Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Dangerous Child Curriculum, Part IX

For today's posting, we will return to the John David Garcia curriculum, last visited in part VII of this series. As mentioned in earlier postings, Al Fin corresponded with and visited with Garcia in his later years.

Garcia's curriculum is meant as an example or a prototype for the design of a broader, more enlightened, and distinctly more dangerous curriculum for the new generation of dangerous children.

We resume our look at Garcia's program at around age 12 of training. As mentioned before, this curriculum is meant to be adapted to each child as appropriate. It is not expected that all children will progress at the same speed.

Much of the training in Garcia's approach takes place outside of classrooms and formal settings. It is expected that multiple instructors would be involved -- most or all of whom would not be government certified as K-12 instructors. Government certification is seen as a distinct impediment and handicap, in the setting of dangerous child training.

Physical Biological
Avg. Level Avg. Age Physical Theory Physical Practice Biological Theory Biological Practice
10.00 12.00 Gauss' mathematics and physics continued; general thermodynamics, the work of Boltzman Clausius and Gibbs, Maxwell's demon, the inventions of Edison and Tesla; the work of Mendeleev and the beginning of organic chemistry; probability theory as understood by Gauss and Galton Construction of AC generators and regulators, simple radios, light bulbs, and recording devices; begin design and construction of simple internal combustion engine; experiments in organic chemistry and synthesis of organic compounds The life and work of Charles Darwin and Wallace, the evolution of evolutionary ideas, the theory of natural selection, and the three laws of thermodynamics; the work of Pasteur continued Each student gathers evidence for and against Darwinian evolution, taking into account basic genetic knowledge and probability
10.25 12.25 Non-Euclidean geometry and statistical mechanics; introduction to systematic probability theory and statistics; continue work in thermodynamics and organic chemistry; the work of W.R. Hamilton and Henri Poincare is studied Continue work of previous quarter; construct interferometers and repeat the Michelson/Morley experiments; repeat experiments of Planck to derive Planck's constant; develop and derive the special theory of relativity; begin construction of automobile; continue internal combustion engine project Neo-Darwinian theories of evolution and evolutionary genetics up to R.A. Fisher's The Genetical Theory of Evolution; explain disease and parasites in evolution Do genetic experiments with fruit flies and molds, giving evidence for and against neo-Darwinism, theories of evolution, bacteriology; systematic study and laboratory work
10.50 12.50 The physics of the 20th century, including the General Theory of Relativity up to the discovery of quantum mechanics, is presented as a year course in modern physics (with an advanced calculus prerequisite) as it might have been given at Harvard, Cambridge, or Gottingen in 1925; physical and organic chemistry, also a year survey course; finish study of Henri Poincare Continue work on automobile; repeat experiments leading up to Bohr atom; handmade basic tubes for radio and oscilloscope; construct a more advanced radio and oscilloscope using tubes; make photocells, synthesize organic compounds Introduction to cell biochemistry and advanced genetics; begin chromatography and electrophoresis for separating common biochemical constituents of mammals The chemical structure of the constituents of life; isolating nucleic acids and proteins, determining their properties through chemical and spectrographic analysis; create genetic mosaics
10.75 12.75 Continuation of previous quarter; relate physical chemistry and organic chemistry to biochemistry; theory of x-ray machines and electron microscopes Continuation of previous quarter; finish automobile; study of x-ray machines and electron microscopes; organic chemistry laboratory; motion pictures Continuation of previous quarter; introduction to x-ray crystallography and electron microscopy for the study of large molecules and viruses Continuation of previous quarter; use of x-ray crystallography to determine chemical structure; electron microscopy of viruses and large molecules

Psychosocial Integration
Avg. Level Avg. Age Psychosocial Theory Pyschosocial Practice Integrative Theory Integrative Practice
10.00 12.00 The theories of Marx and Engels in detail, Das Kapital and the Dialectics of Nature; the ideas of August LeComte and social science in general; the psychology of William James Critical essay on Marxism and dialectic materialism; what is wrong and what is right about theory, what is the scientific evidence for and against the theory; why is social science so full of nonsense? Ethical analysis of Marxist philosophy and ethics; how and why Marxism violates the evolutionary ethic; read The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky The music of Arnold Schoenberg, the plays of Frank Wedekind, the early paintings of Picasso and the Cubists; the opera Lulu by Alban Berg is performed
10.25 12.25 The philosophy of Nietzsche and Spencer; evolutionary ethics as propounded by Spencer; ethical Darwinism, an introduction to the life and ideas of Sigmund Freud, the rise of racist fascism in Europe Essay comparing the neo-Darwinian ethics with Marxism; the incipient Lamarckianism in Marxism compared to its ethics; essay on European racism and fascism growing out of social Darwinism Ethical analysis of neo-Darwinian philosophy and of social Darwinism; how and why social Darwinism and fascism violate the evolutionary ethic; Freud as a Newtonian psychologist looking for mechanistic explanations which may not exist; ethical implications of the unconscious The music of Richard Strauss, Ein Heldenleben, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and the opera Elektra; Man and Superman by G.B. Shaw is also performed
10.50 12.50 World history from 1910 to 1925; the basic writings of Lenin and a study of his life; World War I and the Russian Revolution, the world fear of communism, Leon Trotsky as an idealized communist; Freud's later works Essay on the origins and consequences of World War I; essay on the origins and consequences of communism in Russia; essay on how the brilliant, ethical Trotsky went wrong and helped create a Frankenstein An ethical analysis of how the Soviet Union betrayed its own revolution and turned into a monster; how the centralization of power makes corruption inevitable; read Darkness at Noon by Koestler and Animal Farm by Orwell The music of Prokofiev and Shostakovich; the films of Sergei Eisenstein, including Ivan the Terrible; perform the Shostakovich opera Lady Macbeth of Murmansk and Mussorgsky's Boris Gudenov
10.75 12.75 World history 1925 to 1939; the basic writings of Mussolini, Hitler, fascism, Stalin, and Soviet communism; a study of Hitler and Stalin as complementary personalities who changed history; early works of Pavlov and Jung Essay comparing the conflicting ideologies and economic factors leading to World War II; what could have been done to prevent World War II; why the United States was so immune to both communism and fascism An ethical anlysis of how capitalistic greed and the political cowardice and vindictiveness of the European democracies made World War II inevitable; Read Winds of War by Wouk The music of Stravinsky, the early art of Dali, the films of Chaplin, Bu_nuel, Lang, and Pabst, plus Academy Award winners; perform Hindemith's opera Mathis der Mahler and Brecht's Mahagonny

Garcia's publications that are available online

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Survival Is Not Politically Correct; But It Is Mandatory

Humans of the advanced world have entered a brave and dangerous new phase of existence. We are moving through a stage where it is politically incorrect -- and sometimes illegal -- to protect oneself and one's family in order to survive a growing range of threats which one is not supposed to be aware of, much less mention in polite company.

Nevertheless, if you want to play through to the next level, you must survive this phase of existence with enough resources and in good enough condition to proceed to the next phase.

For those who are raising children, this point cannot be made strongly enough. Your children need to be raised to be dangerous. Competent, yes. Highly skilled, yes. Technologically savvy, yes. And very, very, dangerous.

But where do children go to learn skills of survival, teamwork, discipline in dangerous settings, calmness under fire, etc. in the modern hyper-feminised politically correct world? That is a very good question (but be careful where you ask it).

There is a national program in the US that is called the Young Marines, which should give program designers some useful ideas. The Young Marines is open to boys and girls from the age of 8 all the way through the high school years. The organisation provides summer camp and a wide range of training programs, including community service.

