The Olympics

According to the Wikipedia, “the modern Olympic Games or Olympics (French: Jeux olympiques)[1][2] are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.”

Vegetables: Flowers

Dear reader,

Three months ago I did a short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about another important kind of vegetables, i.e, flower vegetables. 🙂

As explained in a previous article, flower vegetables are edible flowers of certain vegetables. In other words, they are those vegetables whose flowers are suitable or safe to eat. In addition, “they are usually small in size and appear like many flower buds clustered together. Along with essential nutrients, flower vegetables also bear some phytochemicals called as isothiocyanates which help in preventing the production of cancerous cells!” (Dalebö)

Some types of flower vegetables

That’s all for this month! I hope you have found this article useful and interesting, despite of being extremely short. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables in a near future, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Broccoli (and some Cauliflower too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited

Dalebö, Thor. “About Flower Vegetables.” Know Your Vegetables, Know Your Facts, 2009, sites.google.com/site/knowyourvegetables/all-about-vegetable-types/about-flower-vegetables.

Wings

Dear reader,

This month I’m posting my second movie review here! 😉

I confess that I have spent a lot of days thinking which movie I should choose for review this time. Then, I thought: What if I start watching movies that received one or more prestigious awards in the entertainment industry? Since the most important award for a film is the Best Picture award, I decided to watch “Wings”, a silent war movie that won the first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927. 🙂

“Wings” is an American romantic action-war movie directed by William A. Wellman and produced by Lucien Hubbard. It starrs Clara Bow, Charles Rogers and Richard Arlen. The film was shot on location on a budget of $2 million (equivalent to $29.24 million in 2020) at Kelly Field in San Antonio – Texas (USA) between September 7, 1926 and April 7, 1927. Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming, including pilots and planes of the United States Army Air Corps which were brought in for the filming and to provide assistance and supervision.

Official poster for the movie “Wings”

The film was written by John Monk Saunders (with uncredited story ideas contributed by Byron Morgan), Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton (screenplay), produced by Lucien Hubbard (who also did uncredited co-editing), directed by William A. Wellman, with an original orchestral score by J.S. Zamecnik, which was also uncredited. It was rewritten to accommodate Clara Bow, as she was Paramount’s biggest star, but wasn’t happy about her part: “Wings is…a man’s picture and I’m just the whipped cream on top of the pie”. Basically, the movie’s plot is about two American men Jack Powell and David Armstrong, rivals in the same small American town, both vying for the attentions of pretty Sylvia Lewis. Jack fails to realize that “the girl next door”, Mary Preston (played by Clara Bow), is desperately in love with him. The two young men both enlist to become combat pilots in the Army Air Service. The two men endure a rigorous training period, where they go from being enemies to best friends. Upon graduating, they are shipped off to France to fight against Imperial Germany. Mary joins the war effort by becoming an ambulance driver. She later learns of Jack’s reputation as the ace known as “The Shooting Star” and encounters him while on leave in Paris. However, the climax of the story comes with the epic Battle of Saint-Mihiel.

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

According to WS (Wilson’s Scale) for grading movies, the “Wings” movie received a 7.0 (out of 10) grade, i.e., I definitely recommend it! 😉

BTW, the Wilson’s Scale for grading movies is 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.

Works Cited

“Wings (1927 Film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wings_(1927_film).

Vegetables: Bulbs

Dear reader,

Last month I did a short introduction related to how vegetables are categorized. This month I intend to write a little bit about one important kind of vegetables, i.e, bulb vegetables. 🙂

As explained in the previous article, bulb vegetables usually grow just below the surface of the ground and produce a fleshy, leafy shoot above ground. They usually consist of layers, or clustered segments. It’s worthwhile to mention that “most of the bulb vegetables are structured in the shape of a bulb, wherein all its nutrients are stored. The nutrients provided by these vegetables are immense as they are believed to be essential to gain healthy skin and eyes, and also for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. Since ancient times, bulb vegetables are used as medicines because of their quality of curing diseases like high blood pressure and even prevention of cancer” (Dalebö).

Some types of bulb vegetables

The best known bulb vegetables are onion and garlic. While onion is called the magic bulb, garlic is often referred to as the wonder drug. 😉

Some examples of bulk vegetables

That’s all for this month! I hope you have found this article useful and interesting, despite of being very short. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables in a near future, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Onion (and Garlic too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited

Dalebö, Thor. “About Bulb Vegetables.” Know Your Vegetables, Know Your Facts, 2009, sites.google.com/site/knowyourvegetables/all-about-vegetable-types/about-bulb-vegetables.

