Saturday, December 30, 2006

how much variance does evolution theory explain?

University of Chicago: Wu suggested: "The slowdown in genetic evolution in the more advanced organs makes sense," he said, "only when one takes a systems perspective."
I'm surprised at the use of this finding as an argument for evolution theory.
Is evolution theory 'the big theory of everything' it claims to be or does it play a more modest role?

Or is Wu right and can evolution slow down when an organism reaches a high level of organisation?

if verbalist

If verbalist: you might want to stick around. Verbalists make good friends for thinkers. They would not write Shakespeare without an e. Verbalists know which words are the right words. I bought a book that helps find the right word when you have an idea in mind, but not the name of the idea. A thinker might consider a friendship with a verbalist.
But verbalists are at risk to confuse words with ideas.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shakespear and grammar

Biological psychology and cognitive psychology are separated by several levels of explanation. This means that there are many steps between what happens when there is a change in chemicals in the brain and when a person thinks. This does not mean that there is no direct effect from the one on the other. This blog on britannica suggests there is an effect from reading Shakespeare on the brainwave patterns. The same effect that happens when reading a change in grammar.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


In England there are successful experiments involving the playground. The playground is divided into zones (zoneparc). Aggression involves many aspects, such as unemployment, relationships, communication between parents and boys, television as a role model, community...We should list these, list good practices and let scientists evaluate the measures. I also think assessment of how each child learns may have a profound positive preventive effect. We really need to continue to reform schools into more adaptive places, where children learn basics, e.g. time-management ("be quiet for ten minutes") and sublimation of emotions ("I'm angry, I'm going to make a drawing about it").

I'm curious

The site I post here is a dutch site with a fun to do calculating game. I'm curious if you can play it when you are not dutch. Officially, it is a game with numbers.
So it should be possible. It pretends to improve arithmetic skills.

amazing playground, boys and mums

Want to be lost and found? Or do you want to playfully teach children to solve problems without them realising? Get amazed. The idea that playgrounds could use more structure to steer the behaviour of children and their interaction is one that I welcome, having seen the results of a test in the Netherlands on aggressive behaviour some years ago. The idea that aggression is best prevented by practicing restraint got support in this experiment instead of the idea of diminishing it through unleashing it. Another good idea would be to promote reading on raising boys. It would be a good idea to make very easy to read books on how to raise young boys for parents. Maybe a video to show at schools with tips for parents.
is a site where you can read more about raising emotionally strong boys. I like that this site even has a section "talking about war and violence". Typically it is a subject that worries boys and that mothers (hum hum) tend to avoid.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I erred (2)

I erred once again. I said there was light in the houses of writers, but I meant in their heads (brains) if that is the house of the mind. Does it matter whether we call mind 'soul' or 'intelligence' or 'spirit' or 'consciousness'? Does it matter more when we are verbalist?

I erred

I erred. I meant 'verbalist' in the last post but wrote 'nominalist' instead. This is a typical fault a verbalist would not make. Now probably all my verbalist readers are angry at me and so are the nominalist. Please accept my apologies.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

if nominalist: don't read my metaphors

Nominalists are at risk of anthropomorphism when they read metaphors on blogging.

writer's light

When was there light in history? Maybe in some of the houses of famous writers? If you ever go to France on a holiday, my idea of inspiration for you would be visiting these houses of writers.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

argumentum a posteriori

The argument 'Cum hoc ergo propter hoc' is an example of an argumentum a posteriori. This argument is to link two events when in fact there is no causal relation. E.g. a beloved person dies when you think about him. You often think about a beloved person, but this time you remember, because of the coincidence in time and emotional importance.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

blog organisation

A medical metaphor of blogging

Blogs are body cells of an organism. There are more and more of these created and after a while, when a body grows, the cells start to specialise themselves, mostly according to their position. They take on functions and create organs. Some become digestive, some canalise (like blood vessels), some are highly specialised, from some it is not clear how they are developing.
Am I clear about how I want this blog to develop?

A theatrical metaphor of blogging

Blogs are fully equipped stages where people recite monologues. Some recite all on one stage at the same time. There is a choice problem. There is a programming problem. Nobody holds the program. There is a map, this map is made by listing the labels.

A mole model of blogging

Blogs are shops in a mole that change of owner and specialisation all the time. You go to the mole and go to the shops picking out blogs by the title hanging over the shop.

submission, rejection, rewrite.

