Monday, July 31, 2006

If somebody is a very good coach for a team, then why can't he coach two teams?

Coaching a soccer team should be a difficult task, which to be performed well requires much strategic thinking, communication with the players and managers, and most of all, much time. So much time, that one person can only handle to coach a single team. Or have you ever seen a coach that renders his services to two teams at the same time? No, that's weird, isn't it?
Well in this strange world we can expect to find the weirdest things, the ones that we would never have imagined before to occur... and having a single coach for two teams is not a dream anymore.
After their fair appearance in the world cup 2006 in Germany, Argentina's coach José Pekerman decided not to work for such team anymore (very ashamed for not winning the world cup), so the Argentinian Soccer Federation had a problem: they had to find a new coach for the national team, and soon.
Today they finally solved the situation in a very unusual (and never seen before) way: They decided to hire Alfio Basile, Boca Juniors' current coach (one of the most popular local clubs), as a head coach for the national team... without quitting his former job! So now Basile is coach for two teams at the same time. Amazing, isn't it?
The sad part of all this is that, according to some rumours, Basile will quit his job at Boca Juniors on September; I'm sure that, however, this strange decision could eventually change the way of coaching soccer teams... and why not? also the way of paying for such services.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"We don't bake any more pizzas, Sir... would you like some elastic bread instead?"

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, has always made a big effort to show the world his lack of knowledge and general culture. And now he's is seeking more complex ways to show how little he cares about being ignorant, while he wants us to know how much he hates the western people, all of whom are "infidels". And it seems that those nuclear weapons that he's producing in his mysterious facilities (to which not even any UN employee, observer or representative has access) aren't just enough to calm his rage.
Now he decided to take a more cultural revolution to achieve his islamic goals: from now on, all the foreign words are banned from Persian (Farsi), the national language in Iran. And just to avoid the usage of any word that can be possibly linked by any means to any kind of western culture, he asked the Farsi Language and Literature Academy, which is the highest authority in Persian language concerns, to modify all those common use foreign words so they can be expressed in other terms with Persian roots.
Here are the results of some of these bizarre modifications:
  • PIZZA - Oh! No, no, no!!! This is a terrible word that was taken from Italian! Let's not respect the Italians and their culture, and let's call that dish ELASTIC BREAD instead.
  • CELL PHONE - What? How can an American word mix into our Farsi language? That's blasphemy, let's ban that and recall such gadget as PARTNER PHONE.
  • CHAT - Another western-made expression that doesn't fit Farsi. The appropiate name for that tool must be BRIEF CONVERSATION.
  • FAX - Hum, to be honest I really have no idea on what's the origin of that word; however it sounds western and devilish. It'd be a better idea to rename it LONG DISTANCE WRITING.

Those are the words that I've been able to investigate so far, but if you know any other new terms to be used in Farsi, please write a message and share it with us!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's beach time in Paris!

It's summer in the northern hemisphere of this planet, and for many people, this is the perfect season to take some time off their stressing jobs and enjoying a peaceful and relaxing time at the beach, even if going to the closest one implies traveling some hours by car or by plane (and of course, increasing expenses).
And the people in Paris, France, have the luck of living in a metropolis well known for its glamour and good manners. But the city isn't perfect, and something that lacks is a beach there.
However, that's not a problem for them: many years ago, they decided to use some areas of the Seine river's rim as beaches, so people could go there to exercise and get a good tan.
Typically, the French beaches are remembered for allowing topless and nudist practices in them; and the "beach" in Paris used to have the same modus operandi than the rest of resorts in the country. But not anymore.
The City Hall issued today a regulation than prohibits any kind of "undecent" exhibitions in the simulated beaches in Paris, including (but not limited to) topless, nude, and trouser fashions. Any person caught violating this rule will be subject to a fine that could reach 38 €. This obviously modifies the traditional point of view that we had about the French beaches and resorts, doesn't it?
So if you plan to visit the beach in Paris this summer, don't forget to wear appropiate clothing; otherwise look for another beach that allows public nudity!.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The next Latin American tallest building, and perhaps one of the world's tallest as well?

