Max’s iTunes Hypnosis

Max and iTunesThis kid… ever since he first saw the iTunes visualizer at maybe 6 or 7 months, he has been totally mesmerized by it. He loves the damn thing. I was just now letting it run on full screen while listening to some of my new tracks from the iTunes Store and he climbed up into my lap and just sat there, staring again. Still the same effect, at 2 years and about 4 months of age. When he was still an infant, I’d sometimes just park my PowerBook in front of him and he would be entertained for a good half hour or more. Sometimes he would kick and wiggle like he was dancing, while other times he’d just sit there and stare at it like he was in a trance.

It’s really interesting to see his association with visual motion and musical sounds in this way. It is an unique reaction for him – nothing really holds his attention quite as well, except for maybe Monsters, Inc. or Toy Story. But you can see the expression on his face when he listens to the music and sees the visualizer at the same time. You can tell he is studying it closely, soaking it in, listening and seeing the music at the same time, assembling something inside his little brain. I suspect there is something important going on here that has to do with child development, education, and musical training. At the very least, he is paying attention to some good classical and jazz music. And perhaps it is a good way to progress his intellectual development in other ways, too.

Slanting the Facts

I don’t know, it seemed obvious to me the whole time this was going on because of the purely ludicrous nature of the clams that came out of the White House. Now it seems that several insiders to U.S. national security are accusing the Bush administration of deliberately skewing the facts and engaging in a gross misuse of our government agencies to do so.

This Reuters article describes more details regarding, as a group of veteran intelligence professionals put it, “a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions.” To quote again from this group’s report: “In intelligence there is one unpardonable sin ? cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy. There is ample indication this has been done with respect to Iraq.”

What was the end goal that prompted our president to hijack our intelligence apparatus and distort the facts to sway public opinion to be in favor of this ugly war? Was it just the oil? Was it because Saddam was coming after his daddy?

We have been lied to. The hordes of caches of weapons of mass destruction that we used to claim justification for this invasion simply aren’t there. And yet time and time again we were told that we would be tripping over gallons and gallons of chemical and biological weapons.

It is very sad and very maddening to know that our president did this to serve his own personal aims, at the expense of the lives of our brave soldiers in the armed services, and at the expense of the lives of many innocent Iraqi civilians. Let us not make this mistake of reelecting this guy next time, eh?

Comprehending Petracchi

I started appreciating Petracchi’s Simplified Higher Technique book a lot more when I decided to skip around and try the exercises in the middle and throughout the book, rather than plowing through from the beginning. I then realized that I had played just about every one of these exercises before at different times as shown to me by different people, and here they were all in one place. Weird. Even something pretty close to the famous freakin ‘vomit’ exercise was in there. I seem to like Petracchi’s version better – it is more practical and seems to help intonation in a better way (exercise #11). Funny how these things sort of come together after a while.

So my recommendation on the Petracchi book is: Start in the middle, skip around, never mind playing any of it in order, and pick and choose which exercises you like and seem to help.

Lobbying works

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Here’s a short excerpt from the current website status report from Macromedia.

All browsers matter… When we designed the site, we reviewed the logs of our ‘classic site’ (our current site at the time) and found that 91% of our customers used Internet Explorer or Netscape. We tested the site on both the Windows and Mac platforms using these browsers, and things looked good.

Apple announced Safari, a new browser, at Macworld in early January. It was released as a beta; so we tested Macromedia Flash applications with it and found a number of problems. We worked with Apple on these issues, and Apple released a second beta of the browser, which addressed the issues with our site. Because of the beta status of Safari, we expected some problems, but were surprised by the volume of comments we received. Even though Mac users represented only 11% of all users who accessed the site, more than 41% of the survey respondents were Mac users. During beta 2, we released new style sheets that addressed rendering issues we were having with Safari.

Something is seriously wrong with the WHO

The World Health Organization again has denied Taiwan’s application for membership. Meanwhile, new cases and deaths from SARS in Taiwan is skyrocketing, and may already be out of control. This decision to exclude Taiwan in the face of such a disaster is an affront to the 22 million people of Taiwan, and to all of humanity.

Because of China’s incessant disregard for the sovereignty and welfare of their neighbors in Taiwan, this nation is denied membership in the global medical community. The obvious consequence of this is what we are seeing today: A massive outbreak of a disease while China and the world sit there playing politics. Exclusion from the WHO makes it much harder for Taiwan to fight this crisis effectively. Unlike their other Asian neighbors, Taiwan has not been included in the latest WHO data and advice on containing, treating and preventing this deadly disease.

At least this time the United States stood by Taiwan this time in their bid for recognition by the WHO. For once, I am actually proud of something we did, and this shows that with enough grass-roots support we can facilitate change in this country. Other countries should follow suit. It is time to stop this lie once and for all. And now we in the United States should put pressure on our leaders to use some diplomatic leverage to help tip the scales with other nations that did not support Taiwan this time around.

The whole PRC-fabricated notion that there is “only one China, and Taiwan is a part of it” is a load of pure crap. It is a lie that is meant to confuse you, to help compromise your sense of logic, to give a toehold to the PRC’s claim over Taiwan in other countries’ foreign policies, and has little to do with the reality and the history of the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. Make no mistake: the PRC has never in it’s existence ruled over Taiwan, the two countries have separate and distinct borders, political systems, currencies, passports, etc. To believe that Taiwan belongs to the PRC is to take an enormous leap of faith, to ignore the facts of history, and to play in to an oppressive, aggressive, totalitarian regime’s bid to take over a sovereign nation.

I’m sorry for the rant, but it just pisses me off every time I read this crap. It is so incredibly unfair, so incredibly frustrating, so incredibly stupid. Why in this day and age do people have to play such stupid political games at the expense of human lives? Why do nations continue to play this game and pay lip service to the PRC’s bid for the subjugation of Taiwan? Argh……