quarta-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2010

quinta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2010

quinta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2010

quarta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2010

domingo, 28 de novembro de 2010

The 10 best illustrated children’s books, from The Observer

The Lost Thing

Shaun Tan (2000)

At the end of this book, the narrator says: “I still think about that lost thing from time to time.” And so will Tan’s readers. The lost thing is strange: tomato red with grey tentacles. It is inert, friendly and nameless. Tan’s haunting story is about what it means to be lost and found – dropped off in a place of unclaimed objects. The Lost Thing is surreal and metaphysical. It makes you look – and think – twice. A modern Australian triumph – but much more forlorn than The Magic Pudding

Check them all

Ilustração para Publicidade - 2

Healthy for Everyone - Colgate

Ilustração para Publicidade - 1

Keep little Explorers High and Dry - Huggies

segunda-feira, 8 de novembro de 2010

Momento precioso - cavalo marinho a dar à luz

Fotografia de Lazaro Ruda, Estados Unidos, momentos depois de o hipocampo dar à luz o primogénito - Melhor Fotografia subaquática de 2010 ;)

How Handwriting Trains the Brain

Ask preschooler Zane Pike to write his name or the alphabet, then watch this 4-year-old's stubborn side kick in. He spurns practice at school and tosses aside workbooks at home. But Angie Pike, Zane's mom, persists, believing that handwriting is a building block to learning.
She's right. Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development. 

It's not just children who benefit. Adults studying new symbols, such as Chinese characters, might enhance recognition by writing the characters by hand, researchers say. Some physicians say handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age.
Studies suggest there's real value in learning and maintaining this ancient skill, even as we increasingly communicate electronically via keyboards big and small. Indeed, technology often gets blamed for handwriting's demise. But in an interesting twist, new software for touch-screen devices, such as the iPad, is starting to reinvigorate the practice.

Most schools still include conventional handwriting instruction in their primary-grade curriculum, but today that amounts to just over an hour a week, according to Zaner-Bloser Inc., one of the nation's largest handwriting-curriculum publishers. Even at institutions that make it a strong priority, such as the private Brearley School in New York City, "some parents say, 'I can't believe you are wasting a minute on this,'" says Linda Boldt, the school's head of learning skills.
Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. During one study at Indiana University published this year, researchers invited children to man a "spaceship," actually an MRI machine using a specialized scan called "functional" MRI that spots neural activity in the brain. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and "adult-like" than in those who had simply looked at letters.
"It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time," says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.

Adults may benefit similarly when learning a new graphically different language, such as Mandarin, or symbol systems for mathematics, music and chemistry, Dr. James says. For instance, in a 2008 study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, adults were asked to distinguish between new characters and a mirror image of them after producing the characters using pen-and-paper writing and a computer keyboard. The result: For those writing by hand, there was stronger and longer-lasting recognition of the characters' proper orientation, suggesting that the specific movements memorized when learning how to write aided the visual identification of graphic shapes. 

Other research highlights the hand's unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.
She says pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.

And one recent study of hers demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard. 
Even in the digital age, people remain enthralled by handwriting for myriad reasons—the intimacy implied by a loved one's script, or what the slant and shape of letters might reveal about personality. During actress Lindsay Lohan's probation violation court appearance this summer, a swarm of handwriting experts proffered analysis of her blocky courtroom scribbling. "Projecting a false image" and "crossing boundaries," concluded two on celebrity news and entertainment site hollywoodlife.com. Beyond identifying personality traits through handwriting, called graphology, some doctors treating neurological disorders say handwriting can be an early diagnostic tool. 

"Some patients bring in journals from the years, and you can see dramatic change from when they were 55 and doing fine and now at 70," says P. Murali Doraiswamy, a neuroscientist at Duke University. "As more people lose writing skills and migrate to the computer, retraining people in handwriting skills could be a useful cognitive exercise."
In high schools, where laptops are increasingly used, handwriting still matters. In the essay section of SAT college-entrance exams, scorers unable to read a student's writing can assign that portion an "illegible" score of 0. 
Even legible handwriting that's messy can have its own ramifications, says Steve Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University. He cites several studies indicating that good handwriting can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th. "There is a reader effect that is insidious," Dr. Graham says. "People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting."

Handwriting-curriculum creators say they're seeing renewed interest among parents looking to hone older children's skills—or even their own penmanship. Nan Barchowsky, who developed the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method to ease transition from print-script to joined cursive letters, says she's sold more than 1,500 copies of "Fix It … Write" in the past year.
Some high-tech allies also are giving the practice an unexpected boost through hand-held gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Dan Feather, a graphic designer and computer consultant in Nashville, Tenn., says he's "never adapted well to the keypads on little devices." Instead, he uses a $3.99 application called "WritePad" on his iPhone. It accepts handwriting input with a finger or stylus, then converts it to text for email, documents or Twitter updates.
And apps are helping Zane Pike—the 4-year-old who refused to practice his letters. The Cabot, Ark., boy won't put down his mom's iPhone, where she's downloaded a $1.99 app called "abc PocketPhonics." The program instructs Zane to draw letters with his finger or a stylus; correct movements earn him cheering pencils.

