Saturday, November 29
This is the fourth year that Brazil had it's version of Black Friday and the same thing happened: no discounts.
Forbe's magazine has already written about the Brazilian way of selling on the event.
What is new this year is that the social networks had numerous jokes about the date.
It is becoming known as Black Fraud and people are quite aware that the discounts are not for real.
The right picture is about one of the strategies of phony discounts: they claim the real prize is the double and by cutting it in half on Black Friday the good is sold without discount.
It was said that practices like this one would not happen again but we know how companies are: no ethics whatsoever and poor regulation.
When stores promises discounts upwards of 70% something wrong is being done.
Movie of the day: Black Friday, 1940.
Thursday, November 27
5 Health Benefits of Smoking
LiveScience's Bad Medicine Columnist
July 19, 2011
Who says smoking cigarettes is so bad ... well, aside from the World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and every medical board and association on the face of the Earth?
But should smokers be fortunate enough to dodge all that cancer, heart disease, emphysema and the like, they will be uniquely protected — for reasons unexplained by science — against a handful of diseases and afflictions.
Call it a silver lining in their otherwise blackened lungs. Although long-term smoking is largely a ticket to early death, here are (gulp) five possible benefits from smoking. Breathe deep.
1. Smoking lowers risk of knee-replacement surgery
While smokers might go broke buying a pack of cigarettes, they can at least save money by avoiding knee-replacement surgery. Surprising results from a new study have revealed that men who smoke had less risk of undergoing total joint replacement surgery than those who never smoked.
The study, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, appears in the July issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. What could be the connection? Knee-replacement surgery was more common among joggers and the obese; smokers rarely jog, and they are less likely to be morbidly obese.
After controlling for age, weight and exercise, the researchers were at a loss to explain the apparent, albeit slight protective effects of smoking for osteoporosis. It could be that the nicotine in tobacco helps prevent cartilage and joint deterioration.
2. Smoking lowers risk of Parkinson's disease
Numerous studies have identified the uncanny inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson's disease. Long-term smokers are somehow protected against Parkinson's, and it's not because smokers die of other things earlier. [10 Easy Paths to Self-Destruction]
The most recent, well-conducted study was published in a March 2010 issue of the journal Neurology. Far from determining a cause for the protective effect, these researchers found that the number of years spent smoking, more so than the number of cigarettes smoked daily, mattered more for a stronger protective effect.
Harvard researchers were among the first to provide convincing evidence that smokers were less likely to develop Parkinson's. In a study published in Neurology in March 2007, these researchers found the protective effect wanes after smokers quit. And they concluded, in their special scientific way, that they didn't have a clue as to why.
3. Smoking lowers risk of obesity
Smoking — and, in particular, the nicotine in tobacco smoke — is an appetite suppressant. This has been known for centuries, dating back to indigenous cultures in America in the pre-Columbus era. Tobacco companies caught on by the 1920s and began targeting women with the lure that smoking would make them thinner.
A study published in the July 2011 issue of the journal Physiology & Behavior, in fact, is one of many stating that the inevitable weight gain upon quitting smoking is a major barrier in getting people to stop, second only to addiction.
The relationship between smoking and weight control is complex: Nicotine itself acts as both a stimulant and appetite suppressant; and the act of smoking triggers behavior modification that prompts smokers to snack less. Smoking also might make food less tasty for some smokers, further curbing appetite. As an appetite suppressant, nicotine appears to act on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, at least in mice, as revealed in a study by Yale researchers published in the June 10, 2011, issue of the journal Science.
No respectable doctor would recommend smoking for weight control, given the toxic baggage accompanying cigarettes. This recent Yale study, however, does offer an inkling of hope for a safe diet drug to help obese people control their appetites.
4. Smoking lowers risk of death after some heart attacks
Compared with non-smokers, smokers who have had heart attacks seem to have lower mortality rates and more favorable responses to two kinds of therapy to remove plaque from their arteries: fibrinolytic therapy, which is basically medication; and angioplasty, which removes the plaque by inserting balloons or stents into the arteries.
There's a catch, though. The reason why smokers have heart attacks is that smoke scars the arteries, allowing fat and plaque to build up in the first place. So, one theory as to why smokers do better than non-smokers after such therapies is that they are younger, experiencing their first heart attack approximately 10 years before the non-smoker.
A study published in an August 2005 issue of the American Heart Journal, however, states that age alone is not enough to fully explain the survival differences and that "the smoker's paradox is alive and well." No alternative theories have been put forth since.
5. Smoking helps the heart drug clopidogrel work better
Clopidogrel is a drug used to inhibit blood clots for those patients suffering from coronary artery disease and other circulatory diseases leading to strokes and heart attacks. Smoking seems to help clopidogrel do its job better.
A study by Korean researchers in the October 2010 issue of the journal Thrombosis Research builds upon work by Harvard researchers published in 2009 that demonstrates the benefit of smoking at least 10 cigarettes a day. It seems that something in cigarette smoke activates certain proteins called cytochromes, which convert clopidogrel into a more active state.
Again, no respectable doctor is encouraging patients to start smoking to get the most out of clopidogrel. But this and the other four "benefits" of smoking reveal how tobacco — perhaps not unlike other potentially toxic plants — might contain certain chemicals of real therapeutic value.
Christopher Wanjek is the author of the books "Bad Medicine" and "Food At Work." His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.
Wednesday, November 26
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. (Recorded at TEDGlobal, July 2009, Oxford, UK. Duration: 18:49)
"That's how we create a single story: Show a people as one thing, as only one thing over and over again and that's what they become."
I watched the video and found a woman who is not only a great thinker but also a fighter without losing sense of humor.
