Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Natural Born Prison


A light cone is the path that a flash of light, emanating from a single event localized to a single point in space and a single moment in time and traveling in all directions, would take through spacetime. Because signals and other causal influences cannot travel faster than light, the light cone defines the concept of causality: for a given event E, the set of events that lie on or inside the light cone of E would be the set of events that could receive a signal sent out from the position and time of E, so the light cone contains all the events that could potentially be causally influenced by E. Events which don't lie in the light cone of E cannot be influenced by E, they are in the "elsewhere" region. If we are at E, we cannot causally affect or be causally affected by an occurrence at an event in this "elsewhere" region.


Now imagine that you have born at point O at a single moment in time. All your possible futures will be inside the light cone determined by the path of light traveling in all directions with origin in O. Whatever you do, you will never be able to break through the light cone because you can't travel faster than light. All your projects, dreams, realizations, will be inside the light cone: it is your existential prison

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Modern Job

The job as we think of it today is a relatively modern invention. It protects you from the daily ups and downs of business. So if you're working in an office as a graphic designer for Coca Cola or you're a shipping clerk for some stationary manufacturer, you don't wake up every morning and find out based on the weather or based on the market whether you have a job that day or not. You have a long-term commitment that obviously can change, but you have this buffering, this safety from the chaos of the marketplace. 


And also in the modern job you don't have to be proving worth all the time. You maybe don't have your best performing day or week, month, but you're not going to get fired. You just go in, put in your hours and you're still going to get paid. There is decades of fascinating studies of how expensive it is for companies to actually monitor each worker. It's really efficient not to make sure each worker is maximally efficient: you just hire a whole bunch of people and figure some will work really hard, some won't work at all and most people will be somewhere in the middle.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Utopias Lisboetas

Fialho de Almeida foi um escritor e jornalista que viveu na segunda metade do século XIX que concretizou grande parte das suas ideias de arquitetura e urbanismo para a cidade de Lisboa através de textos editados em a Ilustração Portuguesa com o titulo Lisboa Monumental. Nessa obra, em 1906, defende a construção das pontes de São Pedro de Alcântara ao Campo de Santana, por cima da Avenida da Liberdade, e de Santana à Graça ou ao Castelo, sobre a Rua da Palma

Avenida da Liberdade

Another Week

Monday, 15 December. Two hostages and Man Haron Monis are dead after a 17-hour armed siege in Sydney ended with police storming the cafe. Monis had walked into the Lindt cafe early in the morning and took 17 people hostage that were made to hold a flag up at the cafe’s window which beared the shahada, an Islamic affirmation of the oneness of God. Tuesday, 16 December. Seven members of the Pakistan Taliban, dressed in army uniform and wearing suicide vests, stormed the Army Public School mid-morning and began their shooting spree that left 132 children and nine staff dead. Sunday, 21 December. A lone assailant shouting "Allahu Akbar" rammed French pedestrians with his car in the central town of Dijon injuring 11 people.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fat Air

The research conducted by a team at UNSW Science in Sydney calculated what happens to our fat when we shed kilos: we don’t convert our missing mass into heat or energy, we breathe it out. We put on weight when excess carbohydrates and proteins that we've eaten are converted into triglycerides (compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) and are then stored in fat cells. To lose weight, you need to break down those triglycerides to access their carbon. To completely breakdown 10 kg of human fat we need to inhale 29 kg of oxygen (and somewhere along the way, burn 94,000 calories) in order to turn it into 8.4 kg of carbon dioxide, which is exhaled when we breathe, and 1.6 kg of water, which we then excrete through our urine, sweat and other bodily fluids. "Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat."

