Saturday, April 30, 2011

TEM SORTEIO.!!!


grito-de-guerra-da-mae-tigre-208x300


Por conta disso tudo, aviso que em parceria com a Editora Intrínseca, o blog vai presentear com dois exemplares do livro Grito de Guerra da Mãe Tigre à
as leitoras do Mãe é tudo igual. Para participar você, que possui um blog, pode escrever um artigo até 8 de maio com o tema : O quanto de mãe chinesa há em mim? e deixar o link na seção de comentários. Agora , você que não tem um blog, não pode ou prefere não escrever o artigo, deixe sua resposta à mesma pergunta através de comentário, também até 08 de maio. As blogueiras que escreverem o artigo concorrerão ao primeiro exemplar e as comentaristas concorrerão ao segundo exemplar. Cada participante receberá um número e os livros serão sorteados através da extração da loteria federal do dia 13/05. Agradeço desde já quem queira ajudar na divulgação.

Quer ganhar um livro ?

 

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Clique na Imagem e Concorra



Mãe é tudo igual completa um ano com essa Promoção

O blog em parceria com a Editora Intrínseca vai presentear com dois exemplares do livro Grito de Guerra da Mãe Tigre às leitoras do "Mãe é tudo igual".

Para participar você, que possui um blog, pode escrever um artigo até dia 8 de maio com o tema :

O quanto de mãe chinesa há em mim?

e deixar o link na seção de comentários aqui .

Querem saber mais detalhes passem lá e aproveitem para conhecer e participar desta promoção.

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Vanessa - Alguém que gosta de contar Histórias

Grading Observations

I know that these observation will not surprise anyone, but I've been grading for two days and feel that I need to share.



Students are exceptionally good at memorizing stuff. They can reproduce huge chunks of my lectures verbatim. It is even kind of scary to read your own statements repeated back to you so flawlessly in several dozen exams. As somebody who can't memorize worth a damn, I'm very impressed with this capacity.



Now, the part of the exam that requires expressing one's own opinions or analyzing a passage from a text is a lot more painful. Many people prefer simply to leave this part blank. This is quite strange because one would think that expressing one's opinion about the text one read and discussed at length (and a passage from which is provided in the exam) would be the easiest part of the assignment. That's not how it is for the students, though.



Those who chose to answer the questions asking them to analyze an excerpt that was provided did one of two things: a) simply copied some part of the excerpt into the answer box, or b) found a more or less relevant quote from me among their list of memorized quotes and reproduced it.



Only two students out of those whose work I've graded up to now provided an actual analysis of the texts and wrote their own stuff rather than reproducing mine. Both of them are Latin American.

I still have 15 more exams left to grade, so we'll see if this trend bears out in all of them.



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Ernesto Sabato Died

Ernesto Sabato, a famous Argentinean writer, died at the age of 99 today. Sabato may not have been the most talented Latin American writer (which is not surprising since the amount of literary talent in Latin America is overwhelming), but if I had to recommend a single Latin American novel for somebody to read, I would recommend Sabato's short novel The Tunnel

I don't claim that the literary quality of this novel is higher than that of many other amazing Latin American writers. However, the importance of The Tunnel resides in the profound insight it offers into the nature of machismo. (The feminist in me will always defeat the literary critic, the academic, the educator, and every other facet of my personality, and I confess this freely.) The workings of the mind of a woman-hater, whose main goal in life is to perpetuate his passionate belief in female inferiority, are described in minute and terrifying detail. As you look into the diseased mind of Castel, the women-hating protagonist of the novel, you realize exactly where the horror of machismo comes from. 

As I have written on various occasions, I was initially going to dedicate my life to the study of Latin American literature. Soon, however, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to deal with how machista the entirety of Latin American literature is, so I switched to Peninsular Studies. So many extremely talented authors from Latin America celebrate and prettify male chauvinism that it just gets tiresome. Sabato, however, goes so deep into the mind of a woman-hater that all you can do as a reader is shrink away in horror. That, I believe, is extremely valuable because I cannot think of another Latin American writer of either gender who does anything even close to this.

