Search This Blog

Friday, November 23, 2012

Meet the beefeaters with Isha Datar

The limits of my mind are the limits of my world.  

                                    Meat the future

Meat the future is a project that intends to inform people about todays unsustainable and inhumane meat industry. But also give hope for a change as there is a solution in sight, called In Vitro meat.

Meat produced in vitro has been proposed as a humane, safe and environmentally beneficial alternative to slaughtered animal flesh as a source of nutritional muscle tissue. The basic methodology of an in vitro meat production system (IMPS) involves culturing muscle tissue in a liquid medium on a large scale.
Industrial relevance: The development of an alternative meat production system is driven by the growing demand for meat and the shrinking resources available to produce it by current methods.

Isha Datar is the author of “Possibilities for an in vitro meat production system”, Canada’s only scientific investigation into cultured meat. Isha’s work has contributed to the development of Canada’s first in vitro meat lab at the University of Alberta, and has been featured in several articles in Canada and abroad. Her advocacy for the responsible use of science to contribute to food security has led to multiple speaking engagements on in vitro meat and agrobiotechnology patent reform.

“Democratizing Agribiotechnology” @ Pecha Kucha Edmonton 8 – slideshow

Here are the slides for PKN8 Edmonton for those who are interested.

The future for mushrooms in a log at home... .here!

For a fairytale of blossoming spaguetti trees int he idyllic Swiss valleys:

HOW TO to learn gradable/extreme adjectives

Students tend to have some dreadfully common habits. Oral study time is neglected. Recording to their own voices is not their cup of tea. Repeating some transcripts is out of the question. Study a language means study it as my father studied Latin in a silent way, a Dead language, right? Who spoke it?
Modern English was a "dead" language in the last century, with a generation of students who never spoke much the language in a personal way; a "very dead*" language, wasn't it?  

A: Can you tell us the best way of making lists to learn Gradable / extreme adjectives?
B: Well, If I follow some sheer cold logic ...
A: I don't mind.
B: It's pretty ridiculous when you think about it. You know I mean? it's a fairly impossible job.
A: You mean if I learn lists, these lists are to be far less useful than the practical usage of the square roots in arithmetics?
B: how many times have you used square roots in your practical life?
A: None. 
B: Yeah, a comprehensive nonsense. I gues it is well wrth to find them in the texts you listen to.
A: But I always study English but do not watch English series or listen to audio books.
B: Thus, It must be well worth a try!
A: Are you quite certain**?
B: It has to do with the least helpful sense of all: your common sense. 
A; More than surprised I am astonished.
B: Well, a thoroughly enjoyable conversation indeed. 

The meaning of the adverb "very dead*" language is not correct! But some speakers say it nevertheless
** "quite" changes according to the type of adjective we use it with:
Quite bad (a bit more than fairly); Quite certain (= absolutely)

Try this QUIZZ.
Tip: Don't try to learn lists of gradable and non-gradable adjectives! It's better to understand what makes an adjective gradable or non-gradable. This is a matter of logic and common sense. Most native-speakers have never heard of gradable and non-gradable adjectives. They just "feel" that it doesn't make sense to say "fairly excellent" or "very unique". You probably have the same idea in your language.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hans Rosling and data visualization

Hans Rosling: The Jedi Master of data visualization 


Dr. Hans Rosling is one of my presentation heroes; he's been featured or mentioned in all my books and several times on over the years. If there is a Jedi Master of presenting data clearly, visually, and simply, then it is Hans. He proves time and time again, that data are not dull—and when you are trying to change the world, there is no excuse for boring presentations. Most people are aware of Dr. Rosling through his popular TED Talks, but just in case you've never seen him present, below is a nice 5-minute piece he did on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.

US in a converging world: Hans Rosling on CNN
This segment is from March, 2011. Go here to see loads of videos on

Rosling's World  at ted talks.
 At you'll find many video presentations and articles on Hans Rosling.

Hans Rosling: Asia's rise -- how and when

Saturday, November 17, 2012

china eco-cities

changing landscapes

Shao Weimin, vice-mayor of Wuhan, delivers a speech to the 2012 Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Nov 15, 2012

The city is among the first batch of cities in China to pilot the smart city program, it is also the first city in the world to hold an open tender to global companies for intelligent city designs.
Forrester, a research and advisory firm, defines smart city as "the use of smart computing technologies to make the critical infrastructure components and services of a city—which include city administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation, and utilities—more intelligent, interconnected, and efficient."

