A Scientific Digression

Skip forward to around 6:10 in the video above to the start of Adam Gazzaley’s (MD, PhD) talk on his quest to optimise the human mind using advanced tools of cognitive neuroscience.

Gazzaley’s lab at UCSF is working to enhance brain function using sophisticated technologies capable of observing the brain at work, and of helping individuals to achieve more with their brains than they currently can do.

The lab designs video games that are based upon real-time neurofeedback. The player’s brain reacts instantly to events in the game — and the game reacts to what is happening in the brain. Gazzaley describes this videogame neurofeedback learning process as a “closed loop system” (see image below).

Closed Loop System Adam Gazzaley UCSF
Closed Loop System
Adam Gazzaley UCSF

Much of the experimentation with these neurofeedback videogames has focused on combat-oriented training, being funded by the US Pentagon. But a moment’s reflection suggests that this “closed loop neurofeedback videogame” approach to brain training could be readily applied — with appropriate adaptation — to humans at almost any age, for multiple purposes of enhanced development, enhanced performance, rehabilitation after injury or disease, or for mitigation of the effects of ageing and neurodegeneration.

Gazzaley’s published efforts are so far still quite primitive, but the possibilities for the future are impressive on many fronts.

Modern societies have grown stagnant and corrupted by a widespread philosophy of rent-seeking, of minimising risk for the sake of long-term security. This philosophy is the opposite of what we at the Dangerous Child Institutes train and teach. We train contrarian thinkers to develop a broad range of skills and competencies which build self-confidence. This self-confidence fuels innovative thinking and risk taking — which are what drives societies to be great.

We are on record as opposing passive popular entertainments for children such as mainstream television and cinema. The developing mind has enough to do without being stuffed full of the low-quality nonsense that movie and television producers crank out for popular consumption.

We are also not enthusiastic about most popular video games and the modern obsession with electronic social media, which takes away from time that would be better spent developing competence in movement, music, language, pattern, and practical skills of all kinds. Electronic gadgets also tend to alienate children from their immediate environments, which can be a deadly failing in many situations.

But real-time EEG and MRI neurofeedback — particularly when combined with sophisticated virtual reality — is different, and holds the potential for enhancing brain function for general learning and for perfecting specific types of tasks.

The brains of children are naturally attracted to play and games of all kinds. The danger that the child will become lost in some types of game-playing is quite real, in the modern age of abusive commercial and ideological child baiting. But if game-playing is used to drive learning and competence-building, the natural child’s drive to play can be used to motivate him to build parts of his brain that can bootstrap later learning which might have otherwise been very difficult to achieve.

Again, even videogames that are used in training skills and competencies should be used sparingly, so as not to create barriers between the child and the real world around him. The competence and confidence for working within the real world is what Dangerous Child training is meant to build.

Teachers, parents, mentors, and coaches cannot ignore developments in advanced applied cognitive neuroscience. Every child runs up against barriers to some subject area of learning or another. Clever and timely use of closed-loop videogame training can help move a child from one learning plateau to a higher plateau — enabling a new and higher world of competence on the road to mastery.

More on applied videogames

The Dangerous President and His Dangerous Children

The children themselves are as cunning and good as possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking, running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started out for a night’s camping in their best the other day. A driving storm came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas. Ted’s playmates are George and Jack, Aleck Russell, who is in Princeton, and Ensign Hamner of the Sylph. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and fearless though very good-tempered little boy.

__ Theodore Roosevelt Letters to His Children

The Roosevelt children learned to swim, shoot, wrestle, box, boat, rough camp, and go on tough outdoor expeditions on their own at quite an early age.

Theodore Roosevelt and Family Pinterest
Theodore Roosevelt and Family
Pinterest

The Roosevelt household was famously rambunctious…

All the Roosevelt boys learned to shoot from a relatively early age, and they became better shots than their big-game hunting father…

The Roosevelts were literary as well as outdoorsy. Father and all his children, if they were not gripping reins or a rifle, hiking or running, swimming or boxing, were probably reading…

… with the US declaration of war in April 1917… Roosevelt himself tried to [join the army] … every one of his sons took a commission. __ The Yanks are Coming

Two of the Roosevelt boys were seriously wounded in WWI, and the youngest, Quentin, was shot down and killed in an aerial dogfight, receiving the Croix de Guerre posthumously. Quentin had been fearless from his earliest childhood, and retained great courage and flair to his death at age 20.

