The Devil’s Playground


I recently watched the documentary about Amish kids called "The Devil's Playground."  It explores the Amish practice of rumspringa, which is the period of life Amish kids enter when they turn 16, and don't exit until they decide to join the Amish church, which is something that only those 16 and over are allowed to do.  It's a time for them to go out and experience all of what the world has to offer.  As one of the kids put it in the film, its a vaccination against temptation.  They feel that once they've been able to go out and experience life as a normal American, with cars and video games and alcohol, they will be less susceptible to those temptations once they join the Amish church and renounce all of that.  It's kind of a good idea, and I was impressed to find out that their rate of kids joining the church after rumspringa is something like 96%, which is the highest it has ever been since the church was founded in the 1600s.  That's incredible, especially given the amount of cool stuff that American society has to offer.  The evil planner in me is really curious about how they come across and choose brands to be involved with during this period.  Also, it would be the ultimate deprivation study to talk to them after they rejoined the church and had to live without these brands and products.  Anywho, it changed a lot of preconceptions that I had about the Amish, and I have a lot more respect for them now than I did before.  I recommend checking it out.   

Proof of Pavlov


I've managed to proove classical conditioning to myself.  I know the standard arguments…we're all conditioned to stop at green lights and laugh at footballs hitting crotches, but this seemed a little more real.  I have an alarm clock on my cell phone.  So far I've only used it for when I'm away from home and I have to get up super early because there is something to be done.  This morning I set it so that I could read for awhile without having to worry about the time, and when it went off I felt a little bit of a panic.  I'm so used to having to get up and get ready to do important things in unfamiliar settings when I hear that noise that my body now has learned to react to that noise by getting nervous and ready to react, going into a state of high alert.