Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

I'm not someone who naturally loves to go up on a stage and speak in public - and that's an understatement. One of my main challenges in 2012 was to deliver a talk for TEDx Delft Salon - and to my surprise, nobody ate me alive or ridiculed me.

When recently I came across Jenny Blake's brilliant article with 8 Ways to Practice and Improve your Public Speaking Skills, I found myself nodding along as I read.

In fact, I found so much value in Jenny's article that I revisited her list of 8 ways here, and gave them an academic twist. Here is my academic view on her list:

1. Download a free recording app on your phone. When you practice a presentation, record it. Not only will you get used to the cameras at conferences (sessions often are made available as a webinar or for members of the association that organized the conference). If you listen to your recording, pay special attention to your pauses. You need to understand that the pauses in your sentences give the listener the possibility to digest what he/she just heard.

2. Take three ujayii breaths before starting. Abdominal breathing for stress-reduction: we've discussed this topic previously, and this technique is my single most powerful too for centering before a stressful moment.

3. Make it a challenge for yourself to bring more awareness to your speech in every day interactions. Practice makes perfect - breathe from your abdomen, release the tension in your throat and practice continuously on speaking in a calm, composed way.

4. Give yourself a rating on scale of 1-5 after every class you teach (or training, or meeting you present at). Bonus: write a blog post or diary entry to reflect on how your (conference) presentation went. Also, if a recording is available, watch it in a non-judgmental way to see how you can improve.

5. Pretend you are speaking to a non-native English speaker or a five year old. The five year old might not apply to conferences, but keep in mind that you, and only you are the real expert in your field. Take enough time to introduce your topic, and avoid unnecessary jargon.

6. Channel/observe a speaker or teacher you really respect. At a conference, do not only pay attention to the contents of the speakers, but also to the way they have structured their presentation, how they talk and how they respond to questions.

7. Probably most important: ASK FOR FEEDBACK – often! If possible, have a trial run of a presentation with your supervisor, or for a small group of peer PhD students. They can help you improve before your real gig.

8. Clench and release a muscle several times before going up to speak. Jenny introduced this method to boost adrenaline and stop shaking. Along the same lines: practice powerposes!

How do you improve your public speaking skills? Share you experiences in the comments section!

Boyd at the Mid-South Eventing Association General Meeting

 Samantha Clark reported on the MSEDA General Meeting, where Boyd was the keynote speaker. Check out the following links for her interview, photos and video:

Trangia Triangle Burner Stand Review

I like gas stoves, but in the winter, the cold temperatures can be a problem. In the winter of 2011 I was discussing stoves with a backpacker I got talking to in the Dales. It was early October, the camping season was coming to an end, and the early mornings were cold. The gentleman I was talking to was having problems with his gas stove, it was very cold, so pressure in the gas canister was low. The flame on his stove just wasn't cutting it. He had to stuff the canister down inside his jacket to try and warm it up. There are alternative forms of gas, using an 85% Iso-butane/15% Propane mix, such as Snow Peak's GigaPower Fuel, but I find them harder to get hold of than the standard gas or alcohol.

When I'm out walking in the winter there are times when it's nice to take a stove and the means to make a drink or a meal to warm you up at some point along the walk. I've recently experienced cold gas cans and ice on my rucksack making a gas stove a struggle. On a friends recommendation I decided to buy a Trangia Stove and a Trangia Triangle stand.
The stand comes in at 115g, pretty light considering it will support quite a large heavy pot. Since the stand is quite wide it may be a little too big for some of the light pots available. The Alpkit MytiMug doesn't fit, it's too small and drops between the stand walls. To cure this I also purchased a Trangia Kettle, the small 0.6 litre version. The great thing is I can fit the Trangia stove, a fire-steel, some matches, and a cloth in the kettle. The Triangle then goes in a bag with the Kettle. When in use, this setup is very stable, a very small risk of the kettle falling off. Less risk than with a small gas stove.
Putting the stand together, once you've fathomed out which way to put the plates takes around a minute. Lighting the Trangia stove and waiting for it to prime varies. In normal temperatures, outside the winter cold, it can prime within a minute. In the zero degrees temperature I tested it in last weekend, it can take 2-3 minutes. A winter primer of some kind would go a long way to speed this up. Trangia make one, but any small primer flame under the stove will help. I've considered experimenting with a metal bottle top and some drops of alcohol to do this.
Once primed, the Trangia started to jet quite nicely, possibly aided by the airflow generated by the Trangia Triangle. It took 5-6 minutes to warm up half a litre of water, not in the realms of a Jetboil gas stove (to be tested soon), or my Coleman F1 Lite, but it was good considering the simplicity of the systems design.

The weight of components were:
The kettle weighs 140g
The Triangle weighs 115g
The burner, lid and simmer ring weigh 112g
The cloth depends on how big a cloth you want to carry, and a fire-steel can vary from the mini scout style to the large versions. Fuel to me seems to be the potentially heavy element in this setup. I've seen where a Jetboil used approximately 2g of gas to heat half a lighter of water. I would guess I used several times that amount in weight with the Trangia.
Compared to using a gas stove there is more time spent heating water for a meal or drink using a Trangia system. It's not particularly light when considering fuel, and it can be messy. But it is very reliable, it gets the job done, and it's more fun than a gas stove. So I don't consider it a replacement but an alternative. In extreme cold, it would be my go to stove system. Whether it stays that way, time will tell.

Writers' Lab: 750 words versus longhand journaling

To clear out your mind, keeping a journal is a great tool.

Keeping a journal does not only bring you more peace of mind but it also has the following benefits:
- identify your worries by expressing them
- create a moment for self-reflection
- have a personal archive of thoughts
- track your progress in achieving goals
- practice writing in a different way
- by reading multiple entries, you can analyze deeper thought patterns.