Several ranks and awards are available throughout the course of training -- similar to the Boy Scouts' ranks and badges. Here is a list of skills and goals for the most basic level of Young Marines:
  • Drill movements, including march, halt, fall-in and fall-out of ranks, positions of attention, parade rest, at ease and rest
  • Execution of column movements, saluting, and facing movements
  • Uniform regulations
  • Grooming and personal appearance standards
  • Rank structure of the Young Marines
  • Military customs and courtesies
  • Practicing Formation
  • Young Marine history
  • Military terms and jargon
  • Outdoor tools safety
  • Assembling survival kits
  • Stove & lantern safety
  • Constructing a shelter
  • Knot tying
  • Lighting fires
  • Reading of maps
  • Signs on topographical maps
  • Orient a map without the use of a compass
  • Introduction to the compass.
  • Drug Resistance
  • Basic elements of speech preparation
  • Duties of both a team member and team leader
  • Duties of a Young Marine Flag Bearer
  • Duties of fire watch
  • Responsibilities of US citizens
  • History of the US flag
  • Components of physical fitness
  • Developing personal physical fitness plans
  • Tips on healthy eating
  • Basic first aid techniques
  • In order to proceed to Junior ranks, each Young Marine must perform 50 hours of community service
_Basic Rank Skills & Goals

Information on Ranks and Rank Advancement

The Young Marines programs should be seen as idea generators for most parents, since such programs will not be available everywhere -- and will not necessarily be exactly what many parents are looking for regardless.

But many children will learn important skills of survival, group cohesion and support, and self-discipline, when training with other children of various skills levels but with a generally unified intention to succeed and excel.

The various curricula which we have discussed in connection with dangerous child training have had little to do with military tactical or strategic thought or training. And yet, a well-rounded dangerous child should know something about military tactics -- if only to understand how to avoid being caught up in a combat situation.

For some communities that wish to establish a certain degree of independence from potentially dangerous and aggressive outside groups, a more intimate knowledge of small unit tactics, and infantry weapons may become important to acquire.

Under the US constitution, the right of individuals and communities to organise militias and to bear arms is guaranteed in the second amendment. Up to this point, very few US communities and regions have taken advantage of their constitutional rights to organise such small fighting units.

But as the US moves more deeply into its paradoxical and surreal world of politically correct denial in the face of growing and deadly threats inside the homeland itself, even a "conspiracy of silence" on the part of government, academia, and popular news media outlets will not stop a growing trend toward organised self-defense.

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

Basic small unit tactics (PDF)

Out of control third world violence may be coming to a city near you

One of many potential threats

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Philosophy is for Thinkers; Ideology is for Stinkers

There are very fundamental differences between philosophy and ideology. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it.

...philosophy and ideology, if measured on a scale, would occupy two extreme ends of the scale. The purpose of any philosopher is to seek knowledge for the sake of wisdom and truth whereas an ideologue’s sole aim is to advocate and enforce his or her ideology wherever he can. _Differences
It was once the purpose of universities to teach students how to reason, by teaching the great thinkers and great ideas in all their variations -- from the earliest to more recent.

Now universities are more the province of ideologues, whose purpose is to indoctrinate young minds into "proper" and "politically correct" modes of thought and action.
Popper’s famous distinction between science and pseudo-science (or ideology) depends on his equally famous principle of falsification. Quite simply, he argues that if a theory is in principle open to being disproved or ‘falsified’ by the facts of the world, then it is scientific. If it is not open to being falsified by the facts of the world, then it is pseudo-science, ideology. For example, the claim “Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light”, on which the Special Theory of Relativity crucially depends, can in principle be falsified by observing something in the actual world that does travel faster than the speed of light. But the statement “God’s in His Heaven” cannot be scientific, because it’s unclear what sort of evidence in the world would count as falsifying it. Therefore it must be pseudo-science or ideology. _Philosophy Now
Similarly, theories of anthropogenic climate catastrophe are being put to the test by real world data which show a divergence between steadily rising atmospheric CO2 levels, and global temperatures which have plateaued. The alarmist branch of climate science is flirting dangerously close to pseudo-science in its over-dependence on computer modeling and its willingness to avoid possible falsification of its hypotheses.
Very few people today have learned to think on the basis of first principles, which is why classical philosophy is not a very popular subject, at least not as popular as it was during the 40s, the 50s, and the 60s. Ideological thinking has more appeal to some because it involves less work. One does not have to spend years reading the great works of the great thinkers. All one has to do is buy the ideological package and one has something by which to make sense out of the world. It is quick and easy, like instant Oatmeal or a McDonald's Drive Thru....

...An ideological construct comes as a package that contains all sorts of things, such as starting points, assumptions, premises, conclusions, prejudices, etc., and it is through this package that the world can be interpreted. The problem, however, is that if one does not know how to think on the basis of primary principles (principled thinking), one will be unable to critically evaluate the ideological superstructure through which one interprets data. Rather, one will be critical of things on the basis of the ideological package, and thus feel as if one is a free and critical thinker, but one isn't quite sure whether the ideological package contains some rotten items that should be discarded. _Ideology vs Philosophy
The willingness of modern universities to discard classical philosophy and classical reasoning in favour of politically correct ideological indoctrination, constitutes a dark omen for the future. When even the educated elite can no longer interpret data from the real world in a valid manner, society will be drifting more rudderless and out of control than it is at present -- which is more than bad enough as it is.
In conclusion, here is a summary of differences between philosophy and ideology.
1.Philosophy refers to a pragmatic approach of looking and analyzing life. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs and rules belonging to a particular group or set of people
2.Philosophy aims at understand the world as it exists whereas ideology is born out of a vision for the future and aims at changing the current state to that particular vision
3.Philosophy is objective whereas ideology is dogmatic and refuses to participate in any discussion that does not agree with that ideology
4.Philosophy does not have as much impact as an ideology would have on the world ‘“ for ideology aims at spreading the beliefs and imposing them on the rest of the society irrespective of its relevance
5.All ideologies have some underlying philosophy but it is not vice versa. _Philosophy vs Ideology
Religions are ideologies, as are political "isms," most mass movements, and almost all "advocacy" groups and movements. Almost all "non-profit" organisations are actually ideologically driven, as are most tax-exempt foundations.

Ideologies may sometimes have a "good" impact -- as in immediate post-disaster relief, for example. But any ideology that aims to institute forced redistribution, is no better than a criminal organisation. If you see such an ideologue on the road, kill him. [Apologies to the zen koan: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."]
Philosophy encourages participation in discussions in order to strengthen their theories and explanations. On the other hand, ideology does not encourage discussions of any sort that do not agree with their beliefs. _Difference Between Philosophy and Ideology
It is clear that a world that is driven by ideology is an impoverished world in terms of innovation, exploration, and discovery.

Which points out the growing importance of training children -- and yourselves -- to be truly dangerous. Dangerous children are slaves to no one and to no idea.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Basic Intro. to Smart Welding for DIYers: Guest Article

Welding is an important skill for farmers, ranchers, DIYers, and people who wish to live in remote areas far from skilled craftsmen for hire.

The previous article on welding contained several links to multiple welding tutorials. Today, we will present a guest article on welding first published on Survival Blog by "GM". This article is a good introduction to the DIY welder.
I am a retired journeyman pipefitter who is a Certified Welding Inspector. I teach at a nearby community college two days a week. Welding encompasses such a large body of knowledge that no one person can know all there is to know and certainly cannot condense everything into a short article, but let me start with some basics.

First of all, if you can’t tell the difference between steel, stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron you shouldn’t be welding. You have to know what process to use and which filler metal to use. Some things will hurt you or kill you if you try to weld on them. Never, under any circumstances, weld on a gas tank, or any container that you don’t know what was in it. Welding is “hot work” so you need to know if there is anything around that can catch on fire. Remove all flammables or cover them so they don’t cause a problem. Be sure what you’re welding on is adequately restrained or supported so as not to injure you or someone else.

The selection of the right filler metal is very important. If the wrong filler metal is selected the weld can have major defects and not be fit for service. Shielding gas selection is also very important. Preheat and postheat is important on cast iron or high strength alloy steel. Preheating is required whenever the metal to be welded is below 70 degrees F because the cold metal quenches the weld. When large welds are needed, it is better to make more small welds than a few large ones. Low carbon steel also called mild steel is easily welded by all common welding processes.

However, long-arcing of the weld will allow air to enter the shielding envelope, so proper welding technique is needed not to induce air which will cause porosity and other bad effects.

