domingo, 29 de outubro de 2006

You are my pumpkin :)

Instead of just wrapping up chocolates in orange and black wrappers in a weak attempt at seasonality, the chocolatier goes all-out by creating a uniquely fall-flavored confection. The truffles have a pumpkin-spiced ganache center and are coated in a velvety milk chocolate. As a final touch, the truffles are lightly dusted with cinnamon before being wrapped up link miniature pumpkins - complete with tiny leaves.

Ai que calor!

Do maroto do meu Jorge :)

quinta-feira, 26 de outubro de 2006

Os Cães

"As pessoas nascem para aprenderem a ter uma vida boa,
a gostarem das outras pessoas e a serem bem comportadas, certo?"

...e o rapazinho de quatro anos continuou...

"Bem, os cães já nascem a saber fazer isso,
portanto não precisam de ficar cá tanto tempo como nós."

Tartaruga de Couro salva em Aveiro :)

Cliquem para ver tudo :)

Via Blog dos Bichos, sempre extraordinário :)

segunda-feira, 23 de outubro de 2006

Sand Festival

Women have adopted some extreme fashions to signal their wealth and status - everything from deadly nightshade eyedrops to steel corsets

Ambling around the V&A's new exhibition, At Home in Renaissance Italy, I was brought to a standstill this week by what I assumed must be an instrument of torture. A constrictive steel cage, hinged at the front and fastened with a hook, the contraption was clearly meant to fit bone-tight around a woman's torso, sharpening to a terrifying point at the pudenda. A casual glance suggested that it had been worn as a criminal punishment (or, at the very least, for some sado-masochistic sex game).

I was wrong though. The contraption - a 16th-century steel corset - was actually highly fashionable in its day, a serious status symbol for Europe's wealthiest women. Flora Dennis, Renaissance expert and co-curator of the exhibition, says, "Catherine de' Medici brought corsets like this in her trousseau when she came to France to marry Henry II in 1533, and we know that Eleanora di Toledo, who married Cosimo I de' Medici in 1539, ordered two or three of them ... Her wardrobe was cutting edge and we think her steel corsets were made by Cosimo's armourer."

The corsets were highly prized then, despite the fact that they severely constricted breathing and were widely thought to cause miscarriages (so much so that the Republic of Venice passed legislation in 1547 to stop Venetian women from wearing them).

The history of torturous women's fashion is as long as it is varied. In 8BC, Homer referred to the goddess Aphrodite as wearing her magic girdle to make the most of her "personal attractions". And, bringing us right up to the present day, this autumn's shoe of the season - with versions by everyone from Kurt Geiger to YSL - has a nine-inch heel and a three-inch platform sole, which forces its wearer into the toe-pummelling posture of a ballet dancer on points.

With the majority of women denied access to serious political power, extreme fashion has always been a way for wealthy women to signal their place in the pecking order, and, through the centuries, they have donned ever more punishing, controversial or impractical styles to emphasise their supremacy. In the 14th century, for instance, Queen Isabella of Bavaria inspired a fashion in which necklines plunged lower and lower, until eventually the breasts were exposed. The "little apples of paradise", as she liked to call her nipples, were rouged, pierced with jewels and linked with strands of pearls or gold chains.

The queen of impractical fashions was, notoriously, Marie Antoinette. She encouraged the female courtiers at Versailles to copy her "high roll" hairstyle (which sometimes towered up to 2ft high), and, as depicted in Sofia Coppola's new biopic of the French queen, this could certainly look very glamorous. The construction, however, was far less so. Long hair was cemented over a frame, then powdered, coated in beef fat, and decorated with anything from live birds in cages to topical naval battles complete with ships and smoke effects. The price for proving your social status was not just severe backache. To justify the style's expense, the hair generally stayed unwashed for weeks, the beef fat turning rancid, and live bird displays being replaced with infestations of mice and insects.

The extent to which women have tortured or hurt themselves through fashion over the years inspired Dr Alison Matthews David, professor of design history at Ryerson University in Toronto, to write the upcoming book, Fashion Victims: Death by Clothing.