On a personal level, The Tunnel was one of the first novels in Spanish I ever read. I was in my early twenties, and the novel really helped me to understand what informs and nourishes male chauvinism. Many things that I was seeing around me became very clear. Actions of some of the men I knew transformed from highly mysterious to crystal-clear in their machismo. I strongly believe that this novel should be required reading for all young women. There are aspects of machismo that, at a first glance, might even seem (and often do) attractive to many young women. Understanding how male chauvinism works would be an invaluable skill for the life of any woman.

A Russian Joke

A son of a Russian billionaire got married. On the next morning, the billionaire catches his son sneaking into the house. Since he knows his own son very well, the billionaire exclaims,

"You just got married yesterday and already you went out whoring! Do you have no shame?"

"Well, Dad, it's like this," the son explained. "I woke up this morning and looked at my bride who was sleeping next to me. She looked so beautiful, so peaceful and gentle, and I felt that I love her more than words could express. So how could I interrupt her sleep just to save a stupid hundred bucks?"


Aprendi com as Primaveras a me deixar cortar para poder voltar sempre inteira. (Cecília Meireles)

The Neuro-Recession

Everyone's favourite British psychopharmacologist David "Ecstasy Vs Horseriding" Nutt joins four other leading neuroscientists to discuss the impact of the financial crisis on neuroscience, in an article over at NR:N: Neuroscience in recession?

It's interesting to get an international perspective. Susan Amara, President of the Society for Neuroscience, says that American scientists were encouraged by the surprise $10bn boost to NIH funds that made it into the 2009 economic stimulus package. But these funds are due to run out in 2012.

Meanwhile, in Europe, some countries have slashed funding as part of their austerity programmes - Greece most of all - while the larger and richer nations like France and Germany have protected science. Japan has also opted against major cuts, so far, but with a massive deficit, researchers fear that the axe will fall in coming years.

A repeated complaint is that biomedical research has faced a rate of inflation much higher than the rate experienced by the economy as a whole. Nutt says that if the overall inflation rate is 4% per year, the rate paid by scientists is more like 10%. As a result, even if nominal budgets are protected, the real budget will fall. The current British government has decided to keep nominal science funding flat, while cutting pretty much everything else, which is nice, but it still means falling real investment.

So everyone pretty much agrees that there are cuts, and cuts are bad. OK. Where things get more interesting is in the debate over what this means for individual scientists. Susan Amara says that she fears that investigator-initiated "R01" grants are in danger. These are when a scientist gets an idea, writes it up as a proposal and says "Isn't this cool? Can we have some money to do it?"

Amara warns that this kind of thing seems to be getting harder, while established, ongoing research programmes are being protected. But Tom Insel, head of the NIMH and, therefore, the guy with ultimate responsibility for these R01 grants, says the exact opposite. Insel claims that R01s are being protected in favour of the big programmes! "Where have we cut back in order to preserve R01 grants? ... We have reduced the budget of our intramural research programme."

Who's right on this point? I'm not sure. Maybe US readers might be able to comment.

The authors express particular worry that young neuroscientists (postdocs and PhD students) will suffer, either directly, as a result of not being able to find money, or indirectly in terms of poor morale and a sense that their talents might be better rewarded outside of science - leading to long-term harm to the next generation of neuroscientists.

They offer some words of encouragement, though, saying that the pendulum will swing back towards more investment in the future. Until then, hang on as best you can, even if it means being willing to move to find work with a supervisor, or in a country, which does have good funding prospects...

ResearchBlogging.orgAmara SG, Grillner S, Insel T, Nutt D, & Tsumoto T (2011). Neuroscience in recession? Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 12 (5), 297-302 PMID: 21505517

The Neuro-Recession

Everyone's favourite British psychopharmacologist David "Ecstasy Vs Horseriding" Nutt joins four other leading neuroscientists to discuss the impact of the financial crisis on neuroscience, in an article over at NR:N: Neuroscience in recession?

It's interesting to get an international perspective. Susan Amara, President of the Society for Neuroscience, says that American scientists were encouraged by the surprise $10bn boost to NIH funds that made it into the 2009 economic stimulus package. But these funds are due to run out in 2012.

Meanwhile, in Europe, some countries have slashed funding as part of their austerity programmes - Greece most of all - while the larger and richer nations like France and Germany have protected science. Japan has also opted against major cuts, so far, but with a massive deficit, researchers fear that the axe will fall in coming years.

