David Orth-Moore is a regional director for Catholic Relief Services, an international aide group that provides services for more than 100 million people in 91 countries on five continents. The following is a letter from David to his children about the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died December 5, 2013, at the age of 95.
I wanted to share with you my feelings about Nelson Mandela, who passed away today at the ripe age of 95.
I remember in college thinking about the terrible injustice in South Africa and how could they imprison a man just for speaking out against racial injustice. Of course in high school I wasn’t aware of these kinds of things like you kids are about the world. I was buried in white middle class suburbia unaware of what was happening in the world. But in college, I began to wake up and have a new consciousness about inequality in the world, whether in Latin American, South Africa, or Soviet Union (Russia). This all happened while I was in college, even a very conservative college in rural Pennsylvania.
What you may not hear today was that our country was slow to officially condemn apartheid. Ronald Reagan had to be pushed to finally put the moral weight of the USA against the injustice of apartheid. In fact, at first President Reagan called the African National Congress (ANC), the South African political party exiled to neighboring African countries for fighting against apartheid, a terrorist organization. Dick Cheney (former Vice President to Bush II), voted against economic sanctions to South Africa in the 1980s, even when the rest of the world was condemning apartheid. It was from the college campuses around the United States that the pressure came, people marching in front of the South Africa embassy in Washington in 1980s and pushing for disinvestment in the South Africa economy. The economic and political sanctions against the apartheid government finally brought it down. I even contacted my financial accountant in Merrill Lynch in the late 1980s to disinvest my small investments in any South African companies.
I am a bit embarrassed as an American to think how long it took us as a country to condemn apartheid considering our own history of slavery and the slow pace of civil rights for all Americans, regardless of color. I guess the important thing is that we finally did come around, and America’s weight did help to convince the white South African government to yield to majority rule.
In Senegal (while I was in Peace Corps), I finally learned how important a symbol Nelson Mandela was in all of Africa. While the rest of the continent won it’s freedom from their colonialists, South Africa stood against the world alone in promoting the concept of inequality among races. They maintained that white skin was better than black skin and reinforced this idea with a barrel of a gun. Society treated the majority black South Africans as dogs – literally. They were forced into makeshift cities to live in metal shacks that had no plumbing; they went to schools without resources and books; and all the while they had to serve the whites – in their homes, factories, mines...
If you want to know more about how blacks in South Africa were treated as late in 1970s – when I was in my teens - there was movie called “Cry Freedom” about Steven Biko, who died at the hands of a police beating for his role in promoting freedom in his own country. The movie has the added benefit of seeing Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline early in their careers.
Back then, Mandela was a symbol of moral authority for injustice throughout the world. And those of us in Peace Corps wondered when South Africa would become free, where 95% of the population would be able to govern themselves. It’s important to know that many of us around the world thought when the moment of freedom came, there would be an exodus (or worse) of whites from South Africa because they would fear being ruled by the black majority. How wrong we were because Mandela, as president, reassured and encouraged whites to remain and work with blacks in the country. He established a ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the sole purpose of letting everyone state what happened to them, and if you were white, and perpetrated crimes against blacks (or vice versa), to be forgiven. There was no punishment for anyone who came forward and spoke about what they did so long as they asked for forgiveness. This model of forgiveness is now being used in South Sudan following their struggle for independence over the past 50 years. He truly lived Christ’s message of forgiveness and set a good example.
Mandela was finally released from prison in 1990. I remember the moment well because Unkie called me (and woke me up) in the morning to turn on the TV because Mandela was walking out of prison. It was an electric moment and finally started the process of transferring power from minority white rule to majority rule. I was deeply in love with Africa and celebrated like everyone else at the new day. Mom and I probably celebrated at Kilimanjaro Club in downtown Washington.
From release to becoming President and elder statesman, Mandela has been a symbol of righteous struggle for equality, perseverance in the face of tremendous odds, and the simple grace of forgiveness to help heal old wounds. Following his presidency, South Africa continues to follow the democratic traditions he established and the country is by far the most economically advanced on the continent.
