59’2023 (2023-02-28) – Tuesday

Today, I learned about:

How right I was in my post last month about the perils of summer here in the Southern hemisphere. In this post, I had planned to talk about an interesting event I participated in on January 19, but that has to be told next month. Instead I want to comment on the terrible weather conditions during the Carnival celebrations on the Northern coast of the state of São Paulo. Torrential rain combined with a cyclone resulted in huge landslides mainly in the municipality of São Sebatião. Besides the heavy material damage, more than 50 people lost their lives. See reference #1 below.

The header photo was taken by my daughter Karina who happened to be in Ilhabela, the municipality on the island of São Sebatião, that only can be reached by a ferry from the continent. But I prefer to show the beauty that still exists after the catastrophe, so this photo from the beach of Jabaquara was taken on Monday, one day later, and while the Southern side of the island also suffered heavily from the catastrophe, as you can see this view from the Northern side of Ilhabela is still breathtaking.

And speaking about about Karina, you may remember her from my post of 305’2019 (2019-10-31), when she presented a language project during an international conference in Salvador, BA, Brazil. Now she has concluded her academic studies and been awarded the Bachelor degree in Computer Science. That event was organized on 34’2023 (2023-02-03) and as a proud father, I am happy to show you a photo from it:

Ceremony to officialize the conclusion of studies for BSc in Computer Science at UFSCar, Federal University of São Carlos, on 34’2023 (2023-02-03).

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Brazilian cities unprepared for extreme natural events, experts say

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31’2023 (2023-01-31) – Tuesday

Today, I learned about:

Summer is hitting hard on Brazil right now, heavy rainfalls mixed with blazing sunshine. This photo shows the reality on the other hemisphere of our world. It was taken outside the Swedish town of Sälen in the beginning of December, 2022, and on those latitudes it is still pretty much the same.

A photo taken in Sälen, Sweden, on 338’2022 (2022-12-04) by one of my most faithful followers.

Only 350 km to the North of Sälen lies Östersund, another well-known place for winter sports. During the second half of January, 2023, Östersund hosted the Para Nordic Skiing World Championships 2023, and one would think that for a tropic country like Brazil it would be a mere curiousity. But on the contrary, if you have followed my recent posts you would well know by now that Brazil is eagerly thriving to gain a good position also in winter sports. And here are the results:

Brazil finished in the ninth top position in the general medals table, with 1 gold medal and 3 bronze medals. The historic feat of winning a world championship was conquered by Aline Rocha in the sprint category. Besides that, she also won two bronze medals, and her male colleague Cristian Ribera won a bronze medal in sprint. Here is a picture of Aline with the well deserved gold medal around her neck:

Aline Rocha commemorating Brazil’s first ever gold medal in a nordic skiing world championship. Photo courtesy of CBDN.

More information can be found in reference #1 below.

In February, I will return to talk about a recent event on Brazilian soil, stay tuned!

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Results from the Para Nordic Skiing World Championships 2023

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361’2022 (2022-12-27) – Tuesday

Today, I learned about:

Finally, here are some photos from the city of Ouro Preto in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It is a city that was founded in 1711 and during the 18th century, from the mountains around it, were extracted more than 800 tons of gold. That number only contains what was sent to Portugal, not considering what stayed in Brazil. In reference #1 below is link to an article about Ouro Preto that is well worth reading. And furthermore, if you have the chance, visit Ouro Preto, you will never forget it!

Here are some photos that I and my friends Adriana and Graziela took in Ouro Preto during the last week of May, 2022:

In the uppermost picture is shown the main square in Ouro Preto, named Praça Tiradentes, as seen from the fantastic Museu da Infocidência. The following picture was taken outside of the church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) with a breathtaking view of the surroundings of Ouro Preto. In the smaller pictures below are two examples of the exquisite statuettes carved by the Brazilian artist Aleijadinho, who managed to do so in spite of his illness in the extremities of his body. Those two and many more are on display in the Museu da Infocidência. The two pictures from inside two of the many churches in Ouro Preto, where one can find inumerous objects made of pure gold, are from Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) and Nossa Senhora do Pilar (Our Lady of Pilar). All pictures were taken during the last week of May, 2022.

