Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Babies Love to Dance!

Now here is a study I love! Scientists studied babies movements to music and discovered – babies love rhythm, and love to move to the rhythm! Get those babies dancing!

If they find rhythm and music more engaging, sing to them!

They Got Rhythm, Study of Babies Finds

Lauren Frayer
AOL News

(March 16) — Babies innately respond to rhythm more than speech, according to a new study that found dancing comes naturally to infants.

Researchers in Britain and Finland tested the responses of 120 babies ages 5 months to 2 years and found that infants are much more physically responsive to music than to speech and find it more engaging.

In the experiment, which was recorded on video, babies were perched on their mother’s or father’s lap while psychologists played a recording of music. The babies moved their heads, arms, legs and bodies in time to the beat of various different genres of music.

“Our research suggests that it is the beat rather than other features of the music, such as the melody, that produces the response in infants,” one of the study’s authors, psychologist Marcel Zentner of the University of York in England, said in statement.

In order not to influence the baby’s movements, the parent wore headphones to block out the sound of the music and was asked to stay still during the experiment.

The recordings included classical music, rhythmic beats and also speech. They also hired professional ballet dancers to analyze the babies’ movements and determine how well-coordinated they were with the music. All of the babies responded more to the music than to speech.

The findings suggest humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.

“It remains to be understood why humans have developed this particular predisposition,” Zentner said. “One possibility is that it was a target of natural selection for music or that it has evolved for some other function that just happens to be relevant for music processing.”

Zentner and Tuomas Eerola of Finland’s University of Jyvasklya also found that the more the babies’ movements were synchronized to the music, the more they smiled.

The study appears in the March 15 issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Family Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Relationships, Tools | 2 Comments

Cheaters Leave Digital Tracks

No, not another post about cheetahs – this is about cheaters.

Today in AOL: Sphere

(Dec. 3) — Tiger Woods has long since mastered the use of every club in his golf bag. Yet he, like many Americans, apparently is still learning the hazards of communicating too openly by modern methods such as text messaging.

Woods is certainly not alone. As communication technology continues to evolve, unfaithful partners are finding it easier to keep in touch with their illicit lovers — but it’s also a lot easier to get caught.

The golf champion has said only that “I have let my family down” through unspecified “transgressions.” But one of his alleged mistresses, Jaimee Grubbs, says she still has 300 text messages sent to her by Woods. In one, Grubbs tells, Woods says, “Send me something very naughty. … Go to the bathroom and take [a picture].”

Us Weekly magazine has also posted a voice mail Grubbs says is from Woods, warning that his wife has examined his cell phone and may have discovered the former cocktail waitress’ name via caller ID.

“Any electronic means of communication — a cell phone call, an e-mail or a text message — will leave some sort of trail behind,” said Ed Edmister, a private investigator and computer forensic expert at Integrity Security & Investigation Services, which has branches in California and Virginia. “Even if you toss your phone in an incinerator or dump your computer in a lake, there are still records kept by phone and Internet companies. Digital forensics has become a huge field.”

Of course, not every spouse needs to hire a private investigator, or send in a partner’s cell phone to one of the dozens of companies that specialize in recovering deleted text messages and call logs. Sometimes, the evidence is hiding in plain sight.

Take the case of Tony, a 38-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., man who did not want to use his real name for this article. After eight years of marriage, Tony began an affair with a younger woman. “We sent text messages to each other all the time,” Tony said. “I carried my cell phone with me wherever I went.”

After staying out late one night with his mistress, Tony slept in while his wife and two sons ate breakfast together in the kitchen. His cell phone, carelessly left in a coat pocket, chirped to indicate a text message had been received. “My 8-year-old son picked it up and read the message aloud,” Tony recalled. “It said, ‘Good morning, honey. Have a good day.'”

Tony’s wife snatched the phone from her son’s hand, headed into the bedroom and confronted her husband. Six months later, the couple divorced.

“Infidelity is so much easier today,” said Ruth Houston, author of “Is He Cheating on You? 829 Telltale Signs” and a widely cited infidelity expert. “In the past, a potential cheater would go to a bar or a nightclub — very risky stuff when you’re in a marriage. Now you can sit down in your home and click on a mouse and find willing partners.”

Thanks to unreliable self-reporting, trustworthy infidelity statistics are difficult to come by. But a recent study sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and reported in The New York Times, showed marked increases in infidelity among both men and women from 1991 to 2006.