I'm a long-time journal-writer. From spring until early December, I was using 750 words and it helped me developing my theoretical approach and ultimately writing my dissertation. But since late 2012, I have switched back to my longhand journal - a notebook I've been using since 2000.

As a teenager, I wrote in my journal daily. I copied the habit from my grandfather, who wrote daily for his entire life (and thus, throughout the second World War). When I went to university, I wrote less and less and eventually spaced entries by two years. Early in my PhD, I picked up the habit again to reflect on my research, and life in general.

Having used both digital and longhand journals over the past months, I have listed to pros and cons of each method, to help you chose the right method to keep up a journal.

750 words
+ This website is designed to get you writing:clean workspace, no distractions.
+ I've used 750 words to flesh out ideas and to write a brief overview of what I did during a day.
+ It's the perfect place for typing out a rant.
+ The stats are great - they help you analyze your writing.
- You're restricted to (mostly) unformatted text: you can't highlight, scribble, draw.
- You're staring at a screen, like for too many of your activities.

longhand journal
+ It's great to flip through a journal and read random entries from long ago.
+ Writing longhand makes it easier to get into the flow of writing.
+ Distractions associated with the internet are not there.
+ You can draw, highlight, use different colored pencils,..
+ I find it easier to mix up the writing: overviews of what I did, my deeper thoughts and worries, random gratitude lists, affirmations
- Writing longhand is slower than typing
- It's not in the cloud, you need to drag along a physical object when you travel.

Do you journal? Has it improved your writing, or keeping track of your goals? Share you experiences in the comments section!

Neville Bardos To Be Inducted Into Horse Stars Hall of Fame

The EQUUS Foundation and the USEF recently established a Horse Stars Hall of Fame
“to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and the magical and powerful bond between horses and people.”

We are excited to announce that we have just been notified that Neville Bardos will be one of the inaugural inductees in the Athletes category of the Horse Stars Hall of Fame, along with all the USEF Horses of Honor recognized annually since the establishment of the USEF Horse of the Year (HOTY) awards program in 2005.

The inaugural inductions and the unveiling of the virtual Horse Stars Hall of Fame website will take place at the EQUUS Foundation’s "fête cheval étoile" event. The event will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida and include a photo gallery of the inductees accompanied by the stories of their achievements.

Boyd and Silva

Silver Linings: Gratitude in the shower

Silver Linings is a series of posts that aims at infusing your day with little moments of joy, gratitude and indulgence. These little nuggets can contribute to improve your happiness in the current moment, which - together with a vision of your future - result in your best performance and helps you to achieve "flow" (or getting in the "zone").

A post on taking a moment for gratitude in the shower? You might wonder what happened to this academic blog... But bear with me for a moment, and I'll show you how you can use your shower to start or end your day with a positive thought.

Most likely, you don't even pay a moment of attention to your actual shower. You let the water pour, lather on soap, and at the same time, your mind wanders and is either past-tripping (worrying about something you said or did, or didn't say or do yet) or future-tripping (planning ahead, thinking of everything you still need to do, worrying about future events,..).

But as an academic, you already spend 90% (or more) of your time with your brain. Your body gets much less attention.

So, what if you could spend some time to connect with your body, and think positive, grateful thoughts - while doing an activity you are doing anyway? Here's a few ways to do so:

1. Sensation

For a moment, mute your thinking and amplify your sensing. Sense the feeling of the hot water, sense the texture of the soap. Smell the fragrance of the product that you are using. Look at yourself, and understand the privilege of having a healthy body. Listen to the sound of the water pouring down.

2. Awareness 

Try to sync your mind with your actions. Instead of embarking on a trip to the past or future, simply observe what you are doing, and bring your awareness to the now.

3. Kindness to your body

As your brain is the major player in your life, it is important not to neglect your body. Too often we only notice our bodies when something isn't working well, which could impact our academic work then. You can compare this to a computer, a machine that we expect to perform its tasks, without needing any maintenance, and of which we only notice how much we depend on it when it malfunctions. 

So, while you are doing physical activity, take a moment to consciously connect to your body, treat it kindly and cherish your health.

4. Gratitude for products

Take a moment to pay attention to your soap:

- if it's the cheapest soap from the store: realize that buying cheap helps you to avoid (further) student debt. By not indulging in unnecessary luxury, you are taking control of your financial situation - one tiny bit at a time.

- if it's a fancy soap you splurged on: be fully aware that this expense was worth the extra money, provided that you genuinely enjoy the experience of using it.

- if it was a gift: take a moment to smile, and remember when you received it. As a bonus: write a short note during the day to the person from whom you got the gift to tell them you enjoy using it - and take a moment to catch up with him/her.

- if it's from a hotel: remember the good times you spent traveling for a conference - a privilege not all young professionals experience.

Have you tried applying these techniques? Share your experiences in the comments!

Do You Know Beau Guimond?!

NAME: Beau Guimond
DOB: 6/3/1993
HOMETOWN: Mechanicsburg, PA
WINDURRA SINCE:   April 2012
JOB/DESCRIPTION: Whatever it takes!
Beau was born in Hershey, PA and has always had a love of horses. His parents arranged his first lesson on his 8th birthday as a surprise. The instructor was amazed at his natural ability and the ease at which the horses responded to his touch. What started out as a once a week lesson soon became an everyday occurrence. He loved riding and wanted to spend every minute at the barn doing whatever he could in exchange for lessons. (Photo Ashlee Fleming)
BeauBeau was 12 when the opportunity presented itself to adopt a racehorse named True Lord from Penn National Race Track. Looking back it was a crazy decision which proved to be a wonderful learning experience. Beau and True learned the ins and outs of hunt seat equitation together. After two year It was evident that True was not as happy with the jumping arrangement so the decision was made to retire True with his old trainer.

