Sunday 27 April 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 27th of April Edition



EDITORIAL

Hello everyone, hope you're having a nice day. This is today's edition: the most recent court decision and a summary of the Venezuelan situation for the outsider's eye in our News section; in Science, we feature a great Spotlight by Lance Ulanoff (via Mashable) on the virtual reality renaissance; in our Design, Business & Innovation section everything you think you know about the Internet is wrong; Sadie Smith and the story of our beloved Moleskines in our Culture section; In Dog We Trust  shares interesting articles about adopted squirrels and introduce us to Cesar Frenchie; and in Our Weekly Procrastination section we invite you to visit the wonderful Chris Marker's exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Happy Sunday and happy reading!

NEWS

Photo: Juan Barreto via AFP.

Firstly, the most important thing that happened in Venezuela this past week was that the Constitutional Court  determined that the right to peaceful demonstration, established on the Article 68 of the Venezuelan Constitution, "is not an absolute right" as guarantees to life and health. We kind of already knew that, but now, it's legal. Read resolution here (link in Spanish).

This is how people reacted, explained by AFP: "Several thousand people took to the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities Saturday to protest education reform plans and restrictions on the right to demonstrate". Read full article here


Photo via The Objective / El Subjetivo.

And just in case any of the readers of this little procrastinator's newspaper still have any doubt of what type of government is the Venezuelan one, I translated a post wrote by Laureano Márquez in the blog The Objective (link in Spanish) because is a good attempt to explain Venezuela's situation to someone that doesn't live there or that hasn't been following the situation closely. Its oversimplified, but again, if someone wants more information I can gladly provide it or you can check the posts tagged #sosvenezuela and find loads of articles. Please excuse my imperfect English specially with technical/legal terms (any correction or suggestion will be appreciated), hope is useful for you to understand Venezuela a little bit more.

"To explain what happens in Venezuela to someone that has not live there the past 15 years is really complex, because, as the proverb goes: God is in the details. Formally, Venezuela is seen as a solid nation with a solid democratic system that contemplates periodic elections. That is appearance, of course, details tell a whole other story:

• The division of powers is non-existent. All are subdued to one, the executive, leaving the citizens in a state of legal defenselessness.
Constant practice of political intolerance to dissenting; opposition members are qualified systematically as "traitors", "fascists", "conspirators" (without ever giving any proofs), which translates in political exclusion and limitations on the exercise of citizens' rights.
• Crackdown on peaceful protestors; violations to Human Rights, torture, prison, illegal dismissal of congressman and mayors rightfully elected, opposition leaders jailed, etc.
• Lack of a reliable electoral system, as 4 of the 5 counselors are openly pro-government. Absence of an auditable elections record, evident irregularities like double voters, intimidation of voters, electoral centers with results of 100% of votes in favor of the Government option, harassment of opposition election witnesses, and a more than evident opportunism in election campaigns with blatant and illegal use of the State's resources.

Also, there is an economic crisis of unpredictable consequences, due to politics like:

Expropriations of companies that in state hands became corrupt and unproductive.
 • Exchange controls that prevent free access to foreign exchange. Governmental control in this area has generated a record corruption, the figure is close to US$ 30,000,000.
High inflation. In the official figures, which some experts say are made ​​up, it is close to 57%.
• Shortage of basic goods and food, had force the Government to establish a ration card. Queues 5 and 6 hours to get oil, milk or corn flour have become every Venezuelan's reality.

All these led to the protests that started back in February and haven't stopped. The student movement has staged peaceful protests in reaction to the violence and insecurity in the country, that leaves thousands of deaths each year, kidnappings and robberies. The government reacted violently repressing the protesters and inciting paramilitary groups to act; more than 40 victims in two months and a total of tortured, arrested and processed students never seen in Venezuela since the most cruel of our dictatorships.

Venezuela's serious governance crisis, not only have roots in the economy, deficient health system (there are no medicines), education, food, but also in the alarming insecurity that situates Venezuela as the second most violent country in the world.

In this climate, a process of dialogue between government and sectors of the opposition was initiated. So far it has generated a lot of expectations, but no concrete results.



SCIENCE


Image via Mashable.

Great spotlight on the virtual reality renaissance by Lance Ulanoff in Mashable. This is how it starts: "I'm flapping my wings. Not hard, but slowly and smoothly. At 25 feet across, my wingspan is so great I don't need to exert much energy to achieve lift. In the distance, I see an island under an azure sky. This is my home. Off to my west, the sun is setting and the sky glows with warm, orange light.
Spotting movement in the ocean below, I bend my body slightly to the left and begin a gentle dive. As I approach the shore, I spot my prey splashing in the shallows. I lean back, keeping my wings fully extended so I can glide just above the water. I'm right over the fish. I pull in my wings, bend forward sharply and dive into the water. I emerge with a fish in my mouth. Success.
Better yet, I did all this without ever leaving the ground or getting wet." Read full article in Mashable. E.T.P.