Guess what it is?
"Design something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates microclimates, changes colors with the seasons, and self-replicates."
Like it or not, China has become a workshop for the world, a laboratory for new technology and global talent seeking to realize their futuristic visions. 
William McDonough.
I will finish by showing you a new city we're designing for the Chinese government. We're doing 12 cities for China right now, based on cradle to cradle as templates. Our assignment is to develop protocols for the housing for 400 million people in 12 years. We did a mass energy balance -- if they use brick, they will lose all their soil and burn all their coal. They'll have cities with no energy and no food. 

August 14, 2011 - CNN's Nadia Bilchik discusses a totally sustainable city being built in China.

Homes and hotels in china

For the LAst Century, see America by R. Crumb.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the best is yet to come - Plusquamperfect future

The only thing constant in this world is change.  

 ‘Change Quotes’ Archive 

1957 Vision of the Year 2000

  • What are your initial reactions to what you saw in the presentation?
  • How are these changes manifesting themselves in your personal lives? professional lives?
  • What skills do we need to survive and thrive in this new era?
  • What implications does this have for our current way of doing things?
  • Do we need to change? If so, how?
  • How do we get from here to there?
  • What challenges must we overcome as we move forward?
  • What supports will we need as we move forward?
  • What kind of training will we need to move forward?
  • What kind of commitments will we need to make (with each other,  and our community) to move forward?
  • Who's scared? Why?

this is an advertisement for Intel at Vimeo, but I like the message. Things are a changin’ and they are changin’ quick. If we don’t jump on the bus it is going to leave us and our students behind!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Changing times- Can You Spare A Dime?

If you want things to stay as they are,
things will have to change.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa 


the speaker is speaking in behalf of ………

How does he feel?

Why do they have to stand in line for a handout of bread?

Explain: followed the mob:

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?


Once we had a ……  A …….
Praise the Lord!
Life had meaning and hope.
Now we're stuck with   ….. B…, 

                      ….. C…, ….. D…,
Brother, can you spare a rope?

Martinez' Blog

For a recent article: visit The NYTimes 

Some cultural-language comments.

=====  KEY========
the speaker is speaking in behalf of ………
for the impoverished and unemployed people in the country
How does he feel?
The speaker feels betrayed, powerless, and duped by a country that used him, and he can't believe it.

Why do they have to stand in line for a handout of bread?
Depression times.
Explain: followed the mob:
'followed the mob' trying to live out what they had been told was the American way. When the country needed farmers, laborers, any sort of work to be done, and especially when they were called to war, the people saw it as their duty

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Britain's weirdest mobile phone insurance claims

The mind boggles: Mobile phone users have given some wacky excuses when claiming insurance on handset

Bovine blunder: A Devon farmer claimed to have lost his phone inside a cowIt takes a lot to separate some people from their phones, but these excuses used to claim insurance on lost or broken handsets really make the mind boggle.  

Website mobileinsurance has listed some of the most far-fetched claims it has received in the last twelve months, including phones baked into cakes, flushed down loos, and lost inside cows.
They have investigated every single one and many of the most bizarre claims were accepted.

                                  TOP TEN CRAZIEST CLAIMS
  1. 1.  Lost inside a cow
  2. 2.  Baked into a cake
  3. 3.  Flushed down a lavatory
  4. 4.  Snatched by a seagull
  5. 5.  Blasted by fireworks
  6. 6.  Stolen by monkeys
  7. 7.  Dropped from a tree
  8. 8.  Thrown at a boyfriend
  9. 9.  Worn out by 'intimate' use
  10. 10. Dropped overboard