If you still have access to electric power, then wire or stick welding would be the preferred method of welding. This also holds true if you have a generator available. If not, then one is left with oxy-fuel welding. Wire welding is the preferred method of welding for any novice. It is much more intuitive for a novice to get the feel of it, but setting the machine can be intimidating. Let’s start with the machine. If you are going to invest in any machine, consider one of the new smaller more portable inverter welding machines that can do four major welding processes i.e.: wire with cover gas, flux cored gasless wire, stick and TIG. Older machines that are strictly constant current or constant voltage are larger, heavier and can basically only do one dedicated type of process with the exception of TIG. If you are going to spend your money on a new welding machine, why not buy the most versatile machine? I own a THERMAL ARC FABRICATOR 211i but others are available. The new machines can operate on either 110 or 220 volt with reduced capacity on 110. The difference would be the necessity of 3000 watts of power for 110 volt operations or 6000 watts for 220 volt operations. The new machines have very clear manuals and charts for welding operations.

But let’s say you have or have the opportunity to buy a used wire welder. You’ll want a wire welder that is rated at a minimum of 130 to 140 amps of power. Why, because it takes one amp of power to weld each 1/1000 of an inch of metal thickness and I wouldn’t recommend a machine that wasn’t capable of welding at least a 1/8 inch of metal thickness.

So now you have a wire welder, how do you go about setting it to weld? With a wire welder your heat is controlled by the wire speed, there is no setting for amperage. The rule of thumb is this: 100 inches per minute (IPM) of wire speed for each 1/16 of an inch in metal thickness plus add another 50 IPM at the end of each calculation, thus, 150 IPM for 1/16” metal thickness, 250 IPM for 1/8”, 350 IPM for 3/16” and 450 IPM for ¼” in metal thickness. It is not recommended to weld over ¼” metal with a wire welder, unless you do multiple pass welds.

Next, you set the voltage. If you are welding 1/8” metal, set your wire speed to approximately 250 IPM and start with your voltage to 17 or 18 volts. Turn your voltage up or down as you practice on a test piece to get the machine “dialed” in. You’ll have to practice setting the machine to get the desired result.

Wire welding can be done with either a push or a pull technique. Pushing the weld from right to left is easier for many right handed people. This method does not penetrate into the parent metal as deep as dragging or pulling the gun from left to right. Be sure you are holding the gun with the tip at a 45 degree angle to the surface that you are trying to weld. Electrode extension is very important. You shouldn’t be more than ½” away from the metal, where the wire comes out of the contact tube. You lose heat or amperage with a long arc.

Flux cored wire welding is cheaper than normal wire welding, though not as good. The normal gas for wire welding is 75% argon 25% CO2 but straight CO2 can be used, although it causes more splatter. We won’t go into inductance in this short article. Wire welding is not tolerant of contamination nor is it recommended to use outdoors. Any rust, grease, oil dust, paint or contamination of any kind will cause porosity. If you are going to wire weld, you have to start out with the metal clean at least an inch on each side of the weld. There is more expense in setting up a wire welder as compared to a stick welder but less practice is required to make an acceptable weld.

Stick welding is more portable than wire welding and more versatile. Stick welding is a very versatile process, because the same SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) machine can be used to make a wide variety of welds in different weld joint designs, metal types, metal thickness, and in all positions. Stick welding is more portable in that it requires less equipment and is easier to move, especially an engine driven generator-welder. Stick welding can be performed outside. Most major construction of new buildings, plants and piping is done outside with either stick or TIG welding. Wire welding and stick welding are negative ground positive electrode processes and TIG welding, flux cored wire welding being positive ground, negative electrode process.

Stick welding is harder to learn than wire welding and takes much more practice. If possible, take a course at your local college or high school. The difficulty comes in maintaining a constant length arc off of the parent metal, electrode angle, speed of welding progression, and manually weaving the electrode, in some cases, to make the bead profile. Low hydrogen (E7018) electrodes are the best for welding mild steel, but require a pretty steady hand to weld good beads. E6011 is the best electrode for a novice to learn with but requires more electrode manipulation to achieve a good bead i.e.: small circles, a C shaped or other pattern as recommended in any good text on welding. E6011 welds will be less ductile in service than E7018, the welds will break in time with hard usage, thus the bad name for “farm rods”. If you are using and old AC only farm welder, try to buy the newer AC-E7018 electrodes. There is no substitute for practice when it comes to stick welding, only with practice will you be able to lay down good serviceable weld beads that will hold your project together.

Now for oxy-fuel welding. During its prime, plates up to 1” thick were wire gas welded to produce ocean-going ships, to large industrial machinery. Today, due to improvements in other processes, gas or oxy-fuel welding is seldom used on metal thicker than 1/16 of an inch. Newer processes are faster, cleaner and cause less distortion from heat than oxy-fuel welding. However, when nothing else is available, welds can be made using this process. All that is required is a compressed gas bottle of oxygen and a cylinder of fuel, usually acetylene, the appropriate torch set, which will have regulators, a Siamese hose and a combination torch, for both welding and cutting. I will discuss important safety factors in both cutting and general welding at the end. Needless to say, once you have your “rig” properly set up (refer to your manual), turn on the gas just enough to let some gas escape, light the gas with a spark lighter near the end. With the torch lit, increase the flow of acetylene until the flame stops smoking. Slowly turn on the oxygen and adjust the torch to a neutral flame. Too much fuel and you won’t get a decent inner cone of flame, too much oxygen and the inner flame turns whitish blue. In either case, too much of one or the other increases the size of the flame. The neutral flame will produce the most concentrated heat at the end of the inner cone of flame. The maximum gas flow rate for the size of tip will give the flame enough flow so that when adjusted to the neutral setting it does not settle back on the tip. This will keep the tip cooler so that it does not backfire.

Factors affecting torch welding: torch tip size, torch angle, welding rod size and torch manipulation.

Torch tip size is used to control the weld bead width, depth of penetration into the parent metal, and speed. Tip sizes should be changed to suit the thickness and overall size of the metal being welded. Lowering the gas flow rate on a larger tip to weld thinner metal will just make it overheat and backfire. You should have a tip size chart with your torch outfit and each manufacturer has a different size which is proprietary to that manufacturer. Consult your chart and pick the tip needed to cut or weld that thickness of metal.

Torch angle – the ideal angle for torch welding is at 45 degrees to the metal. At the end of the welding tip it curves downward, if this end of the torch is pointed straight down into the parent metal this is 90 degrees, a compromise angle of half way between this and parallel with the surface of the metal is best. Hold the inner cone between 1/8” and ¼” off the surface of the parent metal.

Welding rod size and torch manipulation can be used to control the weld bead characteristics. A larger filler rod can be used to cool the molten weld pool, increase weld buildup above the parent metal and reduce penetration. The torch can be manipulated so the direct heat from the inner flame is flashes off the molten weld pool for just a moment to let it cool, keeping the secondary flame over the pool. The weld pool must be protected by the secondary flame (the larger outer flame) to prevent the air from contaminating the weld pool. If this flame is suddenly moved away the pool will throw off a large number of sparks. This is a real problem when the weld is stopped. The torch should be raised or tilted at the end, keeping the outer flame over the molten weld pool until it solidifies. Often the number of sparks increases just before a burn through when the molten metal drops through the backside of the plate.

Novices should practice pushing a molten pool on a clean piece of plate before attempting to add filler metal. Start at one end, hold the torch tip at a 45 degree angle in the direction you intend to weld. Establish a molten weld pool at the end of the inner cone of the torch. When the metal starts to melt, move the torch in a circular pattern down the sheet toward the other end. Try to get a uniform bead all the way along the weld. You may have to speed up or slow down to keep an even bead. Practice this until you can keep the width of the molten weld pool uniform and the direction of travel in a straight line. You should try this process next adding filler rod. Always bend one end of your filler rod, usually in a U-shape to know which end is hot. The straight end is dipped in the molten weld pool, as filler rod, is added to the weld pool, the flame can be moved back so as not to melt and drip the rod into the pool. The rod should be melted by the leading edge of the pool only. Once you can make good welds in the flat position then it is time to try other positions and other styles of joints. Try butt joint, T joints, lap joints in the flat position. Try welding these joints vertical up or overhead. Get a good book on welding and see what you can do. Now, for the most important part of welding: SAFETY. All welding involves heat and the possibility of burns can never be over emphasized. Your safety is your own personal responsibility and you must address it yourself. Many burns are caused by contact with hot metal or slag. I have seen students try to reach out and grab something they just welded and you can get burned even though you are wearing welding gloves. Be careful of hot weldments and sparks and splatter from your own welds and others. Ultraviolet light from welding will cause flash burn to the eyes. Wear shade 5 lenses for cutting and oxy-fuel welding. Wear shade 10 or greater in your welding hood for stick welding. Always wear safety glasses when doing any work and ear protection when necessary. Actual welding should be well ventilated. Fume sources that are bad for your health include: paint, oil, grease, coatings on metals such a zinc and cadmium. Older machinery and farm equipment may still have lead based paint. No welding or cutting on refrigeration or air conditioner piping. Wear the appropriate welder clothing: long sleeve shirts, long pants, leather shoes, a welders cap or beanie to protect your head. Special welding jackets of leather or flame proof canvas and leather welding gloves should be worn. Oxygen and acetylene cylinders should be chained securely in separate areas at least 20 ft. apart unless they are in a bottle cart and chained to it. Never lift a bottle by the cap or safety valve. When in use, oxygen bottles and cover gas bottles should be opened all the way to the back seat position after the regulators are properly screwed on. Open the valve on a full cylinder just briefly to blow out any dust, then attach the regulator. Acetylene bottles that have been laid on their side should be stored upright for at least 4 hours before being used. After attaching the regulator open the acetylene bottle enough just to get full pressure on the gauges.