DESIGN, BUSINESS & INNOVATION


Photo via TIME Magazine.

Tony Haile writes in TIME: "If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading. We race towards new trends like native advertising without fixing what was wrong with the old ones and make the same mistakes all over again." Not an average reader? Read full article in TIME. E.T.P. 12'


Photo via Fast Company.


The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab's Closed Doors: Space elevators, teleportation, hoverboards, and driverless cars: The top-secret Google X innovation lab opens up about what it does--and how it thinks. Read the full article by Jon Gertner in Fast Company. E.T.P. 10'

CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT


Zadie Smith, photo by Chris Boland via The Paris Review Facebook Page.

“Rome says: enjoy me. London: survive me. New York: gimme all you got.” Zadie Smith’s story Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets from The Paris Spring issue is now available in its entirety online, go ahead and have a lovely read. E.T.P. 28'

Image via The New Yorker.


Adrienne Raphel share in The New Yorker the story of the very famous Moleskine: "Maria Sebregondi, the founder of Moleskine, was born and raised in Italy. Her mother worked as an editor and a graphic designer. “I remember, when I was a child, having graphics around all the time,” she said. Sebregondi’s background is primarily in literature and publishing, but, she said, a “kind of visual sensibility was strong in my family.” Moleskine-style notebooks had been produced since the eighteen-fifties, by small French bookbinding companies, and distributed in Paris bookstores; they were used by Picasso, Hemingway, Van Gogh, and the like . . . But, in 1986, the last traditional moleskine manufacturer, a small stationer in Tours, France, closed down. Moleskines went extinct, driven out by cheaper, mass-produced notebooks." Read full story in The New Yorker. E.T.P. 9' 

IN DOG WE TRUST


Photo: Cesar Frenchi via his Instagram.


Hello dog lover! Hope you're having a beautiful weekend!

Here are some links for you:







Enjoy your Sunday! And follow Ceezy Freezy on Instagram
 
 
-
In Dog We Trust is edited by: Carola Melguizo from La Guía del Perro.  
 

OUR WEEKLY PROCRASTINATION








Photos: The Procrastinator (some) Times.


The past Sunday we visited Whitechapel Gallery to have a look at their wonderful exhibition co-curated by Christine van Assche and Chris Darke, Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat. "Visionary French filmmaker Chris Marker (1921–2012) created vivid film-essays that lace realism with science fiction and lyricism with politics. Changing his name, declining to be photographed or interviewed, Marker was both enigma and legend."

The exhibition is delightful and lets you discover Marker's photography; his Petites Planètes collection; or have another look to films like Statues Also Die (1953), Le Joli Mai (The Merry Month of May) (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans soleil (Sunless) (1982), Zapping Zone (Proposals for an Imaginary Television) (1990–94), in a big screen. You can spend hours inside Marker's universes, which is a way to challenge yourself to observe more, to ask more, to let go, to recognize, to love, to be curious, to be both overwhelmed and amazed at the same time, maybe all the time. It's very moving in every possible way of the word.

Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat is open at the Whitechapel Gallery until the 22nd of June and it's free. There is also an events program with symposiums, film exhibitions... JUST GO!

-

As an extra for this post, serendipity brought to my eyes, also this past week, an article written by Chilean documentarist Patricio Guzmán named "Lo que le debo a Marker" (What I owe to Chris Marker), in which he tells the story of how he met Marker and how his life radically change because of that. If you speak Spanish, have a look here.

Sunday 20 April 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 20th of April Edition


EDITORIAL

Morning everyone! Hope you are enjoying your Easter holidays. In our news section we have one article about Narcissist in Chief, Valdimir Putin, and a couple of articles about Venezuela, mostly a  little follow-up from last week "dialogue", not very useful responses from the government, but well, that's no surprise. Among the articles though, there is an interesting piece of Moisés Naím, this time in the Financial Times about the under-reported influence/control of Cuba over Venezuela. In our Science section Adrianne Lafrance introduce us to Kepler-186f, Earth's closest cousin, and Maria Konnikova talks about the science of yawning. In our Business section, some accurate descriptions of media jobs, and the darknet of drugs and guns, disturbing! And of course our Culture Section is devote to one of our favorite Latin American writers of all times: Gabriel García Marquez, el Gabo. Finally, in our lovely section In Dog We Trust you get to meet Rio Blue that belongs to one of my favorite breed of dogs: the Boston Terrier!