The Cspan video below goes into more detail about Quentin and the Roosevelt children:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?413749-1/theodore-roosevelt-children

The three surviving Roosevelt sons also fought in WWII, with only Archibald surviving to see the final defeat of the Axis.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was an ambassador for her father and later in life, a colorful Washington, D.C. doyenne who earned the moniker, “The Other Washington Monument”;
Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt, Jr., born in 1887, was a noted political and business leader who fought in both the World Wars and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Utah Beach during the D-Day landings in World War II;
Kermit Roosevelt, born in 1889, was an explorer, soldier, writer and businessman who joined his father on African safari and on the fateful River of Doubt expedition in Brazil;
Ethel Roosevelt Derby, born in 1891, was a pioneering World War I nurse and Red Cross volunteer who later led the successful campaign to preserve Sagamore Hill;
Archibald Roosevelt, born in 1893, was a distinguished Army officer who was seriously wounded in battle during both World Wars and also was a successful businessman;
Quentin Roosevelt, born in 1897, said to be the child most like Roosevelt, dropped out of Harvard to volunteer as a pilot during World War I, and died heroically in battle at age 20. __ The Dangerous Family Man

The Dangerous Roosevelt Children died young and died old, happy and sad — just as the masses of humans die. But during their lifetimes they packed their time full of accomplishment and principled risk.

Were the Roosevelt Children Really Dangerous Children?

Perhaps it would be better to think of them as Dangerous Child prototypes, much like the real world heroic figures such as Davy Crockett, Ernest Shackleton, Sir Richard Burton, or Roald Amundsen. Such men lived in different times and faced different sets of challenges than will face the modern Dangerous Child. But they were made of similar grit, wit, and resilient toughness.

A thorough study of the lives of such men is an integral part of Dangerous Child training, from before the time the child takes his first step or his first leap off into the deep water. Such early immersion in real world courage will serve the child far better in the quest to find his own inner strength than the farcical “superhero” characters and magical mentors of childhood fiction that lead the delicate snowflakes into an extended “make believe world of perpetual childhood.”

Important Note:

Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the type of child-raising described above was rather common in Canada, the US, Australia, and other parts of the Anglosphere among almost all economic classes. Despite a growing prosperity, the pioneering spirit was still strong throughout most of these societies. From the lowest to the highest in society, a rough and ready — while also literate — upbringing was not considered out of the ordinary.

That is one reason why German military and political leaders were so surprised at the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the soldiers and marines from the Anglospheric diaspora, when they attacked German positions in large numbers in 1917. Although these youngsters had not been raised in the regimented Prussian manner of the German troops, they took to battle quite naturally and surprised the well-entrenched enemy with their fearlessness and deadly accuracy of aim.

The modern Dangerous Child requires more than the physical toughness, sharp mental independence, and broad range of knowledge and competence displayed by the Roosevelt children. He must know how things work at the deepest levels, and how to reach into the workings so as to make crucial changes at the proper times. The election of Donald Trump as US president-elect gives the rational world a bit more time and several less drastic options than would otherwise have been the case. But some difficult choices are coming for those with the will and the way to open pathways to a more abundant and expansive human future.

American High Schools are a Real Screwup

US High School Students Bomb on International Comparison Testing in Maths and Sciences

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/

Some of The Scores Deficit Might be Correctible

American high schools are politically protected from meaningful reform by ideologues within the US Department of Education and by other ideologues in US university schools of education, thinktanks, and nonprofit foundations. But real-world market forces have brought about certain experiments in US secondary education which demonstrate that an American high school education need not be third-rate.

In 2015, six Basis charter schools met the criteria that permitted their students to take the PISA test. The Basis pupils scored higher than students in Shanghai, Korea, Germany or Singapore, not to mention U.S. private and public schools. In math, the average Basis student performs better than the top 10 percent of U.S. public schoolers.

Basis students also stand out when it comes to the one U.S. test that is more closely tethered to reality, the College Board’s challenging Advanced Placement exam, designed to measure whether students have so mastered a subject that colleges will give them academic credit for it.

__ http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-28/high-school-the-great-american-bubble

Basis charter schools were co-founded by Czech immigrant Olga Block, who was shocked at how abysmally bad many American high schools actually were. By designing Basic charter schools, Block and her co-founders meant to give American high school students “a basis” for competency within today’s STEM-oriented employment and business worlds.

Founded in Arizona almost two decades ago, this network of publicly financed charters has grown to number 21 in the U.S. Basis Schools admit students on a first-come, first-served basis or, when demand is high, by lottery, meaning that not all the kids are born top performers. __ Amity Schlaes

What does any of this have to do with Dangerous Child training? The fact is that not all parents can supervise a home “unschooling” for their high school aged children. The best learning is “self-taught” learning, but the skills of self-teaching can be taught very early, and should be actually mastered between the ages of 7 and 10 for most children.

