The Moon

The stars about the lovely moon
Fade back and vanish very soon,
When, round and full, her silver face
Swims into sight, and lights all space


The full moon of these days prompts me to revisit my old memories of the great Sappho, “Violet-crowned, pure, sweet-smiling Sappho” (“Dolce-ridente Saffo coronata di viole”, “Divina Safo, dulce sonrisa coronada de violetas”), whose poems I love. Here is to you, tenth Muse, and to our own full and blue moons.

(Translation of The Moon by Edwin Arnold, from Greek Poets in English Verse (1983).

Anacreon Sappho Eros and a Female Dancer by Lavallee Poussin, 1790. Detail.

Anacreon Sappho Eros and a Female Dancer by Lavallee Poussin, 1790. Detail. Some rights reserved CC by-nc-sa by Mary Harrsch.

Of course, the Internets invite me to find translations in all languages!

Le stelle intorno alla luna bella nascondono di nuovo l’aspetto luminoso, quando essa, piena, di più risplende sulla terra… (Translation by  Salvatore Quasimodo).

De la hermosa luna los astros cerca
hacia atrás ocultan luciente el rostro
cuando aquella brilla del todo llena
sobre la tierra…

(From Ciudad Seva)

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Art & Science and Teresita Fernández

I just learned (What It Really Takes to Be an Artist on BrainPickings) that artist Teresita Fernández, recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for her work (see her monograph, Blind Landscape) made an outstanding commencement speech at Virginia Commonwealth University about being an artist. (An exposition of her work, As Above So Below, is open at the  Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art until March 2015).

Teresita Fernández

I love the fact that –apart form all she says being glorious– all the words “art” and “artist” can be virtually everywhere exchanged with “science” and “scientist” without losing one bit of the sense she makes. Fascinating. In the following two fragments from her keynote, I did that exchange, and put the changed word in bold. Enjoy.

More than in any other vocation, being a [scientist] means always starting from nothing. Our work as [scientists] is courageous and scary. There is no brief that comes along with it, no problem solving that’s given as a task… A [scientist]’s work is almost entirely inquiry based and self-regulated.


[…] rest completely assured that what you don’t know about something is also a form of knowledge, though much harder to understand. In many ways, making [science] is like blindly trying to see the shape of what you don’t yet know. Whenever you catch a little a glimpse of that blind spot, of your ignorance, of your vulnerability, of that unknown, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to stare at it. Instead, try to relish in its profound mystery. [Science] is about taking the risk of engaging in something somewhat ridiculous and irrational simply because you need to get a closer look at it, you simply need to break it open to see what’s inside.

Art and Science: Two sides of a same coin, namely, making sense of our universe and mind!


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Ambient noise can be nice and useful. Here I have two noise generators which may be great apps. The first has a wonderful name, Coffitivity, and generates the sounds from a coffee shop.  And you can download an app for iOS or Android. It’s great: One can choose Morning Murmur or Brazil Bistro. Enjoy working while you feel surrounded by this chatting delicious barista sounds!

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 8.05.18 PMThe second, Noisly is a more general noise generator, one which will “Mix different sounds and create your perfect environment”. Rain, for instance, or thunder. You can work distraction-free, also thanks to a second app that comes within the same page: an editor with markdown and word count which saves text locally or allows to download it.

This and more I discovered on ProfHacker: Tools I Use – Online Noise Generators.


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2014 Allen’s Movie Marathon

What have I learned on life from the movies I’ve seen? What have I learned from the stories of love, sex and neurosis from Woody Allen? Who knows, more than “learn” I ought to use the word “influence”. What has been his influence on my way of seeing the world, women, and men? I am pondering these questions just after watching Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (of course, the only music comes from Mendehlson!). This is a film all centered around the idea of the occasion that must be caught on the spot, or else it is lost. But the protagonist has a second chance, actually, which disrupts the theory –or not.

Anyhow, I’m watching an Allen movie marathon this long vacation weekend, since my daughter just told me Netflix is shutting access to his movies from January 1st. OMG. True or not, I decided to act upon this fact, and, having some nice lazy time, I sit on the couch and voilá. Thus, in the past three days I watched Stardust Memories (1980), Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979) and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982). I love his cinema. I find it always amusing and always I find deep, moving, strong portrayals of women. His cinema is that, perhaps: a continuing homage to women, seen under his prism, dressed, imagined naked, talkative, talked about, neurotical, strong, or thin and weak.

Look at this, two screenshots from Stardust Memories: Of course, Jessica Harper is sweet (yes, she’s the same from Suspiria)! But young Charlotte Rampling is astounding and so loveable in her psychosis. And sure, Allen is in love with both –and with his fiance.

And there’s also a sweet little cameo (two, actually) from a girlish Sharon Stone blowing kisses away.


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2014 cometh to an end

2014 cometh to an end. Good-bye, 2014. It was a great year, hadn’t it been for the Chikungunya, the rash-arthiritis-fever-weakness illness borne by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. They say mosquitoes help diffuse information via viruses. In this case I feel a little better. The first half of 2014 was good. The second half was bad: first the aforementioned illness (which I’m assured I am now fully equipped not to get any longer) and its one-week fever with pain plus three more weeks of pain. But the rest of the year was also great, the dice rolling with a few ideas.

We got the TEDx rolling, our second TEDxUSagradoCorazón.  A privilege running with all these kids who helped us in the most professional way. A privilege having such good speakers and performers: check it!



We got our major project, STEMmED II way past its half-time. Mature, well established, with lot of work to be shown off and some work yet to do in the year and a half that lies ahead. Happy with all my four colleagues of the STEMmED Staff, Doribel, Mayra, María and John. Plus Bernabé (Instruction Designer and Media Manager) and Gladys, Grant Manager and owner of everything, really. You all gave me the time of my life, guys. I am deeply indebted.

Our travels in Italy with long time spent with mother and sister and family was priceless. Here’s the Academy-winning video. I had a great time with my old friend Alessandra, who borrowed us her apartment in the Alps, and great time also with my daughter Flavia and my mother: I got to spend three weeks alone with them in June!

My classes were beautiful. Inf103 (Computing), Inf115 (New Media),  full of a great legacy by a few good students. Check the blogs my students built. I am proud, folks. What’s important is that a few of them will keep on blogging, and some have made outstanding blog-sites.

Finish in peace, 2014. At least, we have this suggestive impression.

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