Happy 04/20 people, good Sunday and good reading!


NEWS



Narcissist in Chief. Joseph Burgo writes in The Atlantic about Vladimir Putin's narcissistic behavior. Some insights obviously can be extended to other more tropical messianic leaders, if you ask me. Here's a fragment of Burgo's piece: "Is it accurate to describe Putin as a narcissist in the clinical sense of the word? Can an understanding of the psychological roots of narcissism help us to gain deeper insight into the man and how we should respond to his aggression, rather than using the label to deride him? Maybe." Read full article in The Atlantic. E.T.P. 11'


Photo via Voz de América.


Venezuela students add Easter twist to dwindling protests. Venezuelan students are marching barefoot, building crucifixes and planning to burn effigies of President Nicolas Maduro to try and breathe new life into their protest movement over Easter.
The religious-themed demonstrations are the latest tactics in anti-government protests since early February that have convulsed the South American OPEC nation and led to 41 deaths. Read full article in Reuters. E.T.P. 3'


Cuba fed a president's fears and took over Venezuela. The enormous influence that Cuba has gained in Venezuela is one of the most underreported geopolitical developments of recent times. It is also one of the most improbable. Venezuela is nine times bigger than Cuba, three times more populous, and its economy four times larger. The country boasts the world’s largest oil reserves. Yet critical functions of the Venezuelan state are either overseen or directly controlled by Cuban officials.Read full article by Moisés Naín in Financial Times. E.T.P. 6'


Venezuela's military admit excesses during deadly protests. The military in Venezuela has admitted it committed "some excesses" during weeks of political unrest that have left more than 40 people dead. The military's strategic command chief, Vladimir Padrino, said they were investigating 97 officers and police staff for "cruelty and torture". Read full article in BBC. E.T.P. 3'

Venezuela rejects amnesty for jailed protests leaders. The Venezuelan government has dismissed calls by the opposition for an amnesty for jailed protest leaders. Government and opposition representatives met for a second time on Tuesday to try to put an end to two months of anti-government protests.
Following the meeting, Ramon Aveledo of the opposition MUD coalition said his proposal for an amnesty law had been rejected.Read full article in BBC. E.T.P. 5'

SCIENCE


Photo via The New Yorker.


Maria Konnikova for The New Yorker: "In 1923, Sir Francis Walshe, a British neurologist, noticed something interesting while testing the reflexes of patients who were paralyzed on one side of their bodies. When they yawned, they would spontaneously regain their motor functions. In case after case, the same thing happened; it was as if, for the six or so seconds the yawn lasted, the patients were no longer paralyzed . . . Walshe concluded that yawning was activated by a primal center of the brain that fell outside conscious control.” Read full article to find out more about the surprising science of yawning in The New Yorker. E.T.P. 8'


Illustration: An artist's concept of Kepler-186f. (NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech) via The Atlantic.


Adrienne Lafrance introduces us to Kepler-186f, Earth's closest couisin. "Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there's a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home.
NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it's unlike anything they've found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered." Read full article in The Atlantic. E.T.P. 7'

DESIGN, BUSINESS & INNOVATION


Image via Dazed Digital.


As with most technology news this is as interesting as disturbing: "Google might be cracking down on drug sellers, but don't worry: the darknet has you covered for all your illicit search needs. A new search engine called Grams has popped up, and it promises to make it easier for you to find black market goods including drugs, guns, stolen credit card numbers and even fake £100 Tesco vouchers." Read full article in Dazed Digital. E.T.P. 5'

Image via Fast Company.

The jokesters at Someecards have created a series of brutally honest job titles to restore order to a world gone mad with euphemism. Each entry stares deep into the soul of a modern job title and reduces it down to the main task for which its bearer is responsible. "Head of IT," for instance, is now transformed into "Director of Turning Things Off and Back On," a tactic that even the least computer-savvy individuals have learned works most frequently. Read more brutally honest versions of job titles in Fast Company. E.T.P. 3'

CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT


Photo: Gabriel García Marquez de la serie Frente al espejo. Caracas, 1982.


This past Thursday our beloved Gabo died in México leaving a lot of memories and yellow butterflies nostalgically fluttering around. My first García Márquez book was Relato de un naúfrago, as an assignment for school (one of the good ones). Cien Años de Soledad would follow. After that it was up to me keep discovering el Gabo and that thing people called magic realism, that as he many times pointed out, and as I suspected back then, is just normal/extraordinary life in that little piece of land right next to the Caribbean. My favorite book is El amor en los tiempos del cólera. It's so definitive. I also loved of course, El general en su laberinto, Del amor y otros demonios and Memorias de mis putas tristes. If you haven't read el Gabo yet, this is your time. It must be amazing having so much to discover from him, from Colombia, from life, chaos, magic and love.

