Saturday, December 14, 2013

Interstellar



"We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible.

And we count these moments, these moments where we dared to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known.

We count these moments as our proudest achievements, but we lost all that.

Or perhaps we've just forgotten, that we are still pioneers, that we've barely begun, and that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, that our destiny lies above us…"

Friday, October 25, 2013

Who is who in alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption by country. Source: Wikipedia 2009
Yesterday, I was with some friend in a bar and we were talking about the cultural differences in food and drink behavior across Europe. For some strange reason the south Europeans have the perception that the north Europeans are a very drunk people and all the weekends they lay stoned in the snow. 

After have been there for a while, I do not really have that perception and the only thing that I have noticed is that they concentrate a little bit more their consumption in the weekends than us. Of course they drink... but nor more than the people from Spain or Italy. What is more, drink in the north or Europe is very expensive and people for example do not usually order a bottle of wine in a restaurant... just a glass. 

However, and as House and Grissom have stated before, our perceptions usually lie to us. Therefore, I will put some facts about this topic which are quite easy to find on Wikipedia and are an excerpt of the Global Health Organization. 
Pure alcohol consumption among adults (age 15+) in litres per capita per year[1]
countryrecordedunrecordedtotalbeerwinespiritsother
 Moldova8.2210.0018.224.574.674.420.00
 Russia11.034.7315.763.650.106.880.34
 Ukraine8.107.5015.602.690.585.210.02
 Estonia13.771.8015.575.531.099.190.43
 Portugal12.452.1014.553.756.651.270.51
 Ireland13.391.0014.417.042.752.511.09
 France13.300.3613.662.318.142.620.17
 United Kingdom11.671.7013.374.933.532.410.67
 Denmark11.372.0013.375.064.431.780.00
 Slovakia10.333.0013.333.901.705.400.00
 Poland9.553.7013.255.271.232.970.00
 Austria12.600.6413.246.704.101.600.40
 Luxembourg13.011.0013.011.598.162.000.00
 Germany11.811.0012.816.223.152.300.00
 Finland9.722.8012.524.592.242.820.31
 Latvia9.503.0012.503.611.106.240.10
 Bulgaria11.241.2012.443.532.444.880.10
 Spain10.221.4011.624.523.591.310.61
 Armenia10.051.3011.351.050.390.659.36
 Serbia9.971.1211.094.402.213.420.04
  Switzerland10.560.5011.063.105.101.800.10
 Belgium9.771.0010.775.493.550.620.03
 Greece8.951.8010.752.204.512.380.13
 Italy8.332.3510.681.736.380.420.00
 Sweden6.703.6010.302.602.901.100.00
 Canada7.772.009.774.101.502.100.00
 United States8.441.009.444.471.362.650.00
 Norway6.211.607.812.982.001.280.11
The table above is an excerpt of the data you can find on Wikipedia (I have deleted the not interesting countries, mostly non europeans). This data as Wikipedia explain is a mashup where "All columns refer to 2011 only, except the columns "recorded" and "total". The column "recorded" refers to the average recorded consumption for the period 2003–2005. Unrecorded consumption was calculated using empirical investigations and expert judgments. Total is the sum of the first two columns. The last four columns are a breakdown of the (2005) recorded alcohol consumption by type. Beer refers to malt beer, wine refers to grape wine, spirits refers to all distilled beverages, and the column "other" refers to all other alcoholic beverages. The values were corrected for tourism only in countries where the number of tourists per year was at least equal to the number of inhabitants." (I have bolted the interesting facts)

As a consequence, we can assume that data reflect the consumption in 2011 and the numbers from Spain has been corrected, because it has more than 50 million of tourists per year and it population is almost 47 millions of inhabitants.

Then... quite surprising data and quite not. I have bolted the most interesting countries and highlighted the Spain values. The total consumption in Spain is 11,62 liters of pure alcohol per person and year, while the so-called drunker-than-us countries of Europe are...

Germany 12,81 liters, Finland 12,52, Sweden 10,30 and Norway 7,81.

Wooow!!! I am very surprised about Norway... I did not expect that value... About the others... I think that we are not very far from Germany and Finland, just one liter, and Sweden is two liters behind which, in my opinion, begin to be an interesting difference.

To conclude, I think that make categorical statements is very dangerous and the data are the data. It is statistical data and everywhere you can find a very extreme cases of drunkenness. "Statistics are like mini-skirts, shows a lot of things, but does not show what is essential". I think this data would be completed very well with some medical research about cirrhosis and liver alcohol damage (like this). As I have aforementioned, the mainly difference is how one and another consume alcohol. We (north Europeans) have a culture where the alcohol consumption is more spread along the day and the week. It is very common to drink a beer or a glass of wine along the meats. That is not a normal behaviour in the north, where the consumption is done along the weekend and out of the "working" hours. For them people who drinks at lunchtime is an alcoholic. The consume is similar, how we consume is different. That not make anyone an alcoholic, at least in general sense of the word. (Of course is you drink one liter of pure alcohol in a night you have a problem, not only a health one... a mental one).

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The American War

Here you can see a very reduced list of all of the US Military actions. Only the big ones here. You can see a very more comprehensive in Wikipedia (of course).

American troops in Vladivostok 1918 | Wikipedia

  • 1964 - 1975: Vietnam. You remember that one.
  • 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
  • 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
  • 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
  • 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
  • 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
  • 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
  • 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn't end well.
  • 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
  • 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
  • 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
  • 2003: Iraq.
  • 2011: Libya.
  • 2013: Syria.
This means that the US have been inside of a big war mess at least every 40 months (a little bit more than 3 years) since the IIWW. The Romans make it much better

I ask you Americans, is it worthy all that blood? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Phase!

Well... If you knew me and you knew this blog before I am sure that you are aware that I haven't post here since long time ago. Maybe more than five years. We could say I was in a creative crisis and I haven't anything to say to the world. Now, I am beginning to have the sensation of express my ideas to world again. However, I would like to do it in English that is a different language as I was doing before and it is not my mother tongue (my mother tongue is Spanish). I am switching all of the parts of my life to the English language. My goal is that English will be my main language for the rest of my life. Does mean that I am not going to speak Spanish again? NO! I still speaking Spanish with that spanish speakers that don't speak English, but I prefer to address to everybody in English. I am very sure that English is the language of the future, the language of the world and for that reason I would like to know it as good as possible. 

As you probably know too, I am living in Umeå, Sweden, right now where I have move looking for new interesting professional opportunities and looking for the wisdom of the nordics at work. Basically, I have come here to learn. 

I think that it is enough for my first post after haven't been posting for such time. I hope that in few days I will post again. 
See you, soon!