Wednesday, May 31, 2006

World No Tobacco Day

Since 1987, on May 31 is observed the World No Tobacco Day, which is committed to spread the word about the risks of smoking and the benefits of leaving such vice once that it was acquired.
Fortunately for non-smokers, in certain countries and provinces within the US and Canada, it is now forbidden to smoke in public places. This means that the passive smoking rate has decreased for sure in the places where such laws take effect. Some of those countries include Ireland and Norway. (Residents in Ontario and Quebec, please notice the new smoking bans that take effect starting today!!!)
I guess it's a right decision to forbid people to smoke in public places, as this causes serious health damages to non smokers. I think that the best place to smoke is in open areas or at home.
I am not against smoking, but I think that if you smoke, you have to take control over the amount of cigarrettes per day.
Have a healthy day!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Do you need some English lessons?

This is a very unusual scene. Let's see how do the workers in a Carrefour store in China are improving their customer care:

It seems that the people who work in this Chinese Carrefour need a little more practice to "serving us" speaking a proper English, but at least they're doing their effort!

No more words for today, sometimes images can speak more than a thousand words, and this is a clear example of that. Have fun guys!!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

European Constitution? No way!

An entire year has passed since the majority of French citizens decided to vote against one of the projects thaet would settle down the identity for the countries forming the European Union: The European Constitution.
What did inspire French citizens to vote against that constitution? There were many reasons, including the feeling of losing their national identity, and the fear that eventually Turkey could be admitted as an active member into the European Union. Other nationalistic ideologies definitely played a role on the voters' decision, as many claimed that such constitution would be a "door to allow more immigrants to come to France, so they'll also take a big portion of the jobs available in the market", a topic which is indeed feared in France.
But France was not the only country to reject the European Constitution through a referendum, as the Netherlands did so in June 1, 2005, also by a wide margin. The Dutch population had more or less the same reasons to vote against such project.
These rejections of the European Constitution delayed the project of trying to unite the member countries as a single country. Will that ever come true? I find too complicated to unite countries with so different ideologies and traditions as a single one, but we'll just see. By now, it'll take some other 10 years until the new European Constitution will be voted for or against by the member countries.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Happy birthday, Chrysler Building!

The Chrysler Building, one of the most remebered landmarks in New York City, has reasons to celebrate today. It was a day like today, May 27, but in 1930, when it was opened to the public with a big ceremony.
By that time, the Chrysler Building was not only the tallest building in the world, but also the tallest structure in the world, beating even the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The total height of the building is 319 m (1046 ft). Unfortunately for the building, it held only during a short time the world Guinness record as the highest building in the world, as the Empire State Building, with a total height of 381 m (not considering the antenna on its top, which was added some years later) was finished on May 1, 1931, just a few blocks away from the Chrysler Building's site. However, the Chrysler Building is still considered the tallest brick building in the world.
This building, designed by the architect William van Alen, is one of the purest expressions of the Art Déco architecture, which flourished mainly during the 1930's. The decoration of the tower was inspired in some features that were used at that time in Chrysler cars, for example, the hood's ornamentation.
Long life for one of the most beautiful skycrapers in the world, the Chrysler Building!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Do you like Tiziano Ferro? Well, he doesn't like you!

