Science & Technology

Living inside the Great Firewall

As an online geek, one of the most inconvenient aspects of living in China is being trapped inside the infamous Great Firewall. Stuck inside the wall, technically I am unable to access YouTube, Facebook, all blogging platforms (WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr, etc. including my own blog), Twitter, FourSquare, Google Documents & Google Calendar at times, and the list continues. You can imagine sheer frustration of those unfortunate ones, confined to an unnatural limited cyber space. World Wide Web in China doesn’t read exactly World Wide Web, but more like Webs Within the Wall.

From my experience, Internet users in China split into three camps – the Rebels, the Don’t Cares, and the Completely Unawares.


July 9, 2010 3 comments

The Hand of God and other World Cup drama

The Hand of God can have many different meanings.

The Hand of God – La Nacion

And although soccer is like a religion for some, it has nothing to do with divine intervention in this case. It is, rather, the name of a controversial goal scored by Argentina’s Diego Maradona against the English side in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Footage shows Maradona touching the ball with his hand; however, the goal was allowed and Argentina went on to win the match 2-1 and eventually the tournament. The name was coined when, during a press conference, Diego Maradona said the goal was scored “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”)


July 2, 2010 2 comments

Brazil: Getting Closer to the Finals?

Bets made. The awaited game started. We were cautiously optimistic. Though we had been successful in the last encounters with the Chileans, we respected their team and their attack. Not a defensive team at all, one that was not afraid of moving forward.

WorldCup - Brazil x Chile (6)

In the beginning, I was still uneasy. Chile started fast forward and dangerous. However, as we progressed, it seemed our old Brazilian Team was back on track. People say that gradually improving one’s game in the World Cup is part of the deal. However, we are always in the look for a kind of samba soccer, full of dribbles and skillfully played game. (more…)

June 29, 2010 Comments disabled

What the World Cup can do to your health

Doctors at emergency rooms around the world are getting ready for the onslaught of heart attacks and other heart-related maladies. Who’s to blame? The World Cup!

Blowing vuvuzelas

The British Heart Foundation posted on their website a series of easy-to-follow tips that will help you keep your heart healthy. Some of the tips are watching the matches with friends and family, staying below the maximum recommended alcohol units (ahem!), or giving up smoking.


June 10, 2010 6 comments

Tango: passion and nostalgia

Mi Buenos Aires querido,
Cuando yo te vuelva a ver
No habrá más penas ni olvidos

(My beloved Buenos Aires / when I next return to see you / I’ll grieve no more)*

Credit: Todo Tango

These are the opening lines of one of the most famous tango songs of all times, Mi Buenos Aires Querido, released in 1934. It was also the soundtrack of an eponymous 1936 film. The song (and the film) is about an emigrant’s yearning for his beloved city, his old haunts and the people he left behind.

Melancholy, hard luck, crushed dreams; longing for hearth and home, unrequited love, heartbreak, social issues, the passage of time are the recurrent themes of tango songs.


May 26, 2010 5 comments

Beyond the Census: African-American Culture in the United States

It’s 2010, and the beginning of a new decade… which means that in the United States it’s time for the Census. The population data collected by the Census is used by the federal government to determine the amount of federal money districts will receive and how many members of congress will represent a state, among other things. On this year’s US census form there are more than 15 different options for Americans to indicate their race and/or ethnicity.

Black… African-American… it’s not the same

Courtesy US Census BureauIndicating one’s race/ethnicity isn’t always easy; for example the US Census form lists “Black”, “African-American”, and “Negro” as a single category… though there is disagreement about the terms. In the US “Black” generally refers to people with dark skin, assumed to have some degree of African ancestry (race). “African-American” is an ethnicity, and generally refers to people with some degree of African ancestry, almost always being descendents of slaves (ethnicity). Some take offense to the term “Negro”, which is almost never used in modern-day America, whereas some people readily identify as such. (more…)

April 20, 2010 8 comments