3. Sunnie Kahle has short hair. She enjoys wearing sneakers and playing sports. She also “cries when she comes home because she wants to go back to Timberlake Christian [School] with her friends.” 

    8-year-old girl removed from school because she isn’t feminine enough


  4. Megan McArdle has been pushing the importance of failure, and bemoaning cultural shifts away from taking failure-prone risks. In her estimation, children are being drilled into total conformity from a young age, steered by overly concerned parents toward high-success paths that leave little room for creative deviations from the norm. In the long run, McArdle suggests, this is bad for society because it will reduce innovation and the social benefits that flow from it.

    But while McCardle somewhat glibly celebrates failure, the reality of deep failure in America is stark. Unlike elsewhere in the developed world, being at or near the bottom of American society entails extraordinary misery. Poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, instability, and a general lack of a livable social floor means that the consequences of truly failing in the U.S. are rather horrific.

    — Matt Bruenig, in If you want kids to fail, stop making failure so horrible


  5. Kermit the frog can be a real jerk.

    Watch all of the Sesame Street clips mentioned in the podcast.

    Subscribe and listen to all of The Week’s mini-podcasts here.


  6. Hikikomori

    Japanese teens and young men known as shut-ins, who eschew human contact and spend their days playing video games and reading comics in their parents’ homes.  There are an estimated 1 million hikikomori in Japan, contributing to a worrisome drop in the Japanese population.

    Everything you need to know about Japan’s population crisis


  7. In our weekly podcast series “This Week I Learned”: Science helps you guard against the Polar Vortex; seeing sound onscreen; every kid gets amnesia; and Richard Pryor’s gorgeous hidden talent.

    Listen to all of our “This Week I Learned” podcasts (and many more) here.


  8. Harvard scientists have figured out how to give adults the learning power and information retention of children “7 years old or younger”:

    Anti-seizure medication.


  9. Kabul, Afghanistan

    Jenin, West Bank

    Crested Butte, Colorado

    The pure joy of swings


  10. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

    Albert Einstein is one of history’s brightest minds, but recently, two girls too young to drive both bested his alleged IQ score of 160. The budding geniuses, ages 15 and 12 respectively, earned official IQ scores of 162, putting them in the top 1 percent of the population.

    5 kids smarter than Albert Einstein

    (Source: theweek.com)


  11. In the first half of a new commercial from Luvs Diapers, a frazzled first-time mom sits alone in a restaurant, struggling to breastfeed her son under a blanket so as not to offend her fellow patrons. Cut to the second half of the clip, and a slightly older and wiser mom is in the same restaurant, this time breastfeeding her second baby in plain view while her firstborn, now a few years older, sits beside her. The shocked waiter can’t take his eyes off the woman’s chest, but the cool-headed and confident mom handles it like a pro, pointing to her face and saying, “Hey, up here.” 

    Luvs’ new ‘public breastfeeding is awesome’ ad


  12. Feel like some peace and quiet while traveling by plane? You’re in luck.

    One low-cost airline, AirAsia, will soon offer an adults-only “Quiet Zone” on long-haul flights. Only passengers age 12 or older will be allowed to sit in the first seven rows of the airline’s economy class. 

    Any chance we’ll see Quiet Zones on U.S. flights?


  13. $234,900 — Amount a middle-income family typically spends raising a child through age 17, as of 2011

    $389,670 — Amount that families earning more than $100,000 a year typically spend per child

    3.5 — Percentage increase in kid-rearing costs from 2010, due to rising transportation, education, child care, and food expenses

    $70,000 — Total cost of housing a child through age 17, the single-biggest expense

    18 — Percentage of total child-rearing expenses funneled to child care and education in 2011

    2 — Percentage used on child care and education in 1960

    The astonishing costs of raising a child: By the numbers