Friday, June 12, 2009

Dragon Boat

Dragon Boat, that's my new sport. It's a boat with about 20 people rowing. It requires strenght and stamina, but also technique and timing. If the 20 people row to the same pace, the boat goes faster. That's why some boats bring a drum on board, so that a leader can dictate the rowing rhythm. I'll be rowing in the next Tuesday and Thursday evenings, while both the summer and my patience last. The guys are talking about competing when we get properly trained. That might be interesting...
Picture taken from here. Original post here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We Are Less Than a Pixel!

The images below depict the size of the earth compared to some planets and stars. Labels are in Portuguese, unfortunately, but I guess the planets and their names are easily recognizeable. The pictures give us an idea of how small we are in such a huge universe.

And some people still kill and die for temporarily ownership and power over minimal parts of that small fraction of a pixel. People that fight for having influence and power for an ephemeral instant in time in a very small point in space. For some reason, I think a smile is more important. I think fun is more important. A hug and a kiss. I think love is more important. Love for people, not for things. "To be" rather than "to have". For some reason I think such things transcend our tiny size and influence in this huge and indifferent Universe.

I don't know who to credit for the images. I've got them from an Orkut community without any reference.

The video below is well related to this post, and actually inspired it, together with the images above. The video is by Carl Sagan, American astronomer and writer of whom I am a big fan.

This post was translated from the original in my blog in portuguese published in August 2008.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Warlord's Song

("A Canção do Senhor da Guerra" by "Legião Urbana" freely translated to English)

There is someone
Waiting for you
Who will buy
Your youth
And convince you to win...

One more meaningless war
There are already so many children
With guns in their hands
But they explain again
That the war generates jobs
Increases production...

A war always develops
Even if it's a holy
Hot, warm or cold war
Why exporting food?
If weapons are more lucrative
To export...

There is someone
Counting on you
To fight in his place
Since in this war
It's not him who dies...

And when far from home
Wounded and cold
The enemy you await
He'll be with other old men
New war games...

What wonderful scenes
Of destruction
We shall have no more problems
With overpopulation

Look what a beautiful uniform
We made for you
Always remember
That God is
On the winner's side

The warlord
Does not like children...(6x)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


In Brazil, we call this a "golaço". Corinthians 0x1 Internacional. Brazilian Championship 2009.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Congratulations to all of the "Colorados" (Sport Club Internacional fans) all over the world for the 100th anniversary of this amazing football club.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Across the universe

Last night I was watching "Across the Universe" with my sister, my roommates, popcorn and beer. It is a pretty recent musical (2007) with Beatles songs. It is virtually impossible to do a bad movie with Beatles songs. And "Across the Universe" is quite good. The actors sing very well and, in my opinion, came up with great versions of the Liverpoodlian sound. I liked the film a lot. And I recommend it to everyone that, like me, enjoys the Beatles.

Most Beatles songs have a significant message. But, among the ones I listened on the movie, the one that tells me more at this point in my life is the following:

With A Little Help From My Friends

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you're on your own?)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I need somebody to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
I can't tell you, but I know it's mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh I'm going to try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need somebody to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Sometimes I wake up willing to philosophate. And this blog also has much of philosophy, even if it is "bar philosophy", which is also fine. So, I would like to propose here the classical philosophical question:

What is the meaning of life?

Not that I expect to find an answer to that in blog comments, but I think it is interesting to read opinions about it. Before, though, allow me to state some hypothesis. I've read a bit, I've travelled, I've met people and cultures and lived a few years. So, I have these hypothesis to enumerate, but I am still far from finding an answer to the question. If there is one. Take a look and tell me what you think.

The Bible tells me the meaning of life is God. I believed in that for quite some time. From childhood up to some point in my teens. But actually, in that period I did not care much about the existence of a meaning of life. Maybe it is best not to care. "Ignorance is bliss". Children are genuinely happy in this way. But today I do not believe that such meaning is in God. I won't write more about that, because people use to say we should not question religion, and I don't trust "unquestionable" ideas.