The photos above and below were taken by the Venezuelan photographer Vasco Szinetar, and are part of a great series called Frente al espejo (In front of the mirror). Have a look at Vasco's work in his blog. The articles below are a good compilation of the articles appeared in the newspapers after Gabo's death, and a couple of old interviews worth reading or re-reading. Hope you enjoy them, and if you want to share one memory or article, do it in the comments, it will be deeply appreciated!


Photo: Gabriel García Marquez de la serie Frente al espejo. Cartagena, 2010.

 
Hector Tovar in Los Angeles Times: Gabriel Garcia Marquez was more than magical realism: An appreciation: "Like Hemingway, “Gabo” was a newspaperman. He’d worked as a columnist in Colombia and his first book was born as a series of columns about a shipwrecked sailor. That thin little volume with an impossibly long title was the first book I read in Spanish, as a 19-year-old Angeleno undergraduate studying the language of my immigrant parents: “The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor: Who Drifted on a Liferaft for Ten Days Without Food or Water, Was Proclaimed a National Hero, Kissed by Beauty Queens, Made Rich Through Publicity, and Then Spurned by the Government and Forgotten for All Time.” Read full article in LA Times. E.T.P. 7'

Gabriel García Márquez. Only the bible sold more copies than his book. "Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, Garcia Marquez achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens . . .One Hundred Years of Solitude" was "the first novel in which Latin Americans recognized themselves, that defined them, celebrated their passion, their intensity, their spirituality and superstition, their grand propensity for failure," biographer Gerald Martin said." Read full article in The Times of India. E.T.P. 6'  

Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize winning author, dies at 87. ' "I feel Latin American from whatever country, but I have never renounced the nostalgia of my homeland: Aracataca, to which I returned one day and discovered that between reality and nostalgia was the raw material for my work," reads a mural quoting the author outside of town.
García Márquez was tickled that he had earned so much praise for his fertile imagination.
"The truth is that there's not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination," he told The Paris Review (read interview below) in 1981.' Read full article in CNN. E.T.P. 8' 
Peter H. Stone in the The Paris Review (1981). Gabriel García Márquez. The art of fiction No. 69. "I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions. Besides, I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas. In any case, I always very much enjoy the chance of doing a great piece of journalism." Read full interview in The Paris Review. E.T.P. 25'

Jon Lee Anderson's profile in The New Yorker (1999): The Power of García Marquez. Can the Nobel Prize-winning novelist rescue Colombia? "He says he usually wakes up at five o'clock, reads a book until seven, dresses, reads the newspapers, answers his E-mail, and by 10 --"no matter what"-- he is at his desk writing." Read full article in The New Yorker. E.T.P. 28'

Photo: García Márquez poses for a portrait in Paris in 1990, via CNN.

En Español:

Winston Manrique Sabogal en El País: Muere García Márquez, genio de la literatura universal. "Bajo un aguacero extraviado, el 6 de marzo de 1927, nació Gabriel José García Márquez. Hoy, jueves 17 de abril de 2014, a la edad de 87 años, ha muerto en México DF el periodista colombiano y uno de los más grandes escritores de la literatura universal. Autor de obras clásicas como Cien años de soledad, El amor en los tiempos del cólera, El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, El otoño del patriarca y Crónica de una muerte anunciada,fue el creador de un territorio eterno y maravilloso llamado Macondo." Leer artículo completo en El País. E.T.P. 12'

Eduardo García Aguilar en el blog de AFP: Última tarde con García Márquez. "La última vez que vi a Gabriel García Márquez fue en diciembre de 2003 en la Ciudad de México. . . Para cada colombiano, estar con García Márquez era ver en persona al padre de la patria, un Víctor Hugo personal que nos iluminó en la adolescencia; pero ese padre de la patria fue para todos quienes conversamos con él la persona más sencilla, jovial y antisolemne que se pudiera encontrar, el muchacho pobre nacido en la Costa Caribe colombiana, cerca del mar, de los carnavales de Barranquilla y de las plantaciones de la Compañía Bananera donde hubo una masacre; el emigrante pobre confundido con argelinos en el París de fines de los años 50 o el viajero que llegó a México con esposa e hijo y unos cuantos dólares viajando en buses Greyhound, después de renunciar a su trabajo en la agencia cubana Prensa Latina en Nueva York." Leer artículo completo en AFP Blog. E.T. P. 7'

IN DOG WE TRUST



Photo: Rio Blue via his Instagram.


Hello dog lover! Hope you're having a lovely day. 
 