I wish all of my faithful readers a pleasant end of 2022 and an even better start of 2023!

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Outro Preto

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334’2022 (2022-11-30) – Tuesday

Today, I learned about:

As I promised you in my post of 304’2022 (2022-10-31) , here is the beginning of my story about how Brazil is investing in bringing up a generation of skiers that hopefully one day will be able to compete on an elite level around the world.

To start with, the house you see in today’s header has a sign saying NEBAR, it is an abbreviation in Portuguese for the attribute Núcleo de Esportes de Base e Alto Rendimento, which means Nucleus for Basic and Highly Productive Sports in English. It is a joint project between the Special Secretary for Sports of the Federal Government’s Ministry for Citizenship, the Department of Physical Education and Human Motricity at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), and CBDN. See also reference 1 below.

Here are some more pictures that I took while visiting the NEBAR team:

In these photos you can see three of the members in the rollerskiing coaching team, from left to right Fabio, Guilherme, and Carol. And in the smaller photos, from top to bottom, Guilherme gives us a closer look on one type of rollerski, with a large assortment in the background; and of course, there is a need to wear special boots to fit into the skies; and finally Carol shows us two different types of boots, the left one can be used both for rollerskiing on a paved road and in cross country skiing on snow, while the right one only is suited for rollerskiing. Photos taken on 330’2022 (2022-11-26).

During 2023, I will follow the NEBAR team and report more on their activities.

That’s what I learned in school today!



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304’2022 (2022-10-31) – Halloween

Today, I learned about:

As you read in my post of 240’2022 (2022-08-28) , although Brazil does not have the natural conditions to be a country involved in winter sports, there are two Brazilian confederations, CBDG (sports on ice) and CBDN (sports on snow). For the former part, there is of course the possibility of building an ice arena, which you also saw in that post. But what do you do to create good conditions to practice on snow in a country with mainly tropical and sub-tropical climate?

CBDN has found a way! There is another sport which mimics cross country skiing, but without snow. It is called roller skiing, for details see reference #1 below.

I had the pleasure of attending a roller skiing competition in São Carlos, SP, Brazil two weeks ago. The following photo shows me testing the winners’ podium, and yes if it could hold me, then the athletes would have no problems to be receiving their well-earned medals.

Me testing the winners’ podium before the prize giving ceremonies of the third stage of the Brazilian roller skiing circuit, held in São Carlos, SP, Brazil on 287’2022 (2022-10-14)

Here you can see two pictures from the competition on 287’2022 (2022-10-14), when the topic was a 1,4 km sprint with qualifications, semi-finals and finals, as well as the top trio in both the women’s and the men’s competition. Reference # 2 below gives all the details about the competition.

In this photo can be seen the finish in the women’s 1, 4 km sprint. It is also very clear to see how the skis used by the athletes are.
A photo showing the finish in the men’s 1,4 km sprint
A video clip showing the fascinating finish of the men’s 1,4 km sprint
The winning trio in the women’s 1,4 km sprint: 1) Eduarda Ribera (only 17 years old!); 2) Gabriela Neres; 3) Mirlene Picin. All three from Brazil.
The winning trio in the men’s 1,4 km sprint, 1) Claudio Oliveira, Brazil; 2) Victor Santos, Brazil; 3) Yonathan Fernandez, Chile.

Next month, I will give more details about the roller skiing organization within CBDN.

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Roller skiing

2: Circuito brasileiro de rollerski etapa III

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273’2022 (2022-09-30) – Friday

Hoje, eu aprendi que:

Brasil pode não ser o país mais rico financeiramente, mas quando se pensa em riqueza cultural está definitivamentemente no topo.