Many songs and poems say to me that the meaning of life is romantic love. Maybe it is. I think that hypothesis is valid and I still have not given up on testing it. But if that is the case, I still haven't found the meaning of my life.

Capitalism explains that the meaning of life is to accumulate capital, property, titles, influence, power. I am skeptical about this one. I don't think the meaning of life is to accumulate "things". Things can bring us some comfort, let our lives more practical. Maybe a little more pleasant, but I don't think they give it a meaning.

Others say the meaning is to work. "Work dignifies man". But what is, essentialy, to work? Except for very special cases, to work is to produce things. Produce knowledge, software, sofas, whatever. Things that satisfy the demand capitalism has just suggested. But we had already claimed that the meaning cant be in "things". At least not for me. Can it be for you? A life with more or less comfort is equally meaningless. Isn't it?

Others still claim the meaning is family. As a matter of fact, having a daughter gives great meaning to my life, and it is an immense satisfaction to me. But, in the other hand, families not always work out as a unity. There are often fights, people willing to divide rather than unite. Anyway, that is one of the strongest hypothesis, in my opinion. A family, at least, allows for some kind longer term future.

Freud claims life is meaningless suffering. An eternal conflict between man and nature. An eternal conflict between instinct and the superego. Between animal desire and the civilization that protects us and at the same time represses us. It is a bit pessimistic. Even sad. But sometimes it looks like Freud is right. If so, there is no meaning. Just a conflict man is destined to lose to death.

Existentialism affirms the meaning of life is the freedom of thought, of deciding what is best fore oneself. I appreciate this idea. It is very good to feel free. It is very good to be able to decide. Although, often decisions are hard, and our freedom is always limited, falling back to what Freud was saying above.

Hedonism says the meaning of life is pleasure. The search for pleasure. An interesting thought. But, after some time, maybe those things may seem a bit ephemeral. Happiness seems to be ephemeral. Maybe the meaning of life is a constant search for a few ephemeral moments.

Maybe the meaning is on social interactions. In a "chimarrão" or a game of poker with friends, a weekend barbecue. Maybe yes. Some of the best moments are like that. But again, ephemeral.

Many of the previous paragraphs can be summarized in the word "happiness". The meaning of life would be to live a happier life. But happiness is always ephemeral. Happiness are moments. Homeopathic doses. Would the life have an ephemeral meaning? Would it be something to be pursued every single day? Every single minute? An eternal pursuit of something that never comes to stay?

Would the meaning of life be all of the above? None of the above? I have no clue.

Text translated from the original post in Portuguese.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Why are people like that?
Why does everyone in the train look so upset?
Why doesn't anyone commute smiling?
Why do people, in general, don't give a damn about each other?
Why are there people whose goal in life is to harm other people?
Why do so many believe in wrong, superfluous, stupid things?
Why don't they make barbecues?
Why don't they open a beer?
Why don't they embrace a friend?
Why the bombs?
Why revenge?
Why selfishness?
Why jealousy?
Why so many small, greedy things?
Why? Why? Why???

Translated from: Por que?


Hello, my name is Leonardo. I am a Brazilian living in Italy. I am doing a PhD in computer science, although I almost never blog about it. I've been keeping a blog in Portuguese, my mother language, for more than three years. Listening to a couple English speaking friends request, I finally decided to write an English version. As time allows me, I'll translate my favorite posts from my original blog, translate new posts I write there, or post original content here, in case that doesn't make sense in Portuguese or for Brazilians. I intend to keep most of my blogging in Portuguese and in that original blog, since I have my Brazilian readers, which include my family and many friends, but if you can't speak Portuguese, feel free to stay tuned here. I'll do my best to keep both places interesting.

By the way, the blog is mostly about literature, music, cinema, philosophy, the life of a Brazilian in Italy, travel and anything that might cross my mind. Have fun!