Again, welding is considered to be “hot work” so you are responsible for fires. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. A 5 gallon bucket of water wouldn’t hurt either. Welding can cause electrical shock, so keep your leads and other equipment in good shape. Use the right type of regulator for the process you are setting up. Acetylene and fuel gases use left hand connections with a notched nut. Back off the adjusting screw of all regulators after use so as not to distort the diaphragm.

I’m sure I haven’t covered everything and maybe forgotten a few things that should have been included, but if at all possible, take a welding course. You’ll have a skill that will stand you in good stead and be very valuable, especially in a TEOTWAWKI situation. _GM at SurvivalBlog
Quite a good introduction to some basics of welding, for such a short and easily readable article. Consult experienced practitioners when getting started or when progressing to a new technique or equipment, to make sure you are not overlooking serious safety problems.

At least one person in a rural or practical suburban family should be able to weld basic iron and steel. More complex and difficult metals will require more training and practise.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Maturity and the Dangerous Child

The Dangerous Child Method of education and child raising lends to the creation of exceptionally mature minds. In fact, a Dangerous Child is an exceptionally mature child who is also exceptionally skilled in a wide range of competencies.

The 20th century American philosopher, psychologist, and author Harry Overstreet is perhaps best known for his book, The Mature Mind (PDF).
The Mature Mind at

One of Overstreet's basic starting points is that children are naturally immature, and become a greater and greater hazard to society the longer their journey to maturity is delayed.

Maturity can be measured in a number of ways. Here is one short checklist of childhood maturity:

Developing Maturity in Youth (PDF)

The modern concept of "maturity in youth" is much atrophied and regressed from earlier views of youthful maturity. Many laws, institutions, and regulations in modern societies that were put in place to protect children and youth are having the contrary effect of impeding childhood maturity (PDF), and of permanently fixing youth in a state of perpetual adolescent incompetence.

See also John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of American Education, introduction and early chapters.

With the decline and creeping helplessness of modern youth, comes a corresponding pessimism toward the types of futures which such youth are likely to create.

Thus the growing need for "rites of passage," and more practical expectations of maturity in children and young people.

As stated above, The Dangerous Child is both mature and highly - broadly skilled and competent. As such, The Dangerous Child is much less hazardous to society than an ordinary child, but is also particularly dangerous to a corrupt status quo.

This is not a contradiction. Society -- and ordinary members of society -- are much safer with a lot of Dangerous Children. But corrupt and despotic institutions, on the other hand, are in particular danger from Dangerous Children. Corrupt and despotic institutions gain much strength when the majority of their subjects are helpless and incompetent.

In the US, with the Chicago Outfit firmly in charge, readers are free to speculate as to how this discussion might apply.

There are particular sub-populations of the western world which are more likely to adopt The Dangerous Child Method, or a similar approach to a return to youthful maturity, competence, and responsibility.

There are other sub-populations of the western world which are firmly in thrall to corrupt, despotic authoritarianism. These helpless and reactionary sub-populations are used by corrupt institutions to maintain control over entire populations -- including sub-populations which are otherwise capable of greater autonomy and independence.

Consider how these ideas may relate to your choice of residence and community.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Unexpected "Back Door" Into the Brain?

The modal view in the cognitive and neural sciences holds that consciousness is necessary for abstract, symbolic, and rule-following computations. Hence, semantic processing of multiple-word expressions, and performing of abstract mathematical computations, are widely believed to require consciousness. We report a series of experiments in which we show that multiple-word verbal expressions can be processed outside conscious awareness and that multistep, effortful arithmetic equations can be solved unconsciously. _PNAS Abstract
Researchers at Hebrew University in Israel have discovered that the human brain is capable of unconsciously solving arithmetic equations, and unconsciously understanding multi-word expressions. This "extra-conscious" processing of both words and arithmetic equations caught many researchers by surprise.
To come to these conclusions, the team used a technique known as Continues Flash Suppression (CFS) to present target information to volunteer subjects subconsciously. The technique involves displaying target information to one eye while simultaneously displaying colorful images to the other. The colorful images demand so much attention that the target information is not noticed, at least in the conscious mind.

In the first exercise, volunteers were shown short word phrases during a CFS session; some of which made sense some of which were nonsensical. Afterwards, they were asked to recall the phrase. The researchers found that the volunteers were able to recall the nonsensical phrases faster than those that made sense, indicating they had been understood while still in a subconscious state.

In the second exercise, the researchers used CFS to flash a simple plus/minus type mathematical equation, minus the answer, to one eye, while the other received the colorful images. Afterwards, each volunteer was asked to say out loud a number that was presented to them. The researchers found that response times were shorter when the number shown matched the answer to the math equation they had been shown.

Thus far, CFS is only able to distract the mind from perceiving information for just a couple of seconds, thus, the types of data that can be tested is limited by the amount of information (or its mathematical complexity) that could reasonably be expected to be absorbed in such a short time period. But the results suggest that people might be processing a lot of information in their daily lives that they aren't aware of because their mind is elsewhere, a finding that the researchers suggest, means that views on subconscious awareness and thought processing, perhaps needs updating. _MXP
What the researchers discovered is one of the possible mechanisms for subliminal suggestion, hypnosis, and unconscious solving of problems -- when a solution suddenly "pops into the mind."

This sophisticated "unconscious" processing is certain to leave lingering effects -- particularly if the subject matter of this processing is emotionally relevant to the person.

This approach to unconscious learning and processing has long been utilised by scientists and clinicians who are now working on the Dangerous Child Method project. Because it is so important to lay the groundwork for future learning in a Dangerous Child's mind at as early a stage as possible, much of the earliest training takes place on a pre-verbal and quasi-unconscious level.

While it is never too late to have a dangerous childhood, it is similarly never too early to get started.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Few Words on Conventional Education from Marvin Minsky

Marvin Minsky is a renowned MIT professor of artificial intelligence, robotics, and cognitive science. He is the author of a number of publications on cognitive science, including The Society of Mind, and The Emotion Machine (Intro).

Here are some of Minsky's thoughts on "The Concept of a General Education" from his MIT webpage:
§2.6 of The Emotion Machine: The “playfulness” of childhood is the most demanding teacher that one could have; it makes us explore our world to see what's there, to try to explain what all those structures are, and to imagine what else could possibly be. Exploring, explaining and learning must be among a child’s most obstinate drives—and never again in those children’s lives will anything push them to work so hard. [1]

Indeed, some children focus so much on their hobbies that their parents fear that this will conflict with their education—and try to find ways to discourage them. However, this essay will propose, instead, to postpone “broad” education until each child has had some experience at becoming an expert in some specialty.

So here we’ll propose to re-aim our schools toward encouraging children to pursue more focused hobbies and specialties—to provide them with more time for (and earlier experience with) developing more powerful sets of mental skills, which they later can extend to more academic activities. These issues are important because our children today are growing up in increasingly complex and dangerous worlds—while our institutions are failing to teach correspondingly better ways to think. The result has been a global pandemic of adults who lack effective ways to deal with increasingly challenging situations.
Conjecture: once a child builds a cognitive tower that works well in some particular realm, that child will thereafter be better equipped to develop proficiencies that can be used in other domains.