Mandela’s simple act of fighting inequality cost him 24 years in prison. At any moment, he could have renounced his struggle and accepted apartheid in order to be released. But he refused these offers because he know it would take self-sacrifice and patience. And after all he experienced, he still forgave his oppressors in order to demonstrate how the future can be – he was a visionary. He gave us hope that no matter how insurmountable oppression or inequality might be, right will prevail. Just like Gandhi before him, Mandela treated everyone as a prince, and the prince in everyone (even those who hated him), came forth.
After Carrie Underwood performed the “The Sound of Music” in a live broadcast last night, the von Trapp family and mine found we couldn’t solve a problem like awful acting. Hopefully Ms. Underwood’s performance won’t make the next generation take the musical off their list of “favorite things.”
“It’s just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story,” Myles von Trapp Derbyshire told ABC upon first hearing that Underwood would play his great grandmother Maria, originally played by Oscar-winner Julie Andrews in the 1965 film, "The Sound of Music." One can only imagine what he thought of the actual performance.
“And although her voice is amazing, she doesn’t have acting experience,” Mr. Derbyshire told ABC “It’s just the overall image, she’s a country star, she won ‘American Idol,’ she’s very public in kind of a tabloid way.”
It was hard for me to tell exactly what my 10-year-old son was saying with the couch pillow over my head, but it sounded like, “Can we make this stop now?”
I have to add that while I absolutely adored Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp, for both his singing and acting talent, it was not lost on my kids that it was “Vampire Bill” from HBO’s “True Blood.”
It was a distraction that proved impossible for them to overcome when watching the show.
As they say in “True Blood,” it all added up to “the true death” of a family tradition at our house.
For me and my family, “The Sound of Music” offers a soundtrack that has played through many scenes in our lives.
I grew up singing every song from the film score, particularly, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” when the nuns at the abbey lament the capricious ways of the main character.
Quin, 10, has been singing, “Do-Re-Mi” since he took his first music class in school.
During each and every thunderstorm of my childhood my mother sang “My favorite things” to me and in turn I sang it to each of my four sons when we lived aboard a sailboat and the thunder was upon us.
When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.
It’s just a shame that we couldn’t sing that song while Underwood was acting the scene because singing it just reminded us of Underwood acting the scene.
At age 16, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" was my favorite song.
When one of my kids asked me what yodeling was I taught them “The Lonely Goatherd” song.
My first born was a colicky baby and the song that I crooned every night was "Edelweiss."
I am notorious for chirping an overblown campy rendition of the "So Long, Farewell" song at my kids when they resist bedtime. I even wave each one off, just like in the movie. You never saw a kid run for the cover of his bed so fast!
So, here was the golden opportunity to share one of my favorite things with my youngest and while Underwood’s voice was lovely, the acting was so cringe-worthy that my son can’t even hear one of the songs without groaning today.
I was humming the opening theme as I made French toast this morning and Quin shouted, “Please not ‘The Sound of Music.’ I just want it out of my head.”
Perhaps the solution, as with so many of childhood’s upsetting moments, is to turn the record over by taking the family out to a Sound of Music Sing-Along movie experience.
Movie goers at a sing-along are each issued a bag of props that are used on cue as the audience participates in the film. Sort of a family-friendly, Rocky Horror Picture Show-style experience.
Meanwhile, we can rent the Julie Andrews version and continue to weather the storm while trying to forgive and forget by recalling our favorite things about Ms. Underwood.
Rare-earth magnets being swallowed by a Florida teen should serve as a warning to parents to periodically review both safety rules and the guidelines of common sense with their kids.
Christin Rivas, 14, had six of the powerful, pea-sized magnets used for car wheel ball bearings, science experiments, and magic tricks with her at school and “inadvertently swallowed them,” according to ABC.
This is not like when Granny tells the anxious parent of a child who just swallowed a penny, “This too shall pass.”