My first submission at an American agent got a friendly encouraging rejection today. Apparently the segment "finding a home for your book" is current now, because I found it in the rejection and in a post on the water cooler from forum Mom Jenna herself. I love Jenna, because she is so kind, smart and got chosen last at gym too. I did only one submission, so I can try to submit elsewhere. I find myself experimenting this rather than taking lessons or reading books.
Now I will go to agent query and try again. But the sentence at the bottom of my rejection said I should feel free to submit to the agency again. Does this mean I should rewrite? Or rephrase? Or that my query needs maturation? Or that I chose the wrong type of agent for my query? Or were they just being polite? This and many posts on querying and submitting on the water cooler give rise to many questions. Is there a book on the art of reading rejection forms to submitting writers?
The publisher in Belgium did not reject me yet. But he has my full manuscript and was interested in the subject. Also his press is the ideal audience for my book.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gift ideas

for parents:
If they enjoyed Blokus, your children will like Rumis. It is a game in which you build a pyramid shaped Inca temple with bricks that make me think of tetrix. Another game you might consider is "Tamsk" by Burms. This is a game that uses sand timers as pieces. The indication is 12+ years, for some children I would lower the age limit.
Other games that I like keep my children away from the computer. I found a set of coaching cards, with positive messages on them. Also I found a set of philosophy cards, with dilemma questions. There are some on internet for

The illuminated snark

This morning I decided to revisit miss snarks blog about submitting, because I recommended it on a literary forum as a way to overcome impatience after sending in a first manuscript. Being there, I decided to write a comment about platforms. Why do writers need a platform? Shouldn't agents be the ones who need to have a platform? If you add snark to illuminated, you get the title of an article by John Tufail: An interpretation of the relationship between text and images in Carroll's great nonsense poem (Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland).
It's in pdf format though.
This all ties in with the subject of my book.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

bloggers increase / stratification
In the article about the increase in number of bloggers the use of blogging at universities is recommended. I think this is a good idea, because it helps students not only to formulate ideas but also to find out what reactions they can expect. In this way it is like a playing ground. This should help refining ideas, work out details, get new ideas. On the blog that I linked earlier, serendip, you also have a forum that is shaped as a discussionblog. On the other hand, I think it is important to observe that there is a tension between sharing ideas and keeping your ideas to yourself until you publish them.

Also I have an idea about blogging I want to call "stratification". I mean the organising of blogs in layers that are about the same content. This not according to topic, but according to level of originality, use of difficult words, content, images, ... I would not use language, because there are many who read more than one language. Readers might differ in preferred language level though.

Monday, December 18, 2006

refinement quotes
All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified. (Thomas Huxley)

Retrorsum causa et effectus

And now I'm at it, do you know what Retrorsum causa et effectus is? It is when you change cause and effect.
There's only a Dutch wikipedia reference. Sorry...

Math puzzles and jokes

Do you have a niece or son to keep busy? Or do you seek a new set of invalid arguments for your philosophy class?
A few maths problems and jokes. The jokes requires a minimum of mathematical refinement.
Invalid arguments (joke section):
How to prove it. Guide for lecturers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Laughing out loud

This morning I was surprised by laughter. It was my husband laughing out loud. It went on for minutes. We found out it was because of a book on remarks of students that a history teacher collected during his lifetime. I gave it to him yesterday evening.
The dutch title is: ''Hoe de duitsers dapper stand hielden in Vietnam.'' (How the germans bravely held position in Vietnam.) It demonstrates the knowledge about important historical facts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Did you learn more at school or at home? I happen to have learned many things at school that I still enjoy knowing. I had a very practical father who teached me how to do practical things at home. I have learned much from him too. Feuerstein tells me a very important part of how we learn is through mediation. That is learning through someone else. He teaches this in practice mostly.
I have in my cupboard a good practical book about mediation. I should read it more often, because I sometimes get lost when I try to raise my children. I am not talking about peer mediation, this is something else, namely skills that allow students to intervene in conflict situations.

Friday, December 15, 2006

royal truth, Belgium

What if even the king is not telling the truth? I was awakened last night by my husband who thought Belgium was at civil war. I live in the country that is north of Belgium and we speak the same language as part of the Belgian. The reason for war was said to be separatism between dutch speakers and french speakers. It turned out to be a hoax with even the king playing a part in it. Sadly leaders not telling the truth exists in many countries, throughout history and throughout the world.


Do you know someone who is interested in Psychology but does not know where to start learning? I find this a good starting point.
There are forums on subjects that are easy to access.

interview with Foer

Curious about the writer of 'everything is illuminated'? Here is the link to an interview.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


What is scaffolding and the relation to Vygotski (1978)?

Scaffolding is the method that we want for our children, because it means effort and real learning.