A Spanish company named Grupo Olloqui announced today that they'll start to build a new building in Panama that will become the tallest one in Latin America, defeating the actual one, Torre Mayor in Mexico City(picture on the right), built by a Canadian group.
The masterpiece, that will be named Palacio de la Bahía (Palace of the Bay) will be, according to them, "the tallest building in Latin America, one of the tallest in the world, and the tallest residential building".
What will we find inside this building? Well, it is planned to settle in there commercial complexes, offices, hotel, apartments and a restaurant; all inside a structure with a heigth of 350 metres that will be divided in 97 storeys. It is supposed to be finished during 2009.
I just have a little question: how can this building could be considered "the tallest residential building in the world" by its designers, when it will clearly host many commercial services? That's weird. And that's a stupid statement by the group that is carrying forward this project. For now, Torre Mayor keeps being the tallest building in Latin America (and it's way too far to be one of the tallest in the World); let's see what happens with that distorted building that will appear in Panama's landscape starting from 2009.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gee, this is HOT!

The weather in the Canadian and US western coasts is hot, and it has been this way for about a week. Today we had a cooler day than the last ones, just about 30°C; but the thermometres have reached temperatures as high as 36°C here in the British Columbia. And the panorama isn't better in certain regions of California, where the warmth has reached unpreceded levels (44°C or higher) and this situation has caused fear and warning among civilians and authorities.
There in California, official reports confirm the death of at least 56 people. Besides, some transforers that supply of electricity to cities like Los Angeles broke down because of the heat wave, and according to the authorities, about 1,5 million people stopped enjoying of this service. Could things be any worse?
Well, I'd dare to say that yes, things can be worse. We can expect (let's hope not!) some forests on fire, just like it's already happening in Galliano Island, Canada.
But if you live in any of these regions affected by the heat, I strongly recommend you to be in cool places as long as you can, use sun blocker creams, drink lotos of water, and avoid being too much in the streets.
See you people, enjoy summer!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

One year old king

Curious fact: According to history records, king James I of England and Ireland became the ruler of such nations on July 24, 1567. He was born one year and one month before that. This strange event happened because his mother, queen Mary I of Scots, was imprisoned and forced to abdicate.
Let me say one thing: That's the main risk of having a government system in which the power is transmitted from parents to children. And it's more unbelievable that today, on the 21th century, royalty still exists (sorry for any of you who may feel hurt for this comment). If you ask me, my humble opinion is that royalty is obsolete; let's move into the contemporary times. What do you think about this? Please post any messages. Thank you.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Africa, a host continent for education

I have never been in Africa, an many people close to me haven't either. It's a distant place for western people, especially for us who live in the American continent; so when we think of Africa, we think about poverty, hunger, diseases, and war. And Sudan is not an exception country, who could override the awful life conditions that people at Darfur are living right now?. But it would be good to talk about the positive things that can be found in Africa too.
This July 24, the University of Khartoum, Sudan, is celebrating its 50th anniversary since it became officially a university (before that time, the institution was called the Khartoum University College, which was affiliated the the University of London).
Why is this data important? Well, the University of Khartoum is the most important education institution in Sudan; it really contributes to the development of such country by allowing 3,500 students each year to enroll to their programs. It is actually rendering its services to some 16,800 people, from which a slight majority are women (an amazing fact considering that we're talking about an Islamic Republic; let's not forget that in the Arab world, most of the times the education is denied to women) and 6,000 are graduate students.
Congratulations to that University on its 50th anniversary. I'm really pleased to know that African nations are also doing a great effort to develop and to take part in this modern and globalized world.
Cheers people, please feel free to write any comments.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stari Most, four years later...

