2020-07-31 (Clash of titans!)

Today, I learned about:

At midnight today we will stand before a fact that only happens once in a calendar year. You might remember from your school days a mnemonic to remember the length of a certain month. Start with your left hand and where there is knuckle that corresponding month has 31 days, the valleys in between are for months with normally 30 days, except for February. Put your to hands together and you have two knuckles without any valley between them. This is of course July and August.

So how come this phenomenon? This, as many other things, has its origin in Rome, around the beginning of the Christian era of counting the years. The former month namned sextilis, meaning the sixth month, was renamed to that of Emperor Augustus as a tribute to his many feats during that certain month. But why 31 days also in August, and as in July? There is a common misconception, invented in 13th century, that Augustus wanted to have his month equal to that of the great Julius Caesar. Well, that is fake news! It is was already that way when the Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in the year 45 BC. And furthermore, the two consecutive months December and January, both also have 31 days. So, really, there is no good, plausible reason for this question. See also reference # 1 below.

Now over to some geography. My good old friend Arthur and his family recently visited the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. And as you have seen before, when they travel, my friends spread out over the world, remember me! They send me photos of the place, so that I can show them to you. My warmest thanks to Arthur, and all his predecessors in this great habit!

The High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, the origins of what today has expanded to be the European Union, in Luxemburg. Photo taken by Arthur Ribas Teixeira on 2020-07-16.

The photo above was taken in the center of the capital of Luxembourg, which also is called Luxembourg (and sometimes Luxembourg City)! The building in the middle is famous for, among our things, to have been the seat of the High Authority of the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community), consisting of six member countries. This was the origin of the current European Union (EU), and the High Authority these days is called the European Commission. So it is no coincidence that you see all those flags from Luxembourg and the EU in the forefront. See also references # 2 and 3 below.

Below are some more photos from Luxembourg, enjoy!

Photos from Luxembourg City, all taken on 2020-07-16 by Arthur Ribas Teixeira

You have probably heard and seen that NASA has sent another mission to explore Mars. It was launched yesterday, and as a tribute, all articles in a newsletter from HowStuffWorks (HSW) on the same day were also about Mars, quite interesting stuff! In reference # 4 below is an article the new NASA Perseverance Rover which will search for signs of a ancient Martian Life. Look up the article and while you are on the HSW website, I suggest you sign up for their newsletter, so that you will have many interesting stories to read in the future.

The following subject is something that is constantly on everyone’s mind these days, the Covid-19 pandemic. So, why not take it from the humorous side, for once?

BACK TO SCHOOL! Cartoon made by Benett, published in Folha de S. Paulo on 2020-07-30

Finally, tomorrow I will celebrate the 10th anniversary of my favourite online game, Wordfeud. I have been addicted since April, 2012. Don’t know Wordfeud? Look at my post from 2016-03-18 !

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Julian calendar

2: History of the European Coal and Steel Community (1945–1957)

3: Luxembourg City

4: NASA’s Perseverance Rover to Search for Signs of Ancient Martian Life

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2020-06-30 (End of 1st half!)

Today, I learned about:

This first half of the year has been nothing like I, and everybody else, could imagine. 2020 looked so nice, symmetrical, and of course we had hopes and beliefs that it would be a very good year. How wrong we all were! But let us hope that the second half of 2020 contributes with better moments.

As you probably remember, I already told you that there is a computer application that I cannot think of living without, the electronic spreadsheet. See also my post of 2017-11-17 .

In three weeks time, July 21-23, there will be an interesting 50-hour webinar, in which Microsoft’s most valuable professionals (MVPs) will cover various aspects of using Excel. Of course there are many interesting subjects in the conference, but if I could only pick out only one, then it would be “Integrating Python and Excel”, where Tony Roberts on July 22 at 11:00 GMT explains how to bring the trendy programming language Python to work with Excel, thus expanding the possibilities of creating user defined functions (UDFs), today only possible through Macros developed in VBA. See also reference #1 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Excel virtually global

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2020-05-01 (Sköna maj välkommen!)

Today, I learned about:

Nothing is like it used to be. Yesterday was April 30, the day that Sweden is used to celebrate the arrival of Spring with various fun events during Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis night). The whole story started already during the 8th and 9th century in England. You can read more about it in reference #1 below.

One popular tradition on that day in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second biggest city, is the Cortège, when the first-years students at Chalmers University of Technology give their review of the events of the preceding year in a carnival-style parade. The header photo today was taken during the Cortège in 1977. I had the pleasure of participating in it two years earlier and I must admit it was really a treat.

Another tradition on that day is to light bonfires as a way to keep the evil spirits away, and especially in the old university cities of Uppsala and Lund people gather to hear the students choirs sing their traditional songs praising Spring.

But, nothing of that sort happened yesterday. The COVID-19 pandemic impeded all those traditions to be celebrated once more. It was therefore a pleasant surprise what Radio Sweden had in store for us.