For parents of Dangerous Children who send their children to public or conventional private schools, such schooling often serves as “day care” supervision rather than as a meaningful education. The parent still has to make sure the child learns — but in a more compressed after-school and evening time framework. If the child has learned “self-teaching” from parents, he should be able to compensate for the flakiness and ideological bias of most public and private education.

But wouldn’t it be better if the schools themselves actually served to prepare students to face at least some of the challenges the youth will face in the future? Truly, as long as the child will be spending time there anyway, why not make that time profitable at least in part?

The US public educational system has been dumbed down and corrupted over several decades for many reasons, most of them of a political nature. It is good to know that at least some of the decline can be “rolled back” for at least a small percentage of students.

But on the Whole, the Best Approach for Dangerous Children is Home Self-Taught Learning

The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).

Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
__ NHERI

Among homeschooling methods, The Robinson Curriculum is one of the shining stars.

The Robinson Curriculum is specially designed to prepare students for the SAT – a standardized nationwide test administered by the College Board (not to be mistaken with the SAT Achievement test which does not give you any credit). The Saxon Math and the RC Vocabulary section do an excellent job for SAT prep. For further credit they can take the Adanced Placement Exams for the college they are attending in order to test out of credit courses. This reduces the time and money required to get their degree. 3 of the Robinson children have done all this with great results. They only need a GED if they are going into something that does not require college but does need a “High School” diploma. A transcript generally does you no good. It is the SAT scores that matter. Any other paper is not important except in unusual cases.

__ http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p50.htm

Anecdotal report

Self-teaching is an integral part of the Robinson Curriculum. In fact, teaching the child to teach himself — from the earliest ages — is a key part to overall life success. This is true whether you are raising a Dangerous Child or a more conventional superior child.

Dangerous Child training is about far more than success in conventional schooling or conventional careers, of course. But when so many cultural institutions — including schools — are so terribly misguided and mismanaged, conventional success can seem a great victory to most of us.

The fact that there is so much more to be mastered and attained should be a powerful impetus for grander achievement and success. Dangerous Child training is about packing that “will to mastery” inside the child from his earliest moments of consciousness — and before. It is that “internal driving force” that will propel the Dangerous Child to embark on a lifetime of mastery and discovery.

Author Mark Twain suggested that people should not let their schooling get in the way of their education. That distinction between “schooling” and “education” is crucial for lifelong success. Schooling is only a small part of a person’s education. Still, whatever time is to be spent on schooling, should be spent profitably.

On Choosing to Send One’s Child to Prison, Instead of College

The following article was previously published on Al Fin, the Next Level

Think of Prison as a Preparation for Life After TEOTWAWKI
Think of Prison as a Preparation for Life After TEOTWAWKI

College is becoming more and more expensive. But the advantages of going to college are diminishing by the year.
College Costs vs Benefits Trend
College Costs vs Benefits Trend

After TEOTWAWKI — The End of The World As We Know It — your kids will need an entirely different skill set than the ones that are being taught in college.

And just what is being taught in college? How to binge, fornicate, become indoctrinated in counter-productive ideology (academic lobotomy), and how to live well on borrowed money while avoiding responsibility as long as you can?

Modern economies are built upon the predictable movement of young people into positions of responsibility. The child is supposed to grow up and learn to make a living, get married, get a mortgage, raise children, and teach his own children to follow the same responsible path through life. The entire social security net welfare society is based upon this predictable trajectory.

But something happened on the way to a perpetual motion welfare state utopia. College-educated students are going so deeply into debt that they cannot afford to pay back their student loans — much less take out mortgages and raise families. A greater and greater number of them are moving back in with their parents.

Less and less money and credit available for mortgages and raising families
Less and less money and credit available for mortgages and raising families

Not only are student loans preventing indebted students from moving on with their lives, they have grown to such a size that they are creating a growing drag on the entire US economy.

Students across the country are trapped by their debts and often unable to take advantage of the freedom that a college degree should theoretically afford them.

… Student debt doesn’t just weigh heavily on graduates. Evidence is growing that student loans may be dragging down the overall economy, not just individuals. Think about it this way: if students have significant debts, it means they’re less likely to spend money on other goods and services, and it also means they’re less likely to take out a mortgage on a house. Consumer purchasing is the primary driver of the U.S. economy, and mortgages and auto loans play a huge role as well. __ http://business.time.com/2014/02/26/student-loans-are-ruining-your-life-now-theyre-ruining-the-economy-too/

Overdue Loan Payments Eventually Drag an Economy Down
Overdue Loan Payments Eventually Drag an Economy Down

How much are these over-educated dead-beats driving down the US economy? No one knows, because the people who maintain the numbers don’t want you to know. And the people who should be holding the government’s feet to the fire to keep us informed — the media — are not doing their jobs.