If multiple magnets are swallowed, they may come together in the digestive system and cause damage.
“Magnet-related emergency-room visits among Americans younger than 21 increased five times from 2002 to 2011,” ABC reported.
When I read stories about toy safety and things being swallowed I picture infants swallowing them and not teens and grade schoolers.
As Christmas approaches and parents shop for toys and gifts for older kids, we often ignore the safety warnings on the boxes about small parts that can be dangerous if swallowed because we reckon older kids know better.
In light of this case maybe we should take a closer look, not at the boxes, but at our kids.
We need to take a moment to have a review the common sense rules of life with kids, as they roll their eyes and moan, “Mom, seriously?”
Christin Rivas made it crystal clear that kids get distracted and do unthinking things.
"I do feel it was one of those stupid kid moments," the Melbourne, Fla. teen told ABCNews.com. "I was going to the bathroom and I put them in my mouth because I didn't want to put them on the floor. I wasn't quite thinking. The kid on the other side said something that made me laugh and swallow them."
Time to review.
You are a teenager with magnets in a school bathroom stall, which is most likely made of metal, much like almost every restroom in the nation.
You don’t want to put the round magnets on the floor where they might roll away so you put them: A. On the metal wall/door; B. In your mouth.
Granted, the magnets are powerful and it might be annoying to try to get them off the wall or door, but that’s nothing compared to what it takes to get them out of a kid, once ingested.
This morning I stopped one of my sons, age 18, as he shot out the door to college with a reminder not to swallow magnets.
He was not at all surprised by this because he knows that if I am warning him about it it’s because someone did something that I’m writing about.
“Got it,” he said. “Don’t forget to tell the other guys” (his three brothers).
It may sound like a silly thing to do, but that little reminder is going to travel with my son to his girlfriend who has those magnets and to their friends with younger siblings who babysit.
The word will go out through the kid grapevine and somewhere a child about to do something that could cost them their health might pause in the act to rethink.
If the teens get offended by your efforts to upgrade their safety systems just tell them that common sense is like an app.
Your parents help you get it, there’s always more where it came from, and occasionally it needs to be updated in order to keep up with the rest of the system.
This stash of 2 million passwords follows a massive hack on Adobe revealed in October in which a jaw-dropping 38 million user accounts and passwords were nabbed and posted to the 'net. That attack was so big that other website vendors were affected, because many people use the same user name and password for all of their websites.
Unfortunately, this hack isn't new (see also the LinkedIn hack, the Ubisoft hack, and the Cupid Media hack, for a tip-of-the-iceberg starting point), and as long as there is money or power to be gained from accessing other peoples' online identities, it seems unlikely to ever stop being a problem.
And while this doesn't seem like a parental problem per se, it really is – it falls under our "important stuff we need to teach our children" heading, right up there with crossing the street and why you shouldn't wear black shoes with brown slacks.
It's no longer enough to assume that because kids are young and wired, they're with it vis-a-vis good password discipline – that means (really) strong passwords, different passwords for different sites, and, if you must, hoard a list of all your logins and passwords, stashing it an incredibly safe hiding place, preferably in the real world and out of plain view.
And even then, you can't assume just because you've got a password that you're assured of online security – talented hackers can crack through even seemingly tough-to-guess passwords like "n3xtb1gth1ng" or "qeadzcwrsfxv1331."
On the flip side of that are the passwords that people more often use – easy to remember, and insanely easy to crack. Some of the Adobe passwords now in the hands of hackers include (get ready to probably feel at least slightly better about your own password habits) "password," "photoshop," "aaaaaa," and "123456" (as featured in Spaceballs!).
Even relying exclusively on passwords like "Xh3@#..Lpmz0" won't keep you totally safe, so for the highest risk sites (a primary email or Facebook account) using a second layer of authentication is a great idea whenever possible (Google does a good job of this with its 2-step verification process.)
