The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, November 20, 2009

CNN, Ris Low and Scientific Child Prodigy.

Bizarrely, CNN has quoted my blog, on its website. They have excerpted an article I wrote, a while back, on Ris Low's atrocious behaviour, in her nascent career - or should I say, career of atrocious behaviour.

The link is here:

If you scroll down the article, you will see "Scientific child prodigy" quoted, in the latter half of the article. That is me.

Now this is the second instance, in the past month or so, of a major news organization linking to my blog - the other was the leading Danish newspaper Berlingske. So, I am both surprised and unsurprised - if it is possible to be both at once. Surprised, because there once was a time when I never could have thought of CNN linking to my writing; unsurprised, because they are most certainly not the first media organization to do so. (Even Bild, the German daily, and one of the biggest circulation newspapers in the world, has linked to my blog, in the past).

What seems to be beginning to happen, is that I am writing on many subjects, some of which are of general interest to mass media. In searching for background, journalists are stumbling on my articles and, if they have integrity and journalistic honour, they link to them and credit me with my thoughts, if they use or quote any. (I have seen instances in which this has not been done - and thoughts have just been lifted, without credit...but I will post of that another time...soon.)

It is strange being a blogger. If done well, a blogger is as good as any journalist - but freer. So, in a way, being a blogger is better than being a journalist, since I can genuinely write whatever I please (excepting that which would constitute libel...but then that would be discourteous in most cases, too, so common decency prevents that, anyway.) The only difference is that a blogger is, usually, not paid for their work. So, some might see the journalist as a superior position. However, it is not - for the very reason that the blogger is not paid. Being unpaid and being free to say the truth, without editorial or political interference, a blogger is more likely to be able to say - and to actually say - what needs to be said, on matters of importance. Furthermore, a blogger's opinion has not been "bought" in any way - it is a free opinion, freely given (in those parts of the world, in which a blogger feels free to speak, of course.)

Thus, but for the matter of making a living - which, in most cases has to come from somewhere else - the blogger is, in fact, the ideal media source. The blogger may not have access to the huge resources of a media organization - but they have the only tool that is really essential: a mind and a view to speak. Thoughts are free to those who are able to have them. Now, with blogging, those thoughts may be freely shared with the world. It is, in my opinion, a great step forward, in human culture that blogging should be available to all. The thoughts of so many more people, will now be on record, to speak of our times - and that will, one day, be seen to have incalculable value.

Yet, perhaps that day is already here - for the Bilds, the CNNs and the Berlingskes, of the world are already linking to my blog, quoting from it and acknowledging it. That can mean only one thing: the mass media is well aware of the value of the new media - and, instead of attacking it, they are incorporating it, into their discourse, using the minds of millions of bloggers, as a resource for their own articles. As long as they continue to properly credit the bloggers so referenced, this is a good development. I am left to wonder just how common this referencing of bloggers is going to become.

Anyway, thank you, CNN, for quoting my writing. It is much appreciated.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:40 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that CNN actually wrote about Ris Low!

7:44 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, me too. However, I was so busy being surprised that they had linked to me, that it rather overwhelmed my surprise that they had written of her.

It is quite breathtaking how the trivial (see Ris Low) become subjects of global news coverage.

Quite clearly, the modern viewer loves nothing more than the inconsequential - the more meaningless it is, the more meaning they find in it.

Thanks for your comment.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Casey said...

I've been having similar thoughts, not about Ris Low, but about one's contributions and its significance only being measured by getting paid for it.

I have three blogs and have contributed on a small scale, but quite significantly to others while I work out my own needs through blogging. I get a lot of compliments for my efforts from those I impact. People contact me about raising a child with selective mutism, or about other personal issues. I've been contacting by a children's publisher who wanted to raise some publicity by asking to put me on my blogroll, AFTER they'd already put my science blog on theirs (really nice exposure there). I've even had made some interesting pen-pals through it.

However, in telling the real people in my life what I "do" with the bulk of my time now that I stay at home with my kids, it doesn't have that same respect as telling them I worked in medical genetics.

It causes a bit of conflict, in that I feel that the people I meet over the internet that I impact are truly grateful, and it gives me great joy to help others, the people I know in real life discount it as insignificant.

It leads me to question whether or not I should spend so much time on something that doesn't carry weight and doesn't generate income or earn me the respect of my friends (what few I have).

And then, I immediately reject that notion, because WHY I do what I do, and for free, without paid advertising, is to remain open, reachable, and unmotivated by money.

I know first-hand, that money changes (some) people. I have a love hate relationship with money, having it be a core problem in my family (who had it, and who used it for manipulative purposes).

To complicate things, my mother would negate someone's altruism if it came with a price tag - that is to say, scoffing at self-help books, or therapists because her belief was that if the person TRULY wanted to help someone, they would do so without charging a lot of money for it). Yet, of course, I suspect, she would not have a problem charging people a high price if that was what she chose to do.

And yes, the modern viewer does love nothing more than the inconsequential. It saves them the trouble of actually worrying about the significant problems and having to DO something about the them. You know, as long as it's not important, and not about them, they can continue to live their comfy, materialistic lives.


4:06 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By writing your blog, you are recording a world and a world view that might otherwise be lost forever. It is an important thing to do. Your friends and relatives may not understand this, but by recording your experiences, you make your understandings of the world, lasting and your contribution will go on, forever. It may seem small from your perspective now...but the number of lives you will reach into in the decades and centuries to come (assuming your blog provider still exists...which hopefully it will), is immense.

Then again, your work is also an historical document. It is important that some such writings are done well for they speak of our times. I think, in this respect, that blogs are very important, since they will one day provide much understanding of our times.

Best wishes to you...and keep writing.

11:46 AM  

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