Tiziano Ferro is an Italian singer who is mainly known in certain countries of Latin America, especially Mexico.
Well, this guy recently appeared in an Italian TV program named Che Tempo Fai, broadcasted by the local channel RAI, where he said that "it's impossible to say that the most beautiful women in the world are in Mexico, they have mustaches, and you'd need courage to... well, I'm sorry, but they know it. Maybe Salma [Hayek]...". Even Fabio Fazio, the host of the program, got ashamed with such comment, apologizing immediately.
But Tiziano didn't do the same; instead, he kept talking insulting things about some other places in the world, mostly Latin America. Some of his wise comments were that "food and weather in Belgium are horrible", "when I travel to Colombia I say to the media that I'm not afraid of guerrilla, but I have bodyguards with me 24 hours every day when I'm there" and "I can't understand how can a country like El Salvador exist". Clever fellow, isn't he?
After his unbelievable demonstrations of irrespect for his Latin American and Belgian fans, and after the mass media spread Ferro's words, he quickly argued that everything has been "a joke" and that the TV program in which he appeared talking that stuff is all about jokes.
Don't you find strange that the host of a funny TV program apologizes for the jokes of his guest immediately, while the guest waits for two days to make clear that everything is a joke?
I'm sorry Tiziano, but you suck as a comedian and as a singer as well... at least I doubt that you'll be able to sell many discs and concert tickets in Latin America and Belgium from now on. My advice: Think twice before opening your mouth in public TV.
Cheers, guys.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New release: "Harry Potter & the Prehistoric Biology"

Can you find any link between the boring adventures of Harry Potter (sorry if any of you guys like those books, but I personally find them deceiving) and dinosaurs? Well, an article published in The Times found a scientist that created one.
Robert Bakker, an American paleontologist, discovered the bones of a new dinosaur species, which will be taken to a museum in Indianapolis. According to him, this dinosaur is very similar to the dragon fought by Harry Potter and his friends in the volume Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which, by the way, I didn't read, so I assume that such data is correct), so that simple supposed coincidence gave him the idea of naming the species as Dracorex Hogwartsia, honoring of course Harry's school, Hogwarts.
I can't understand why would a paleontologist that finds an unknown dinosaur species name his discovery after an imaginary school existing in a collection of poor quality novels. It's just a creative way to waste a unique opportunity in life - to discover something new for humanity and to name the discovery after the person who found it.
Sorry, Mr. Baker, I'm afraid that Hogwarts' name will be remembered in the future instead of yours.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A relief for PVS?

A specialized magazine called Neuro Rehabilitation published that some South African scientists concluded that people suffering of persitent vegetative state (or PVS) can actually "wake up" transitorily and even speak after taking certain pills to battle insomnia for several days.
They came up with this conclusion after giving three PVS patients a pill called Zolpidem during the morning during some days; after 20 minutes of having swallowed the pill, the patients allegedly experienced symptoms of rehabilitation, as two of them were able to answer some simple questions during its effects, and the other one, who persistently screams while suffering the PVS condition, just remained quiet and even watched TV. Unfortunately, after some minutes, such effects disappeared and the patients did return to their PVS situation.
Although this experiment has not satisfied many experts, some neurologists claim that this effect may occur because not all of the brain tissue is dead, just asleep, so maybe taking the pill leads to a momentary awakening of some brain tissue that has not been in use. Other specialists argue that maybe the patients subject to this study were not suffering a real PVS condition.
Is this for real, or it's just a mistaken conclusion by the South African scientists? Since I'm not a neurologist, I can't show any evidence to assume whether the conclusion is accurate or not, although I see this as a first step. What I can say is that I'm sure that we all human beings wish that our science continues to develop, and that way, our scientists will discover effective and a permanent cure for PVS and many other illnesses and conditions that frustrate many people of having a joyful life.

Monday, May 22, 2006

New year projects? How about creating a new republic?