It was during the same period that Beau's family was in the process of relocating to Mechanicsburg, PA. He was interested in trying eventing and began the search for a new horse with the characteristics to advance through the levels. In March 2006 his family purchased Otter a 6 year old Trakhner gelding out of Carino E. The horse was green broke but had potential. Beau and Otter progressed through the levels obtaining their C3 rating, and in 2011 represented the Maryland Region in Training level at USPC Championships in Kentucky. They also qualified at Training level for the American Eventing Championships and finished 15th.

Beau had seen Boyd ride at many of the events and was lucky enough to live close enough to arrange to take lessons with him. Boyd was extremely supportive and at events would take time to encourage and coach Beau. It was at an emotional event at Waradaca (just two weeks after the fire) when Boyd took the time to congratulate Beau on his victory. That gesture helped Beau decide that he wanted to pursue a career in Eventing.
A few months later, while taking a lesson at Windurra, Boyd suggested to Beau that he should come and be a working student for him. For anyone interested in a career in Eventing, applying for a working student position is a great opportunity to experience first-hand what it takes to be successful.

Over the following few months Beau worked with his advisor at Cumberland Valley High School to advance his studies. He started with Boyd in April 2012 and received credit towards earning his diploma. Beau and Otter underwent a huge transformation under Boyd's coaching and training program. After leading the USEA leader board in Training level points, they moved to up to Preliminary and completed the qualifications for their first CCI*. In October, Boyd offered Beau a full time position on the staff at Windurra LLC.

Beau has joined the team for his first season in Aiken (2013). Beau has benefited greatly through Silva & Boyd's support and he looks forward to seeing where the future will take him.
" The road to Eventing success is dedicating your heart, body and soul to achieving a partnership with the horses you ride. Having a mentor like Boyd just drives you to try harder. Eventing is sink or swim – no floating allowed!"

A Local Winter Walk

Last weekend I enjoyed a walk around the local area. I was just about rid of a nasty cold that had caused persistent coughing and just fancied a morning out without going too far from home.
The scenery was quite nice, deeper snow would have been nicer, but I did enjoy getting out. The temperature was more like what i prefer, I can manage my body temperature more easily in these cold conditions. As ever, the snow added something to features of the landscape.

I headed around to the local wood and stopped off there in a shelter for something hot to eat. I used a new heater system to make hot water for a nice meal. It warmed me up nicely before I set off for a walk around the wood.

There were signs around the wood that the winter snow fall had done some damage. I was recently down here when there was no snow around and these trees had been fine.

Even with the cold weather there were still squirrels, rabbits and Roe Deer present in the wood. Although the later tended to be a lot more secretive and tended to be glimpsed rather than seen. Way to fast for me to get photographs of, I'm sure a friend of mine would be disappointed, but the crunching snow was a serious disadvantage.
I really love walking in the snow. It provides a different challenge and makes for a more interesting outing. It's good to be out in these conditions, nature can really surprise you and you may see things you didn't expect.

In Celebration of Eventing

Hitchcock Woods Foundation
requests the pleasure of
your company at the 3rd annual

In Celebration of Eventing

Monday, February 18, 2013
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Benefiting the stewardship of the Hitchcock Woods
Graciously Sponsored By:
Charles and Heidi Beaumont
Edward and Leslie Giobbe
Ronald and Densey Juvonen
Robert and Gretchen White
The Willcox
100 Colleton Avenue SW
Aiken, South Carolina
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres
Entertainment by 4 Cats in the Dog House
Silent Auction
$75 per person ($40 is tax deductible)
RSVP by Thursday, February 14 ($100 after this date)
Pay Online:
Click on “Help Preserve the Woods” and follow payment instructions
On the second screen, click on “Special Instructions” and type “Eventers”
Process your payment
Pay by Phone:
Call 803-642-0528 with credit card information
Pay by Mail:
Hitchcock Woods Foundation
P.O. Box 1702 • Aiken, SC 29802
Payable to Hitchcock Woods Foundation; “Eventers” in the memo
James and Sarah Wildasin
In Celebration of Eventing … andEventers!

Jornal publica fotos de foca-leopardo devorando pinguim na Antártica

ens foram feitas em 2009 por militar israelense e divulgadas agora.
Mamíferos comem até 12 aves por dia, além de krill, lulas e peixes.
Do Globo Natureza, em São Paulo
Uma foca-leopardo foi vista abocanhando um pinguim na Península Antártica, segundo imagens divulgadas nesta sexta-feira (25) pelo site do jornal britânico "Daily Mail".
As fotos foram feitas em 2009 pelo militar israelense Amos Nachoum, de 63 anos. A cena se passa nas águas de Porto Lockroy, na costa noroeste da Ilha Wiencke, onde há muitas colônias de pinguins.
Foca-leopardo abocanha pinguim na Antártica (Foto: Daily Mail/Reprodução)Foca-leopardo abocanha pinguim na Antártica e depois o afoga e devora (Foto: Daily Mail/Reprodução)
Imóveis, as focas ficam à espreita das aves nas águas rasas da região, onde os pinguins costumam ignorar o perigo que se esconde debaixo da superfície. Com movimentos rápidos e certeiros, o animal maior então captura o menor.
As imagens mostram a presa tentando escapar em vão, pois a fuga logo é impedida pelos dentes afiados do mamífero. Em seguida, o predador arrasta a caça para o fundo do oceano, onde a afoga e devora – após arrancar suas penas.
As focas-leopardos comem até 12 pinguins em um único dia. Além deles, costumam se alimentar de krill (invertebrados parecidos com o camarão), lulas e peixes.

