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Japanese pranks

September 30, 2012 at 20:36

One of my favorite compilations, have fun! 😉

P.S. I think this guy shits himself


Rhinoceros de-horned

September 29, 2012 at 13:39

Today I’ve seen this picture in the newspapers, taken by Biju Boro. I’m absolutely terrified about how human beings can be awfully cruel: animal mutilation to sell powder horn as a medicine or aphrodisiac. When villagers found the rhino, it was still alive and veterinarians did their best to save it from bleeding to death. Shame to poachers.

Neil Gaiman’s best advice

September 26, 2012 at 22:57

Thanks to my friend and workmate trikitrok, I discovered a keynote address given by Neil Gaiman, best known for being the author of The Sandman. During that keynote Neil gave an advice, in my opinion, really inspiring:

People keep working, in a freelance world, and more and more of today’s world is freelance, because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They’ll forgive the lateness of the work if it’s good, and if they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

The complete keynote can be found here.

Lens hood

September 19, 2012 at 17:06

Len HoodI remember unpacking my Sony NEX C3K a few months ago: objective, camera, strap and random-shape-black-plastic piece. Despite I studied colour theory and processing and I know a lot of details of image processing algorithms, I barely know about lenses and optics.

So, what was that black piece included in the package? Obviously, a lens hood. A lens hood has an important mission: avoiding lens flare and lens flare is an image artifact caused by light scattering into the lens. It’s usually caused by very bright light sources in the image or by shining from light sources that are not appearing in the image itself and, more often than not, it’s an unwanted effect.

Lens hoods are usually smaller in wide-angle lenses to avoid vignetting (unwanted reduction of brightness in the corners of the image) and the geometric shape is optimized taking into account final image shape and aspect ratio.

In Barcelona I deal very often with unwanted brightness in pictures and my solution until now has been to change the picture angle. But in my future photo-walks I’ll try to practice a little how to use a lens hood.

Park Güell

September 18, 2012 at 10:28

Park Güell entrance

Last Saturday I went to take a little walk to Park Güell. In my opinion, it’s one of the best sights of Barcelona because of its location, the architectural elements and the great views. It was designed by Antoni Gaudí and built from 1900 to 1914. In recent years, Park Güell has become so popular that it’s really crowded on weekends and during summer season, but I still recommend a visit at any time of the year.

I took a few pictures, check them here.

Book prices in Spain

September 13, 2012 at 17:20

After devouring the first four volumes of George R. R. Martin’s  Game of Thrones, I was planning to buy the fifth volume, a Dance with Dragons. Despite I own an Asus TF101 tablet and I could read ebooks on it, I still prefer paperback editions of books, usually in pocket edition. The main reason is, basically, because I could carry them in my backpack or my pockets without worrying at them to be stolen or broken. The first four volumes were a present from my mother and the price of each volume was in average close to 20€, not bad because each volume was split in two or three books.

Let’s have a look for the fifth -I told myself. Wow, no pocket edition and the price is 38€! And no, it’s not a typo. I check Amazon US website for a reference and the price of the regular hardcover edition is 21$  (around 16€). And that’s the usual scenario for culture in Spain: books are expensive and usually takes a long time to be published (Spanish translations) and international editions are overpriced (it’s pretty common to buy an English book with currency conversion 1$=1€ plus a tip). And the last straw is selling ebooks with higher price compared to paperback editions…

Time to wait for the pocket edition…

Learning Japanese

September 12, 2012 at 12:08

During my first trip to Japan, I had the feeling that I was missing half of the experience of exploring and visiting the country. In general, Japanese people is friendly and always aiming to help you with the best of their smiles, but if you don’t speak Japanese, communicating with natives is going to be funny…

In a few weeks I’m visiting the country again and next year I’m planning to do a long internship in Osaka so…why not learn Japanese? I am really motivated and thanks to some nice apps I found in Play Store, learning kanji is child’s play.

Japanese is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, but why? One of the main reasons could be that Japanese is written using three different scripts: katakana, hiragana and kanji. Kanji are adapted Chinese logographics, 2,000 to 3,000 in common use. Hiragana and katakana are syllabaries and katakana is only used for foreign names and adapted nouns…that’s an amount of new information that you have to manage to be able to read! Stay brave and keep calm – I told myself. Because my goal is to be able to read advertisements and to establish a little conversation at the beginning of May 2013, I decided to enroll in a language school. At the same time, I’m learning 5 to 10 kanji per day using AnkiDroid flashcards, Kanji Quiz and Obenkyo for Android. While the last two apps are focused only in Japanese, Ankidroid is a general purpose flashcards applications. Anki is supported not only in mobile platforms but also in Mac OS and Linux and you can download general decks to memorize from German verbs to protein amino acids.

For the grammar and vocabulary I’m mainly using at the moment Japonese in MangaLand, a very nice collection of books focused in learning the Japanese found in manga and anime.

Some webs I find very useful are this one to find kanji by radicals and Tofugu, one of my favorite webs to learn extra stuff about the Japanese culture.

As I get more into the Japanese, I’ll try to post more information. Stay tuned!



September 9, 2012 at 11:07
Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath

Today, the 22nd IUBMB and 37th FEBS congresses have finished. They were celebrated at the same time this year in Sevilla, Spain, and the theme was “From Single Molecules to Systems Biology”. I enjoyed many of the talks, but my favourite was the one given by Ada Yonath, Life: expectancies & origins. It was the second time I listened to Ada and I’d like to say that I really appreciate how Ada makes an one-hour talk as shorter as a ten-minutes one. Ada Yonath was awarded in 2009 with the Nobel Price in chemistry for her work on the ribosome structure.

You can see one of the videos she reproduced during her talk here: antibiotics targeting ribosome.

Subunit of the ribosome

The congress was held at the Seville Conference and Exhibition Centre, a nice venue, but a little far away from downtown. The organization was good in average, but it was a real pain to get my money back from the boursarie I won and during the weekend, the Renfe circular line was stopping around twenty minutes in one of the stations…

Anyway, I had the opportunity to present one of the projects I’m working on during my PhD. You can take a look at the poster I presented here.

Hi there!

September 8, 2012 at 08:32

Psy elevator

Hi everyone!

This is the first post of this brand new blog so you’re at the very beginning of what I consider a better online adventure. Despite I’m not a rookie in the blogging world, my previous attempts are not online anymore, except for my first japanese travel blog. This is my first time blogging in English…I’m not native to English (as you will see) and if you’re, you’ll find a lot of mistakes. I apologize now if any of my posts hurt your eyes so much. If you’re a grammar nazi, I consider myself one of them, feel free to correct me in the comments, I’d be very grateful if you do so.

What is this blog intended to? Well, in first place, to practice my written English. Second, to talk about anything I’d like to. I use computers or electronic devices all day long (one day they’ll invent a way to post to Facebook in your dreams, at that time I’ll do it for sure) and I read a lot of interesting stuff. This blog could be the place to store that important information and, why not, to share with you some of my diarrheic thoughts. If you want to know more about me, there is a place to.