"He thinks it's a game," says Angie Pike.
Similarly, kindergartners at Harford Day School in Bel Air, Md., are taught to write on paper but recently also began tracing letter shapes on the screen of an iPad using a handwriting app.
"Children will be using technology unlike I did, and it's important for teachers to be familiar with it," says Kay Crocker, the school's lead kindergarten teacher. Regardless of the input method, she says, "You still need to be able to write, and someone needs to be able to read it."

From The WSJ

Multiple Intelligences - eight, no less ;)

According to Howard Gardner, a child has not just one chance to be gifted, but eight! That's because, according to Gardner, there exist eight separable "intelligences"-verbal-linguistic (facility with words and languages), logical-mathematical (facility with logic, abstractions, reasoning, and numbers), spatial (facility with visualizing and mentally manipulating objects), musical (facility with rhythm, music, and hearing), bodily-kinesthetic (facility physical movement), interpersonal (facility interacting with other people), intrapersonal (facility with introspective and self-reflective thought), and naturalist (facility relating to nature) [5]. He is currently considering adding existential intelligence to the lineup (still not clear what that one is all about). He has excluded spiritual and moral intelligences as possibilities [6]. However, breakdancers rejoice! Under Gardner's framework, bodily/kinesthetic ability is considered a form of intelligence.
WICS Model
Robert J. Sternberg views giftedness as the synthesis of wisdom, intelligence (based on his theory of successful intelligence), and creativity [7, 8]. Sternberg argues that in life, people need creative skills and attitudes to produce new and original ideas; analytical skills and attitudes to evaluate the quality of these ideas; practical skills and attitudes to execute ideas and to persuade others of their value, and wisdom-related skills and attitudes in order to ensure that one's ideas help to foster a common good, rather than only the good of oneself and those closely associated with oneself. According to Dr. Sternberg, the child without the synthesis of these abilities does not deserve the label gifted.
So, is every child gifted?
As you can see, whether a child is considered by a particular school as gifted depends on which model of giftedness that that school adopts. Of course, there will be some "special" (I already admitted it, your child is special!) children who just don't possess at the moment any abilities that are at least in the top 20% relative to other children their age, and are simultaneously valued by the school system (forget about society- some abilities are valued by society, but schools just don't have the funding to pay much attention to them). So not every student at any given point in time will be eligible to receive the label "gifted". It stinks (I know!), but that's life for you.
This certainly doesn't mean though that as a parent you shouldn't keep exposing your child to varied experiences, make note of his or her particular interests, and encourage him or her to pursue them. That child just may develop a talent. This is why it's important that schools screen for gifted students repeatedly over the course of the education cycle.
It also certainly doesn't mean that you, as a parent, can't provide additional resources to the child if you can afford it (which, unfortunately, many parents can't). Just don't count on your school system to help out much.
At the end of the day, my suggestion for parents is this: if your child seems to have a particular gift that you think is valued in society, and you want your school to nurture it above and beyond the normal track at school, then research your schools very carefully and find one that values your child's gift and adopts the model of giftedness that best fits your child's ability. For some, just the IQ based model might work. For others, your child may be bursting with a slightly above average IQ, but a high level of creativity and task commitment. So find a school that likes Renzulli's model. Or better yet, go to your school administration and petition to change the system. Some schools, and even school psychologists who are indoctrinated in the IQ model of giftedness, might simply not be familiar with alternative methods of identifying children with extraordinary talent. You are now better informed that there is more than one conceptualization of giftedness.
In other words, if your child can yodel better than Justin Timberlake, then there may in fact be a place for him after all-consider sending him off to a school for the performing arts where he'll fit in quite nicely.

Psychology Today

quinta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2010

It's a girl!!!

Woo Hoo!!!

It’s a girl!!!

We haven’t decided on a name yet, but we’ll be using the same simple criteria we used for Daniel:
- Both of us in agreement
- A name that works in Portuguese and English
- No names from Mainstream media. Examples include: Movies (Lois Lane, Scarlett O'Hara); TV Shows (Elaine Benes, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore), songs, (Roxanne, Maggie May) bands (Alice Cooper, Björk) or books (Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure).

So far we have:

Suggestions more than welcome!!!

quinta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2010

quinta-feira, 30 de setembro de 2010

sexta-feira, 10 de setembro de 2010

Ora isto interessa-nos / Now you've got our attention ;)

Planeta Tangerina + Tate Publishing = delirante, delicioso, a devorar já ;)

terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2010

The Normal Newborn and Why Breastmilk is Not Just Food

What is a normal, term human infant supposed to do?
First of all, a human baby is supposed to be born vaginally.  Yes, I know that doesn't always happen, but we're just going to talk ideal, normal for now.  We are supposed to be born vaginally because we need good bacteria.  Human babies are sterile, without bacteria, at birth.  It's no accident that we are born near the anus, an area that has lots of bacteria, most of which are good and necessary for normal gut health and development of the immune system.  And the bacteria that are there are mom's bacteria, bacteria that she can provide antibodies against if the bacteria there aren't nice.
Then the baby is born and is supposed to go to mom.  Right to her chest.  The chest, right in between the breasts is the natural habitat of the newborn baby. (Fun fact:  our cardiac output, how much blood we circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are important.  Lots goes to the kidney every minute, like 10% or so, and 20% goes to your brain.  In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest- more than her brain.  The body thinks that place is important!)
That chest area gives heat.  The baby has been using mom's body for temperature regulation for ages.  Why would they stop?  With all that blood flow, it's going to be warm.  The baby can use mom to get warm.  When I was in my residency, we would put a cold baby "under the warmer" which meant a heater thingy next to mom.  Now, as I have matured, if a baby is "under the warmer," the kid is under mom.  I wouldn't like that.  I like the kids on top of mom, snuggled.
Now we have a brand new baby on the warmer.  That child is not hungry.  Bringing a hungry baby into the world is a bad plan.  And really, if they were hungry, can you please explain to me why my kids sucked the life force out of me in those last few weeks of pregnancy?  They better have been getting food, or well, that would have been annoying and painful for nothing.
Every species has instinctual behaviors that allow the little ones to grow up to be big ones and keep the species going.  Our kids are born into the world needing protection.  Protection from disease and from predators.  Yes, predators.  Our kids don't know they've been born into a loving family in the 21st century- for all they know it's the 2nd century and they are in a cave surrounded by tigers.  Our instinctive behaviors as baby humans need to help us stay protected.  Babies get both disease protection and tiger protection from being on mom's chest.  Presumably, we gave the baby some good bacteria when they arrived through the birth canal.  That's the first step in disease protection.  The next step is getting colostrum.
A newborn baby on mom's chest will pick their head up, lick their hands, maybe nuzzle mom, lick their hands and start to slide towards the breast.  The kids have a preference for contrasts between light and dark, and for circles over other shapes.  Think about that...there's a dark circle not too far away.
Mom's sweat smells like amniotic fluid, and that smell is on the child's hands (because there's been no bath yet!) and the baby uses that taste on their hand to follow mom's smell.  The secretions coming from the glands on the areola (that dark circle) smell familiar too and help the baby get to the breast to get the colostrum which is going to feed the good bacteria and keep them protected from infection.  The kids can attach by themselves.  Watch for yourself!  And if you just need colostrum to feed bacteria and not yourself, well, there doesn't have to be much.  And there isn't because the kids aren't hungry and because Breastmilk is not food! 
We're talking normal babies.  Breastfeeding is normal.  It's what babies are hardwired to do.  2009 or 209, the kids would all do the same thing: try to find the breast.  Breastfeeding isn't special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion.  It's not "best. "  It's normal.  Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant.  And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.
Colostrum also activates things in the baby's gut that then goes on to make the thymus grow.  The thymus is part of the immune system.  Growing your thymus is important.  Breastmilk= big thymus, good immune system.  Colostrum also has a bunch of something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA).  SIgA is made in the first few days of life and is infection protection specifically from mom.  Cells in mom's gut watch what's coming through and if there's an infectious cell, a special cell in mom's gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the breast make SIgA in the milk to protect the baby.  If mom and baby are together, like on mom's chest, then the baby is protected from what the two of them may be exposed to. Babies should be with mom.
And the tigers.  What about them?  Define "tiger" however you want.  But if you are baby with no skills in self-protection, staying with mom, having a grasp reflex, and a startle reflex that helps you grab onto your mom, especially if she's hairy, makes sense.  Babies know the difference between a bassinette and a human chest.   When infants are separated from their mothers, they have a "despair- withdrawal" response.  The despair part comes when they alone, separated.  The kids are vocally expressing their desire not to be tiger food.  When they are picked up, they stop crying.  They are protected, warm and safe.  If that despair cry is not answered, they withdraw.  They get cold, have massive amounts of stress hormones released, drop their heart rate and get quiet.  That's not a good baby.  That's one who, well, is beyond despair.  Normal babies want to be held, all the time.
And when do tigers hunt?  At night.  It makes no sense at all for our kids to sleep at night.  They may be eaten.  There's nothing really all that great about kids sleeping through the night.  They should wake up and find their body guard.  Daytime, well, not so many threats.  They sleep better during the day.  (Think about our response to our tigers-- sleep problems are a huge part of stress, depression, anxiety).
I go on and on about sleep on this site, so maybe I'll gloss over it here.  But everybody sleeps with their kids- whether they choose to or not and whether they admit to it or not.  It's silly of us as healthcare providers to say "don't sleep with your baby" because we all do it.  Sometimes accidentally.  Sometimes intentionally.  The kids are snuggly, it feels right and you are tired.  So, normal babies breastfeed, stay at the breast, want to be held and sleep better when they are with their parents.  Seems normal to me.  But there is a difference between a normal baby and one that isn't.  Safe sleep means that we are sober, in bed and not a couch or a recliner, breastfeeding, not smoking...being normal.  If the circumstances are not normal, then sleeping with the baby is not safe.
That chest -to -chest contact is also brain development.  Our kids had as many brain cells as they were ever going to have at 28 weeks of gestation.  It's a jungle of waiting -to-be- connected cells.  What we do as humans is create too much and then get rid of what we aren't using.  We have like 8 nipples, a tail and webbed hands in the womb.  If all goes well, we don't have those at birth.  Create too much- get rid of what you aren't using.  So, as you are snuggling, your child is hooking up happy brain cells and hopefully getting rid of the "eeeek" brain cells.  Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, is brain wiring.  Not food.
Why go on and on about this?  Because more and more mothers are choosing to breastfeed.  But most women don't believe that the body that created that beautiful baby is capable of feeding that same child and we are supplementing more and more with infant formulas designed to be food.  Why don't we trust our bodies post-partum?  I don't know.  But I hear over and over that the formula is because "I am just not satisfying him."  Of course you are. Babies don't need to "eat" all the time- they need to be with you all the time- that's the ultimate satisfaction.
A baby at the breast is getting their immune system developed, activating their thymus, staying warm, feeling safe from predators, having normal sleep patterns and wiring their brain, and (oh by the way) getting some food in the process.  They are not "hungry" --they are obeying instinct.  The instinct that allows us to survive and make more of us.