Introducing: Silver Linings

Another new series of posts! You will find Silver Linings to appear on this blog.

What is it about?

Silver Linings is about helping you to create the right mindset to carry out your research, and to come up with creative ideas.

 What is the concept of Silver Linings?

In the series of Silver Linings, you will find short, inspirational posts. The key point is one idea per lining, that will hopefully help you to cheer up for small things throughout the day.

By focusing your attention to small habits and short moments of joy, gratitude or indulgence, you will learn how to improve the resilience of your mind, and thus better cope with the stress of academia and the need to perform extremely well.

For who?

If you feel that you are wasting the best years of your life by trying to hold your breath, and just get through your studies, or get your PhD research finished, or get that academic position after your post-doc, or get tenure, or something else - then you are in a state of mind in which prevent yourself from operating at your best level.

You get your best results when you are happy in the now and have a vision for the future. With these ingredients, you can achieve mental flow.

Most of us tend to beat ourselves up in the now, thinking this behavior will lead to the great results you anticipate in the future. But, unfortunately, you might be like a dog chasing his own tail until he gets too tired. 

To learn how to improve the now, I've started to pay attention to small acts and thoughts throughout the day that help me to be at peace with my current state.

When can I expect Silver Linings?

Posts will air on Sundays, as a way to inspire you throughout the week.

You are invited to contribute!

Contributions are more than welcome. You are invited to share your experiences in the comments of a Silver Lining, and you can send guest contributions (just pitch me with your idea!).

Seca: Polêmica transposição do rio São Francisco o " velho chico "

O Projeto de Transposição do Rio São Francisco não é uma ideia nova. Ampliado no governo Lula, ele existe há décadas. O plano básico é construir dois imensos canais ligando o rio São Francisco a bacias hidrográficas menores do Nordeste, bem como aos seus açudes. A seguir, seriam construídas adutoras, com o objetivo de efetivar a distribuição da água.
De acordo com o governo federal, o projeto seria a solução para o grave problema da seca no Nordeste, pois distribuiria água a 390 municípios dos estados de Pernambuco, Ceará, Paraíba e Rio Grande do Norte – uma população de 12 milhões de nordestinos.
O prazo para realização do projeto é de 20 anos, a um custo total estimado, até meados de 2009, em R$ 4,5 bilhões. Hoje este valor duplicou.
A transposição, contudo, tem sido criticada por ambientalistas e representantes de outros setores da sociedade, incluindo a Igreja Católica. A resposta do governo é de que o número de empregos criados, direta e indiretamente, graças ao projeto, bem como a solução do problema da seca derrubam toda e qualquer crítica.
Além da interligação das bacias, o governo também pretende executar um projeto de recuperação do rio São Francisco e de seus afluentes, pois vários desses rios sofrem problemas de assoreamento, decorrentes do desmatamento para agricultura.
Prós e contras
• 1. Diante da alegação de que o projeto resolveria os problemas sociais existentes na região semiárida do Brasil, o geógrafo Aziz Ab’Saber argumenta que “o Nordeste Seco abrange um espaço fisiográfico socioambiental da ordem de 750.000 km2, enquanto que a área que receberá benefícios abrange dois projetos lineares que somam apenas alguns milhares de quilômetros nas bacias do rio Jaguaribe (Ceará) e Piranhas/Açu, no Rio Grande do Norte”.
• 2. Se a transposição pretende levar água a regiões massacradas pela seca, Aziz Ab’Sáber, olhando a questão por outro lado, faz as seguintes ponderações: “Deve ser mantido um equilíbrio entre as águas que seriam obrigatórias para as importantíssimas hidrelétricas já implantadas no médio/baixo vale do rio – Paulo Afonso, Itaparica e Xingó –, pois a energia ali produzida, e transmitida para todo o Nordeste, constitui um tipo de planejamento da mais alta relevância para o espaço total da região”.
• 3. Segundo o governo, 12 milhões de pessoas serão beneficiadas e a irrigação de polos agrícolas aquecerá a economia e aumentará o número de empregos. Na opinião de Aziz Ab’Sáber, no entanto, “os ‘vazanteiros’ – responsáveis pelo abastecimento das feiras do sertão – que fazem horticultura no leito dos rios que perdem fluxo durante o ano serão os primeiros a ser prejudicados. Serão os fazendeiros pecuaristas que terão água disponível para o gado, nos cinco ou seis meses que os rios da região não correm. Nesse sentido, os maiores beneficiários serão os proprietários de terra, residentes longe, em apartamentos luxuosos em grandes centros urbanos”.
• 4. Enquanto o governo reforça que as margens do rio São Francisco serão revitalizadas e que o tratamento de água diminuirá a poluição, os ambientalistas dizem que o projeto causará danos à fauna e à flora da região – e que serão desmatados 430 hectares.

FOUR Shares Left in Rosa Cha Syndicate

Don't miss your opportunity to own a share of this amazing mare!!!

Writers' Lab: A personal Narrative on Writing

The second guest post in the Writers' Lab is by Mohamed Saeed from South Africa. He shares with us his personal story on how he found in writing a way to share his views, experiences and thoughts with the world.
Mohamed Saeed (aka Abd’ ullah) is a graduate from the University of KWAZUL- NATAL (UKZN). He holds a certificate of Merit in Social Equity in Professional Practice, a National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE) and an Advance Certificate in Education (ACE) specialising in teaching for Social Justice.
Probing the media headlines and creating waves, fighting against oppression and injustices, alleviating poverty and ignorance and promoting fundamental rights and values is his passion and mission in life. He shuns destructive thinking, violence and negative competition. He enjoys reading, re-searching and doing volunteer work for humanitarian NGOs.
I grew up during the Apartheid era in South Africa, and the education system at that time clearly reflected the government’s discriminatory and racial way of life –segregation based on colour, race and class.

