Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Letter Writer Space" now available

Letter Writer Space screenshot
Our new educational iPhone game, Letter Writer Space, is now available in the App Store!

This sequel to Letter Writer Oceans lets kids learn and practice their lower case letters while learning about fun astronomy concepts.

They begin by selecting a letter against a scrolling backdrop of the Very Large Array in New Mexico at sunset, and then they blast off to an animated scene where they can practice drawing the letter. Each scene is about an astronomy concept starting with the letter, so they can learn to draw their "q" glyph when viewing a "quasar", or learn to draw their "c" glyph when viewing a "comet".

A little space shuttle prompts the child where to start the stroke, and follows along as the child follows the pulsing dots to the end of the stroke, reinforcing the stroke before, during, and after the child's action. If they make the stroke correctly, they move on to the next stroke, and when they complete the letter, they earn a star. (This encourages correct strokes, rather than just allowing for random scribbling, as other letter writing apps do.)

When the child has earned four stars, an info panel with more information about the animated scene becomes available. Touching the info button shows the info panel, and fun facts about the scene are fully narrated, sharing the wonder of astronomy and the space program with kids while they play.

Buy it now!

Mormons and Boy Scouts in Child Sex Abuse Coverup

This one cuts a little close to home for me. It looks like Mormon church leadership may have colluded with the Boy Scouts to cover up the sexual abuse of seventeen boys by a BSA scoutmaster. I was in the same organization, under the same leadership, in the same church as those seventeen boys, at the same approximate time period. I'm realizing retroactively that I wasn't nearly as safe as I thought I was, and it is alarming, especially now that I have kids of my own.

Now I understand my naivete, and while it makes me sad for those boys, it does make me all the more certain I made the right decision quitting both the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts as a kid. While it never occurred to me as a teenager that a bishop would behave in such a reprehensible manner as described in the article, the behavior is still consistent in theme with what I came to understand in both organizations as a young man, namely, more emphasis on the appearance of virtue than upon virtue itself. Upon reflection, the events described in the article do not surprise me, sadly; they are merely the natural extension of the trajectory the church and the BSA have been on for decades.

It is why my children will not be joining the scouts. Any parent who entrusts their kids to the BSA organization is a fool, because the BSA has made their priorities clear by fighting legal battles to avoid revealing what they know about sexual assaults against kids they were responsible for. They seem more concerned about avoiding embarrassing headlines than they are about the kids in their care.

The BSA is not about the boys. It is merely about the BSA.