Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's Going on in There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life

What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is probably the most useful child development book I've read. I now have a much better understanding of the physical limits of a child's brain at different stages. Also helpful are the motor milestones to look for in case early intervention is needed.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Daunting Responsibilities Ahead

Lately, I have been reading many books on child development theories and ways to raise and discipline children. With the exception of What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life (a book full of brain development facts by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. in neuroscience), the titles I’ve come across have mostly been different philosophies and recommendations. I have come to accept that much of our future children’s personalities will be shaped by nature rather than nurture, but I still believe that there are specific values important to us that we can try to inculcate. These values, based on accomplishments and mistakes we have made in our past, will merely serve as guidelines to help our children achieve happiness. Here’s the start of a brainstorm list.
  1. Appreciate history and culture. I believe understanding the history of both the United States and China will help you possess a stronger sense of who you are, as you are both American and Chinese and should be proud to be both.

  2. Having a successful life does not mean having a big, regular paycheck, BUT you should be able to make enough money to sustain your costs of living.

  3. Understand personal finance.
    • Do not ever get comfortable with the idea of debt, not even for a tax-deductible mortgage.
    • Save money. It’s not how much money you make, but how much you end up saving and investing that will determine your net worth.
    • Spend money wisely. Things and gadgets may be cool, but experiences are usually more meaningful. Things can end up owning you.
    • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Wanting things that other people have can get you into a lot of trouble.

  4. Be a responsible citizen. Understand what’s going on around you and try to contribute to your community.

  5. Have a wide range of interests. People often like to put you into a category, and if you believe what people say, you may start living a stereotype. You can be a nerd and a jock at the same time. You should be able to enjoy a Red Sox game and the Museum of Fine Arts on the same day. You will never be bored or boring if you have a wide range of interests.

  6. Value family and friends. Family members and friends may not always agree with you or tell you what you want to hear, and they may get on your nerves sometimes. But relationships always take work, and you need to remember good times and bad. Writing off people is not a good way to deal with a relationship, unless the person you are dealing with is clearly not trying and you have done your best at making it work.

  7. Think independently and critically. Don’t always believe what they tell you in the news. Think about why something is happening. Don’t be manipulated into thinking a certain way by the media.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ken's New Publications

My husband Ken Liu is a lawyer by day and writer by night. He has some great news about his stories. I will summarize his news and then include links to stories that are available online later in this article.

Two of Ken's stories, "The Algorithms for Love" and "Single-Bit Error," have been translated into Chinese and published in the April issue of SCIENCE FICTION WORLD. With a monthly circulation of around 300,000, SFW is China's (and presumably the world's) most widely read science fiction periodical. These magazines have nice glossy covers, and a glossy centerfold, unlike any other genre fiction magazines I've seen here in the States, where they are mainly printed on cheap pulp. "Algorithms for Love" was also translated into Romanian last year.

"Algorithms for Love" was also included in the anthology, SCIENCE FICTION: STORIES AND CONTEXTS, edited by NYU professor of literature Heather Masri and published at the end of last year. This is one of the first anthologies of science fiction intended for classroom teaching. There are some great stories and context essays in there. Other names in the anthology include H.G. Wells, Ursula LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Robert Silverberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ted Chiang, and Connie Willis -- just to name a few to illustrate that he's in good company.

Finally, "Single-Bit Error" was also published this month in THOUGHTCRIME EXPERIMENTS, a new Creative Commons-licensed anthology of fiction and art edited by Sumana Harihareswara and Leonard Richardson.

I am really excited about the publication of "Single-Bit Error" because it is one of my favorite stories, and also because when Ken first wrote it in 2004, he was not able to find a publisher for it. I'm glad he didn't give up.

The THOUGHTCRIME EXPERIMENTS anthology is available on the web, as a print-on-demand book, or as a PDF download:

Here's the write-up about THOUGHTCRIME on BoingBoing:

If you are interested in reading these stories, the links to the English versions are included below:

"Single-Bit Error"

"The Algorithms for Love" -- STRANGE HORIZONS, an online sci-fi magazine, is where "Algorithms for Love" was first published in 2004, and other people (including those in Romania and China) read it here first and approached Ken for publication rights.