Stari Most is a legendary bridge in the city of Mostar, one of the most important cities in the Balkan republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The place is an icon of the whole country and the Islamic Bosniak culture, reason for which it was a target for Croatian forces during the war in that country held since 1992 until 1995.
The original Stari Most, built in the 16th century, was completely destroyed on November, 1993, in a joint action with the Serbian Forces working by then under the instructions of Slobodan Milosevic.
After that war, it was agreed that such bridge would be rebuilt with similar techniques that were used to erect the first one; the construction of the new Stari Most was finished on July, 2002, some days before its opening.
Stari Most is an icon that should remind us the purpose that the human race must pursue: to build and unify, not to destroy and separate.
Cheers people, remember that you comments are always welcome.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Would you like some dog or cat meat in your meal?

It is not a secret that some Asian people, especially Chinese, Korean, Indonesian and Malaysian have strange traditional dishes in their countries, or at least they seem to be strange for us westerns. I guess it's part of their own traditions and culture, so although I don't share the same likes, I respect them.
But it seems that those likes aren't accepted by some people, and the proof of that is Mexico. Yesterday, in the Korean Embassy in that country, a bunch of people gathered to show their rage against the fact that Koreans use to eat dog and cat meat (this type of food is considered aphrodisiac by some people). They claim that those animals are a great company for humans, and therefore they should not be considered for human consumption. These points are expressed in a letter given to the Economic Affairs responsible person.
This demonstration was not the only one, in some other countries protest like that one took place.
What do you say? Should this kind of food be allowed? Have you ever tried dog or cat meat? I haven't, and I think I won't... it doesn't sound yummy anyway. Let's wait to see what do Koreans and Chinese think about this controversy. Remember: all comments are welcome. Cheers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Peace on Earth

Hi everyone.
In the last weeks, a lot of tension has exploded in the Middle East, which brings the feeling that the world will suffer another war (let's hope not!).
These are indeed the results of so much pain and suffering brought by the fundamentalist militias in Arab countries. Was it really worth for them to kidnap Israeli soldiers? Did they think about the sour consequences that such action would bring to their own people, the ones that they're supposedly protecting?
I want to express something: this war in Lebanon is really useless, and an end to it could be placed very easily: to release the Israeli soldiers, and that Hezbollah recognizes Israel as a sovereign country. That's all.
I really wonder if the arab culture, so rich and advanced many centuries ago, will ever be the civilization they used to be, or if otherwise they'll keep supporting their fundamentalist terrorist groups as Hezbollah or Hamas while the rest of their population suffers illnesses, hunger and poverty.
Let's save this world from unnecessary conflicts as the one that is taking place right now in the Middle East. I raise a voice for peace through this blog, and I hope that many of you guys do the same. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Back live from Victoria

Hello people! I'm pleased to be back!!
And this blog is back as well. Believe me that posting new information is an honor for me and a way to relieve stress.
I'll dedicate this post to let you know how gorgeous is the city of Victoria, in western Canada. It's an unbelievable place to be; there are just few cities in the world where I've seen so much nature and kind people like in Victoria. It's definitely one of the most interesting places in Canada, and if you're able to travel to Victoria some day, believe me it's worth to see all the wonders that this place keeps to amaze us: The inner harbour, the Government buildings, Butchart Gardens, the bunnies at UVic's campus... parks, parks and more parks... and beautiful girls as well :)
Cheers guys, please post any comments if any. See you!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Everything's corner on vacations!

Hi people...
Starting from tomorrow, I'll be moving out of this town, so I probably won't have time to post any blog for some days. However, I'll be back with more interesting (?) writings very soon, so stay tuned and have a nice summer.
Cheers, more is coming up!!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

July, a month for Coups d'état?

July 14 is mostly remembered (especially for French people) for the beginning of the French revolution, in 1789.
But it's very interesting to find out that such revolution is not the only coup d'état linked to the first half of the month, here's a short list of the principal revolts that have something to do with July:

1. The French Revolution: Well, as I said before, this movement began on July 14, 1789, when some rebels showed their inconformity with King Louis XVI's rule by entering the Bastille (a prison building) and letting to escape seven prisoners that were caged there. Such revolution would eventually lead to the execution of King Louis XVI and his wife.

