christinachuOpinions

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Kickstarter Product Reviews

Bookniture

Lovely product. Have only used it a few times in late 2017 months. Still going strong, no unglueing (received 2015).

Nerdy Candles: For Nerds

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tomlubanovic/nerdy-candles-for-nerds

I got sooo many scents! (because I'm hopeless when it comes to decisions)

In order from most favorite:
Buy THESE!
  • Piranha Plant: very 'light' scent, a little soapy but bot in a bad way, this is my favorite - I want to get more of this!
  • Squirtle: a light clean ozone scent - I also want more of this!


These are okay for a 1 time purchase:

  • Leonardo: strong plant scent - like cut grass but with distinct basil assault.
  • Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey: Think of the smell of pink bubblegum. Too bad I never loved bubblegum because it smells exactly like it. The soft deep blue wax color is absolutely gorgeous (different from the kickstarter image)!
  • CMYK: Can't quite place this scent. Very sweet scent with an undertone of newsprint. I think this would be amazing without the sweetness.
  • Donatello: spicy, reminds me of oregeno/thyme - but I'm not sure if it does that in a good way (*very strong*). It's like you filled an entire room with the herb.
  • Baby Metroid:smells like soap from your average hotel chain. clean. I like the scent but I don't know if I want it all over my house. not bad.
  • Michelangelo: Crazy sweet orange smell. Very strong. Maybe the very very smallest hint of sage undertone. not bad.
  • Raphael: smells like.....plastic? (don't get me wrong, I love how new plastic shrinkwrap smells when you open up a new toy from the store, but I don't think I would turn the scent into a candle.) with a hint of something spicy. may give this away.


Downright disgusting (I'm throwing it away because I don't think I can give it away):

  • Pikachu

Reading Rainbow

My response to the infamous Washington Post article about Reading Rainbow at http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/05/28/you-might-want-to-reconsider-that-donation-to-the-reading-rainbow-kickstarter/ - article comments were removed just as I went to post my response but this is what I would say: [I had to compose a comment because all the comments I read on there were just really nasty, mean, and in many cases, scarily dogmatic in their defense of the project....yet in true American fashion, it seemed no one had really read the article....]

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You may not want to hear it, but Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter does have a number of flaws. Let me start by saying I backed the project at the $200 level because I believe the tablet app and subscription website is a great resource *for lucky privileged kids*. But, no, I do not believe in its current incarnation that it will be a literacy "game changer" across low income America (even when free classroom subscriptions will be given out).

I grew up in a low income household in the 1990s (think foodstamps, old clothes, etc) and I would like to speak to how this project (RR app & webpage) affects today's low income families: I believe it won't. I am part of the generation that grew up with and loved the Reading Rainbow show. I grew up with tv but no cable, no computer, no cell phone. I understand that in today's society, cable, high speed internet, tablets, and smartphones are obviously cheaper and more prevalent, but 2014's low income families still WON'T have these things for their kids to use. Parents [usually] *want* to give their kids all these things, but when they remember the need to put food on the table, they just can't. Heck, *I* still don't own a smartphone or tablet, even though I make a good salary (personal choice to save money), own a car, no loans, etc. I am currently getting out of grad school with a PhD in space physics - I *know* how much a love of reading can affect a child's future. I beat the odds given that I went to public school in one of the worst school systems in the nation. BUT, my parents didn't need a tablet and fancy app/website to get me to read. My parents took my sibling and I to the LIBRARY for our weekly 10 FREE books to read. That's 520 books read a year, for FREE.

I think that's the real solution if you're serious about wanting to help *low income families*: take your money and support your local library. Families in my old neighborhood still go to the library when they need to use the internet (they can't afford home computers or smartphones). They still make their kids participate in the library's FREE summer reading campaign to foster a love of reading.