Perhaps, with a solid generation of parental guidance, we can at least somewhat beat back the stolen password trend that leads to identify theft and (often) actual things and money-theft. Now, if only there were some way to effectively teach teens that whatever they post or send will inevitably wind up in the most embarrassing forum possibly imaginable...
Keira Knightley may have been branded "thrifty" by sneering fashionistas for making her Chanel haute couture wedding dress a "Little Black Dress" equivalent for a third public appearance. But by breaking the pricy, one-off Hollywood mold, the actress lived up to designer Coco Chanel’s guiding principles.
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Ms. Chanel once said.
To be “different” does not necessarily mean wearing something different at every public appearance, but being different, standing out by celebrating both a gorgeous, versatile design and her new marriage. It’s a classic example of how the fashion mavens send us mixed messages of “Wear a little black dress for any occasion” and “Never wear the same thing twice.”
This also reminds me of all the kids who ever wore a Buzz Lightyear costume or a princess dress 24-seven until the next feel-good fashion came into their lives. Hollywood has an enormous impact on our kids from the time they are small and want to be the characters in their favorite films right up through adulthood when we want to be the actors who played them.
The examples set by celebrities resonate through our families every day via images of stars dictating of what “trendy” and “happy” look like.
When a star steps out, the public has come to expect them to be going to monstrous expense and to be clad in something different every single time.
I suspect this comes from the fashion media who seem to take it as a personal slight when someone wears a repeat because they are left with nothing to do but snipe about being "thrifty” as if it were on a par with war crimes.
“Keira Knightley Wears Her Chanel Haute Couture Wedding Dress on the Red Carpet for the Second Time!” howled the headline on E! News about the dress worn to the Serious Fun gala in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Apparently, fashion is more serious than fun to those reporting on it exclusively.
Fashion reporters need to step off the red carpet, sit down, and re-read some of the things Ms. Chanel said in her lifetime.
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” Chanel said.
When I saw the story about Ms. Knightley I called my mom in New Jersey because in our family, fashion news is always phone-call-worthy on a par with birth, marriage, and death.
My mother is a retired New York fashion designer who told me bedtime stories about her visits to the Paris collections in the ‘50s.
Mom visited the original Chanel shop in Paris right after the collections were shown there in 1953, 1955, and other years while Ms. Chanel was still living.
I have always kidded Mom about her almost familial attachment to the “French navy wool Bouclé ( a kind of novelty yarn)” Chanel suit with the gold Chanel buttons and the gold chain fixed to the silk lining of the skirt to weigh down the hem.
Mom bought the suit, which was a sample, for $250 and tells me it is worth close to $5,000 today.
“I still wear it every chance I get,” Mom told me when we were discussing Knightley’s repeat of her own dress. “It’s a classic and it reminds me of Paris.”
There it is. The truth about fashion is that it takes both design and emotional attachment to create a classic look that never gets old.
My mother is 83, but when she puts on that suit she is 25 again in Paris.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Ms. Chanel said. From her lips to Hollywood’s ears.
I think we should teach our kids to follow Ms. Knightley’s fashion-forward trend toward wearing what we love as often as we like.
Generational conflict is at the core of human life, and barring some kind of mass migration to a virtual reality matrix wherein we are all forever young, it ever shall be.
The old hope to pass on wisdom while clinging to whatever shreds of youth remain; the middle-aged still feel insecure beneath the gaze of their elders but sneer at the rising ambitions of the young; and the young feel that no generation before them has ever done anything well, and they will be the ones to set the world to rights. Everybody marches with the spear of mortality at their backs.
And so, Slate tapped into some very primal stuff with its story "Why Millennials Can't Grow Up: Helicopter parenting has caused my psychotherapy clients to crash land."
It's immediately appealing to all older-than-Millennial readers for a few reasons: It confirms our suspicion that over-coddled young people are making a mess of things. It suggests that because the author is a psychotherapist, the story will be grounded in science, or, at least, science-y sounding language. And it gives us the sense that the upbringings of us old people - spare and sometimes unsupportive, but rife with freedom and the chance to take on responsibility - were somehow superior to the new, unworthy pack of whippersnappers that has appeared on the scene, all cocky because they're in their twenties and the world lies at their feet ready for conquest.