    1. But a cow in Devon was probably as shocked as its owner when the farmer lost his iPhone up its rear end. He was using the torch to help him deliver a calf.
    2. A couple on a cruise tried to photograph themselves re-enacting the 'I'm the king of the world' scene from the movie Titanic, but lost their phone over the side. 
    3. A Bristol woman in her twenties shamelessly told insurers that she'd worn out the vibrate function on her BlackBerry Bold 9900 by using it as an 'adult toy'.
    4. One Liverpool girl in her twenties found out her boyfriend had been cheating on her and threw her HTC Desire X at him, but it hit the wall. 
    5. A lady from Nottingham said she'd baked her phone into her daughter's birthday cake. She claimed the Nokia 630i fell into the Victoria sponge mixture and had not survived the heat of the oven. 
    6. Bovine blunder: A Devon farmer claimed to have lost his phone inside a cow while delivering a calf
    7. Meanwhile a frugal fan wanted to go to a Blur concert in Hyde Park without paying for a ticket. He ended up dropping his new iPhone whilst trying to film it from a tree. 
    8. A builder using the toilet lost his iPhone 4S after it fell out of his back pocket. He only realised after flushing.
    9. One dog-walker claimed a bird had bagged her blower on Barry Island beach in Wales. 
    10. A pyrotechnician suffered another workplace accident while putting on a show at the National Fireworks Championships in Plymouth. It was only as the smoke cleared that he realised he'd left his iPhone 3GS in the 'blast zone'.

      t he realised he'd left his iPhone 3GS in the 'blast zone

    'More exotic animals also seem to take an interest in phones, as a man in his thirties found out in the monkey enclosure at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire..

    John Lamerton, the insurer's managing director said: 'Judging by these claims, you really never know what you might need to claim for. My advice would be to just use the phone as a phone.'

    Read more:

    Only the pyrotechnician and the Blur fan had their claims rejected by the company.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    toni gomila, acorar

    Espectacle escrit i interpretat per Toni Gomila. Dirigit per Rafel Duran. Acorar és una reflexió sobre la identitat col•lectiva dels pobles, sobre què és allò que ens defineix, què és allò que fa que -encara- existeixi la nostra comunitat. El text pren per excusa narrativa la descripció d'una jornada de matances a Mallorca. I d'aquí el títol de l'espectacle. La d'acorar era una feina reservada al més expert, perquè no és gens senzilla de fer, i avui en dia ben pocs en saben. A partir d'un minúscul fet casolà, oferim una visió universal que provoca una reflexió en l'espectador sobre el seu món més íntim. Arribarem a la secreta intimitat de cadascú perquè allò que oferim és universal.

    Reflexió que l'obra ens aporta sobre la identidat col.lectiva dels pobles, sobre lo que fa que encara existisca nostra comunitat. Sobre un món, rar, rar.

    Presentació a VIMEO -E plan B de BTV on s'entrevista a l'actor.

    La obra escrita e interpretada por Toni Gomila, dirigida por Rafel Duran y producida por Produccions de Ferro, se estrenó en 2011 y se ha convertido en un éxito teatral como ha habido pocos en nuestras islas. Acorar ha recibido varios premios, entre ellos los de Mejor Actor, Director y Espectáculo, concedidos por la Asociación de Teatros y Auditorios Públicos de las Islas Baleares

    Ja podeu trobar l'edició impresa d'ACORAR a les llibreries de Palma. A partir de dilluns ho podreu fer també a les de la resta de Mallorca i a la Llibreria 22 de Girona. No us quedeu sense ACORAR, el llibre!

    MArc Farras a Directa291 escriu:
    Que ho fa, que els pobles existeixin? Fonamentalment, rituals i projectes
    col.lectius, I també, no ens enganyem, estructures governamentals en consonància. 
    Portada del llibre
    A I'Europa moderna, no hi ha antecedents de cultures que hagin sobreviscut sensI'empara oficial. Per aixo, si més no, resulta sorprenent la vitalitat de les arts a Calalunya.

    Acorar, una reflexió sobre la deriva de la identitat
    mallorquina, acaba d'aterrar a Barcelona amb tots els números per
    revalidar l’èxit obtingut a les llles i convertir-se en la revelació de l"any. L’avalen l’ofici de Toni Gomila, artífex de l’obra, la solvencia en la direcció de Rafa Duran i una pluja de premis.
    La tria del títol és en si mateixa. reveladora. Acorar, en mallorquí vol dir clavar alguna cosa  al cor, donar el cop de gràcia. Aniquilar.  I aixo és el que fa Gomila: penetrar a les entranyes de l’illa i sacsejar-Ia sense compassió. I ho fa a tràvés d'una litúrgia ancestral: el sanifici del porc. L'eix de l’existència camperola mallorquina. Del xoc, ningú no en surt indenme. Ni polítics ni menestrals. Ningú.