"Many women have died over the centuries as a result of their clothes," points out Matthews David. Of course, Marie Antoinette and her noblewomen famously wore panniers that exaggerated their hips to preposterous pro-portions - fine unless they came into contact with a naked flame. And the desire to wear opulent, layered clothes has brought harm to countless women since. "If you had wide sleeves or crinolines and wore tulle or gauze, but went anywhere near a candle or a fire, your dress would catch alight. Emma Livry was a prima ballerina in the 1850s at the Paris Opéra and one night her tutu - plumped up by layers of petticoats - caught fire from one of the gas-lamps that lit the theatre. She later died from her burns. Interestingly, both of Oscar Wilde's half-sisters died like this too: one tried to save the other but was burnt to death herself." (Writing for the Woman's Journal, Wilde would later espouse more rational dress for women.)

Why did women continue to wear such dangerous garments? "If something was considered high fashion, a woman would be ridiculed for going against its dictates for the sake of comfort or practicality," says Matthews David. "Until the dress reform movements of the late 19th century the social facade that you presented through your dress and choice of fabrics was all-important."

So, along with the steel corset, the wealthy women of 16th-century Venice could sometimes be seen wearing another extraordinary item: the chopine. The first versions of these were originally designed for practical purposes - a slipper was mounted on to a moderately high, round, leather platform, which meant that the displacement of weight made it easier to walk across the wet and irregular stones of Venetian pavements. Some surviving pairs show that they eventually climbed as high as 30 inches.

Dennis says: "There are prints that show prostitutes wearing breeches and chopines, but wealthy women would also go out in the street supported by servants on either side." Whether it was because the height enabled the prostitute to be seen, and helped to emphasise the noble status of the Venetian women is unclear. Either way, a 30-inch heel makes today's fetish- inspired shoes look positively cosy.

When it comes to torture, makeup has also played its part. Italian women used extract of deadly nightshade as eyedrops, hence the plant's other name belladonna, meaning beautiful lady. The toxins in the drops dilated the pupil, increasing the heart rate and blurring the vision. This made women look and feel highly aroused, inevitably flattering the gentleman with whom they were flirting. Subsequent blindness from overusage was probably not quite so alluring.

Overuse of lead white as a type of foundation could lead to an agonising death from kidney collapse caused by "plumbism" or lead-poisoning. In her book Colour, Victoria Finlay says: "Lead white had been used unsparingly in face cream and makeup since Egyptian times: the Roman ladies swore by it; Japanese geishas used it - it contrasted beautifully with their teeth, which they had fashionably blackened with oak galls and vinegar. But even in the 19th century, when the dangers must have been better known, it was common on the dressing tables of women of all complexions."

While it is easy to look back on these historical trends and feel shocked at the lengths women have gone to, things are hardly less extreme nowadays. Aside from items such as the fetish shoe, our sartorial fashions tend to be a little more forgiving than the steel corset, but our attitude to our bodies is, let's face it, often far more interventionist.

It is now possible to have ribs removed, to have our legs broken and then lengthened, and to have our little toes removed to make pointy shoes more comfortable. And the latest trend, if its creators have any say, is to have jewels - in the shape of a heart, star or, weirdly, a euro-sign - embedded in our eyeballs.

Whether this proves safe in the long-term, or reversible, we will have to wait and see. Fashion may go in cycles but one thing is a constant - the suffering that goes with it.

· At Home in Renaissance Italy runs at the V&A until January 7 2007;

quarta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2006

Então 'tá bem!! :)

Eu conheço um país que tem uma das mais baixas taxas de mortalidade de
recém-nascidos do mundo, melhor que a média da União Europeia.

Eu conheço um país onde tem sede uma empresa que é líder mundial de
tecnologia de transformadores.
Mas onde outra é líder mundial na produção de feltros para chapéus.
Eu conheço um país que tem uma empresa que inventa jogos para telemóveis
e os vende para mais de meia centena de mercados.