quinta-feira, 5 de agosto de 2010

Onda / Wave

Edição Portuguesa - GATAfunho

Suzy Lee's website

quinta-feira, 29 de julho de 2010

How to apply sunscreen

How much do I need?

At least six full teaspoons for an average adult. Anything less reduces protection.

How do you apply it?

Put it on 15 to 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, then 15 to 30 minutes afterwards – and every two hours after that. If you get sweaty or swim you need to reapply it even if it is water repellent. Don't rub it in too much – it should still look a bit white on your skin. Don't re-use last year's bottles – sunscreens can get damaged by heat and bacteria.
What SPF do I need?

Dermatologists recommend SPF 30. Children under six months should not be out in direct sun, but they need an SPF of 50. Sunscreen will also protect you from UV-A rays, which are also linked to skin cancer. Their protection is measured relative to the UVB protection given by a sunscreen and shown in stars – five gives 90% of the UVB protection.

Are clothes better protection?

Yes, if they are tightly woven and not light-coloured.

Dr. Luisa  Dillner's How To... guides from The Guardian

terça-feira, 27 de julho de 2010

Draw your own Robots, Monsters, Superheroes!

From the wonderful mind of Jay Stephens ;)
Click to buy from Amazon

sábado, 24 de julho de 2010

quinta-feira, 22 de julho de 2010

Poetry for Children

The best poems for kids aren't the soft and saccharine ones

 As the most bodily of literary forms, poetry appeals to children. It also has a certain appeal for adults who read to children. For one thing, good writing in verse helps make one a more amusing or engaging reader vocally: The rhythms effectively coach us to read aloud well. Such bodily appeal should not entail hamminess or indicate intellectual or moral condescension; good verses don't need to be artificially sweetened. This month, I've compiled work by three poets whose writing meets those dual ideals of musicality and truthfulness.
I have heard the superb writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak say that he does not set out to make works for children: He tries to make good stories and pictures. As someone who has read aloud to children many times, I feel grateful to Sendak and to Margaret Wise Brown and Dr. Seuss and other writers who have rescued me from the shallow stuff marketed as "for children" that I sometimes have found myself reading aloud.
In poetry, Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" is often cited, correctly, as a masterpiece of the nonsense genre. I'm inclined to quibble with "nonsense" as a term: The nature of all language is to combine meaning with its opposite. Everything we say or write has a component of sense and a component of nonsense. It's the proportions that vary, the kinds of meaning and nonmeaning. When Shakespeare has King Lear say the word never five times to make a line of blank verse, part of the repetition's power comes from the arbitrary or accidental nature of a word's sounds: the nasal N at the beginning, the upper teeth at the lower lip on the V, the R lengthening the final vowel. These sounds are part of the meaning, and part of Lear's agony, not intrinsically but as a physical part of the word—a bodily, potentially inert accident made meaningful by the playwright's art, including the repetition that intensifies and conveys the word's "nonsense" along with its "sense."
Conversely, "Jabberwocky" conveys its narrative meaning—the "sense" of its adventure story—quite clearly. (Carroll first published a fragment of the poem as "A Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry.")
Worthy of presentation along with Carroll's famous poem are these by Edward Lear (1812-88), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), and Walter de la Mare (1873-1956). 
Their poems are tough, not cloying. Stevenson's "The Land of Counterpane" associates illness with imagination in a way that's disturbing or mysterious as well as engaging. The change from past to present tense in the last stanza—"I was" the giant who "sees"—evokes the imaginative or delirious trance of an extended moment. De la Mare's grotesque "John Mouldy," "Miss T," and "Jim Jay" engagingly conjoin the comic and the sinister.
Edward Lear's "How Pleasant To Know Mr. Lear" inspired an adaptation by T.S. Eliot. The wildly playful, reckless, insouciant, and what-the-hell quality of Lear's limericks have also been widely adapted or imitated—but rarely matched.
All three of these poets do not approach the experiences and interests of childhood with a knowing chuckle or a tidy closure of reassurance. They respect the imagination, including its elements of mystery and dread.