Friday, December 12, 2014

À Nossa Imagem

A maquinaria é descarnadamente funcional. Para quem não estiver familiarizado com ela, o recinto compara-se a um terreiro sagrado, repleto de totens panteístas com o seu primitivo aspecto burlesco. Bicos, bocas, antenas e garras, olhos, escamas e patas, será de tal modo inato em nós o antropomorfismo que perante objetos mecânicos a nossa imediata tentação seja a de lhes atribuir partes orgânicas? Ou será que o antropomorfismo esteve deveras presente na mente dos engenheiros ao conceberem as máquinas, desenhando o seu funcionamento à imagem de um corpo?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Até ao Pinhal Novo

O Governo anunciou que vai lançar o primeiro troço do TGV para Madrid que irá ligar Badajoz ao Poceirão, para onde está projetado uma nova plataforma logística de mercadorias, ao longo de 167 km que custarão 1.4 mil milhões de euros. Já para o TGV chegar a Lisboa, o Governo lançou outro concurso que inclui a construção de uma nova ponte sobre o Tejo e obras de ampliação da Gare do Oriente, sendo que assim os últimos 34 km custarão consideravelmente mais, 2 mil milhões de euros. António Brotas, especialista em transportes e professor do Instituto Superior Técnico, apresenta no entanto uma alternativa: finalizar a alta velocidade no Pinhal Novo e não em Lisboa. Seriam necessário apenas mais 14 km de linha entre o Poceirão e o Pinhal Novo, com um custo de cerca de 45 milhões de euros, sendo que as duas localidades já estão ligadas por uma linha férrea tradicional quase em linha recta.

A estação do Pinhal Novo tem seis vias e sofreu obras de modernização recentemente. É utilizada pelos comboios suburbanos da Fertagus e CP que a ligam à área metropolitana de Lisboa, assim como pelos Alfa Pendulares e Intercidades que a ligam à Linha do Sul e à Linha do Alentejo. Um passageiro que venha de Madrid no TGV demorará 2h45 minutos a chegar a Lisboa e 2h33 a chegar ao Pinhal Novo. Para chegar à estação de Entrecampos, no centro de Lisboa, um passageiro que desembarque no Oriente demorará 22 minutos, sendo que a ligação directa da Fertagus entre o Pinhal Novo e Entrecampos faz-se em 30 minutos.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quiosque

Rose Byrne e Monica Bellucci na página inicial de um jornal português no mesmo dia!? Grande momento do jornalismo português.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Criadores

A ideia de procurar emprego está errada, isso é orientar os seres humanos para outro tipo de escravatura. Num emprego está-se às ordens de outra pessoa, há horários e condições impostas, e por isso não se é livre. E porque não ser livre, e poder tomar as decisões sobre o que se quer fazer? Isso é o estado natural do ser humano. O sistema atual está a dizer às pessoas: "Têm que procurar emprego". Eu digo que isso é errado, deve é dizer-se: "Têm duas opções: podem ser vocês próprios e empreendedores, ou procurar emprego." Devemos dizer a nós próprios: "Somos criadores de emprego, não procuradores de emprego." Imagine que não consegue fazer isso, que tem medo: aceite então um trabalho. Estar num emprego pode ser temporário, o objectivo é chegar a ser empreendedor.

Muhammad Yunus acerta no diagnóstico mas falha no tratamento. Como Nietzsche já disse, a maioria de nós somos escravos e não nobres.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Psychiatric Euthanasia

In the Netherlands, the same legal demands are made of euthanasia for psychiatric patients as those made for people suffering from a physical disease. The patient must be subject to unbearable and hopeless suffering and there should be no other reasonable recourse. The issue with psychiatric patients is that further treatment is always available and that it is harder to determine if a patient is of sound mind.

The first psychiatric patient who received assisted suicide was a woman with mysophobia. Psychiatrist Gerty Casteelen explains that she slowly started to understand the patient’s desire to commit euthanasia. “I couldn’t understand it at first. It was a long process. I came to understand that her fears completely controlled her life. All she could do was clean. It was impossible for the patient to maintain a relationship. Her whole development stalled.” 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mirror

If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels. - Tennessee Williams

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fail. Miserably.