Hello you guys! I want to thank all of you for your kind comments. It's very pleasant to know that you find this blog interesting. I hope I can keep it that way for a long, long time; please keep posting your comments ;).
Well, it seems that Serbia and Montenegro won't be a single country anymore. Yesterday, a referendum took place in Montenegro just to consult whether the inhabitants wanted to keep forming a single country along with people from Serbia or not. The European Union requested a minimum support of 55% of voters to take any decision. According to non official sources, the support for the independence from Serbia was of 55.4%.
This means that, starting from January 1, 2007, a new country will be internationally recognized: The Republic of Montenegro, located in the western coast of the Balkans, and being the city of Podgorica its capital.
What international effects will this decision have? I think that this was the only missing step to achieve a complete split of the former Yugoslavia. Let's not forget that this former republic was composed by numerous ethnic groups, religions, movements and ideas; many of them have claimed their own lands, leading to the creation of several countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, among others. Also, frictions in the Balkans arised, especially during the wars in the area generated by racist measures adopted by Slobodan Milosevic during the 1990's.
But will the separation of Montenegro cause new frictions? I don't think so. Times have changed, and most of those former Yugoslavian countries are now active members of the European Union, so this will help to mantain the stability in the entire European continent. However, the authorities in Montenegro will have to face serious challenges to avoid their country stepping out from globalization, international cooperation, and international relevance. Good luck for the people from Montenegro, and congratulations for starting a new era!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oh no, Monday is approaching again!

What else can I say? The beginning of a new week is approaching. Weekends pass very fast, I can hardly take care of my own personal things. Too bad. I guess that complaining won't make any difference, so I'll try to relax a little more in these last Sunday hours. Have a nice week y'all!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Baseball fans, it's time to cheer: "Barry!, Barry!, Barry!"

All the fans of the San Francisco Giants and Barry Bonds himself have reasons to be happy today, as this player connected his all time 714th homerun in a game against the Oakland Athletics. This is a moment that will be remembered in baseball history, because with this homerun, he reached Babe Ruth's record established in May 25, 1935. This sets him as the player with the second all time most career HR connections record, tied with Babe Ruth.
But now the challenge for Bonds is different. He's now tied as the second best all time homer, but he's got work to do if he wishes to reach Hank Aaron's record of 755 homeruns. Will Barry succeed in his new mission? We'll just see. What is sure for now is that he needs one more HR to displace Babe Ruth to the third place, and he needs 41 to tie Aaron's record. But there are still lots of games for the San Francisco Giants to come in this season, and maybe we could see Bonds' 715th HR soon. But by now, congratulations Barry! Nice job!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

New England's Dark Day

Well, what can I say about New England's dark day? Maybe the first thing to notice is that it's an unknown day for many (including me, until some hours ago). It all happened in May 19, 1780. A strange darkening of the sky occured that day; the sky was allegedly so dark that it was necessary to light candles from noon to midnight, and this phenomenon was experienced in the New England area and some parts of Canada.
The most amazing part of this story is that it's still a mystery what happened that day, as there are no certain conclusions about what caused the darkening. The most common theory is that a heavy fog and smoke originated from nearby forests in fire provoked a darkening of the sky that lasted for many hours. Supposedly, right after midnight, the darkness just vanished and the stars were visible again. Weird, isn't it?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More NHL action... Conference finals ahead!

Once again, I was able to proof that 50% of my predictions for hockey series are correct. Let's make a quick review of my predictions for the semifinal games in both conferences:

For Ottawa Senators vs. Buffalo Sabres, I picked the Sabres as favorites
For Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils, I said that the Devils would win
For Colorado Avalanches vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks, I predicted a victory for the Avalanches
For San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers, I thought that the Oilers would pass

I guess that a 50% effectiveness is not bad. Now it's time to review the final series for each conference, as the games are expected to be highly competitive and we'll get for sure lots of fun and excitement in this phase of the Stanley Cup Battle.



Two giants will face each other in this game. The Sabres showed against Ottawa that they're for real: they only defeated the top seed of the eastern conference, in as little as five games. They're a definitely a high quality team. On the other hand, the Hurricanes are a strong team that showed no problem while dispatching the New Jersey Devils. Their defensive line has been a very difficult obstacle for the rival teams and now they'll have the difficult task of stopping Buffalo's offense. We'll really enjoy this, and I pick the Sabres as my favorites.