The idea is that it seems plausible that the first few such developments could have a major effect on the qualities of that child’s future ones—because those will the child’s first experiments with organizing such ‘vertical’ structures. If so, then this would imply that our children’s early education should focus on activities, hobbies, and specialties that have the ‘desirable’ kinds of such qualities. Of course, this also implies that we’ll need good theories of which such qualities would be desirable’and what kinds of curriculums could help to promote them.

To what extent can a child’s mind spontaneously ‘self-organize’ its higher levels, without any external guidance? To what extent can we help children to learn how and when to make higher-level abstractions or to resort to self-reflection? I’ve never seen much discussion of this; instead, we assume that such developments happen spontaneously if we just expose a child to the proper kind of curriculum, that child’s mind will somehow construct appropriate systems of processes to represent those experiences. Then, when we come to recognize that some children excel at doing such things, we simply assume that those children are ‘brighter’ than the rest—instead of trying to find out what’s happening. _Marvin Minsky
Minsky seems to have come to conclusions about early childhood education which parallel some of the approaches taken in The Dangerous Child Method. Children do need to become self-directed and self-motivated. They do need to develop relative mastery over a number of skills quite early in life.

Where the professor errs is in his pragmatic and overly conventional assumption that this more optimal approach to the education of children would be neatly folded into conventional education. But anyone who is familiar with modern conventional education -- particularly government schools -- would immediately see the impossibility of this approach, in most cases.

There has never been a greater need for Dangerous Children.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Designing Your Own Free Education Online

When designing a course of independent study, some of the most useful tools available can be found online. When you design your own education, you can tailor the content to your needs -- rather than the needs of an institution, a government accreditation agency, or a "society."

Online, you can select from individual tutorials, or you can take an entire course online -- for credit or not for credit. You can even combine different courses to obtain an online certification in a field of study.

Many organisations provide free access to educational materials from K-12 through university graduate study level. Here are a few examples:

540 Free Online Courses from Top Universities -- over free 400 courses in over 10 different categories

Open Courseware Consortium -- Free online courses from 33 top universities -- Free courses from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and the U. Texas system

All of those sites and more offer free online access to a wide selection of courses from fine institutions. But not everyone is ready to take maximum advantage of these valuable courses -- many of which can be very difficult if one is not prepared ahead of time.

Take college mathematics, for example. Higher mathematics is the cornerstone of the modern technical professions and sciences. An inability to understand the basics of higher mathematics can make the difference between a successful career in science, engineering, computer science, or a technical profession -- and perhaps having to settle for less than one may have wanted.

Khan Academy can be helpful in working through difficult mathematical concepts, and filling in missing holes in one's technical background. But another -- and often more fundamentally useful -- website for helping a person to wrap his mind around difficult maths concepts is Better Explained.

Preparing ahead of time is generally the best approach. But sometimes one must be satisfied with "better late than never." Higher mathematics should be learned intuitively, rather than by rote learning of application of formulas. A rote learner is limited in how far he can go, whereas one who takes an intuitive approach can often advance his field of study, or one that is related.

One interesting website approach to teaching intuitive maths to younger students is "Visual Math Learning." The site uses visual animations to assist a student in learning foundational ideas in basic maths, so that he can go on to more difficult things. provides a number of unique learning aids in maths and a large number of other subject areas. It is a site well worth browsing -- time and again.

You will have to start with what you can find, and adapt it to your needs, and the needs of your children. Cultivate the special skills and knowledge of family members, acquaintances, and other persons in your community. You never know who will be in possession of a skill, trick, shortcut, or secret that will make all the difference in learning a particular subject.

Remember, there is no safer place to be than in close proximity to a Dangerous Child. It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dangerous Child Basic Survival Training: Baby Boot Camp

The Dangerous Child Method of Early Childhood Education should be implemented very early in life. Some skills and competencies can be introduced before children learn to walk and talk. Other skills -- such as the survival skills listed below -- should be taught as soon as the child can comprehend the need. Safety, as always, is paramount in the early training.
Don’t underestimate your kids either. Give them age-appropriate responsibilities and allow them to help you when you perform the necessary tasks for survival. The more familiar a child is with a certain task, the more confident they will be if ever a day comes when it is necessary for them to perform that task without your supervision. One of the things I’ve recently been working on with my daughter is keeping the fire going in the wood stove. Initially she was very leery of adding a log to the fire, but after a few weeks of it, she is becoming a pro. Teaching children to build a fire is one of the most basic survival skills that everyone must know.

Likewise, kids need to learn to be comfortable and respectful of firearms and other weapons, and this can only come through practice. Take for example the recent case of a 12 year old girl who shot an intruder through her bathroom door when she was home alone and forced to defend herself. One day you may have to depend on your child to save your life by providing backup in the event of an emergency where law enforcement doesn’t exist. Or, perhaps it will be your young adult who will be out hunting for wild game to put food on the table while you engage in other tasks.

...The fact is, family or group members all need to possess the minimum skills needed to run and protect the homestead.... life will be full of risks and danger. Your survival could one day depend on your 12 year-old’s ability to build a fire in the wood stove and keep it going. Mom might have to be able to shoot an intruder bent on robbing the homestead when dad is away hunting.

We must remember to stretch ourselves in order to become better at prepping and living a preparedness lifestyle. It is paramount that we remove those gender and age defined roles and stereotypes so that more than one person has the ability to perform the self-reliant skills that are vital for a family’s survival.

Some essential skills all members of your team must know:
_Survival Cross Training

The list above is just the beginning. Children must learn cross country navigation and travel skills, rescue skills, and how to survive in an urban setting as well as in a wilderness setting. Dangerous Children will learn to help defend themselves and their families in a wide range of threatening situations, using a wide range of tools of defense. Dangerous Children should master enough skills to be able to independently support themselves financially at least three different ways, by the age of 18.

Because there are so many skills and competencies to be learned, training for a dangerous childhood must begin at an early age. The necessary intensity of the training should be balanced by a playful approach, which is appropriately modified as the child grows older, more skilled, and more mature.

And remember: It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Using Biofeedback to Help Train Your Dangeorus Child

It is not easy to raise a truly dangerous child. Necessary, yes, but not easy. As we learn more about brain development, we are likely to develop better tools to assist us in this difficult work.

Biofeedback is one such tool which is likely to be of great help in dangerous child training, to assist the child in learning to keep a level head.
A new game developed at Boston Children's Hospital... helps children with anger problems to control their temper, so they’ll get along better with other people.

The game, appropriately called RAGE Control, requires the young player to shoot at enemy spaceships while sparing friendly ones. The child’s heart rate is monitored and displayed on the screen, via a sensor attached to one of their fingers. As long as they keep calm and their heart rate stays below a certain threshold, they can keep blasting at the spaceships. If they lose control and their heart rate goes too high, however, they lose the ability to shoot – the only way to regain that ability is to calm back down and lower their heart rate. _Gizmag
Dangerous children are taught a broad range of skills -- including several skills which could be hazardous to the health of the child and those around him, if they are misused. Emotional control is one critical skill which, if mastered, will help to make the mastery of other dangerous skills much safer.

The biofeedback method used in the Boston Children's Hospital game is quite primitive. Heart rate is a couple of levels removed from actual brain function -- which is what we are truly concerned with. A better approach would be to use neurofeedback, which will allow for more precise monitoring and response over a wide range of emotions.

The concept of developmental windows is crucial in the training of emotional control and executive functions. This type of training is best done between the ages of 4 years and 7 years.

Emotional resiliency and emotional mastery are skills which should become intuitive before the child reaches puberty. If the parents neglect this training, they are in for some turbulent years ahead.

Remediation is possible if developmental windows are missed. But only to a limited degree. If you want to save yourselves worlds of trouble in the training of your dangerous children, you will want to act in a timely and well sequenced manner.

Adolescent Psychiatry

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Year Project by Antonio Damasio to Look at Music and Child Brain Development

Famed neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and associates at USC will follow children for 5 years -- during the period between roughly the ages of 6 years old up to 12 years old -- in order to qualify and quantify the effects of high intensity music training on brain development.