    Gom ila denuncia la  inanició d'un poble que és víctima de la seva
    propia renúncia. L'avaricia i la camanduleria han triomfat sobre la
    naturalitat i la tradición. La nafra cou i Gomila hi Ilença sal perquè
    sentim els crits d'una terra que crema per dins. L,  alhora,  se'ns
    revela un amor a l'illa que es desborda en tota la seva complexitat.
    Un amor pur i contradictori. quasi irracional. I és aquest amor el que
    fa palès el dolor per la perdua.

    Gomila parla d'un temps Borrós, de quan la Ilet era llet i feia
    tel i de quan els fills morien en néixer. No renalteix. Perque també
    hi niaven miseries. Pero reivindica el valor de les arrels. D'aquest món
    plistocenic, només en queden uns pocs exemplars_ La padrina, que 
    guarda vora el foc un silenci talaiòtic: els arbres, les pedres,
    l’aigua. Testimonis de segles d 'oprobis i d'oblits. Els seus descendents,
    amb les butxaques plenes de doblers germànics,  s’han
    fet un xalet fora vila i han desistit del combat.  I ara resulta que la
    sobrassada es torna blanca. La metàfora perfecta de la renúncia a
    I"essencialitat. La derrota. 
    Acorar és d'una lucidesa radiant que desconcerta. Impacta i 
    meravella a parts iguals. Estem davant del triomf de la
    senzillesa i la força tel·lúrica de la paraula. Però, sobretot, del
    teatre intel·ligent.

    DEl Serfi Pàmies:
    Toni Gomila es de Manacor, y esta condición prevalece sobre todas las demás. También es actor, aunque cuando lo ves por primera vez puedes imaginar que se trata de un importador jordano de pistachos o de un diseñador sardo de boinas posmodernas. Hace meses que, con toda justicia, vive la aventura del éxito con el monólogo Acorar, del que es intérprete y autor. Acorar es un sinónimo mallorquín de degollar y el acorador es el especialista que, los días de matanza, se encarga de matar a la bestia. Ahora, la hiperactiva librería Món de Llibres de Manacor acaba de publicar este texto y nos permite acceder a una reflexión cómica pero nada superficial sobre los cambios explícitos y metafóricos de unas tradiciones, una lengua y una manera de asumir el paso del tiempo.

    Fuera del escenario, Gomila destaca por la coordinación entre gestualidad, mirada y voz. En el escenario lo ignoro, porque sólo lo he visto devorando una generosa paella y, disfrazado de barman, haciendo de maestro de ceremonias de una presentación literaria en la que ambos acabamos sorprendidos y extenuados. Leyéndolo, constato que Gomila explota las mismas virtudes que en la mesa: buen oído, interés para detectar la sorpresa y la paradoja, sensibilidad para reconvertir la inseguridad en combustible creativo y pasión por la discusión, especialmente cuando no lleva a ninguna parte. Por escrito, acumula arrebatos de lirismo, osadía filosófica, observación sociológica y el humor de los que intuyen que, en ocasiones, la distancia más corta para llegar a la comicidad es la ironía.

    El espectáculo Acorar ha sido y es un éxito. Los que entienden de teatro hablan de mallorquinidad relativizada y de temeridad antropológica. Tienen razón. Para describir las contradicciones y servidumbres del progreso, Gomila se agarra a la metáfora de la sobrasada blanca, a los colorantes que mantienen su prestigio cromático y a todas las veces que, para sobrevivir, un país tiene que venderse el alma al diablo (alemán o euroburócrata). Gomila también se refugia en los prodigios de una lengua exuberante, pensada para aislar (y vacilar) a los forasteros y hacerles comprender que a los que dominan sus secretos no les preocupa la facilidad, una lengua que se enriquece con variedades infinitas de sinónimos y malabarismos fonéticos. Y nos regala frases que, incluso cuando no acabas de comprenderlas, puedes saborear durante horas ("No deixis llobades i arriba an es cul des ribell" o "Cotxos arranquen i parteixen. Es ca, sadoll, ni lladra"). Todo este mundo que se pierde queda atrapado por Acorar, un texto de una melancolía intensa y contagiosa.