E que tem também outra empresa que concebeu um sistema
através do qual você pode escolher, pelo seu telemóvel,
a sala de cinema onde quer ir,
o filme que quer ver e a cadeira onde se quer sentar.

Eu conheço um país que inventou um sistema biométrico de pagamentos nas
bombas de gasolina e uma bilha de gás muito leve que já ganhou vários
prémios internacionais.

E que tem um dos melhores sistemas de Multibanco a nível mundial,
onde se fazem operações que não é possível fazer
na Alemanha, Inglaterra ou Estados Unidos.
Que fez mesmo uma revolução no sistema financeiro
e tem as melhores agências bancárias da Europa
(três bancos nos cinco primeiros).

Eu conheço um país que está avançadíssimo
na investigação da produção de energia através das ondas do mar.
E que tem uma empresa que analisa o ADN de plantas e animais
e envia os resultados para os clientes de toda a Europa
por via informática.

Eu conheço um país que tem um conjunto de empresas que desenvolveram
sistemas de gestão inovadores de clientes e de stocks,
dirigidos a pequenas e médias empresas.

Eu conheço um país que conta com várias empresas a trabalhar
para a NASA ou para outros clientes internacionais
com o mesmo grau de exigência.

Ou que desenvolveu um sistema muito cómodo
de passar nas portagens das auto-estradas.
Ou que vai lançar um medicamento anti-epiléptico no mercado mundial.
Ou que é líder mundial na produção de rolhas de cortiça.
Ou que produz um vinho que "bateu" em duas provas
vários dos melhores vinhos espanhóis.

E que conta já com um núcleo de várias empresas
a trabalhar para a Agência Espacial Europeia.

Ou que inventou e desenvolveu o melhor sistema mundial de pagamentos
de cartões pré-pagos para telemóveis.

E que está a construir ou já construiu um conjunto de projectos hoteleiros
de excelente qualidade um pouco por todo o mundo.

O leitor, possivelmente, não reconhece neste País aquele em que vive
- Portugal.

Mas é verdade.
Tudo o que leu acima foi feito por empresas fundadas por portugueses,
desenvolvidas por portugueses, dirigidas por portugueses,
com sede em Portugal, que funcionam com técnicos e trabalhadores portugueses.

Chamam-se, por ordem, Efacec, Fepsa, Ydreams, Mobycomp, GALP, SIBS, BPI, BCP,
Totta, BES, CGD, Stab Vida, Altitude Software, Primavera Software, Critical Software,
Out Systems, WeDo, Brisa, Bial, Grupo Amorim, Quinta do Monte d'Oiro,
Activespace Technologies, Deimos Engenharia, Lusospace,
Space Services. E, obviamente, Portugal Telecom Inovação.

Mas também dos grupos Pestana, Vila Galé, Porto Bay, BES Turismo e Amorim Turismo.

E depois há ainda grandes empresas multinacionais instaladas no País,
mas dirigidas por portugueses, trabalhando com técnicos portugueses,
que há anos e anos obtêm grande sucesso junto das casas mãe,
como a Siemens Portugal, Bosch, Vulcano, Alcatel, BP Portugal, McDonalds
(que desenvolveu em Portugal um sistema em tempo real que permite saber
quantas refeições e de que tipo são vendidas em cada estabelecimento da cadeia norte-americana).

É este o País em que também vivemos.

É este o País de sucesso que convive com o País estatisticamente sempre na cauda da Europa,
sempre com péssimos índices na educação, e com problemas na saúde, no ambiente, etc.

Mas nós só falamos do País que está mal.
Daquele que não acompanhou o progresso.
Do que se atrasou em relação à média europeia.

Está na altura de olharmos para o que de muito bom temos feito.
De nos orgulharmos disso.
De mostrarmos ao mundo os nossos sucessos -
e não invariavelmente o que não corre bem,
acompanhado por uma fotografia de uma velhinha vestida de preto,
puxando pela arreata um burro que, por sua vez, puxa uma carroça cheia de palha.