A repeated complaint is that biomedical research has faced a rate of inflation much higher than the rate experienced by the economy as a whole. Nutt says that if the overall inflation rate is 4% per year, the rate paid by scientists is more like 10%. As a result, even if nominal budgets are protected, the real budget will fall. The current British government has decided to keep nominal science funding flat, while cutting pretty much everything else, which is nice, but it still means falling real investment.

So everyone pretty much agrees that there are cuts, and cuts are bad. OK. Where things get more interesting is in the debate over what this means for individual scientists. Susan Amara says that she fears that investigator-initiated "R01" grants are in danger. These are when a scientist gets an idea, writes it up as a proposal and says "Isn't this cool? Can we have some money to do it?"

Amara warns that this kind of thing seems to be getting harder, while established, ongoing research programmes are being protected. But Tom Insel, head of the NIMH and, therefore, the guy with ultimate responsibility for these R01 grants, says the exact opposite. Insel claims that R01s are being protected in favour of the big programmes! "Where have we cut back in order to preserve R01 grants? ... We have reduced the budget of our intramural research programme."

Who's right on this point? I'm not sure. Maybe US readers might be able to comment.

The authors express particular worry that young neuroscientists (postdocs and PhD students) will suffer, either directly, as a result of not being able to find money, or indirectly in terms of poor morale and a sense that their talents might be better rewarded outside of science - leading to long-term harm to the next generation of neuroscientists.

They offer some words of encouragement, though, saying that the pendulum will swing back towards more investment in the future. Until then, hang on as best you can, even if it means being willing to move to find work with a supervisor, or in a country, which does have good funding prospects...

ResearchBlogging.orgAmara SG, Grillner S, Insel T, Nutt D, & Tsumoto T (2011). Neuroscience in recession? Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 12 (5), 297-302 PMID: 21505517

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Benefits of Growing Up in a Non-Religious Environment

1. Your body belongs to you. You can do whatever you want with it and not what some guy in a confessional or behind a pulpit decides.

2. You can eat and drink whatever you like whenever you like without feeling the need to consult some incomprehensible ancient book by people who have been dead forever.

3. There is no need to wake up early on Sunday and schlep to a building where equally sleepy and annoyed people engage in weird rituals together.

4. The idea that there can be anything wrong or shameful about sexual pleasure sounds bizarre.

5. Activities like enjoying food, procrastinating and expressing emotions freely do not lead to intense feelings of guilt.

6. In your romantic relationships, you consult your desires, not dusty tomes.

7. You save a lot of money because nobody hits you up for a donation every week.

8. You don't have to waste hours of your life hearing some individual pontificate in a pompous and boring manner every week.

9. If you do kind and charitable things it's because that's what you want and not because somebody guilt-tripped you into it.

10. You don't have to make a fool of yourself by questioning the most basic advances of science.

11. If you fall out of love, you can split up instead of forcing yourself suffer through a loveless relationship.

12. If you are a woman, you don't grow up with constant reminders of how inferior you are.

13. If you are gay or transgender, you don't get demonized and rejected for that by a group of people who respect somebody's interpretation of some old book more than they respect actual human beings.

14. As an adult, you can evaluate all systems of belief and decide for yourself which one suits you best, which is always a lot more convenient than people having decided that for you when you were a baby with no will of your own. People who pontificate about the atrocity of arranged marriages forget how easily most of them contracted an arranged marriage with their own spirituality. Their parents decide for them on the basis of custom and tradition, and then they are condemned to be spiritual in a way that they might have never chosen if they had any say in the matter.

P.S. If you want to write a response on the benefits of growing up religious, feel free. All I ask is that you try to do it without mentioning the word "community."

Opinions About Ortega y Gasset

OK, I just have to share it because it's too good to be kept from people. One of the questions on the final exam was "Express your views about the political views of Ortega y Gasset."

One of the students wrote in response [the translation is mine]: "Ortega y Gasset really understood the nature of democracy. He realized that the masses are stupid but they are still necessary for a nation to exist."

Somehow, I just can't lower the grade for this.

End of Semester Correspondence

I wonder why some students choose the end of the academic year to get on a prof's nerves in the most inventive ways imaginable. It has to be pretty obvious that a professor will be extremely thankful to anybody who doesn't waste her time in any way and might even cut such considerate students some slack. Apparently, most students don't see it this way because I keep receiving emails from students that would try the patience of an early Christian saint. Here are some examples of what I've been dealing with in the past two weeks.

