Thursday, August 30, 2007

Julia our maid


How mothers cradle babies / Indicates stress?

I read this story about the relationship between how a mother holds her baby and the mental state of the mother. Right sided holders are more stressed and it has nothing to do with whether they are right handed or not.

Seems bloody obvious to me! Isn't the heart a bit to the left side of the body? Doh!

Ok that was my scientific discovery for the day.

LONDON (Reuters) - How you hold your baby may say a lot about your mental state, British researchers said on Wednesday.

Their study found that mothers who cradled their babies in the right arm showed signs of stress and could be at higher risk of depression, said Nadja Reissland, a developmental psychologist at Durham University who led the research.

But why this might be is a mystery, said the researchers, who published the study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

"What it shows is mothers who cradle to the right might be stressed," Reissland said in a telephone interview. "There is no explanation of why."

Reissland's team asked 79 new mothers to pick up and cradle their babies while at home and then complete a survey quizzing them on their mental state.

They found that of the mothers who showed no signs of stress or depression, 86 percent preferred to hold their babies to the left. Cradling to the right was more prominent among stressed mothers with 32 percent of them showing this bias.

"You get a significant difference," said Reissland who noted that there was no link between cradling position and whether a person was right- or left-handed.

The findings were not absolute and do not mean mothers are stressed if they are cradling their babies to the right, she said.

But they do represent another sign people can look for to help identify stressed mothers who may be at risk of depression, Reissland said.

"Stress is an indicator of depression and this could help people see potential signs," she said.

Technorati Tags:, , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

How mothers cradle babies could show stress: study - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Clint Howard

"People don't realize that doing a horror movie is hard work. You're out there all day screaming your lungs out, breathing in toxic make-up fumes, rolling around in the dirt, getting your eyebrows burned off - it's not like doing a sitcom."
- Clint Howard, brother of Ron Howard (unfortunately this way of identifying him must drive him nuts.)


Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't Mention What Happened AFTER the War!

My wife and I have bought, with friends, a house in the Czech northern mountains. (Krkonose Moutains). This area is smack dab in the middle of some contentious real estate at the end of WWII. Its known as the Sudetenland which is the region that was inhabited by Germans for quite a long period (I believe from the 17th century, or was it the 18th century?) up until they were summarily kicked out after the war.

I say smack dab in the middle - even though it is literally the northern part of the U-shaped region because - I also include in my generalization the area just north which was known as German official territory of Schleisen, or Silesia. That area was completely given to the Poles and the same eviction took place and official borders were changes. (I am well-versed in the Polish issue since I have researched extensively my grandfather's homeland just east of the old border of Silesial : ).

I am not taking sides on this issue (and dare not take the German side whilst I live in the Czech Republic). I will however make some criticism of both sides.

The political tool of settlement is a very strong one. Enticing citizens to go somewhere and make a claim is perhaps the most forward thinking thing any world leaders have ever done in terms of investment in a national identity. Sure, it does sometimes backfire when independence issues are raised. But instead of, say, investing in better education for their children, building better dams and levees, or preventing racial strife in later years, the efforts at colonization were quite effective and successful.

The Germans living in areas just over the border from Pommerania, Pozen and Silesia were really sticking their national necks out there when they decided to set up shop in the volatile Polish lands. They later had to live in neighborhoods surrounded by Poles but administered by Russian rulers (yes, the official documents I saw for my ancestors were in Russian!).

But the Germans in these places, and here I am also highlighting the Sudetenland, were crazed Cheerleaders when it came to the growing power of Hitler. They were, afterall, like the wild west settlers hoping for the calvary to help them from the local and often hostile natives. For these Germans-in-Czech-lands and in-Polish/Russian-lands, were not always the nicest neighbors.

For example, the area around Liberec, up north in Bohemia, was (still IS, even after the routs of communism) one of the most beautiful cities in the area. Seriously, it was funded by all the glass manufacuturing company successes in the area. There are some seriously beautiful and large 'villa' houses there. And this area had problems leadding up to WWII but also right after WWI when the Germans there pushed for something like secession into German property as a way of offering the Czechoslovak goverment to relieve them of a pending problem. In fact, there was a revolt at the time. But cutting away property is a very nasty issue and was quickly dealt with by sending troops in. I have read little about the life of Germans there from the 1918 until the mid 1930s, but later, up until the war, there was growing hostility and even real military violence akin to guerilla warfare.