During last night's election coverage, CNN commentators used Microsoft Surface as kickstand for their iPads. CNN, however, says it had no product-placement deal with Microsoft.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Relative Position

We are social creatures; our satisfaction is largely determined by how we stack up relative to others. People make seemingly irrational choices when given the following two scenarios. Imagine being in line, with a chance of receiving cash when you reach a counter. In one scenario, you get $100. In another, you get $150 but the person ahead of you gets $1000. Most people prefer to be in the first scenario even though they end up with less money than in the second one. Once our basic needs are met, we care more about our relative position in a group than in some absolute measure of our reward. 


It Doesn't Stop

Psychological adaptations are complex behavioral patterns built into our minds over many generations. The same forces that select genes for physical features of the body also select genes for features of the brain to carry out functions that ultimately give the organism a reproductive advantage. For example, our general experience of beauty is the result of a loose ensemble of evolutionary adaptations. What ties different people, places and proofs together into the experience of beauty is that our ancestors, who happened to find pleasure in these objects, were the people who had more children.


Nowadays, we also can change our environment. Some West African populations cut clearings in the rain forest to cultivate yams; as a result of more standing water, more malaria-carrying mosquitoes bread; malaria, in turn, increased the frequency of the gene for sickle cell anemia in the population, because this gene offers protection against malaria. So cutting down trees resulted in more people having sickle cell anemia. When we modify our environment, these modifications can bounce back to influence our biology and psychology.  

Peak Shift

Junk food capitalizes on our evolutionary predispositions for sugar and fat. It works using the peak shift principle, that is, take a stimulus that produces a certain response and then exaggerate its critical features to exaggerate the response.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maybe

"The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.", Pope Francis has declared.


An agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Os Franciscanos

Cerca de 80% referem que a crise afetou "significativamente" o orçamento familiar, acrescentando ainda que "deixaram de sair ou de se divertir" e tiveram de procurar "mais vezes o médico por problemas emocionais, de ansiedade ou insónias", segundo o projeto "FINFAM – Como estão as famílias portuguesas a gerir as suas finanças no contexto da crise?". Os 20% que referem que a crise não afetou o seu orçamento "são de baixa escolaridade" e a grande maioria está empregada, sendo "pessoas que já viviam num limiar de sobrevivência e que no contexto da crise não são muito afetadas".


A alegria da pobreza
está nesta grande riqueza 
de dar, e ficar contente.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pedra Filosofal

Tem-se de passar para as escolas a responsabilidade total pelas contratações dos professores. Cada escola tem de ter a liberdade e a autonomia para contratar os seus professores, com as suas próprias regras, pois as necessidades em Almodôvar não são as mesmas de Boticas. Os directores deixariam de ficar à espera da próxima circular de uma qualquer direcção-geral, para se focarem em terem a sua equipa contratada a tempo e pronta o mais cedo possível para um início tranquilo do ano lectivo. Um sistema assim, descentralizado, acabaria com o problema da burocracia hipercentralizada da 5 de Outubro, que acolhe as tentações dirigistas dos ministros e está sempre refém dos sindicatos.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Region, Nation and Europe

There is a quite rational argument for Scottish independence and for all the other separatist movements throughout Europe, which can be summed up as "eliminate the middleman": in the three level structure, the bottom level, the region, gives a greater degree of democratic representation while the top level, the EU, gives better economies of scale and "safely in numbers", so there is no need for the middle layer, the nation state. This vision of the nations of Europe being dismembered into smaller regional entities under the overarching umbrella of the EU is often summed up by the phrase "Federal Europe". It may come as some surprise to find out that it already exists, at least in the minds of the bureaucrats in the EU’s office of statistics, the Eurostat. Since the year 2000, they have divided Europe into federal regions: the NUTS 1 (Nomenclature d’Unités Territoriales Statistiques).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

O Monstro Nunca Se Satisfará

Ferro Rodrigues, o recém-eleito líder parlamentar do Partido Socialista, deixou cair o pano sobre a campanha eleitoral que se aproxima em 2015 e afirmou que a defesa do Estado Social dificulta a baixa de impostos. "Não se pode, evidentemente, ao mesmo tempo, defender o progresso do Serviço Nacional de Saúde, defender o progresso da escola pública, defender o progresso na capacidade da proteção social e depois ter promessas desbragadas em matéria de diminuição dos impostos", defendeu.