Schools were required to indoctrinate, teach and promote the apartheid ideals and white supremacy; our history text books, discipline methods, rules, regulations and teaching methods were especially designed to foster Apartheid.

Being classified as an Asian, I could not go to the local library, so my primary school teacher asked me and other students to read a daily newspaper to improve our English. As I am a second-generation South African and grew up in a household where the main language was not English, Newspapers went a long way towards the improvement of my English.
As a Muslim the Quran and Sunnah (practices of Prophet Muhamed, PBUH) are my guides. They determine my outlook on life, justice, tyranny, oppression, truth and falsehood. It is therefore incumbent upon me not to remain silent or inactive when needs be.

I find in most newspapers and books Islam is equated with terrorism, oppression, women abuse, violence, intolerance, and backwardness. I am truly concerned by this mindset about themisrepresentation of Islam and Muslims in the print and mass media. This inspires and stimulates me to do research and write articles and letters to the editor in order to create awareness.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the different types of media directly affects our lives, influences our opinions and penetrates our subconscious. Over the years our homes, teachers at school, our different religions and institutions, culture, the society that we live in, the mass media that we are exposed too subliminally colonise our vulnerable minds. This socialization generally becomes our way of life and viewpoint and therefore sometimes we don’t want to accept, dialogue, debate or hear the other voice.

Through writing we can express our complaints, lobby for a cause, present a viewpoint, negate myths and serve as an antidote to the less than objective and/or balanced media coverage of events. The more I read the more questions I have and over the years I have realised that some of the mass media are presenting half-truths and distortions.

Although it’s not always hate that causes individuals, writers and authors to make foolish allegations and disingenuous statements against Islam, ignorance generally plays a major part in these dishonest expression or stereotypical assumptions and perceptions, and I believe  as Muslims we have much to blame as we are not effectively engaging with the broader global community. 

Similarly, most western writers have a very depressing and unconstructive narrative and storyline about my continent- Africa. It is always about diseases, famine, human rights’ abuses, rape, murder, crime and malnourished children. Agreed, Africa is a continent of tribal wars, huge inequalities and corruption but it is also a land of natural resources and beauty, magnificent oceans, mountains, rivers and wildlife, World heritage sites, an emerging business community and blessed by relatively lower rate of natural disasters.

A recent guest to my country, South Africa, commented: “I was commended by a friend for my “courage” for touring South Africa. For him, South Africa is where wild animals and “primitive” people prey on innocent tourists”. Where did this stereotype come from?

We can only challenge the deceptions, misinformation and negative discourse about us through effective communication and constructive dialogue. And writing offers the perfect platform to articulate views and explain a multifaceted or difficult point or situation to readers with clarity. It allows for a two way dialogue.

Writing allows me to critically read and think, to re-learn, re-skill and decolonise my mind. Writing allows me to tell my untold stories to a larger audience. Writing allows me to express my emotions and inner most feelings and be a voice of reason, voice for the voiceless and be a change agent. Writing allows me to have hope that brainwashed individuals might have their minds opened to reason and be transformed.

The wise words of Gloria Anzaldua inspires me to keep on write: “ Why am I compelled to write? Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger. To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit. Finally, I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing”.


Nome popular: Canafístula
Nome científico: Peltophorum dubiumFamília: Fabaceae – Caesalpinioideae
A Canafístula está ameaçada de extinção no estado de São Paulo.

Nomes populares
Canafístula, farinha –seca, faveira, sobrasil, tamboril – bravo, guarucaia, ibirá-puitá.

Ocorrência Ocorre no Brasil da Paraíba até o Rio Grande do Sul, nas formações florestais do complexo atlântico, e em Minas Gerais, Goiás e Mato Grosso do Sul até o Paraná passando por São Paulo nas florestas estacionais semideciduais, geralmente em solos argilosos e profundos. É comum nas formações ribeirinhas.
Variação altitudinal: de 30 a 1.300 metros de altitude

Características geraisÁrvore caducifólia(perde totalmente as folhas no inverno), com 10 a 20 m de altura e 35 a 90 cm de DAP, podendo atingir excepcionalmente 40m de altura e 300cm de DAP na idade adulta. 

Características SilviculturaisCanafístula é uma espécie heliófila(Ferreira,1977;Inove&Galvão,1986), medianamente tolerante a baixas temperaturas.
Recomenda-se o plantio a pleno sol, com melhor desempenho silvicultural em plantios mistos, mas podendo ser plantado também em plantio puro.
Ocorre naturalmente em solos ácidos até solos de fertilidade química elevada.

Em plantios experimentais tem crescido melhor em solos de fertilidade química média a alta, bem drenados e com textura franco a argilosa. Não tolera solos rasos, pedregosos ou demasiadamente úmidos. É bastante exigente em nitrogênio.

A madeira da canafístula é densa (0,75 a 0,90g.cm3) a 15% de umidade. Possui resitência moderada ao apodrecimento. Possui cerne e alburno distintos pela cor, cerne castanho- rosado, com veios mais escuros formando desenhos; cheiro e gosto imperceptíveis; densidade alta; grã revessa; textura grossa. (IPT,1989a) 

UtilidadeA madeira é empregada na construção civil, marcenaria, tanoaria, carrocerias, dormentes, serviços de torno, movelaria etc. A árvore além de muito ornamental quando em florescimento, proporciona ótima sombra quando isolada. Pode ser empregada com sucesso no paisagismo em geral. Como planta rústica e de rápido crescimento, é ótima para a composição de reflorestamentos mistos de áreas degradadas

Cientistas prendem minicâmeras em pinguins e 'flagram' caçadas

Animais se mostraram caçadores eficientes e ágeis, segundo estudo.
Pinguins da Antártica chegaram a capturar dois crustáceos por segundo.