2. Coup d'état in Cyprus: By 1974, Archbishop Makarios III was the president of the relatively new republic of Cyprus. At that time the country was still unified, but there were hard differences between the Greek and Turkish communities. Makarios was seen in the west as a leader with communist tendencies, and on July 15, 1974, Greece decided to support a coup d'état which successfully achieved its goal: to bring down Makario's government.
Shortly after this success, on July 20, Turkish troops invaded the nothernmost third of the island and they have remained there since then.

3. Fiji coup: This revolution, led by the Fijian Nationalist George Speight during the year 2000, began when an Indo-Fijian prime minister resulted elected. Many Fijians, touched by Speight's nationalist idealism, supported his movement and he acted by kidnapping the elected Prime Minister, and many other congressists. Then he tried to become the national Head of State by force but he failed in his project, as he was arrested on July 14, 2000, along with 369 of his followers. They were found guilty of treason and all of them were condemned to life imprisonment.

Are all those incidents real coincidences? Bye now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Do you dream of warm and sandy beaches? Then Ürümqi isn't the place for you!

To enjoy some time staring at the sea, listening to the quiet sound of the ocean waves, sunbathing and having fun at the beach must be a real dream for the people living in the city of Ürümqi.
This place is the capital of the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang, which lies in the northwestern portion of the country's territory. And the reason for which I assume that spending time on the beach must be a dream for its inhabitants is because this town is recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the remotest city from any sea in the world. And although that book of records states that Ürümqi lies at a distance of about 2,500 km from the nearest coastline, I found out (with the help of Google Earth) that the nearest exit to the sea from such city is a point somewhere in southeastern Bangladesh. To reach this point, it is necessary for the people from Ürümqi to travel about 2,361 km considering the city's international airport as the starting point. A considerable distance anyway, isn't it?
So next time you think that spending your vacations at the beach is not practical because the beach is too far away, think twice. Maybe spending some time at Ürümqi could help you change such point of view.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Racist riots in Newark, 1967

Between July 12 and July 17, 1967, the city of Newark, New Jersey, lived some riots that remind us how dirty and terrible can racism be.
This riots arised when a local African American cab driver named John Smith was brutally beaten by some policemen who accused him for resisting arrest.
This incident, combined with the feelings of unfairness and lack of respect shared by most individuals of the african american community, led to a period of chaos that left a final result of 23 people dead, 725 injured, and more than a thousand arrested.
But the point of this topic is not to explain the details of such riots in Newark 39 years ago; the real purpose is to complain about the many ways in which racism can be showed, and to encourage people to avoid falling in these mistakes. I mean, who cares if a person is african American, Asian, Latin or Caucasian? Why should it bother us if a person have different religious beliefs than us (call them jews, muslims, christians, or buddhists, among others)?
The stereotypes and their bitter effects are the ones that really don't let us to live a peaceful life shared with people from which every individual could learn something about other cultures, languages, traditions, and ways of life.
So say no to extremist beliefs, and say no to any kind of racism. Let's look for a better quality of life for our future children and for ourselves.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 summer strike: Iberia

Airlines don't waste their opportunities to go one by one on strike each summer: one year, KLM's crew decided to stop their work, and some other years people working for Alitalia and Air France did the same. This time it is Iberia, the main airline in Spain, the one who decided not to work until its labor union and managers get some agreements.
This kind of measures obviously have some uncomfortable consequences: as many as 200 flights have been cancelled per day since last monday, and it's estimated that some 200.000 passengers will be affected by this strike.
The origin of this conflict is the creation of a low-cost affiliate airline named Catair, which was founded with the intention of eliminating some non profitable flights departing normally from the city of Barcelona. This will probably mean that workers will be fired.
But for now, if you had a flight booked with Iberia, I really suggest you to search for other options, because there isn't any estimated date to solve the problem.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Germany 2006: Italians, World Champs!... of corruption?

