kottke.org posts about Babies

Hardcore nudity in Babies documentaryMay 10 2010

Kids in Mind reviews movies with a finer tooth comb than G/PG/PG-13/etc. -- it's basically "won't somebody please think of the children" for movies. Babies, the documentary that follows four infants through the first years of their lives, didn't do so well in the Sex/Nudity department.

Children of various ages, from newborns to toddlers, are seen in various states of undress, including unobscured views of both male and female genitals.

This was filed under Violence/Gore:

An infant's bare buttocks are seen with what appears to be fecal matter; a woman lifts up the child and in the process gets fecal matter on her leg, which she wipes off with a corncob. A stream of urine is seen coming from a baby and landing on a table.

The corncob scene will HAUNT YOUR DREAMS. The site's two "perfect" scores are worth reading too: Crank: High Voltage and Halloween. (via lowindustrial)

Babies trailerMar 26 2010

Babies is a documentary that follows the lives of four newborn babies for the first year of life...in Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and San Francisco. (via clusterflock)

Hide and go fetchOct 01 2009

A new study concludes that babies and dogs do not have an advanced ability to read social cues, but that wolves do. Using a hiding-and-finding game, scientists at University of Iowa and Indiana University have concluded that babies and dogs are distracted by social cues such as adults' facial expressions and vocal interactions, and that they don't have a unique or enhanced ability to recall where an object is hidden simply based on social cues alone. Wolves, and older babies, performed better in the study, and were more capable of remembering where the object was hidden. Professor John Spencer, who was at the helm of the research, understands that this could be a difficult fact for parents and pet owners to accept.

"In our view, this is something to celebrate -- that we can bring social cognition together with basic cognitive processes. The downside, of course, is that infants, and by analogy dogs, don't have a special mind-reading ability. For some people, that's an unpleasant pill to swallow."

The study was in direct response to one from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences last year, which had found that babies were quite apt at object recall based when the experimenters interacted with them. The oppositional findings raise an interesting question when it comes to our newest arrivals' cleverness. It remains to be seen how good wolves are at Memory.

A bite of babySep 28 2009

A farmer in China has grown pears in the shape of babies. Using fiberglass and plastic moulds, Hao Xianzhang has been able to cultivate fruit in the shape of newborns. The popularity likely extends beyond those who catch the literary reference: in the Chinese novel Journey to the West a mythical fruit in the shape of an infant bestows immortality to all who consume it. Xianzhang's pears cost $7 (50 yuan) each, not too pricey for a piece of the eternal. For those who aren't inclined to snack on athanasia, the farmer plans on growing fruit in the shape of other figures, including comedy icon Charlie Chaplin.

Update: Turns out that some sources are calling these "Buddha shaped pears," not baby shaped. Chewing on a deity or consuming your young, either way, it's some peculiar produce.

(thx anna)

The beginner's mindApr 27 2009

Alison Gopnik and Jonah Lehrer take a look at how babies' brains develop.

Gopnik argues that, in many respects, babies are more conscious than adults. She compares the experience of being a baby with that of watching a riveting movie, or being a tourist in a foreign city, where even the most mundane activities seem new and exciting. "For a baby, every day is like going to Paris for the first time," Gopnik says. "Just go for a walk with a 2-year-old. You'll quickly realize that they're seeing things you don't even notice."

Election night sexNov 05 2008

Several folks on Twitter are talking about post-election sex and Obama babies (children conceived on election night...mark your calendars for late July 2009). The consensus seems to be that Barack got laid in a big way last night.

Language bias of babiesMay 07 2008

One of the interesting findings of Elizabeth Spelke's Harvard baby brain research lab is that while babies prefer looking at pictures of people of their own race over other races, they are much more biased about language.

'They like toys more that are associated with someone who has spoken their language. They prefer to eat foods offered to them by a native speaker compared to a speaker of a foreign language. And older children say that they want to be friends with someone who speaks in their native accent.' Accents and vernacular, far more than race, seem to influence the people we like. 'Children would rather be friends with someone who is from a different race and speaks with a native accent versus somebody who is their own race but speaks with a foreign accent.'

A recent study of 740 first-time pregnant mothersApr 23 2008

A recent study of 740 first-time pregnant mothers in the UK shows that a mother's diet at conception can affect the gender of the baby.

The researchers found 56% of women with the highest energy intake around the time of conception had boys, compared to just 45% among women with the lowest energy intake. The average calorie intake for women who had sons was 2,413 a day, compared to 2,283 calories a day for women who had girls. Women who had sons were also more likely to have eaten a higher quantity and wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12. They were also more likely to have eaten breakfast cereals.

