Monday, July 26, 2010

News Flash: Rocks Too Deadly for Schoolkids?

Greetings, daredevils.

I just happened upon a great Forbes article about the insane lengths the Consumer Product Safety Commission goes to keep dangerous toys like plain old rocks out of the hands of schoolchildren. I'd write more, but in some ways res ipsi locutor, and I have to get to work too.

Via BoingBoing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Give Parents a Chance: Part 1: diaper diatribe

Greetings, potential p1 generation.

It's been a long time since I posted to this blog. My life's been irrevocably improved by a nine-month-old daughter, and I've changed cities as well. I bet you might have thought I was gone for good, but here I am, back with another cold, hard numerical look at our decisions.

Today, I'm going to write a post I wish I'd read a few months before coming a dad; this may evolve into a short series.

Over-educated parents get weird about a whole lot of things and one of them is diapers. It's practically taboo for a Ph.D.-toting couple like us to use throw-away diapers that will sit in a landfill for eternity. We've bowed to social pressure and bought a g-diaper system, complete with multiple reusable covers (that need a lot of laundering nonetheless) and flushable inserts.

The joke's on us, however, since cloth diapers on the whole are not any more environmentally friendly than disposables. Laundering cloth diapers in soap and hot water takes as much energy and releases as many chemicals into the environment as having disposable diapers.

The three big advantages of disposable over cloth are:
  1. Cost (disposables are about half as expensive)
  2. Baby's skin (disposables these days can keep 'em dry through the night)
  3. Time (it's much faster to change a disposable diaper than a cloth one, and when you're only getting 4 hours of sleep a night for the first three months, even an extra 5 minutes 8 times a day is really appreciated)
Item 3 is so important that I'll come out and declare that even if 1 and 2 were not true, it would probably still be best for the family to use disposables overall. When you're taking care of a newborn, you need time. Other things like budgets and environmental concerns - especially the matter of a couple of cubic meters of solid waste (all the diapers that the baby will make over their lifetime) - can and should be put on a back burner. Be with your kid, not your laundry service.

In conclusion, let me absolve any prospective parent out there (I can do this now that I'm officially ordained - another story) of any disposable-related guilt. Disposables are awesome technology - use 'em with a clear conscience.