As it was totally predictable, the Italian national team won today the Soccer World Cup 2006 that took place in Germany.
And I say that it was totally predictable, as since their very early games in the Cup, it was obvious that Italians were benefited from some mysterious decisions taken by the referees. As clear examples, we can remember the game Italy vs. Australia, where the Italians won because of an inexistent penalty called in the last minute of the match; or maybe we can think of the game Italy vs. Germany, where the Germans were clearly doing their best to miss every scoring chance they had, until the second extra period, when Fabio Grosso, an Italian defenseman, luckily sent the ball inside the net with a fortuitous crossed shot which he himself didn't believe that entered. The second goal scored right after such action by Alessandro Del Piero was only an extra ornamentation of the game, where the German defensemen forgot to lay the red carpet for Del Piero for his way to the goal.
Now, in the final game, the French national team did a nice job simulating to do an effort to really win the game. They drove the match until shootouts, where the French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez guessed perfectly what direction would every Italian shoot take, to throw himself exactly to the opposite side of the ball's route. Also, David Trezeguet, a French player, took his opportunity to miss a penalty kick when he clearly had the intention of throwing the ball just above the goal. Fortunately for him, the ball hit the post and it looked more shocking (and real) than he initially planned.
Unfortunately, it's not surprising to find out that Italians arrange matches and cups for their own benefit, let's not forget about the Juventus case that is being discussed these days inside the Italian Football Federation, where teams such as Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina are probably to be found guilty of arranging games with referees and teams to win championships. Because of this scandal, we could see those teams playing in the Italian Serie B (minor league) as punishment.
Congratulations to the Italian National team and its managers for winning this World Cup, you're mastering the arts of arranging soccer games very well.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some humour is healthy, too...

Hello people!
After some weeks of several tension in this world due to many events that have been happening lately (disputed elections in Mexico, the North Korean threat, Israeli-palestine conflict), I thought that posting something lightly funny would help to relieve all the stress.
Here I show you a picture found while I was surfing on the web. I wouldn't trust anything to a person who makes a mistake such as this one:

I wonder if the person who was keeping things in that storage facility found everything in its place when they came back haha... it'd be a good idea to find a safer place for those keys, don't you think?

See you people, and don't forget to show your best smile even during difficult times. Cheers.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

After 4 days, Mexico knows who'll be the next President

Mexico lived this last Sunday an intensive electoral activity as it was time to choose who will be the president for the next six years.
The race was pretty close between two candidates: Felipe Calderón (left picture), representing the Partido Acción Nacional (or PAN, meaning National Action Party), which has a right-wing philosophy; and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (right picture) from the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (or PRD, meaning Democratic Revolution Party), a left wing party. These elections would define the course of Mexico's economy and politics for the 2006-2012 period, and a very close margin between the winner and the loser was predicted.
The National Electoral Institute finally published today the results of such votation, being Calderón the winner by a margin of less than 1% of all the votes. However, López Obrador has shown inconformity with the results and he will go to court against the Electoral Institute and the PAN, as he says that "many irregularities took place during the vote-counting process".
But what I think is that López Obrador is a politician that does not accept to lose, even when the process was absolutely clean indeed as many international observers, parties' representatives and citizens took part of it by counting votes and verifying that the process is clean and legal. In fact, this left-wing leader is often seen as a person closely related to the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and it was feared that he would rule Mexico the same way as Hugo Chávez does in his own country, as both's political ideals and strategies are supposedly focused on the masses, poverty, and unfairness.
Sadly for López Obrador, while he was Mayor in Mexico City, such city experienced a rise in delinquency, pollution, poverty and corruption levels, so if he was elected president, maybe the situation of the country would be badly harmed. Therefore, I think that Mexico took the right decision by choosing Calderón, as he represents a continuity in the country: the economic, political and social situation will follow the steps taken by President Fox's government, with an economic stability and continuing growth.
However, Calderón will have to be aware that almost half of the Mexican voters didn't support him, and this will represent a challenge to unify the country to follow a single path (being inclusive with López Obrador's followers as well). And for this, he'll need the Congress' help, which fortunately for him, will have more representants of his party than from any other, but having no majority.
Congratulations to Felipe Calderón and the whole Mexican Republic, may this new cycle bring prosperous and stable times for the country.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Maglev: The future has begun!