E ao mostrarmos ao mundo os nossos sucessos, não só futebolísticos,
colocamo-nos também na situação de levar muitos outros portugueses
a tentarem replicar o que de bom se tem feito.

Porque, na verdade, se os maus exemplos são imitados,
porque não hão-de os bons serem também seguidos?

Portugal vale a pena
Nicolau Santos,
Director adjunto do Jornal Expresso
In Revista Exportar
[Obrigada, Miguel :]

Presumíveis defensores dos direitos dos animais...

Diário de Notícias, 16 de Outubro de 2006, via Blog dos Bichos

terça-feira, 17 de outubro de 2006

Pequenas maravilhas às 2h30 da madrugada

Estava eu às 2h30 da matina a aperfeiçoar tradução já feita, no sofá, de televisão ligada, com algum zapping à mistura (para a tradução não me dar sono!) eis senão quando deparo com esta pequena maravilha:

que, sendo uma curta-metragem de animação alemã, tem a simpatia de mostrar um site em inglês, um verdadeiro site de apoio que dá vontade de ver mais.
O filmezinho tem mar e céu de um azul impossível, que em minha opinião contrasta quase dolorosamente com a situação dos protagonistas. Lindo!

«Before starting principal photography, the whole film was shot on MiniDV with real actors. The result of this pre-shoot were valuable experiences for the actual filming concerning editing, camera-angles, length, rhythm, mood.»

sábado, 14 de outubro de 2006

If only the movie animals would shut up

John Patterson knows what our furry friends would really say if they could talk:

James Herriot had it all wrong. If Only They Could Talk, indeed. If the animals the vet-turned-writer once tended in the Yorkshire Dales could have talked, they might have asked him some real posers, like, "Excuse me, why is your arm shoulder-deep in my arse?" Or more plaintively, from the traumatised males, "What have you done with my testicles, and when can I have them back?" And let's not dwell on the thorniest, most poignant question of all: "Why did you eat my mum and dad?"

Dr Dolittle, be he played by Rex Harrison or Eddie Murphy, may well have wished to "grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals," but sooner or later, he was bound to be seriously disappointed by the angry and accusatory qualities of the dialogue he'd initiated with our furred, finned and feathered friends. He'd be singing a different song soon enough, likely called If Only They Could Shut Up And Stop Reminding Me Where My Dinner Comes From.

And anyway, when they do talk, it seems to be in the familiar tones of overpaid movie stars. The big beasts of the Tinseltown Jungle all show up sooner or later, no matter how elevated their pedigree: Woody Allen and J-Lo were Antz; De Niro and Scorsese turned up as sub-aquatic wiseguys in A Shark's Tale; Bruce Willis was chief raccoon in Over The Hedge, facing off against Nick Nolte's ragin' grizzly, and this week we're exposed to the dangerously unfunny combination of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher in Open Season. All of them doing animals the very small favour of making them seem hip and approachable to credulous, overurbanised children who will one day attempt to pet and cuddle real tigers and rhinos because Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks told them it was OK to do so.

And next comes Barnyard, starring Kevin James, late of the unlamented TV comedy The King Of Queens. The sexual confusion in that title might help to explain why all Barnyard's male cows - no, stick with me here - should have udders. James is a pretty chubby fella, so I'm prepared for inventive excuses in his case, udder-wise. But what about his bovine pal, played by Sam Elliott who, among certain female and/or southern acquaintances of mine, represents some mythical acme of imperishable, oak-hard, all-American masculinity? With udders? That really is an offence against nature. If only Sam Elliott could moo, scrape his hoof angrily on the ground, and charge the writers of Barnyard, horns down.

Given the recent overload of tiresomely verbose beasties, I think an instant moratorium on all animal speechifying would constitute a gigantic favour to moviegoers everywhere. And in the meantime, certain films that dwell on the ugly origins of our food, like Georges Franju's slaughterhouse tone-poem Le Sang Des Bêtes or Richard Linklater's stomach-churning Fast Food Nation, ought to make us forever grateful that animals can't utter a single syllable.

quarta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2006

Cinefilia :)

Medicina Alternativa, really :)

Rhymes with Orange

Ora isto interessa-me =)

IT seems illogical, but the same compound that addles the brains of marijuana users may help treat the symptoms and slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease, the leading cause of dementia among elderly people.

