For Better Science Meetings, Invite an Artist

One of the things I am really looking forward to in furthering my career is attending conferences. I hope that lots of them will be conferences like this!

The Finch and Pea

So you’re putting together a scientific conference. You’ve chosen your topic, location and date. You’ve booked a venue and lined up sources for coffee, lunch and cocktails. You have all your podiums in a row. You’re scouring the planet for the top experts in the field, hoping that you can get enough of them in one room at one time to spark a great conversation, launch a new initiative, maybe even shift a paradigm or two.  Here’s something that might help you accomplish that: invite an artist.

Why should conferences invite artists? What do they bring to the table? I asked Regina Holliday,  who has been live-painting at health care conferences for three years. “I disrupt them,” says Holliday. “I give them a different worldview,” adding that her “very visual” take on the proceedings of large meetings can cut through the massive pileup of verbal information that most conferences…

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This is a thoughtful post which expresses something very close to my own views. Please read!

Open letter to Apple Support

Hi guys,

Do you have any idea how absolutely terrible the iTunes interface is? There are little buttons with no mouseovers that give you random pop-up menus which seem to have no connection to whatever the heck their picture is supposed to be. You can hide the sidebar menu of options by accident (or perhaps the default option is having it hidden, I don’t know) and not be able to get it back without looking up support. I can never find anything that I want to be able to do because the menus make no sense, and I ALWAYS end up feeling like crying or possibly throwing my computer across the room. Classic psychological negative reinforcement, guys. It makes me fear all things Apple.

You SERIOUSLY need to overhaul your usability. Looking pretty should come SECOND. If it looks all clean and shiny and Apple-y but all the useful bits are hidden, you’re doing it wrong.

Please sort it out. Then I might even start buying things off it. Who knows?

A conversation

[11:22:59 a.m.] Anna : this paper is relatively easy to read
[11:23:01 a.m.] Anna : which is nice
[11:23:06 a.m.] Anna : it’s still not lots of fun
[11:23:16 a.m.] Anna : though it does involve living animals, which makes it more interesting
[11:23:30 a.m.] Anna : cos you can imagine the critters running round and exploring things
[11:23:38 a.m.] Anna : which you can’t when it’s slices in a petri dish
[11:23:48 a.m.] Anna : well, you could, but that would be disturbing rather than cute
[11:23:51 a.m.] Anna : 🙂
[11:24:34 a.m.] Sam : 🙂
[11:24:44 a.m.] Sam : you’re strange
[11:24:49 a.m.] Sam : I like you
[11:24:52 a.m.] Sam : can we be friends?

Sam’s at work. I’m at home trying to read Li, S., Cullen, W. K., Anwyl, R., & Rowan, M. J. (2003). Dopamine-dependent facilitation of LTP induction in hippocampal CA1 by exposure to spatial novelty.

We’re both working really hard.

I write a sentence or two and then take a break. I can’t speak for Sam. He’s probably actually working really hard because that’s what he does. He scores highly for conscientiousness. That’s one of the Big 5, in case you didn’t know. Also he’s a J.

Actually, I only assume he scores highly on conscientiousness. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t done any real psychological testing on him.


Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

I recommend reading through some of the comments too. Here’s a great point from Kris: “It seems to me, our spiritual life and our interactions with others and service ebbs and flows, inevitably produces flaws, retracts in disgust and renews itself in purity through the Spirit. It is not just this way in worship of course, but in any aspect we participate in communally. Anytime our faith goes public in service we drag along our personal spiritual fights and encounter those of others and sometimes we just need to pull back and regroup.”

I cannot imagine leaving my church, because they have been my family for so long, including times when my family wasn’t doing all that brilliant a job of being my family. But, just like family, sometimes the way we do things annoys the heck out of me!

The Number Kevin

Corporate worship, about two years ago I walked away from it. Praise music on Sundays, youth on Wednesdays—after years and years, I said goodbye to it all. I didn’t loose faith, nor did I sin my way into shame, I just burned out. My feelings, my doubts, the weight of it all just bubbled up.

Like so many others before me, I was hurt by the church and left because of it. Hurt, though, is part of any relationship; it’s what we sign up for. As time went on, I realized my hiatus was less about mending hurt feelings and more about uncovering hidden ones.

This blog offers some food for thought about worship. Issues that bug me, stuff I’ve come to terms with. While I don’t wish to offend anybody, I do wish to start a conversation. So, here it goes.

This Isn’t a Concert?

Worship leaders deal with a…

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A response to “When Your Child Hits Your Other Child”

A response to “When Your Child Hits Your Other Child”

I have a few questions about this approach.