This is what I call a surprise. Nobody would have thought that the Western Conference Final would be battled between these teams, especially because none of them were top seeded. What will happen? I couldn't say. I'd wish to see the Oilers in the final game for the Stanley Cup, after all they deserve it as they've beaten the President's Trophy winning team (Detroit Red Wings) and the San Jose Sharks, that initialle were leading the semifinal series by 2-0. I'll take the Oilers.

Do you have any other ideas about what could happen? Please post any messages, and don't forget to follow the NHL Conference Finals starting tomorrow, May 19. Cheers.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Stress relief

I feel like writing today. I always do. The only problem I'll have to face is that I haven't enough inspiration to write about a certain topic, so maybe the following lines will contain some sort of subliminal message. Maybe I'd call it "Easy Philosophy", and this could give me a good idea about how to relieve everyday stress and pressure.
Let's see... what's best to do during a night when I all I want to do is to relax and to have a nice time? I thought that drinking a cold beer while watching some baseball would help. The beer worked out fine, but the baseball didn't. The only game I found was one of the most boring you could ever see: the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets with a final score of 1-0. What a waste of time. I'm sorry for the fans who had to pay for their tickets in the stadium.
So what's next? Hm... I think music can help me out. Let's just choose some soft melodies to fly into another world. Any suggestions? Yep, I guess I know the perfect choice for the circumstances: New Age Music!
This kind of music will provide me with the required atmosphere to lay down and relieve the stress that invades my body during the whole day. It's a perfect time for meditation... and right after relieving the pressure will be a perfect time for writing, playing music, calling my closest friends, or doing whatever I consider positive. Yes, that's what I'm going to do; and that way I'll get ready to go to sleep and to start a new day that will bring me new challenges to overtake and more experiences to learn.
Advise: Take the last few minutes of the day to meditate and to relax, that way you'll keep a healthier and more enjoyable life.
Goodbye for now!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Internet day? Who cares?!

ernet day" (it was formerly known as "Telecommunications day" -I wonder by whom-, but not anymore). How do you like this? Hmmmm.... I guess I'll have to buy a present for my ISP, and maybe for my PC as well hahahaha.
To be honest, I can't find any reason for which we should celebrate the web on a specific date. What the hell are we supposed to do on such date? Maybe the groups that are organizing this thing are thinking that people will react as if it was a special date to commemorate, but I can tell you what will happen:
Nobody's gonna buy any presents, so it won't activate the economy.
Nobody's gonna take the day off, so it won't be useful for people to spend more time with their families.
Nobody's gonna stop using the Internet, so the usual web traffic won't be reduced at all.
Nobody's gonna use Internet more than they'd do in a normal day, so the web-based services won't become more popular than they are now.
I'll express my thought about this invented day with a brief sentence: WHAT GARBAGE!!. Let's not waste our time trying to remember more useless dates in our calendars.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Summer keeps approaching...

Hi people! Today was a hot and rainy one, and those conditions normally contribute to throw down anyone's mood (especially for people like me who don't like warm weather). But not everything is bad news; after an active mother's day-weekend, another week begins and many important events keep approaching more and more, especially around the summer.
For example, the Soccer World Cup in Germany, maybe the most awaited competition for soccer fans all around the world. I personally don't care too much about such cup, the last two editions of the tournament have been quite boring and it's somehow annoying to find always the same teams really into the battle for the cup: Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France, England. Am I missing any?
There are other events that will be darkened by the shadow of Germany 2006 but their effects will remain for a much longer period: I'm talking about the elections in Peru and Mexico. Both elective processes have no favorite candidate yet and the polls are really close between the left-wing candidates and the center and right wing ones. I hope that the soccer fever won't blind the inhabitants of such countries so they effectively vote and not just sit to watch soccer.
Another devastating phenomenon that is approaching (and not only that, but it's already with us) is the hurricanes season. There are some bad news around this topic: experts say that this year, the hurricane streak could be more violent than last year's. Do you remember about Katrina, Stan, Wilma? Let's not forget about their catastrophic results and let's also hope that, for this occasion, the expert's forecast is wrong.
What else? Hm... I almost forgot... vacations! Don't forget to book your trip, if you're planning any. I've got my own personal reasons to await so excitedly next summer, but let's live present and let's wait for future to come, don't you think??

