2016-12-24 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

The world is still a very unsafe place and every day we hear and see how evil actions from other people threaten the peace of the world. But today I read a news story that reminded me of how we all must contribute by going in baby steps and then, hopefully, one day we will arrive at making the world a peaceful habitat for all human kind. How does one eat an elephant? Some say it is impossible, but if you take a tiny bite every day, one day you will find that you have eaten it all!

It is therefore that I am very happy to announce that 2016 is the first year in many from the recent history of the world that the number of armed conflicts have lowered, from 33 at the end of 2015 to 32 today, According to the University of Hamburg, Germany, no new conflict has been added and the one in northeastern India is now considered as history only.

But the world is still a scary place. Of the 32 conflicts still present, here is some information: The bloodiest of them all is of course the terrible situation in Syria, and there are 11 more in the Near and Middle East. In the rest of Asia, there are 8 wars going on and 10 more in Africa. The remaining two are Ukraine in Europe and Colombia in South America.

But I sincerely hope that you are safe and can celebrate Christmas with your loved ones, so M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S to all of you!

My header photo today was taken in 2015 by a friend in Rio de Janeiro, when the city still had money to light up the Christmas tree. What a lovely view from ” cidade maravilhosa”!

… That’s what I learned in school !


Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!


Ingen har startat krig i år

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-06-19 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

In our modern world of communications, exciting things still happen. In my post of 2016-06-07, I showed a product concept for a rumored smartphone from Samsung. It consisted of an external normal 5″ smartphone, with an internal foldable 8″ tablet.

But other companies are also working on similar concepts. Lenovo, that acquired Motorola last year, recently hosted a Tech World event in San Francisco, where they presented two concepts similar to that of Samsung: a huge wrist phone and a foldable tablet, see pictures below. A complete article with more pictures can be found in reference #1 below.


Lenovo concept products: a wrist phone and a foldable tablet. Photos taken during the Tech World on 2016-06-10 by John Velasco.

But if you think that things have gone to far, how about a smartphone with a minimal set of apparent attractions? I am thinking about the Runcible, a totally different form factor for a mobile phone. Its basic features include an analog clock, a compass and what appears to be a photo viewer. But, this so-called anti-smartphone also has a 7-megapixel rear-facing camera and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth out of the box. More details are available in reference #2 below.


How about using Runcible as your next generation smartphone? Photo by Myleen Hollero.

Finally, today there are only 47 days left to the scheduled opening ceremony of the Summer Olympíc Games in Rio de Janeiro. Two days ago, the state government in Rio declared a state of calamity, blaming the weak finances on decreasing tax income and royalties due to the lowered market prices for petroleum. To me, the situation seems similar to the one in Venezuela. Maybe the expression below gives an adequate description of the panic:



… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Lenovo foldable smartphone and tablet concept hands on

2: Monohm’s circular ‘anti-smartphone’ is up for pre-order

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-14 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

As you know, the Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August this year. And in 2020, the host city will be Tokyo, the capital of Japan.

Thinking about facilities for all the expected tourists during the games, the Japanese authorities have developed an identification system based upon the person’s fingerprints, that is planned to be used when making payments, checking in at the hotel, etc. Trial will start already this month. See the figure below and reference #1 for further information.


A brief description of how the ‘Finger currency’ system is supposed to function.

On my last day in Shanghai, 2005-04-14, I spent some hours visting the Shanghai Museum, located in People’s square. Below are some photos from there.


Of the many fine collections of ancient Chinese art in the Shanghai museum, let me just appoint one here. In the upper right photo are shown the Bells of Marquis Su of Jin, from the ninth century BC. I have a sound recording of the bells. If I can find that file, I will update this post so that you may hear it. See also reference #2 below for information about this impressive museum.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Fingerprints to be tested as ‘currency’

2: Shanghai Museum

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-01-20 (Wednesday)


Christ Statue, Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

Today, I learned again, that:

Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host the 31st Summer Olympic Games later this year. But how was it that the city got its name and what does it mean?

Rio de Janeiro literally means the January River. The reason is that when the Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos discovered the Bay of Guanabara on January 1, 1502, the Portuguese word for both river and bay was ‘rio’, and hence the origin of the name. When the city was founded by Estácio de Sá on March 1, 1565, its name was designated as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as a tribute also to the ruling Portuguese king, D. Sebastião.

Every city in Brazil has a day once a year when they pay a tribute to their patron saint, and when there is a local holiday. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, in consequence with what was said above, it is Saint Sebastian, and since his day is January 20, today is a local holiday in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in many other Brazilian cities, that also venerate Saint Sebastian, e.g. São Sebastião (state of São Paulo), Paranavaí (state of Paraná), Paraisópolis (state of Minas Gerais), as well as some other 250 cities all over Brazil.

… That’s what I learned in school!


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

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

3: https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/São_Sebastião#Brasil

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