 
Here are some links you might enjoy:



 
 


Video of the week: Sophie rolls down a hill.

Enjoy your Sunday! And follow Rio on Instagram.

Sunday 13 April 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 13th of April Edition



EDITORIAL

Hello everyone! In our News section there is an interesting article written by Moisés Naím in The Atlantic about why big protests generate so little achievements, another one about the inspiring collective project "Not A Bug Splat!", and we continue with our small coverage of the Venezuelan crisis. Google's robots and nano-organisms in video in our Science section. In our Design, Business & Innovation section we have a interesting article about consumption trends in China and the end of Facebook as we know it (and hate it). Good news in our Culture & Entertainment section: Milan Kundera and Mad Men are back! Finally In Dog We Trust share with us some dog's secrets and the tricks to handle anxiety.

Hope you have a great Sunday and a happy reading!


NEWS

Photo via The Atlantic.

"A new project, initiated by a collective of artists from around the world including the French JR, has tried to reach the people pulling the trigger in America's drone wars—the drone operators themselves.
It’s called “Not A Bug Splat,” and its gets its name from the term drone operators use for a successful “kill,” because—in the pixelated grayscale of the drone camera—ending a human life looks like squashing a bug". Read full article by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic. E.T.P. 5'

Photo via The Atlantic.

This week Moisés Naím published an article in The Atlantic with some interesting reflections about why street protests don't work or seem to achieve minor -and definitely insufficient- political reforms. "Street protests are in. From Bangkok to Caracas, and Madrid to Moscow, these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world’s big cities. The reasons for the protests vary (bad and too-costly public transport or education, the plan to raze a park, police abuse, etc.). Often, the grievance quickly expands to include a repudiation of the government, or its head, or more general denunciations of corruption and economic inequality.
Aerial photos of the anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve." Read full article in The Atlantic. E.T.P. 7'


Opposition supporters held a rally late on Thursday as the talks began. Photo Reuters via BBC.


The most important thing that happened in Venezuela this past week was the meeting of some opposition leaders held with President Nicolás Maduro and other members of the Govermenment on Thursday in a possible first step toward ending two months of anti-government protests and street clashes, which have left at least 40 people dead.

The beginning of this 'dialogue' (yes, in inverted commas, removal pending) process between opposition and government, of course, raised a series of critics about the high political cost the opposition is paying by attending the 'dialogue'; the pertinence of some outdated arguments like the past presidential elections; the absence of representatives of the student movement; and more over about the inefficacy and doubtful authenticity of the 'dialogue' mechanism altogether, that for some is just another government charade to keep its (almost invisible) democratic mask.

I agree -we all do I guess- that the opposition's representation should had included students leaders, mostly because is thanks to them, to their determination, their bravery and their strength, that any hope of negotiation/dialogue with the government is possible (this point was addressed by Andrés Velasquez at the beginning of his intervention though). But I also think that the 'dialogue' can have a positive impact in the Venezuelan situation. After all, this is the first time in 10 years or more that something like this happens. Do I think that the Venezuelan government is a repressive and authoritarian dictatorship of some very weird hybrid nature? Yes. But maybe because of that precisely, this 'dialogue' (still in inverted commas) is even more important.

The following 3 points summarize my super personal, prone to change/evolve, humble opinion about the 'dialogue', in case someone cares. If not, you can just check the articles at the end ;)


- At the insistence of the opposition the meeting was broadcasted live on Venezuelan television and radio, and there were mediators from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and the Vatican. That means that massive audience that usually don't have access to a version different than the official one, had the chance to listen to the opposition's point of view; their arguments, their concerns and their demands. This is relevant internationally of course, as the support of the region to the government allowed government's repression to escalate without consequences; but is also key for Venezuela, as the country is been suffering from a media blackout where most people don't have TV access to anything that the opposition says or do. Ever.

- It might not be the right time, the right crowd, or the perfect arguments the ones that are being exposed. But something is happening. As the previous Moisés Naím article points out it is a real danger of massive protests not being able to capitalize real achievements. The government might be, as some say a good old semi-military dictatorship, or a communist regime, or any kind of hybrid you want, but the opposition and a lot more than half the population of Venezuela is democratic and the resolution of this conflict has to be democratic too. Democracy is politics, and politics are slow,  and more often than not, exasperating and frustrating, not only in Venezuela, but everywhere, have a look! You won't find out a country that is not in a political crisis of some sort. But we have to play by the rules that we choose and that we champion... and move forward. If it doesn't work, so be it. We tried it. We will find another way to move on.

- Some people is afraid that the 'dialogue''s objective was to halt pacific protests, but it was said repeatedly that the 'dialogue' won't stop the street protests, that these are two sides of the same strategy. I think is important for the people that categorically rejects the 'dialogue' arguing that is useless under a dictatorial regime to think if that very same argument doesn't invalidate the streets protests. Or do they really think that the admirable, honorable effort of unarmed students alone will end the most corrupt oil-powered regime that controls with every single governmental institution, that counts with the support of every country in the region and of the military and their faithful and outrageously armed paramilitary? If so, they are a lot more optimistic and massively less cynic than me. I honestly don't see that happening, not in isolation at least, and that's why I don't think than any effort made towards improving the country's situation and promoting a national reconciliation (not political, but social), shouldn't be frowned upon, but supported. Even if it goes against what we -political analysts wannabe- believe is the best strategy. We should stand together, period.


If someone wants to share his/her opinion, please do so, I am open to the dialogue (no inverted commas). If you want to write something for the next edition, welcome!

Here (link in Spanish) are the videos of all the interventions made in this the first round of the 'dialogue'. And below a photograph of the setting of the debate, for those of you into semiotics and discourse analysis.

Photo: Santi Donaire / EFE via Prodavinci.

Related articles:

Reuters: Venezuela's Maduro meets opposition as death toll from protests rises
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cautioned opposition leaders to keep their expectations modest on Thursday as he hosted them for mediated talks intended to stem two months of deadly political unrest.
 
Public Radio International: Venezuela's opposition gets talks with the government — on national TV "It was an interesting journey," says BBC Mundo's Daniel Pardo in Caracas. "It was a six-hour meeting between people who never met, and they used to insult each other almost every day."
While the meeting did not produce any concrete solutions to the South American country's many issues, it did signal the chance for change to come soon.

AlJazeera: Article and video Venezuela's Maduro hold talks with opposition

Business Week: Crime Hobbles Venezuela's Economy Venezuela says the country’s murder rate is 39 per 100,000 people, but the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a nongovernmental organization, says the official figure is too low; it estimates that 24,763 people were killed last year, or 79 per 100,000 people. Along with kidnappings, thefts, and extortions, that’s earned Venezuela the No. 3 spot, after Honduras and Guatemala, as the economy most damaged by violence, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014. The country is also the worst in the world for attracting talent and second worst after Myanmar for retaining it, according to the survey.

The Wall Street Journal (photos): In Venezuela, Youths Form the Backbone of Protests 

El Universal: On charges of "systematic" violation of the human rights of Venezuelan demonstrators against the Venezuelan government, a group of Latin American lawmakers has requested the International Court of Justice to sue President Nicolás Maduro.


En español:

Prodavinci: ¿Quién ganó el debate del #10A? “El viejo mundo se muere. El nuevo tarda en aparecer.
Y en este claroscuro es cuando surgen los monstruos” Antonio Gramsci
--Lectura recomendada.

El Universal: Vargas Llosa: "La resistencia en Venezuela es épica."

El País: La represión cabalga en Venezuela (Galería de fotos).

El Mundo: La Fiscalía del Tribunal Penal Internacional (TPI) tiene en sus manos una denuncia contra el presidente venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, por crímenes de lesa humanidad. Un total de 198 parlamentarios de ocho países de América Latina exigieron esta semana ante la Corte de La Haya la apertura de una investigación sobre "la represión masiva, generalizada y sistemática contra protestantes pacíficos y desarmados" en Venezuela.


On français:

Le Figaro: Venezuela opposition et gouvernement dialoguent

SCIENCE


Image via Gizmodo.


As impressive as Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot ATLAS moves, it's still not completely free to explore wherever it wants. Thick trunk lines keep it tethered to machinery and pumps that provide power, hyrdraulic fluids, and of course communications and data. But researchers at MIT are now working to free ATLAS of its leash-like umbilical cord sometime in the next six months. Read full article in Gizmodo. E.T.P. 5'


Photo: A mite on an eyelash via The Creator's Project.


There is no better way of describe what you are about to see than the way the Creator's Project did: Timelapses Of Microscopic Nature, In All Its Stunning (And Disgusting) Glory. Yes, disgusting. Louie Schwartzberg at TED 2014 in Vancouver unveiled "a National Geographic-sponsored voyage into glimpses of Earth that the naked eye could never see: microscopic mites on our eyelashes, the tongues of snails, and even the skin of sharks. The hyper-defined images are miraculous, but admittedly a little terrifying—especially the snapshot of nano organisms that crawl on already-microscopic parasites." Read full article and have a look at the video in The Creator's Project website. E.T.P. 9'

DESIGN, BUSINESS & INNOVATION



Photo via Quartz.

