Pharrell Williams-HAPPY NAFURAHI FROM GOMA DRCongo(Swahili version)

Because every bit of happiness counts!!!

H/T:  BCF

The First Music Video Recorded in Space

Had to include it here…

Make sure to check out his amazing videos from the Space Station, like the following one where he wrings water out of a wash-cloth:

Brilliant!

Ai Weiwei’s First Major U.S. Show Has Everything but the Dissident Artist Himself

Having also grown up as a child of a publicly labeled political dissident, actively persecuted by a totalitarian regime, I have much empathy for Weiwei…

Prime Number Patterns

TorrentFreak: World’s First Flying File-Sharing Drones in Action

Oh, don’t you just love this stuff?

‘In short the system allows the public to share data with the help of flying drones. Much like the Pirate Box, but one that flies autonomously over the city.

“The public can upload files, photos and share data with one another as the drones float above the significant public spaces of the city. The swarm becomes a pirate broadcast network, a mobile infrastructure that passers-by can interact with,” the creators explain.’

Whatever you may think of the morality of The Pirate Bay and/or of extre-jurisdictional flying file-sharing machines, you have got to admit that this is not just way cool, it is a formidable weapon against the ‘regulation’ which is systematically eradicating freedom of the internet.

In addition to the beauty of its purpose, it is an artform in its own right!  (If yo go to the article and scroll down a little, there is a video of this technological balet:  the colours change as files are accessed, the formations break apart and re-form….a work of art in its own right!)

A few comments….

Monday, 3rd of May, was the 30th ‘Freedom of the Press Day:’  with the release of the 2009 ‘freedom of the press’ ratings by FreedomHouse.  Reporters Without Borders has a slightly different – though no less grim – set of results.  And ‘they’ ask why people are going to the blogosphere to get their news.

Still, it is, in my never-humble-opinion, difficult to measure just how ‘free’ the ‘press’ in the West really is… Some shackles are self-imposed, and cannot be reflected by a measurement on ‘external’ limitation!

The ‘xkcd blag’ has an absolutely awesome post on the colourful things Aspies do for fun!

Talking about colour:  ‘Passion for Freedom’ 2010 art competition, by OneLawForAll, has opened.  It will run in September 2010 and the focus is to expose the discriminatory nature of Sharia – submissions are now being accepted.

OneLawForAll also announced a rally on June 20th 2010 in Trafalgar Square (that would make it London, England – methinks).  This will commemorate the brutal murder of Neda Agha-Soltan during Iran’ ‘women’s revolution’.

Sorry to post a list of interesting ‘stuff’ without that much commentary.  And, I still have a lot of unfinished (though most are close) posts on the Free Dominion appeal hearing – both background and my take.  It is taking me longer than I thought to understand some of the legal precedents….so, my time is spent reading.

I promise I’ll be back to ‘normal’ soon – well, whatever it is that passes for ‘normal’ with me!

What ‘Earth Day’ is about

April 22, 2010 is the 40th anniversary of the Earth Day!

And, while I think that just about everyone who lives on Earth would like it to be a nice, happy, comfortable little planet – have you paused to think what Earth Day is really about?

Oh, sure – we are being told that it is a reminder ‘not to pollute’ and ‘to be good to the Earth’ and not to forget ‘Mother Earth’….

But, things  have a way of being more than they seem.

No – this is not ‘yet another conspiracy theory’ – mostly because I think that even though conspiracies are ‘fun’, most people are simply not disciplined enough to carry them out….

What I mean is that every message has its ‘obvious’ meaning – the one we perceive easily.  In addition, it also has a deeper message:  sometimes intentional, at other times it is just ‘stuff’ that ‘piggie-backs’ on that message…the transmisssion of ideas the originators of the message ‘took for granted’ and which ‘snuck in’ without them (and/or their audience) even being aware of it.  Once these subtle and sub-conscious bits are part of the message, any message, they necessarily affect the subconscious attitudes of the people who hear and accept the message’s ‘obvious’ meaning.

And, in my never-humble-opinion, the deep, subconscious message behind Earth Day is this:

Anthropocentrism and theocentrism are mutually exclusive...

‘Anthropocentrism’ and ‘theocentrism’ are mutually exclusive…

‘Motivating Asperger kids’ – a tutor’s story

A HUGE obstacle in teaching Aspie kids is engaging their interest and motivating them.  Unless motivated, these kids will simply not retain learning.  And since these kids tend to be have problems reading ‘social cues’, usual motivation techniques, which involve some forms of ‘social pressure’ will fail to motivate them.

This can lead to frustration on all sides!  Teachers/tutors, parents and the kids themselves!

Following is an excellent account Lorraine has sent in, about her experiences of tutering two Aspie boys and SUCCEEDING by MOTIVATING them.  Please note:  the story is as Lorraine had written it, with only minor editing.  The emphassis, however, is my addition.

