The “moon hoax” and the fate of knowing

This video is worth watching not only for the clarity of the argument, but especially for the conclusion it leads to.

From the description:

Collins is not sure if men went to the moon. but he is sure they could not have faked it.

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If airlines sold paint

Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?

Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends on quite a lot of things.

Customer: Can you give me a guess? Is there an average price?

Clerk: Our lowest price is $12 a gallon, and we have 60 different
prices up to $200 a gallon.

Customer: What’s the difference in the paint?

Clerk: Oh, there isn’t any difference; it’s all the same paint.

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I Miss

…holding soft skin and quiet respiration in my arms.

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The night of sunday is slowly becoming monday. In a small tasca in Alfama the doors are now closed and the lights turned down. Only a few faithful remain to listen to the fadista sing of love lost, longing and the sweet sadness of goodbyes.  No one wants to leave this warm, comforting and familiar heartache.

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380 B.C.

Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils — no, nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.

Plato – The Republic, Book V

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Gather ye rosebuds

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (Gather ye rosebuds) — Robert Herrick

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Epic rant (and no less epic dry martini recipe)

I could quote the whole post, but these are the most inspired bits:

Who drinks Peanut Butter and Jelly Vodka? WHO? I’ll tell you who. People who think martinis have flavors. THOSE ARE NOT MARTINIS YOU ARE DRINKING. They are drinks, yes. They come in martini glasses, yes. But a martini glass does not make a martini. A martini does not have the flavor of apples or chocolate or blueberry. Martinis taste like life; bitter. Because they are made with gin. And gin is the chosen drink of the bitter.


Open vermouth, pour contents down the sink. Stare at martini glass, wondering why you are even going to bother pretending like you are drinking for fun. Put glass back. Open gin. Drink from bottle, coming up for breath about every ten seconds until bottle is empty. Slam bottle on counter, open olives. Put olive on each finger and hold up hands, shouting “Look, olive mittens!” Pass out on kitchen floor.

That’s a martini. That’s a drink.

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Not a family

Wise words on the current “we’re all buddies here” work market fad:

…despite advances in working conditions and employee protections, workers remain in essence tools in a process in which their own happiness or economic well-being is necessarily incidental. Whatever camaraderie may build up between employer and employed, whatever goodwill workers may display and however many years they may have devoted to a task, they must live with the knowledge and attendant anxiety that their status is not guaranteed – that it remains dependent on their own performance and the economic well-being of their organizations; that they are hence a means to profit, and never ends in themselves.

Alain de Botton – Status Anxiety

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Most of us are suckers for a good Cinderella story. Here’s the latest: last night, during Bryan Adams’ gig in Rock in Rio Lisboa, a random girl[ref]It is debatable whether the choice was completely random, but still. Singing in front of more than 80.000 people, is not for the faint of heart.[/ref] was picked from the audience, to sing “When You’re Gone” with Bryan. Here’s how Vanessa Silva nailed it like a boss:


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How Frank fell for Lisbon

© Joao Pedro Marnoto for The New York Times

It always amazes me to read someone’s account of their discovery of Lisbon. I have always had trouble describing the city to those who have never visited it, as the report never fails to sound dull, missing the point, somehow. This New York Times chronicle, however, nails it exactly:

In Lisbon it occurred to me that maybe our favorite places are simply those in which our expectations are routinely exceeded, happenstance cuts in our favor, and it doesn’t matter which fork in the road we take. It leads somewhere we’re happy to be.

Lisbon isn’t a city you visit with a “program” or a “circuit” of things to do. Of course, as a selling point on a travel brochure, this isn’t much of an argument, but that is precisely what makes it so compelling to us, who live here:

…in that moment I realize what — more than the tiles, trams or water — endears Lisbon to me. It has a humility that is rare on a storied continent with so much reason and readiness to boast.

There’s nothing immediate about this city. She won’t care about you at first, but will let herself be discovered, all her perfect flaws, and will finally let you sit down with her, cuddling in silence, admiring the sunset over the Tejo, enjoying one last dinner, as the rumble of the party downtown starts to slowly, imperceptibly but inevitably make her loins sing and swing.

I wasn’t told to approach it on bended knee. I could instead stumble upon it, tumble into it and let it lift me up.


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Portugal, em três minutos e trinta.

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Lisbon, startup city

A little naive (and a little biased), but mostly true. Also beautifully filmed.

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#PL118 – O alvo não é a spa, nem a agecop, nem os artistas, nem Hollywood, são os políticos

A Indústria do Entretenimento aprendeu, durante o século passado, que sempre que faz birras como uma criança mal comportada, os políticos calam-lhes a boca, dando-lhes dinheiros dos nossos impostos. Portanto, este tipo de comportamento (birras), é o que eles usam sempre que têm uma desculpa para isso. E às vezes nem precisa de ser uma boa desculpa. É isso mesmo, apenas e só, uma birra. E este é um comportamento que tem tido sucesso, portanto, como qualquer pai ou mãe saberá, está a reforçar-se um comportamento. Neste caso, um mau comportamento.

via Jonasnuts

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On the Portuguese Private Copy Levy – Tao of Mac

…Furthermore, the whole thing seems positively medieval if you consider that the stated motivation behind the bill is to recoup the content industry’s “losses”, at a time when media locker services (like, say, iTunes Match) and content streaming services (for both music and film) are reaffirming the two basic tenets for any market:

  1. People will always take the legal option when it’s available.
  2. Only the good stuff sells.

So perhaps the local Authors’ Guild might, say, instead of spending roughy €6 million a year on staff (which, I’m told, totals around 160 people, goodness knows what for), want to consider sponsoring its members to make the leap towards digital publishing and distribution – otherwise I’ll just keep buying readily available, guilt-free and sensibly priced English-language books, movies and computer accessories online, and my kids will grow up bilingual and perfectly in tune with what is happening outsidePortugal without owing the SPA a dime.

On the Portuguese Private Copy Levy – Tao of Mac

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Eric Lemaître: 1958-2012

We met in 1975, in boarding school.

For some reason, the director had decided that there was to be a band of students playing at the end-of-year celebrations and had gotten in touch with Eric to make it happen.

Since he was in the same class as my older brother (a budding keyboard player, back then), it was only a matter of time before the both of them informed me that I was to be the drummer in the new (unnamed) band. Not that I was known anywhere for my drumming, mind you. I had a vague idea that I could do it and my brother, in his infinite wisdom, had decided that my “career” needed a push. I never remembered to tell him that playing with him was fine, but that I was scared witless of having to play with Eric, whom I regarded as a “real” guitar player. At age 14, unsurprisingly, I had never played with any other musicians before.

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2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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