Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year’s wish

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." Bill Vaughn, American industry author, mentor and subject-matter expert.

We're close to the New Year! Yes, unbelievable but the year 2010 is here! It might be a little scary or uncertain for some, may a bit nostalgic for some others and full of hope and new projects for many.

The most important thing is to receive the New Year with positive energy and thoughts, to embrace this new period as a renewed opportunity that life is giving to you to start what you haven't started, to close what you want to leave behind, to do what you need to in order to get closer to your dreams, to keep dreaming…

New Year's Eve is not a moment of regret, is not the time to think about what you didn't do but you had to, or about what you did but you shouldn't have. It's the time to leave the past behind an open a blank page in which you can start writing the story that you want to live.

Here's a great quote by the poet Edith Lovejoy that very well describes it: "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day".

One first and very important step is to picture what you desire, to actually see yourself achieving your objectives in your mind. Go to bed thinking about what you want and picture it every night; wake up and think about it again, see yourself doing it…Once you start seeing it, it won't seem so far away or so abstract. It's the Law of Attraction.

Rhonda Byrne, author of the best-selling book "The Secret", passionately recommends this picturing-your-wishes strategy. She explains how thinking about what you want to avoid will only attract it because it will focus all your energy on that subject, and she says that's the reason why everyone should only let their energies focus on good and positive thoughts, on what they wish and dream about.

These are some of her quotes about it: "We all work with one infinite power"; "Whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting"; "Every thought has a frequency. Thoughts send out a magnetic energy"; "Thought = creation. If these thoughts are attached to powerful emotions (good or bad) that speeds the creation"; "You attract your dominant thoughts"; "You can't have a universe without the mind entering into it"; "EVERYTHING in your life you have attracted…accept that fact…it's true"; "Your thoughts cause your feelings".

So, what are you waiting to start thinking and picturing your dreams? What are you waiting to attract everything you want for this New Year that life is offering you with blank pages for you to write on? Create your own story; no one else can do it for you. You are the one who chooses every single detail of every second of your life. Don't leave your dreams for later; it might be too late.

Never forget that being positive is the most important thing to actually have a positive life with good things happening every day.

I want to finish with this one quote by Rhonda Byrne which I believe is the essence of a very wise way of living: "Choose your thoughts carefully…you are a masterpiece of your life".

Have a great New Year's Eve and a very Happy New 2010 full of successes and full of love! Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

The world in 140 characters

"The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful". Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard law professor and Internet expert.

The so called "Twitter Revolution" has changed so many details of how people communicate and learn about what each other's doing, wants, hates, needs, bought, lost, about why they're sad or happy, or about the movie they just saw…

Twitter started as an online social network that many people seemed to not understand…For some it was too simple, it had no true practical use…The possibility of sharing messages of just 140 characters didn't seem that attractive or useful. But it didn't take so long to reach a point where the Twitter Revolution was declared by experts and then by many others.

The fact is that on Twitter you can actually know what's going on with almost any famous person that you want; for the first time you can know where your favorite artist is or what the most popular politician is doing to help a particular situation in a particular region…You can see what that actor you love is eating for dinner and you can share that with your friends.

But that's the simplest part of it. Twitter has surprised the world with so many unexpected and shocking moments that have changed the image of this online social network forever and that have opened so many possibilities through its tools.

One of the biggest examples, if not the biggest, happened this year with the Iranian elections, when hundreds of Iranians protested on the streets of Iran to express their nonconformity with the presidential elections, which they claimed as corrupted.

Twitter's role began when the government of Iran started to violently attack the protesters and to cut the media coverage of what was happening in the country. Some citizens started to communicate their situation to the world using Twitter because that way they couldn't be tracked.

That way the entire world found out about the situation of Iran and followed the facts through the Tweets. The United States government even intervened and asked Twitter directives to not stop what the Iranians where doing.

After that a lot of interesting uses have been given to Twitter. One of them was when the American author Matt Stewart published his complete first novel, "The French Revolution", through the 140-character Twitter messages, through Tweets.

Also, some months ago the American screenwriter of Pulp Fiction, Roger Avary, started communicating his experiences in jail from Twitter, surprising a lot of people and forcing the authorities to deny it was him because no one understood how he was managing to use an Internet connection…

Anyway, Twitter has definitely become one of the most used and important online social networks and communication channels, changing and revolutionizing the way the word learn about different events every day and the way different countries and cultures exchange information about the situations they live.

