I look into the world and i think that we live a great time, where, in a click you can talk to people all around the world.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jingle Bell Rock

Well, it's officially started over here. The UK is buzzing with thoughts of Christmas... in October!

Nearly every person I've spoken to feels the urge to mention "x number of weeks till Christmas". Great, thanks a lot - that makes me feel really fabulous. I don't know about you, but the thought of Christmas sends me into a panic, but normally I can to wait until December 1st to to have a meltdown over presents, gift wrap, gift tags, sellotape and ribbon. Don't even mention the food!

Switching on the television last night I was greeted by an advert for a well known catalogue singing out "I wish it could be Christmas every day...." and more toy commercials then you could shake a tinsel covered stick at!

Why do they feel the need to sell Christmas to us? Why do supermarkets pipe the smell of freshly baked mince pies through the air ducts to tempt us into buying them? Why bombard us with adverts telling us that their product will make it the best Christmas ever? Surely it goes without saying most people will spend a ton of cash on Christmas without making us start two months early!

I also wonder how they get away with it - after being warned against showing the Union Jack in England during the football World Cup in case it offended people I wonder why is there isn't a similar rule? Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and by no means am I a Scrooge, but if you personally don't celebrate Christmas - for whatever reason - do you really want to be reminded of it everywhere far earlier in the year than is really necessary?

I read recently that some smaller towns have has their local Council banning Christmas lights and a tree going up in the town centre in case it offends people with other beliefs. Is that political correctness gone mad or a reasonable step to take?

Christmas is a lovely time of the year for spending time with the family, eating lovely food and having time off work, but as we all know it is a religious celebration - so why don't we have the similar mass advertising on other religions festivals? One could argue that Christianity has been the main religion of England for many hundreds of years - many people belong to the Church of England - and therefore we have that 'right' over other religions, but is that fair?

Who draws the line between what might offend other people and what wouldn't?


Sorry that this post is late, by the way! The area where I live has been having major cable issues and I have only just got my Internet connection back!!!


Monday, October 22, 2007


It was said that last week was an important week for the future of Europe. Under Portugal’s presidency, the main figures of power finally agreed upon a common text that will change European Union!

Saying this, I some questions arose in my mind:

Which Future?

It seems now that is the fundamental question. We have to find out what is our vision for E.U. in 5, 10 or 50 years. Being a federalist it is easy to guess my vision for the future, but it is not a peaceful view, and I don’t know if there are many supporters of a Federal Future.

Where is the document?

I tried to find out over the Internet but I could not find it. Probably I did not search it right. I read a lot of comments, news, people who form opinion, but I can not find the actual document, proposal, or a glimpse of paragraphs of the future treaty. So how can I formulate a position? How do these leaders want the public opinion to have a mature opinion about it?

It seems that for most leaders that is irrelevant. They conduct the policies and we have to prey that they are doing the right choice. I don’t like to be kept blindfolded in a subject that will affect my life in the future and most important I, a voter, would like to have the same importance as reporters, since it seems that they had the chance to read the document to formulate their opinions…

When do we get involved?

It is important to bring the debate to the people. At the same rate that E.U. grew, population grew apart E.U. It seems now that E.U. is a bunch of bureaucrats that everyday try to find a way to complicate our lives. I think that everyday that passes a new Euroceptic is born and in a few years there will be no space to E.U. to have a future…

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dream a Little Dream of Me.

I became inspired to write a small piece on dreams following a rather peculiar dream I myself had a couple of nights ago. It made me think about dreams in general and the way they affect us.

I am aware that dreams, as a whole, seem to be a bit of an ongoing mystery amongst the science wizards. Taken from Wikipedia:-

"There is no universally agreed-upon biological definition of dreaming.

General observation shows that dreams are strongly associated with REM sleep. REM sleep is the state of sleep in which brain activity is most like wakefulness, which is why many researchers believe this is when dreams are strongest, although it could also mean that this is a state from which dreams are most easily remembered.