Tive o prazer de assistir um show com o sambista Paulinho da Viola e sua família no Sesc em São Carlos na semana passada. A foto do cabeçalho mostra Paulinho flanqueados por Beatriz e João. Paulinho toca seu cavaquinho com mestria, Beatriz canta e João toca o violão, e ainda há um trio acompanhando por piano, bateria e guitarra.

Paulinho é uma homem muito carismâtico. Possui 79 anos, mas da maneira que ele age parece mais como um jovem artista de 29 anos, impressionante! No show foram apresentadas várias músicas conhecidas dele, de uma carreira com mais de 50 anos. Para quem quer conhecer as músicas, há amplas possibilidades pela internet, mas quero somentar acrescentar uma estória que ele contou.

Paulinho está muito ligado à escola de samba carioca Portela, mas uns atrás participou, sem querer, numa competição de canções de samba em São Paulo e ganhou um prêmio. Isso não foi recebido bem na Portela. Em compensação, Paulinho escreveu “Foi um rio que passou em minha vida”. A estória completa segue aqui, mas infelizmente a qualidade do som não está muito boa:

Paulinho da Viola conta a estória que fez ele compensar a Portela com a bela canção “Foi um rio que passou em minha vida”.

Mais sobre Paulinho na referência 1, abaixo.

Paulinho da Viola with daughter Beatriz, son João e and a trio performing at Sesc in São Carlos on 263’2022 (2022-09-20).

(The story above in Portuguese is about a show that the samba legend Paulinho da Viola held in São Carlos last week. The header photo shows him together with his daughter Beatriz and son João, as well as an accompanying trio. More about Paulinho da Viola can be found in reference #2 below.)

And, finally, soon there will be some photos from my May visit to Ouro Preto. In my blogs from 151’2022 (2022-05-31) and 181’2022 (2022-06-30) I already showed you some pictures, and during the month of December there will be more to come.

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Paulinho da Viola (em português)

2: Paulinho da Viola (in English)

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240’2022 (2022-08-28) – Sunday

Today, I learned about:

I recently moved 650 km (400 miles) from the state of Paraná to the state of São Paulo, making this the first post from my new location in São Carlos. And it also means that I am now sufficiently close to the city of São Paulo to go there, meet old friends and experience exciting things on a regular basis.

And since there is no time to get wasted, I just came back home from such a trip to São Paulo over the last, extended weekend, and do I have interesting things to report:

Brazilian winter sports

With its warm, mostly tropical climate, Brazil is of course not the most natural place to practice what many people call winter sports, which typically use snow or ice as the setting. But that does not mean that Brazilians are abstaining themselves from winter sports. Between Saturday 246’2022 (2022-09-03) and Saturday 253’2022 (2022-09-10) the Brazilian Open will be held in alpine skiing and snowboard. But the lack of sufficient amount of snow in Brazil makes it necessary to organize it in Corralco, Chile. The responsibility for the event lies with CBDN (Confederação Brasileira de Desportos na Neve), i.e. the Brazilian Confederation for Sports on Snow. More about CBDN and their activities can be found in reference #1 below.

Furthermore, there is also CBDG (Confederação Brasileira de Desportos no Gelo), i.e. the Brazilian Confederation for Sports on Ice, reference #2 below. Last Thursday, on 237’22 (2022-08-25), I had the pleasure of meeting with the Presidents of CBDG, Matheus Figueiredo, and CBDN, Anders Pettersson, in the CBDG headquarters in Brazil, the so called Arena Ice. Besides an iceskating rink for figure skating and 3×3 ice hockey, the arena hosts three official sized ice sheets for curling, sometimes thought of as chess on ice. If you do not know what curling is, then I suggest you take a look at my earlier posts in the matter, such as 83’2018 (2018-03-24), 124’2018 (2018-05-24), and 91’2019 (2019-04-01) .

The following photo gives you a view of the curling ice sheets, and furthermore, below are also two more photos taken during my visit to Arena Ice:

This photo shows the three ice sheets of official size that are available in Brazilian Ice Sport´s stadium Arena Ice. Photo taken by Anders Pettersson on 237’22 (2022-08-25).
In the photo to the left, from left to right, we see the two gentlemen who are the official leaders of winter sport in Brazil, Matheus Figueiredo, president of the Brazilian Confederation for Sports on Ice (CBDG), and Anders Pettersson, president of the Brazilian Confederation for Sports on Snow (CDBN), discussing over a delicious cup of Brazilian coffee in Arena Ice´s cafeteria. In the photo to the right, Matheus and I, posing while taking very much care to not fall on the slippery ice on the curling sheet. Both photos taken on 237’2022 (2022-08-25) in Arena Ice, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Swedcham Friday Fika

Then on Friday, 238’22 (2022-08-26), I went to the Swedish-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (Swedcham) to assist an interview in the series that they call Friday Fika, in which the executive director of Swedcham, Jonas Lindström, has held many interesting interviews with people of various trades. It used to be exclusively online, but since the Covid pandemic is showing strong signs to decay, before this event they had already experienced the first interview IRL, combined with online transmisson for those who for some reason could not go there in person. Reference #3 gives all the details, with links to the various events, hosted on Youtube.

The interviewee this time was Christopher Podgorski, CEO of Scania Latin America, a business leader known for his way of leading and incentivating people to work together in order to reach the business goals. In reference #4 is a direct link to the interview.

Below are some photos I took of the event:

A photo of the event where Christopher Podgorski, CEO of Scania Latin America, to the left, is interviewed by Jonas Lindström, Executive Director of Swedcham Brazil.
Two photos from behind the stage: The left one showing the light atmosphere during the event, with the public enjoying both the interview and the delicious snacks. The right photo shows the last minute setup that had to be made in order to put the video feed online. Manoel Alberto and his daughter Gabriele Los Angeles were able to help Jonas with that task.

In my next post I hope to be able to show you the pictures taken in Ouro Preto during my visit there in May 2022.

That’s what I learned in school today!




3: Friday Fika

4: Friday Fika with Christopher Podgorski

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212’2022 (2022-07-31) – Sunday

Today, I learned about:

The World Athletics Championships, held in Eugene, OR, USA, just ended last Sunday after 10 interesting days full of exciting competitions. And as a Swede, once more I had to admit that “Patience is a virtue”. After two bronze medals in the race walk 20 km and 35 km by Perseus Karlström, we had to wait to the final competition, the male pole vault, to see a Swede (albeit dual American and Swedish citizen), Armand Duplantis, finish on top of the podium. And what a fantastic result, 6,21 m, new world record! As you can see from the screenshots below, if the bar had been placed on 6,29 m, in principle he would have made it at that height, as well!

Here it is, the new world record in male pole vault. Armand Duplantis closed the World Athletic Championships in Eugene in the best possible way. If he had continued, would he have made it even higher, such as 6,29 m ??? I think he will show that to us later on.

And there was another thing, that few people noticed, that also made me very content. You may remember that in my post of 212’2021 (2021-07-31) , I complained about the distorted names for all competitors who did not conform to the basic ASCII code, but had their names made almost illegible. Well, the organizers of the World Athletics Championships must have read that post, because they made a fantastic job in writing all names the way nature created them. As you can see below, the aformementioned medallist, race walker Perseus Karlström, finally obtained what he deserves.

This is only one example of all the correct spellings of the athletes participating in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

But there was one, tiny detail that failed in that context. The German heptathlon athlete Sophie Weißenberg got a dual personality!