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Counterfeit Wikipedia

Have you ever used Wikipedia to find information about certain topics? Do you agree that it's one of the most useful and original tools ever created for the web?
It's really annoying to find out that good ideas and concepts will always find their counterfeit version in Asia, more specifically in China.
Baidu, which for me is a chinese counterfeit version for Yahoo, has created a service named Baidu Baike. This is a free online encyclopedia that works exactly like Wikipedia, where the articles published are written by the users of this service. In fact, Baidu has been accused of copying contents from Wikipedia, but they argue that "sharing information is a tool for development and knowledge continuity". What an insult to copyrights, don't you think?.
I won't write any comments about this topic, it's just disgusting. But I take advantage to recommend you to visit a blog where you'll find evidence of all the counterfeit products manufactured in China in a very funny style (it's in Spanish, so if you don't speak spanish, I strongly recommend you to find anyone to help you with it): Believe me it's worth to visit that page, you'll have lots and lots of fun.
See you 'till the next one!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ok, let's found businesses for dogs!

Hello people. I'm afraid that bizarre and distorted ideas are endless and they're becoming a pandemic illness. I don't know why people keep investing money to open beauty shops, restaurants, movie theatres, and other grotesque businesses focused in dogs and cats.
But the following is absolutely ridiculous, just check this out: In Thailand, a businessman named Anupan Boonchuen serves as director of a school where pupils learn to perform haircuts and other beauty tratements for dogs. Well, this fellow decided to found a radio station called "Dog Radio Thailand" because, according to him, music helps to improve the dogs' mood (Yes, why not??).
The ridiculous part is that the radio station broadcasts Thai pop music, although the owner expects to broadcast other genres in a short term. In the meanwhile, the speaker sends messages to the dogs through this radio station in Thai language, and "this will encourage the pets to interact with the radio". There will be a certain hour when the radio station will repeat over and over the word "sawasdi" (which means 'hello' in Thai) , and this way the dogs will get very excited and they'll star jumping as if they were about to receive a bone, according to Boonchuen.
Hahahahahaha how do you like this?? I've always thought that founding restaurants and beauty shops for pets is ridiculous, but this is just beyond the border of stupidity!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Martian Eclypse

May 11, 1984, is the exact date when the last transit of the Earth from Mars occured. The particularity of this phenomenon is that it's more or less similar to what we know as an "eclypse", but this one can only be seen from Mars, and it's our Earth which is seen as a black disc moving across the Sun. According to experts, in some strange cases, both the Earth and its Moon can be seen separately moving across the face of the Sun. Obviously, no human being has ever observed our planet from Mars.
Would you like to travel to Mars and witness a transit of the Earth from there? Just be patient: the next transit will occur on November 10, 2084... maybe by then, human technology will be advanced enough to organize safe and comfortable trips to Mars. But, meanwhile, we can keep dreaming of the day when the outter space will become an affordable destination for tourists and adventure seekers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Feed street cats... and you may be fined!

This is a bizarre law: In a place named Clermont, in Iowa, a recently issued law states that street cats are annoying and any person that feeds them should be fined.
The municipality states that people who feed street cats contribute to develop discord and to reduce social health quality. They also argue that feeding these cats contribute to fill with filth the streets (you may know what they mean).
The Mayor also encouraged the inhabitants to take pictures of people who feed street cats, so they can be used as evidence to sustain the fine.
Is this a solution for that problem? Should authorities issue similar laws but concerning street dogs?
Poor cats, I'm afraid they're being victims of discrimination!!
No further comments about this topic, please post any comments! Thanks!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Any solutions for traffic jams?