A) Dear Professor Clarissa, You said that today is the cut off day for the lab and I know that the lab is worth 25% of the final grade. I haven't done any lab since the beginning of the semester and I'm getting kind of worried. Should I worry about it or is it OK?

B) Dear Professor, I'm writing to tell you that you are the bestest, most amazing prof ever. I absolutely LOVED your class this semester. Your lectures are always so interesting and fun!!! I know I missed 11 classes this semester (out of 24) but I know that if I'd been there I would have loved them. So I hope that you don't hold my absences against me.

C) Hi. I'm wondering what my grade is at this point. Please send me what my grade is before the final exam. I need to know how much to prepare for the final exam. Thanks.

D) Dear Clarissa, I know you talked about the final exam in class today but I wasn't listening. Could you tell me what it is you said?

E) Hi prof, I know I missed the oral exam today and I'm sorry. Is there any way I could do a makeup exam and submit it to you by email?

F) Dear professor, I know that I spoke a lot of English during the oral exam today and that resulted in a very low grade. I just wanted to explain to you why that happened. I really love Spanish and want to learn it but speaking English is so much easier! So that's why I spoke it during the exam.

G) Hey Clarissa, thank you for giving us this great study guide for the exam in our literature course. I find it very helpful. The only problem is that I can't find the answer key. Did you forget to hand it out or did I misplace it?

I've been trying to figure out which one is my favorite but it's too hard to choose one. Which one do you like the most?

The Weirdest People Out There. . .

. . . are the ones who actually care about something as inane as the royal wedding. I read online that there are people who get together and organize royal-wedding-watching parties. I find this to be just mystifying. There is so much stuff going on in the world, so many important events, so many books to read, music to listen to, ideas to discuss. Who on earth has the time, the energy and the interest for some stupid ceremony commemorating a relationship of complete strangers? Strangers who haven't even done anything interesting with their lives other than being born to a certain social group. I barely had the time to interrupt a fascinating discussion of class relations to let the judge do her spiel during my own marriage ceremony. Why would I want to waste my life on somebody else's?

Who the Hell Is Neruda?

In answering the question whether Pablo Neruda received any international recognition, a student informed us that nobody knows who he is besides people who are really into poetry.

Serves him right, too. Neruda was a brilliant poet but that, in my opinion, is not enough to redeem him from his horrible machismo. Just take this atrocious beginning of his most famous love poem (translation is mine): "I like it when you are silent because it is as if you weren't there."

It's stuff like this that made me switch from Latin American to Peninsular studies. Spain's Garcia Lorca who created pretty much the only interesting and non-pathetic female character in the entirety of Spanish literature is incomparably better.

And yes, I'm trying to be provocative on purpose here.


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Alcoholism and Gender

I'm listening to senior presentations of graduating students in our department right now. One student (who is an absolute star in our program) stated that alcoholism is something that traditionally is associated a lot more with men than with women. I've never heard anything like that. Is it a cultural thing or something?

I'd really like to know if my readers also see alcoholism as more of a male affliction.
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Running

Because of all these meetings that are scheduled back-to-back I just entertained the entire university by running across campus. Running is something I do with the gracefulness of a wounded rhinoceros, so I'm sure that everybody who was outside enjoying the sunny weather really appreciated this spectacle. Well, at least I managed to make people smile on the last day of classes.

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Envisioning Goals

I believe that in order to achieve any goal, you need to envision what achieving it will look like down to the smallest details. I don't mean it in the wish fulfillment way peddled by Rhonda Byrnes (or whatever her name is), of course. That's just silly bunk. Envisioning the results of what you are trying to achieve is necessary to arrive at a clear and detailed plan of how to get there. Think, for example, of how the GPS works. If you tell it that you want to go out to have fun, chances are you'll waste a lot of time driving around pointlessly and not arriving at a place where you'd really enjoy yourself. If, however, you enter the exact address of where you are going, then you'll get there fast.

Let's say you are a single person who has now decided that it would be great to be in a relationship. In order not to waste time on endless dates and failed, miserable relationships with people who could never be right for you, I suggest imagining exactly what your ideal partner would be like and how you'd spend your time together.

