30 novembro, 2013

Ditto #264

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

--Immanuel Kant

28 novembro, 2013

Espantos #382

The New York Times' video Thanksgiving by the numbers is quite telling:

- Americans will eat 46 million turkeys this year
- 50 million will watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
- 70 million will watch football
- 276 million will eat turkey, 15% will buy it fresh, 85% frozen
- 2,000 fires are predicted as a result of all the turkey cooking resulting in $21 million in damages
- 254 million turkeys were raised in the US last year, in addition to 768 million lbs of cranberries, 47 billion lbs of potatoes, 1.9 billion lbs of green beans, and 1.1 billion lbs of pumpkin
- Americans will cook 736 million lbs of turkey (70% white meat, 30% dark), averaging a cost of $1.36 per lb
- The average cost of a 10-person meal (including all of the above ingredients and more) is $49.04, that is 40¢ below last year's estimate
- It's been 392 years since the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth and 150 since President Lincoln declared it as a national holiday
- This year's Thanksgiving coincides with the first day of Hanukkah, which will not happen in another 57 years
- 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving

On a personal note, I had no idea there was white and dark turkey meat but I am looking forward to the coming weeks since all fresh turkeys that were not sold will be cut up in cutlets which are otherwise very hard to find in supermarkets all year round... Americans don't really eat turkey other than on Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas. Though I'll be eating my Thanksgiving dinner (rather late lunch... I'll be there at 4, perhaps to start eating at 5.30pm) with friends* today, all I have contributed to the consumption paraphernalia described above, in terms of purchases, was a pumpkin pie. My favorite!

What else is left to say? Happy Thanksgiving & (this year only) Happy Hanukkah!

*Friends are the family we can choose; the other family we inherit... so true. THANKS!

Foi neste dia #220 (1520)

Há 493 anos a expedição comandada por Fernão de Magalhães chegava ao Oceano Pacífico depois de atravessar o estreito que viria a ficar conhecido pelo seu nome, ligando pela primeira os oceanos Atlântico e Pacífico. O orgulho do feito histórico dá lugar a desconforto quando se sabe um pouco mais acerca dos factos históricos da épica expedição do século XVI.

"'Wednesday, November 28, 1520, we debouched from that strait, engulfing ourselves in the Pacific sea,' noted Pigafetta with quiet satisfaction. (...) For Magellan and his crew, it had been a remarkable rite of passage. As they sailed beyond the strait into the open water, how could they doubt that their expedition was indeed blessed by the Almighty? Although Magellan and his crew appeared vulnerable to the elements, to starvation, to the local tribes they encountered, and most of all to each other, this was not how they saw themselves. They all believed that a supernatural power looked after them and conferred on them the unique status of global travelers. (...) Magellan's skill in negotiating the entire length of the strait is acknowledged as the single greatest feat in the history of maritime exploration. It was, perhaps, an even greater accomplishment than Columbus's discovery of the New World, because the Genoan, thinking he had arrived in China, remained befuddled to the end of his days about where he was, and what he had accomplished, and as a result misled others. Magellan, in contrast, realized exactly what he had done; he had, at long last, begun to correct Columbus's great navigational error." 

Bergreen, Lawrence (2003). Over the Edge of the World (pp. 200-2).

"'Quarta-feira, 28 de Novembro de 1520, desembocámos do estreito entrando no mar pacífico' anotou Pigafetta com calma satisfação. (...) Para Magalhães e a sua tripulação tratava-se de um ritual de passagem. Ao navegarem para lá do estreito em mar aberto, como poderiam duvidar que a sua expedição era de facto abençoada pelo Deus omnipotente? Embora Magalhães e a sua tripulação fossem vulneráveis aos elementos, à fome, às tribos locais que encontravam, e acima de tudo a eles próprios, não era assim que se consideravam. Todos acreditavam que um poder sobrenatural os protegia e lhes conferia o estatuto único de viajantes globais. (...) A destreza de Magalhães no atravessar de todo o estreito é reconhecida como o maior feito na história de toda a exploração marítima. Foi talvez uma maior conquista que a descoberta de um Novo Mundo por Colombo, porque o Genovês, pensando que tinha chegado à China, manteve-se enganado até ao fim dos seus dias acerca de onde estava e do que tinha alcançado, tendo por isso induzido outros em erro. Por seu turno Magalhães sabia exactamente o que tinha conseguido; finalmente tinha começado a corrigir o enorme erro da navegação de Colombo."

27 novembro, 2013

Inverno #12

There's nothing good about the picture below... in fact there's are several bad things in it. The first is that it shows the weather in Nashville Tennessee. The second is that tomorrow's high and low temperatures (the real feel) are hardly distinguishable: -7 and -8 degrees celsius (19.4 and 17.6 fahrenheit). The third is the blue thermometer, only showed in weather websites in extreme cold conditions (in the summer it's the red thermometer for the extreme heat). The fourth is that it announces the weather for tomorrow (Nov. 27th) as "Windy and colder", meaning worse than today on both counts and today was already windy and cold. The fifth is that it says that tomorrow night it will be "very cold", which for their standards is quite the statement! Finally, the fact that it will be sunny is no good news either... with no clouds in the sky, the earth radiation (whatever heat the soil accumulates during the day) just wonders off into the atmosphere instead of it being kept between the earth and cloud cover to keep us a little warmer. There's really nothing good about the picture below!
Não há nada de bom na figura acima... de facto há várias coisas más. A primeira é que nela se mostra o tempo que faz em Nashville no estado do Tennessee. A segunda é que amanhã (27 de Novembro), as temperaturas máxima e mínima (incluindo o efeito vento) são praticamente iguais: -7 e -8 graus centígrados. A terceira é o termómetro azul que os sites do tempo só mostram quando há condições de frio extremo (no verão é o termómetro vermelho para o calor extremo). A quarta é que amanhã haverá "Vento" (Windy) e fará "mais frio" (colder), ou seja, será ainda pior que hoje nessas duas características e hoje já esteve vento e frio. A quinta é que o tempo amanhã à noite será "muito frio" (very cold), uma afirmação forte dados os standards americanos! Finalmente, vai estar sol o que está longe de ser boa notícia... sem nuvens no céu a radiação terrestre (o pouco calor que o solo acumula durante o dia) perde-se na atmosfera em vez de se manter entre o solo e as nuvens para nos aquecer um pouco. Não há mesmo nada de bom na figura acima!

26 novembro, 2013

Coisas que não mudam #242

Black Friday week has started...
...and so has the shopping frenzy online and in stores.
On top of the discounts, online shopping offers free shipping above a certain amount. Shopping in store offers surprise gifts!

21 novembro, 2013

20 novembro, 2013

Caprichos #272

Trying out the chocolate fondue set on a rainy/stormy day when it was not nice out... like last Sunday!

Experimentar o fondue de chocolate num dia de chuva e tempestade... como no domingo passado!

19 novembro, 2013

Ditto #263

Não desejes e serás o homem mais rico do mundo.

--Miguel de Cervantes

18 novembro, 2013

Coisas que não mudam #240

Pleasant things to say about shoes...

17 novembro, 2013

Caprichos #271

Stravaganza e cioccolato... love it!

16 novembro, 2013

Coisas que não mudam #239

Cooking ahead / Cozinhar para a semana

Caprichos #270

Waffles & fresh strawberries

15 novembro, 2013

Numa sala perto de mim #247

Paris-Manhattan (2012) a cheesy, Woody Allen-centric, and Jewish romantic comedy that puts a smile on your face, but also lets you observe the not always smooth interactions between family members. Knowing someone for your entire life can at times blur/enhance your opinion... but it's so good!

14 novembro, 2013

Coisas que não mudam #238

15 de Novembro de 2013, 19:45
19 de Novembro de 2013, 19:45
A qualificação ou a desqualificação de Portugal para o mundial de futebol do próximo ano a decorrer no Brasil acontecerá sempre de forma dramática; a julgar pelas exibições decisivas contra Israel...

12 novembro, 2013

Coisas que não mudam #237

Regularidades dos relógios. Daqui a um mês na Europa!
Time measurement regularities. In Europe in a month!

Retirado do contexto #167

°F = (9/5) x °C + 32         @11.15am        GRRRRRRRRR!

Español #14

"Se ha recibido una solicitud  para quitar su dirección de correo electrónico de la lista de distribución informacion-aee@list.ehu.es. Para confirmar que quiere borrarse de esta lista de distribución, solo tiene que responder este mensaje..."

Esta mensagem nunca resultaria em português... ah these false friends!

11 novembro, 2013

Ditto #262

Hoje deparei-me com a famosa frase e perguntei-me sobre as suas origens. Sabia que vinha do Reino Unido e pensava que estava associada aos atentados bombistas do IRA na década de 80, mas a origem é anterior. Felizmente podemos descobrir tudo facilmente hoje em dia.
Came across the famous expression today and started wondering about its origins. I knew it was associated with Britain and I thought it had to do with the IRA bombings of the 1980s but its history goes further back. Luckily we can find everything easily these days.

Cores de Outono #23

Luz matinal, fotos sem qualquer tratamento digital
Morning light, no digitally enhanced colors

10 novembro, 2013

Espantos #381

Moody Siri...

sleepy me: what time is it?
Siri: it's 7.01am. You woke me up!

different day, still sleepy me: what time is it?
Siri: at the tone it will be 7.36am... PIIING!

Caprichos #269

Crate & Barrel's pop-up store at Nashville's Green Hills mall is just the right place for Christmas shopping... hoping for the real thing in the New Year!

08 novembro, 2013

06 novembro, 2013

Espantos #380

Nazaré used to be just another fishing town, different from others in Portugal because in the winter fishermen are often on shore for several days due to inclement maritime conditions. That's precisely what attracts extreme surfers, who've brought Nazaré to world-wide fame in the sport. In November 2011 the Hawaiian Garrett McNamara surfed the biggest wave ever measured (78ft or 24m), only to break his own record earlier this year in January (100ft or 30m). Last week, the record may have been broken again, this time by Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle, who had rescued another Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira who had been knocked unconscious by a big wave that same day.

These gigantic waves are possible due to the underwater canyon off of Nazaré, which is not as long as the Grand Canyon (140 vs 227 miles or 225km vs 365) but it's much deeper (3.1 vs 1.1 miles or 5km vs 1.8). The result is something out of this world!

A Nazaré sempre foi apenas mais uma vila de pescadores, diferente de outras em Portugal porque no inverno os pescadores frequentemente não se podem fazer ao mar durante vários dias devido a condições marítimas extremamente adversas. É precisamente isso que traz à Nazaré os surfistas radicais que a levaram à fama internacional neste desporto. Em Novembro de 2011 o havaiano Garrett McNamara surfou a maior onda alguma vez medida com 24m, apenas para quebrar o seu próprio record em Janeiro deste ano (30m). A semana passada, poderá ter havido novo record, desta vez pelo surfista brasileiro Carlos Burle, que previamente tinha salvo outra surfista brasileira Maya Gabeira que tinha ficado inconsciente depois de ter sido engolida por outra onda gigante no mesmo dia.

Estas ondas descomunais são possíveis devido ao chamado canhão da Nazaré, uma depressão submarina não tão longa quanto o Grand Canyon (225 vs 365km), mas muito mais profunda (5km vs 1.8). O resultado é algo do outro mundo!

04 novembro, 2013

Espantos #379

One of the most well known pictures of all time which sold millions of copies of the National Geographic magazine and not just in the week it came up. The picture became part of the magazine's reputation. It also became a symbol of the damages inflicted to the most vulnerable refugees war: children.

Much has been done and written about the search for the unknown Afghan girl since she was found again 17 years after the original picture was taken. The Economist this week, refreshes our memory with a short Q&A with the photographer. Below an excerpt.

Why did you think Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan Girl", was so special? Did you have any idea that the photograph would become so iconic?

I knew it was a powerful image. I knew that she had a powerful presence. She was very striking. I knew all that, but I never dreamed it would be on the cover of the magazine, much less become an icon of the [Soviet] war in Afghanistan or Afghan refugees. The power of the picture has to do with her eyes and the ambiguity of her expression. There are a lot of emotions in that picture; on the one hand she seems a bit traumatised, but there’s a real sense of dignity and fortitude and perseverance. She’s a beautiful little girl, but there is also dirt on her face and her clothes are torn, yet she holds a direct gaze at the camera.

How was your reunion 17 years later?

It was extraordinary. It was astonishing that she and her husband agreed to meet with us, which was really unusual in that culture. We were thrilled that she was still alive, that she had a good life, that we were able to finally give back to her and help her. I think she was a bit bewildered by the whole thing initially. She didn’t understand that her picture has been published all over the world. But in time she learned—we provided her with a television so she could see the documentary [“Search For the Afghan Girl” (2003)].

We keep in touch with her every month—myself, National Geographic, my sister plays a very important role in maintaining this relationship and assisting her with all sorts, whether it’s medical assistance, education, housing or anything we can do. We’ve helped to buy her a home that she’s able to have ownership of. It’s been great to help her. I believe that this has made her life better.

Cores de Outono #22

Cores de outono máximas captadas pelos fotógrafos profissionais da Vanderbilt e publicadas no sábado na página do G+ da universidade.
Maximum Fall colors captured by Vanderbilt's professional photographers and posted saturday on the university's G+ page.

Cores de Outono #21

Esta semana em Vanderbilt...
This week at Vanderbilt...

Espantos #378

At last a Crate & Barrel store at the Green Hills mall in Nashville... the very first in Tennessee! Just a pop-up for the holidays, but still... it's a first step!

03 novembro, 2013

Caprichos #268

A propósito de longas viagens em estrada e de cidades de nome pouco original, veio-me à ideia um exercício engraçado em dois passos:

1) marcar num mapa todas as cidades chamadas Paris na América do Norte (primeiro pensei só nos Estados Unidos, depois também no Canadá);
2) encontrar o caminho mais curto que liga todas as cidades sem repetir nenhuma parte do percurso (nota: a solução não é necessariamente o caminho mais curto possível).

problema já foi formulado antes. A solução não é óbvia e requer mais conhecimentos matemáticos que os que tenho. [Penso que] O resultado [ou um boa aproximação] está no mapa abaixo: 21 cidades, 14,663 km, 155 horas.
On the topic of road trips and cities with less than original names, I thought of this cute little exercise in two steps: 

1) on a map, mark all cities named Paris in North America (thought of the US first, then also Canada);
2) draw the shortest route connecting all cities without repeating any part of the route (note: the solution is not necessarily the shortest route possible).

The problem has been formulated before. The solution is far from obvious and it requires more math knowledge than I have. [I believe] The result [or a good approximation of it] is on the map above: 21 cities, 9,111 miles, 155 hours.