Ken's previous printed publications are listed below:

*"Beneath the Language" published online as a result of his first prize entry in the online short story contest ON THE PREMISES in July 2007.

*"Algorithms for Love"in YEAR'S BEST SF 10, published in 2005, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

*"State Change" in POLYPHONY 4, edited by Deborah Payne and Jay Lake, published in 2004.

*"Gossamer" in WRITERS OF THE FUTURE Volume XIX, 2003. This is an annual contest open to all new writers, and Ken was a finalist.

*"Carthagian Rose" in EMPIRE OF DREAMS AND MIRACLES, The Phobos Science Fiction Anthology, edited by Orson Scott Card and Keith Olexa, 2002.

Ken is also an avid blogger discussing a wide range of topics, including our travels, films, linguistics, politics, race, the law, computer programming, and our cats Apollo and Loki. His website is

Friday, February 13, 2009

Duxbury Art Association's Winter Juried Show 2009

I'm honored to be juried into the Duxbury Art Association 2009 Winter Juried Show with my photograph Rodeo III. The juror for photography was Lou Jones. The show will run from February 8 to April 26th at 186 Alden Street in Duxbury, MA.

Here's the complete list of participants.

Phyllis Adams
Franny Andahazy
Marian C.Atkinson
Sylvana Baracchini
Robin Beckwith
Christina Beecher
Evelyn Bernal
Patricia Berube
James Bird
Janet C. Blagdon
Stephen Boczanowski
Robert Bolster
Kristine Brennen
Dennis Broadbent
Kelly Carmody
Judith Chaves
Lilly Cleveland
Nancy Colella
Jane Flavell Collins
Meredith Wildes Cornell
Michael Coyne
Patricia L. Cullen
Donald Dacier
Deborah Ellen Davies
Susan G. Denniston
Esme YC Disch
Kathy Dixon
Sandra L. Donnellan
Dennis Doyle
Russell du Pont
James F. Earl
Dominic J. Farrell
Georgia Fletcher
Jack Foley
D. Randolph Foulds
Kate Garrity
Linda L.Garrity
Anne Garton
JoAnn Gouzoules
Ellen Gower
Karyn Frances Gray
Michael S.Guertin
Susan Hagstrom
Wendy Hale
Becky Haletky
Stephen Haley
Anne Henning
Stephen H. Holland
June Hollisian
Vin Horrigan
Wilson Hunt, Jr.
Shirley M. Jenkins
Ruth Jensen
Roger Carl Johanson
Susan Kelley
Brooks Kelly
Danguole Rita Kuolas
Andrew Kusmin
Susan LaFevre
Robert Lavery
Eleanor B. Lawson
Priscilla Levesque
David P. Locarno
Jim Lo Piccolo
Jeanne MacFarland
Lisa Mackin
Heidi Mayo
Jan McElhinny
Jeanne McKenna
Margaret McWethy
Michele Meister
Felice Mendell
Dianne Miller
David Monteiro
Mary Moquin
Amy B. Moran
Paul Munroe
Yale S. Nicolls
Ann Marie Oliver-Nickerson
Carol O'Malia
Judy Pollock
Glenn Pollock
Deborah Putnam
Page Railsback
MJ Rest
James J. Richard
Stephanie Roberts-Camello
Rain Rodolph
Betty Rogers
Donna Rossetti-Bailey
Nan Rumpf
Elizabeth M. Ryan
Leigh Ryan
Mary Schiess
Luis Seoane
Marcia Sewall
Katherine Smit
Susan R. Smith
Maureen D. Spinale
Chuck Sullivan
Chuck Tamulynas
Lisa Tang Liu
Anne Tcherepnin
Albert L. Tousignant
Lanci Valentine
Collen Vandeventer
Linda Vopat
Nancy Motley Walton
Tina Watson
Paul Weiner
Susan White
Virginia Wilson
Denise Zompa

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

ABSTRACTION NOW at the Firehouse Plaza Gallery at Nassau Community College

I was truly honored to be with 36 other chosen entries to participate in the show ABSTRACTION NOW, juried by Franklin Hill Perrell, Chief Curator at the Nassau County Museum of Art. The show was hosted by the Nassau Community College art department. What a beautiful gallery space it is!