Do Globo Natureza, em São Paulo
Cientistas japoneses usaram minicâmeras de vídeo, presas nas cabeças e nas costas de 14 pinguins, junto com acelerômetros (aparelhos para medir  movimentos), para estudar o comportamento destes animais ao caçar nas águas oceânicas geladas da Antártica.
O estudo, publicado no periódico "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", nesta segunda-feira (21), afirma que monitorar animais selvagens enquanto eles caçam, comem e se movimentam, principalmente em ambientes marinhos, é muito difícil e quase sempre resulta em dados imprecisos.
Por isso, os cientistas do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisa Polar de Tóquio, no Japão, optaram por usar o "kit" de equipamentos nos pinguins. O resultado foi a criação de vídeos de até 85 minutos para cada animal, mostrando como eles caçam peixes e pequenos crustáceos.
Pinguins filmados com as câmeras especiais durante a pesquisa, na Antártica (Foto: Reprodução/"PNAS")Pinguins filmados com as câmeras especiais durante a pesquisa, na Antártica (Foto: Reprodução/"PNAS")
A pesquisa ressalta que os pinguins se mostraram caçadores eficientes e ágeis, capturando até dois crustáceos por segundo quando as presas estão em grupo. Em média, as aves pegaram 244 crustáceos em até 89 minutos de caçada, e 33 peixes na mesma quantidade de tempo.
Vinculando os movimentos de cabeça dos pinguins registrados pelos equipamentos com cenas de caçadas bem-sucedidas, os pesquisadores descobriram que as aves procuram crustáceos em diferentes níveis de profundidade, enquanto os peixes são buscados em locais mais rasos no mar.
Outra característica identificada nos pinguins é que o número de crustáceos capturados varia muito conforme o mergulho, mas que o número de peixes obtidos num momento de caça não varia muito, a cada vez que os animais saem para comer

Homem é multado em R$ 8,5 mil por manter 17 aves silvestres em cativeiro

denúncia, PM encontrou 129 pássaros em casa em Jaboticabal (SP).
Criador já havia sido multado em R$ 5 mil pelo mesmo motivo há dois anos.
Do G1 Ribeirão e Franca
Criador mantinha 17 aves silvestres em cativeiro sem autorização do Ibama em Jaboticabal, SP (Foto: Divulgação/Polícia Ambiental)
Criador mantinha 17 aves silvestres em cativeiro sem autorização (Foto: Divulgação/Polícia Ambiental)
Um homem foi multado em R$ 8,5 mil na tarde desta segunda-feira (21) por manter 17 aves silvestres em cativeiro em Jaboticabal (SP). Uma denúncia anônima levou os policiais até a residência do criador, no bairro São Judas Tadeu, onde foram encontradas 129 pássaros - apenas 42 estavam em situação regular.
O sargento Giovane Delalibera explicou que o dono recebeu um prazo de 15 dias para regularizar a situação de outras 70 aves que, apesar de estarem legalizadas, apresentavam documentação em nome de outros criadores.
“Quando alguém compra uma ave, é preciso transferir o registro. Nesse caso, elas ainda estavam em nome dos antigos donos. Normalmente eles fazem isso para driblar a fiscalização”, explicou Delalibera.
Ainda segundo o sargento, o homem já havia sido autuado em R$ 5 mil pelo mesmo motivo há dois anos. As aves apreendidas nesta segunda - entre elas sanhaços, sabiás e tico-ticos - serão soltas na natureza.

Five Shares Left in Rosa Cha Syndicate

Rosa Cha is one of the most naturally talented dressage horses that I have ever trained. She is superbly bred in Australia in 2005 by my husband Boyd and myself. Her father is the Rubenstein son Regardez Moi who represented Australia at the Grand Prix World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009. She was imported from Australia to the US in 2008 and already has an incredible competition record. 
Last year she competed at fourth level and went ten straight events without being beaten. At Dressage at Devon she really started to impress the judges and excite the crowd with phenomenal performances at Fourth level, winning with scores in the 70th percentile.

She has stunning looks and a sensational presence with phenomenal gaits. Every time she sets foot off the farm to compete, she turns into the most eye-catching horse of the show. The most brilliant factor about Rosa is that she has unbelievable ability for the Grand Prix movements.

Last weekend Rosa competed in her first Prix St. George FEI competition. She was absolutely sensational, demolishing the field at the Ocala Horse Park and collecting her debut scores at this level with 72% and 73%  to become the FEI Champion of the show

Rosa will be competing in her first International competition in the CDI at the brand new Dressage facility in Wellington, Florida March 14-17.

My big goal with Rosa is making a US team in the near future. She will be absolutely primed in her competition timeline to represent the United States at the Rio Olympics in 2016. I am also excited to be eligible to represent this country, as I have recently become an American citizen. 
I have five shares left for people to come along on this journey with me. There is no bigger thrill for a horse lover to be involved with the day to day training of a high level horse and also experience the electricity of watching a horse that you own compete at the big shows. This is a unique opportunity that really enables supporters to have an intimate experience with horse and rider and ultimately to be part of US dressage history. Please call me at (610-806-2721) or email ( for more information and a syndicate agreement.


