refrigerator-sized cars

If there one idea Tumblr has given me is that the US must be a horrible place to be a woman. According to Tumblr’s “Social Justice Warriors” and all the documentation they upload on that platform, women in America have very little empowerment in society and very little authority even over their own bodies. Also, nothing much is expected to change because the power is held by white male biggots.

Shit can give you nightmares of being stuck between a white, lacrosse team bomber jacket-bearing jock offering you a drink with roofies and pro-life demonstrators holding up anti-abortion signs while a group of senators turn their back on you and snicker.

Or at least it gave me interest in learning more about how America does gender equality (or doesn’t). And today I was reading an article on Bloomberg Business Week (a sounder source for oppinion shaping?) about american policies on maternity leave, which is almost non-existent. The problem seems to be nobody wants to pay young parents for the time they don’t work because they just had a baby. The very little that is paid is, well, very little and also doesn’t mean the job will be there waiting when the leave is over. Some of the consequences are that families can get into financial trouble for having children and that women lag behing in career progression. The article inevitably compares this scenario with what’s going on in other parts of the world, particularly Europe where we seem to have it good. (I assure you we only have it slightly better.) Read it if you’re interested.

A whole new debate, which the article didn’t cover, shapes up in the comments section: who’s benefiting from babies and, therefore, who should pay for the babies? Is it the parent’s who fulfil their dream of nurturing a family or the society who, well, lives on thanks to people reproducing on? Are children a societal or a personal benefit?

This could be the deepest shit ever seen in a comments section if it weren’t for the level of the comments as well as the the other recurrent point of debate: no comparison with Europe is pertinent because Europe is a high-tax, socialist society with a welfare (Welfare?) lifestyle… Some people, apparently, feel very strongly about that. I think this reader summed it up really well:


So now we know it, fellow Europeans: refrigerator-sized cars and the hellish price to pay for social protection and smaller gender gaps and also we should all be ashamed of them.

white neighborhoods*

Percentage of Flanders Belgians who prefer their neighborhoods to be almost totally (gray column) or in its majority (orange column) inhabited by citizens of Belgian ascendancy, in function of their urban setting (large city, suburbia, countryside…).

2013-10-31 10.21.59

image belongs to De Standaard

* words of the title in today’s De Standaard article

the EU competitiveness gap

The creators of the Maastricht Treaty made no provision for balance sheet recessions when drawing up the document, and  today’s “competitiveness problem” is solely attributable to the Treaty’s 3% cap on fiscal deficits, which placed unreasonable demands on ECB monetary policy during this type of recessions.

(Excerpt from here.)

Pois, foi o que eu disse.

april 18

Because Sylvia Plath died 50 years ago.

the slime of all my yesterdays
rots in the hollow of my skull

and if my stomach would contract
because of some explicable phenomenon
such as pregnancy or constipation

I would not remember you

or that because of sleep
infrequent as a moon of greencheese
that because of food
nourishing as violet leaves
that because of these

and in a few fatal yards of grass
in a few spaces of sky and treetops

a future was lost yesterday
as easily and irretrievably
as a tennis ball at twilight

Izmailov e a factura da emigração

Há bocado, estava eu sossegadinha a estudar noite dentro ao som do relato do clássico, quando quase fiz uma contractura no pescoço de tão depressa que levantei a cabeça ao perceber que o Izmailov foi para o Porto. Estou bem, obrigado, mas as compressas de Voltaren de que poderia ter precisado teriam entrado na factura da emigração. (Logo a seguir aos danos morais por andar a beber vinho do Porto de segunda.)

Desde que fiquei sem RTPi (*rosnadela*), manter-me informada sobre os destinos a pátria assumiu contornos de cefaleia. É sabido que a televisão nos dá mais conteúdo por unidade de tempo do que a leitura dum jornal. Além disso, dá-nos conteúdo de pior qualidade informativa. Não tendo vida para passar horas a separar o trigo do joio nos jornais online, remeto-me às letras gordas. Assim, fico a saber dos assuntos sérios pela rama e escapam-me completamente as mundanidades. Claro que uma pessoa não perde muito em só descobrir o Ai se Eu te Pego com 6 meses de atraso relativamente à generalidade da população… mas fico desconcertada quando me apercebo que perdi o fio da evolução do calão e da chungaria nacionais.

Saber conversar é um elemento de integração social e não quero amofinar por falhar nos requisitos mais básicos da actualidade. Por exemplo, perceber à primeira que “bué da fat” é uma lisonja e evitar constrangimentos linguísticos a falar com a primalhada mais nova… Depois de algumas frustrações nas férias do Natal, começo a pensar que devia fazer uns cursos preparatórios intensivos antes de ir a Cascais para me pôr a par das ocorrências. Teria atenuado alguns choques que apanhei em questão de duas horas sentada no sofá. É que tenho de gramar com as novelas da noite e ninguém me explica o que é que se passa… Ainda estava na fase em que a Diana Chaves não tinha jeito para lésbica e agora anda ali ao lado do Futre… Falando em quem: parece que já toda a gente acatou que ele é alguém, mas eu não tive exposição suficiente e ainda me sinto incomodada. Para rematar o serão, alheia à obsessão nacional por obesos a fazer exercício na TV, fui olhada com indignação após um “Ewww!!! Qu’é isto??”.