The words "Twitter", "Tweets" and "Tweet" are now part of the vocabulary of millions of people who have come to the point of, sometimes, preferring and choosing Tweeting over speaking.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fernando Botero in Tampa Bay

09 January 2009 - 04 April 2010

Fernando Botero is one of Colombia’s and the world’s most popular artists. His monumental bronzes have been seen on Park Avenue in New York, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the Champs Élysées in Paris. “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero” is the first time such a large exhibition of his work has been featured in the Tampa Bay area.

This is also the first retrospective of the artist’s work in North America since the acclaimed 1979 survey at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Spotlighting 100 stunning paintings, sculptures, and drawings, this new exhibition is drawn from Botero’s private collection. These are key works he saved or bought back, providing the artist’s personal look at the amazing sweep of his career.

Three of his impressive large-scale sculptures will be installed outside the Museum: The Hand (1985), Smoking Woman (1987), and The Rape of Europa (1999). Sixteen more will be in the galleries. This exhibition includes many paintings and drawings and a selection of recent sculptures never before shown in North America. The Presenting Sponsor for the MFA venue is The Stuart Society of the Museum of Fine Arts. The Lead Sponsor is Progress Energy. The St. Petersburg Times is the Media Sponsor. Additional support comes from Bright House Networks.

Botero (born 1932 in Medellín, Colombia) is a truly international artist, reflecting diverse influences. As a teenager, he was drawn to the work of Picasso and was expelled from his Catholic high school for writing an admiring essay on the modernist master. Later studies in Europe led to exposure to Velázquez (his portraits of Spanish royalty); Goya (Los desastres de la guerra); Dürer (particularly his Adam and Eve); Rubens; Italian Renaissance fresco painters; and French artists Courbet, Ingres, and Delacroix. The Mexican muralists Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros and the great Frida Kahlo (her haunting self-portraits) have also influenced his work.

He sketched his breakthrough mandolin in 1956 in Mexico City. By making the central opening of the instrument very small, he enlarged the volume of the entire mandolin. According to exhibition curator Dr. John Sillevis, “It felt like a shock. From now on he knew what he was going to do. He would enlarge everything he would draw or paint to a baroque shape, an expression of sumptuousness and sensuality, not only in a human figure, but also in still life, in fruits, or in a mandolin.” The Museum exhibition contains a later, striking painting, Still Life with Mandolin (1998). The still life, in fact, has been critical to Botero’s work almost from the very beginning.

Through it all, he has maintained an unbroken tie to Colombia and Latin America, even as he has lived much of his adult life in Paris and Italy. His first and dominant influence was the Spanish colonial baroque art and architecture of Colombia, with its exaggeration and theatricality, particularly in the Catholic churches. These images were imprinted on his mind and work: the bloody Christ on the cross, the perfection and comfort of Mary, the martyred saints, and hovering angels.

Botero was not interested in simply carrying on this tradition, but personalizing it. Mary becomes Our Lady of Colombia (1992), for example, an ample figure wearing a red crown with green jewels. She weeps for her country and carries a large child, perhaps the youthful Botero, waving a tiny Colombian flag. Characteristically, the color is spectacular. Her yellow hair and dress and the child’s halo are set against a green backdrop held by two cherubs. The child wears lighter green socks. This is a contemporary Madonna, conveying emotion, yet remaining distant, like a statue.

Another crying Madonna is at the center of The Widow (1997), based on the artist’s childhood. His mother, widowed at an early age, was left to raise three children with almost no money. Again, there is a stylized quality to this painting, even as it points to the struggle to survive in Latin America. This struggle often comes up against the powerful in Botero’s art—the well-fed presidents and their wives and the equally pampered Catholic hierarchy.

The natural world, so central to his childhood memories, can be richly colorful and abundant, like in Florida. But the dense foliage can also oppress the huge figures in front or below. In Botero’s work, there is often an undercurrent amid all the beauty. He also captures the natural disasters that threaten humanity, usually giving them a Latin American or Colombian cast. The Earthquake (2000) is a prime example, with colonial buildings reduced to rubble and one lone figure pleading for help from an upstairs window.

The exhibition also includes a section on everyday life in South America: people in dance halls and brothels, on the street, and in the intimacy of their bedrooms and bathrooms. Everyone and everything are larger-than-life. There are also crime scenes and depictions of political violence and repression.

The artist’s wonderful sense of humor, his appreciation of the comedy of life, is frequently on view, as the distinguished Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes has noted. The huge Dancer at the Barre (2001) could never maintain such a pose, but Botero makes her incredibly graceful. The painting draws a smile, not ridicule. Botero encourages us to see the human spirit at work in the unlikeliest of bodies and places.

Botero’s art, while immediately accessible, has many layers and has been collected by the world’s great museums. They include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn, and The Hermitage Museum, among others. He is one of those rare artists who has crossed over from the art world into the larger culture.

“The Baroque World of Fernando Botero” is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. Sillevis is Curator of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What is the truth? Let’s turn to Nietzsche

"All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth". Friedrich Nietzsche.

So many valuable seconds of everyday of our lives go by in senseless discussions about who's right regarding different matters…And not only personal matters, but also international problems and differences between leaders that end up becoming impassable walls between countries that could be living in peace if it weren't for the yearn for power of the heads of state.

A lot of times those dilemmas lie in who is right and in who has the truth. We won't discuss how presidents solve their problems because we could stay talking (writing) forever, but what we can talk about is truth. As the famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "All truth is simple... is that not doubly a lie?" That could mean truth is not simple and there is no truth…

Wearing ourselves out trying to discover and to make clear to the world that we are right and that we have the truth is a waste of time. Not only there's no truth that every single person can accept because everything is subject to interpretation, as stated by Nietzsche in the first quote of this article, but also, what's the purpose of trying to convince each other that we "have the truth"?

Try this out: anytime, when you feel pretty sure about what you're saying, stop for a second and don't try to fight what the others are trying to explain; just listen carefully, close your eyes for a second and actually think about what they're saying, imagine every word and try to feel it makes sense…You may discover and understand that new meaning that was so obvious to others and so absurd to you.

Truly listening and not assuming there's just one truth is so comforting and enriching. There are countless interpretations of one same fact or situation that could make it look completely different to the eyes that understood just one other of those creative and original visions, which are each built up from diverse knowledge and cultural details that make them unique and highly valuable for others.

I'll turn to Nietzsche again with this quote: "All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking". We could use that one to; when there's anything we can't accept, when we think we have the truth and there's no way to understand another vision, walking could be a good idea…Walking with the different thoughts in mind could make them merge and become a new and more powerful thought, one "closer to the truth"…

There's no correct way of understanding this or of defining truth; truth will always be the most important thing for some and won't even exist for some others. But a positive way of living without even thinking if something is or is not "the truth", would be to stay open to every new vision and to take what's interesting or useful of each one of them and then let your mind create a new and powerful "truth" just for you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Magic Christmas lights in Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is a cheerful city full of wonderful people that are always smiling and celebrating every single detail. Go ahead and discover the surreal and magical Christmas lights of Medellin 2009!

Medellin is shining this Christmas. People are always celebrating on the streets surrounded by the most beautiful Christmas lights that this year are displaying a magic universe in which lights, colors and water play in the sky and illuminate the night in a way that only a fairytale would be able to describe.

Everyone's going out to celebrate the joy and the magic of Christmas on the streets. Every corner is full of small stands in which people sell all kinds of typical food such as "arepa de chócolo", "buñuelo", "empanada", (it's kind of difficult to explain what they are but once you try them, you'll never leave them)…Because Christmas with no food is not the same.

You can try so many things doing any of the Christmas routes in the streets of Medellin. One delicious and a must-try is the "guarapo", which is the liquid that's extracted from the sugar cane and the base with which the brown sugarloaf is made. The "guarapo" is a natural beverage full of sugars and energy, and is delicious when drank full of ice and with a little bit of lemon.

Here's how they extract it right in front of you from the sugar cane:

The streets are full of light and the environment looks brighter at night…It's like the page of a fairytale book. People are eating, talking and laughing under big trees that are full of multicolor lights, and among fairies that increase the magic of the moment.

Everyone's reunited forgetting about everything else and just thinking about this wonderful time of the year that represents union, love, happiness and celebration. Even if people have to work the next day, a week-day is not the obstacle for partying until late and feeling the Christmas energy every second of the night. No one wants to stop, no one wants to waste a second of this happy time in this magical city.

Medellin is a place where some people have a lot and many others don't have much, but the thing is, in this unbelievable city, those who have very little are the ones who do the most to show beautiful lights and decorations surrounding their houses by the magic of Christmas…No one stays out, everyone celebrates a time where laughing and being with the loved ones is the norm.

And I have to say, Medellin is a city of creative people: you'll see the most original and innovative sellers offering all kinds of unique products on the streets with their own selling strategies and tools. Take a look:

Also, there's a very fun, traditional and particular way of going around the city and doing the Christmas lights routs: on a "chiva", which is a kind of a country bus, a very colorful vehicle with open windows and with a second floor, the roof. Inside a "chiva", there's usually a "papayera", which is a musical group that sings "vallenatos", a Colombian coast music genre that is perfect for parties and great for dancing.

So, people are inside the "Chiva", listening to a live "vallenato" concert, drinking "aguardiente", eating typical food, singing, laughing, screaming, looking at the magical Christmas lights, having fun, celebrating, feeling the joy of Medellin at this time of the year.

All this parties and celebrations take place at a city that is known as "the city of the eternal spring" because of its unbelievable weather all year long, where people are known to be really kind and cheerful, and, during this particular time, under a sky of colorful lights, stars and fairies that make Medellin look and feel like a true fairytale.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The city of Copenhagen and the climate change

"Copenhagen (is) the world's last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return." Stavros Dimas, Minister for the Environment for the European Union.

This year's United Nation's Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen represents a unique opportunity for the world to make a stop, analyze what's really going on with the planet and make important and drastic decisions on how rich and developing countries have to continue their growing path with a strong reduction of their CO2 emissions in order to stop the destruction of the planet earth.

Copenhagen, the Danish capital and the city that was catalogued in 2008 as the first one of the Top 20 Most Livable Cities Chart of Monocle magazine, is the host of this unprecedented event that is taking place since December 7th and until December 18th, with the assistance of many chiefs of state and of the representatives of 192 countries that are gathered together to analyze the solutions to the climate change and to try to negotiate an agreement that can replace the Kyoto Protocol.

One of the biggest challenges of this enormous event is to be able to bring together the nations, no matter how big or rich, and to agree on a new CO2 reduction goal for 2020, which, for obvious reasons, is not easy to define because the reduction numbers have different consequences for rich countries such as the United States, for developing countries such as China and Brazil, and, to a lesser extent, for poor countries such as some African nations.

Among the 192 countries that are assisting the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009, there are more than 100 that support more strict goals of CO2 reduction for the year 2020. As an example, Brazil has proposed to reduce emissions between 36% and 39%, which has led other countries to propose new objectives in this United Nations encounter.

The whole world is waiting to listen to what the United States of America and its president, Barack Obama, have to say about the role of this powerful nation on the stoppage of Global Warming. As a rich country and as one of the countries that produce the most emissions, and that consume so many natural resources, the US has an enormous responsibility and the power to change the course of this serious problematic that afflicts the world.

Leaving the numbers behind, it is important to say that it is essential that every nation gets involved in a problematic that has to do with everyone on earth. No one has fewer responsibilities when it comes to global warming and climate change. Every country has to contribute as much as possible and the rich and powerful nations have to acknowledge their leading role and give example of responsibility and leadership.

Before December 18th every nation should have in their best interests the success of this international encounter that will have permanent repercussions for the planet earth, for the lives of millions of people, for future generations, for the animals, for nature, for the future of man. [

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The value of language in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

"I try desperately to warn them, but my dream conforms perfectly with reality. I am unable to utter a word". The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The Dream, p. 52

When we're used to having something, when we were born with it, sometimes we don't really appreciate the value of that thing that "everyone" has and we take it for granted…but when someone loses that something that's so important to have been given to us with our life, that's the moment of truth, the second in which usually people learn to appreciate that human gift…But it can be too late.

One example of a gift that's generally taken for granted is the ability to speak, to express what we feel, to communicate what we have inside and to tell others if we are in pain, if we like something, if we feel sad and want to cry or scream.

Pretty much no one thinks there's a possibility of never being able to speak again and, even more, of never being able to speak again but actually being able to think and being aware of everything that happens without having a voice to express whatever those things make that person feel.

But that possibility exists and is called the "Locked-In" syndrome. Someone who has it can see, hear and understand everything that happens, but cannot express what he/she thinks or feels because the brain can't send the right signal to the body or because the body is paralyzed.

One excellent, inspiring, sad and teaching example of this situation is the French movie "Le Scaphandre et le Papillon" (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) which tells the story of a man who used to be the prestigious editor of the Parisian magazine, ELLE, but who then has a brain failure and becomes completely paralyzed, being only able to move his left eye and blink. The locked-in syndrome.

He couldn't move, but some tears would eventually come out of his eyes; it was the sorrow that needed to come out in some way.

This man discovers a whole new world, he starts to feel that he's going insane, he doesn't want to live anymore…He sees all the people he used to be with and he understands the world in a different way, he now feels that all he once was isn't worth anything at all if he can't even speak.

But he has this strong feeling to communicate and express what he feels…So, after being close to surrendering, he decides to try this method of communicating through a specific language using his only powers: his mind and his left eye. They create a special alphabet that starts with the most used letters and a nurse that takes care of him starts patiently saying the letters out loud, to which he has to blink to let her know the letter he needs to then form a word, then a sentence, then…

That way, this man that was once the editor of Elle, writes a book about his devastating experience without being able to move, to breathe or to speak. Sadly, he dies two days after the book's publishing, but his words remain as a story of a life, as a story of a man that did anything to express what he was feeling and living.

We that can think, speak and express anything we want should have this story as an example of how lucky we are. Words and the ability to make them sound are a treasure that should be more appreciated because they make us human beings.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Are you taking advantage of the Internet?

"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more human and fair than the world your governments have made before". A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland.

Many people think they take the most advantage of the Internet just because they have an e-mail account and because they can check the status of their bank accounts through the websites without having to actually go or to make a call.

But, really, those are the simplest (almost outdated) tools and possibilities of the web. The Web 2.0 brought so much interactivity and created a different way of building and sharing knowledge, democratizing this new media that does not depend exclusively on the powerful lord of the media.

Also, people are now talking about a Web 3.0, which main characteristic is the customization. This is one of the biggest changes and represents a lot of possibilities for people to choose what they want to see and receive, and how they want to see it and receive it.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry, you don't need to understand any of these "Internet" concepts in order to use and take advantage of all the possibilities that they offer you in the practice.

For now, you can just start with being aware of the infinite ocean of information that the Internet offers you for free. Anything you need to look for, even if it's weird and you thing no one knows about the exact thing you're looking for, just try it out and you'll be surprised with what you'll be able to find and learn.

Also, if you have special interest in specific subjects, you can avoid looking for them every time by just subscribing to the RSS feeds of the websites you like the most and you often visit. You can even subscribe to specific subjects of each website and the articles on those things you love will just be delivered to your e-mail or will be available to you with an RSS reader, even if you don't have an Internet connection at the moment you want to read them.

Don't think you're too old or you don't know anything about technology, risk it all and try it out! Go ahead and sit in front of the computer to explore the endless possibilities and the infinite amounts of information that this web is offering you.

Also, you can create your own contents if you want to. By just creating a simple account on Blogger you will have your own website in which you can be the writer you always wanted to be, or share the recipes or poems you never knew how to publish…

Internet is amazing! Don't be afraid of it and you will find yourself asking why did you take so long…

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pablo Neruda, words of love

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way". Pablo Neruda.

This blog is a space for all that's related to languages, culture, art, technology, modern life, globalization and many other subjects that, in the end, end up being just different manners in which human beings express themselves and create new ways of living, dreaming, sharing and communicating.

Let's make the most out of this space to also share details about the life and work of different artists, writers, poets, journalists, photographers and other interesting characters from all over the world. Their lives and what they have expressed through their works have so many cultural and historical details and visions to teach us. It's worth reading a few paragraphs about them to, at least, remember any special quote that can make us better.

Today, the turn is for the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, whose real name was Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, and who was Doctor Honoris Causa of the Oxford University, and was awarded with the Lenin Peace Prize, as well as with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971 for his work, which was described by the Nobel Foundation with the following words: "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams".

Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th Century. He was also politically active and always supported the government of the socialist Chilean president, Salvador Allende. He knew the Colombian writer, Gabriel García Márquez, who used to say Neruda was "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language".

His seashore house in Isla Negra, in Chile, where he and his third wife are buried, is now a museum that hundreds of persons visit every year to feel a little bit of the magic of this great man's life, to see details of a place where he used to spend his time, to observe the objects that he used to collect and, maybe, to discover some of the spaces that used to inspire him…

It's not easy to choose just one of Neruda's poems to share with you in this short post. Still, you cannot write about Pablo Neruda without reading some of his words. Here it is:


By Pablo Neruda

What's wrong with you, with us,
what's happening to us?
Ah our love is a harsh cord
that binds us wounding us
and if we want
to leave our wound,
to separate,
it makes a new knot for us and condemns us
to drain our blood and burn together.

What's wrong with you? I look at you
and I find nothing in you but two eyes
like all eyes, a mouth
lost among a thousand mouths that I have kissed, more beautiful,
a body just like those that have slipped
beneath my body without leaving any memory.

And how empty you went through the world
like a wheat-colored jar
without air, without sound, without substance!
I vainly sought in you
depth for my arms
that dig, without cease, beneath the earth:
beneath your skin, beneath your eyes,
beneath your double breast scarcely
a current of crystalline order
that does not know why it flows singing.
Why, why, why,
my love, why?

Breathtaking…There's so much to say about a man like Pablo Neruda; maybe the best way to discover his greatness is reading his poems and immersing oneself into that magical world of words and significances that he created to express his vision of the world. Luckily, his work has been translated to many languages and is there to teach and enrich the lives of millions of people from all around the world.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The powerful giant of Brazil

Brazil is one of the world's most rapidly growing economies and is governed by one of the most popular politicians of today

Brazil is worth everything that's going on with it at present. It is governed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, one of the most popular, powerful and influential politicians on the planet, and it is rapidly growing its power as one of the Latin American and of the world's leaders.

As the fifth biggest country in the world and as a developing country with close to 200 million habitants, Brazil represents a powerful nation with more independence from the United States of America, and is now leading different movements to promote the unification of the South American countries as a region, for which Lula da Silva created the Union of South American Nations (USAN).

Also, Brazil is part of the South-South Cooperation alliance group, which is as well integrated by two other southern growing economies: South Africa and India. Furthermore, Brazil is a member of the BRIC group, which is integrated by Russia, India and China as well, four countries that are thought by a lot of experts to be the future dominant economies of the planet.

Brazil's industry isn't the only thing that's growing fast and expanding throughout the world. Lula da Silva has worked hard to put his country at the top of every world event to come, in order to increase its image as a growing power and as a developed modern country. These are two examples of that: the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and will make Brazil become the first South American country to have that honor (it was chosen over Madrid, Spain; Chicago, United States; and Tokyo, Japan); in second place, Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which means this South American giant will be the main actor of the next biggest and most important sports events.

That will not only represent a big step for the Brazilian economy, but will also be an enormous jump into the list of the world's most attractive countries to visit for tourism as well as for business and for event locations.

This is an opportunity to feel motivated about learning Portuguese, a language that shares its Latin roots with others languages such as Spanish, French and Italian, which makes it easier to learn by those who speak one or more of these other languages. Those who learn Portuguese will have many study and business doors open in a country that, as we can see, promises to be one of the world's economic and political leaders in the near future.

Brazil is much more than the famous but old image of the Samba traditions; it not only has beautiful beaches, big and modern metropolis, gorgeous women and the biggest part of the Amazonian jungle, but also a powerful economy that will surely play an essential role in the future of our planet.

Start to know Brazil today! Go visit different cities and have fun in the wonderful beaches, learn Portuguese and get to know the Brazilian culture…Who knows what waits for you in this South American giant.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Take different routes every day

Taking new routes lets you see different things and start your days with new ideas and feelings that can enrich your routine

Something you do every day is go to work or go to the gym or just get out of your house to go to that first place that starts your routine daily. If you do it in the same way every day, you will just feel the same way or even stop feeling a thing while you start your day.

But when you decide to live differently each day of your life, when you choose to discover new details that could have remained anonymous, everything changes…There's a magic that you can incorporate to your life by just changing your routes to those places you visit frequently.

You can ask yourself why or how, or you can even think it just won't work for you because your life is just not that simple. But, actually, it is. Not simple in a bad and negative way, but simple in a way that you can take advantage of to enrich your mind and your days…

It's a matter of details, of seeing different things, of making your monotonous habits a little more exciting. You'll notice how you'll start to see things you hadn't seen before because of the fact that you'll be kind of forced to observe a bit more and make an effort to find your way to the same place through a different road.

It's actually kind of awkward when you try to understand this without doing it, but when you try it, you'll find yourself thinking "When did they build this here? I hadn't seen it!", "What a beautiful tree! What's its name?", "This is a great bridge! This rout is a lot faster than I thought!"…And like those, which are the simplest, there will be a lot more details that may at least make you smile, will give you ideas for something or will make your day start with more positive energies and purposes.

Taking new routes is just one of many ways of seeing new things in your daily life. You can also learn new languages, listen to different kinds of music, watch movies if you don't do it frequently, call somebody with whom you didn't speak a long time ago, read a book on a subject you don't know much about…

The idea is to not do exactly the same activities in the same way every day because your brain, your mind and your eyes will get used to those things and will just stop observing them, which means they won't be open to new ideas and magical details. But when you force them to learn, hear and see new information, sounds and images, they will make an effort to discover what they are about and to transform them into something of value for you.

Go ahead and make small changes in your daily life! It can't harm you and it will definitely enrich your days and be positive for your life.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The power of expressing your feelings

"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth". Benjamin Disraeli.

Expressing what you feel, what you think, what you like or don't, what you need, what you dream about, what your night was like, what you're afraid of, your vision of the world and anything you feel like expressing is a liberating act that sets your mind and soul free, and takes away those repressed feeling and the words you've been accumulating in the inside.

We have to start by saying that the freedom of speech and freedom of expression is a fundamental right of the human beings in most of the democratic countries of the world. That means expression is inherent in human beings; it constitutes a very special characteristic that they have developed through language.

The psychologists and psychiatrists study the human mind and the complexities of human behavior. What do they do? Listen to everything that a person has to say and express in different ways, in order to analyze what's inside and to try to help them by becoming a counselor that listens and talks to them, among other things.

So many times we've heard that wise advice: "don't keep your problems inside; talk, have someone listen to everything that you have to say, cry if you need to, don't keep the sadness inside because it will mount up and end up destroying you…". That is simply a very natural and important advice that evokes an essential condition of human beings: the expression of feelings.

Music, art, literature, politics, poetry, photography and many others are excellent examples of important products of human expression. They're nothing more than different ways and constructions of human feelings and visions of the world that have been expressed to let others know about them, and to let those feelings be released from the minds and souls of their authors.

The songs, books, paints, pictures, laws and poems that we have today are so valuable because they constitute the expression of the feelings of millions of people from different places of the world throughout history. They represent the visions that all those minds and hearts built in a specific moment in time from their perception of the world in which they lived, which had determined circumstances. That makes all those words unique and priceless.

Expressing yourself really liberates your soul; it prevents feelings and words from rotting inside you and harming you for longer periods of time. When you say something out loud you're making it a reality, you're accepting it and either letting it go, if you want, or letting it become a part of your life, if that is your wish.

If you learn how to understand what you feel and then turn it into words to let it out, you've gained a very important skill that will help you go through life with less burdens, and that will help you know yourself and let others understand what you have inside.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be a very fulfilling act. What you have to say is important; it matters. Somebody, more people than you may think, care about the words that you put together to express yourself. But, if no one's there to listen to you, you can also listen to yourself; just say it out loud and you'll know that you are a bit closer to freedom.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

If translation didn't exist...

"Common European thought is the fruit of the immense toil of translators. Without translators, Europe would not exist; translators are more important than members of the European Parliament". Milan Kundera.

We live in such a modern world and we are now used to so many technologies and devices that we hardly value or stop to think about the different disciplines and arts that make so many things possible…

There's one good example of great importance because of everything that has been created and transformed thanks to it, and that is translation. Translation has united cultures, societies, artists, writers, businesses, countries and people around the world within the passage of time.

The art of translation has made possible that the most amazing history, poetry and literature works of the greatest thinkers and authors of all times can be read, studied and understood by millions of people that speak hundreds of different languages.

The fact that there are professionals dedicated to study languages and specializing in really knowing the cultural details and customs of different countries and regions has made possible that persons from really faraway places of the planet can establish communication and find that they actually have things in common.

Since there are more than 300 spoken languages in the world, if translation didn't exist, you wouldn't be doing a lot of the things you do in your daily life. For example, you wouldn't be able to watch thousands of movies from directors of different countries because there would be no way for you to understand them, since there wouldn't exist subtitles for you to read the dialogs in your own language.

Also, many television shows that have been adapted from the originals from other countries wouldn't reach your national television providers guide, because they would be in their original languages…Furthermore, a lot of great famous books that have been adapted to the big screen couldn't possibly be so because of the fact that the books are written in the author's native languages, which can't be comprehended by the scriptwriters.

There are countless examples in countless fields that transform your everyday life because of the possibilities that translation has brought to life. The world would be a completely different place and wouldn't be so culturally rich and so full of knowledge if it weren't for translation and, of course, for translators.

Even scientific inventions and science development have advanced much more and faster because of the possibility of uniting the knowledge and the experiments of scientists from around the world that do research and work in their own languages.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

What silence has to say

"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods". Ralph Waldo Emerson

Silence is, most of the times, undervalued by those people who live immersed in the increasingly faster routines of today's society, where time is precious but is used to buy more time, and where spaces for relax, for reading at the park and for listening to nature are practically extinct.

Today, our cities are full of noise, constructions are all over the place, people yell to be heard, everyone has to say something, cars don't fit in the streets, televisions are always on their highest volume, people walk listening to loud music through their earphones without seeing anything that happens around…

Our society has forgotten about silence. No one seems to care about quiet spaces anymore. It's actually really difficult to find a place where you can easily go and spend a while without listening to all kinds of noises that disconnect you from your inner peace and from that relax instants that you need to go away for a bit.

Go ahead and try this experiment: go to a public place and sit alone in silence, just stay there with yourself and start looking at how other people react. They will probably stare at you with a "what are you doing? Are you crazy?" kind of look…Not a lot of people are aware of the huge value that the essence of silence represents.

The treasure of silence

Silence is a treasure that a lot of poets, writers and artists have valued and though about through time, to the point that they have dedicated entire works, or simple phrases, to describe it, to analyze it, to thank it, to celebrate its existence.

In silence have been created millions of works of art and inventions that are treasures of humanity and that have changed its history forever. Silence has allowed geniuses to find their brilliant ideas, writers to find their words, artists to find their shapes, painters to find their colors, musicians to find their notes, physicians to find their numbers, animals to find their preys and common people to find their way.

Silence represents a precious moment in which a person can listen to his/her own voice to think and make decisions about life, and take new paths in order to achieve specific dreams and goals. Furthermore, silence is need and should become a priority in people's lives…It could do them so much good, especially in the stressful times we live in today.

We do so many things, we run so much every day, we dedicate such a big part of our valuable time to so many worthless details…Without a doubt, anyone could use ten minutes of each day to relax, to sit or just lay in the bed, listening to the words of silence, making peace with life, imagining the dreamed future in pictures and daydreaming about what he/she wants to become…

You could be surprised with what silence can do for you. You may think you lose time if you just stay still without talking or doing anything, but the greatest idea of your life could just be whispered to you in the words of silence.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Online social networks changed communication forever

Online social networks allow people to know details about other people's lives in a most discreet way

Online social networks are here to stay; they've been created and are so deep into people's lives already, that they will only grow to develop new applications and original ways for people to instantly communicate with friends, family and acquaintances from all around the world.

If Internet, e-mail, chats and instant messaging had changed people's habits, online social networks have absolutely revolutionized people's daily routines, the way they communicate with each other and the way they find out about how everyone's doing on a particular moment. Today, someone won't call a friend, they will send a message through Facebook…

Online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and occupy big portions of people's time every day, whether it is at the office, in their house or in their spare times.

A recent study found out that the under 35 year olds are totally addicted to these social networks; for example, 39% of Twitter users and 27% of Facebook users under 35 years old check their Twitter and Facebook accounts, respectively, more than ten times a day.

These networks offer activities that people can still do sitting in front of their computers, but that represent free time and relax for their minds, as well as contact with all their friends, acquaintances and family, with whom they can share pictures, exchange messages, have conversations, share opinions, watch videos, listen to their favorite songs, play games, etc.

It's a common space in which people feel that they're not alone when they actually are. They just have a virtual space that they can access any time they want, as long as they have an Internet connection. It's gone so far, that currently a lot of people spend their biggest online social network time in their mobile, rather than in front of the computer. People like the immediacy with which they can show their family and friends where they are or what they just bought, by simply taking a picture with their cell phone and then sending it in seconds…

These networks have an interactive essence that makes them appear as an omnipresent and endless conversation between millions of people all over the world. There's a reason why Twitter's slogan is "Join the conversation"…It's become an addiction that makes people want to publish and share with everyone what they're thinking or doing, or what just happened to them at their office, even what they're eating at the moment or that they're hungry and want chocolate really badly.

Online social networks have made people addicted to know and look into each other's lives: they can see pictures, find out about what others did on the weekend, see the news about the end of a relationship…It's a more discreet way of taking a glance at what goes on with the world and with other people's lives, without asking and without anyone knowing that you where interested in somebody's affairs.

These networks have also created a debate about the risks of loosing privacy when everyone publishes everything without thinking about the consequences. Furthermore, the debate has even reached the security risks that this information disclosure represents. But that'll be good for a future post.

For now, let's just say that online social networks have widen people's opportunities of keeping in touch with their acquaintances from all around the world, and that they represent a great tool for letting everyone know about a business, an idea or an opinion. It's just a matter of being careful and wise about the use of information.

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