Blog under maintenance mode..

Dear reader,

I’ve been so busy on these last two months that I barely have time to write my monthly post at this corner of the cyberspace..  😦

In addition, I have noticed that I still have a lot of previously published posts that need to be converted to pages with the purpose to be easily found on the above menu. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow us to duplicate a post automatically to a page. Basically, we have to copy and paste the post content to a new page.

Therefore, until next November 15th this blog will be under “Maintenance Mode” with the purpose to copy all the relevant posts to their respective pages, so you won’t need to scroll down all the main page to find a post of your interest.  😉

My sincere apologies for this inconvenience! 😦

Thank you very much for your understanding and patience.

Best Regards from sunny Japan,  🙂

 

 

 

History of photography: the camera obscura (part 3)

Dear reader,

One year and half a go I wrote a gentle introduction and a second article about the camera obscura, the precursor of the photographic camera. The third part was supposed to be written after the two parts on April 2019, but unfortunately I had to postpone it. 😦 However, at last this month I continue writing about this simple, but very interesting device! Therefore, it follows bellow more examples using the principle of the camera obscura in the history of mankind:

  • 1650 to 1800 – introduction of the magic lantern, popular portable box-type drawing aid and painting aid:

– the German Jesuit scientist Gaspar Schott constructed his own sliding box camera obscura, which could focus by sliding a wooden box part fitted inside another wooden box part and wrote about this in his 1657 Magia universalis naturæ et artis (volume 1 – book 4 “Magia Optica” pages 199–201),

– by 1659 the magic lantern, which can be seen as a development of the (box-type) camera obscura device, was introduced and partly replaced the camera obscura as a projection device, while the camera obscura mostly remained popular as a drawing aid,

– German philosopher Johann Sturm published an illustrated article about the construction of a portable camera obscura box with a 45° mirror and an oiled paper screen in the first volume of the proceedings of the Collegium Curiosum, Collegium Experimentale, sive Curiosum in 1676,

Illustration of a portable camera obscura device from Johann Sturm (1676)

– Johann Zahn (the most prolific writer and illustrator of the camera obscura)’s Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium, published in 1685, contains many descriptions, diagrams, illustrations and sketches of both the camera obscura and the magic lantern,

Cover of the book Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium, published in 1885 by Johann Zahn

Works Cited

“Camera obscura.” Wikipedia. 20 Feb. 2019. Wikimedia Foundation. 28 Feb. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura.

 

 

 

 

The importance of praying

Dear reader,

In these difficult times where we have to deal with so many things that afflict us in our personal lives, sometimes we do not give importance to some acts that, despite being so common or simple, have an enormous importance in our daily lives.

One of these acts, which the vast majority of people in this chaotic world do, is to pray. Even those people who consider themselves atheists possibly prayed at least once in their lives. 

A lot of people, unfortunately, think that praying is a waste of time. Probably because most of them have the wrong assumption that some God or something similar won’t listen to someone’s pray. What they still don’t understand is that praying is more than just to trying to communicate with a superior entity..

There are many reasons why praying everyday, or at least often, is important:

  • is an open communication “channel” with God (or some entity),
  • is a way to get more confidence through our daily acts,
  • is an efficient process to rebuke and ward off bad thoughts,
  • is a (not scientifically proven) therapeutic treatment,
  • is a protection mode for all those we love,
  • is an interesting way of reflection so that we become wiser and,
  • is an act of humility (IMHO, that’s the most important! 😉 ).

Although I am Catholic, I believe that the vast majority of people from different religions around the world share the same feeling that how important it is to pray.

Praying with humility helps us to be a better human being.

What about you, dear reader? Do you agree (or not) that praying is really important? Let me know what you think about it. So feel free to comment here, please. 🙂

La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling

Dear reader,

At last, I was able to start my first movie review here! And it couldn’t be better, especially considering that the main character of this interesting French movie is played by the most beautiful and charming French actress of all the times, i.e., the unmatched, beautiful and charming Catherine Deneuve  😉

Since it’s a French drama movie released in 2018, its original title is “La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling”, which means “Claire Darling’s The Last Madness” in English. Directed by Julie Bertuccelli, it’s produced by Yael Fogiel and Laetitia Gonzalez. It’s written by Julie Bertuccelli, Marion Doussot, Mariette Désert, Sophie Fillières and Lynda Rutledge.