As mentioned before, my painting AMERICAN ICONS 1: 492 DAYS was chosen among over 300 entries from across the US as well as Europe.

My mother took one hour off from her tax-season Saturday to attend the reception this past Saturday. My sister Vivian and brother-in-law Jonathan were also there. I didn't win any prizes, but I was just grateful and honored to have gotten in.

The show was very strong, and here is the list of works presented there:

Donald A. Budd -- Desert Stripes, acrylic.
Marc Deppe -- Spartan, mixed media on paper.
Matt Dibble -- Chased from the Market, oil on canvas.
Cathy Eckdahl -- Medea, gouache/ink.
Sam Faix -- Ten Foot Wall, oil on panel.
Matthew Farina -- Thatch, oil/canvas.
Richard Gachot -- Action-Reaction, animated sculpture. BEST IN SHOW.
Richard Gachot -- Drip, acrylic.
Eric Galandak -- Most, oil.
Richard Garrigus -- August Field, oil on panel.
David Gerlach -- Zephr, steel.
Lawrence Glickman -- Neruda Song 1, acrylic.
William Grabowski -- Celestia, digital photo.
Ruth Hamill -- Ocean Breeze, oil on raw canvas.
Eleanor Himel -- Jones Beach Sunday, acrylic. AWARD OF EXCELLENCE.
Wei-An Huang -- Within and Without #3, acrylic on canvas.
Greg Ike -- Orchid, acrylic on canvas. HONORABLE MENTION AWARD.
Kenneth Kaplowitz -- Adam Names The Fish, pigment print
Peggy Klineman -- The Tree Outside My Building, oil on canvas.
Jon Leach -- Local Commerce, mixed media.
Adrienne Leban -- 5.31.07, mixed media.
Gili Levy -- Piano, oil and paper on canvas.
Jonathan Levy -- Peacock, acrylic on canvas. HONORABLE MENTION AWARD.
Richard Margolies -- Dream Catcher, acrylic.
Milt Masur -- Flowerbed in Anchorage, enamel bas-relief. HONORABLE MENTION AWARD.
Kevin Mertens -- Spider-Rabbit, mixed media on panel. HONORABLE MENTION AWARD.
Puneeta Mittal -- Pluripotent XXXII, oil on panel. AWARD OF EXCELLENCE.
Marcie Paper-- Untitled #103, acrylic on panel.
Rebecca Perez -- Untitled, oil and mixed media.
Susan Reedy -- Graffito, mixed media. HONORABLE MENTION AWARD.
Cheryl Safren -- Rund 'n Rerund, mixed media.
Denise Segreti DiGiovanna -- Sea Life Series: Bat Star, oil.
George V. Sordoni -- Moments G, oil on canvas.
Kenneth Susynski -- Wedding Song, oil on canvas.
Lisa Tang Liu -- American Icons I: 492 Days, oil on canvas.
Grant Vetter -- Fair-Skinned, oil on canvas.
Rachael Wren -- Portent, oil on canvas.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Malcolm Gladwell's _Outliers_ is an idea that we are all "products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy."

Bill Gates may be smart, but he was also fortunate that he had the opportunity to have frequent access to a computer when he was as kid, back at a time when very, very few people did. Over a decade ago, Korean Air had the most numerous crash records because of the indirectness and deferential nature of the way the Korean crew communicated with each other, bound by their role-conscious language. But they cleaned their act by recognizing their communication problems and using English to break out of their hierarchical habits. The KIPP School in the Bronx works because they recognize that lower income kids do not learn the same way more privileged ones do outside of school because of the extracurricular activities and abundant books available to them. Outliers are really not all that exceptional if we look them carefully.

We are all dealt a hand at birth, but we'll continued to be presented with different opportunities in our lives. It's a matter of recognizing those opportunities, getting good at what we do by working on them for a minimum of 10,000 hours, and looking into our history to understand who we are in order to correct bad habits. It was generally an uplifting message.

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