Monday, December 31, 2007

christmas eve in NYC

I spent christmas eve in NYC with Noah and Chika. We visited the natural history museum, the planetarium, Rockefeller Center and finally Times Square. What a trip! chika and noah know all the subways - we also ate at a Indian restaurant. Christmas day chika made dinner, and noah and I played microsoft flight simulator for several hours - what a great game! It is better than any simulator I have used for my own instruction. overall a great christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Babies have good judgement

Six- and 10-month-old babies are much more capable judges of character than previously thought. Not only can infants pick out a good Samaritan, they tend to identify with them, according to a Yale University study published in the journal Nature.

The study released last month presented babies with a diorama-like display of an anthropomorphic circle struggling to make it up a hill. Just when it appeared that all hope was lost, a heroic triangle appeared, and pushed the circle to the top. The round climber bounces, clearly elated to have reached the summit. The same scenario is played out again, only this time a square appears at the top of the hill and pushes the circle to the bottom.

The babies were then asked to pick a toy – the helper or the hinderer, as scientists called them. One hundred percent of 6-month-olds and 87.5 percent of 10-month-olds chose the helper. The results were consistent even when the triangle and the square swapped places as good guy and bad guy. In several other iterations of the experiment, the helper, regardless of shape or color, won out.

"Babies are very competent socially," says Kiley Hamlin, lead author of the study. "They can figure this kind of stuff out without people explicitly teaching what's nice and not nice and who's nice and who's not nice."

Mall shooter a time bomb

Robert Hawkins killed 6 people in a mall in Omaha. Read the article below. He was in treatment centers for 4 years. It was not clear where he was living at the time of the shootings. He lost his job at McDonalds. He and his mother ate dinner at the house of her ex husband, Robert's stepfather, the night before the shootings. he took an assault rifle from his stepfathers house. His stepfather is not available for comment because he is in thailand - I feel sorry for the dead and injured, but this kid Robert had a hell of a life: first of all Omaha - an island in the middle of the plain states: there is nothing there except a big air force base. Second, his family: he spent 4 years away from his family in residential treatment centers: when he turned 18, he is an adult, and there is no state funds for treating adults for behavioral disorders in a residential setting. So he was kicked out of the system. Third, he worked at McDonalds, a minimum wage job, probably part time (so they didnt have to pay him benefits), probably because he lacks a high school diploma. Fourth, his stepdad has an assault rifle: why? who is he planning to assault? Home protection? Install a burgler alarm system. Fifth, his step father is in Thailand: why thailand? What is Thailand known for? underage sex? Robert sounds severely disturbed: the not uncommon cause of severe emotional disturbance in teens and pre teens is sexual abuse. I want to know more about Stepdad and his relationship with Robert. This was one angry boy: so angry he wanted to take it out on the world before killing himself. Who to blame? You need to take a test in order to get a drivers license, but anyone can have a child, regardless of how stupid, cruel, or f**ked up they are. Robert didn't seem to have a chance given where and how he grew up. I pray for him and his victims.

The mother of the teenage gunman who killed eight people at a busy shopping mall earlier this month apologized Thursday for her son's crime and said she did her best raising him.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Maribel Rodriguez told ABC's "Good Morning America" when asked what she would say to the victims' families. "I'm deeply devastated with you."

Her son, Robert Hawkins, 19, fired more than 30 rounds inside a mall department store Dec. 5, striking 11 people. Six died where they fell, one died on the way to a hospital and another died at a hospital. Three other people were wounded, two seriously.

Hawkins was a troubled teenager who spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He had recently broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a McDonald's.

She and Hawkins ate supper together at the house of her ex-husband — Hawkins' stepfather — the night before the shootings, Rodriguez said. The stepfather was vacationing in Thailand.

She and police have said Hawkins took the assault rifle he used in the shootings from his stepfather's closet.

Hawkins either was kicked out or left that home some time ago. At the time of the shootings, he was living with Debora Maruca-Kovac and her husband, whose sons were friends with Hawkins, Maruca-Kovac has said. He had lived there for a little more than a year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stupid Warning Labels!

here is a site that awards stupid warning labels.the idea is that companies put warning labels on products to defend themselves from lawsuits - but the warning labels make you wonder just how stupid people can be. Probably really stupid.......

Sunday, December 02, 2007

ISS and space shuttle pass in front of the sun

here is a link to the picture of space shuttle and ISS passing in front of the sun. make sure you click on image to get the full screen version. very cool......