There are things that make me really sick, and one of them is traffic jams. It's just the everyday chaos that we, normal people that live in big cities, have to deal with. And it's a waste of our life.
For example, it takes me around 40 minutes daily to drive to my office (through a route that should take me about 25 minutes maximum), and on my way back, I have to drive for some other 40 minutes. That makes 1 hour and 20 minutes daily. Now, if you multiply that by five (because I work from Monday to Friday), we have that I spend 6 weekly hours driving to and from my office. Now, we have about 4 weeks in a month, so if we multiply such 6 hours by 4 weeks, that means that I spend 24 hours (an entire day!) driving monthly. Fortunately, my case is not the worst you can ever see.
But what solutions are available for us to minimize the effects of this problem? I think that the excesive use of automobiles is one of the main sources of traffic, so wouldn't be a good idea to ride a bicycle if your workplace is not too far from your house (let's say, about 5 km.)?
If that isn't your case, maybe you could think about public transportation (subway or bus are the best options), at least twice per week. If that doesn't work for you, because of the low efectiveness of public transportation in the city where you live, you could maybe use a skateboard or any other tool hehehe...
But being serious, maybe we won't have to wait for so many years until some interesting machines can be mass produced. There's an invention (of which I unfortunately forgot its name, I'd appreciate if any of you guys can help me with that) that is some kind of two-wheel motorcycle that works only by electricity, and you can travel stood up. The benefit of that machine is that it can be used on the sidewalks and it'll be a lot cheaper and smaller than a conventional car. The only disadvantage: its speed won't be very fast.
If you love speed, maybe you can wait until enough of those gadgets mass produced and bought, so we can enjoy of a little free space to run our cars.
Any other options? please post a message. That's all folks, at least for now!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Some feelings (Sorry guys, today's post is in French)

Je veux écrire d'abord qu'il n'est pas commun pour moi de me communiquer en francais avec le monde, spécialement si on considère que le francais est ma troisième langue. Mais je pense qu'il est une bonne idée d'essayer de m'expresser en cette langue quand j'ai des choses personnelles pour partager avec vous; quelques fois on dit que le francais est "la langue du coeur et romance".
Mais il n'y aura pas de romanticisme ici. Au moins, il n'y aura trop. La raison pour laquelle j'ai décidé d'écrire comme ci aujourd'hui, est parce que j'ai eu une problème géante avec une des mes meilleures amies, à qui j'ai toujours dans mon coeur.
Je suis sûr que ce sujet ne sera pas intéressant pour vous qui lissez ces lignes. De toute facon il peut être important pour vous de suivre en lissant.
Cette expérience m'a fait comprendre qu'il y a des occasions où nous pouvons blesser aux personnes sans être notre intention. J'ai blessé à cette personne spéciale, et je crois que notre amitié est presque finie. Ma recommendation? N'attendez pas à qu'il soit trop tard pour commencer à fixer les petites choses que, de peu en peu, ruinent une belle amitié. Il faut se souvenir toujours que les rancunes ne rapportent pas des choses bonnes, et enfin, elles nos feront misérables, parce qu'elles vont séparer aux âmes qu'une fois étaient heureuses d'être près l'une de l'autre. Cherche toujours la paix, et pas des bagarres sans sense qui font votre vie triste.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

No words for today

Sometimes images can speak much more than words, as you'll find out in the following ironic picture, which speaks by itself.

I'm sure that the owners of this ice cream store, as well as the customers of the clinic, aren't very happy with this situation.

Hehe a little of humor for today... so have fun!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Do you need to use WinZip? Well, you've got to pay the price!!