Can you please provide some peer-reviewed evidence that this approach works long term? Short term? Is it a technique that will give you adorable teenagers but will necessitate you spending most afternoons with your child between the ages of 2 and 7 years old screaming in your arms?

What do you do when you don’t have an entire afternoon to spend helping your child regulate their emotions?

What do you do when your child’s perfectly understandable emotional reactions are distressing everybody around her and going home isn’t an option?

How do you keep your own emotions in check for long enough to deal with your child in this exhaustive manner? How long does it take to become perfect? Is it possible to be a perfectly emotionally controlled mother as well as study or work full-time? Is it possible to be a perfectly emotionally controlled mother and work three jobs to make ends meet? Is it possible to be a perfectly emotionally controlled mother and NOT work full time? Is is possible to maintain this kind of control all day, every day?

How do you cope when more than one child is going through a meltdown at once and you have to cook tea for everyone, or get everyone out the door to go to Nana’s house?

When you tell your child that you will never love anyone more than you love them, are you allowed to exclude your husband? (Given that evidence is increasingly showing that a healthy marital relationship is more important for your child’s well-being than great parenting techniques.)

What do you do when your children get so sick of you trying to talk about their feelings all the time that as soon as you start they shut down and just agree with everything you say, or reply “I dunno”, in the hopes that you’ll shut up and stop nagging them?

You’ll have spotted my agenda here. I have three children aged between 5 and 10 years old. I am studying for a Masters in Psychology. I have given my children time-outs, removed privileges, and other varying forms of discipline, as well as talking with them about their feelings and frequently letting them know how much I love them. My youngest, my daughter, sometimes tells me that when I send her into time out, or yell at her, that I hurt her feelings. I usually respond something along the lines of, “I’m sure I did. You made me angry when you did (x). It’s not very nice for either of us, is it?” All three of them are happy, intelligent and creative, have friends, do well at school, and mostly behave in socially acceptable ways. None of them thinks they are the centre of the universe – or even the centre of my universe, because they aren’t and they shouldn’t be. But they know themselves well and like themselves. And me. And that’s good enough for me.

I think the method of – well, not discipline… I don’t know what you’d call it! – that you’ve outlined here is unrealistic and unnecessary. I think it’s setting up a kind of ideal of a super-mother that most mothers will fail against, and goodness knows, we don’t need any more of those. I suggest that if you publish this comment, and anyone reading it agrees with me, that they go and look up Nigel Latta at for some real-life ideas.

Blessings, and good luck with your own kids.

The other shoe

I’m at home with a vomiting 7-year-old. Miss 5 started it on Saturday (over dinner), and given that they were sharing a drink bottle on Saturday morning, I’ve been waiting for this all week.

He tried coming upstairs, threw up and decided to go back to bed. After a while, a sip of water and one bite of banana, I asked if I could go hang the washing out. He said he’d rather I stayed with him in his room. Two minutes later he was sick again. His room is quite dark and not very warm and messy and there are no comfortable seats so I’m sitting on the floor next to the heater trying to get the readings done for tomorrow’s study group, which I may not be able to get to. And the readings are hard and very boring. So I’m blogging instead.

It’s holidays at the moment, which means that I don’t have classes so I planned to spend my time reading articles and summarising them and trying to study for the test in the first week of the next term. I have two theses waiting for me at the desk at the Central Library. I’m only allowed to read them there. I was going to do some of that and then walk down to Unipol with my mum to pick up tickets to the concert we’re going to on Saturday evening. Instead I gave her my student ID card and some cash before she took the other kids to school for me.

Mr 7 won’t be going to soccer practice this evening. He might not make it to the game on Saturday morning. Two members of the team are on holiday in Hawaii at the moment and Mr 7’s class friend who was keen to join the team and cover the shortfall in players was told by the coach that they didn’t want him for the whole season, just for while people were away. He didn’t like that idea (and fair enough too!) so if Mr 7 can’t play this Saturday, I think the team will only have four players and may have to forfeit. I must say, I’m feeling a little smug about that. I can kind of understand why the coach doesn’t want too many players on the team – it means less time playing for everyone – but Mr 7’s friend was so excited at the thought of playing with Mr 7 and really gutted that it didn’t work out. I felt terrible for giving him the wrong idea, and now I feel a tiny bit pleased that someone is going to be punished for making me feel bad.

Wo-o-oh FEEEEEELings…

We like to look so mature and adult, don’t we? Especially us mums. But really, on the inside, we’re not all that different from our kids. We just (usually) do a better job of not showing it.

Mr 7 is watching dinosaur movies on the other laptop. To me they are almost as boring as my readings. He has watched them over and over and over again… 

Enough complaining. Let’s see if I can get one more section summarised before I take another internet break.