“Infidelity is definitely on the rise because of technology,” Houston said.

Even in innocuous ways, the Internet can bring together aspiring adulterers. After all, the Web is quick to sort users into affinity groups. Two people who meet in a dedicated chat room already have some interest in common, and that can foster a rapid sense of intimacy.

“Women, especially, crave emotional intimacy,” Houston said. “E-mail or chatting can start off innocently, but if there are actual connections, relationships develop quickly.”

In any case, adulterers are slow to grasp that modern communication devices are not nearly as private and secure as many people believe. Just ask South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, whose e-mails to his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur, were first made public by The State, a Columbia, S.C., newspaper.

Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit, suffered a similar turn in the electronic pillory. Some 6,000 text messages from his mistress’ pager were posted online by The Detroit Free Press and helped lead to his conviction on perjury charges.

Those politicians are certainly not the only ones to be caught with their virtual pants down. Digital technology, which has democratized almost everything it touches, is making adultery accessible to the masses.

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Civility, Communication, Community, Health Issues, Lies, News, Privacy, Relationships, Tools, Women's Issues | | 9 Comments

100 Ways You Should be Using FaceBook in your Classroom

I got an e-mail from Amber Johnson today, part of online college, and she asked if I would refer my readers to this article, 100 Ways You Should Be Using FaceBook in your Classroom. I always check these things out, and I was really impressed with the creative ways they have come up with making the classwork exciting, fresh and expedient.

(I love it when someone else writes my blog!) Because I use StatCounter, I know a lot of my readers come from schools and universities around the world, and I am happy to share a part of this article and to ask you to click on the blue type above to read the rest of it. It is full of great information.

100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom
October 20th, 2009

Facebook isn’t just a great way for you to find old friends or learn about what’s happening this weekend, it is also an incredible learning tool. Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings. Read on to learn how you can be using Facebook in your classroom, no matter if you are a professor, student, working online, or showing up in person for class.

Class Projects
The following ideas are just a starting point for class projects that can be used with Facebook in the classroom.
1. Follow news feeds. Have students follow news feeds relevant to the course material in order to keep current information flowing through the class.

2. Share book reviews. Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read. If it’s a peer-reviewed project, then students can more easily access each other’s papers online.

3. Knighthood. Playing this game promotes strong reading skills. This teacher explains how he used it with his ESL class.

4. Poll your class. Use polls as an interactive teaching tool in class or just to help facilitate getting to know one another with the Poll app for Facebook.

5. Practice a foreign language. Students learning a foreign language can connect with native speakers through groups or fan opportunities such as this one.

6. Create your own news source. A great way for journalism students to practice their craft, use the Facebook status update feed as a breaking news source for sports results, academic competition results, and other campus news.

7. Follow news stories. Keep up with news through Facebook on groups like World News Webcast that provides video clips of world news.

8. Keep up with politicians. Political science students can become fans of politicians in order to learn about their platforms and hear what they have to say first hand.

9. Create apps for Facebook. A class at Stanford started doing this in 2007 and still has a Facebook group profiling their work. A class at Berkeley also did the same.

10. Participate in a challenge. Look for challenges like the one held by Microsoft and Direct Marketing Educational Foundation that challenges undergrads and grad students to create usable products for Microsoft in return for experience and, in some cases, certification.

11. Bring literature to life. Create a Facebook representation of a work of literature like this class did.

Facilitate Communication

An excellent way to ensure students are more engaged in the learning experience is by strengthening the communication between students and student-to-teacher. These are just a few ideas to do just that.

12. Create groups. You can create groups for entire classes or for study groups with smaller subsets of students that allow for easy sharing of information and communication, without students even having to friend each other.

13. Schedule events. From beginning of semester mixers to after-finals celebrations, easily schedule events for the entire class using Facebook.

14. Send messages. From unexpected absences to rescheduling exams, it’s easy to send messages through Facebook.

15. Share multimedia. With the ability to post videos, photos, and more, you can share multimedia content easily with the entire class.

16. Post class notes. Post notes after each class period for students to have access for review or in case they were absent.

17. Provide direct communication with instructors. Instructors and students can contact each other through Facebook, providing an opportunity for better sharing of information and promoting better working relationships.

18. Allows shy students a way to communicate. Shy students who may not want to approach their teacher after class or during office hours can use Facebook to communicate.