Na verdade, nem sei quem é que vai em primeiro no campeonato…

the four types of climate change skeptics

There’s really no point in debating evidence: it’s not whether or not climate change is real, but rather when, where and how hard the effects will hit us. One thing is certain, though: while the sources of global warming are localized, the impacts will be global. Hence, we’re sharing the burden, while bickering over who shares the responsibility. The bickering is officially called COP on Climate Change and consists on deciding who spends how much and doing what. So, it’s not about science anymore: it’s about politics. Which means it’s about public opinion.

Bansky’s irony. Photo by maggie jones, all rights reserved.

Many researchers are interested in why some people don’t acknowledge climate change. I’ve been reading a lot about it and boiled down climate skeptics to basically four kinds.

1 – The misinformed

This sort of climate skeptic simply doesn’t have a clue. They hear some bits and pieces now and then but don’t have sufficient grasp on the information to actually know what’s going on. When there’s an exceptionally harsh cold wave or blizzard they actually think they’re making a pun with “ha! where’s global warming now??”.

Some studies suggest that people with an insight on the data that support climate change are much more likely to believe it and be concerned. So, there’s hope to skeptic type 1!

2 – The comfortable

Independently of the level of scientific knowledge on the issue, some people simply don’t want to be bothered, which can owe to a number of reasons. As Ben Newell put it in an article, “it is not the knowledge per se that is important but how it is incorporated into the way you see the world.” For example, I find it hard to believe that 30% of Americans are plain ignorant or nuts, or that the governments of the emerging economies are blind to their contribution to global warming. But it’s predictable that many people don’t want to hinder prosperity, in the terms they’ve come to know it, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Or, while we’re at it, to give away taxpayers money to help developing countries overcoming their vulnerabilities to upcoming events.

They may act like the fourth kind (bellow), but are a mere variant of the “not on my backyard” crowd: the “not from my wallet”. Notable examples of type 2 skeptics can be found in business journal articles signed by oil industry executives and scientists who can’t lay down an argumentation coherent with existing data.

3 – The conspiracy theorist

Another plausible reason do deny climate change is that it’s a giant hoax. Scientists found out that those who to believe in things such has the fake moon landing and aliens in Area 51 are more likely to think of climate change as a conspiracy theory.

4 – The insightful contra

Some people just disagree with the mainstream or think they can read between the lines of data and see a truth no one else does. You’re likely to hear them saying “the planet has warmed up before, it’s just a natural fluctuation” or “the uncertainties are too hight, we’re jumping into conclusions”. Others argue that climate science is mere statistics, which can be used to prove all sorts of stupid correlations with global average temperature, from pirates to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions! To put it graphically:

Many of them stayed in that stage of “Climategate” before Muller actually came to the same conclusions of the IPCC. Or hold on to that 0.2 % of scientific literature which reject climate change. It’s highly unlike that all the science in the world will ever change their minds.


Li numa revista que estar exposto ao queixume dos outros faz mal ao nosso cérebro. Se estás sempre a queixar-te e a mandar vir com tudo, provavelmente não notas. Mas se até és uma pessoa positiva e que pontua as interacções sociais com sorrisos, já deves ter identificado os sintomas que o tal artigo apontava para a sobrexposição a rezingões, queixinhas e lamentosos. Estes incluem contágio com o negativismo dos outros e até a estupidificação. Basicamente, suga-nos a alegria e o optimismo e adormece-nos partes do cérebro até elas se inactivarem.

Há uma criatura que cabe perfeitamente nesta descrição. Exactamente: o Dementor!

Exemplo de actuação dum Dementor, aqui a sugar a alegria do Harry Potter.

Exemplo de actuação dum Dementor, aqui a sugar a alegria do Harry Potter.

Podemos então extrapolar que aquelas velhas que vão no autocarro a gemer as desgraças do mundo todo e a competir para ver quem tem a pior saúde e tem as varizes mais grossas, são, na verdade, uma espécie de Dementors que usa avental e socas ortopédicas.

meme guide to Doha

So, it seems that the COP18 just started in Doha and we’re all very excited.

Sure, it’s going to be better than Copenhagen, if only because are no high expectations to defraud and because the technical negotiations should be upfront. Anyway, the details on how we got here are kinda boring, as well as all those technical things they’re gonna be rounding on. So I made a collection of memes to debrief everyone on the status quo of the major kinks of international climate policy and governance. Enjoy!

Concerning the USA:

Concerning the European Union:

In general: