Saturday, April 27, 2013

Donna Weng Friedman Creates "Flight of the Bumble Bee" App

Donna Weng Friedman has created an iTunes app based on "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" that uses animation and music to introduce children to classical music. “Kids literally can’t enough of it,” notes Friedman, a classical pianist and piano teacher in New York City, who has two school-aged children herself. The app’s next installment will be released shortly and will feature the musical tale of “The Swan” set to the music of Camille Saint-Saens. The new app can be ordered here.

“The Flight of the Bumble Bee” app turns one of the world’s greatest classical scores into pure fun, taking children along on the thrilling adventure of a little bumble bee set to an original recording of NicolaiRimsky-Korsakov’s famous composition “The Flight of the Bumble Bee.” As they follow the notes and the imaginative, narrated tale of an impatient bee, kids can make the app’s brilliantly-illustrated characters “come alive” by tapping or touching the screen of their iPad.

With its combination of superb music—performed by some of America’s finest musicians and recorded by an 11-time Grammy winning producer—and entertaining video designed to fit perfectly with the musical twists and turns, the new app is already earning raves from children, educators, and parents alike.

Donna says of the new project, "I have created interactive classical music apps for children ages 2-8, featuring some of the world's top musicians, including Carter Brey, principal cellist of the NY Philharmonic.  My audio producer is 11-time Grammy award winner David Frost, and my art director is my 16 year old daughter, Mickey. I have written stories to go with famous short pieces in the classical music repertoire with the idea of teaching young children how to listen to and appreciate the storyline that is inherent in the music. The apps are designed for both visual and auditory learners."

Donna has given workshops and demonstrations at schools in New York to 100 children, and "they all love the apps, especially the music. It is almost like bringing a mini concert to children, families and schools, giving some who may not otherwise have the opportunity to hear great music performed by great musicians."

NY Parenting Magazine will feature a story on the apps in the May issue.

The “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” app offers a variety of options that allow children to customize their musical experience. These include: 
  • The bumble bee’s story told with narration, music and interactive animation
  • The story told with read-along text for young readers, in addition to narration, music and interactive animation
  • Music and interactive animation only (kids, make up your own story!) 
  • A paint-to-the-music option that lets kids of all ages use their fingers to “paint” directly on the screen
  • The app also features a Korean-language version as well as an engaging maze game, in which kids help the little bee escape the spider web and get back to the beehive.

Experts in child growth and development agree that nurturing an appreciation and understanding of the “language of music” helps children flourish, intellectually and emotionally. Children may view this app as an entertaining game—but parents and educators will know that they’re also benefiting from the brain stimulation that classical music provides to growing minds. 

Children will ask for the app because it’s fun and holds their attention,” says family therapist Peter Abrons, PhD, “while parents will appreciate the beneficial effects that stem from this musical exposure. It’s a win-win!”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Van Wallach to Appear on "Kovacs Perspective," Internet Talk Show

Author Van Wallach will appear tomorrow night starting at 9 pm on "The Kovacs Perspective," an Internet talk show hosted by Steve Kovacs. The topic of the discussion will be Wallach's book "A Kosher Dating Odyssey," which just celebrated its first-year anniversary since it was published by Coffeetown Press. Listeners will be able to email questions to Kovacs as part of the show.
Jill Pilgrim, co-founder and principal of Precise Advisory Group, recently served as a presenter in an INTERPOL workshop in Salvador, Brazil. The Integrity in Sport workshop is part of the global INTERPOL/FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative that was created to tackle match fixing and corruption in soccer.

Pilgrim's presentation identified the elements that are necessary to include in effective anti-fraud rules developed by soccer associations, an orderly way for soccer associations to conduct internal anti-corruption investigations and proceedings and optimal communication and cooperation between soccer associations and law enforcement. She said,
I was thrilled to participate in the INTERPOL workshop in Brazil. For the future of soccer or any sport, it is vitally important to discuss the topic of best practices in governance and how to avoid or identify corruption, educate people on the scope of the problem and help people understand how they can be a part of the solution to eliminate or identify and deter corruption. INTERPOL and FIFA have created an outstanding forum for discussion of these important topics among the leaders who can and must influence football's future globally. My presentation also covered strategic planning parameters and ready-to-implement guidelines and ethics practices.
The objectives of the Integrity in Sport Workshops are to:
  • Improve knowledge and understanding of the global threat from match-fixing and irregular/ illegal betting and its impact at national level (What are the current tactics used by criminals to initiate match-fixing in soccer and likely trends in the future?);
  • Identify current good practice and ways to prevent match-fixing and corruption in soccer and more effectively protect the future of the game; and 
  • Further encourage global, regional and national bodies associated with soccer to work together more effectively in partnerships, regularly sharing information and taking action to prevent match-fixing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kathryn Hall Announces New Princeton President, Christopher Eisgruber '83

Kathryn A. Hall, chair of Princeton's Board of Trustees, announced on Sunday that Christopher Eisgruber '83 would become the 20th President of the University on July 1. In an email sent out today, Hall wrote, 

Dear Princetonian,
As chair of the Board of Trustees, it is my great pleasure to let you know that the Board, acting on the unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation of the presidential search committee, today elected Christopher Eisgruber ’83, currently the University’s provost, as Princeton’s 20th President, effective July 1.  The full text of the announcement can be found on the University’s home page ( 
            The search committee included nine Trustees, four faculty members, two undergraduates, a graduate student, and a member of the staff.  Over the past six months, the committee received more than 320 submissions to its website, where it asked for advice on the qualities to be sought in a new president, challenges and opportunities facing the University, and candidates who should be considered.  It held open forums on campus and conducted more than 100 sourcing interviews with members of the campus community and leaders of higher education throughout the country.  The suggestions we received were very helpful and contributed greatly to our decision that Chris is the very best person to serve as Princeton’s next President. 
            Princeton has been blessed with a series of remarkable Presidents over the past 50 years.  Each has had a different style and personality, but all have been devoted to serving the best long-term interests of the University and all have led Princeton through periods of change.  I am confident that Chris will continue this pattern, and that he has the skills, personal qualities and devotion to Princeton to lead our University with vision, imagination, courage and conviction.  As I say in the announcement, Chris was described to us again and again as principled, passionate and prepared, and we certainly concur. 
            I want to thank all of the alumni who provided us with suggestions and advice and who met with us during the course of the search.  In addition to being a member of the Class of 1983, Chris is also an honorary member of the Classes of 1967 and 1968.  I know he will be joining President Tilghman as she meets with alumni during Reunions later this spring, and I hope many of you will have opportunities then and on other occasions to congratulate Chris on his appointment and to join me and the other Trustees in wishing him every success as our next President.
Katie Hall ‘80

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Marc Fisher Co-Authors Washington Post Article on Boston Bombings

Marc Fisher co-wrote the Washington Post's major roundup article on the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15. Drawing on reports from Post correspondents in Boston and elsewhere, Marc and co-author Vernon Loeb wrote,

BOSTON — On the day after, the what and the how of the Boston Marathon bombings became clearer — explosive devices crafted from pressure cookers and stuffed with nails and ball bearings killed three people and injured 176 — but the who and the why remained a mystery.
With no one claiming responsibility for Monday’s attack, hundreds of investigators in Boston and Washington began combing through more than 2,000 video and still images of the race route, searching for clues that might help determine whether the bombings were an act of domestic or foreign terrorism, planned by an organized enemy or a lone actor.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Robert Klitzman to Appear on WNYC's "Leonard Lopate Show" on April 15, Reflects on Human Genome Project

Bioethicist Robert Klitzman will appear on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC, 93.9 FM, on Monday, April 15 as part of the 10th anniversary of the complete mapping of the human genome. Klitzman will discuss the impact of the mapping on medicine.

In addition, Klitzman published an essay on the website of Psychology Today reflecting on the anniversary. The essay, titled, "Am I My Genes? Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing," examines the benefits and also the complications arising from the sequencing. He writes,

April 14th 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project — the successful mapping of the entire human genome, the three billion molecules that are the blueprints for us as human beings. This event ranks with NASA’s response to Sputnik as one of the great achievements of modern science supported by public funds. Over the past decade, researchers have continued to make incredible strides, discovering genes associated with diabetes, depression,schizophreniabipolar disorder, and other diseases. The future possibilities are enormous.

But we should use this anniversary as an opportunity to not only celebrate, but reflect. These miraculous discoveries present us too with countless dilemmas, and are far outpacing our abilities to grasp and address their ethical, legal, social and psychological implications. The genome is far more complicated than anyone imagined. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. Uncertainties and controversies abound.

Klitzman is the director of the Masters in Bioethnics Program at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. His bio there notes,
Dr. Robert Klitzman has conducted research and written about a variety of ethical issues in medicine and public health to promote public and professional education concerning these issues. He has written five books, drawing on qualitative as well as quantitative methodologies, and also has written for the New York Times and other publications to improve public understanding of ethical and policy issues concerning public health and medicine.

Richard Greenberg's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Now on Broadway

Playwright Richard Greenberg's adaptation of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is now on Broadway. The New Yorker, among other publications, looked at the new version of the book and movie, and Hilton Als had this to say:

Literary, but verging on cinematic, moments like these must be what inspired the playwright Richard Greenberg to adapt the story for the stage. Greenberg clearly thought that it would be possible to make “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (at the Cort, under the direction of Sean Mathias) theatrical, given that Holly herself is so theatrical. Besides, isn’t her m.o. rather like that of a conventional play—in that she moves life’s action along by telling character-driven stories? There isn’t a chink in Greenberg’s professional script, but it never really attempts to capture, let alone analyze, what makes Capote’s Holly feel so alive, or why she makes everyone who loves her feel more alive, too. 
For more details and tickets, here's the official website.

Eve Beglarian's New Chorale Work, "Building the Bird Mound,” to Debut April 18 in NYC

Drawing on materials from her epic voyage down the Mississippi River, Eve Beglarian's new musical piece, "Building the Bird Mound," will debut on April 18 in a performance by the Voices of Ascension at the Church of the Ascension at 5th Avenue and 10th Street in New York City.

An article about the work for chorus and organ appeared on the church's website. It provided this background on Beglarian's production:

Two years ago Voices of Ascension’s music director Dennis Keene commissioned composer Eve Beglarian to write a work for chorus and organ, set to a spiritual text. In 2009 Beglarian had set off on a 4-month kayak trip the length of the Mississippi River, to collect sounds, songs, spiritual inspiration from the great river and from people along the way. WestView News interviewed Beglarian in her West Village apartment to learn about “Building the Bird Mound”, a 15 minute composition which came out of what she calls her “River Project”. 
Beglarian relates that she took prize money she had won to finance the kayak trip down the river, starting in Minnesota in August 2009, sleeping at campsites along the way. When she reached Mississippi and visited an ancient Native American site there, she was strongly advised by an acquaintance to visit Poverty Point, Louisiana, the site of the prehistoric “Bird Mound”. This large earthwork in the form of a giant bird with outspread wings is believed to date to at least 1500 BCE. Paleontologists consider it a gathering place for a hunter/gatherer people, rather than a settlement by an agricultural community. The importance of the mysterious site is rising as excavation proceeds— this year the U.S. requested a World Heritage designation by UNESCO.

Tickets for the premiere are available at 212-358-7060.

Sunday, April 7, 2013 Can't Stop Talking About Jonathan Fredman

In late March, a ferociously detailed discussion of national security legal matters involving an episode in the career of CIA lawyer Jonathan Fredman surfaced at the excellent The storm of security/law argumentation broke out on March 31 when blog co-founder and editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes published a post titled, "Memo to the Press: Just Shut Up About Jonathan Fredman," about a quote attributed to Fredman.

Wittes is a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he co-directs the Harvard Law School-Brookings Project on Law and Security. Wittes tracks the circuitous trail of the quote through books and publications. Journalists quote without checking whether it's accurate. Wittes' post even contains a Princeton angle, probably of interest mostly to obsessive trackers of the boldfaced names in the Class Notes of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. Wittes refers to Pulitzer Prize-winner Barton Gellman '82's book, "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency." Wittes writes,

A number of writers have, when confronted with the reality of the quotation, recanted. Barton Gellman, for example, included the quotation in the hardcover edition of his justly famed book about Vice President Cheney. He later wrote:
I have come to believe I did an injustice to Jonathan Fredman, a senior lawyer for the CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. On p. 187 I quoted an infamous line he is said to have delivered at Guantanamo Bay (“if the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong”), the source of which was an unsigned memo released by the Senate Armed Service Committee. Upon closer inspection and further reporting, I have lost confidence in this document, which purports to be minutes of a meeting Fredman attended but plainly departs from verbatim quotation. I have removed the reference to this alleged quotation in the paperback, with an explanation in the chapter notes. 
Yet, no matter how many writers fix their error, the quotation keeps showing up.

The post sparked responses from a journalist and a lawyer involved national security matters, with commentary from Wittes. Readers can find the entire discussion at, all of which is impossible for a layman to summarize in any coherent or accurate way. The blog is worth checking to see if the volleys of perspectives continue.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ann-Marie Slaughter Keeps Making News, Becomes President of New American Foundation

From Princeton to Harvard Law to the State Department to Princeton and now back to Washington, DC; Anne-Marie Slaughter maintains her high-profile, high-impact career with a move announced this week to the New America Foundation, where she will become the President. She will assume the position on September 1. The complete release on the move, which made national headlines, is here.

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. New America emphasizes work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st century.

Slaughter is currently the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs a the Woodrow Wilson School, where she had been the dean from 2002 to 2009. In a website article about Slaughter,the New American Foundation said,

Having served on the New America board, Slaughter said she has always been a big fan of the organization, but that the idea of taking on another job in Washington, away from her home and tenure in Princeton, was quite daunting when the search committee first approached her.  In the end, though, Slaughter says she decided to follow the advice she always offers students: “Do what you want to do.”
Slaughter told staff that she had agreed to be president on one condition: “That we be ambitious.”
She reflected about the differences between academia and government.  In the former setting, the highest rewards go to those who can come up with big ideas and have their name attached to them.  Conversely, “in Washington, you take big ideas and turn them into bite-sized ideas, and try to convince others that these were their ideas in the first place.”

Before taking the new post, Slaughter will complete a book she's writing about work-family issues, building on the blockbuster cover article she wrote last year for The Atlantic.