What China burned for Day of the Dead says a lot about shopping trends among the living. Lily Kuo writes a very interesting piece in Quartz, and this is how it starts: "Paper replicas of internet routers, passports, subway passes and iPhones were among some of the gifts offered in China to departed loved ones during this weekend’s celebration of Qingming Jie, a day to honor one’s deceased relatives. As younger Chinese play a larger role in the annual holiday known in English as Tomb Sweeping Day, it’s become an occasion to look at what Chinese shoppers are thinking about most." Read full article in Quartz. E.T.P. 4' 


Photo via Wired.

It's the end of Facebook... as we know it. So, it's not totally great news, but something is something. "Facebook, the company that makes billions from connecting people to each other, is about to make it harder to have a conversation. In the coming weeks, Facebook’s mobile app will be losing its chat feature, a move that will no doubt annoy many regular users. But the gutting likely won’t end there. According to many Facebook watchers, the end of chat is just the first cut in what could eventually lead to the end of Facebook as a single, unified app altogether." Read full article in Wired. E.T.P. 8' 

 
Photo via Wired.


And talking about the end of the world as we know it, Condoleezza Rice is joining the board of Dropbox. "Unsurprisingly" -writes Marcus Wohlsen in Wired- "some people aren’t too happy about the move. Over on Hacker News, a leading barometer for what’s on the minds of tech geeks, the day’s most popular link connects to DropDropbox, a new site calling on users to boycott the company unless it removes Rice. The campaign’s apparently anonymous creators are calling for her removal in part because of her support for the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, including claims that Rice herself authorized eavesdropping on UN Security Council members. “Why on earth would we want someone like her involved with Dropbox, an organization we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?” the site asks." Read full article in Wired. E.T.P. 6'

CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT


Photo via Les InRocks.

Eleven years after The Ignorance (2003), Milan Kundera is back with the novel La Fête d'insingnifiance. Always ironic, but maybe with less grief, is how El País describes it. Le Monde says that is as light as a quail's feather, or maybe an angel one. Originally written in French, the novel will be available in Spanish in September. Read full article (in French) in Les InRocks (E.T.P. 4') and in Spanish in El País (E.T.P. 7'). Couldn't find an article in English, but I found a great interview conducted soon after Kundera’s most recent book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, had become an immediate best-seller, by Christian Salmon in The Paris Review. E.T.P. 15'


Photo via Co.Create.

Mad Men premieres tonight and its creator, Matthew Weiner speaks with Co Create about advertising, the loneliness of social media, the eternal nature of storytelling and the theme of crafting your own narrative. The end is nigh. Read full article in Co.Create. E.T.P. 7'

IN DOG WE TRUST

Photo: Hazel Bear and Wally via Wally's Instagram.


Hello dog lover! Hope you're having a fabulous Sunday!


Here are some links for you:


ThunderWorks. Simple and safe solutions for dog anxiety



Donya Coward. A textile taxidermist.


Enjoy your Sunday! And follow Wally on Instagram


-

In Dog We Trust is edited by: Carola Melguizo from La Guía del Perro.   


Sunday 6 April 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 06th of April Edition


EDITORIAL

This week I'll keep this editorial short and sweet. In our News section we have a good selection of articles about two key themes in Venezuela: violence and scarcity. In Science, scientists discovered that the moon is younger that they thought (hope that happens to me soon!). In Design, Business and Innovation, we talk Pinterest and soft skills. The Culture section is all about documentaries, many of them, all free to watch (!), and also about the future of TV. And you really really can't miss the video of the week of In Dog We Trust!

Happy Sunday and happy reading!


NEWS

Photo: Pro-government assailants beat a student at the Central University of Venezuela on Thursday. Via Los Angeles Times.

Although there are several news to review this week about Venezuela two themes are key as they are two of the most important reasons why people have been protesting for the past two months: violence and scarcity. It almost goes without saying that these evident violations of Human Rights you will see below, keep being ignored by the government and most of the international community, specially the Latin American one.


1. On violence: On Thursday while the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) of Venezuela prevented students from exiting the premises of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), pro-government and opposition students clashed, and shortly after the attack of armed pro-government 'colectivos' to students started. "Victor Marquez, president of the faculty association at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, said the attack Thursday on a group of about 1,200 students was carried out by men armed with metal pipes and wooden rods as national guard members stood by. Witnesses said the assailants also had pistols, but no shots were fired . . . Marquez said the campus had been invaded by motorcycle-riding vigilantes at least 10 times since student-led protests began sweeping the country in early February. The university, which was founded in 1721, has become a rallying point for students and others to protest Venezuela's high crime rate, food shortages and struggling economy." Read full article in Los Angeles Times.