From Slate, with audio

"The Land of Counterpane"
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
.................—Robert Louis Stevenson


"Windy Nights"
Whenever the moon and stars are set,
….Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
….A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?
Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
….And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
….By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.
.................—Robert Louis Stevenson


"John Mouldy"
I spied John Mouldy in his cellar,
Deep down twenty steps of stone;
In the dusk he sat a-smiling,
….Smiling there all alone.
He read no book, he snuffed no candle;
The rats ran in, the rats ran out,
And far and near, the drip of water
….Went whisp'ring about.
The dusk was still, with dew a-falling,
I saw the Dog-star bleak and grim,
I saw a slim brown rat of Norway
….Creep over him.
I spied John Mouldy in his cellar,
Deep down twenty steps of stone;
In the dusk he sat a-smiling
….Smiling there all alone.
.................—Walter de le Mare


"Miss T."
It's a very odd thing—
….As odd as can be—
That whatever Miss T. eats
….Turns into Miss T.;
Porridge and apples,
….Mince, muffins, and mutton,
Jam, junket, jumbles—
….Not a rap, not a button
It matters; the moment
….They're out of her plate,
Though shared by Miss Butcher
….And sour Mr. Bate,
Tiny and cheerful,
….And neat as can be,
Whatever Miss T. eats
….Turns into Miss T.
.................—Walter de le Mare


"Jim Jay"
Do diddle di do,
Poor Jim Jay
Got stuck fast
In Yesterday.
Squinting he was,
On cross-legs bent,
Never heeding
The wind was spent.
Round veered the weathercock,
The sun drew in—
And stuck was Jim
Like a rusty pin ...
We pulled and we pulled
From seven till twelve,
Jim, too frightened
To help himself.
But all in vain.
The clock struck one,
And there was Jim
A little bit gone.
At half-past five
You scarce could see
A glimpse of his flapping
And when came noon,
And we climbed sky-high,
Jim was a speck
Slip-slipping by.
Come to-morrow,
The neighbours say,
He'll be past crying for;
Poor Jim Jay.
.................—Walter de le Mare


"How Pleasant To Know Mr. Lear"
"How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!"
Who has written such volumes of stuff!
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few find him pleasant enough.
His mind is concrete and fastidious,
His nose is remarkably big;
His visage is more or less hideous,
His beard it resembles a wig.
He has ears, and two eyes, and ten fingers,
Leastways if you reckon two thumbs;
He used to be one of the singers,
But now he is one of the dumbs.
He sits in a beautiful parlour,
With hundreds of books on the wall;
He drinks a great deal of Marsala,
But never gets tipsy at all.
He has many friends, laymen and clerical,
Old Foss is the name of his cat;
His body is perfectly spherical,
He weareth a runcible hat.
When he walks in waterproof white,
The children run after him so!
Calling out, "He's gone out in his night-
Gown, that crazy old Englishman, oh!"
He weeps by the side of the ocean,
He weeps on the top of the hill;
He purchases pancakes and lotion,
And chocolate shrimps from the mill.
He reads, but he cannot speak, Spanish,
He cannot abide ginger beer:
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
.................—Edward Lear
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
.................—Edward Lear

O Sabor da Maçã

I Love Charts, claro ;)

quinta-feira, 15 de julho de 2010

Gaturro, o gato argentino que destronou todos os outros ;)


The Future? ;) 100 Essential Skills for Geeks

A GeekDad original, what else? My favourites in bold type ;)

1. Properly secure a wireless router.
2. Crack the WEP key on a wireless router.
3. Leech Wifi from your neighbor.
4. Screw with Wifi leeches.
5. Setup and use a VPN.
6. Work from home or a coffee shop as effectively as you do at the office.
7. Wire your own home with Ethernet cable.
8. Turn a web camera into security camera.
9. Use your 3G phone as a Wi-Fi access point.
10. Understand what “There’s no Place Like” means.

