A Soothing TV Channel by Diogo Silva Santos
What do you enjoy watching on the TV?
I don't know if you are aware of it, but there is a TV #channel dedicated solely to natural scenery. I only noticed it while zapping through the channels I don't usually bother to watch (despite the abundance of TV channels I stick with just a dozen...), and I quite liked how the high definition sound and image almost transported me to that beautiful place.
If someone had told me twenty years ago that there would be #TV channels transmitting just a burning fireplace or beautiful scenery, I would tell them that that would be a waste of television signals. Now however, with the incredibly defined image we are able to receive, and the abundance of channels we can have, I can see the point of these soothing channels.
During those harsh weather days when you look outside the window and it is pouring with rain, this TV channel greets us with a beautiful #beach and the sound of the sea in all of its #relaxing glory! When you have something to do, you can leave the TV on and listen to the birds chirping, the wind blowing, or the river flowing... In Portugal it is called #PureScreens channel, a suitable name indeed!
Brighton by Lisbeth Black
Where’s your favourite #British seaside town?
I can smell the sea air as we get out of the car. It’s hot for October in #Brighton , so we leave our coats and walk into the #town . A colourful array of people pass by, proving joyfully that this place is still as #diverse and #vibrant as I remember. I look at all the stacked flats as we walk to the seafront, the architecture here being so majestic and strangely higgledy-piggledy that it’s fascinating.
The smell of chips when we get to the sea front is divine. Like a child I move towards the lights and noise of the pier, trying not to look at the water below me. As we enter I spy an elderly couple sitting on a bench with their hands clasped tightly in each other. They are looking out to sea and as I pass with my own partner they smile at us kindly. I smile back and step quickly around a skateboarder whizzing past at high speed.
We stop by a railing and look out. The blue of the sky matches the sea so well they blend together meaning the horizon is broken only with tiny boats. I tilt my face to the sun thinking lazily about lunch and how good it feels to be #alive .
Fine’s for Hatred? by Diogo Silva Santos
Facebook and Google (among other companies) are creating solutions to remove extremist views and hateful discourse from their online platforms. However, authorities in the UK feel that this effort isn't good enough and are currently considering putting fines in place in order to make companies more active in quickly banning it.
Major online companies are usually reluctant to share their #online data with national authorities, and governments have to spend major amounts of money in vigilance, counter-terrorism and anti-radicalism programmes. The new fines could assist in the funding of these government actions.
According to Ben Wallace (UK's Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime), the public shouldn't assume "that online companies don't care about profits because their staff sit on puffs and wear t-shirts all day. In fact, they carelessly sell all of our data to credit card and soft-porn companies but refuse to share them with democratically elected governments!" Facebook executive Simon Milner has already refuted Wallace's criticism, especially in relation to the fight against terrorism, stating that they have invested millions of pounds in both people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content
Using fines to sponsor important government actions isn't something new and I think it is indeed the right way to use the vast amount of money that is gathered. However, the most important action can't be done by governments nor Google or Facebook: it starts at in the home.
Carefully explaining terrorism and what it means for us, our society and way of living. Clearly saying what these terrorists want and don't say or try to disguise in false religious views. Making all of our #family members (especially young ones) informed about our world and answering their questions is much more valuable and successful than any technologically advanced censorship.
Circular Walk by Tim Lai Smith
Where do you like to walk?
The other day my son and I went for a walk. Well I was walking, whilst my three year-old son was on the new scooter that his aunt and uncle from #Canada had bought him for his recent #birthday .
As the sun beamed down on us we made our way along a somewhat bumpy path (against the safety suggestions in the scooters manual), but my son seemed to be doing just fine.
When the point came to turn around and make our way back to the car my son insisted on carrying on and eventually we completed a large circular tour of the beautiful park.
It was towards the end of our circular tour when we crossed a stream and soon stumbled across a wonderful flower patch with daffodils in full flourish. I stopped to take some #pictures and my son was fascinated by the ducks and the colour of the flowers.
It was then it dawned on me; our walk was not much longer by carrying on in a circle, yet, we saw different things and it was by far, much better than the first half of the walk.
Language Varieties by Leslie Bank
When learning #languages , one might notice that people from different #regions may speak the language differently. Languages generally come in many varieties, or #dialects , but what exactly makes it a variation, #vocabulary , #accent , or #grammar ? In truth, it depends. #English , #Spanish , and #American#Sign Language all have varieties that are mutually intelligible, that is, #speakers of those languages could in fact communicate with one another. Someone speaking American English can communicate with someone speaking #Australian English and someone who signs #West Coast American Sign can communicate with someone who signs #East Coast American Sign. While there may be some initial confusion regarding the differences in vocabulary and pronunciation, conversation is still understandable.