Going to prison voluntarily, on the other hand, does not require taking out loans. And the skill sets that your children can learn in prison will make them better suited for the “survival of the fittest” world after TEOTWAWKI.

Prisons are full of rough men, and so will the world be after TEOTWAWKI — also known as when TSHTF. After TSHTF your children will need to know how to deal with rough men and rough women, and they will need to have many of the same skills that rough men and rough women have.

Live Off the Grid -- Tiny House Talk
Live Off the Grid — Tiny House Talk

If you have the skills to separate from government services, you can live free with your mind and your life still yours to do with as you choose.

But few people want to cut all their strings and fly free — particularly if they do not have either enormous assets or unlimited skills from which to draw. Most people do not want to live off the grid in a converted school bus, no matter how luxuriously it may be fitted out, nor are they entirely comfortable with the idea of sending their children to prison for TEOTWAWKI training.

For those more discriminating folk, we are devising the Al Fin Dangerous Child Method of Education and Child Raising. The Dangerous Child has all the benefits and positive skills of a prison term, plus all the useful knowledge and social skills of a broad based university education. But he doesn’t have all those lifelong debilitating (and sometimes deadly) viruses that often hike along with a person who spends too much time in prison or college.

And rather than accumulating a lifetime’s debt, the Dangerous Child masters at least three distinct ways of supporting himself financially, before he celebrates his 18th birthday. If he wanted a mortgage, he could have it, but he is more likely to build his own house — or pay cash for one already built.

So there you see the three choices:

  1. College
  2. Prison
  3. Dangerous Child

It is your choice. Consider carefully, since you will have to live with your decision for a long time.

But seriously,

Charles Murray: Too Many Students Going to College
Not enough students learning practical trades and other practical skills.

10 Smart Things I Learned from People who Never Went to College

Abolishing Academic Lobotomies

Altucher’s rather conventional 8 alternatives to college

Military Service: A Forgotten Choice

Al Fin blog “Education” label

Note: The above article is labeled “satire.” But if you replace the word “prison” with “a skilled apprenticeship” in the dangerous trades, “a military enlistment,” intense training in firefighting, EMS, or other hard core occupation, you will better understand the underlying intent.

Return on Investment for US Colleges and Universities

A four year college education is only appropriate for about 15% to 20% of America’s youth. Most youth need to focus on developing skills and competencies in business, entrepreneurship, and the crucial practical areas of modern life.

But if one does go to college in America, where might he get his best “return on investment?”

ROI US Universities http://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/best-colleges-for-returns-on-your-investment-costs/
ROI US Universities
http://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/best-colleges-for-returns-on-your-investment-costs/

The calculations are for more than 1,300 schools.

The best ROI are at public colleges and universities. “They dominate because of their relatively lower costs,” Bardaro said.

Schools that offer education in science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM studies — also cluster at the top of the ROI list. Their graduates tend to land jobs that pay a lot more than the costs of school.

“Skills that you get in STEM studies are in heavy demand by employers,” Bardaro said.

The top five schools on this year’s list are the State University of New York’s Maritime College, Georgia Tech, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Brigham Young University and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In percentage terms, their ROIs are 13.2% for SUNY-Maritime, 12.4% for Georgia Tech, Mass. Maritime and BYU, then 12.2% for Missouri University of Science and Technology.

__ http://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/best-colleges-for-returns-on-your-investment-costs/

College degrees can be obtained via distance learning, online. One may obtain an education in any number of areas of knowledge, at any age, at any time, from any location — meeting any work or family schedule. There are fewer reasons for wasting one’s time at a bricks and mortar campus, every year that goes by.

The best curriculum for Dangerous Children — and most children in general — is a curriculum that utilises self-directed, self-disciplined teaching. It must include immersion in finance and business, practical hands-on skills from cooking to heavy equipment operations to mechanical skills to the operation of transportation vehicles made for travel on air, sea, ice, snow, and ground.

By the time a Dangerous Child is 16, he already has the equivalent of a liberal arts college degree and multiple certificates of mastery for several practical skills. By the time he is 18, he is fully capable of supporting himself financially at least three different ways. If he wants to go to university for advanced training, he will have a large number of choices to pursue.

Based on the massive amount of remedial training taking place on college campuses today, it is clear that modern society does not take the education of its children seriously — at least not until they are too old to learn at critical depth, effectively. Hence the large crops of academically lobotomised, perpetually adolescent incompetents who naively march forth from college graduations every year, to almost certain disillusionment.

The best education is a Dangerous Education, and that begins before the child is born — and continues until he dies.

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