Vegetables: Types

Dear reader,

Last month I did a short introduction to vegetables. Therefore, this month I intend to show you how vegetables are categorized. 🙂

Since I’m not a specialist in vegetables, I didn’t have any idea how they’re classified or ranked. Initially I thought that maybe vegetables would be divided in two or three groups at maximum, but I was wrong!

According to Vegetables.co.nz (a not-for-profit levy-funded organisation representing a collaboration of national vegetable industry groups in New Zealand) “vegetables classified according to which part of the plant is eaten. Some vegetables fit into more than one category when several different parts of the plant are edible, e.g. both the roots and leaves of beetroot can be eaten.”

There are nine types of vegetables:

  • Bulbs: they usually consist of layers, or clustered segments and grow just below the surface of the ground producing a fleshy, leafy shoot above ground.
  • Flowers: the edible flowers of certain vegetables.
  • Fruits: vegetable fruits are fleshy and contain seeds.
  • Fungi: when referring to vegetables, fungi are commonly known as mushrooms.
  • Leaves: the edible leaves of plants.
  • Roots: usually a long or round-shaped taproot.
  • Seeds: (legumes) apart from sweet corn, seeds grow in pods which are sometimes eaten along with the seed.
  • Stems: the edible stalks of plants when the stalk is the main part of the vegetable.
  • Tubers: vegetables which grow underground on the root of a plant.
Some edible parts of a vegetable

There are hundreds of different vegetables around the world! Personally I think it will be fun to write and, most important, to learn how to use them correctly to make delicious salads! 🙂 In addition, there a lot of benefits in eating vegetables on a regular basis:

Vegetables are extremely beneficial for our health! 😉

That’s all for this month! I hope you have found this article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables in the future, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Cabbage (and Onion too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited 

“Vegetable Classifications.” Vegetables, Vegetables.co.nz, 2021, http://www.vegetables.co.nz/tips-and-advice/vegetable-classifications.

Vegetables: Introduction

Dear reader,

It has been a long time ago that I haven’t written about food in general, so I think it’s time to go back to this very important topic. 😉 

There are so many things to write about food. However, before that I should confess that I’m a fresh beginner since I don’t know how to cook (although I’m quite interested in learning). I just know how to eat.. 😉

One thing that I became very interested recently is how to make a delicious salad. I do know that there are a lot of available videos in the Internet showing how to make it, step by step, even for a beginner like me. However, I think that first I should try to learn and understand the benefits of vegetables. Therefore, the purpose of this short article is to do a light introduction to them. 🙂

According to Wikipedia, “the word vegetable was first recorded in English in the early 15th century. It comes from Old French, and was originally applied to all plants; the word is still used in this sense in biological contexts. It derives from Medieval Latin vegetabilis (meaning growing, flourishing of a plant), a semantic change from a Late Latin meaning to be enlivening, quickening.

Also, the meaning of vegetable as a plant grown for food was not established until the 18th century. In 1767, the word was specifically used to mean a plant cultivated for food, an edible herb or root. The year 1955 saw the first use of the shortened, slang term veggie. A more precise definition is: any plant part consumed for food that is not a fruit or seed, but including mature fruits that are eaten as part of a main meal. Falling outside these definitions are edible fungi and edible seaweed which, although not parts of plants, are often treated as vegetables.”

Therefore, the words “fruit” and “vegetable” are mutually exclusive:

A Venn diagram shows the overlap in the terminology of “vegetables” in a culinary sense and “fruits” in the botanical sense.

Vegetables play an important role in human nutrition where most are low in fat and calories. They supply dietary fiber and are important sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Particularly important are the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. When vegetables are included in the diet, there is found to be a reduction in the incidence of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic ailments. Research has shown that those that eat more than five servings everyday have an approximately 20% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease or stroke. The nutritional content of vegetables varies considerably; some contain useful amounts of protein though generally they contain little fat, and varying proportions of vitamins such as vitamin A, K, and B6; provitamins; dietary minerals; and carbohydrates. However, vegetables often also contain toxins and anti-nutrients which interfere with the absorption of nutrients. These include α-solanine, α-chaconine, enzyme inhibitors, cyanide, oxalic acid, tannins and others. These toxins are natural defenses, used to ward off the insects, predators and fungi that might attack the plant. Some beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, and cassava roots contain cyanogenic glycoside as do bamboo shoots. These toxins can be deactivated by adequate cooking. Green potatoes contain glycoalkaloids and should be avoided (Vegetable).