The classical music channel P2 had invited its listeners to contribute in a special way, by recording their voices and faces when singing the traditional song Längtan till landet (I am longing for the countryside). See reference 2 below for the P2 page and reference 3 for the video with the song.

And if you want to sing along with all the other 707 singers in the choir, here are the lyrics:

I dedicate this post to my dear old friend Bosse, who took so well care of me from the moment I first arrived in Brazil. He loves this kind of music, his idol is the late Jussi Björling, need I say more? For those who do not recognise that name, let us compare him to later day tenors like Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras. See also reference 4 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Walpurgis Night

2: Hela Sverige sjunger in våren!

3: Hela Sverige sjunger i P2:s valborgskör

4: Jussi Björling

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2020-04-01 (Corona relief ?)

Today, I learned about:

I just heard an interesting piece of news. It seems that the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the WCSF (World Cruise Ship Federation), which has all the big cruise ship companies among its associates, are close to conclude a deal which may be a big relief for those people who need to be treated because of COVID-19, the corona virus pandemic that is keeping the world at a still.

Two cruise ships exploring the Baltic Sea, photo taken in July 2019.

The idea is that since WCSF cannot keep their ships running normally due to all docking restrictions, they want to show the world that their ships are not only meant for luxury cruises for those with plenty of money, but also for normal people who never would have a chance of coming close to such a ship. So instead of trying to find space for treatment in the saturated, normal health care system and its hospitals, the ships would be anchored on a sufficient distance from land to not disturb life on shore, and yet offer plenty of rooms and beds for the necessary health procedures and recovery.

Keep your eyes and ears open, the official announcement should come any minute now.

The idea of using a ship as a hospital is not new, there are indications that the Greek had some already in ancient times. The British included a hospital ship in their Navy in the 17th century, many hospital ships were of course used during World Wars I and II, and just two days ago, the USNS Confort docked in New York City to help treating corona patients there. See also references #1 and 2 below.

USNS Confort, photo by Spc. Landon Stephenson on April 11, 2009

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Hospital ship

2: Everything you need to know about the USNS Comfort, the giant hospital ship in NYC

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2020-03-24 (40 anos!)

Today, I learned about:

Exactly four years have gone since I wrote a post about when I first set foot on Brazilian soil. That time, 36 years had gone since that historical step, 2016-03-24.

And here we are again, four years older, and maybe even wiser! So today makes 40 years since I came to Brazil as a trainee engineer, who would think that I would end up here? But here I am, and frankly speaking, I cannot complain! Life has been tough, but I have had my golden days, as well. And to celebrate those 40 years, what could be better than the Brazilian national drink, caipirinha? It is so easy to make and it is refreshingly tasteful. Look at another post, 2016-02-14, for the recipe and a photo. Saúde, cheers, skål !

All about COVID-19

I know that many of you are exactly in the same situation right now as I am, locked down at home, waiting for that nasty corona virus to disappear. The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has elaborated and published a comprehensive story about what it is, how to treat it, etc. In ref. # 1 below, there is a copy of their report, it is really worth reading! And if you are so inclined, Alibaba is asking for volunteers to help translate the book into Korean and European Portuguese. More about that in ref. # 2 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment

2: Jack Ma Foundation shares coronavirus; prevention handbook

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-08 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

The increasing threat of epidemics caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito has led to huge efforts in Brazil to inform the population about which actions must be taken to control the spreading of the mosquito and hence the diseases it may cause.

Aedis PR

Below is a flyer distributed in the Southern State of Paraná by the Health Secretariate. Furthermore, their agents perform regular visits to all houses to inform the population and check that the actions are being taken.

I think it is interesting also for those who live in areas where the risk of transmission by the mosquito is very low, in order to show to serious the matter is. The reference below also contains a link to download the original flyer.

Here is a complete translation into English of the flyer:

“THE DANGER HAS INCREASED

DENGUE, ZIKA AND CHIKUNGUNYA

CAUTION SHOULD ALSO INCREASE

The diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti have increased, Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. There has also been found a relationship between the Zika virus and microencephaly in babies. Eliminating the breeding places of Aedes aegypti is the best prevention! No still water, the mosquito does not reproduce and you are free of these diseases.

Make sure that where you live there are no potential mosquito outbreaks. Mark with an “X” after performing each step.

PLASTIC AND GLASS BOTTLES
The bottles shall be packed and discarded properly in the trash bin. Not discarded glass bottles should be stored in a covered place or upside down.

DRAINS
Cover the drains with screens or keep them sealed, especially those who are out of use.

SLABS
Don’t let water accumulate on the slabs. Keep them dry.

TOILET BOWLS
Leave the lid closed or seal the bowl with plastic. Flush the toilet at least once a week, in the case of bathrooms with little use.

GUTTERS AND CHUTES
Clean and level them. Keep them without leaves and other objects that may prevent the water flow.

SWIMMING POOLS
Keep the pool clean. Use chlorine to treat water and filter it periodically. Perform the cleaning regardless if the pool is used or not.