In laboratory experiments, the compound, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), preserved levels of a brain chemical that declines in Alzheimer's, permitting the build-up of brain-gumming "amyloid plaques".

The plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer's and its dementia-inducing damage.

"Our results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimer's disease pathology," researchers reported in the US journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The team - led by organic chemist Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California - claimed that THC holds real promise as a "drug lead", a model for developing new and more effective treatments for Alzheimer's.

Existing drugs such as donepezil, sold as Aricept in Australia, inhibited an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase which broke down acetylcholine, the brain chemical that prevents formation of amyloid plaques.

But THC not only acted against the enzyme, it also targeted plaque formation.

According to pathologist and Alzheimer's expert Colin Masters, the findings were novel and unsuspected.

"It might be possible to reformulate or rebuild the THC molecule so it has the anti-Alzheimer's effects without causing disturbances of cognition - getting high or stoned," said Professor Masters, from the University of Melbourne and the Mental Health Research Institute.

That's so because THC acts on one group of brain molecules when it triggers a buzz and another when it fights brain-clogging plaques.

terça-feira, 10 de outubro de 2006

As Termópilas, mais conhecidas como pilas

Pois se têm o Gerard Butler, camandro!

[thanx, fofo =]

domingo, 8 de outubro de 2006

Herushingu na Sic Radical

Hellzing, «Herushingu» no original!
Quartas-Feiras - 02.30h e 19.00h
Sábados - 09.30h (compacto anime)

São 13 episódios de meia-hora com vampiros e fantasmas à caça dos mortais comuns. Só mesmo a Fundação Hellsing é capaz de suster o mal protegendo assim a humanidade. Contudo circula por aí uma formula mágiga, vendida como a droga mais fabulosa de todas, um chip capaz de dar aos humanos as qualidades dos vampiros.

Com a multiplicação de sorvedores de sangue, novos e velhos, a fundação Hellsing não tem mãos a medir e tem que se valer da experiência de Alucard e da energia de Celes Victoria. Estacas de madeira, balas de prata e crucifixos em bonecada falada em japonês. Do melhor!

[dizem eles =]

sábado, 7 de outubro de 2006

Battlestar Galactica?

From IMDb:

The new Battlestar Galactica is a stunning drama that surpasses the original 70's cheese., 6 February 2005
Author: tony-goodwin from United Kingdom

The two Battlestar Galactica series both begin in the same way with similar precepts – the end of a civilisation and the possible extinction of the human species.

The original chose to be lightweight in dealing with this underlying theme (the first thing they do post-apocalypse is go to a party planet) - the new series actually attempts to deal with the issue in an adult manner.

The writing, direction, and most importantly the acting, is superb - each combining to create emotional depth.

As a teen I enjoyed the original but (sorry to get Biblical) "when I was a child I spoke as a child, I acted as a child – now I must put childish things behind me".

The sex of the characters does not offend – it does not cause grief to find two key characters to be stunningly female. It doesn't even offend that a potential bad guy has a British accent.

Just enjoy. Drama really doesn't get much better than this.

The Sound of Science

Or, Sonification :)

Composers inspired by the cosmos—the Kronos Quartet, Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield and others—have produced interesting, if sometimes cringe-worthy, music. Now, science is adding a new wrinkle to spacey tones, using sound to represent information that is typically communicated visually.

The field of "sonification"—the translation of non-audible data into sound—has been around for decades. (Think of the Geiger counter.) Even so, as recently as 1997, it was described in an NSF report as being "in a formative stage." And then it began expanding: Attendance at the annual conference of the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD) has almost doubled since then.