The figure below compares some vegetables (and some fruits too) that don’t need so much pesticide (the “cleanest” ones) with those that require a lot (the “dirtiest” ones) 😉 :

The clean 15 x the dirty 12!

It’s interesting to mention here that China and India are the largest vegetable producing countries, but I wonder if they’re the largest exporter countries too.. In addition, Japan as the fifth largest one quite surprised me since it’s a very small country!

The largest producers of vegetables!

It seems to have a correlation between the countries that produce more vegetables and the ones that consumes more:

Vegetable consumption [Kg / person] (source: United Nations FAO))

That’s all for today! I hope you have found this short article useful and interesting. Stay tuned for more articles about vegetables, please!

Best Regards from The Land of Cabbage (and Onion too) 😉 ,

Wilson

Works Cited 

“Vegetable.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable.

The vaccines for COVID-19 are finally coming!

Dear readers,

Although the vaccination against the COVID-19 already started timidly on the last quarter of 2020, only now that the population in general around the world is being vaccinated against this horrible virus. For example, my sister, who is a nurse, received the first dose last week in my hometown (Porto Alegre, Brazil). 🙂 Global vaccination tracker (source: vaccinations data from local governments via “Our World in Data” – New York Times – January 30th, 2021)

One thing that is probably drawing the attention of a lot of people is the amount of different vaccines that are being distributed to the population in various parts of the world. “By January 2021, 69 vaccine candidates were in clinical research, including 43 in Phase I–II trials and 26 in Phase II–III trials. In Phase III trials, several COVID‑19 vaccines demonstrated efficacy as high as 95% in preventing symptomatic COVID‑19 infections. So far, nine vaccines have been authorized by at least one national regulatory authority for public use: two RNA vaccines (the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine), three conventional inactivated vaccines (BBIBP-CorV from Sinopharm, BBV152 from Bharat Biotech and CoronaVac from Sinovac), three viral vector vaccines (Sputnik V from the Gamaleya Research Institute, the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine and Ad5-nCoV from CanSino Biologics), and one peptide vaccine: EpiVacCorona (COVID-19 Vaccine).”

“Nine different technology platforms – with the technology of numerous candidates remaining undefined – are under research and development to create an effective vaccine against COVID‑19. Most of the platforms of vaccine candidates in clinical trials are focused on the coronavirus spike protein and its variants as the primary antigen of COVID‑19 infection. Platforms being developed in 2020 involved nucleic acid technologies (nucleoside-modified messenger RNA and DNA), non-replicating viral vectors, peptides, recombinant proteins, live attenuated viruses, and inactivated viruses (COVID-19 Vaccine).”

Conceptual diagram showing three vaccine types for forming SARS-CoV-2 proteins to prompt an immune response: (1) RNA vaccine, (2) subunit vaccine, and (3) viral vector vaccine.

Some basic explanation about the most popular vaccine types is shown below:

  • RNA vaccine: it contains RNA which, when introduced into a tissue, acts as messenger RNA (mRNA) to cause the cells to build the foreign protein and stimulate an adaptive immune response which teaches the body how to identify and destroy the corresponding pathogen or cancer cells. RNA vaccines often, but not always, use nucleoside-modified messenger RNA. The delivery of mRNA is achieved by a co-formulation of the molecule into lipid nano-particles which protect the RNA strands and help their absorption into the cells. Authorized vaccines of this type are the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Adenovirus vector vaccine: it’s also known as a non-replicating viral vector vaccine, and it uses an adenovirus shell containing DNA that encodes a SARS-CoV-2 protein. The viral vector-based vaccine against COVID-19 is non-replicating, meaning that it doesn’t make new virus particles, but rather produce only the antigen which elicits a systemic immune response. Authorized vaccines of this type are the British Oxford–AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V, and the Chinese Convidicea vaccine. Vaccines in clinical trials include the Johnson & Johnson’s Ad26.COV2.S.
  • Inactivated virus vaccine: it consist of virus particles that have been grown in culture and then are killed using a method such as heat or formaldehyde to lose disease producing capacity, while still stimulating an immune response. Authorized vaccines of this type are the Chinese CoronaVac and BBIBP-CorV as well as the Indian Covaxin vaccines.