Silva Martin


FLORES : 110 mm
Estes foram os registros de chuvas no município de Jardim de Piranhas, recebidos por este blog.

Marinha faz blitz no litoral de São Paulo e autua nove pessoas

Operação contou com quatro embarcações e seis carros por terra.
Mais de 50 abordagens foram feitas em Santos e Guarujá.

Do G1 Santos
Marinha faz blitz em Santos e Guarujá, SP, e nove são autuados (Foto: Reprodução/TV Tribuna)Marinha faz blitz em Santos e Guarujá
(Foto: Reprodução/TV Tribuna)
A Marinha fez neste domingo (20) uma blitz no mar de Santos e Guarujá, no litoral de São Paulo. A operação, que contou com quatro embarcações e seis carros por terra, teve como objetivo fiscalizar os barcos e orientar os condutores.
Durante três horas, 52 abordagens foram feitas e nove pessoas foram autuadas. O não cumprimento pelas regras de navegação e a falta de documento dos barcos estavam entre algumas das infrações constatadas. "Havia uma pessoa com a habilitação em dia. Fizemos o teste do bafômetro que mostrou que ela não estava alcoolizada. Mas, no momento que a embarcação virou duas ou três vezes, avaliei com o Capitão dos Portos e determinei a retirada da embarcação de circulação, com o objetivo de que ela não colocasse em risco os banhistas", explica o Capitão dos Portos de São Paulo, Marcelo Ribeiro de Souza.
As motos aquáticas foram um dos principais alvos da Marinha durante a operação. "Foram 35 moto aquáticas abordadas, nove notificações, sendo seis de moto aquática. Isso mostra a importância da presença da Marinha que tem como objetivo coibir que posturas dessa natureza não voltem a ocorrer", analisou.
Na abordagem também foram feitos testes de bafômetro, análise dos coletes salva-vidas, além da observação se nas embarcações de alumínio haviam protetores para as hélices.

Elídio recebe convite da presidente Dilma para ir a Brasília

            O prefeito de Jardim de Piranhas, Elídio Queiroz, recebeu convite da presidenta Dilma Rousseff para participar, em Brasília, do “Encontro Nacional com os Novos Prefeitos e Prefeitas”, marcado para os dias 28, 29 e 30 deste mês, no Centro de Convenções Ulysses Guimarães.
            No encontro, a presidenta disse que quer estimular a melhoria da gestão e contribuir com as novas administrações, apresentando os principais programas federais que podem ser acessados pelos municípios. Dilma disse também que quer reafirmar o seu compromisso de uma relação de respeito, diálogo e parceria com todas as prefeituras. “Essa será a primeira de muitas oportunidades que teremos para estreitar laços e parcerias em favor da sua cidade e do Brasil”, completou a chefe do executivo federal.
            Elídio aproveitará a viagem à capital federal para revisitar os gabinetes dos aliados no intuito de reforçar os compromissos anteriormente firmados, e buscar novas parcerias que ajudem a desenvolver Jardim de Piranhas.

Winter trainings.

The last weeks have been fullfilled with normal training routines but today I felt that I had to write something, so here is a resume:

After Christmas I spent a few days training with a map on my hands near the portuguese coast. Thierry joined for some sessions and it was great to have him with us. We (portuguese) are always complaining that the navigation in our terrains is too easy. I was amazed by how you can make it tougher when I did this night contour long legs session (sample of the whole map):

In the new year's eve I participated in S.Silvestre da Amadora, the oldest and most important portuguese silvester race. Everyone knows that after running a race you may get drunk with a single beer so, because of the economic crisis, the entries were sold out far before the day. I just ran off-race with some friends. 2 years ago I did 33'15 gong fullspeed (it's really hilly). This time I did around 34'10 going easy. What a nice athmosphere there!  

Then I started my new job. Everything has been going really well, apart from one thing: night emergencies! It's so damn hard to train after a whole blank night... but I hope I'll get used to it with time.

I've also started a yearlong post-grad in sports medicine where I'm feeling as a fish in the water but that will consume a lot of effort this year.

Today I participated in the first and only race of the month in a 5.5k cross-country race near Lisbon. The course was hilly and muddy after last night's storm. The distance was too short for the kind of training I'm doing right now. I didn't suffer too much and I was 2nd after a friend from Sporting CP.

So see you all soon, in one of the portuguese forthcoming events!!

Beat stress by breathing with your diaphragm

When you are stressed out, sometimes all it might take to get grip on the situation again is to halt yourself, and take a few, deep breaths.

Even though I wrote about breathing exercises previously, I did not touch upon how to breathe exactly for this purpose.

To calm your body's reaction to stress, you can use diaphragmatic breathing. I could describe it, but the video below shows you in 2 minutes how to find your deep breathing for yourself.

Do take 2 minutes to get the basic idea of breathing with your diaphragm:

A Misty Start with a Clear Finish

I went for a little bimble around Langsett last weekend with a walking buddy. The weather started off misty but cleared up after about an hour.

The walking conditions were great. I really like the colder weather for walking as I don't over heat. While I was out I got the opportunity to test some new items of gear. So there will be some reviews to follow.

The weather did clear about an hour into the walk with the conditions making for some spectacular views.

The three plumes are steam rising from the three power stations that run along side the M62 near Ferrybridge.

A nice morning out and some good weather. The snow is here now and I can't wait to get out and about. 

O que é impacto ambiental?