    Leer más:
    Síguenos en: |

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Knowledge is power - US Elections and bending the rules

    Elections clues  and issues. Or We must hit first (since he who hits first hits twice)

    1. Voter fraud/vote suppression. 
    After years of partisan legislation designed to make it harder for people to vote,  we all soon will learn whether election officials in key states are willing (or not) and able to ensure that registered voters are able to vote, to vote accurately, and to have those votes counted fully and fairly. Meanwhile state and federal court fight for rulings protecting broader voting rights

    2. Recount in crucial states.  
    The tougher question is whether such a recount will be dispositive as it was in Florida in 2000. There are many reasons to be concerned about this happening again. Mind you, only New Hampshire requires hand-counting of ballots during a recount. 

    3. Districts. Redifining borders

    item 1. Redistricting is the process of redrawing the districts from which public officials are elected. The General Assembly is required to redraw all of these districts following each decennial census due to population changes and the need to maintain equal representation. The most recent census was carried out in 2010, so districts were redrawn in 2011.
    item 2.  The odd shapes of the GOP congressional redistricting plan
     favors reworking the process into a bipartisan or citizen-driven commission, omitting the politicians.
    "It doesn't matter who is in charge. When the Democrats were in charge we had the same problems," he said. "It's hard to have confidence when politicians are drawing their own districts."
    4. Never-ending campaign makes registration voters Key to win
    In the key swinging states the campaign started much earlier than a year ago. In Ohoi, the activitsts have been on the road every weekend for 4 long years, so that the more than 2.000.000 voters could be added. In some cases up to 8% of them had still some problems to be fully accepted and were help up..
    In the frenzied final days leading up to the election, Marcos Vilar manned a bilingual command center in central Florida, where he's been working to register voters and make sure they are engaged in Spanish as well as English. About 60 to 70 percent of about 100,000 newly registered Latino voters in Florida are Spanish-dominant. 
    But not only:  This year was the first presidential election in which there were more Asian-American voters (11 percent) in California than African-American ones (8 percent). In 2008, 6 percent were Asian-American and 10 percent were African-American.

    5. Microtargeting. 

    In the NYTimes we read taht the practice is called microtargeting and like a lot of marketing techniques on the Internet aimed at identifying consumer tastes and behaviors, it is an information-age approach that is helping change how political groups identify and interact with voters.
    Moreover, microtargeting may give pollsters, campaigns and interest groups a sharper idea of how candidates and issues may fare at the ballot box, raising concerns about personal privacy in a medium where government regulation is minimal.

    What these firms receive is detailed information about how often a potential voter has cast a ballot in addition to data on what they read, where they shop and other consumer behavior tracked for decades off line.
    6. Judiciary in states closely aligned with Tea Party sentiment.
    ArizonaMissouriNew Hampshire, and Florida-- conservative activists seek through ballot measures to limit judicial authority and independence through a series of partisan initiatives. The most blatant of these efforts is in Florida, where Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-sponsored group, is seeking to remove three justices of the Florida Supreme Court. Millions have been spent on that race alone. Follow William Raftery's Gavel To Gavel blog on election night if you want the play-by-play. Here is his list of all judiciary-related amendments.
    visual display: PREZZI 
    EPILOGUE. The latino-issue. Figures and analysis.
    Thomas D. Elias: Latino voters are sleeping giants

    Weeks before Tuesday's election, President Obama began to realize his only chance for victory: Awaken the so-called sleeping giant of American politics, the approximately 50.5 million Latinos or Spanish-speaking US residents, 26 million of whom are eligible to vote.
    "If I win," he said in late October, "it will be because of Latinos."
    Obama and his private pollsters, then, may have had a clue that something was happening among Hispanic voters, those whose ethnic roots lie in Mexico, Central and South America, as well as Spain and Portugal.
    Something important was indeed occurring. So now there is the possibility the same effect which turned California from a generally Republican state to a reliably Democratic one in presidential politics may spread elsewhere. Within three years of its passage, more than 2.5 million Latinos became naturalized citizens and registered to vote in California, almost all of them solidly Democratic then and now.
    NUMBERS. Obama won in 2008 by getting record numbers of minority and youth voters to turn out. He won about 80 percent of non-white votes that year, while losing the white vote to John McCain by 6 percent. This year, Obama won not much more than 35 percent of white votes, but even more minorities turned out than four years ago. That was enough. The Latino vote was about 25 percent larger than in 2008. Obama granted administrative relief to as many as 4 million youthful illegals.