Tablets are currently about $200. The app has a relatively low monthly cost too ($5-30 depending on where you look for Burton's answer...). You're thinking: "not a bad price to foster a love of books in tomorrow's leaders," but it's really *too much* for poorer families when you consider the free public library already has more books on its shelves than you will read in your lifetime. If they don't have the book you want, they can borrow it from another library and get it in your hands - for FREE.

Let's be real - I was [am] a hardcore nerd honors student - and I HATED reading in school (I liked listening to lectures or doing projects with classmates). I LOVED reading at home where I was comfortable - and that's where I did it. The fact that the Kickstarter will give away classroom subscriptions (assuming low income schools) breaks down when you get kids who felt as I did about reading in school***. The RR website has free books for kids but unless the kid has a tablet/computer+internet at home, it does them no good. We're just wasting money. Sure we can feel good that we gave kids access to thousands of books - but it doesn't mean anything if they didn't actually read them.

Reading Rainbow touts its video field trips as ways to engage kids in stories from books - and I LOVE that concept - it's why I watched the tv show. But these are only available to people who pay for the RR app or RR web access. I would love for Reading Rainbow to make about 1000 of these clips available to all net citizens for free (one a day for about 2 years). Or perhaps old Reading Rainbow tv episodes. Kids of low income families could go to the local library and watch these clips [and then borrow books to read at home]. These kids don't need access to the entire RR database to develop a love of reading - but I do believe they need a nudge in the right direction. Think of it like PBS funding. My parents never contributed to PBS, but I reaped the benefits of the thousands that did/do donate - and I can never thank those strangers enough. Today, I am one of the foremost experts in my scientific field (plasma flows at the Earth's magentosphere). If Kickstarter funds and limited amounts of company profits paid for the bandwidth for about 1000 video field trips, I believe we truly could foster a love of reading in more of our nation's youth. We *can* mold today's children into literate, highly educated, contributing members of society.

For kids whose parents can afford to give their own tablet, smartphone, and RR subscription, Burton's Kickstarter is absolutely awesome. These kids won't have to beg their parents for a ride to the library. They can read at their leisure (and I assume they won't have to worry about late fees/someone else already checking out the book they want). They can enjoy all the video field trips my generation loved so much.

The number of commenters that are so obviously angry with the writer of this article ironically highlight what's wrong with America: sure the posters can read (and may love doing so), but apparently *lack* READING COMPREHENSION skills - and it scares me that these are my fellow globetrotters. Caitlin's article doesn't tell you charity is wrong people, sheesh! And of course you can do whatever you'd like with your money - just please get the facts straight and don't parrot rhetoric without thinking about it first. I do disagree with her on not supporting RR because RR is a for-profit company. I have no problems with for-profit businesses as long as they do what they say they will. But this article seems to highlight the same aspects I tried to address: low income families may not be able to provide kids high speed internet access or even a computer at home. For them, this RR Kickstarter is useless. Classroom subscriptions may only be able offer these kids access to a limited subset of the RR site's features. And donated subscriptions may be pulled by RR at any time. It makes me sad how so many commenters assume that *all* children have internet access at all times. Burton's free subscription offers kids free books -but so do school and public LIBRARIES - we already pay for that through taxes. This project also offers video field trips about certain books - but so do old reading rainbow episodes (available free on youtube). So I'd have to agree with Caitlin: "[...] if you’re donating to Reading Rainbow because of the grandiose charity rhetoric [...]", ie helping kids of low income families, you'd better think again. If you're donating [like I am] to allow upper-middle-class kids (with computers and tablets and fast internet) to access reading supplements that may help them truly love books, then good for you.


***I'm assuming the classroom subscription will give a login ID and password to each student so they can access the RR content at home or school - but the kickstarter currently doesn't specify what a classroom subscription entails. I believe the subscription is pretty useless if content can only be accessed by the 1 teacher in the class. If that was the case, only one person could use the RR resources at a time? That would mean only 1 book could be read at a time. I guess the teacher could play a RR video each day but given the packed curriculum of today's schools, I doubt it would happen as often as it could.