Algumas pessoas acham que o impacto ambiental refere-se só às coisas "naturais", mas não é bem assim. Segundo a legislação brasileira, impacto ambiental é:
“qualquer alteração das propriedades físicas, químicas e biológicas do meio ambiente, causada por qualquer forma de matéria ou energia resultante das atividades humanas que, direta ou indiretamente afetam:
  1. a saúde, a segurança e o bem-estar da população;
  2. as atividades sociais e econômicas;
  3. a biota;
  4. as condições estéticas e sanitárias do meio ambiente;
  5. a qualidade dos recursos ambientais.”
(Resolução 001/86 – CONAMA).

Três tipos de impacto ambiental

“De forma simplificada pode-se afirmar que em termos de avaliação do impacto ambiental das atividades humanas existem três grandes problemas no país, inseparáveis mas inconfundíveis, cada um com uma sistemática de análise científica distinta: as atividades energético-mineradoras, as atividades industriais-urbanas e as atividades agrossilvopastoris. Em geral, os critérios, instrumentos e métodos utilizados para avaliar o impacto ambiental são próprios a cada uma dessas três atividades e não universais.
O impacto ambiental das atividades energéticas e mineradoras é, em geral, intenso, pontual, limitado e preciso em termos de localização (uma hidrelétrica, uma mineração, por exemplo). Empreendimentos dessa natureza envolvem parcelas pequenas de população nos seus impactos diretos e são bastante dependentes de fatores relativamente controláveis. Existem metodologias bem estabelecidas para avaliar e monitorar o impacto ambiental desses empreendimentos, onde os aspectos de projeto, engenharia e planejamento são passíveis de um alto grau de previsão e controle.
O impacto ambiental das atividades industriais-urbanas é, em geral, de intensidade variada, podendo ir de pontual (no caso de uma fábrica poluidora, por exemplo) a difuso (no caso dos poluentes emitidos pela frota de veículos, por exemplo).Uma boa parte desses impactos dependem de obras de infra-estrutura e de saneamento, mais amplas do que a abrangência de cada empreendimento. Processos de planejamento e crescimento urbanos também cumprem um papel determinante em muitos casos. As atividades industriais-urbanas atingem, direta e indiretamente, grandes parcelas da população. Existe uma grande quantidade de normas, leis e regulamentos vigindo sobre esse tema, objeto de uma ação fiscalizadora relativamente intensa por parte da população e órgãos públicos.
Já os impactos ambientais das atividades agrícolas são em geral tênues, bastante dependentes de fatores pouco controláveis (chuvas, temperaturas, ventos etc.), atingem grandes áreas de forma pouco precisa, freqüentemente crônica, pouco evidente, intermitente e de difícil quantificação (perda de solos, produção de gases, erosão genética, contaminação de águas subterrâneas com fertilizantes ou pesticidas etc.). Em muitos casos os piores impactos ambientais da agricultura são invisíveis aos olhos da população, dos consumidores e dos próprios agricultores, ao contrário do que ocorre com uma fábrica ou uma mineradora.”

Dá pra medir o impacto ambiental?

Não é possível medir o impacto ambiental como se mede o tamanho de um objeto. Não há ”régua” para isso.
O meio ambiente é complexo, o que significa dizer que é parcialmente previsível e parcialmente imprevisível.
Sendo assim, podemos estimar o impacto ambiental de certa atividade humana.
Isto é feito através do EIA/RIMA. O que é EIA/RIMA?

Conselho aprova construção de uma rua em área de cerrado da UFSCar

Grupo de ambientalistas de São Carlos teme impactos ambientais no local.
Medida ainda depende de aprovação de especialistas da Cetesb.

Do G1 São Carlos e Araraquara
O Conselho Universitário da Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar) aprovou, nesta sexta-feira (18), a construção de uma rua na área de cerrado do campus. Um grupo de ambientalistas é contra devido aos impactos no local. A medida ainda depende da  aprovação da  Companhia de Tecnologia de Saneamento Ambiental (Cetesb).
Na área de cerrado dentro da UFSCar, onde já existe um caminho de terra batida, poderá ser construída uma rua com 700 metros e alguns edifícios. O local faz parte do desenvolvimento da universidade e ligaria as áreas norte e sul, onde novos prédios serão construídos.
De acordo com o reitor da UFSCar, Targino de Araújo Filho, novos estudos vão apontar como diminuir os efeitos na natureza. “Vamos ter espaços para a travessia por baixo e por cima da rua para animais e vamos construir, em conjunto com toda a área biológica e mesmo com os alunos do coletivo de cerrado, uma alternativa que minimize todos os problemas que possam vir a ocorrer”, destaca.
No entanto, para o grupo Coletivo Cerrado, que defende o bioma, a construção da rua vai trazer grandes impactos. Pegadas de onça parda, que hoje são vistas com frequência, e o teiú, que se aquece ao sol talvez, se tornem mais raros. Árvores como o Angico e outras nativas do cerrado podem perder espaço. “A gente tem também outras espécies que são consideradas raras para o bioma cerrado e elas são abundantes e ocorrem no cerrado da UFSCar”, afirma Raquel Negrão, que é doutoranda em ecologia.
Para eles, o ideal seria conciliar desenvolvimento e meio ambiente. Eles dizem que já existem outros acessos à área, como a rodovia para Ribeirão Preto. “A gente vai tentar pressionando a reitoria para ver se eles mudam de ideia e também vamos tentar atuar dentro do Ministério Público, nem tanto agora, mas mais dentro da Cetesb mesmo. Vendo se os especialistas entendem realmente de ecologia de paisagem e de cerrado”, destaca Giordano Ciocheti, que é representante do Coletivo Cerrado.
Construção de rua pode trazer impactos para animais e árvores do local na UFSCar, em São Carlos, dizem ambientalistas (Foto: Wilson Aielo/EPTV)Rua pode trazer impactos para animais e árvores, dizem ambientalistas (Foto: Wilson Aielo/EPTV)