Thursday, March 1, 2018

Have your say - The Olympics: techy or tricky?

Last week, I read this online article about US winter team competing with 3D-printed sleds in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It immediately paid my attention mainly because it helped the US to win its first Olympic medal in a men’s luge singles event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The new sled manufactured with 3D printing technology helped Chris Mazdzer to win the silver medal in a sport dominated over the years by European nations, mainly German and Austrian teams.  

The author of the article, Jen Booton, is a senior writer at SportTechie covering the many ways technology is disrupting sports.

The real question is whether it is fair or not that a technological improvement in one athlete´s equipment can make him win a high-level sport competition in detriment of others who also deserved it because of their better performances or records in previous competitions. And what’s worse, it might mean for some of them to have thrown overboard years of hard work that should have paid off in the end. Not to mention their frustration.

This brings to mind the 1954 Soccer World Cup, held in Switzerland, where Germany defeated Hungary in the final. On that occasion, all pointed out that the impressive Hungarian team, full of star players, would be a sure bet to win. However, the German team played with improved football boots manufactured by Adidas, which introduced removable screw-in studs on the outsole allowing to adapt their footwear to weather and field conditions, whilst the Hungarian team used the then-conventional leather studs in their heavy soccer cleats. Apparently, it started to rain in the middle of the match giving the Germans a tangible advantage on the soaking wet pitch. To what extent did it contribute to make Germany win the World Cup? We will never know.

As a final point, I’d say that technology is increasingly involved in many sports, especially those ones using technical devices, such as yachting, cycling, canoeing, skiing or luge. To put it in a nutshell, although most credit must go to athletes themselves for their years of preparation and intense training, technological advances in the equipment can make the difference between winning or losing in high-level sport competitions like World championships or the Olympic Games.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Have your say! - Birdwatching

From: Lola Villamuera
Date: Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 8:43 PM

Aren't you fond of birdwatching yet? Come on! You're missing one of the most stunning things that the Nature provides us.

Come to my mind memories of my first day as a birdwatcher. Being in contact with the Nature,  the colourful plumage, the chirping sounds, the way of flying and hovering, the wide diversity, the difficult sighting and, above everything, the passion transmitted by our coach. Was in that moment when  I realized I'll take up this hobby.

Up to now, I haven't watched the wake of a flying bird but the photographer Xavier Bou, after a hard work and  many years, invites us "to make visible the invisible" through his astonishing pictures. Please, click on this link and enjoy it.

As you probably know, British people are quite keen on birdwatching, more than 2 million birdwatchers. Two associations lead this activity, here you are both websites just in case you were interested in them.

Nevertheless, birdwatching is a minority activity in Spain although it seems to be rising. The Association which leads this activity in Spain is SEO Birdlife that also plays a relevant role defending the Nature. Let me share with you its website and please surf into in order to discover a new world.

In addition, be informed that the international Day of wetlands will celebrate on February 2nd, being the motto of Ramsar in 2018 "wetland for a sustainable urban future". What does Ramsar mean? Here you are,

Finally, I'd like to aware you about the importance of the conservation of wetlands not only for the planet but particularly for the birds. Golden orioles, kingfishers, bee-eaters, robins and more and more birds will be quite grateful to you.

I wish you've found this information of your interest, it could be useful for keeping a more ecofriendly planet.

Have your say! - Laura's artwork

From: Laura Salas Oraá
Date: Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 9:52 PM

As I introduced myself the first day we started English' classes, I promised to set up some of my art' pieces and new artistic projects.
My favourite technique is engraving because of the difficulty of working. According to the material of the board, I need to adapt my design into different tools to work with: copper board goes with thinner and stronger gouges and acids; wood board goes with bigger and weaker gouges and without acids, and plastic board goes with a middle-hardness gouges. The pro of those engraving techniques are the range of possibilities to obtain different visual' effects, which are changeable according to the chosen technique. The worse point of view of engraving, is the dimensions and weight of the material to stamp the artworks on: you'll need a special and adapted space to instal the machines, or you'll need to pay to work in an engraving studio. This is the first reason why I decided to introduce myself in watercolor, because is easier to work with it in almost every place, and cheaper.
To sum up with, the best moments are when I draw, it doesnt matter the technique: let your imagination fly, you should try it!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Have your say! - Marches on Sunday set a bright tone for the feminist movement

From: Rebeca M. F.
Date: Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 8:52 AM

This video shows the massive women's rallies which took place across the world last Sunday to celebrate the first anniversary of the 2017 Women's March against the Trump's election victory.
The second Women's March has served as a call for the next March 8, the International Women's Day. For this day, several organizations and feminist movements are planning a worlwide women's strike to highlight the vital role we play both in domestic and global economy.
The strike action is to be a protest against the sexual violence, the exploitation, pay gap, racism and LGBT phobia. Organisers urge women from around the world to take the day off from work, refrain from doing any unpaid labor like childcare or household and not to buy needless products on this day. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Have your say! - Thermal baths

From: susana higuero
Date: Sat, Jan 20, 2018 at 8:05 PM

The first thing you notice when talking to a person from Madrid is that everyone in the city has what we call a "village". Mine is a little charming one in the North of Spain where I go to put my feet up and forget about the stress of the city. It is called A Portela da Aira Vella.

It is located in Orense, in the South of Galicia. Currently, this Roman city has become popular due to its numerous places where you can try the therapeutic properties of thermal waters by bathing in the open air. Here, you can see a picture of what I am talking about. Not only are the thermal baths a source of relaxation and pleasure, but also are indicated for rheumatism and skin issues. I highly recommend you go for visit.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Have your say! - Are we a shithole country? (According to Trump)

From: José María Iglesias
Date: Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 12:54 PM

President Trump has shocked the world again with a new racist statement: "African and Haitian immigrants hail from shithole countries". These associations are found in our language denigrating explicitly an entire group of people, such as the definition of Africa as the "dark continent", and dominate our perceptions of success and attributions of worth and value.

This kind of ideas are connected with a book I have recently read: Atlas of prejudice by Yanko Tsvetkov, in which the author shows through hilarious maps the different points of view in the history of mankind. The book tries to demonstrate that prejudices almost always turn out to be false when examined closely. Everybody knows the most popular prejudices are often not quite nice and are mostly political incorrect. However, every society is prone to marginalize specific groups, using insults against those who are considered strange. Even in a globalized world stereotypes remain inevitable.

This book soon became a viral online sensation, expanding the initial idea with a large number of memes about any topic of common interest. Have we not yet freed ourselves from our prejudices?

José María Iglesias

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Have your say! - A film analysis

From: Telmo Graña
Date: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 12:28 AM

Hello mates. I would like to share a video that may be interesting to those who love cinema. I think it is a sharp and clever analysis of Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver'. 

As you probably know, TD is one of the most aclaimed films of the Seventies, and one of the most intriguing to boot, to the point that its meaning is still discussed nowadays.

In my opinion, it is the main character Travis' attitude what causes it, along with its enigmatic ending. Both aspects are addressed in the analysis, but your conclusions may be different!

In adition to this, the video brings out the fact that maybe mainstream pictures have lost some depth of meaning in the last decades. Although Scorsese has built a solid reputation based on a bunch of good films, works like 'Taxi Driver' show he reached his prime a long time ago, which doesn't talk well about the Dream Factory's drift.