Childhood music training has been linked to superior language skills, better math skills, and enhanced creativity. The study described in the article below should add significant information in relationship to those questions.
Researchers at USC Brain and Creativity Institute will explore the effects of intense music training on cognitive development...The five-year research project, Effects of Early Childhood Musical Training on Brain and Cognitive Development, will offer USC researchers an important opportunity to provide new insights and add rigorous data to an emerging discussion about the role of early music engagement in learning and brain function.

Starting when the children are between the age of 6 and 7, to ages 11 and 12, the researchers will use standard psychological assessments and advanced brain imaging techniques to track brain, emotional and social development. The group of children involved in the YOLA at HOLA program will be compared to a control group of children matched in age, socio-economic status and cognitive abilities, but with no musical training.

All children will be followed for five consecutive years, providing a rare chance for researchers to discover the effects of musical training on emotional, social and cognitive aspects of development as they actually occur, rather than inferring later-life effects. The USC Brain and Creativity Institute team began working with YOLA at HOLA students in September 2012. _NeuroscienceNews
The young human brain passes through developmental windows -- or critical periods of development -- when specific brain plasticity leading to the ability to learn particular skills becomes optimal. After these windows for specific cognitive skills are closed, it is more difficult for the child to develop those skills to a mastery level.

This is true not only for musical skills, but for foreign language skills -- and probably for some cognitive skills that lead to later mastery of some forms of higher mathematics.

The early and middle childhood years are quite precious in terms of fortifying the child's brain for meeting the difficult challenges he will meet in the future. Modern societies typically squander these early years -- despite what is already known about critical windows of development.

The truly explosive knowledge regarding developmental windows of opportunity is likely yet to be discovered.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Skills Training and the Brain

Training a child to be broadly competent is useful for the child's confidence and later ability to solve novel problems. But what about more intense training for a deeper mastery? We have learned that it requires at least 10,000 hours of training to master a skill. Sometimes skills mastery requires between 10 to 20 years of intense, wisely directed practise.

Are there precautions we should take to protect the child from overdoing it?
Learning a new skill involves rewiring of the brain, a phenomenon called neural plasticity, the paper notes. For the new skill to persist, those brain changes must be stabilised or consolidated by being transferred from short-term memory and locked into long-term memory.

“If the information and/or neural changes are not adequately consolidated, then learning will be temporary or not occur at all,” the researchers say. Other research has found that lack of sleep, for example, can interfere with the consolidation process, as can trying to train for a second skill before the first one has properly sunk in.

“Many studies have shown that you don’t learn if you don’t sleep after a day of training,” says Dr Pearson. “Likewise, overtraining can reduce learning if you don’t allow time for consolidation.”

The researchers were specifically interested in the role played in learning by “waking consolidation” – that is, taking breaks during the training process. They recruited 31 students to learn a difficult computer task - tracking groups of moving dots disguised amid visual distractions on the screen. The subjects were divided into three groups, each of which was asked to learn the task in different ways.

On the first day, a control group spent one hour training and an overtraining group spent two hours non-stop at the task. A third group also trained for two hours, but with a one-hour break between sessions with subjects choosing their own activities – except sleep.

On the second day, it was found that the control group had mastered the task better than the overtraining group, despite training for only half the time. Likewise the waking consolidation group had also learnt better than the overtrainers, even though the two groups had spent the same total time training. _MedXpress
Study abstract Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences

The findings of the above study should be seen as suggestive rather than definitive. A few days of training on a computer task is not the same as a decade of training in a complex skill the comprises an untold number of sub-tasks which must be learned and integrated together.

But there are dangers in "overtraining." A fascinating neurological disorder known as focal dystonia can affect musicians who train beyond their brain's ability to integrate the training. In such cases, the brain can actually lose the ability to control fine motor movements of the fingers and hands. As one might imagine, this can be immensely frustrating and distressing to the budding young prodigy.

All of this suggests that regular rest periods, and a regular sleep schedule, should be integrated into all serious training regimens. But beyond that common sense advice, it also suggests that coaches, parents, and trainers need to be on the lookout for the analogs of "focal dystonia" in other areas of intense training.

Hard training is necessary for mastery of difficult skills, but so is smart training. Some children may opt for a course of training for reasons other than a genuine suitability and drive. Coaches need to detect when a child is not ready for intense training, or if the child's interest in the training is only superficial.

Besides the real physical and emotional risks of intense training, there is also the risk that a child may be sacrificing other potential avenues of competency or mastery which would be far more rewarding to the child.

That being said, one cannot overstate the inspirational impact of a true master. If the area of mastery is well chosen for the child, and if the regimen of training is wise and measured, the end result can be a lifetime of excellence and satisfaction.

Needless to say, the modern rush to universal psychological neoteny and lifelong incompetence -- as embodied in modern educational systems and child-raising methods -- leads to the opposite of inspiration or satisfaction.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mind of the Survivor

The material quoted below comes from an article by William C. Prentice, published in Survival Blog. Prentice describes the mindset, attitude, and basic psychology of "a survivor." He is not talking about "survivalists," but rather he is describing people who are more likely to survive a trying situation, regardless of its nature.
I know that no matter what happens, I can cut it. I have a number of skills developed over the years, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about that most important of all attributes: the survivor’s mind. This is what enables a person to apply skills to the resources at hand to overcome whatever is thrown at them, and turn those circumstances to their advantage such that surviving looks more like thriving.

A man or woman cannot overcome a substantial survival situation without a conditioned mind. You could parachute all of the necessary supplies right on top of a stranded person and they will fold up and die if not properly conditioned mentally. You could parachute a properly conditioned man or woman into the middle of nowhere with nothing but a knife and a piece of rope and they will come out okay, or at least make a hell of a good show of it.

The key elements of this capability seem easy to identify. Above all it consists of a consistent determination to be self reliant. When something happens, you are not likely to sit around waiting for someone to tell you what to do or take care of the problem for you. I suspect that anyone who is a regular on SurvivalBlog.Com has a good start on this one. Another key attribute is the ability to adapt and overcome changing circumstances, without an initial emotional breakdown...Thirdly, you must be able to instantly size up a strategic situation, evaluate its potential lethality, and recognize a true survival matter when it arises. Part of this is recognizing threats when they arise, which requires awareness of your environment and how it can interact with you. Some people go through their entire life in Condition White, never knowing that they were at risk until they have already become a casualty. A fourth key element is just “guts” – the refusal to give up and accept defeat.

...Where do the mental attributes of a survivor come from? How can you become hardy in a nation that is going through an era that history will probably call the Age of the Wimp?

... My father structured my education and training, and that of my older brother, to stress not only survival skills, but to promote the development of what he called the combat mindset. The training included horsemanship, woodsmanship, hunting, climbing, martial arts, wilderness travel, wilderness medicine, and general problem solving. In an act that would probably result in his being jailed if it happened today, both my brother and I spent a week on our own in the Mojave Desert when in our early teens, followed by several repeat performances in the Eastern Sierra and Mojave throughout our teen years.

We were encouraged to participate in sports, but my father demanded that we understand the limitations of team sports as a foundation for developing individual self-reliance. My father coached my brother’s little league and pony league teams, but he was never happier than when we were with him in the mountains or the desert hunting, climbing, or working through some survival situation that he had concocted.

I don’t think that it is necessary to be a survival expert to properly nurture a youngster so that they will be able to handle whatever is thrown at them. As described below, the training and experience for skill development is available for anyone to acquire if the desire is there. The minimum required of a parent is to teach the philosophy of personal responsibility and self-reliance, refrain from coddling the little darlings into becoming wimps, and support the acquisition of skill and knowledge as a lifelong endeavor. _Survivorblog
Much more at the link above.

In The Dangerous Child movement, we emphasise the development of a wide range of skills and competencies. We believe that as a child experiences the mastery of a number of skills through planning, hard work and smart, determined practise, his level of confidence will grow.

Confident children who have already solved a wide range of problems on their own, are more likely to be able to solve a wide range of problems in the future.

Chance favours the prepared mind. That is true for invention and innovation, as well as for survival.

To develop a child's mind into "the mind of the survivor," parents, mentors, and teachers must begin early in development. Problem-solving and skills mastery come naturally to young humans, if given the chance. Early problem-solving such as learning to walk, talk, manage bowel and bladder control, climbing, etc. will merge seamlessly into the learning of more advanced skills -- if the child is given the chance.

