptional learning abilities at a very early age. He was able to replicate a computer operation after only reading about it on the internet. Now we ask him for help when we have some IT related problem at work,” Marko’s mother, Radica Calasan, 38, told The Times. (Source: TimesOnline)

I generally don’t agree with putting kids through these gifted programs. They’re hardly that beneficial. I feel a kid who enjoys his or her childhood with other friends of similar age gain a hundred times more experience than a kid with an Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). Well, just saying.

Never piss a tuba player, he’ll trip your kid

Some little kid is running around and generally being annoying while this band is performing for a crowd. The tuba player in the back right doesn’t put up with that kind of crap.

Little Kid vs Tuba Player

Never piss a tuba player, he’ll trip your kid. What a mean thing to do! But I laughed anyway. And it was synchronized with the music too.