Official poster in English for the movie “La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling”

The movie is based on the book “Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale” by Lynda Rutledge and basically, the movie’s plot takes place in Verderonne, a small village in the Oise (a department in the north of France). It is the first day of summer and Claire Darling wakes up persuaded to live her last day. She then decides to empty her house and sells everything without distinction. The beloved objects echo his tragic and flamboyant life. This latest madness brings back Marie, her daughter, whom she has not seen for 20 years!

Besides Claire Darling (the movie’s main character) that is played by Catherine Deneuve, the other main character is Marie Darling (Claire Darling’s daughter) played by Chiara Mastroianni who is actually Catherine Deneuve’s daughter! 😉

Claire Darling (Catherine Deneuve) and Marie Darling (Chiara Mastroianni) 

It is worth watching the movie just by the presence and the beautiful interpretation of Catherine Deneuve. In addition, what I most enjoyed when watching this movie was the typical atmosphere of the French countryside with its peculiarities. The plot of the movie is very interesting and as it develops, many secrets that were kept in the main character’s memory come to the fore. The interaction between mother and daughter in the film is positively highlighted by the fact that the two actresses are actually mother and daughter in real life.

The official trailer for this interesting movie can be seen by clicking on the following link:

I enjoyed watching this movie last month, so I do hope that you can have a chance to watch it too! 🙂

Best Regards from the Land of 面白い映画,

Wilson, the Watcher

PS. Since this is my first official movie review I would like to introduce you the WS(Wilson’s Scale) for grading movies. It’s a grade between 1 and 10 (with 0.5 spacing) that considers the following characteristics of a movie and its possible influence on the audience:

  • screenplay,
  • acting,
  • cinematography (how it was filmed, i.e., technical aspects, camera movements, choice of shots and sequences),
  • mise en scene (the stage design and arrangement of actors in scenes for a film production, this French expression is also commonly used to refer to single scenes that are representative of a film),
  • visual effects,
  • sound & music,
  • depth of thinking,
  • emotional impact,
  • critical analysis and,
  • enjoyment. 

In summary, the “La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling” movie received a 7.5 (out of 10) grade, i.e., I definitely recommend it! 😉

Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career

Dear reader,

At last I was able to start my first book review here! And it couldn’t be better, especially considering that the author, Mark Robinson, is my best VF (Virtual Friend) in the Netherlands!  😉

In his debut book, entitled “Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career”, Mark teaches how we should give public speaking presentations in a way that the audience feels fully rewarded for watching them. I really enjoyed reading his book, not only because it contains a lot of wise advice on how to become an excellent presenter, but also because it is written in a chronological and funny way, where sometimes we can even identify with the author himself through his experience acquired over the years. In other words, this very practical book is not intended only for a beginner, but also for experienced presenters since it has many interesting tips on how to improve our presentations, especially in front of a large and diverse audience!

Front cover of “Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career” book

Despite of having almost 400 pages, it’s a very easy book to read since the author explains in a didactic way step-by-step all the basic and necessary requirements to be able to capture the full attention of the audience throughout the presentation, including a happy end, i.e., a standing ovation to the presenter! For example, at the end of each chapter there is always practical exercises where the reader can improve his/her public skills.

Back cover of “Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career” book

Even for those who are addicted to using PowerPoint in their presentations, there is a dedicated chapter on how to become (almost) free from such evil dependency.. 😉

However, the best part of this very useful book is the section that teaches you how to get a moment in your presentation! 

Therefore, do it yourself a favor: read this awe-inspiring book if you want to boost your confidence and make an excellent presentation for a demanding audience! 😉

Best Regards from the Land of Literate People,

Wilson, the Wacky Writer

PS. Since this is my first official book review I would like to introduce you the WS (Wilson’s Scale) for grading books. It’s a grade between 1 and 10 (with 0.5 spacing) that considers the following characteristics of a book:

  • contents,
  • price,
  • easy of understanding,
  • layout (presence of colors, illustrations, etc)
  • number and quality of references (it can be other books, articles or even links to videos)
  • number and quality of proposed exercises (including answers or not) when appropriate, i.e, it depends on the contents of the book and (mostly important),
  • what the reader can learn from reading it! 😉

In summary, the “Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career” book received a 9 (out of 10) grade, i.e., it’s definitely a five-star book! 