Now the main point I set out to make when I started this post was something that I recently began to notice now that we have the cottage.

If one looks at the history of the towns (in the local brochures extolling the virtues of the skiing and other activities of the area) there usually is found something about the foundation of the town and areas. What is wierd and downright spooky is how they go through the history and from say, 1905 right up to 1990 and act as if the founders and the present day inhabitants are the same people, when we all know that roughly 90% of the people were Germans! They were basically kicked out and no mention in the historical brochures give credit to those German founders. Sure they might mention a German name or two, but they gloss easily over it.

What would I rather see? Something like this. "The beautiful town hall was built by the Schmidt family based on the success of their saw mill profits. This saw mill was then taken over by the state government and now owned by the Pospisal family since all those nasty Germans were kicked out and have no chance of getting it back."

It really is as if the locals don't even realize they are living in a German built house.

Like the one we bought.

I was sanding the walls the other day in preparation for painting an all I could think about were the Germans that lived there.

Kicking out a growing problem was a shocking way to treat them. But it was cruelly effective.

Technorati Tags:, ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


Crikey, lucky I got me my Aussie citizenship the last decade.

I am reading an article about the things that aspiring citizens will need to know in order to become a dinky di Aussie. (Is that the correct phrase, please?)

I became a citizen in 1995 and have, in fact on the wall behind me, the very same citizenship document as you see in the photo below. (Actually, I have a new copy and the original is on the wall in my best man's flat in Singapore for safe keeping).

It was for me, a momentous occasion as I believe it was for the fellow we see above. It really is a very important part of my life even though I spent only 7 years there and now would fail the exam. I LOVE being an official Australian. I LOVE the country and the lifestyle. I really go on and on, too much perhaps, about how great Australia is.

I left Australia in 1996 and live now in Prague and it seems will not return there to retire. I do visit more often than I can afford and will again for a bit in the next year or two (perhaps 6 months if we can swing it). Thats a tall order for someone who is far from wealthy. But that is the pulling power of Australia.

Below are some sample questions for the proposed exam. Tough!

1. In what year did Federation take place?
2. Which day of the year is Australia Day?
3. Who was the first Prime Minister of Australia?
4. What is the first line of Australia's national anthem?
5. What is the floral emblem of Australia?
6. What is the population of Australia?
7. In what city is the Parliament House of the Commonwealth Parliament located?
8. Who is the Queen's representative in Australia?
9. How are Members of Parliament chosen?
10. Who do Members of Parliament represent?
11. After a federal election, who forms the new government?
12. What are the colours on the Australian flag?
13. Who is the head of the Australian Government?
14. What are the three levels of government in Australia?
15. In what year did the European settlement of Australia start?

Technorati Tags:,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WI-FI Interruptions

I was watching the BBC show "Click" (which used to be called "Click Online") and there was an interview with a WIFI expert.

He was speaking about how odd the WIFI signal is and how many things affect it. At one point he said, "its amazing, we have discovered that if a wet dog walks in the room, all the signal transmissions go to hell", or something along those lines.

Well, I can confirm it. Here I am , on my back patio at our mountain cottage in the Czech Republic, trying to connect to the local WIFI station on the hill opposite, and enter my two dogs (Semik and Ginger) and zap! , disconnected!

It makes me think that these millions of little wet hairs must be receiving all sorts of radio signals.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Che Guevara - Butcher Builder

I am reading about Che Guevara on Wikipedia today. It claims "He also visited Pyongyang and told the press that North Korea was a model to which revolutionary Cuba should aspire."

(Of course, the use of Wikipedia is a problem in its own right. )

Whats the big deal? I mean, its only because he had a good photo taken. Otherwise he would not be a pop icon.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Robo War Porn

Seriously, thats what it was called in this article.