The article's lead is every insecure late 30- or 40-something's fantasy. A patient ("Amy") cries while talking to her therapist because for her:
It became increasingly difficult to balance school, socializing, laundry, and a part-time job. She finally had to dump the part-time job, was still unable to do laundry, and often stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to complete homework because she didn’t know how to manage her time without her parents keeping track of her schedule.
In short: Over-coddling by helicopter parents creates helpless child-adults who can't handle pressure, conflict, or, in short, "the real world" without mommy and daddy holding their hands.
The story is an interesting riff (and partial rebuttal) of the even more popular "Millennials are narcissistic, entitled monsters" storyline - we're invited to feel sorry for Millennials, not just hostile toward them. But while it is pegged to some real indicators (high rates of depression among college students, the inflation of educational credentials that means today's four-year undergraduate degree is little better than yesterday's high school diploma) it also feels a little like most of the stories of its ilk in that it's generational warfare waged by the people with power (the managers and leaders in their late 30s and 40s against those who largely don't (those in their 20s) under the rubric of "oh, those poor kids - their bad parenting has ruined them."
So long as there are generations, there will be attacks and counterattacks and fumbling efforts to cross the swamp that is cross-generational communication. And while stories like "Why Millennials Can't Grow Up" at least seem to offer a sympathetic stance toward the young, something a bit more welcoming - or, hey, even celebratory of what the next generation is bringing - would be a nice change of pace.
Lord Vader, the guy who struck terror into my pre-teen heart in the original film, has taken a selfie and released it on Instagram.
Cue the jokes: “Did he use a dark filter?” and “At least he doesn’t have to worry about red eye.”
The light-hearted caption posted with it is, “Just another day at the office.”
It’s screamingly funny and that’s the point. The whole social image of Darth Vader as a force to be reckoned with just suffered a bigger impact than Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star.
It’s gonna be hard to scream with fear with that image of Lord Vader in your head.
Mark my words, had Voldemort done this he’d have needed a lot more than a wand and a snake to scare folks.
This is a fun example of how parents can send the wrong message via social media and selfies in particular.
The name Vader is German for father. Darth was the mac daddy of all intimidating parental figures, until the selfie.
In an instant, gone is the uber villain who strikes terror into your heart, replaced by Darth Dude in one epic smart phone snap.
“Well that was a huge mistake,” said Quin, 10, looking at Darth Selfie. “It reveals weakness. It’s like he’s begging people to like him.”
For some parents, who have trouble relating to teens, a funny selfie might be the way to break the ice. Then again it might just get you a groan and an eye-roll.
That’s because selfies by their very nature are not very parental. They are self-absorbed which is something most parents don’t have time to be.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, the selfie screams, “Me, me, me, me, me…!”
That actually says a lot about us.
When I meet someone and they tell me to look them up on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites the first place I look is the photos posted.
I check out how many postings are selfies vs. photos of friends, family, activities and pets getting a clear, unfiltered, picture of that person.
Like the Dark Side, it’s hard to resist the urge every once in a while to take a picture of ourselves from arm’s length and soft focus away some years and pounds for a profile shot.
However, when a parent’s social media is plastered with selfies it may be time to resist that urge to shoot yourself with a smart phone a dozen times a week.
The official Star Wars Instagram account aptly proclaims, “It is useless to resist.”
For some selfie-generation parents I know, that seems to be true. I know one young couple whom I taught five years ago when they were high school seniors and are now parents of a four-year-old.
Both mom and dad’s Facebook pages show drunken, sexy, selfies with toys and kid things piled on a chair in the background and lots of alcohol on the coffee table in the foreground.
Those are some very dark and dangerous selfies that could become very popular with child protective services and police.
Maybe it is hard to resist the selfie urge, but as parents we need to think about pictures we post of ourselves.
