Sunday, March 13, 2016

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, originally published in 1980.

A great review of this book is here:

Some of the techniques could also be used between adults, for example at work. To see if this works, I replaced "children" with "them". Here is the cheat sheet:

1. Helping Them Deal with Their Feelings
  • Listen with full attention; don't half listen
  • Acknowledge their feelings with a word "Oh", "Mmm", "I see"; don't question and don't give advice
  • Give their feelings a name; don't deny the feeling
  • Give them their wishes in fantasy; don't explain and argue using logic

2. Engaging Cooperation
  • Describe the problem as a matter of fact, instead of: blaming, accusing, name-calling, threats, commands, lecturing, moralising, warnings, martyrdom statements, comparisons, sarcasm, prophecy
  • Give information
  • Say it with a single word
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Write a note

3. Alternatives to Punishment
  • Point out a way to be helpful; don't yell, or threaten
  • Express strong disapproval; don't attack character
  • State your expectations
  • Show how to make amends
  • Offer a choice and then follow up with an action to prevent unwanted behaviour
  • Allow to experience consequences, for example exclude from the activity next time
Advanced problem solving:
  • Talk about their feelings and needs
  • Talk about your feelings and needs
  • Brainstorm solutions together
  • Write down all ideas without evaluating
  • Decide which ideas you both like/don't like/will follow through

4. Encourage Autonomy
  • Let them make choices - as a practice
  • Show respect for their struggle "it can be hard"; help, but don't do it for them
  • Don't ask too many questions
  • Don't rush to answer questions; encourage them to talk
  • Encourage them to use external sources; so they don't need to depend on you
  • Don't take away hope; let them explore and experience

5. Praise

Praise can make them doubt the praiser, lead to immediate denial, be threatening, make them focus on their weaknesses, create anxiety, be experienced as manipulation...
  • Describe what you see or feel; don't evaluate "good", "great", "you are genius"
  • Sum up using a single positive word: organisation, perseverance, self-control, friendship, loyalty, courage, willpower, flexibility, adaptability.

6. Free Them from Playing Roles
  • Look for opportunities to show them a new picture of themselves
  • Put them in situations where they can see themselves differently
  • Let them overhear you say something positive about them
  • Model the behaviour you'd like to see
  • Be a storehouse for their special moments 
  • When they behave according to the old label, state your feelings and expectations

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ahead of time vs just in-time compilation

An interesting blog about AOT (ahead of time) versus JIT (just in-time) compilation:
"So, Windows 10 has just been released, and with it Ahead Of Time (AOT) compilation feature .NET native. Google also just recently introduced ART for Android, and I just discovered that Oracle is planning an AOT compiler for mainstream Java."

Read the rest: Jitterdämmerung
This should really be a twit, not a blog post, but I want to keep it here, so I can expand this interesting topic later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quality of "Independent" Russian TV

I am watching Russian NTV news on SBS in Australia occasionally. The quality of reporting is appalling. In the news from Monday 25 January 2016 (listed on SBS as "Russian News 26 January"), there was a segment titled "Warsaw against the EU".  It had two short interviews with politicians from the fringe of Polish politics: Janusz-Korwin Mikke, introduced as a "veteran politician", a pro-Russian, anti-EU, far-right nationalist, and Krzysztof Bosak a very young and unknown far-right National Movement politician, presented as an "expert".

Oleg Nemenskij, a "political scientist", said that Poles do not like most: Ukrainians, Germans, Russians - in that order. Fact: CBOS poll from January 2015: Poles disliked most: Roma - 58% of Poles dislike them, Russians 50%, and Romanians 43% (commonly mistaken for Roma), the fourth group is Palestinians with 36%. No Ukrainians or Germans in the first three, just Russians, sorry Oleg. (*)

The segment showed Jacek Kurski - the new head of TVP, as president of Poland Andrzej Duda. I understand, after 10 years abroad all Poles look the same to me too. :-)
Jacek Kurski, he is not the President of Poland.
Andrzej Duda, this is the guy you should have shown.

It called Jarosław Kaczyński "the younger Kaczyński". Jarosław and Lech were twins. No Pole ever calls Jarosław the younger brother. We do not even know which one was younger, they were identical twins!