Lust

Macbeth, starring Anna Netrebko.







And you aren't hearing her voice.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cognitive And Complex


In recent years economists such as David Autor and Daron Acemoglu have pioneered a new way of looking at work: analysing occupations in terms of the tasks they involve. These can be manual or cognitive, routine or complex. The task content determines how skilled a worker must be to qualify for work in a particular occupation. Mr Autor argues that rapid improvement in technology has enabled firms to reduce the number of workers engaged in routine tasks, both cognitive and manual, which are comparatively easy to programme and automate.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Esquerda Orwelliana de Portugal

A exposição Cem anos de Presidência inclui os bustos de todos os presidentes da República desde a Primeira República, passando pela Ditadura Militar e Estado Novo, terminando no período atual pós-25 de abril. No entanto, a Esquerda parlamentar (PS, PCP e BE) pede a suspensão imediata da exposição devido à presença dos bustos de Óscar Carmona, Américo Tomás e Craveiro Lopes, presidentes do Estado Novo. O PCP falou em "incompatibilidade" entre os "símbolos do fascismo" e a casa da democracia, sendo que BE acrescentou que "é inadmissível colocar no mesmo patamar presidentes democraticamente eleitos com os presidentes do fascismo". À Direita, PSD e CDS contra-argumentaram que "não podemos apagar nem reescrever a História".

Óscar Carmona, Américo Tomás e Craveiro Lopes, Presidentes da República Portuguesa

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Federal

El Gobierno tiene ya lista la primera Estrategia de Acción Exterior, el documento que marca las líneas programáticas de la acción de España en el mundo. Las propuestas más concretas se refieren al futuro de la UE: "El destino final de la construcción europea es la unión política. Europa debe configurarse como una auténtica unión federal, no simplemente como una unión de Estados soberanos. Este proceso debe hacerse por fases, pero el objetivo debe definirse con claridad cuanto antes", proclama.

Isto é Benfica

Grupo Sport Lisboa e Benfica segundo o Relatório & Contas 2013/2014.


Empresas participadas: Benfica MultimediaBenfica Seguros, Clínica Benfica, Benfica SAD, Benfica SGPS, Benfica Parque, Benfica Rugby, Benfica Estádio e Benfica TV.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Not a Fan

As many people know I'm not an overwhelming fan of the doctrine of multiculturalism. I believe in bringing people of different races, different religions, to this country but once you're here you've got to become part of the mainstream community, said the former Australian prime minister John Howard.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

O Conceito Tempo

Ao abrir um frasco de perfume, liberta o seu aroma no espaço envolvente. A transição do odor líquido para o ar perfumado é irreversível: as moléculas disseminadas do perfume não regressam espontaneamente ao frasco para reconstituir o líquido. A evaporação e a difusão do perfume é um exemplo da assimetria entre passado e futuro

No entanto, o perfume evapora-se e dispersa-se sob o impacto de biliões de bombardeamentos moleculares: as moléculas de ar atingem as moléculas de perfume aleatoriamente até que ambas fiquem inextricavelmente misturadas. Duas moléculas aproximam-se, chocam e afastam-se; e inversamente, aproximam-se, chocam e afastam-se. Ou seja, toda a colisão molecular individual é reversível e o Tempo simétrico. 

Não existe qualquer inconsistência entre a simetria a nível molecular e a assimetria a nível macroscópio, são apenas dois níveis distintos de descrição de Tempo. Suspeita-se portanto que o Tempo de modo nenhum flui; tudo se passa simplesmente na mente.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Relations

The greatest shortcoming of the human race 
is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Albert Bartlett

Maxwell recognized that the foundations of the physical world are imperceptible to our senses. All we know about them, possibly all we can ever know, are their mathematical relationships to things we can feel and touch. He stressed Kant's proposition that all human knowledge is of relations rather than of things.