Also we don’t want to become the parent who spends more time pointing the camera at themselves than their kids because that sends the message that how we look today is more valuable than how we behaved.
However, we can use the Force of photos via social media to set a good example for our kids by helping them snap unselfies – photos of ourselves and our families helping each other, taking out the trash, feeding a pet, doing homework.
Perhaps we need to thank Darth Vader for the selfie that reminds parents that on social media we can make ourselves look bad trying to improve our social image.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced plans to launch 30-minute or less drone delivery, shipping packages 5 pounds or less up to 10 miles away from their fulfillment center. He introduced the new delivery option in a CBS 60-minutes interview earlier this week.
I’m already game. I get excited enough when the mailman shows up with a package for me, so I imagine I will be standing on my front lawn in my bathrobe and slippers scanning the skies for my latest delivery. Yes, I am that crazy, and during nap times for my toddler, I do have that much free time on my hands.
There are a lot of ways parents could use drone delivery, here’s a start to my list of items that I imagine most parents would agree would make the perfect drone drop.
Diapers: We’ve all had it happen to us. No more diapers, un-diapered child, resulting in feverishly digging through all diaper bags, car seats, and luggage to find anything that resembles a diaper. Then magically, diapers drop on the front lawn. Like manna.
Sporting goods: Kids grow fast, sometimes overnight, and kids lose stuff. Mouth guards, soccer cleats, ahem … jock straps, all need speedy, not to mention discreet shipping. I can tell you I am already not looking forward to some of the aforementioned sports equipment purchases for my son. And he’s one.
Food: Will food be on the drone delivery list? Packaged food at least? Please make it so. I like to think I keep my pantry well-stocked, but I have been known to purchase extra rolls of plastic wrap, extra peanut butter to add to three other jars of peanut butter and yet another can of tomato soup, while entirely forgetting other basic packaged goods. Cookies for a school party? Macaroni and cheese for Friday night sleepover? Done by drones.
Books: I guess we can go ahead and take notice of the original delivery item that made Amazon famous. Would drone delivery make it possible for me to purchase a book as a gift that my son and I fell in love with at the library? Note, I am always going to plug the local library first, but I am sure the local library authorities will come hunting me down after I renew the book 18 times and keep pretending like we have not gotten around to giving it a read. So, instead of not answering the door to a group of angry librarians, I could enjoy opening it to a drone delivery. Sounds like a plan.
What would you add to the list?
Norwegian fitness blogger and soccer wife Caroline Berg Eriksen’s controversial Instagram photo of her postpartum body begs the question, what is the point of all this body-focused discussion, really? She posted the photo four days after giving birth, and already her body looks perfect, – no stretch marks, no sagging skin, no out-of-proportion breasts. You can’t even tell that she had been pregnant at all. This comes on the heels of all the hype about fitness instructor Maria Kang's controversial bikini photo with her three young sons and the caption “What’s your excuse?” that went viral and spurred numerous online discussions about postpartum body perceptions. Ms. Kang was accused of fat-shaming, bullying, and presenting unrealistic expectations for postpartum moms.
When I saw both photos, I was shocked. How annoying! How unrealistic! What bullies! Why would they be so arrogant and attention seeking?
Then I swung back to the other side. Wow, they look amazing! I wish I could look like that too. I’m eight months postpartum, and that level of fitness doesn’t even seem like it’s possible. What’s their secret? I want to work harder and be fit and sexy, so good for them for sharing their success and inspiring others.
But wait, let’s back up. What’s really going on here? No matter what your reaction to these photos, it’s worth taking a moment to get some perspective.
Why do we moms feel the need to judge each other on our postpartum bodies at all? What is the point?
The fact is, there is no point. Your body says nothing about how good a mom you are. It does not provide any information about how patient, loving, strong, protective, and nurturing you are. It can’t say how you’ve grown now that you’ve become a mom.