11. Identify key-loggers.
12. Properly connect a TV, Tivo, XBox, Wii, and Apple TV so they all work together with the one remote.
13. Program a universal remote.
14. Swap out the battery on your iPod/iPhone.
15. Benchmark Your Computer
16. Identify all computer components on sight.
17. Know which parts to order from NewEgg.com, and how to assemble them into a working PC.
18. Troubleshoot any computer/gadget problem, over the phone.
19. Use any piece of technology intuitively, without instruction or prior knowledge.
20. How to irrecoverably protect data.
21. Recover data from a dead hard drive.
22. Share a printer between a Mac and a PC on a network.
23. Install a Linux distribution. (Hint: Ubuntu 9.04 is easier than installing Windows)
24. Remove a virus from a computer.
25. Dual (or more) boot a computer.
26. Boot a computer off a thumb drive.
27. Boot a computer off a network drive.
28. Replace or repair a laptop keyboard.
29. Run more than two monitors on a single computer.
30. Successfully disassemble and reassemble a laptop.
31. Know at least 10 software easter eggs off the top of your head.
32. Bypass a computer password on all major operating systems. Windows, Mac, Linux
33. Carrying a computer cleaning arsenal on your USB drive.
34. Bypass content filters on public computers.
35. Protect your privacy when using a public computer.
36. Surf the web anonymously from home.
37. Buy a domain, configure bind, apache, MySQL, php, and Wordpress without Googling a how-to.
38. Basic *nix command shell knowledge with the ability to edit and save a file with vi.
39. Create a web site using vi.
40. Transcode a DVD to play on a portable device.
41. Hide a file in an image using steganography.
42. Knowing the answer to life, the universe and everything.
43. Share a single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers without a KVM switch.
44. Google obscure facts in under 3 searches. Bonus point if you can use I Feel Lucky.
45. Build amazing structures with LEGO and invent a compelling back story for the creation.
46. Understand that it is LEGO, not Lego, Legos, or Lego’s.
47. Build a two story house out of LEGO, in monochrome, with a balcony.
48. Construct a costume for you or your kid out of scraps, duct tape, paper mâché, and imagination.
49. Be able to pick a lock.
50. Determine the combination of a Master combination padlock in under 10 minutes.
51. Assemble IKEA furniture without looking at the instructions. Bonus point if you don’t have to backtrack.
52. Use a digital SLR in full manual mode.
53. Do cool things to Altoids tins.
54. Be able to construct paper craft versions of space ships.
55. Origami! Bonus point for duct tape origami. (Ductigami)
56. Fix anything with duct tape, chewing gum and wire.
57. Knowing how to avoid being eaten by a grue.
58. Know what a grue is.
59. Understand where XYZZY came from, and have used it.
60. Play any SNES game on your computer through an emulator.
61. Burn the rope.
62. Know the Konami code, and where to use it.
63. Whistle, hum, or play on an iPhone, the Cantina song.
64. Learning to play the theme songs to the kids favorite TV shows.
65. Solve a Rubik’s Cube.
66. Calculate THAC0.
67. Know the difference between skills and traits.
68. Explain special relativity in terms an eight-year-old can grasp.
69. Recite pi to 10 places or more.
70. Be able to calculate tip and split the check, all in your head.
71. Explain that the colours in a rainbow are roygbiv.
72. Understand the electromagnetic spectrum – xray, uv, visible, infrared, microwave, radio.
73. Know the difference between radiation and radioactive contamination.
74. Understand basic electronics components like resistors, capacitors, inductors and transistors.
75. Solder a circuit while bottle feeding an infant. (lead free solder please.)
76. The meaning of technical acronyms.
77. The coffee dash, blindfolded (or blurry eyed). Coffee [cream] [sugar]. In under a minute.
78. Build a fighting robot.
79. Program a fighting robot.
80. Build a failsafe into a fighting robot so it doesn’t kill you.
81. Be able to trace the Fellowship’s journey on a map of Middle Earth.
82. Know all the names of the Dwarves in The Hobbit.
83. Understand the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel.
84. Know where your towel is and why it is important.
85. Re-enact the parrot sketch.
86. Know the words to The Lumberjack Song.
87. Reciting key scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
88. Be able to recite at least one Geek Movie word for word.
89. Know what the 8th Chevron does on a Stargate and how much power is required to get a lock.
90. Be able to explain why it’s important that Han shot first.
91. Know why it is just wrong for Luke and Leia to kiss.
92. Stop talking Star Wars long enough to get laid.
93. The ability to name actors, characters and plotlines from the majority of sci-fi movies produced since 1968.
94. Cite Mythbusters when debunking a myth or urban legend.
95. Sleep with a Cricket bat next to your bed.
96. Have a documented plan on what to do during a zombie or robot uprising.
97. Identify evil alternate universe versions of friends, family, co-workers or self.
98. Be able to convince TSA that the electronic parts you are carrying are really not a threat to passengers.
99. Talk about things that aren’t tech related.
100. Get something on the front page of Digg.

quarta-feira, 14 de julho de 2010

sexta-feira, 25 de junho de 2010

segunda-feira, 14 de junho de 2010

quarta-feira, 9 de junho de 2010

terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2010

Happy International Children's Day!

(this in 2007) (change much?)

One of the key events realized in the context of the International Day to Eradicate Poverty was a Childrens’ Art Competition themed “We Can End Poverty” organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Department of Public Information and the United Nations Postal Administration.

In the context of the competition, over 12 thousand children from 124 countries designed United Nations stamps that illustrated many faces of poverty, concerns for the poor as well as children’s good wishes. The creative artwork of children depicted the existence of inequality and divisions of the world and emphasis was given to concepts of love and compassion. As a means to eradicate poverty, in their artwork, children suggested education, employment, peace and security. 15 year-old Sonja Mohr from Namibia said “Nobody should be imprisoned by poverty and violence. Education and reaching out to each other is the ladder to step out of poverty and into peace on a bright future”.