UC, Berkeley's Space Science Lab (SSL) is one group that's at the vanguard of finding new ways to represent data. Having developed an "iconic" sonification system, scientists at SSL are getting ready to analyze data from a pair of spacecraft, called STEREO A & B, that will study coronal mass ejections and solar winds. Each category of data collected by STEREO (like different energies of solar particles, or the rate at which they hit a detector) is assigned a sound quality (like a note on the scale, or degree of volume), with each instance of a particular data point producing its respective sound quality.

Roberto Morales, a PhD student at Berkeley's Center for New Music and Audio Technology, wrote computer programs that turn STEREO's data into sound, to be analyzed by the SSL physicists. Morales' sonification tools will help focus their attention on certain types of events that merit further investiga­tion. Laura Peticolas, a physicist who oversees Morales' work, says the algorithms will give the scientists "flexibility...really any color graph can be displayed and then listened to, which is rare in sonification." Janet Luhman, who will be interpreting STEREO's data, said her team will now have "the opportunity to hear the spatial and temporal dimensions of space weather together... If I listen to the data I may be better able to sort it out."

Indeed, sonification's adherents say that hearing data through iconic sonification, rather than just seeing it, can enhance understanding and enable the recognition of patterns in information that, displayed visually, would look like a confusing jumble. "The human auditory system is the best pattern-recognition device that we have," said Bruce Walker, a computing and psychology professor at Georgia Tech and president-elect of ICAD. "And when you're trying to figure out patterns in any complex data set, it turns out to be very effective to use sound in order to determine those patterns."

Cognitive scientists agree. Auditory representation enables recognition of "certain patterns...that you wouldn't be able to see in the [visual] sense," said Marty Woldorff, associate director of Duke's Center for Cognitive Neurosciences and an expert in sensory perception. Vision tends to work best for spatial data, naturally, but it's been established that we process temporal information better by hearing it. For instance, abnormal patterns in EEGs are better grasped by ear than eye, allowing for a quicker diagnosis of epilepsy and other disorders. And when it comes to perceiving data, Woldorff added, more can equal better: "If auditory and visual stimuli are synchronously get enhanced processing."
In a separate project, Morales also alters the sounds to "write" his own music. Last year, he composed an orchestral suite, "Turning Points," that was based in part on solar winds. He likes to "play around," turning the data into a piece with "the aesthetics [he's] looking for."

Whatever the relative merits of space-based music (Rush's 2112, anyone?), STEREO may hold promise both for sonification and for space science. Peticolas says she looks forward "to find[ing] out if we discover anything new in the solar wind from listening to the data rather than looking at it."

quinta-feira, 5 de outubro de 2006

Quem é amiguinha, quem é?

Bem lhe chamam Food Porn

Sendo que Porn é algo desejável, irresistível...

Enfim... Há falta de palavras?
Mas pronto, que maravilha é esta, que não me repugna mesmo que me lembre de uma lagarta.
Mas se for a Kate Caterpillar... Alguém me arranje a Kate Caterpillarrrrrrrrrrrr, pliiiiiiiiiiiizzzz.
Ai ai :)

Se este bonequinho não é a figura mais antropomórfica já vista...

não sei o que possa ser!

Um simples rato? Please...

Outra maravilha querida do Cute Overload :)

quarta-feira, 4 de outubro de 2006

Wake up call

Toca a ir ver pessoal... Afinal estamos a falar da nossa casa.


Inspirada pelo post do colega Zabriskie no blogue Nepenthe,
proponho que comecemos a praticar o BookSpotting,
a espreitar que livros anda a malta a ler, por aí.

Não vai ser fácil para mim,
pois não ando muito por aí em transportes públicos.

Não vai ser difícil,
pois o tuga não anda por aí a ler
(muito menos livros).

Enfim* :)

terça-feira, 3 de outubro de 2006


Hayao Miyazaki has picked up the old pen once again
and started work on his next project in Tokyo.
Although the project has yet to be named,
it does have a targeted release date
wayyy down the road in summer 2008.

Michael C. Hall is Dexter

A like-able Miami police forensics expert
moonlights as a serial killer of
criminals who he believes have escaped justice.

Official website from Showtime television, unavailable outside of the US.

Beowulf & Grendel

Só para relembrar :)