#China has two official dialects, #Mandarin and #Cantonese , which are not mutually intelligible. Meanwhile, #Dutch , #Swedish , and #Norwegian are mutually intelligible but are considered separate languages. In the case of Mandarin and Cantonese, they are literally completely separate languages with almost nothing in common. Swedish, Dutch, and Norwegian share a great deal of #vocabulary (sometimes with different meanings and #pronunciations ). So why are Mandarin and Cantonese so different whilst Swedish, Dutch, and Norwegian are the same? It all boils down to the idea that “a dialect is a language with an #army and a #navy .”
The End of Thin Plastic Bags by Diogo Silva Santos
It only takes a trip to the nearest shopping centre to notice that most #European shoppers use many more plastic bags than they need to take their newly-acquired items home.
The issue is the type of #shopping bags commonly used - lightweight plastic bags thinner than 0.05mm, less reusable than other options (most of them are used just once) that often end up polluting our seas and rivers. In an attempt to curb this type of pollution, the European #Parliament has reached an agreement in order to limit their use. In the near-future, all European governments will have to implement it using one of the following options:
A. Either reduce annual average consumption to 90 lightweight plastic bags per citizen by 2019, and 40 by 2025;
B. Or ensure that no more light plastic bags are distributed free of charge by 2018.
Although this is considered an important #environmental step, there are critics that support that the defined targets should not be mandatory, and that European governments should be allowed to take their own measures. It is unfortunate that most people aren't aware of the amount of damage this type of plastic bag does to our planet; if they were, they wouldn't object to this agreement…
I have no doubt that the debate about this somewhat unpopular measure will bring up public awareness of the issue and that the majority of shoppers will refrain from using these plastic bags even before any measure takes place. Hopefully, this will also encourage the development of other cost-effective and Eco-friendly options that were until now overlooked due to the cheapness of the thin plastic bags.
Our daily choices and routines do have an effect on our planet. It is up to us to make that affect a positive one and take good care of our planet. After all, our lives depend on it.
Bourj Hammoud by Mac
My #hotel is opulent and luxurious and it has not seen better days. It is still the very best that it can be and after a day spent in #Bourj Hammoud I am enjoying the comparative silence of my isolated, #sea view terrace seat.
This morning I walked from Zaitunay Bay onto Mir Majid Arsalan which then became Charles Helou then took a right and a left onto #Armenia and the Souks.
I had #coffee on St Rita and ate lunch on Mar Yousef and I have a slightly odd habit of #photographing the food that I am about to eat however more about that another time.
Right now, I need to tell you about something else.
Now I am obviously not local.
I am taller than average just about every place I go and have been described as looking “distinctive” by friends at home so in other words, I tend to stand out like the proverbial sore thumb which sometimes draws the wrong sort of attention however here, in this recently ravaged place, the people are just so darned smiley, so warm and friendly, that everything feels good.
My first impressions of this place really have rung true.
Hero by Tim Lai-Smith
Today I got to be a Hero! The #sun was shining brightly and the #day was looking good. As I dried the seats on my balcony with the intention of #relaxing with my morning cup of tea, I noticed a #boat drifting helplessly downstream on the River Trent.
I jumped into action, grabbing my keys and slipping on my #"running shoes". I had a half-mile #sprint to the #bridge to cross the river in order to offer help.
As you can imagine I looked like a hero jumping the gate (rather than opening it) to the cow field nearest the drifting boat. In my mind it resembled a #slow -mo from #Baywatch . I was tempted to rip of my shirt when the rope was tossed and reveal my #muscles in the morning sun... but I didn’t.
I caught the ropes (whilst shouting safety instructions to the old lady because I didn't want to have to dive in to save her too) and pulled the #boat safely to the side, even managing to miss the hidden rocks. They seemed pleased and thanked me many times.
When I got home my tea was cold, I was hot and my shoes had something brown on them! It is sometimes hard being a hero, but always worth it!
E-reader VS Print by Mark Titcombe
Will E-readers take over from printed books as the main method of #reading ? I think not, not entirely anyway.
The slightly longer answer is that while #printed books will be much diminished, the very reason that makes them different from e-books are why people love them which will ensure their #survival .
With cheaper prices, ease of browsing, instant downloading and little #storage space, the e-reader seems set to take away the entire market from the printed book.