Following the decisions, 6 of the winning designs will be issued as United Nations stamps in 2008 while 20 designs were awarded Merit Certificates and another 24 designs received Certificates of Recognition. The 50 best designs on the other hand were displayed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York at a special exhibition on 17 October 2007. (To view the winning designs please click here)

segunda-feira, 31 de maio de 2010

At Play in the Field of the Mind

This monumental book—more than 900 pages long, 30 years in the making, at once grand and intricate, breathtakingly inclusive and painstakingly particular—exhaustively explores the biological evolution of human behavior and specifically the behavior of children. Melvin Konner, an anthropologist and neuroscientist at Emory, weaves a compelling web of theories and studies across a remarkable array of disciplines, from experimental genetics to ethnology. He ranges back to the earliest, egg-laying mammals, discusses topics as seemingly modern as cross-gender identity conflicts, and draws on scientific work examining all manner of species with which humans share distinct characteristics. (In the way we teach our young, for instance, Konner points out that we resemble cats large and small far more than we do our closer genetic relatives, the large primates.) The organization of these disparate puzzle pieces is itself a tour de force. Though the sheer volume of information and the not infrequent appearance of terms like synaptogenesis and N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor can be daunting, Konner’s style is conversational (if sometimes occluded) and his tone is, well, kind. To read this book is to be in the company of a helpful and hopeful teacher who is eager to share what he’s found.
Dividing the book into four often overlapping “levels of observation”—the genome, the nervous system, society, and culture—Konner assesses the development of the brain from the first vertebrates through the hominins, with their slow-growing, enormous, super-energetic brains. This development depended on a high-quality diet of fruit and then cooked foods, both plant and animal, and particularly aquatic fauna—not to mention the grandmothers and other “helpers at the nest” who ensured that children were fed. In fact, human brains are so large that were they to reach full size in utero, women’s bodies would not be able to deliver them. Much of the brain’s growth occurs after birth: the human brain more than doubles in volume during the first 12 postnatal months, and nearly doubles again over the subsequent 12 months. This means that infants, with their far from fully developed brains, are extraordinarily helpless for a long period after birth. One reason humans evolved into creatures that walked upright may have been so that mothers could carry offspring who could not yet cling to them.
Konner then explores the genetic and neurological foundations of basic temperament and gender identity and of formative behaviors such as infant attachment and the acquisition of language, and he describes the interrelationship between the biology and psychology of puberty. Unlike animals that hurtle from infancy to puberty, the humans who have escaped the risks of infancy but not yet embarked on the risks of adulthood experience a sort of mini-transformation during the “five-to-seven shift,” and emerge with markedly enhanced powers of cognition into a period of slow growth. This prolonged halcyon phase, sandwiched between the confusion of early life and the intensity of adolescence, seems evolutionarily designed to imbue children with the culture that our enormous brains make possible—the culture that our species (almost) alone can claim.
The sine qua non of culture is socialization, a process we share with many other species. For mammals, it begins with an extreme bond between mother and offspring—a bond that has existed since early in the age of the dinosaurs, when even the infants of egg-laying mammals could feed directly from their mothers’ bodies and demand attention by crying. (Mammalian young cried at high pitches that their mothers could hear but reptilian predators could not.) Although the mother-child bond forms the core relationship, we are cooperative breeders. There is “ample evidence,” developed most prominently by the pathbreaking anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, that “human mothers have always gotten help” from fathers, grandmothers, older siblings, and other relatives. Still, some evidence suggests that kinship is not the be-all and end-all it is often believed to be. Research on the !Kung hunter-gatherer society, for example, shows no particular advantage to having a full complement of parents and grandparents, and in cases in which children have few kin, other adults apparently take up the slack, supporting the idea that indeed, it takes a village. Crucially, the many years that human females live after menopause confer a unique advantage on the species, in that grandmothers are almost always involved in child care, allowing their children, particularly their daughters, to produce more and healthier children.
Konner is especially interested in play, which is not unique to humans and, indeed, seems to have been present, like the mother-offspring bond, from the dawn of mammals. The smartest mammals are the most playful, so these traits have apparently evolved together. Play, Konner says, “combining as it does great energy expenditure and risk with apparent pointlessness, is a central paradox of evolutionary biology.” It seems to have multiple functions—exercise, learning, sharpening skills—and the positive emotions it invokes may be an adaptation that encourages us to try new things and learn with more flexibility. In fact, it may be the primary means nature has found to develop our brains.
Finally, Konner argues that even if culture is as subject to the laws of evolution as other aspects of physiology and behavior, it is, in its complex forms, unique to our species. (He does emphasize, however, that humans share with other animals a host of qualities and emotions—love, grief, altruism, heroism, loyalty, shame, dignity, awe, thought—that have wrongly been ascribed to humans alone.) Humans may not be the only ones who teach, but we alone create and build in a cumulative way, and we alone suspend ourselves in “webs of significance we ourselves have spun,” as Konner, borrowing from Clifford Geertz, elegantly puts it.
Ultimately, Konner is attempting to construct a sort of theory that encompasses all of human life. The evolutionary processes he describes are the way in which at every level—the genome, the nervous system, society, and culture—we, who carry along information accumulated over billions of years, continually interact with the environment, and thereby learn and change in response to it. Children, who are shaping and organizing their very selves, experience this most powerfully. And it should not be surprising, he speculates, if children—in the midst of the most exploratory phase of human life, thanks to “their huge, fast-growing, thoroughly dynamic brains”—have throughout the history of the species often been at the vanguard of cultural innovation.
This book is the flower of an astoundingly productive and innovative period of scholarship on evolutionary behavior; it sums up a generation’s worth of thinking and research. But although a work of singular importance, it’s not flawless. Konner’s efforts sometimes flag: his writing fails to sustain a consistent precision and focus. Relatedly, at times Konner seems overwhelmed by the encyclopedic nature of his project. When he sifts and assesses evidence, he’s always judicious and often brilliantly imaginative. Too often, though, The Evolution of Childhood reads like a compilation of research and findings rather than a work that distills that material to create an elegant synthesis—this book hasn’t been subjected to the rigorous and comprehensive editing that a work of such significance demands. But only a book of such staggering ambition can be faulted for failing to achieve consistent greatness.

sexta-feira, 28 de maio de 2010

What Can We Do About PVC, indeed...