Instead of, “Have you gotten your body back?”, how about, during the postpartum period, we ask each other, “How are you doing balancing work and motherhood?” or “How are things going with your husband?” or “How has motherhood changed your life purpose?” or “What can I do to support you in your new role better”? I can think of thousands of questions that would be more worthwhile than, “Are your stretch marks fading yet?”
I’ve experienced postpartum body pressure firsthand. One family member even asked me recently (eight months postpartum) if I was pregnant again (I’m definitely not). For about half an hour, I was deeply offended. But then I realized that this is the culture we live in – where we focus on the mother’s body, instead of focusing on her spirit. It’s not personal – it’s just going with the flow of our culture. Every mom needs our support, not judgment about her body, whether it’s positive or negative. And remember, once we learn to focus on what’s in the mom’s heart, it will seamlessly transfer to teaching our daughters that what’s valuable is on the inside, not the outside. We have a long way to go to get there, but woman to woman, husband to wife, parent to child, we can stem the tide of body-focus and redirect our attention to much more pressing matters.
For kids and parents who love the game Minecraft the news of tunnels under Rome being mapped, is a great opportunity to dig in and use the popular computer game to model history’s mysteries at home.
Beneath Rome is a maze of ancient tunnels that often collapse, damaging buildings and streets above. Scientists are attempting to map the labyrinth under Rome in order to predict and prevent such collapses, according to NBC.
George Mason University geoscientists Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti and scientists from the Center for Speleoarchaeological Research in Sotterranei Di Roma are mapping high-risk areas of the quarry system.
However, as a parent of child who plays Minecraft, all I can see looking at the pictures of the tunnels is opportunity.
Here is a chance to make that gaming time payoff by engaging kids to relate to history and solve modern engineering challenges using their creative, social, and intellectual processes.
Parents, kids and teachers can team up to guide the gaming for a very positive outcome. Much like Lego League challenges teams of K-12 students to solve engineering challenges using Legos and pre-set scenarios where they must build robots and cities to solve real-world issues.
Minecraft, originated in Stockholm, Sweden, created by Markus Persson, known to gamers as “Notch.” It’s a fairly simple eight-bit building game where players use with 3D cubes (a bit like virtual LEGOs) in an infinite “sandbox” game world, with no specific goals or levels to beat.
Players can choose survival mode, where dangers abound and characters can die, creative mode, a peaceful building environment, or “Hardcore mode,” which is completely unforgiving.
“In Hardcore mode you only get one life, like real life. If you die you have to delete the whole world,” my son Quin, 10, initially explained to me. “Bear Grylls and Chuck Norris would probably play in Hardcore mode only.”
According to the Minecraft Stats website, 12,904,885 people have bought the game. In the past 24 hours, 7,804 people bought the game.
Yet this game is much more powerful than your average Lego set because it connects players online so that problems can be solved in real time using a common map. And the Minecraft-style of online building is expanding to help solve real-world urban planning challenges as well.
“A new collaboration with UN Habitat called "Block by Block" Just like the Swedish predecessor, “Block by Block” aims to involve youth in the planning process in urban areas by giving them the opportunity to show planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities in the future. Minecraft has turned out to be the perfect tool to facilitate this process,” according to the Mojang website.
Rome can be built in a day using Minecraft if you have enough gamers online and the tunnels can be reconstructed beneath it using archival materials in combination with incoming data from the current scientific efforts.
One of the great features of this idea is that Minecraft has become so popular worldwide that free codification packs are available online, including various Ancient Rome Mod Packs called Romecraft. These add-ons to the game allow players to construct an authentic ancient Roman world and the very nature of the game – mining – allows you to make the tunnels right down to the type of rock, mineral, and ore in the caves.
Gaming can impact our children’s educations in many negative ways when no parental guidance is in play.
Here is a chance to read the news, learn about ancient Rome, explore architecture, history, modern and ancient engineering methods, and civics lessons all in the course of a game they already love.
Best of all, it empowers kids to help adults find solutions to real world problems. If we can make learning fun we can build a better world right here in Hard Core Mode.