So what is actually stopping it?
Some of it is the #emotional or even #nostalgic experience (depending on the age of the reader). People sometimes just want to actually hold a book and turn the pages. It's like the difference between being on a fancy indoor sports simulator and actually experiencing it and feeling the wind in your hair. Reading a #thrilling page turner and pressing the page turning button isn't quite the same at certain moments.
An e-reader might also be able to store thousands of books, but people sometimes want to see and feel them, even to collect them; there's something nice about having a complete #series of #books and a brimming bookshelf of favourite titles in a room or on a coffee table can almost be ornamental as well as functional.
But #aesthetic and emotional reasons aside, the rise of the E-reader as a new medium for reading could be compared to the evolution from tapes to CD, or VHS to DVD. However, it's a completely different kettle of fish because tapes and VHS have no endearing charm the way printed books do compared to electronic books. People used candles before the light bulb was invented and they still use candles; just for different reasons.
Logan Paul's Worst YouTube Video by Diogo Silva Santos
Many YouTubers have become celebrities overnight, making apparently #amateur but indeed professionally edited videos that reach millions of homes all over the world. Their opinions, what they wear and where they go are options carefully chosen (and paid for) to entice viewers to copy their lifestyles and #holiday choices.
Logan Paul is one such successful YouTuber with many #popular#videos . One of his latest was filmed in a Japanese forest known to be a place for suicides. Worse than the poor choice of location however, was when during one such video, the corpse of an alleged suicide victim is clearly shown! Even worse are the comments made about the corpse by the crew that follows Paul around and by Paul himself who tries to hold in his laugh about the whole scenario.
Any #News Network in the world has editors to prevent this sort of situation, when reporters lack good judgment. I don't support censorship at all, we all need to know and understand the world we live in but some situations should be handled with care and explanation. A suicide or a corpse should never be exhibited and commented on with laughs and a total lack of respect for a fellow human being.
The video itself received millions of #views (goal achieved?) and thousands of comments. Thankfully for the future of mankind the vast majority commented on the inappropriateness of it. Logan Paul later apologised, explaining that the video intended to talk about suicide and what we can do to try to prevent it; and that he understood that his daily views give him the sort of power he might not know how to deal with. He promised that this type of situation would never happen again.
The question is: I'm pretty sure it will happen again, perhaps not with Logan Paul but with another YouTuber. I just hope that the comments of their fans continue to make them do the right thing.
Joint Birthday Party by Tim Lai-Smith
Last week we received an #invitation to a #party for a mother and daughter who both #celebrate their #birthdays during the same week. The daughter Laura will be 24, and the Mother, who we call “MC,” is #celebrating her 50th. We’ll be driving down later this week for this very #special#occasion .
We’ve known the #family for 10 years, and over this time we have watched Laura finish #school , #travel and live #overseas , pass her #driving#test , attend #university and start #working full-time.
During this time MC has been a great #Mother and has #worked hard to take the #children on #holidays when and where she could, and she is one of the most welcoming people we know. She has always been there to help when we needed it, from lifts to the #airport to #support and #advice when we asked for it; making us feel so welcome and treating us like #family .
I have been assigned with the #task of choosing some #gifts for them, and I will find something nice of course. The most important thing is that they know how much we #love and appreciate them, which we don’t say often enough.
Fleeing France by Giuliana Militello
#France is seeing an increase in the number of young people #emigrating#overseas . Surely, its rising #unemployment rate plays a part?
It’s not just young #professionals that flee for #work – ironically enough, even the most unqualified aim abroad in order to find basic jobs, from #waiters in #restaurants to #office secretaries. Whilst #employment is already strained, the #financial crisis diffusing and deepening itself across Europe does nothing to help the situation, or boost the spirits of young people. #Le Figaro recently revealed that 75% of the #French people questioned were apprehensive regarding the latest exile in their country. Many fear a collapse similar to that in Spain, where there was a shocking 40% unemployment for #graduates recorded in 2012.
However, for young French #professionals , the end is not nigh as the #economic growth in #Asia has seen a burst of new job opportunities. In fact, around 120 000 French #immigrants are said to work in the #Asia -Oceanic zone. These ties have enabled #international#business development, as well as offering a whole new dynamic in terms of #cultural barriers.
Nevertheless, there is no guaranteed job security abroad - research from the #Centre of Study and Qualifications Research (Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications, CEREQ) connotes that university graduates are still more inclined to stay in France, despite the economic crisis. Only time will tell whether or not French graduates take the permanent jump abroad…