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Archive for November, 2010

Chess Provides An Invaluable Opportunity To Teach Life Lessons

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:46 PM
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

It was only to be expected that I would play chess with my children. Before I became a father chess was a big part of my life. My father and brother taught me to play when I was only 5. Since then, I’ve played with friends, family members, and even strangers (I lost, badly).

I now play chess with my daughters. I taught my oldest, when she was 6, and she has already beaten me once. My 5 year old, started learning when she was 3. When the baby, is older, she and I will also play chess. The reasons are simple: 1) I did it as a boy, 2) it’s cheap, 3) it stimulates the imagination, and 4) it’s an elegant hedge against TV or video games.

While the temptation might be to hunker down and watch a movie or TV, I push for chess it is my way of resisting TV. Last year, I was given Dr. Meg Meeker’s book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. This book cautions fathers on the rancidity of the culture that awaits girls, and instructs on how fathers are uniquely positioned to help.  This holds true for all parents.

My 6 year old is now 8 and she faces questions that I don’t recall being discussed when I was here age. As a father I try to find strategies to help her blossom, without hitting her over the head with it.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, doesn’t mention chess per se, makes two important points. First: A girl needs Dad time. She needs to bond with Dad, to know he is there for her, and to be assured of his love for her. When life gets hard (not if but when) she can go to him and she knows he will listen. Today’s bond helps both father and daughter move though tomorrow’s problems.

Second: Protect her from herself. Wise decision making also called maturity is the final thing that develops in the mind. Teens can rationalize anything for fun. They have the ability to wreak adult havoc but lack the maturity to consider consequences.

When I grasped these two points, I looked at my stalwart friend and ally in parenting, chess. It turns out chess is the perfect companion for raising children. Chess rewards long-term strategy, stimulates the executive decision part of the mind (precisely what Dr. Meeker says develops last), it also helps build a bond.

I’m not the only one to think chess can be a wonderful tool in raising children. Leopold Lacrimosa is a Scottsdale, Arizona chess coach who also runs the American Chess Coaching website. He stated, on the ChessCentral site, that a child who takes up chess “begins to develop logical thinking, critical thinking, decision making, [and] problem solving.” Again all the things that Dr. Meeker says develop last.  In addtions To Lacirmosea Dr. Peter Dauvergne, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, wrote an article for the University of Sydney entitled “The Case for Chess as a Tool to Develop Our Children’s Minds.”

In fact, a casual internet search using the terms “chess children development” yields well more than a million hits.

Chess serves as a means of bonding with my daughters, and as a way to show my daughters how to think long-term. It also provides a vital contrast to popular culture at large. Consider popular culture. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, for instance, are young women whose current life situations scream “didn’t think ahead.” And yet, it’s hard to blame the fallen divas, especially when you look at the messages they received from popular culture such as TV commercials. For example when Lindsay Lohan was younger than my 5 year old, there was a popular beer commercial explicitly told us not to think. “Why ask why?” Yeah, why think? Just do it.  Chess helps me protect my daughters from this kind of popular media.

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DNA Testing – Are You Raising Someone Else’s Child?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 10:45 AM
Friday, November 5, 2010

By Tom LeBaron

Back in the 1700s, the best way to determine who a persons father was, was by taking a good hard look at the child, followed by a good hard look at the father. If there were enough coincidences then maybe a relationship could be possible. by the 1800s, it was discovered that eye color could be a paternity identifier. With recent DNA advances we have learned that the eye color theory is flawed. We now know that eye colour is determined by at least six different alleles, or genetic markers. Fortunately paternity testing has become a lot easier and much more affordable over the past few years due to advances in DNA science.

Although an estimated 200,000 DNA tests are conducted each year by states needing to determine child-support and welfare issues, not as many people are willing to conduct their own at-home paternity test because they don’t realize the simplicity and convenience of an at-home paternity test.

How does home DNA testing work?

Paternity testing requires a painless sample from both the child and possible father. Even without a sample from the mother, DNA paternity test results are up to 99.9% accurate. Most companies provide testing material which they will mail directly to you so that you can provide the samples.

Because of advances in DNA testing it is no longer necessary to draw blood. Buccal (mouth) swabs are the standard. These swabs have the same genetic information that is carried in blood but none of the hazards. By gently massaging the inside of the child’s mouth, cheek cells are collected. These cells are then sent to the lab for testing. Labs analyze up to sixteen genetic markers of the child and match them against the markers of the alleged father. Because each of us receives half our genetic markers from each parent, the results of DNA paternity testing are still accurate without the DNA information of the mother but a really good test will include the mother this helps insure that there is no chance of a false positive.

What else can a DNA test do?

DNA test kits can also be used to analyze sibling relationships, establish cousin or grandparent relationships, determine twin zygosity (i.e. whether twins are fraternal or identical), identify ancestral origin, verify Native American decent, assure parents they left the hospital with the right baby, and most important, provide legal evidence – be prepared to pay a bit more for legal tests. Legal tests can be used to settle adoption issues, settle child-support disputes, and provide information for immigration files. Legal tests can not be preformed using a home test kit.

How to choose a DNA laboratory

  • Accreditation is a vital part of choosing a laboratory. Accredited labs have an annual audit and inspection, undergo internal and external reviews, and have their equipment calibrated for accuracy. Look for an ISO and/or AABB certification. Accredited labs will have a good reputation and near 100% track record for court cases.
  • Make sure you understand all the fees.  Keep an eye out for hidden fees. Some companies will charge you for the kit and then charge you again for the results.  This is especially true of kits purchased at a pharmacy or store.
  • Double check when you order your kit that you’re only buying the results you need.  If you need a test for any official purpose (changing a name or birth certificate) Make sure you are getting a legal test.
  • Ask about privacy. Make sure that your identity and intentions are kept secure.

Enjoy piece of mind. Be confident that the questions you have can be answered and that DNA testing is safe easy and stress-free.

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