Such skills training and valid confidence building is a much neglected part of child rearing and education in modern societies. But it is far more important than most of the things which parents do to "take care of the child."

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood. But if you want your children to make the most of their own lives, it is better to start sooner rather than later.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What About Martial Arts for Children?

Modern children are typically pampered and sheltered from most of the harsher realities of life. This is a good thing for infants, toddlers, and most kindergartners. But as a child grows older and more independent, he will spend more and more of his time outside of direct adult supervision. If he does not learn to develop situational awareness and to protect himself as he gets older, he becomes a sitting duck for bullies, predators, and accidentally stumbling into bad situations.

What are the best martial arts to teach children in the beginning? In our opinion, Aikido, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and wrestling. Here are a few ideas for teaching martial arts to children:

I think if I were to teach a class of kids aikido, here's some of what I'd do to avoid chokes, joint locks, and etc...

Mobility games
Ukemi - lots and lots of ukemi [ed: the art of falling safely and smoothly]
Walking kata
Evasion drills with partners
Brush-off and escape
Wrist releases
... Cool ki tricks (mind games, concentration, etc…)
Talk about how to deal with interpersonal conflict
Situational self defense
... So, there's still a lot of aikido and pre-aikido that we could do. Much of the pre-aikido stuff is identical to the pre-judo stuff we do in kiddie judo. _Aikido for kids

For a while, young kids should play a games-based judo approach. Fun preparations that build strength and coordination and familiarity with judo. But then at some point they have to move to "real judo." I'm not talking about adult judo - we start kids in regular adult classes at about age 13, depending on their physical size and maturity. I'm talking about an intermediate level between games-based judo and actual judo technique.

. One indicator that they are ready to step it up a level from games to real judo, is that they understand and can abide by the gentleman's agreement at the heart of judo. I've mentioned this Judo gentleman's rule before.

. The most central rule to judo practice is that if I am going to allow you to use my body to learn to throw hard and fast then you must save me at the end. You can throw with force, but you must support me and help me get into the proper landing position. .

Without people abiding by this rule, judo falls apart and cannot be practiced. When kids are progressively demonstrating that they can take better and better care of their ukes, they can be taught progressively more vigorous judo. _Judo for kids

Jiu Jitsu:
After teaching my own children and many others basic self-defense, I realized that children should first concentrate on a safe foundation system of self-defense based solely on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Only given solid aptitude of this system, at an intermediate level, would I then teach the striking techniques of Thai Boxing. The rationale for this is manifold:

Only a more advanced student will learn techniques that are inherently more dangerous (striking). This way, I will assure that only children who are mature enough to understand the safety issues will learn the technique.
In a fight, position is more important than pure striking ability. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gives a greater ability to control the position of your opponent than Thai Boxing. So, I want the student to know how to control their opponent long before they learn how to punch, elbow, or kick them. With positional control, punching and kicking can happen with relative leisure!
Beginners may get confused if they have too many techniques to focus on. After they have the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu "wired in," they won't get their mind as cluttered with dramatically different techniques of Thai Boxing.

Core Concepts

Safety first.
Understand the difference between causing pain and causing harm. Never attempt to harm a fellow student.
Avoid physical conflict.
Work out conflict with words. If you can escape a situation without physical harm to you or a family member, don't fight.
Words are never a reason to fight. Children are rewarded for avoiding fights.
Because of legal and school disciplinary issues involved in fights, the children are taught that in a situation where a fight is unavoidable, the words spoken and attempts made to dispel and avoid the situation beforehand can make a great difference.
Challenge the student to work hard.
The only true rewards in life come from hard work, dedication, and consistent practice.
Fitness through aerobic conditioning
Self defense in realistic situations
Have fun, but be serious enough to make solid progress every class!
Share techniques and learning with fellow students only.
It is important that they understand that this is a fighting system that should not be casually shared or demonstrated anywhere but in class with the instructor, unless self-defense calls for it. In other words, it would be very bad if they demonstrated a choke on a friend at the playground or kicked the family dog!
Don't advertise yourself as a martial arts expert! Many children take a few classes and think they are Bruce Lee reincarnated. A bigger bully will go out of his way to pick a fight with someone like this. Sun Tsu said, "All warfare is based on deception." Don't let them know what you know. More importantly, as a beginner, you don't know much, so don't pretend to know more than you do! _Jiu Jitsu for kids

Find a Team

Depending on your child’s age, there are several different options for the types of teams you want to sign him up with. The most popular choice for parents with children under the age of 10 is to start them in a freestyle/Greco-Roman wrestling club. These clubs typically practice folkstyle, the same style of wrestling contested in high schools and colleges across the United States.

Wrestling clubs are typically not affiliated with any specific school or organization. Rather, they are private organizations geared towards teaching children the sport of wrestling. However, many clubs may practice at a school and have the same coaching staff as a school’s regular team — but the club will not be related to the school in any other way.

Essentially, you want to look for a team that focuses on fitness and technical development, rather than competition. This is especially important for younger wrestlers. For more information on what to look for when choosing a wrestling club, check out iSport’s guide, _Wrestling for kids
Wrestling has traditionally been a male sport, but it is becoming more popular among females. It can be extremely strenuous, so children should have good health and fitness levels before beginning training. Most of all, choose a coach who is skilled, patient, a good teacher, and emotionally mature.

Martial arts training for children can be useful for many reasons, but the training needs to be age appropriate, and geared to the individual child's needs and maturity level. Basic training to develop respect for instructors and classmates as well as disciplined habits of practise, should precede more difficult and complex skills training. Early training should focus on fitness, mobility, escape, releases, balance, situational awareness and response, and the mental aspects of physical training and confrontation.

Training in strikes, kicks, weapons, choke holds, joint locks, etc. should be withheld until the child is mature enough to learn and practise them with proper restraint and respect for classmates and instructors. This should usually only occur after significant time (years) in training, under close observation, and only with other students who are prepared for such training.

Every dangerous child should be able to sense potentially dangerous situations and avoid them when possible. But he should also be physically and mentally prepared to deal with situations which occur outside of his ability to predict or prevent.

Dangerous children are by definition not helpless. This should be true physically, mentally, emotionally, and in virtually every aspect of his life.

So ideally, martial arts training will be just one aspect of a dangerous child's training in not being helpless. This is a different attitude toward child raising than one typically finds, but it is necessary.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Native Differences in Ability and an Integrated Curriculum

The ideal curriculum for the young child would be both open and integrated. An integrated curriculum ties the various fields of learning together, acknowledging the related patterns of brain activity in areas such as music, math, and science.
Music, science, and math go hand in hand. This is a natural combination for children. As we think about the integrated curriculum, it is important to remember all of the educational possibilities of weaving music, science, and mathematics throughout children’s experiences and all parts of the classroom environment (Scholastic Early Childhood Today, 2003). Music and rhythm are a vital part of human culture. The integration of music into the general curriculum encourages students to become actively involved in their learning. For example, the rhythm, meter, measure, and pattern of familiar lyrics can help develop math and science skills while enhancing many other aspects of the curriculum (Rothenberg, 1996).

Music can be a real asset when it comes to teaching math. “Music is filled with patterns and that’s what math is really about. You’re not going to explain the intricacies of notes and scales to a three-year-old, but exposing a child to music now will help him learn these concepts later” (Gill, 1998, p. 40). _Education

Integrating different types of learning which exercise similar brain networks, within the curriculum, can provide complementary pre-verbal cognitive perspectives which may be difficult to achieve otherwise.

But the curriculum must also be open to integrating more and different skills and knowledge areas as windows for critical learning periods open and close. By a certain point in development, it should be clear whether the child possesses special interests or particular ability or skills potential. The curriculum is integrated, but open to special circumstances and motivations.

Different children possess varying innate potential for development in the diverse fields of study and over a wide range of skills and competencies. While it is true that smart practise is crucial for mastery of skills and knowledge, it is also true that starting with a higher innate potential allows for the possibility of a higher level of mastery, with well-directed practise.

In terms of music, for example, we find that males overwhelmingly dominate the list of the 100 greatest classical composers. This is also true for the list of 10 greatest violinists of all time. You will also find a powerful male dominance revealed in the list of the top 50 jazz musicians of all time. The handful of females who make it into the top 50 jazz musicians list, tend to be vocalists.