In German, there is an old letter ß, which nowadays often is spelled ss. As you can see in this sequence of screenshots, the pentathlon athlete Sophie Weißenberg seems to be treated by the organizers as a transition between the old and the new style way of writing. Even though the old style is really the most correct way, the new style is normally accepted now. However, may we ask that next time Sophie appears in the World Athletics Championships, only one way would be used in all writing of her name? If you want to know more about these fantastic sports and their athletes, see reference # 1 below.

And, finally, here are some pictures from my tour in Minas Gerais. All of them below are from the town of Tiradentes.

Photos taken in the town of Tiradentes, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 143-144’2022 (2022-05-23–24). This is one of the historical places in this state that is being conserved to look like in the 18th century, when Brazil was a Portuguese colony. The name Tiradentes literally means a person who withdraws teeth, which in many cases were what the dentists then had to do. And Tiradentes is mainly connected with such person, whose real name was Joaquim José da Silva Xavier and who was leading a rebellion against the Portuguese reign over Brazil. He was condemned and hanged on April 21, 1792. April 21 is now a national holiday in Brazil, Tiradentes Day. The object in the middle of the lower row is a speciality of the town of Tiradentes. It is a hearth in which alcohol is burnt to produce a warm and cosy atmosphere, the same principle as the one used in the rechaud of a fondue equipment. More about Tiradentes can be found in reference #2 below.

And one more thing, I took today’s header photo, an ordinary street view with an extraordinary sunset, yesterday 211’2022 (2022-07-30) in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil:

An amazing sunset in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil, a photo I took on 211’2022 (2022-07-30).

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: World Athletics Championships 2022

2: Tiradentes

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181’2022 (2022-06-30) – Halftime

Today, I learned about:

They say that time flies and nothing seems to be more true than that these days. One month ago I promised you some nice pictures from my visit to Minas Gerais, unfortunately I have not had sufficient time to complete them. But do not worry, here in Brazil they say “Promessa é dívida”, meaning that a promise is a debt, and I owe it you! In July, they will appear here! In Sweden they say “Den som väntar på något gott kan inte vänta för länge”, i.e. whoever waits for anything good cannot wait too long!

In the meantime, the photo you see below is yet another one from Ouro Preto, taken by Graziela Gabrielli on 146’2022 (2022-05-26) in the gardens of the Church Nossa Senhora do Carmo. That is what I call a tranquil view!

Photo taken in Ouro Preto on 146’2022 (2022-05-26) by Graziela Gabrielli in the gardens of the Church Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

While you are waiting for the next photos to appear, I do have a teaser for you, and it is also from the state of Minas Gerais. One week ago, the world knew that a Brazilian cheese, from Serra da Canastra in the Southeastern corner of the state, was selected as the very best in the world by the American culinary guide Taste Atlas:

If you want to learn more about the cheese from Canastra, see reference #1 below.

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Canastra cheese

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151’2022 (2022-05-31) – Monday

Today, I learned about:

What a fantastic world we live in! Last week I travelled to the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (which means General mines) on invitation from my student of Swedish, Adriana Bizzotto, together with her colleague Graziela Gabrielli. Thank you both for a very interesting week!

The trip started in the state capital, Belo Horizonte, where we had some marvellous meals. Then on Monday, we travelled south to visit Tiradentes, a town named after the Brazilian revolutionary who is known to be the person who started the upheaval against the Portugese colonizers at the end of the 18th century. The town is always crowded with visitors who want to see more of this well preserved town. On Wednesday, we continued north to Ouro Preto, a well known town in the Unesco World Heritage Program. And there were even more tourists there.

During the coming months, I will publish some interesting photos from the trip. To start with, the following photo was taken by Adriana on 147’2022 (2022-05-27) in the center of Ouro Preto and it shows the church of Saint Francis in the middle and other interesting buildings to the right.

Photo taken in Ouro Preto on 147’2022 (2022-05-27) by Adriana Bizzotto showing the Church of Saint Francis in the middle and other historical buildings to the right.

Stay connected to see the other photos, coming soon!

That’s what I learned in school today!


*: What did you learn in school today ?