Probably you’re asking yourself: which vaccine is more efficient against the COVID-19? Before answering this question, we must understand what does vaccine efficacy mean .. 😉

“Vaccine efficacy is the percentage reduction of disease in a vaccinated group of people compared to a not vaccinated group, using the most favorable conditions. Vaccine efficacy was designed and calculated by Greenwood and Yule in 1915 for the cholera and typhoid vaccines. It is best measured using double-blind, randomized, clinical controlled trials, such that it is studied under best case scenarios. Vaccine effectiveness differs from vaccine efficacy in that vaccine effectiveness shows how well a vaccine works when they are always used and in a bigger population whereas vaccine efficacy shows how well a vaccine works in certain, often controlled, conditions (Vaccine Efficacy).”

The outcome data (vaccine efficacy) generally are expressed as a proportionate reduction in disease attack rate (AR) between the un-vaccinated (ARU) and vaccinated (ARV), or can be calculated from the relative risk (RR) of disease among the vaccinated group.

The basic formula is written as:

where:

  • VE = Vaccine efficacy,
  • ARU = Attack rate of un-vaccinated people,
  • ARV = Attack rate of vaccinated people.

An alternative, equivalent formulation of vaccine efficacy

 
where RR is the relative risk of developing the disease for vaccinated people compared to un-vaccinated people.

“In the case of COVID‑19, a vaccine efficacy of 67% may be enough to slow the pandemic, but this assumes that the vaccine confers sterilizing immunity, which is necessary to prevent transmission. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) set a cutoff of 50% as the efficacy required to approve a COVID‑19 vaccine. As of 7 January 2021, authorized and approved vaccines have shown efficacies ranging from 62–90% for the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine (various dosage regimens) to 95% for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. With CoronaVac, after three delays in releasing results, Instituto Butantan (in Brazil) announced this month that the vaccine was 78% effective in mild cases and 100% effective against severe and moderate infections based on 220 COVID‑19 cases from 13,000 volunteers. The efficacy of the Moderna vaccine is 96% for those aged 18 to 64. The Novavax vaccine was found to be 89% effective in the UK (Vaccine Efficacy.)”

Regardless of which vaccine has the best efficacy, the most important thing is to be vaccinated! As a Brazilian doctor said a few weeks ago: “If you think that a vaccine that has a 50% efficacy will not protect you from being contaminated by the coronavirus, think about the following: if you do not get vaccinated, your own efficacy is 0% ! ” 😉

Best Regards from The Land (Still) Without Vaccines,

Wilson Pardi Junior

Works Cited

“COVID-19 Vaccine.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_vaccine.

“Vaccine Efficacy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_efficacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy New Year 2021!

Dear reader,

This year of 2020 was really a tough year. Almost everybody in this chaotic world was affected directed or indirect by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost two million people died worldwide because of this very dangerous and contagious virus, consequently affecting the lives of millions of families that lost them. Although me and my family was able to arrive at the end of 2020 without being infected, my mother-in-law passed away some weeks ago due to pancreatic cancer. 😢

Therefore, for this New Year of 2021 I wish and hope that all of us can have much health, more empathy and tolerance with each other anywhere, including the workplace. And that everybody can be vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible! 🙏🙏🙏

I also would like to thank you for your support in coming here to this small corner at the cyberspace just to read my blog. 🙏

Best Regards from The Land of Rising Sun,

Wilson Pardi Junior

The importance of forgiveness

Dear reader,

In these current times where intolerance predominates on a large scale among people who just think differently, and consequently friendships and family ties are easily broken, one of the most difficult things today is the act of forgiving the other person.

Of course there are some cases in what is extremely difficult to forgive someone, especially those related to some kind of horrible crimes such as killing, rape, etc.

According to Wikipedia “Dr. Robert Enright from the University of Wisconsin–Madison founded the International Forgiveness Institute and is considered the initiator of forgiveness studies. He developed a 20-Step Process Model of Forgiveness. Recent work has focused on what kind of person is more likely to be forgiving. A longitudinal study showed that people who were generally more neurotic, angry, and hostile in life were less likely to forgive another person even after a long time had passed. Specifically, these people were more likely to still avoid their transgressor and want to enact revenge upon them two and a half years after the transgression.”

Dr. Robert Enright says that there are eight keys to forgiveness:

  1. Know what forgiveness is and why it matters
  2. Become “forgivingly fit”
  3. Address your inner pain
  4. Develop a forgiving mind through empathy
  5. Find meaning in your suffering
  6. When forgiveness is hard, call upon other strengths
  7. Forgive yourself
  8. Develop a forgiving heart

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

Works Cited

“Forgiveness.” Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 22 Nov. 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgiveness.

Enright, Robert. “Eight Keys to Forgiveness.” Greater Good Magazine, Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley – USA, 15 Oct. 2015, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/eight_keys_to_forgiveness.

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,  🙂

 

 

 

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