(So cute. So filled with PVC)

Annie Leonard, director of The Story of Stuff Project, creator of the internet video sensation, and author of The Story of Stuff: The Book.

PG: Why is PVC at the top of your "worst offenders" toxins list? Why should we avoid it, and what are some better alternatives?
ANNIE SAYS: PVC is just one of many toxic materials in common use. But it makes me especially furious because so many safer alternatives exist! And it's the most toxic type of plastic at all stages of its life (production, use, disposal). Workers in vinyl chloride production factories have higher rates of liver cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, leukemia and liver cirrhosis. Chemical additives in PVC, like phthalates (a group of suspected carcinogens and known reproductive toxins, which are put in PVC to make it more flexible) can leach out, migrating from toys into our children, from packaging into our food, and from our shower curtains into the air we breathe. Americans toss out up to 7 billion tons of PVC every year, with 2 to 4 billion tons of that going to landfills, where it leaches its toxic additives into the soil, water, and air. 

There’s no need to keep using it. If it was some toxic but life-saving material, then we could have a debate. But it just isn’t needed. Already dozens of companies have phased it out of products. Even whole cities have placed restrictions on it in Europe but it still permeates our homes, schools and hospitals (although many hospitals are phasing it out; visit Healthcare Without Harm for more information). 

Unlike other toxics that are added to a myriad of products, it is also easy to recognize PVC, so you can keep much – probably not all – of it out of your life. PVC containers are often labeled with a little 3 in a recycling logo on the bottom; get in the habit of checking. PVC is also readily identifiable by its horrible smell – think new shower curtain. Consider a fabric shower curtain instead of that plastic one. Store your leftovers in glass jars. Download Pass Up the Poison Plastic: The PVC-Free Guide for Your Family and Home

Whenever I do accidentally buy something (a new extension cord or a raincoat for my daughter) without realizing it contains PVC, I pack up the product and send it back to the manufacturer with a letter explaining why the product is unacceptable. If I can't find the manufacturer, I send it to the Vinyl Institute, an industry trade group in Washington DC. These guys make big bucks to defend the producers of PVC, so I figure they can deal with it. 

It’s toxic. It’s unnecessary. It shouldn’t be in our consumer products. You can help by joining the Poison Plastic Campaign led by the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in New York City.


terça-feira, 18 de maio de 2010

segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010

quinta-feira, 13 de maio de 2010

Cutest thing in a very long time

Cats and kids (and Happy very belated Mother's Day)

(This map shows Mother’s Day celebration dates around the world, from iLoveCharts ;)

We had this great 10 year old cat named Jack.
Jack was a great cat, and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him.
He used to hang out and nap all day long on an old mat in our bathroom.

Well we have three kids, and at the time of this story, they were 4-year-old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Sam. Sam really loved chapstick. LOVED it! He kept asking to use my chapstick and then he'd lose it.
So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I kept my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was finished.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around, trying to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys were fighting over the toy in the
cereal box. I was trying to nurse my little one at the same time I was putting on my make-up. Everything was a mess and everyone had long forgotten that this was a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood.

We finally had the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I started looking for Sam. I searched everywhere and I finally rounded the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was my boy.

He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . butt. Sam looked right into my eyes and said "Chapped."

Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right -- their little bottoms do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the first or the hundredth time.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's ass.

terça-feira, 11 de maio de 2010

sexta-feira, 7 de maio de 2010

Livros Infantis para a Casa das Mães de Tires

Tenho agora este desafio enorme que é tentar que as reclusas da Casa das Mães de Tires, depois das celas se fecharem às 19 horas, se sentem com os filhos ao colo e lhes contem uma história.

Ao falarem comigo hoje, disseram que não sabem o que lhes hão de dizer ou contar. Provavelmente também nunca ninguém lhes pegou ao colo e contou uma história.

Pensei que, através da leitura de livros infantis, fosse mais fácil para elas estabelecer o contacto, intensificar os laços afectivos e estimular o desenvolvimento das crianças.
Lembrei-me então de lançar um apelo a quem  puder divulgar este pedido, junto de escolas, pais, associações, etc.
O objectivo é angariar  livros para crianças, filhas das reclusas, até aos 3 anos.
O meu email é paularamos@pessoascriativas.com . Se alguém estiver interessado em contribuir, poderá contactar comigo e eu farei chegar os livros à Casa das Mães.

quarta-feira, 5 de maio de 2010

terça-feira, 4 de maio de 2010

Dot to Dot Wallpaper

Any age of child, teenager or adult will love this unusual wall covering. Just paste this original wallpaper to your walls in the usual way, then use pencils or pens to join up the dots to their heart’s content. You’ll all be amazed as the pattern begins to emerge!

Cox and Cox