 

 

Some interesting facts about the pandemic Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) – part 2

Dear reader,

As I wrote here last month, I really would like to write a new article about something very interesting to you, but unfortunately we are still facing difficult times these days due to the new coronavirus pandemic across the world. Although the situation has improved in some parts of the world (especially across Europe and Asia), there are still many places where the number of contaminated and ceased people due to the Covid-19 is increasing (for example, in my own country, Brazil 😦 )..

A lot of (des)information about the new coronavirus have been already posted in many social platforms on these last four months, so I will try to be not so repetitive here..

The main purpose of this article (and of the article posted here last month) is to share with you some interesting information about the new coronavirus, especially why social distance, washing hands and wearing a mask (especially when leaving home) are extremely important to avoid or at least decrease the rate of contamination among us.

For instance, due to the excessive demand for masks many people are unable to buy these days, so they are making their own masks using fabrics, etc. The following article shows how to improve the protection of home-made masks:

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/22/840146830/adding-a-nylon-stocking-layer-could-boost-protection-from-cloth-masks-study-find

If you or someone from your family is making cloth masks or just wearing them, you should know how to clean them:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/a32173021/how-to-clean-cloth-face-masks/

Also, why a valve mask is not recommended to use is explained here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90496717/what-is-a-mask-valve-and-why-are-cities-banning-them

The world still doesn’t have an efficient vaccine against the Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). That’s why is important to know that the coronavirus is still mutating itself across the world and consequently increasing the rate of infection:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/05/coronavirus-strains-transmissible/611239/

In addition, if you have or want to go out you should follow these rules to decrease the possibility of getting infected:

https://www.vox.com/2020/5/22/21266756/coronavirus-pandemic-covid-risks-social-distancing-chart

At least one good news, it seems that the coronavirus doesn’t spread so easily from surfaces:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/21/virus-does-not-spread-easily-contaminated-surfaces-or-animals-revised-cdc-website-states/

Again, I apologize in advance if you have already read the information contained in the shared links above.

See you soon, and meanwhile please:

Stay at home, Work from home, Wash your hands properly, Wear a mask outside, Keep a social distance & Don’t touch your face! 😉

3D model of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at atomic resolution

 

Some interesting facts about the pandemic Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

Dear reader,

I really would like to write a new article here about something very interesting to you, but unfortunately we are facing difficult times these days due to the new coronavirus pandemic across the world. At this time almost 40% of the world is still under a voluntary or mandatory quarantine.

A lot of (des)information about the new coronavirus have been already posted in many social platforms on these last three months, so I will try to be not so repetitive here..

The main purpose of this article is to share with you some interesting information about the new coronavirus, especially why social distance and washing hands are extremely important to avoid or at least decrease the rate of contamination among us.

For instance, why the new coronavirus has been so successful in spreading quickly and defeating our immune system in a different way if compared to other viruses:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/03/biography-new-coronavirus/608338/

Also, how the new coronavirus structure makes difficult to our immune system to recognize it. In addition, why washing hands is extremely efficient in destroying it before it enters our body:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/coronavirus-sars-cov-2-structure/

The following article (one of my favorites about coronavirus) shows how important is social distance to slow down the spread of diseases:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

Finally, the last two links that I would like to share with you here are more scientific related and more difficult to understand, but still worthwhile to read:

The real origin of the new coronavirus:

http://virological.org/t/the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2/398

and

A detailed study about the structure of the new coronavirus:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867420302622

I apologize in advance if you have already read the information contained in the shared links above.

See you soon, and meanwhile please:

Stay At home, Wash your hands properly & Don’t touch your face! 😉

A mental model of how to block transmission of the virus

Starlog 2020.03.27

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

It is with great pleasure that I announce here my promotion of Commander to Captain!  🙂

I was promoted to the highest rank because I was able to complete the following assignments of Unit 7 in this interesting online course:

  • In what ways does the U.S.S. Enterprise function as a character, not just a vehicle in Star Trek?
  • Does “she” have a personality?
  • Do the other ships in the Star Trek universe have the same level of character development?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/starlog-2020-02-14/

AND

  • Where do you think ion propulsion and future engine technology will take us?
  • What are the dangers?
  • Are there other applications?

