Lance Armstrong and the Psychology of Cheating

January 23, 2013 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, News, Photos, Videos 154 views

Pencil portrait, not yet finished..As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather fascinated with the psychology behind decision-making. Both Dan Ariely and Jonah Lehrer are leading experts in the field, at least experts in writing best-selling popular psychology books about it. Ariely has recently moved into the study of lying cheating, and Lehrer moved into the practice of lying and cheating, getting caught for plagiarizing, if you can call it that, his own previous work and falsifying quotes from Bob Dylan to help support his conclusions.
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Brussels Cathedral

January 18, 2013 By: erik Category: Photos, Religion, Travel 124 views

Brussels CathedralI hate it when I do this. Sometimes I take a bunch of photos in a day, but then I set aside some of them, like of an iconic bridge, for later for their own blog post, but then I get so exhausted of blogging about the whole trip that the group of photos gets overlooked for months.

When I was walking around Brussels on October 10, 2012, I stopped by the cathedral and took a couple dozen photos, which I left out of my original post to save for later. I just now rediscovered them. Below are some of my favorites.
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Three Year Old Economist

January 14, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring 100 views

Europe, home of Leonardo and Michelangelo, uses stick figures for coin artToday is a Monday, and my three year old daughter told me, “I don’t like the days when I have to go to school and you and Mommy have to go to work.” Yeah, me neither, sister! Socratically, I inquired, “If we don’t go to work, where will we get the money to buy things?” She responded, “From your purse or cartera.” “And when my wallet is empty?” I pushed on… “From the store,” she answered, unphased.
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Home Economics 101 – How To Iron

January 11, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 164 views

How To Iron - ThumbnailI have a very vivid memory from my Developmental Psychology class in college about a study in which a diapered infant was given to adults to babysit for a short time. Half of the babysitters were told that the infant was a boy and half that it was a girl. The half that were told it was a boy went to the toy chest and selected cars and hammers to play with, and the half told it was a girl selected dolls and combs and kitchenware. The experiment did an excellent job of calling into doubt the origin, Nature or Nurture, of our societal gender stereotypes.

When I learned I would have a daughter I promised myself that I would make every effort to not provide her any gender stereotypes. I’ve never bought her any pink toys or “girly” stuff.
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Gender Pop Quiz – Sunflowers, Daisies and Toilets

January 09, 2013 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos, Spanish 207 views

DaisyThe other day I went out to a restaurant owned by a friend of mine. They’d recently renovated the place and all the colors and designs were changed. About halfway through my meal, I received a call from Nature and got up to answer it. Once through the door marked “Aseos” (Restrooms), there is a sink, and two more doors. One with a photo of a sunflower and the other with a daisy. Which door should I use?
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Mayumana: Racconto Review

January 04, 2013 By: erik Category: Dancing, Photos, Reviews, Videos 185 views

Mayumana MomentumOn December 29, we went to a show at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao called Mayumana: Racconto. It’s a dance troupe from Tel Aviv, Israel that involves a lot of rhythmic percussion in their act. I was looking forward to it, because I’ve seen and very much enjoyed both Blue Man Group and Stomp. I must say that Mayumana left me a bit disappointed.
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The Spanish Christmas Bonus and the 14 Month Payroll in Spain

December 28, 2012 By: erik Category: Politics, Spain 1,021 views

Fourteen Thousand EurosOne of the unique cultural practices in Spain is the summer and winter double paycheck. Every July or August and December, Spanish employees receive twice their normal salary for the month. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s actually negotiated that way, so when you take a salaried job in Spain, you agree to receive your annual salary in 14 payments, one per month, and then an extra one each summer and winter. As far as I know, this is the standard practice across most industries.
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State of the Offspring Address – December 2012

December 28, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos 117 views

Silly Glitter FaceWe’ve reached a very rebellious stage lately. There are some days where it feels like every single thing we tell Nora to do, she says, “I don’t want to!” Depending on how much time or patience we have available at the moment she needs to, say, wash her hands, I vary from giving a lecture about germ theory to the “sometimes we have to do things that was don’t want to do” to the parental cop-out of “it doesn’t matter whether you want to or not” to actually physically grabbing her by the arm and dragging her into the bathroom to wash her hands. I really hate doing the last two, but sometimes there’s just no time available for negotiations…and sometimes it’s the ten thousandth time she’s refused a perfectly reasonable request that day.
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Nora’s Christmas Performance 2012

December 27, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Offspring, Videos 111 views

Christmas Pagent 2012On her last day of school for the calendar year on December 21, as foretold by the Mayan prophecies, Nora was instructed to come to school wearing a white turtle neck and white tights only, because the little hybrid cafeteria-auditorium gets very hot during performances. Her class had little costumes which were made during the week of workshops, which consisted of a little paper crown and a cloth sack with head and arm holes. We were informed that the Tortugas (the nickname for Nora’s 3-year-old class) performance was going to be at 11:00 AM, and we were to get there by 10:50 in order to find a place in the cafeteria-auditorium to watch from.
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Grimm Puppet Theater – Little Red Riding Hood

December 21, 2012 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 159 views

Little Red Riding Hood Finger PuppetsWhen we went to the United States for Thanksgiving, Nora’s teacher gave her a present and told her not to open it until she was flying on the airplane. Nora was delighted. Three year olds love surprises. We managed to not get asked the famous “Did anyone give you any items to carry onto this flight?” question on our first flight to Germany, although we did on the later one to the US, the land of police state security theater.
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