That's What SHE Said: How washing machines boosted attendance in a St. Louis school by 90%, a touching letter from the Bush sisters to the Obama sisters, food photo trickery and so much more....



Here are some things I read this week that made me think.  (These are just snippets - click on the title to read the whole thing.)


One Answer to School Attendance: Washing Machines by Mimi with Citylab

“After just one month, we saw an impact,” Gunn tells CityLab. The more long-term results of the program have actually been remarkable. The first year saw over 90 percent of tracked students increase their attendance, with those most in need of the service averaging an increase of almost 2 weeks. Teachers surveyed reported that 95 percent of participants showed more motivation in class and were more apt to participate in extra-curricular activities. The results support research demonstrating that chronic absenteeism isn’t because of kids’ lack of smarts or motivation, but is largely due to coming from a low-income household."


The Bush Sisters Wrote Malia And Sasha Obama The Sweetest Letter from Sarah at Scary Mommy

“You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House. You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”


"When Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee, sent her seven-year-old adopted son by himself on a plane back to his home country of Russia with nothing more than a note explaining she didn't want to parent him, she became one of the most reviled women in America. Russian officials were so incensed that they temporarily halted all adoption to the United States. We sometimes expect fathers to shirk their responsibility; but when mothers do it, it shakes the core of what we've been taught to believe about women and maternal instinct.

Anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argued in a 2001 Utah lecture, for example, that being female is seen as synonymous with having and nurturing as many children as possible. So when mothers abandon their children, it's seen as unnatural. This simplistic, emotional response to parents -- mothers, in particular -- who give up their kids is part of the reason Americans have such a difficult time dealing with the issue. As Hrdy says, "No amount of legislation can ensure that mothers will love their babies."


Bestie Row: 4 Couples Built These Tiny Houses So They Could Live Right Next to Each Other by Nancy at Apartment Therapy

Four couples in Texas have made that dream into a reality with 'Bestie Row', a grouping of four tiny wilderness cabins where they can reconnect with nature, and each other.


"Think you got some savvy about the presidential inauguration? At whose ceremony did a fire break out? Who got sworn in wearing a dead man's hair? Test your knowledge and take this quiz."

Then, take a peek at CNN's newest mini-documentary, "The Oath: 35 words that make a President."


Say Cheese!  18 Fascinating Food Photography Tricks Revealed by FashionBeans

We can never look at photos of food the same way again.

"Among the grossest tricks on our lovely little list is a use you probably never thought Elmer's Glue had."


Who Will Care for the Caregivers? from Dhruv with The New York Times

"A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggests that society’s reliance on this “work force” — largely taken for granted — is unsustainable. While the demand for caregivers is growing because of longer life expectancies and more complex medical care, the supply is shrinking, a result of declining marriage rates, smaller family sizes and greater geographic separation. In 2015, there were seven potential family caregivers for every person over 80. By 2030, this ratio is expected to be four-to-one, and by 2050, there will be fewer than three potential caregivers for every older American."




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