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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Monday, May 22, 2017

WTF? We are so doomed.



From the newspaper without a name:


Fidget cubes and spinners can cut restlessness, but schools elsewhere cracking down ...


It all began locally around the middle of the school year: Flat pieces of plastic or metal, usually with three or so “legs,” spinning around on outstretched fingers.

And muffled clicking noises coming from six-sided cubes.

They may have been largely invisible at the start of the school year, but around Christmas, they were everywhere — fidget devices, usually spinners or cubes, designed to give restless hands something to do but quickly adapted by kids everywhere for a simple reason.

They’re kind of fun.

The fidget spinner works a bit like a top: Balance the center of the flat toy on a finger, or pinch between two fingers, and give one of the “legs” a flick to send it into rotation.

The cube has different fidgety gadgets on each of its six sides, including a joystick-like knob, an on-off switch, rotating gears and a spinning ball.

Just how popular are the fidget devices?

Doesn't anyone write paragraphs anymore? This must be a" Fidget Article".

On Friday, all but one of the top 50 best-selling toys at Amazon was some form of a fidget spinner or cube. (The lone holdout was the game Cards Against Humanity, at No. 25.)

Another sign that the idea is approaching critical mass: Last week, a virtual “Finger Spinner” was the No. 1 free download in Apple’s app store.

They’re especially popular with the school-age crowd, leading some schools to the brink of total frustration. According to press reports and the website spinnerlist.com, which tracks spinner use and sales, schools in several states, including Texas, Massachusetts, California, Illinois and Alabama, have banned them outright.

Locally, schools seem to be taking more of a case-by-case approach to policing their use.
“We’ve dealt with worse fads,” says Jerry Egan. A former elementary and middle school teacher, he now is Penn Manor’s assistant superintendent for elementary schools.

“The spinners themselves aren’t that intrusive. They don’t make noise. They’re a harmless gadget.”
But they are a gadget — and that fact alone, he says, is what can cause some issues.

“It’s one more thing for a classroom teacher to manage,” he says, “or a kid loses it and can’t find it.”
Instead of banning them outright, local districts mostly are leaving the decision of whether to allow them to the discretion of teachers or building administrators.

“We try to keep it in perspective,” Egan says. “We acknowledge it as a fad and deal with it on a smaller-scale basis, instead of dropping the hammer.”

Unless a boy pretends his finger is a gun. That'll get him expelled, which is probably the best thing that could happen to a kid.

The appeal of a fidget gadget is readily apparent to anyone who’s caught themselves clicking a ballpoint pen, jiggling a leg in lengthy meeting, picking at their fingernails or absentmindedly twirling their hair.

“The whole concept is that (fidgeting) can give us sensory input that helps us focus,” says Brittany Beers. A licensed professional counselor in Lititz, Beers is very familiar with fidget devices such as the cube and spinners. “The focus becomes on the feeling in the hand,” she says, “instead of the anxiety.”

“I have a cube in my office for (clients) to use to see if it helps them sit better and focus more,” adds Beers, who works with many children and adolescents. “Once I see how they respond, I may recommend to parents” that they get a fidget device of their own.

She says her young clients have found them helpful when tackling tasks they may find stressful, such as tests or homework. A fidget cube, she says, can be used almost absent-mindedly with one hand, leaving the other free for writing. And it can be kept and used in the pocket of a jacket or hoodie so it’s less obvious to others.

Beers suggests that parents of students who find the gadgets help their ability to concentrate work with their schools to make sure the student can use the gadget while still following rules.

“It really depends on whether the kid is using it correctly,” she says, “versus using it to get attention.”

This isn’t one of those fads — a Tamagotchi or Furby or the like — in which a toy’s appeal is pretty much limited to the younger set.

Fidget gadgets have their adult fans, too.

Some are attracted to the devices after a lifetime of trying to control their own fidgety impulses.
Others, though, have something a little more esoteric in mind. When the Financial Times recently did a story on fidget gadgets, the London-based publication’s comments section took a decidedly scholarly turn.

“As a physicist I’m really enjoying my spinner,” a reader with the username Pyrrhus of Epirus commented at the Times’ website. “I’ve been explaining to the kids about the various forces generated by the spinning wheel, gyroscopic effects and also about mass distribution and moments of inertia.”

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

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