It said that after PiS took power, the EU flag was removed from the Polish parliament. Funnily enough, later they showed the parliament with the EU flag still there. (**)

There were other inaccuracies, fringe opinions stated as official state positions, and false accusations - for example about the alleged campaign to destroy Soviet Army monuments (***) in Poland. The whole segment was just a propaganda piece. Why is SBS showing that?


(*) More details on the OBOP poll: dislike: ... Turks 36%, Jews 32%, and Ukrainians 32%.

To balance this, who Poles liked most in January 2015 according to OBOP?  Italians 51%, Czechs 50%, Spaniards 49%, English 48%,  Slovaks 48%. Other nations: Americans 44%, Germans 43%, Ukrainians 36%, Jews 28%, Vietnamese 25%, Russians 22%, Roma 18%.


(**) The EU flags were removed from the government's press conference room.

(***) Some controversial Soviet Army monuments are being removed in Poland, for example, a monument to Ivan Chernyakhovsky who helped NKVD arrest Polish Home Army officers in Vilnus in 1944. Local news about the event:,Rosja-oburzona-likwidacja-pomnika-bohatera-ZSRR-Symboliczny-gest-w-Pienieznie

Sunday, December 6, 2015


A quick weekend jump to Auckland with JetStar.

The road from the airport to Britomart, shows strong Asian influence on modern Auckland:

Britomart is the common name for the central railway station in Auckland. This strange name, evoking an image of a small British shop in India, comes from the name of a British Royal Navy ship HMS Britomart, which surveyed the area. The HMS Britomart was in turn named after Britomartis - a Minoan/Greek goddess of mountains and hunting,  and that name probably means "sweet virgin" in a Cretan dialect. There you go, the central hub of Auckland is called "sweet virgin". :-)

Auckland is ready for Christmas, can you see the reindeers?

Street art:

The Viaduct Harbour, which hosts many beautiful boats is located close to the Maritime Museum:

Team Vodafone's ORMA-60 class trimaran built in France capable of sailing at 18 knots windward:

The war was a good business to the shipbuilding industry in Auckland:

What's a "lighter" ? A kind of barge:

Auckland architecture in Viaduct Harbour:

Arataki Visitor Centre near Auckland:

Himiona Heketarere

Te Ure
Leaves growing directly from the trunk:

New Zealand amber (kauri gum):

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trip to Europe, September 2015, Oslo


We got to Oslo by a short and very inexpensive Ryanair flight from Warsaw's Modlin airport.

The bus from the Rygge airport to the centre of Oslo takes about 60 minutes. These office buildings look very interesting, but the best place to see them seems to be the platforms of the central train station:

Oslo is quite compact, it reminds me of Amsterdam, and is also a port. From the train station hall you can see ferries that connect Oslo with cities in Denmark and Germany.

The city centre is surprisingly quiet. There are very few cars. Buses use tram lanes when needed:

I like plants in the cities, if grass can grow between tram tracks, great!

I was looking for street art. The best I found outdoors was this advertisement for milk chocolate. I was in Oslo only one day though. 

 More, of the city centre, narrow streets and trams:

I like the human scale of these buildings, like in Amsterdam:

 A piece of street art inside the central train station:

An older and newer train, see the rust in these pictures? The climate is harsh:

This is a Norwegian tilting train capable of going 210 km/h. Next time I'm in Norway I will try to get on it:

The famous opera building - the roof is walkable and slides down all the way to the sea:

I have no idea what this building is, but it reminds me of the Hollywood Tower from Disney:

The Oslo City Hall building:

 This is the view from the other side. This is where the Nobel Peace prizes are given every year:

The National Theatre building is a symbol of a strong Norwegian presence in classical music.

The Norwegian resistance museum - it is much bigger on the inside than on the outside:

Neutral Norway was attacked by Germany on 9th April 1940. From the Polish perspective, the interesting thing is that Polish soldiers together with Norwegian, British, and French won the first major battle against Germans in WWII in May 1940 at Narvik:

German propaganda poster inviting Norwegians to join Waffen-SS in the fight against Bolsheviks:

Symbol of Norwegian resistance - H7 stands for Haakon VII - the king of Norway who escaped to the UK:

The Norwegian resistance was most famously involved in the sabotage of heavy water production.

Finally, a few intriguing statues from the Vigeland sculpture park: