A minha Lista de blogues

domingo, 22 de dezembro de 2013

Boas Festas

A todos os leitores deste blog desejo


Foto: Reid´s Palace Hotel, Funchal, Madeira

sexta-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2013

100 years of crosswords

A crossword puzzle is a game of words where the player is given a hint and the number of letters. The player then fills in a grid of boxes by finding the right words. 

The first crossword puzzle ran in The New York World on 21 December, 1913, 100 years ago. It was invented by Arthur Wynne. 

Arthur Wynne was born on June 22, 1871 in Liverpool, England. He immigrated to the United States at the age of nineteen. He first lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked both as a journalist and a musician. Wynne played violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra before he moved to Cedar Grove, New Jersey and started working for  a newspaper called The New York World, whose editor asked him to invent a new game for the paper's Sunday entertainment section.

domingo, 15 de dezembro de 2013

How do cows pollute?

Arthur Moniz. São Miguel, Azores

My students in year 10 have started studying food. For some reason, they found strange the link between cows and pollution. That was my motivation to write about this topic, although I am certainly not an expert and far from being vegetarian!

Cows emit a huge amount of methane (a colourless, odourless gas that affects the degradation of the ozone layer) through belching, and also a bit through flatulence. Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels, but it is an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.

To understand why cows produce methane, it's important to know they have a stomach with four compartments and digest their food in their stomachs instead of in their intestines, as humans do: they swallow their food and bring the cud back to their mouth to chew and eat it again, as they belong to a class of animals called ruminants. Their stomachs are filled with bacteria that aid in digestion, but also produce methane.

Some people justify their vegetarianism on the basis of meat being wasteful, such as using up a lot of water and creating a lot of greenhouse gases.

The romantic image people have of green pastures filled with fat happy cows as we can find in the Azores is actually a distortion of the reality.

 Most meat we eat comes from cows living in large feedlots without enough space to move. The main objective of meat production under those conditions is to make cows grow faster, by feeding them with hormones as well as antibiotics so that they can survive the unsanitary living conditions. The cows live there for only a few months before they are moved for slaughter.

So, before we taste beef, it is perhaps important to reflect upon what we are eating, such as its impact on global warming, as well as the conditions with which cows live. 




Checkpoint Charlie

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of the Cold War and separation of Germany and Berlin. After World War II the city of Berlin was divided into four sectors: The American, British and French sectors were part of the west, while the Soviet was part of the communist sector in the East.

Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse was the only allowed point to enter East Berlin. 

I visited Berlin in 1983 and that was the place where I saw my East German friends for the last time. It was very shocking to see only very old people crossing the border. They were the only East Germans allowed to visit their families, from whom they were separated in 1961. Only tourists with a visa, diplomats and military personnel could cross the border.

Today Checkpoint Charlie is only a tourist attraction. 

People will be disappointed about the Berlin Wall because only a few sections of it still exist. 

The first time I saw a part of it, after the wall was dismantled, was in the USA, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The border between East and West Berlin has been opened since 1989 and many people go daily from one part of the city into the other. However the best paces for shopping and entertainment are still in the former West Berlin.

During the last Christmas holidays it was my first opportunity to say: Hooray for the Unification!

sábado, 14 de dezembro de 2013

It´s beginning to....

...look a lot like Christmas

The Nativity Scene

Victorian Christmas Trees

Welcome Winter

The Christmas Broadcast

A Árvore de Natal

O Primeiro Postal de Natal

O Pai Natal

Curiosidades de Natal

Deacon Brodie

"William Brodie was one of the inspirations for Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde. Born in 1741 Brodie was a deacon of the Guild of Wrights. By day, he was a respectable citizen, a member of the town council but by night, he consorted with lowlife; gambling and drinking. His dark side meant he had to take to burglary to pay his gambling debts, leading to his hanging in 1788."

In the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, you can find a pub named after Deacon Brodie.

Edinburgh, December 2013

quinta-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2013

Pope Francis: Person of the Year 2013

Pope Francis was selected as Time Magazine's 2013 Person of the Year, the third pontiff to win the American magazine's yearly honour since its start in 1927 (Pope John XXIII, in 1962, and Pope John Paul II, in 1994, were also named Person of the Year).

World figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr and more recently Barack Obama won the title, too.

I think Time magazine got it right. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was largely unknown to the world before his election as Pope, but since he first appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica on March 13, he has captivated the world. Pope Francis is a man who in the last year has been transforming the Catholic church by focusing on the inequalities brought about by poverty.

In one of his many touching quotes, he asks:

“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Pope Francis continues to make headlines for statements that seem more tolerant and accepting than those of his predecessors. Recently he opened the door of the Church to gays:

"If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

He is humble and committed to cut the frivolous spending of the Church and the Vatican Bank - rather than living in a sumptuous apartment Pope Francis resides in a modest Vatican guest house.



quarta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2013

Nadir Afonso has died at 93

" The artist does not produce any work while work does not produce fulfilment in the artist."

Nadir Afonso
in Colecção Arte Contemporânea. Nadir Afonso. Bertrand 1986

Portuguese painter, architect and philosopher, Nadir Afonso (Chaves, December 4, 1920 - Cascais, December 11, 2013) has died at the age of 93.

After completing secondary school in Chaves, Nadir Afonso moved to Porto, in 1938, to enrol in the Painting course at the Porto School of Fine Arts, but was then convinced to forget about Painting and choose Architecture instead, as it was more prestigious. However, he never lost his love for painting. Nadir continued to paint and in 1965 he abandoned architecture to dedicate himself fully to Painting.

Nadir's works are part of important museums in Portugal and abroad, namely in Lisbon, Porto, Amarante, Rio de Janeiro, S. Paulo, Budapest, Paris (Centre Georges Pompidou), Berlin and Wurzburg.

segunda-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2013

Bullying não é brincadeira

Uma professora quis ensinar à sua turma os efeitos do bullying.

Deu a todos os alunos uma folha de papel e disse-lhes para a amachucarem, a deitarem para o chão e a pisarem.

Resumindo, podiam estragar a folha o mais possível, mas não rasgá-la.

As crianças entusiasmadas fizeram o melhor para amachucarem a folha, tanto quanto possível.

A seguir, a professora pediu-lhes para apanharem a folha e abri-la, novamente, com cuidado sem a rasgar. Deviam endireitá-la com muito cuidado. Chamou-lhes a atenção para observarem como as folhas estavam sujas e cheias de marcas. Depois, disse-lhes para pedirem desculpa ao papel, enquanto o endireitavam. Os alunos passaram e voltaram a passar as mãos para alisarem o papel, porém a folha mostrava-se incapaz de regressar ao seu estado original - os vincos estavam bem marcados.

A professora pediu então para que olhassem bem para os vincos e as marcas no papel. E lembrou-lhes: aquelas marcas NUNCA mais iriam desaparecer, mesmo que tentassem repará-las.

É isto o que acontece com as crianças diferentes ou as mais tímidas ou ainda as mais fracas, que são humilhadas, assediadas e constantemente gozadas por outras crianças, afirmou a professora.

Podes pedir desculpa, podes tentar mostrar o teu arrependimento, contudo, as marcas, essas… ficam para sempre.

O bullying não é brincadeira. Estraga mais do que nós podemos imaginar!

sexta-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2013

Morreu Nelson Mandela

A morte de Mandela foi anunciada esta noite pelo presidente da África do Sul, Jacob Zuma, em conferência de imprensa.

Lê: Nelson Mandela

domingo, 1 de dezembro de 2013