It was very interesting to read the mail posted on his site.  I am tutoring spelling to a 10 and an 11 year old boy with Aspergers.
Until I met these boys at the beinning of 2007, I had never heard of the condition.  I am amazed at how intelligent these boys are compared to other ‘normal’ children. They love facts and tell me things that outstand me, that a young boy of his age could know those things.

The reason these boys are coming to me is that they have problems with reading and writing. They were at the very bottom of their classes at first and have now come to second top, and fourth from the top.
One teacher commented to the parent, “How can she teach him 10 words in one hour and I can’t teach him one word in a week.”

I hope my crazy methods will work for others as well, and that is why I have decided to post here.  Who knows, maybe the ideas might be helpful to someone else!

We don’t do spelling when they are here in the way that you would expect. We invent things we are going to do the week before, so that they know what we are doing before they come here.  This seems to be pretty important, planning ahead.

The boys come here on different days to each other.

With one boy, we made a coffee table that his mother is so proud of she nearly cried. Another time he did a lovely painting in oils using my good oil paints and a big canvas. On this he painted a dragon, it was beautiful. Next he got to use real tools and made a four piece candle holder complete with candles in little dishes. The list goes on.

Back to the table. We went to the local op-shop and bought a “daggy coffee table” for three dollars. Then we bought a pile of plates, about 20, in his favourite colours. He chose the plates himself, not me. The plan was to use tools and sander to refresh the table, and break the plates to use as tiles to do a mosiac on top.

Each step was pre-planned and fun motivation to learn.

Each step was pre-planned and fun motivation to learn.

We went back to my place and for every word he spelled correctly three times, he got to go outside, place a plate in the bag and break it with a hammer. It wasn’t too long before he had enough smashed china to make the top of the table. He spelt a lot of words, had a lot of fun and laughter, and overall enjoyed himself. That part took two visits each for one hour.

The following week, he got to work on the wood with with my small electric sander. Same thing, spell the word and get to do a section of the table. That took a couple of weeks. The exciting thing for him then was to be able to do a drawing on the table.

The folowing week, he worked out his design and the pieces he would put in the places he chose. The week after that he glued his pieces where he thought they would belong.  However that was a slow process and it took two weeks also.

The following week, he got to grout his tiles. That took a long time and we had arranged to ring his Mum when it was finished. He had done a beautiful job on it. This also had a dragon. He had chosen his own colours and I was a bit dissapointed when he chose the colours he did, but I didn’t say so, and it was just as well I didn’t because his table is wonderful.

The project took a whole term, he learnt all his words, wrote several sentences each day, gained confidence in the class room. He became a bit more friendly with his teacher and so the tantrums and frustration have lessened.

Other things we did were collecting a bucket full of gumnuts, putting them through a polisher and used the colourful little things to make a fish statue, he did a beautiful job.

What comes through to me is that if there is a reason or a reward that appeals, he ceases to find study to be so painful. It works well.

I have only two students with aspergers, but I have found them both to be very interested in making things that they can use, being very creative as they do, and if not interferred with will do a very good job.

Motivating kids to learn - a truly creative method!

Motivating kids to learn - a truly creative method!

The important thing is to plan ahead so that when they get here, they know what to expect. If I slip up on that aspect of it they don’t seem to emit the same enthusiasm. They seem to feel let down and I get guilty.

Of course as everyone will know, thay are not too keen on instruction, so drawing and planning ahead eliminates the need for further instruction.

Well I hope you don’t mind my sticking my beak in here, but I am so enthusiastic about the results and at how pleased the mothers and fathers are, I just wanted to share this.

Thank you.

And, thank you, Lorraine, for sharing this wonderful story and your insights!

Perceptions and mind games

Our mind is always processing ‘stuff’ around us.  And it is relatively easy for our mind trick us into perceiving things that are not there, or into not perceiving things that are there.  And so on….

This is such a fascinating subject!  What is it about our minds that allows this trickery to go on?  Many people have been asking this – Scientific American addresses it in ‘The Neuroscience of Illusion’.

Yes, true, this is looking at optical illusions only, but, well, that is the first step!  And some of these illusions are pretty neat! (If you want to skip the article, here is a link for the 5 illusions themselves).  And here is a whole gallery of them!

And, in my never-humble-way, here, for your enjoyment, is an optical illusion that I think is my own (though, with the mind playing tricks like this, I might have seen it somewhere, and then just been tricked into thinking I thought of it…) 

Do you see the big bird, or the little bird?

Because it is in a tree, it is ‘obvious’ (hopefully) that this is a picture of a bird.  Well, two birds – but not at once.  One is a big bird, one is a little bird.

Which one did you see first?