Mom arrested for letting daughter play outside


Debra Harrell is currently in jail because she let her 9-year-old daughter play, unsupervised, in a public park. Almost everything about this story (which I noticed courtesy of Lenore Skenazy) is horrifying. Harrell works at McDonald’s. Her daughter used to tag along and stare at a screen at her mother’s workplace during the day. She asked to go to the park instead, was discovered to be without an adult, and her mother was arrested. Compounding the horribleness is the news coverage, in which reporters and onlookers alike are united in disgust at Harrell.

The story is a convergence of helicopter parenting with America’s primitive family policy. Our welfare policy is designed to make everybody, even single mothers, work full-time jobs. The social safety net makes it difficult for low-wage single mothers to obtain adequate child care. And society is seized by bizarre fears that children are routinely snatched up by strangers in public places. The phenomenon is, in fact, nearly as rare as in-person voting fraud. But when you watch the report above, you can see everybody involved believes such a thing plainly happens all the time.

Obviously, leaving a child unattended in a park is not an ideal child-care arrangement. It is, however, a perfectly sensible balancing of risks. I work from home, and my wife in an office, so I often end up looking after the kids when school is closed and child-care arrangements fall through. I’m fortunate enough that this is rare: My parents live nearby and my father is retired, and I can afford to pay a babysitter. Also, since I work at home, I can get stuff done, more or less, while the kids entertain themselves.

Not long ago, I was trying to meet a deadline on a sunny afternoon while the kids (ages 10 and nearly 8) longed to get outside. I realized that letting them go to the park alone carried some non-zero risk of stranger abduction. On the other hand, letting them sit around the house staring at screens carries health risks, too. I let them go together. Having rarely seen unaccompanied kids their age at the park, I suspected at the time it was an unusual choice. I never suspected it would conceivably subject me to arrest.

I raise my experience not because it’s equivalent to Harrell’s, because it isn’t; I’m fortunate enough not to face the kinds of wrenching choices she confronts. America has decided to punish Harrell if she fails to acquire full-time employment; her employment does not provide her with adequate child care; and the community punishes her for failing to live up to unobtainable middle-class child-care standards. There are many perpetrators in this story. Debra Harrell was not one of them.

Source: New York Magazine – Jonathan Chait

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Gas from farts can help battle disease

fartThe thought may make your stomach churn, but scientists claim that the gas which makes farts smell of rotten eggs could be used to help tackle conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The gas behind the putrid stench is known as hydrogen sulphide, and is toxic in large quantities. 

But researchers claim that if dosed correctly, the gas can help tackle diabetes, strokes, heart attacks and dementia.

Professor Matt Whiteman, of the University of Exeter Medical School, explained that when cells become stressed by disease they produce tiny quantities of hydrogen sulphide. This is because the gas helps sustain mitochondria, the powerhouse of a cell, and in turn keep the cell alive. If this process does not happen, the cells die. 

Source: Times Of India

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Baby left in sweltering car in France dies

Photo: model

Photo: model

A year-old baby left by his mother in a car on a blazing summer day in southern France has died.

 Medical services failed to revive the infant, who had been left unattended for at least an hour in the heat in Courthezon, near Avignon on Friday, where temperatures reached 34 degrees Celsius, local officials said.

The mother had picked up the child from his babysitter, then returned to the house later to chat with her, leaving the infant in the car, public prosecutor Bernard Marchal said.

“Based on the information, this is at the very least a case of gross negligence by the mother for having left her child in the direct sunlight” in a car, he said.

The mother, 31, has been hospitalised on doctor’s orders and an inquiry into involuntary manslaughter has been opened.

Source: India Today

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Naked man in nut tree arrested


Police in America have arrested a man after finding him naked up a nut tree.

The Salem authorities received several 911 reports of a man without any clothes roaming the area and “touching himself”, KGW reports. When they arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning, police captured the naked man in a Filbert orchard wearing only tennis shoes.

Stephen James Ellingsworth, 28, of Silverton, who also goes by the last name Frolov, was taken into custody and given a warm blanket due to the cold early morning temperature.

The man told investigators that he had been out drinking with his friends the night before and had no idea how he ended up naked in a nut orchard.

He was booked into the Marion County Jail on three counts of public indecency, with bail set at $15,000.

Source: Digital Spy

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8 paper clips removed from man’s stomach


imageDoctors successfully removed eight straightened paperclips from the stomach of a man who admitted swallowing the clips during a heated argument with his wife.

The straightened paperclips were lodged in the 26-year-old man’s stomach and other organs and could have caused his death if these were not removed successfully, the Global Times reported.

The man, identified as A Biao, a resident of Guangzhou in Guangdong province, said he was drunk when he swallowed more than 10 straightened paperclips during an argument with his wife a month ago. The straightened nickel-plated paperclips measured around 8 centimeters each but A Biao said he could not remember how he swallowed more than 10 of the clips. “I did it out of anger during an argument with my wife. I was drunk, I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. He said he was able to pass several of the clips after two days but he started feeling sharp abdominal pains that he was no longer able to walk straight. When he experience bloody diarrhea and fever, A Biao decided to have himself checked by doctors at the ZHujiang hospital. A Biao is now recovering after a successful surgery. He vowed never to swallow paperclips again.

Source: China Topix


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