The evolutionary guess is that when times are lean, a daughter will more consistently yield descendants than a son. (thx, meg)

A pair of unusual videos starring supermodel Eva HerzigovaSep 14 2007

Gaspar Noé is an Argentinian-born French filmmaker whose films are notable for their frank depictions of violence and rape, as in 2002's Irréversible, which features a nine-minute uncut scene of Monica Bellucci's character being raped and beaten.

Eva Herzigova is a Czech supermodel and actress. She's appeared on too many magazine covers to count and is fluent in five languages.

No one knows what became of the kitten.

Eva's son George was born in Italy in the summer of 2007.

Update: Of course the second video is no longer available on YouTube because it showed Eva breastfeeding or is copyrighted or both.

iPhone, Wiimote, or newborn baby: which has the best built-in accelerometer?Jul 30 2007

In the Kottke/Hourihan household, much of the past 4 weeks has been spent determining which has the most sensitive built-in accelerometer: an iPhone, a Nintendo Wiimote, or our newborn son.

iPhone Wii Ollie

The iPhone was eliminated fairly quickly...the portrait-to-landscape flip is easy to circumvent if you do it slow enough or at an odd angle. The Wiimote might be the winner; it registers small, slow movements with ease, as when executing a drop shot in tennis or tapping in a putt in golf.

Newborns, however, are born with something called the Moro reflex. When infants feel themselves fall backwards, they startle and throw their arms out to the sides, as illustrated in this video. Even fast asleep they will do this, often waking up in the process. So while the Wiimote's accelerometer may be more sensitive, the psychological pressure exerted on the parent while lowering a sleeping baby slowly and smoothly enough so as not to wake them with the Moro reflex and thereby squandering 40 minutes of walking-the-baby-to-sleep time is beyond intense and so much greater than any stress one might feel serving for the match in tennis or getting that final strike in bowling.

Nina Planck on the recent death byMay 21 2007

Nina Planck on the recent death by starvation of a baby fed a vegan diet by his parents: "I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants."

Popular names for twins born in 2006. AlmostMay 17 2007

Popular names for twins born in 2006. Almost all of the top name pairs start with the same letter: Jacob/Joshua, Landon/Logan, Ella/Emma, and the stunningly confusing Taylor/Tyler.

Rare semi-identical twins born. "They are theMar 27 2007

Rare semi-identical twins born. "They are the result of two sperm cells fertilising a single egg, which then divided to form two embryos - and each sperm contributed genes to each child."

Interview with Jill Youse, who started theJan 22 2007

Interview with Jill Youse, who started the International Breast Milk Project because she has excess breast milk that she wanted to donate to African babies in need. "Breast milk has this fascinating aspect to it. It's not something you look at in your freezer and say, 'Mmmm, boy, I'm hungry.' It's kind of gross, but it's also kind of cool, and there's this element of pride to it. It's got this ick factor and this awe factor. So I had my baby and I had my breast milk, and I thought that donating seemed like an easy thing that I could do."

True Hoop's Henry Abbott does a bitJan 08 2007

True Hoop's Henry Abbott does a bit of research into baby names inspired by NBA players. "[Kobe] was drafted in 1996, and in 1997 the name debuted at #553. 2001 was its best year ever, when it was the 223rd most common name in America. Donald, Keith, Troy, Lance, Simon, Chad, Dante, Douglas, Tony, Joe all ranked lower."

Atul Gawande on the rise in CesareanOct 10 2006

Atul Gawande on the rise in Cesarean deliveries in the US, which soon may become safer than natural childbirth: "We are losing our connection to yet another natural process of life. And we are seeing the waning of the art of childbirth. The skill required to bring a child in trouble safely through a vaginal delivery, however unevenly distributed, has been nurtured over centuries. In the medical mainstream, it will soon be lost."

Brooke Greenberg is the girl who won'tSep 29 2006

Brooke Greenberg is the girl who won't grow up. She's 12 years old but is physically and behaviorally stuck as a nine-month-old.

Josephine Rose Wilkie! Congratulations Mark and Tam!Aug 03 2006

Josephine Rose Wilkie! Congratulations Mark and Tam!

Earlier this year, Daniel Raeburn wrote aJul 11 2006

Earlier this year, Daniel Raeburn wrote a heartbreaking piece for the New Yorker about the stillbirth of his first daughter, Irene. A year and a half later, a much happier update (online only).

Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards) is suddenly oneMay 23 2006

Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards) is suddenly one of the most popular name for baby girls. Its popuarity can be traced to the appearance of a baby of the same name on MTV in 2000. Check on baby name popularity with NameVoyager.

Attention all my friends with children! TinyMay 09 2006

Attention all my friends with children! Tiny Eyes simulates what your baby sees in the first few months of his/her life. (via wdik)

Kian and Remee are twin daughters bornFeb 27 2006

Kian and Remee are twin daughters born to a UK couple...one is black and one is white. "If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born. The odds of this happening are... a million to one."

Tags related to Babies:
babies science movies food genetics language

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