Algoristas vs Abacistas (1504)

New Words

When writing up his researches on electrochemistry, Faraday was faced with a difficulty: he was trying to describe physical processes that nobody had described, or perhaps even though of, before. As his ideas grew, language itself became part of his thinking. He sought precision and faced a particular problem with words that were in common use but had misleading theoretical connotations; the prime example was current, which implied that electricity was a fluid. New words were needed not for their own sake but because existing ones carried theoretical baggage that could constrain one's thinking.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Less is More

A population needs to be small if it is to incorporate any substantial innovation, genetic or cultural; large and dense populations simply have too much genetic inertia to be nudged consistently in any direction. Our own species, the Homo sapiens, was born out of such an event 200,000 years ago, when climate change repeatedly led to fragmentation of hominin populations, creating small groups in which genetic and cultural novelties were rapidly cemented, accelerating speciation. About 100,00 years later an African isolate of our species acquired the ability to use symbols; it was almost certainly this unique symbolic cognition that made it possible to eliminate all hominin competition in little time.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

La Vie en Rose

One in six French citizens sympathizes with the Islamist militant group ISIS. The poll of European attitudes towards the group revealed that 16% of French citizens have a positive opinion of ISIS; this percentage increases among younger respondents, spiking at 27% for those aged 18-24.


Jahangir Akhtar, the former deputy leader of the council, is accused in the report of naivety and potentially "ignoring a politically inconvenient truth" by insisting there was not a deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls. Police told the inquiry that some influential Pakistani councillors in Rotherham acted as barriers to communication on grooming issues.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tudo Evolui

E se numas próximas eleições pudesse votar não só em partidos e deputados mas em cadeiras vazias no Parlamento? É isso que defende o movimento Partido das Cadeiras Vazias: "Se dos votos resultarem lugares vazios há menos lugares para os mesmos de sempre e os partidos em face dessa situação escolherão melhores pessoas para deputados com o intuito de manter as suas cadeiras ocupadas."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Art for Art's Sake

An interpretation of the genesis of Paleolithic art is done from a ludic point of view: humans executed such works just as a pastime and for pure aesthetic pleasure.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crónica de uma Morte Anunciada

Segundo o INE, entre 2001 e 2011 Portugal perdeu meio milhão de jovens com idades entre os 15 e 29 anos. Já em 2013, Portugal registou a taxa de natalidade mais baixa da União Europeia, de 7,9 crianças por mil habitantes. Para 2020 segundo a Moody’s, Portugal deverá entrar no grupo dos países "super-idosos", com um índice de envelhecimento de 307 idosos por cada 100 jovens em 2060.


Em 2014, o Tribunal Constitucional chumba cortes permanentes nas pensões.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Um Artista Português

Marinho e Pinto foi eleito membro do Parlamento Europeu em Maio. Três meses depois já tem data marcada para abandonar o cargo: dentro de um ano. O antigo bastonário da Ordem dos Advogados quer candidatar-se às eleições legislativas e abre as portas também a Belém.


"O elemento agregador da Europa não está nos ideais, nem nas políticas, mas no dinheiro. E eu não acredito numa organização construída em torno desse dinheiro", diz. Aliás, uma das críticas que faz nas declarações à publicação é dirigida aos salários pagos aos eurodeputados, "muito acima da média salarial dos cidadãos representados". Pensa prescindir do seu? "Eu sou pobre, preciso do dinheiro, tenho uma filha no estrangeiro".

Geometry

In 2002 two men attacked Jason Padgett outside a karaoke bar leaving him with a severe concussion. But the incident also gave him an astounding drawing ability: Padgett who had very little interest in academics developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and see the world through the lens of geometry. "I see shapes and angles everywhere, from the geometry of a rainbow, to the fractals in water spiraling down a drain", he said. Padgett  is one of a rare group with acquired savant syndrome, in which a normal person develops prodigious abilities after a severe injury. "There’s no such thing as a perfect circle", he said, which he knows because he can always see the edges of a polygon that approximates the circle.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Querer

Querer pelo desejo o que sabe não poder querer pela vontade.

José Saramago @ "O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis"

Monday, July 28, 2014