During a typical lifespan, a human spends a total of about six years dreaming, (which is about 2 hours each night). It is unknown where in the brain dreams originate — if there is such a single location — or why dreams occur at all."

So, as one of those mysteries of life, many people speculate about them and why we have them. A high percentage people believe in dream symbolism - that dreaming a certain thing means that a good or a bad event is likely to occur in your life

Other theories I have heard include that dreaming is a way for the mind to "clear up" unwanted information or "data" whilst we sleep. Freud even went so far as to suggest that dreams protect our sleep.

Whatever the reason is, I personally love having dreams and hearing about other peoples dreams and listening to their interpretation of the dream.

I wonder - can dreams create a feeling of adoration, or even love, for someone? If you have a romantic, happy or even sensual dream about a person you know - whether you are close to them in life or not, could that dream mean you have feelings towards them, whether consciously or not?

On the other side of that, if you have a dream about a close friend or a loved one hurting you, either emotionally and physically, would you feel any differently about that person the next day? I know I have had a dream like that before and the next day I felt unreasonably stressed and irritable at that person and it actually took me until the evening of that day to realise why.

I also think that if you have a really quite frightening dream, be it violent, a horror movie scenario, or just featuring a personal fear, it is often difficult to completely get rid of that spooky feeling when you wake up - whether you wake up naturally or as a result of the bad dream.

I believe that dreams are an amalgamation of various components. A series of random images, events, noises, people and places which the brain tries to put in some sort of logical order as it 'unwinds' ready for sleep. For example, have you ever had a dream that has had a 'plot' similar to a storyline on a TV show or move that you watched recently? Do you ever dream about a person who you saw and spoke to that day?

I would love to hear your views and ideas on this - what do you personally think dreams are? Have you ever had a dream affect you outside of sleep?



Thank you for taking the time to read my first chronicle!

I appreciate my posts will be different to what you are normally used to seeing on here, but I do hope you'll enjoy them! I'll be writing on a different topic, idea or event every Friday; I am aiming to entertain as wide an audience as possible and I would love to receive any comments or suggestions you may have!

I look forward to many happy Friday's here!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elisabeth's Chronicle

The Wall of Speech (WoS) is not a static wall. It tries to improve itself as time goes by. Some changes were already madeand it is now time for another one.

A few days ago I came up with the following site (Wine Glass Logistics), and while I was reading I immediatly came with a new idea. So I asked the author to join and, lucky for me, she accept it. Starting tomorrow, Elisabeth will begin hers weekly chronicle.

Hope you'll enjoy it


Monday, October 15, 2007

The Material Brain

Salon.com has a great interview with Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein in which they discuss, among other things, the idea of consciousness going beyond the physical mechanics of the brain.

Virtually all religious believers think the mind cannot be reduced to the
physical mechanics of the brain. Of course, many believe the mind is what communicates with God. Would you agree that the mind-brain question is one of the key issues in the “science and religion” debate?

PINKER: I think so. It’s a very deep intuition that people are more than their bodies and their brains, that when someone dies, their consciousness doesn’t go out of existence, that some part of us can be up and about in the world while our body stays in one place, that we can’t just be a bunch of molecules in motion. It’s one that naturally taps into religious beliefs. And the challenge to that deep-seated belief from neuroscience, evolutionary biology and cognitive science has put religion and science on the public stage. I think it’s one of the reasons you have a renewed assault on religious beliefs from people like Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.
The neuroscientific worldview — the idea that the mind is what the brain does — has kicked away one of the intuitive supports of religion. So even if you accepted all of the previous scientific challenges to religion — the earth revolving around the sun, animals evolving and so on — the immaterial soul was always one last thing that you could keep as being in the province of religion. With the advance of neuroscience, that idea has been challenged.

This question has always been fascinating to me, partly because I know a lot of progressive people who see the hypocrisy of religion, and the brilliance of scientific thinking, and yet have such a hard time with the idea that everything you think and feel can be reduced down to material mechanisms in the brain. Some are even offended by the notion that feelings such as love don’t have some sort of extra-physical existence.