Due to the recent tragedy that occured in a subway line in Valencia, Spain, where a piece of steel laying in the rails supposedly caused the train to have an accident in which more than 30 people died, I thought that maybe it's time to find alternate (and safer) subway systems.
And maybe the solution for this could be found in Eastern Asia, more specifically in China and Japan. I found (maybe some of you know this already, but it's new for me) that they use a high-tech train that works by magnetic levitation, called maglev.
This kind of train doesn't touch the rails at all, so it can reach a very high speed (650 km/h), its oil consumption is very low, and it produces almost no noise. The con: it has a high implementation cost, but would this invest be worth for big cities? Maybe if you consider that they're much safer and faster than conventional subways, it would be. But we'll have to wait for sure to see this as a popular choice for modern urban and suburban transport, for now, we can say that, apart from the accident that occured in Spain this week, most of the actual subway systems are safe and effective.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence day... and the North Korean nuclear threat

Hello people!! I'd like to start this post by congratulating Americans for their Independence Day. I hereby want to wish a long and prosperous life to your country as well. Now, let's get into serious business.
As if it wasn't enough with the global warning arised from the development of the Iranian nuclear program, now North Korea is launching nuclear missiles to the sea of Japan, ignoring the international requests to stop these nuclear tests.
Two short-range missiles, launched from a site watched by international observers (especially Japanese and American), fell about 500 km west of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The international community fears that some day, the North Korean authorities could decide to launch their Taepodong-2 missile, a nuclear weapon with intercontinental range.
I would really like to urge the international community to stop the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs by any means possible, as they definitely aren't peaceful and they represent a serious danger for the entire world.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Taipei, Wi-Fi City

Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, was certified today as the city with the widest Wi-Fi coverage in the world by Ji Wire Inc., an overseas enterprise with hedquarters in San Francisco, USA.
This recognition was granted to the city for its wireless internet coverage, that reaches about 90% of the city's territory, and allows its usage to some 2.3 million people. The intention of the Taiwanese authorities is that, in a short term, the entire capital territory and its population may have access to this service through the giant Wi-Fi system.
Such internet service is a high quality one; according to Ji Wire's general maganer, it provides a fast and stable connection.
I think that this is a very interesting (and unique) project, in fact many people would think that providing wireless internet service to a whole big city like Taipei would be virtually impossible, but here they are showing the world that working hard and positively will always help us to reach the most unthinkable goals. Maybe some day, a project like this could be developed for a bigger city such as New York, London, or Tokyo. But, in the meanwhile, this can be considered as a starting point of an important era that will allow massive access to the internet, and therefore, to many other web based services.
Congratulations to the city of Taipei.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

July 1, Canada Day

Today is July 1st, and in Canada this date is observed as Canada Day, which is the most important national celebration.
But why is the present day observed as a national holiday? Before the creation of Canada as a single nation, the territory was divided in three areas: The province of Canada (which was created by the union of Lower and Upper Canada), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. By the British North America Act, dated July 1, 1867, all those territories became a single nation. A year later, in 1868, the Governor General Lord Monk requested the Queen to allow the celebrations to remember this union of Canada each July 1, starting from that year, and being called by then Dominion Day. It was until 1982 when the celebration was officially renamed as Canada Day.
So this is a brief factsheet about the history of this important day for Canadians. Once again I say: Long life to Canada!