Here is a video via BBC that shows how the 'colectivos' stripped naked and beat one of the students. And here is another photo via AP in Yahoo News. And you can also see some photos in The Daily Mail (is The Daily Mail, I know, but the photos are okay.)

One good news in this front is that Spain (finally) decided to stop selling anti-riot equipment to Venezuela (link in Spanish) due to the violence that from the beginning of February had left 39 people dead, 550 injured and more than 2000 arrests, according to Amnesty International figures.


2. On scarcity: It is important to point out that Venezuela, the country with the largest reserves of oil of the entire planet, that is been benefiting from an abundant and steady flow of cash in the past 15 years (mostly coming from oil sales to our number 1 "enemy" the US), there is no food. And this is not the result of an economic war, as the government desperately try to make everyone believe; this is the consequence of an incredible corrupt exchange control system, of the expropriation and consequently poor management of companies, and of the several pacts made with other countries of the region: food and convenient silence in exchange for cheap oil.

Anyway, the video that El Nacional publishes (link in Spanish), shows how the Venezuelan military now checks the trolleys in the supermarkets so people don't buy more than their assigned quota of food. In the entrance of the Bicentenario Supermarket of Plaza Venezuela (Caracas center) a sign warns: 2 L of cooking oil, 2 and a half packs of coffee, 2 Kg of Milk, 2 Kg of Wheat flour, and 4 Kg of Corn flour per person.

In a related subject The Economist publish an article that explains Venezuela's "bizantine foreign exchange apparatus". The article opens with an incredibly accurate paragraph, hard to find in international media: "HOW many bolívares does it take to buy a US dollar? That question, which in a normal economy would get an over-the-counter answer, has everyone scratching their heads in Venezuela. It depends, they might say, on what you want it for. Or how well connected you are. Or even on the day of the week." It sounds crazy, but its true, and it's been true since the exchange control was implemented. The article goes on explaining the impact of this system in the economy of the country: "In an economy that exports little but petroleum and refined products, and imports just about everything else (including most food), the exchange rate is a crucial factor in domestic prices. Many of these are set by the government, in a rather futile bid to control inflation, which last year stood at over 56%. The result of these controls has been ever-increasing scarcity. The central bank’s monthly scarcity index hit 28% in January, meaning more than one in four of the goods it tracks was missing from the shelves. Nelson Merentes, the bank’s governor, says the index will no longer be published since it has become “political”, a euphemism for “too damaging to release”. Read full article in The Economist.

Links en Español:

BBC Mundo: El desnudo político que impacta a Venezuela.  Entre las ya comunes escenas de la violencia que se producen en Venezuela desde hace casi dos meses, este jueves una imagen captó la atención mundial: la de un joven siendo desnudado por un grupo rival dentro de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV). En videos y fotografías se captó el momento en el que el joven no identificado es rodeado por un grupo de encapuchados hostiles que lo zarandean, lo golpean en el piso y tras quitarle la ropa le obligan a abandonar el lugar. Es el episodio que más ha destacado de los violentos enfrentamientos que se produjeron dentro de la UCV entre estudiantes afiliados a la oposición y grupos de supuestos simpatizantes del gobierno, llamados "colectivos".

Últimas Noticias: Así atacaron grupos armados dentro de la UCV. Este jueves un grupo de personas armadas (algunas identificadas con ropa del oficialismo) atacaron a estudiantes de la Universidad Central de Venezuela, algunos de los jóvenes fueron desnudados y golpeados; además despojaron de sus equipos a cuatro reporteros gráficos de medios privados.

El Nacional: Milicias inspeccionan carritos de compras. En el gran abasto Bicentenario de Plaza Venezuela los milicianos son los encargados de chequear que los consumidores no se lleven más productos regulados de los que se permiten por persona. En la entrada un aviso alerta: 2 litros de aceite, 2 paquetes de medio kilo de café, 2 kilos de leche, 2 kilos de harina de trigo y 4 kilos de harina de maíz por person.

El País: España suspende la venta de material antidisturbios a Venezuela. El Gobierno español ha suspendido cautelarmente y por tiempo indefinido la exportación de material antidisturbios a Venezuela, ante la espiral de violencia que vive dicho país desde principios de febrero y que ha dejado un saldo de 39 muertos, 550 heridos y más de 2.000 detenidos, según datos de Amnistía Internacional. La decisión fue adoptada por la Junta Interministerial Reguladora del Comercio Exterior de Material de Defensa y Doble Uso (JIMDDU) –en la que están representados los departamentos de Asuntos Exteriores, Defensa, Interior, Comercio o Hacienda– el pasado 6 de marzo, pero no se ha hecho pública.