https://wilsonpardijunior.wordpress.com/2020/02/28/starlog-2020-02-28/

Since I have finished the course last month and I was able to graduate with the highest possible rank, this is last starlog that I’m posting here. I do really hope you’ve enjoyed reading all these starlogs! 😉

Thank you so much for your patience in reading them on these last ten months! 🙂 

See you on next month with a different topic! 🙂

The insignia of Captain

Starlog 2020.02.28

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions also related to unit 7 of this interesting course:

  1. Where do you think ion propulsion and future engine technology will take us?

I strongly believe that ion propulsion and new engine-related technologies will provide mankind the opportunity to explore distant planets not only in our solar system, but also in other galaxies! That’s because we can significantly decrease the time it would take to reach a distant planet such as Mars or Jupiter for example, as well as to have manned space missions for some of these interplanetary expeditions. 

For instance, according to Irving “the X3 Hall Thruster developed by NASA, the University of Michigan, and the United States Air Force has been in development since 2011 and is one of the most powerful compact ion thrusters created. The dimensions of the X3 combined with its small mass gives the thruster the flexibility to be applicable unmanned space probes as well as possible manned missions. When operating at full capacity, the X3 utilizes around 100 KW of power and produces 5.4 N of force!” 

The X3 thruster tested at the NASA Glenn Research Center, firing at 50 KW

  1. What are the dangers?

Unlike other propulsion systems an ion thruster does not produce its own power. Therefore, an external power source (xenon gas, for instance) must be used. Consequently, the most imminent danger related to it would be to end the space mission at some point since the quantity of propellant is finite. In addition, the propellant should not erode the ion thruster to any great degree to permit long life and consequently should not contaminate the space vessel. 

A gas (usually Xenon) serves as a “fuel” and is injected into the ion thruster

  1. Are there other applications?

Yes, of course. According to Wikipedia “applications include control of the orientation and position of orbiting satellites (some satellites have dozens of low-power ion thrusters) and use as a main propulsion engine for low-mass robotic space vehicles (such as Deep Space 1 and Dawn). However, ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine. Additionally, the engine’s minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance. Spacecraft rely on conventional chemical rockets to initially reach orbit.” 

NASA’s 2.3 KW NSTAR ion thruster for the Deep Space 1 spacecraft during a hot fire test at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

That’s it for today! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too.

See you soon! 🙂

Works Cited

Irving, Michael. “NASA’s X3 Ion Thruster Smashes Records in Test Firings.” New Atlas, New Atlas, 24 Oct. 2017, newatlas.com/x3-hall-thruster-test-record-nasa/51869/.

“Ion Thruster.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Feb. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_thruster.

Starlog 2020.02.14

Dear all (especially those enrolled in the SmithsonianX’s  online course “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology”, on edX.org),

In this post I will try to answer the following questions related to unit 7 of this interesting course:

  1. In what ways does the U.S.S. Enterprise function as a character, not just a vehicle in Star Trek?

I think the U.S.S. Enterprise  NCC-1701 started to function as a character as the number of episodes in the series increased. In other words, an intimate interaction of some key characters with the spaceship became apparent, mainly through Captain James T. Kirk and Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott (a.k.a. Scotty) who occasionally spoke to the U.S.S. Enterprise  NCC-1701 as if they were talking to another living being! 

  1. Does “she” have a personality?

Yes, I think so. 🙂 That’s because sometimes “she” used to react (i.e., she used to operate) according to the way “she” was treated by some key characters in the series. For example, if Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott (a.k.a. Scotty) or Captain James T. Kirk treated her with affection in some dangerous situations (for example, when the spaceship had its protection shields at low level or almost no power at all to travel again), then she would return to operate perfectly to the delight of the crew on board! 🙂

The 3.4 m U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701 filming model at the Smithsonian Institution to which Paramount Pictures donated the model in 1974.

  1. Do the other ships in the Star Trek universe have the same level of character development?

It’s difficult to me to answer this question considering that I still haven’t watched all the movies and episodes related to the Star Trek universe, with exception of Star Trek: The Next Generation which I have watched a lot of episodes. Maybe its spaceship, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, had a similar, but a lower level character development when the Holodeck was used in some episodes..

That’s it for now! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this starlog too. 😉

See you soon! 😉

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