To me, complexity does not mean that we need to step out of the realm of the physical to attempt to explain something. The brain is truly a remarkable organ, and every day we learn more and more how remarkable it is. People have always turned to religion, to spirituality, to explain what they could not understand - and the workings of the brain are perhaps the last refuge for these people. It’s the last pillar of religious belief to fall.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Something to think about it…

When I was younger I would always look forward to the future. My main Idea was that in future we would be in power and so all the injustice that we felt those days would end. It was as simple as this: once we reach the years to make decisions (political, economical and social decisions) would change because we would do the right decision.

Well reality is now different and no revolution came, little changes happened but nothing worth enough to be proud. Well a pessimistic would say: “That is life!” but my eternal positive view of the world does not allow me to support that view.

For now I only would like to know this:

If you had a chance what would you change in this life?

Well just something to think about the weekend …

(If you want please leave a comment on this question)

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This news (click here) made me think about limits of freedom and multiculturalism. For me it was shocking when I read: “Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

This is nonsense. If people feel that they can not do some particular part of a job because of religious beliefs then he or she should quit. I don’t know how people feel at ease to even ask if they can complete the course without taking this lectures or exams. But the worst was the fact that “Sainsbury’s is permitting Muslim checkout operators to refuse to handle customers’ alcohol purchases on religious grounds”. This for me is going too far and is extremely dangerous.

First, if someone is so religious to the point that it does not touch a bottle of wine (for example) then it should also be that strong in terms of not working there. It has the choice, but it can not force his beliefs on others. For me it is a lame excuse for not working, nothing more. It has no grounds to support such action, or even allow it in a company.

Second, there are limits to freedom and to the notion of multiculturalism. For me it is not multiculturalism to endorse such actions, not from the company and not for the costumers. It is the promotion of an attitude that it is not in our common values. People shouldn’t forget that we live in a part of the world where discrimination is a crime. Those people are using the “discrimination factor” only in one way. The reality is that by fearing to be viewed as discriminators we are allowing other people to discriminate.

I don’t know where people got the notion that they can wear a Burka on the street (I am against) but they are allowed to refuse to handle customers’ alcohol purchases.

In general the message that we are giving everybody is that is ok to become more radical, to loose values that were so dear to us. I don’t know if it is out of fear or belief in radical multiculturalism but either way is wrong. People should be free to have their religion beliefs but it should be an inner choice and not a social choice. By endorsing this attitudes we are promoting religion to enter the social area, a place that we thought it had left a long time ago.

The only reason that I think this is allowed is because of our eternal pride and belief of our moral superiority. Imagine that you live in a country where you couldn’t buy something because you are homosexual, and it is a common religious belief to be against sexual promiscuity, do you really endorse such an attitude?

I am just sorry that I am not a Sainsbury’s customer. If I was I would stop being as a protest against their acceptance of discrimination of customers. And I really think you should do the same!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One Year - Many Lessons

It is been one year since this Project started, and many lesson were learn. This are a few:

1-No matter which country you come from, you find great people that are very helpful and with strong opinions that should be read;
In the beginning, when I started this project I had no idea how to create a blog. In the process I found many people that help in terms of articles, ideas, design, etc… People that don’t know my real name, where I come from, or what were my ideals, but that immediately started to help. For all of them a Big Thank You, and an even bigger apologize the last semester…

2-In one year this blog passed all the life cycle that is possible: birth, growth and death;
I found that Life is quick and also in terms of blogs. Around April I had a writers block and that was the beginning of the end of my articles. I also found that just writing an opinion it is not enough to keep it going. That lesson will be the moto of this new year of WoS. I will put my efforts on Direct Speech, and to create new sections that are innovative and more interactive with society worldwide. I will also try to bring more people from around the world to participate in this project. Of course the main purpose will continue, to build a space for free speech.

3-You can never tell that a blog is dead until it is deleted!
More than a lesson this is my wish for next year…