As far as mathematics is concerned, there has not been a female Fields medal winner. The Fields Medal is given to mathematicians who are considered to advance the field the most.

In science, the Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded almost exclusively to men, with Marie Curie sharing the award in 1903 with Antoine Henri Becquerel and Pierre Curie.

This male - female comparison of historical elite achievement in music, mathematics, and science, is meant only to demonstrate the likelihood of a sex related difference in innate ability at the elite levels, in those areas. The differences of innate strengths in these areas are distributed normally in both the male and the female populations, with the elite tail of the male distribution extending further to the right than the elite tail of the female distribution.

Other than for the elite tails, there is considerable overlap in ability in music, math, and science for males and females. In other words, the way is relatively equally open to mastery in those fields for large numbers of males and females.

For most dangerous children, early training in a broad range of general competencies will lead to adolescents with multiple skills which can be put to use in several ways to both provide income, and to pursue further mastery in special areas which may most interest individual dangerous children.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Steps to Personal Development and Autonomy

Here is a quick look at Arthur Chickering's Seven Vectors approach to personal development in children and youth. It is a useful taking-off point for designing approaches to early life curricula for Dangerous Children.

Chickering's theory was based upon personal development during the college years, but if you want to raise a Dangerous Child, you had better not wait that long.
1. Developing competence. Three kinds of competence develop in college–intellectual competence, physical and manual skills, and interpersonal competence. Intellectual competence is skill in using one’s mind. It involves mastering content, gaining intellectual and aesthetic sophistication, and, most important, building a repertoire of skills to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize. It also entails developing new frames of reference that integrate more points of view and serve as “more adequate” structures for making sense out of our observations and experiences. Physical and manual competence can involve athletic and artistic achievement , designing and making tangible products, and gaining strength, fitness, and self-discipline. Competition and creation bring emotions to the surface since our performance and our projects are on display for others’ approval or criticism. Leisure activities can become lifelong pursuits and therefore part of identity...

Students’ overall sense of competence increases as they learn to trust their abilities, receive accurate feedback from others, and integrate their skills into a stable self-assurance.

2. Managing emotions. Whether new to college or returning after time away, few students escape anger, fear, hurt, longing, boredom, and tension. Anxiety, anger, depression, desire, guilt, and shame have the power to derail the educational process when they become excessive or overwhelming. Like unruly employees, these emotions need good management. The first task along this vector is not to eliminate them but to allow them into awareness and acknowledge them as signals, much like the oil light on the dashboard.

Development proceeds when students learn appropriate channels for releasing irritations before they explode, dealing with fears before they immobilize, and healing emotional wounds before they infect other relationships. It may be hard to accept that some amount of boredom and tension is normal, that some anxiety helps performance, and that impulse gratification must sometimes be squelched....

3. Moving through autonomy toward interdependence. A key developmental step for students is learning to function with relative self-sufficiency, to take responsibility for pursuing self-chosen goals, and to be less bound by others’ opinions. Movement requires both emotional and instrumental independence, and later recognition and acceptance of interdependence.

Emotional independence means freedom from continual and pressing needs for reassurance, affection, or approval. It begins with separation from parents and proceeds through reliance on peers, nonparental adults, and occupational or institutional reference groups. It culminates in diminishing need for such supports and increased willingness to risk loss of friends or status in order to pursue strong interests or stand on convictions....

4. Developing mature interpersonal relationships. Developing mature relationships involves (1) tolerance and appreciation of differences (2) capacity for intimacy. Tolerance can be seen in both an intercultural and an interpersonal context. At its heart is the ability to respond to people in their own right rather than as stereotypes or transference objects calling for particular conventions. Respecting differences in close friends can generalize to acquaintances from other continents and cultures. Awareness, breadth of experience, openness, curiosity, and objectivity help students refine first impressions, reduce bias and ethnocentrism, increase empathy an altruism, and enjoy diversity....

5. Establishing identity. Identity formation depends in part on the other vectors already mentioned: competence, emotional maturity, autonomy, and positive relationships. Developing identity is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, remodeling a house, or seeking one’s “human rhythms,” a term that Murphy (1958) illustrated by photic driving. A person watching an instrument that emits flashes at precise intervals eventually hits a breaking point–the point at which the rhythm induces a convulsion. If, for example, the number is sixteen, the observer may rapidly lose consciousness as this number is presented in the standard time interval. Seventeen and fifteen, however ,are safe numbers. It is not until thirty-two or some other multiple of sixteen is reached that a breakdown recurs. Like the piano wire that hums or like the glass that shatters, we all have our critical frequencies in a variety of areas. Development of identity is the process of discovering with what kinds of experience, at what levels of intensity and frequency, we resonate in satisfying, in safe, or in self-destructive fashion.

Development of identity involves: (1) comfort with body and appearance, (2) comfort with gender and sexual orientation, (3) sense of self in a social, historical, and cultural context, (4) clarification of self-concept through roles and life-style , (5) sense of self in response to feedback from valued others, (6) self-acceptance and self-esteem, an d (7) personal stability and integration. A solid sense of self emerges, and it becomes more apparent that there is an I who coordinates the facets of personality, who “owns” the house of self and is comfortable in all of its rooms....

6. Developing purpose. Many college students are all dressed up and do not know where they want to go. They have energy but no destination. While they may have clarified who they are and where they came from, they have only the vaguest notion of who they want to be. For large numbers of college students, the purpose of college is to qualify them for a good job, not to help them build skills applicable in the widest variety of life experiences; it is to ensure a comfortable life-style, not to broaden their knowledge base, find a philosophy of life, or become a lifelong learner.

Developing purpose entails an increasing ability to be intentional, to assess interests and options, to clarify goals, to make plans, and to persist despite obstacles. It requires formulating plans for action and a set of priorities that integrate three major elements: (1) vocational plans and aspirations, (2) personal interests, and (3) interpersonal and family commitments. It also involves a growing ability to unify one’s many different goals within the scope of a larger, more meaningful purpose, and to exercise intentionality on a daily basis....

7. Developing Integrity. Developing integrity is closely related to establishing identity and clarifying purposes. Our core values and beliefs provide the foundation for interpreting experience, guiding behavior, and maintaining self-respect. Developing integrity involves three sequential but overlapping stages: (1) humanizing values-shifting away from automatic application of uncompromising beliefs and using principled thinking in balancing one’s own self-interest with the interests of one’s fellow human beings, (2) personalizing values-consciously affirming core values and beliefs while respecting other points of view, and (3) developing congruence-matching personal values with socially responsible behavior. _Chickering's Seven Vectors

The ideas have to be adjusted as appropriate for different ages and stages of development, of course.

One of the most important strengths adolescents should develop -- as part of developing identity, purpose, and integrity -- is to build a healthy resistance to propaganda and ideology.

In modern life, schoolchildren are immersed in propaganda and ideology -- as is anyone who is in contact with popular or news media. If one cannot separate his own identity, goals, and purpose from the prevalent propaganda and ideology in which he happens to be immersed, he cannot develop an autonomous self.

What are some differences between ideology and philosophy?

1.Philosophy refers to a pragmatic approach of looking and analyzing life. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs and rules belonging to a particular group or set of people
2.Philosophy aims at understand the world as it exists whereas ideology is born out of a vision for the future and aims at changing the current state to that particular vision
3.Philosophy is objective whereas ideology is dogmatic and refuses to participate in any discussion that does not agree with that ideology
4.Philosophy does not have as much impact as an ideology would have on the world ‘“ for ideology aims at spreading the beliefs and imposing them on the rest of the society irrespective of its relevance
5.All ideologies have some underlying philosophy but it is not vice versa. _Difference Between

A broader look at differences between ideology and philosophy
(Note: The link above goes to a chapter in an online book on philosophy. The link to this chapter is not an unconditional endorsement of the entire online book. But several of the book's chapters are useful as general introductions to various topics in philosophy.)

PDF slideshow looking at different modern political ideologies

Dangerous children will learn to avoid propaganda and ideology, as a general rule. But they need to be exposed to the phenomena in order to recognise and become relatively impervious to them.

The above is in the way of background information, to prepare the way for a discussion of an important societal transition which is underway. This transition will serve as the springboard for a more important transition -- of which The Dangerous Child movement is but a part.