It looks like the good times can't last forever - and the acquisition of WinZip by Corel will set a new era of compression technology.
During many years, WinZip has been a recognized standard of file compression and its users were not forced to pay for enjoying the benefits of this program (you could pay for it if you wished to). But as Corel has taken WinZip's reigns, from now on it will be mandatory to pay a fee to use the program. According to non official sources, the cost of the new WinZip 10.0 will be of $19.95 USD, and if you wish to get the package containing WinZip Self Extractor and Companion for Outlook, it will cost you about $45.95 USD.
Is this a wise move by Corel? I think that buying WinZip Computing was wise indeed, and maybe demanding a payment for its usage is a clever step as well, but for how long? Anything can happen, and it's possible that .rar files will become more popular from now on, making WinRar a hard and free competitor for .zip files. After all, Corel is a company that distinguishes itself for its wrong management strategies and mistakes, so we'll have to wait and see what's next in WinZip's struggle against WinRar and similar programs.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Invisible Man... a myth or a reality?

I found an article in a local newspaper that really shocked me (and I'm sure it will shock you as well): Some American and Australian scientists created a substance than can make invisible any object covered with it, becoming the "invisibility mantle" according to the specialized magazine Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. It is made based in a complex optical principle created in 1968 by a Russian scientist named Victor Veselago. The actual substance is made mainly from soft crystal superlenses, and anything covered with it is totally invisible for human sight.
After knowing this, do you think that the invisible man was a myth? or maybe it was a character inspired in real, but hidden, facts?
It would be really interesting to read your opinion about this enigmatical topic.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Asteroid HZ51 could hit Earth

Recent observations had led astronomers from all around the globe to think that a newly discovered asteroid, named HZ51, could hit the Earth as soon as in year 2008. Although the probabilities of an impact are actually very low (one in six million), the NASA will continue to observe the behaviour shown by this asteroid that has an 800 meter diameter.
Are we prepared for an outer space collision? The answer is no. To perform an operation similar to the one we saw in Armaggeddon is utopic, that wouldn't solve the problem. The truth is that our science is too far behind from having the necessary technology to divert the orbit of an object in the outter space. So the most we could do in such an emergency would be to evacuate the zones that will be more damaged by the catastrophe, and maybe we could store food and supplies that would let the affected people survive for some years. But nothing else.
The NASA published an interective chart that shows a simulation of HZ51's orbit in the internet, click here to get redirected to the site, or simple copy and paste the following address in your browser; believe me it's worth to see:
Fortunately, it seems that HZ51 won't hit our planet, but its proximity in 2008 will remind us how small we are in this universe.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hockey Fans: Semifinals are on their way!

The conference quarterfinals finally ended and we've seen many unexpected results. Do you remember that when I posted my predictions about the quarter final results, I stated that my forecast wasn't probably very accurate? (see the post by clicking here). Well, let's overlook the results:

1. For Ottawa Senators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, I said that Ottawa would win.
2. For Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montréal Canadiens, I predicted a victory for the Hurricanes.
3. For New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers, I anticipated a victory for the Rangers
4. For Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers, my forecast had the Sabres as favorites.
5. For Detroit Red Wings vs. Edmonton Oilers, I foresaw an easy series for the Red Wings.
6. For Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanches, I said that Dallas would win.
7. For Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks, I picked the Flames.
8. For Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks, I anticipated that the Sharks would win.

So that made 4 correct predictions and 4 wrong, having a 50% of effectiveness in my predictions. Maybe my predictions for the Conference Semifinals can be helpful for you to know for which team you don't have to bet hehe :).


Ottawa Senators vs. Buffalo Sabres

This will be probably the more exciting semifinals series we'll have. This two teams know very good each other because they're rivals in the same division. During the quarter finals, both had a good performance, although I think that the Senators had a much easier rival than the Sabres. Both teams are indeed on fire, but I'll pick the Sabres as my favorites.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils

The Devils made a real demonstration of how to play very high level hockey against the Rangers, leading to a 4-0 series victory. On the other hand, the Carolina had to suffer a little more to beat the Canadiens, something disappointing considering the excellent regular season they had. But both are still on the fight, and I have the impression that the Devils have a better chance for this series.
Colorado Avalanches vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks

This is quite an unexpected game series, both teams had an ace under their sleeve and they used it good and proper, moving the Stars and the Flames out of their respective ways. They're still alive, and they'll fight for sure to get a chance in the Conference Final. The Avalanches have, in my opinion, a better chance for this one, but don't discard new surprises.

Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

We'll have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality hockey series, as these teams are having a long time awaited opportunity. Who'll win? that is really tough to predict. We can expect anything from both teams, they have showed that they're strong enough to obtain a victory, so the final result will depend indeed of the strategy applied into the rink. I pick the Oilers for this one.

So these are the semifinal games coming up. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I will. Don't forget to post any comments if you have!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bolivian gas of discord

Yesterday, Bolivian president Evo Morales surprisingly signed a decree with which all of the hydrocarbon reserves (this means, all the petroleum and natural gas) and the respective processing plants are now fully owned and controlled by the government of such country. According to the new decree, all the international companies that used to extract and commercialize these products must give to the Bolivian government the totality of their extractions made in Bolivian territory; otherwise, they'll be forced to leave the country within the next six months.
Which will be the consequences of this measure? Companies like Total Elf (France-Belgium), British Petroleum (UK), British Gas (UK), Repsol (Spain), Petrobras (Brazil) and several others of US origin, are subject to the new rule. This announcement was surprising, and this has caused the inconformity of the countries that obtained benefits from Bolivian resources.
But these are only very short-term consequences. This may lead to many other mid-term and long term situations, such as the massive withdrawal of investments in Bolivia, the search for new competitive markets that allow the normal operation of extraction companies, and even the imitation of these measures by other emerging-economy countries.
Will Bolivians be benefited by the new hydrocarbon politics? The Bolivian government will be the most benefited with the application of this decree, because Bolivia is one of the main suppliers of natural gas for the region and they'll obtain a higher profit from the commercialization of the Bolivian resources. The question that will remain in the air will be if the rest of the Bolivian population will be benefited for that, and I'd dare to say that they won't. As the hydrocarbons conform now a monopoly in Bolivian territory, it's probable that they can expect a rise in the prices to obtain gas, oil, and other derivative products.
What other surprises will we get from Morales' government? Let's wait and see.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Random Thoughts #2

As I've got nothing really interesting to write for today (maybe I can call it lack of inspiration), this post will be dedicated to some thoughts and advises that I'd like to share with all you fellows:
Thought 1. You've got to choose your battles. It's pretty common for us human beings to feel almighty and clever, just above any other being. But this feeling is erroneous, we all have got limited capabilities and intelligence that somehow mark a boundary of action, and we can't pass beyond it, or at least not alone. So whenever you're having any trouble to face and you assume that you're not strong enough to do so alone, just retire if you can't get help, or find someone appropriate that will make things easier for you.
Thought 2. Time is precious. I've seen many cases of people that waste valuable time just letting life go by, and after some years they regret about the things they never did and for which is late to start working on. Don't be afraid to be different to other people, even if they look at you like if you were strange; if you've got positive goals to reach just fight to reach them on the right time, with the right conditions.
Thought 3. Good friends we have, and good friends we'll lose along the way. Maybe this reminds you of a Bob Marley song, doesn't it? the truth is that we've sang this chorus, with a different tense, lots of times; but maybe there are persons that don't understand what's its message. As I interpret it, the world is constantly moving and things can hardly remain static. We must move with our evolving world, and the people who surround us will move as well. Not every person that you see as a friend today will still be one in the future, we'll pass through painful separations from people that are really important for us but we have to keep on moving and pursuing our goals. This doesn't mean that we don't have to fight to keep friends as close as we can for the longest time possible, but this doesn't always work. So take your cautions and be prepared for changes.
This is it for now. Remember that sometimes a hug or a caress can speak more than a million words ;). Cheers.