sábado, 25 de fevereiro de 2012

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (Horário de Verão) ends tonight!
As it says, the Daylight Saving Time (DST) was created to save artificial light by using more and more the sun natural light in our day by day.
But, did you know that people (including the famous multi-talented man Benjamin Franklin) thought about it a long time ago? According to Donarte Nunes dos Santos in Jornal do Brasil (http://www.jb.com.br/sociedade-aberta/noticias/2012/02/26/o-horario-de-verao-terminou-valeu-a-pena/) Ben Franklin proposed that because he thought people would stand up earlier in the summer. Although the astronomer George Hudson presented a writing proposal about it to the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1985, the real "father of the idea" was the English builder William Wilett. I know you are going to say that my opinion is totally one-sided, but I can't help it...English has been involved in almost every invention, creation, idea - what can I do? I just love them!
But going back to the DST, the arguments used by Willett to use the DST were the following:  
1 - more leisure time.
2 - less crime.
3 - reduction in the consumption of artificial light.
What about you, do you like the Daylight Saving Time program (horário de verão) here, in our state? Do you think the Willett's ideas were achieved? How do you feel about it?

quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

Signs From Around the World! - # 04 - Being specific!

           I've already written about this book Signspotting (I and II), a very funny and interesting book. I can't help laughing everytime I read it. And although there are many funny mistakes, the reason why I like it so much is because I can learn English in a very amusing way. And make no mistake - learning is a very funny process, so if you are not having fun...probably you are not learning either!  Take a look at this sign  from India, for example. They decided to be very...very specific (what made it funny), but the question is: Do you know all the verbs listed below? Have you heard them anywhere? They are using so many synonyms to try to make the message so clear that they almost did the opposite and sometimes we do the same! We want so badly to be understood that we exaggerate a little and it can jeopardise all the message. Instead of paying attention to the message itself, the reader will get his/her focus on the exaggeration. So...less is more! Speaking or writing, try to use the necessary words to show your idea in a very clear way. On the other hand, if you don't do that, you will do exactly as our friends below - although animals thank them a lot!
"More Absurd & Amusing Signs From Around the World - Signspotting II". Compiled by Doug Lansky and edited by Lonely Planetar
For your homework: 
- list the verbs that you didn't know before reading the post.
- look them up in a very good dictionary.
- write one sentence for each one of the verbs listed.

segunda-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2012

Valentine's Day - Love, doubts and Shakespeare!

Foto by Douglas R. da SIlva  (Costa Rican Shop on Valentine's Day)
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar
but never doubt thy love.
-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene II.
 That's it...we can doubt of many things, but there is one we will never doubt for sure: on February 14th...love is in the air! Valentine's Day has been celebrating for many years and people around the world are going to take some minutes of their day to buy some flowers and/or chocolate for someone dearly loved. Of course it's always good to receive some presents, but what really makes it special is exactly the time out of the daily routine spent by someone to do something for us. And in a society where time is being more valuable than money, let's say that spending a little part of your day doing that, could be considered a present itself. So, as we spend a lot of time working (out of home and at home), we've decided to spend tonight (quality time) watching the most romantic movies together, which should be a very nice way to celebrate Valentine's Day. Movies where love is the main reason of our existence, at the end everybody is happy and the good guy gets together with the beautiful girl! Although we have already set that, (no need to buy anything), I'll get some chocolate...you know...just in case!
But choosing the movies was a hard task that it's not totally accomplished yet. The Beauty and The Beast cartoon is one of my favorite options, but there are also Audrey Hepburn's movies - Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday (translated to Portuguese as A princesa e o plebeu) - which are so lovely! It also could be a musical: Moulin Rouge or a more recent one: My life in Ruins. Anyway, whatever you've decided to do (buying something, spending some time together or even both), the most important thing is sharing your joy for being celebrating this day with someone you really love. And if you don't have a girl/boyfriend right now, don't worry. Do as many people do, celebrating it with a dearly friend (maybe, in the future,who knows?) or with someone in your family who you love deeply and who would be very glad (or even surprised) for being remembered by you today! Just take care to not cause a heart attack in your grandparents! Sometimes it's difficult to handle too much emotion!
So, how do you intend to celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you have any movie suggestion to add to the most romantic movie list?

quinta-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2012

Charles Dickens - bicentenary of his birthday

Celebrating 200 years of Charles Dickens
(7 Februarry 1812  -  9 June 1870)

Can a simple man describe a society so perfectly that his work not only portrays a whole nation, but also keeps influencing it throughout the years until now? The answer is YES. And this man has a name: Charles Dickens, one of the greatest British novelists. People all around the world are celebrating his bicentenary, including the royal family. Some of his lovely characters and his stories became so peculiar and intense that sometimes we feel we could meet them around any London corner. Who hasn't heard about Mr. Scrooge? Who hasn't feel like going to The Old Curiosity Shop, meeting David Copperfield or adopting Oliver Twist? From now on, through all this year and around the world, Dickens will be honoured in countless events and ceremonies. To know a little bit  more about the bicentenary celebration, check the site  http://www.dickens2012.org/about-dickens-2012.
And what about you, what have you read from Dickens? What's your favorite Dickens' work? How about celebrating his birth centenary?