Read the rest of the article here, by clicking on the blue type.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Community, Education, Interconnected, Technical Issue, Tools, Work Related Issues | 1 Comment

Holiday Inn Express, Seattle-Tacoma Airport

AdventureMan and I are what we call “Michelin Red R” people. When we were younger, living in Europe courtesy of Uncle Sam, every now and then – not often enough – AdventureMan would take some leave and we would go off adventuring, all over, but our greatest love was traveling in France.

We always had the latest Michelin, but through the years, we discovered that the fanciest places were not the places we liked the best. We would save up and go to a multiple-starred restaurant, order their speciality, and discover that the food was so rich, even with the small portions, even a three course meal would have us awake in the middle of the night, busy digesting the richness of the food.

We discovered, by trial and error, the Michelin red R, which stands for good local food at reasonable prices. Most of these places, you could order a la carte, and while the food remained rich, we found we could enjoy it more eating less of it.

There was also a red R equivalent in the hotels and inns section, but I think maybe it was a red rocking chair. It’s been a while since we’ve made a big trip into France . . .

The Holiday Inn Express at the Seattle Tacoma Airport is a red R in my book. I actually have free nights available at a higher priced chain, but we stayed there on our last long trip, and while the surroundings were luxurious, we found we felt crowded, we like more space and we like NOT to have features we really don’t care about. The rooms were actually about the same size as the one I am staying in, but over-furnished, over-stuffed, crowded.

For being by the airport, it was very very quiet. The shuttle picked me up at the airport almost immediately, they had my room and keys all prepared and waiting for me, it was about the fastest I have ever been checked in.

They are refurbishing the hotel and I like it. I got a new room, with serene furnishings, and all the furnishings I need without too many furnishings. I even had my choice of soft or firm pillows – right in the room. The bathroom was about 6 feet by 10 feet, and had a BIG feel, with terrazzo floors and one of those outward swooping shower curtains.


This is VERY handy, especially if you are tired and don’t want to go out looking for a place to eat, and especially if you are a female traveling alone. I ordered miso soup and salmon teriyaki and had it in under an hour, delivered to my door. There were a huge variety of restaurants to choose from. Wooo HOOO.


I like a room to have a clock I can see in the middle of the night, with an alarm:


I would prefer wi-fi, which is available in the lobby, but they provide a cable in the room, so I have no complaints:


My own little coffee maker, my own little refrigerator, and a little sink and microwave. In the closet is also an ironing board and iron. Yes, it matters to me.



And didn’t we just read that metal showerheads gather less bacteria than plastic ones?


Just the right toiletries, not too much, not too little, and a hairdryer. I know it is becoming standard, but even in the nicest hotels sometimes you can get a surprise, and – sometimes they don’t work!


And, just in case there is something missing, they provide it – complimentary – at the desk. I like the graciousness of that.


September 17, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Tools, Travel, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Cat Nap

I had a lot going on today, including an event I need to prepare for tomorrow. As I was settling down to read a lot of material, I felt a little cold, and put on my heavy robe. Then the Qatteri Cat heard me and came in and snuggled up close and went to sleep. His slow, regular breathing, and his little cat-sleeping noises had its effect on me, too, and the next thing I knew, I was also sound asleep.

AdventureMan said “I hate to wake you, but I’m hungry” and I was glad he did. We went out for a quick bite which turned out to be not so quick, and I am growing increasingly uncomfortable at how unprepared I am going to be when he says “don’t you remember college? Isn’t there someplace on the internet you can go and get some ideas to put this together quickly?” and it’s like a lightbulb going on – oh yeh! There is this wonderful new way to gather information in a hurry. I can get other people’s ideas . . .

We used to use something called Cliff Notes, you could buy them in any university bookstore to fill in if you didn’t have time to read the book, or to guide you if you read it and didn’t understand it.

Now I am off to find the current day equivalent, to crib some notes off the internet since I am now WAAAYYY behind the curve.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Books, Character, Family Issues, Leadership, Marriage, Tools | 3 Comments

Reflecting Al Kout

AdventureMan is so patient with me.

“Just one minute!” I say to him while he is starving, and I am busy with a photo I can’t resist.

He never grumbles. He just patiently waits while I shoot away.

Last night at the Al Kout Mall was just such a night – when we got there (and got a perfect parking place because YOU were still breaking your fast with family and friends) the fountains were not on, and the pool was a perfect Taj Mahal like mirror for reflecting the Al Kout lights.

“Just a minute!” as I shot from one angle.