WATER COLLECTORS IN REFRIGERATOR AND AIR CONDITIONER
On the back of some refrigerators there is a water trap. Wash it once a week with soap and water. The same should be done with the air-conditioner trays.

PLANTS THAT ACCUMULATE WATER
Avoid having bromeliads and other plants that can accumulate water. If you have any of these plants, weekly remove the accumulated water on the leaves.

SHARDS OF GLASS ON THE WALLS
Seal with cement or break all the pieces that may hold water.

EMPTY BUCKETS AND PLANT POTS
Store them in a covered place and with the opening against the ground.

MINERAL WATER JUG HOLDER
Always wash when exchanging them. Keep them tightly sealed when not in use.

CRACKS IN THE PLASTER
Repair and level all imperfections in floors and places that may hold water.

WATER BOXES, TANKS AND WELLS
Keep them closed and sealed. Cover those which do not have covers with screens.

OBJECTS THAT MAY ACCUMULATE WATER
Place in a plastic bag, close tightly and properly dispose of in the garbage bottle caps, egg shells, cans, plastic and glass containers, disposable cups, among others.

CASKS AND WATER TANKS
Keep them sealed. Those who have no lid should be brushed inside once a week and covered with fabric or screen.

CANISTERS WITH WATER FOR ANIMALS
The pet water bowls should be thoroughly washed with running water and soap at least twice a week.

LAKES, CASCADES AND DECORATIVE WATER FRONTS
Keep them clean with water treated with chlorine or fill them with sand. Create fish because they feed on the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Still, cleaning is critical.

WASTE, RUBBLE AND OLD TIRES
Keep your home clean, both its interior as the backyard. Rubble and garbage must be disposed of properly in order to not accumulate water. Keep the tires in a covered place or drill holes so they do not accumulate water.

PLANT POT SAUCERS
Keep them clean and put sand up to the edge.

TRASH CANS, BOTH INDOORS AND OUTDOORS
Keep the trash capped and protected from rain. Close the plastic bag well.

KEEP THIS FLYER IN A VISIBLE PLACE. REPEAT THESE ACTIONS AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK AND KEEP THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH YOU LIVE FREE OF THE MOSQUITO WHICH TRANSMITS DENGUE, ZIKA AND CHIKUNGUNYA.

PARANÁ
STATE HEALTH SECRETARIATE”

… That’s what I learned in school!

Aedis1

Aedis2

Refs.:

1: O perigo aumentou

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-01-28 (Torsdag)

Idag har jag lärt mig, att:

Ett virus som sprids med en mygga är ett stort problem som diskuteras idag på Världshälsoorganisationen. Zikaviruset framkallar zikafeber och myggan, som kallas Aedes aegypti, är också skyldig till att sprida andra febersjukdomar, såsom dengue feber, chikungunya och den välkända gula febern.

Här i Brasilien, där vi sedan några år tillbaka har sett en utbredning av dengue feber i många storstadsregioner börjar man nu också att misstänka att de många fallen av mikrocefali, där foster bara utvecklar förkrympta hjärnor, kan förorsakas av zikaviruset.

Bertolazzi

Don’t complain about the crisis. Work. Be creative. Do like Aedes aegypti, who started small and today is well succeeded with 3 products in the market

Dagens Vetandets Värld i SR P1 behandlade just zikaviruset under titeln “Zikaviruset utmanar Brasiliens forskare”. Jag rekommenderar varmt att de som är intresserade lyssnar på programmet, där man också tar upp frågorna om det kan vara farligt att resa till Brasilien under karnevalen och sommar-OS. Se referens 4 nedan.

Uppdatering 2016-01-30: Lotten Collin, SRs Latinamerikakorrespondent, rapporterar om kriget mot myggorna i Colombia. Se referens 5 nedan.

Uppdatering 2016-01-31: Statsepidemiolog Anders Tegnell på Folkhälsomyndigheten tillfogar fakta om historik och nuläge i dagens program av SR P1 Godmorgon, världen. Se referens 6 nedan.

Flamingos+

Flamingos in Parque das Aves, Foz de Iguaçu, PR, Brazil

Ytterligare en intressant iakttagelse, gjord av SR P1 Vetenskapsradions nyheter i morse, referens 7 nedan: Varför är en del flamingos skära? Jo, det beror på att deras föda är rik på karotenoider. I annat fall skulle de bara se slätstruket grå ut, och det skulle ju göra bilden på flamingona ovan bra mycket tristare.

Allra sist: Som du kan se av undertiteln till min blogg så har jag nu registrerat internetadressen “Medieborgaren.se”. Skriv in den adressen i din webbläsare och du kommer automatiskt att hamna i denna blogg.

… Slut för idag, tack för idag!

(This post deals with the zika virus that is spreading fast now, and which has led to an emergency at WHO. The Swedish radio program in reference 4 below contains quite some material in English.)

Refs.:

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zika_virus

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti

3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcephaly

4: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/668073?programid=412

5: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/667807?programid=4734

6: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=438&artikel=6357340

7: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/668053?programid=406

+: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VucczIg98Gw