But be prepared to get angry if you're emphatetic cause biased stories about nations is not easy to stand.
"Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie. While the family's ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka, in the house formerly occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda's father, who is now retired, worked at the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka. He was Nigeria's first professor of statistics, and later became Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar at the same institution.
Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University's school, receiving several academic prizes. She went on to study medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the University's Catholic medical students.
At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. While in Connecticut, she stayed with her sister Ijeoma, who runs a medical practice close to the university."
(read more about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie here)
Saturday, November 22
Friday, November 21
Do you know the feeling during a discussion when after explaining something that is not common sense someone asks:
"Is there any peer reviewed article about all these nonsense you're saying?"
I dedicate this post to them.
Geniuses and those who dare to dissent have no peers.
Is Peer-Review a Requirement of Good Science?
Good Science without Peer-Review
Some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science first appeared in published form not in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles but in scientific books. That includes Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and Newton's Principia. Einstein's original paper on relativity was published in a scientific journal (Annalen der Physik), but did not undergo formal peer-review.1 Indeed, Darwin's own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience -- his Origin of Species -- not in a peer-reviewed paper.
Moreover, important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, "Mention 'peer review' and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory."2 Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as "Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers," and in fact "Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize."3 In an amusing letter titled "Not in our Nature," Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:
(1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.Elsewhere, Campanario lists "instances in which 36 future Nobel Laureates encountered resistance on the part of scientific journal editors or referees to manuscripts that dealt with discoveries that on later dates would assure them the Nobel Prize."5 Likewise, Tulane University physicist Frank Tipler offers the following anecdotes:
(2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs's letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.
(3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.
(4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.4
In light of these kinds of examples, Campanario concludes:
"Another example is Günter Blobel, who in a news conference given just after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, said that the main problem one encounters in one's research is 'when your grants and papers are rejected because some stupid reviewer rejected them for dogmatic adherence to old ideas.' According to the New York Times, these comments 'drew thunderous applause from the hundreds of sympathetic colleagues and younger scientists in the auditorium.'"
"[W]hen [Stephen] Hawking submitted to Nature what is generally regarded as his most important paper, the paper on black hole evaporation, the paper was initially rejected. I have heard from colleagues who must remain nameless that when Hawking submitted to Physical Review what I personally regard as his most important paper, his paper showing that a most fundamental law of physics called 'unitarity' would be violated in black hole evaporation, it, too, was initially rejected."
"Today it is known that the Hawaiian Islands were formed sequentially as the Pacific plate moved over a hot spot deep inside the Earth. The theory was first developed in the paper by an eminent Princeton geophysicist, Tuzo Wilson: 'I ... sent [my paper] to the Journal of Geophysical Research. They turned it down.... They said my paper had no mathematics in it, no new data, and that it didn't agree with the current views. Therefore, it must be no good.'"
"On the Nobel Prize web page one can read the autobiographies of recent laureates. Quite a few complain that they had great difficulty publishing the ideas that won them the Prize."6
Something is wrong with the peer review system when an expert considers that a manuscript is not of enough interest and it later becomes a classic in its discipline (or, even worse, when the work reported in a rejected paper earns the Nobel Prize). ... Contrary to reports by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences, publication in a peer-reviewed journal is not necessarily the best means of identifying valid research.7 (read the article)
Thursday, November 20
Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)
Hay milonga de amor
hay temblor de gotán
este tango es para vos
Hay milonga de amor
hay temblor de gotán
Hay milonga de amor
Este tango es para vos
Hay milonga de amor
hay temblor de gotán
este tango es para vos.
Image: Bitacora Coral.
Please visit the biography of The Gotan Project for references but first of all... enjoy.
Left: Tango with lyrics done with excerpts of Julio Cortazár's Rayuela.
Right: Julio Cortazár reading Rayuela's chapter 7 and excerpts.
Me miras, de cerca me miras, cada vez más de cerca y entonces jugamos al cíclope, nos miramos cada vez más de cerca y los ojos se agrandan, se acercan entre sí, se superponen y los cíclopes se miran, respirando confundidos...
... textos escritos y publicados hace años...
... con cronopios o sin ellos...
... en torno a su mundo de juego, a esa grave ocupación que es jugar cuando se buscan otras puertas.
Un, dos, tres, cuatro: ¡Tierra, Cielo! Cinco, seis: ¡Paraíso, Infierno! Siete, ocho, nueve, diez: Hay que saber mover los pies. En la rayuela, o en la vida vos podes elegir un día. ¿Por que costado, de que lado saltarás?
...otros accesos a lo no cotidiano simplemente para embellecer lo cotidiano, para iluminarlo bruscamente de otra manera. Sacarlo de sus casillas, definirlo, de nuevo, y mejor.
...me basta cerrar los ojos para deshacerlo todo y recomenzar.
...exactamente con tu boca que sonríe por debajo de la que mi mano te dibuja.
Un, dos, tres, cuatro: ¡Tierra, Cielo! Cinco, seis: ¡Paraíso, Infierno! Siete, ocho, nueve, diez: Hay que saber mover los pies. En la rayuela, o en la vida vos podes elegir un día. ¿Por que costado, de que lado saltarás
... yo te siento temblar contra mí como una luna en el agua.
Tuesday, November 18
Sunday, November 16
Isn't she lovely? I just found her at Mademoiselle Blythe's blog by Fanny Zara. It is a post about doll's hair made of alpaca and mohair.
Tootsie is a creation of Abgail and you can see more of her work in her Flickr's page.
Tuesday, November 11
... and now it's bleeding. I'm overwhelmed, appalled and perplex when I think about it.
That's why I'm not posting lately.
What about the future? I don't know.