“Oh, just one more!” as I see it again, from another.

Same camera. Same settings. Different angle – so why is one so much more golden than the other, which is more sparkly white?

Which to you prefer?

I would feel a whole lot better about my skills as a photographer if I knew how to reproduce the results I get, if I understood better how I got the shot I did. As it is, most of my best photos are the result of being in the right place at the right time with a camera. I hate to say it about myself, but it is a result of being prepared and dumb luck. I give myself full credit for having a camera with me when a shot appears, but making it that perfect shot? I need to learn more.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Technical Issue, Tools | 8 Comments

WordPress Sitcky Posts

WordPress announced a very cool innovation – the ability to place a post at the top of your blog and keep it there until you decide otherwise. Called Sticky Posts, as you write a new post, you see in the publish status box a new option that says “stitck this post to the front page.”

If you check the box, the post you write stays at the top of the page, first thing your visitors see. When you no longer care to have it featured, you unclick it, and save – and it goes to the chronological place where it belongs.

So easy, so practical, so much fun. Cool.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Tools, WordPress | 3 Comments

Science, Cows and Serendipity

This is from BBC but I first heard this story on National Public Radio.

Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen were studying naked mole rats and discovered that when they build a nest, the sleeping areas are always south. They wondered if humans also had an unconscious magnetic sensitivity and decided to use GoogleEarth to study how campers set up their tents around the world, but found that it was too difficult to see tents, but they could see cows really well. Since they could see cows, they decided to survey the cows and discovered that MOST of the time, cows face either north or south. Who knew?

Cattle shown to align north-south

By Elizabeth Mitchell
Science reporter, BBC News

Have you ever noticed that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?

Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

Wild deer also display this behaviour – a phenomenon that has apparently gone unnoticed by herdsmen and hunters for thousands of years.

In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth’s magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals.

The Earth can be viewed as a huge magnet, with magnetic north and south situated close to the geographical poles.

Many species – including birds and salmon – are known to use the Earth’s magnetic fields in migration, rather like a natural GPS.

A few studies have shown that some mammals – including bats – also use a “magnetic compass” to help their sense of direction.

Dr Sabine Begall, from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, has mainly studied the magnetic sense of mole rats – African animals that live in underground tunnels.

“We were wondering if larger animals also have this magnetic sense,” she told BBC News.

I don’t know why, but random discoveries like this fascinate me. If you want to read more, you can do so here, at BBC News or here at National Public Radio.

Dont’cha just love these scientists? They figure out things just because they are curious!

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Experiment, GoogleEarth, News, Relationships, Technical Issue, Tools | 7 Comments

Kitchen Tools I Never Knew I Needed

Seen at Target. Total hoot.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Marketing, Seattle, Shopping, Tools | 8 Comments

Photo Nuts

My two sisters and I all have the same camera, and my niece, and my son and his wife, so we all share information. Like on our trip, EnviroGirl explained that if you made the picture size smaller, it extends the optical zoom, so if you don’t need a really vast photo, you can focus on something and get this huge telephoto. I had no idea until she explained it. Like yes, it is in the book, and I even read the book, but there is SO MUCH in the book.

My sister Sparkle told us about using a feature called Fireworks. She tried it for fireworks – it works! It also works on moon shots, although there is another feature called Starry Nights for that.

One thing totally cracks me up. There used to be a Simple Mode indicated with a heart, it was simple and automatic, and no one liked to use it. The newer models have something called Intelligent Automatic, and we all use that mode because it gets the best photos. We would never dream of using something called “simple” but “intelligent!” That’s very different!

Mariner Man, Sparkle’s husband, doesn’t use the same camera but he showed us a new technique he says is working for him, getting interesting and new photos: put your camera really near the ground or on the ground.

Sand Castle

Sand Castle

Good tip, Mariner Man!

So I’m kind of waiting for sunset, and photo ops just keep happening. There are wonderful kids flying kites, and I wait, and I get the shot I want – what joy!

And then, as the sun continues setting, along come a couple surfers.

This isn’t such a great shot, but it is the only shot I got of one of them up on his board. He wasn’t up for very long.

This hasn’t happened to me for a long time – my memory card is full. I have to quickly go through and delete anything excessive to have room for the sunset. And then – the sun goes into a fog bank. I had thought it would shine through, but no – the fog EATS the sun! And, just at that moment, the surfers decide to go home and I get my last shot:

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Relationships, Technical Issue, Tools | , | 7 Comments