I stumbled on this nifty business idea, Nanny in the Clouds, to create a market in the air for nannies. Think match.com, but for wanna-be-nannies and parents on airplanes.
A clear market failure: people on flights with kids want some help; other people on flights want to make some money taking care of kids. Social norms don’t really allow for instantaneous markets to appear (“hey, for $10 I’ll watch your kid for the next two hours so that you can take a nap” is unlikely to get many takers, I suspect). But prearranged, where the norm adheres to our expectations in the babysitter market, and we have a market helping make trades otherwise not made.
Here is how it works: Sign up on the website, put in the flight you’re going to take, and see if any parents (nannies) signed up and are looking for a nanny (parent who wants a nanny) on the same flight. Negotiate your rates directly, and pay Nanny in the Clouds $10 if the match is made. Read More »
Co-founder Kyle Seaman tells us that they’ve tracked 150,000 tasks from about 6,000 users in their beta version (full version will launch in a couple months).
HighScore House! shared some data with us: 43 percent of their users are kids between 5 and 9 years old, with an average task completion rate of 54 percent. Girls have a 2 percent higher completion rate than boys. In general, kids seem to favor low-hanging fruit: lower value tasks (usually easier ones) have a higher completion rate. Read More »
I don’t particularly like math. I’ve never been a fan of magic either. For some reason, however, when I heard about a new book entitled Magical Mathematics written by two first-rate mathematicians, Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham, I felt compelled to buy it and read it.
I have to say that it is really good, and I would highly recommend it to any nerd. It is a really artful melding of card tricks that are remarkable, with explanations of the underlying math concepts that are at one level so simple and clear that almost anyone could get the basic intuition for what they are talking about, but at another level so deep and difficult that it is probably hopeless for someone like me to ever truly understand. Read More »
These days, I read a lot of books on an iPad 2 using the Kindle app. It is for the most part a very good experience, especially for recreational reading. As millions of others have noted, having an electronic device loaded up with a mini-library of e-books is especially valuable while traveling, which is when I do a lot of my reading.
The other day, on vacation with the family, I came across a pitfall. I was reading the old football novel North Dallas Forty (thanks to Henry for the suggestion, and all of you for other suggestions). It’s pretty entertaining — especially the race stuff and drug stuff. As it happened, my 9-year-old daughter was curled up beside me reading her book (The Doll People). She took at look at what I was reading. Her eyes immediately found a four-letter word. Read More »
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Poor women with children in Ecuador were selected at random for a cash transfer equivalent to 7 percent of monthly expenditures. The transfer is greater than the increase in schooling costs at the end of primary school, but it is less than 20 percent of median child labor earnings in the labor market. Poor families with children in school at the time of the award use the extra income to postpone the child’s entry into the labor force. Students in families induced to take-up the cash transfer by the experiment reduce their involvement in paid employment by 78 percent and unpaid economic activity inside their home by 32 percent.
A new study (PDF here) by University of Notre Dame economist Kasey Buckles and graduate student Elizabeth Munnich finds that siblings spaced more than two years apart have higher reading and math scores than children born closer together. The positive effects were seen only in older siblings, not in younger ones.
The authors attribute at least part of the difference to older children getting more of their parents’ time during the first formative years of their lives before a younger sibling comes along. Read More »
A new British study has found that people who scored well on IQ tests as children are more likely to be drug users as adults, especially women. Authors James White and G. David Batty published their study online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and looked at data from almost 8,000 people over several decades to test what habits and qualities are tied to drug use.
The results suggest that men with high IQ scores at 5 years-old are 50 percent more likely to use drugs by the age of 30 than those with low IQ scores. High IQ scoring women at 5 years-old are twice as likely to use drugs than their low IQ counterparts. Read More »
We’ve written about bribing kids to get better grades. But what about bribing them to walk or ride their bike to school?
A new working paper examines a program in Boulder, Colorado that attempted to incentivize kids to bike or walk to school over a span of several years. The program began with a $10 cash prize for the first two years, but then switched over to a $10 bike store coupon thereafter. One lucky student who rode and walked to school every day during a “prize period” won the coupon.