Piaget, the learning cycle

Today a link about Piaget and his theory about concepts.
In the stages schema that the author provides notice the mentionning of theoretical thinking and the absence of the word concept. Does conceptual thinking develop from beginning to after childhood?
note to myself: the ages that are listed I consider indicative and the remarks on the developmental order how the development occurs is not always as described. Why? Does this difference in order reflect the opposition sequential / associative thinking style? which is a relative opposition.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

to combine L-directed and R-directed thinking

In the midst of the fascinating discussion about education in technology in America, I suggest one reads about the methods and ideas of Feuerstein, I found a point that directly relates to my book:

I think one of the points that's not coming across in this post is that in "A Whole New Mind" the point isn't to go completely R-directed thinking, but to combine L-directed and R-directed thinking.
Posted by: Mark Fowler Nov 3, 2006 2:39:25 AM

And how would you call the combination of both L- and R- directed thinking?

I also liked the idea in the article about talking about science with your child every day. Reading science books to your child can also be an idea if you´re less verbal. I know some dutch books that are very funny with experiments and some historic facts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Literally, and there was light.

If the contemporary creation-versus-evolution controversy interests you, I would recommend reading the blog of Ktismatics
He permits you to shed your own light on the matter.
note to myself:
There's a part he wrote I have to remember when I plan on rewriting or writing. It's about taking words literally.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

on concepts

Found a site that confirms some of the essential ideas in my book. Thank you Elisabeth Camp.
She now is on my list with Piaget and Inhelder.


Are Levitt and Dubner conceptual thinkers?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Links in dutch

Voor de strikt Nederlandstalige bezoekers ook een aantal kwaliteitlinks betreffende onderwerpen educatieve sites of andere boeiende sites... (puzzels en zo)
Deze rubriek zal ik regelmatig aanvullen.
is een verzameling links voor kinderen.
Nog een link, wellicht bekend bij veel websurfers: thinkquest
Mijn kinderen doen dit jaar niet mee... maar ik hoop dat (vriendje van mijn zoon) in de prijzen valt. Hij kan erg goed programmeren.

wie meer wil weten over non-verbale communicatie kan hier veel bijleren

popular IQ-quizz site

Interactive quizzes by Tammy Maloney is a site that gets visited frequently worldwide. It´s probably good. I found it under education.


I found out today how to get a gadget for my blog.
Check this out:
This is why I played sudoku, a game that can take up much time if I let myself do it. You can play it on this blog too...
Now the first version of my book is ready, I have to find a new balance in my occupations and family. Monday evening we have a regional meeting about educational policies. The head of the school of my children will be attending too. And his boss. I have all monday afternoon to work out arguments, write down ideas and word out my wishes. I want to avoid stepping on toes...

Thursday, December 7, 2006

learning strategies

I found one more quality link. This is about how puzzles can be used effectively to teach students appropriate learning strategies.


Just read very good tips for teachers and trainers.
find out for yourself at

The writer of this article, Kathy Sierra, makes some remarks that I could have used in my book. I'm happy to read that there are others that share my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

found support for my book

I am so pleased to find yet another article that supports the theory I present in my book.
I found it at:
Grow, Gerald O. (1991/1996). "Teaching Learners to be Self-Directed." Adult Education Quarterly, 41 (3), 125-149. Expanded version available online at:
Interestingly enough, the author names some of the same authors I discuss in my book. But my angle is a different one. I'm feeling very pleased.
The site of Gerald Grow is worth reading. It contains fun to read remarks about teaching.


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

puzzle, everything is illuminated is

Still no rejection. I read the first page of "everything is illuminated" by Foer, just before giving it to Y. for his birthday. (and then had to buy a copy for myself) Y. is the son of my friend and is the fastest player of Set I know of. He has a very high IQ, and I try to challenge him. I buy wooden puzzles and the question is how long it will take him to solve it. My sons are younger and follow in his footsteps. They like to do puzzles. I mean, thinking puzzles that you might find at or games like Tamsk ( by Burms). Abstract games and puzzles. He is very good at abstract games, but foreign language he fears. So I gave him "everything is illuminated" and said every page is a (verbal) puzzle.

Saturday, December 2, 2006


I wrote a poem for a competition. In the Netherlands, a small country with little Dutch speakers, but a high literacy rate, we only know 1 literary agent.
If unpublished and no celebrity, we get noticed by publishers by sending in manuscripts directly to the publisher, or by entering writing competitions.
7 januari is the day when is anounced who wins. I think I make a good chance. I cannot say this in the Netherlands because you're not supposed to say when you're good at something.
I didn't hear about my query at the agent yet. No rejection either.

*new* item at Chez Odile is the metachat where Creatives and Thinkers meet.

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