Beyond the Shock Machine


Interviews with the participants in Milgram's experiment.

I learned more from this than I have from anything I've heard thus far.  College psych summaries of Milgram's experiment leave out the details of an intricately (some may say deviously) designed scenario.  Who would have known that the actor hired for the role of experimenter was rehearsed for half a year before the experiment took place?

This was my chance to sit in the participant's chair and face the details of their experience.  For anyone who has wondered, "Couldn't the participants opt to leave?" we learn the answer is an absolute NO.  Any request to exit the experiment is met, two or three or a google times, with an absolutist "The experiment MUST go ON!"  Intimidation is used handily and freely.

At some point you start to see the participant being played for a fool.  And you wonder... when are they going to cut this person a break?

One of the participants suggests that Milgram had a perverse side to him, that he got the sense Milgram pushed and pressed people until he could find something dark in their nature -- and was satisfied when he did.  Solid results are the goal of an experimenter, sure, but you wonder if this participant might be on to something.

Then there's the bits where you hear the participants' thought processes during the experiment.  This piece is the most important one, and the one that has been absent in the retellings of this famous experiment.  Dr. X has a theory about why the people did what they did, and so does Dr. Y... and so does Dr. Milgram himself.  But if we really want to know what was going on people's heads at the time, it makes sense to ask them.  

Done rambling.

Vista, fixed

An antidote to Vista?  Look out for Windows 7

I don't know what your irritations were, but personally, Windows Vista got on my nerves when it started ordering me to create backups the day I installed it.  Then within weeks, it tells me "oops! there's no space left."

If I wanted to be nagged, I would go home.  It looks like Microsoft got the hint, though, because the crazy pop-ups will be toned down in W7.  So will the resource demands, time demands, and a few other things.

But the best news is that we're getting the things we used to envy our Apple friends for: jump lists, sticky notes, and even multitouch gestures.  Take that, itouch!

later gators.


Are you kidding me?

Imagine I could wave a magic wand and suddenly make every composition Mozart ever wrote available at your fingertips. For free. Not only that, but they would be the most authoritative editions.

Well, it's happened (minus the magic wand-waving). For Mozart's 250th birthday anniversary, all of his sheet music has been made available on the net. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061212/ennew_afp/afpentertainmentmozart_061212135052

"With over 400,000 hits on the website in the first 12 hours, one can say demand surpassed our expectations," Mirjam Nellman, spokeswoman for the foundation, based in Mozart's birthplace of Salzburg, told AFP Tuesday.

*holds up wine glass* Bon aniversaire, Mozart!


The Kind Ghosts

She sleeps on soft, last breaths; but no ghost looms
Out of the stillness of her palace wall,
Her wall of boys on boys and dooms on dooms.

She dreams of golden gardens and sweet glooms,
Not marvelling why her roses never fall
Nor what red mouths were torn to make their blooms.

The shades keep down which well might roam her hall
Quiet their blood lies in her crimson rooms
And she in not afraid of their footfall.

They move not from her tapestries, their pall,
Nor pace her terraces, their hecatombs,
Lest aught she be disturbed, or grieved at all.

--Wilfred Owen (1918)


October 22nd is an important day. It's more important than my birthday, it's more important than Christmas, it's even more important than Halloween. This is the day... FRANZ LISZT WAS BORN.

On this day, many years ago (195 to be exact), a comet broke through the sky and a genius broke into the world. Go listen to a Hungarian Rhapsody in honor of the man.

The following comes courtesy of Franz's facebook page. (Yes, he's my friend. And he wants to be yours, too.)

Upon my Paris debut -- "...after a few bars of prelude he took the theme from Wagner's Kaisermarsch and by degrees worked himself up into a storm of rain-like runs, hail-like trills, lightning arpeggios and thunder chords, until at last the hair fell over his forehead, and as he tossed it back the figure of the piano recalled the well-known inspired look of the pictures of our youth..."

"...he is tall and very thin, his face very small and pale, his forehead remarkably high and beautiful...as to his playing, it surpasses in power and mastery of difficulties everything I have ever heard..."

"Liszt was all sunshine and dazzling splendor... he played at sight what we toil over and at the end get nowhere with...when Liszt appears, all other pianists disappear."

"Part Byron, part Casanova, part Mephistopheles, part St. Francis."

"The bemused Heine once asked a medical man whose specialty was women to explain the nature of the hysteria that Liszt created. The physician, wrote Heine, 'spoke of magnetism, galvanism and electricity; of contagion in a sultry hall filled with innumerable wax lights and some hundred perfumed and perspiring people; of historic epilepsy; of the phenomenon of tickling; of musical cantharides; and other unmentionable matters.'"

...Around 4 P.M. everybody would begin to murmur, "Der Meister kommt."
Der Meister walks into the room. All stand and respectfully bow toward him. The ladies kiss his hand. Liszt grandly tells all to be seated. He looks over the pile of music on the piano. A piece interests him. The pianist who has prepared it comes forward at the royal summons. He plays. Liszt listens and comments. Sometimes he impatiently sweeps the miserable wretch from the piano and plays the piece as it should be played. ("Music such as no one could form any idea of without hearing it). All the young girls in the class start swooning. Der Meister smiles deprecatingly, but he is pleased.

"...never did he let anybody forget he was Franz Liszt..."
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Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you.
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Happy Birthday, Lencrenoire.
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I hope this is a present you enjoy. I've taken the liberty of adding a few friends and communities that you can look at on your Friends' Page, but I hope you really make yourself at home and add or subtract things as you like. If you want help with anything, let me know. And if you think this is all a horrible mistake, then just delete it all, and don't worry about my feelings.
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