When I decided that I was ready to stop being happily and ecstatically single and become as ecstatically partnered, I envisioned my ideal partner and my ideal relationship in so much detail that it made people laugh. "You do realize that you'll never find somebody who will fulfill this entire set of requirements, right?" my friends would ask. "Well," I'd respond, "if I can't be in a perfect relationship with a perfect person, then I'll just live in a perfect singlehood." Of course, in the end it turned out that my attitude was completely right and it led me exactly where I wanted.

In my professional life, I follow the same strategy. When I decided I wanted to be "a real professor at a real university", I started imagining what it would look and feel like. In my dreams, I'd see myself sauntering at a leisurely pace into the classroom, looking all elegant with my leather briefcase and chic scarves and shawls. I'd imagine saying things like "Among my publications this year there are articles on the subject of...", going to speak at conferences and shocking everybody with my vast erudition, spending the four summer months immersed in my research. I was so invested in this dream that the first thing I bought when I got accepted into my MA program was a very expensive leather briefcase which looked exactly like the one I imagined. Now that this dream has been fulfilled and I walk into the classroom with my fancy briefcase and cool shawls on a regular basis, I have a new dream that I'm envisioning on a daily basis.


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The Ultimate Career Goal

I think it really helps to know what it is you ultimately want to accomplish in your career. Unless you have a very concrete vision of your ultimate destination, it is hard to avoid making false moves and wasting time and energy on moving in a direction that will ultimately prove to be a dead-end.

I do have a vision of where I want to get in my career. I don't think that something like tenure can be the ultimate goal. For me, tenure is a means to an end. Of course, I will be very happy and celebrate massively when / if I get it. However, that will only be one of the sine qua non conditions that will help me get closer to my goal. There are academics who never look beyond tenure while on the tenure-track. The tenure process is such a time-consuming, complex and often daunting proposition that it often tends to obscure the fact that one will spend many more years in academia after one gets tenure than on the actual tenure-track (which normally takes between 5 and 7 years.) I know several people who experienced a major letdown and a couple who got seriously depressed after getting tenure. For years, the list of tenure requirements was the organizing principle of their lives. Once it was gone, they had no coherent vision of why it made sense to do research and publish any more. (I felt something very similar after I passed my doctoral comprehensives and was left without a reading list that would organize my existence.)

My ultimate goal (and if you want to make fun of its sheer grandiosity, feel free) is to become a female and non-Marxist Terry Eagleton. What I mean by this is that I want to arrive at a point where I will write books on scholarly subjects that interest me (ideology, identity, feminism) for wider audiences. I chose Eagleton as my model because he manages to write in a way that is accessible to any reasonably educated person who is not a literary critic. He does so, however, without compromising the quality of his ideas. Eagleton doesn't dumb down or simplify. Rather, he uses his incomparable writing style to explain even the most complex matters in a way that makes them easier to understand.

Most people believe that academics live in a world apart, that they condescend to those who are less educated, that they can only speak in jargon that nobody other than them can decipher. I can't say that these opinions are completely misguided. The image of the academia as an Ivory Tower is more relevant today than it has ever been. As I said many times before, I am not a Marxist. I don't believe that economic interests guide people's actions and form the basis of everything that happens in society. History has demonstrated time and again that economic interests are nothing compared to the power of ideas. By locking ourselves in our Ivory Towers and excluding everybody not versed in our jargon from gaining access to ideas, we end up creating a society that will eventually expel academia altogether. We are seeing the beginnings of this process already in a slow erosion of tenure and closures of so many programs on the Humanities. 

Yes, politicians do damage to academia and so do anti-intellectual corporate administrators. I love ranting against them as much as the next person. (Read the archives of this blog if you don't believe me.) However, we are to blame, too. There needs to be a greater effort made to bring our ideas to a wider audience. And this is precisely what I want to end up doing.

E no meu coração encontram-se todas as inseguranças e traumas que uma mulher pode ter, desde o seu tempo de menina até sua fase adulta.
No meu coração tem milhares de costuras, remendos, cacos...
O meu coração no momento está fechado, está com medo...
Meu coração está com medo de se machucar de novo, de ser enganado de novo...
Meu coração está tentando não sofrer, não remoer dores antigas, nem novas....
O meu coração está inquieto, inseguro...
O meu coração está chamando por alguém que ainda não sei o nome, não conheço rosto, não sei a voz...apenas para cuidar dele e mostrar que ainda há amor.
SABE O QUE ELA ESTÁ FAZENDO??



ESPERANDO ELE FICAR ONLINE....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scholarly Plans for the Summer

As soon as I got home from my last day of teaching, I sat down and made a list of my grand scholarly goals for the four summer months. And then I made a list of what needs to be done each day or week to fulfill those goals. It isn't a wishful thinking kind of plan, either. I used a calculator several times while creating it. 

And now I got out the list of great ideas and motivational suggestions on how one can optimize one's research that I culled from Stupid Motivational Tricks blog over the recent months and am perusing it at leisure. Look at the following statement, for example:
If you want to complain about how overworked or busy you are, that's fine. You can win the misery sweepstakes. But then what is it you are really winning? You need to be putting in a lot of hours in a competitive profession, but the way you win is by publishing more, not being more miserable.
This couldn't be more true. As a long-time veteran of the misery sweepstakes, I couldn't agree more.

How Many Benzonatate 100 Mg Get You High

Johnny Depp - Biography 4 th party.

FOLLOWING PROJECTS / THE EARLY 90'S


already past the sweetness of success of Edward Scissorhands, Johnny began to choose the less commercial film projects that could , totally ignoring what Hollywood had to offer and over the years became "something weird" pigeonhole and could not put a clear label, as accessible to the media was his romance with Winona so I stopped paying attention to her films and focused on the relationship. Trying
mislead the world, Johnny chose three roles that they would grow as an actor, very personal film directors working outside the industry with low budgets and very little impact at the box office.




Johnny with his niece Megan, in a photo shoot in 1992.
Arizona Dreams filmed in 1992 (Arizona Dream) under the command of the Balkan director Emir Kusturica in his first foray into American cinema.
This independent film is a fantastic dreamlike atmosphere where the most absurd things happen like the most natural thing in the world: Eskimo, flying fish and people with extravagant dreams.


Johnny with Faye Dunaway and Emir Kusturica.
Johnny plays Axel, a young man reluctantly must attend the wedding of her eccentric uncle's car dealership in Arizona, and once there he meets and falls for two very special women. The mother draws him first with his mad fantasy of flying and mature sensuality, but then is drawn to the daughter, who longs to be reincarnated as a turtle.
Johnny wore a nice haircut that made him look much younger than his 29 years at the time.
prestigious actors Accompanied by comedian Jerry Lewis, the veteran actress Faye Dunaway, the quintessential indie actor Vincent Gallo and Lili Taylor, who appears in many films in those years and is a great actress, that sometimes goes unnoticed.

Besides Lili Taylor, who thinks his job is very difficult, but someone has to.

Besides Vincent Gallo.
promise a post, because it is an excellent movie.
was unveiled in 1993 at festivals earning rave reviews, but in America no one seemed aware of his existence.


Meanwhile, his relationship with Winona was beginning to crumble because while he was filming away from Hollywood and had fun with their roles, she was hurting so much media attention and was very insecure.
had many health problems, was too thin and your insomnia is getting worse.
seemed that love was not enough.


After Arizona Dreams, JD fell to a script that attracted him immediately, it was a comedy with a touch of drama and romance of a Canadian director, still unknown in the industry.
"Benny & Joon" (Benny and Joon, the love of the innocent) gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his versatility and his love for Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and silent movies.


ceding the spotlight to Mary Stuart Masterson (Joon) and Aidan Quinn (Benny), Johnny plays Sam, a young illiterate, obsessed with film and a little unbalanced who live a romance with Joon, who suffers from mental deficiency.
Due to the characteristics of the character, which has a lot of mime and juggler Johnny deploys a tenderness rarely seen and delivers a standard role was, moreover had grown his hair and wears a beautiful brown hair that does it even more beautiful than seems humanly possible ( regret the slip, but they know my dark obsession)
He gets his second nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
The film opens in April 1993.


then filmed "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" (A Eating Gilbert Grape?) Another great film.
From Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom home, especially called attention to the actions of a young Leonardo Di Caprio, who plays a retarded guy.
earned critical acclaim and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.


Johnny, the antithesis of Sam, plays a young woman who feels trapped in a life that never dreamed of for himself, and lives overwhelmed by the weight of responsibilities.
Balancing the striking Di Caprio, Johnny shines in a role and emotional content, that speaks volumes with his eyes and silences.
This time his hair had gone from brown to a soft red became more intense sunlight. Beautiful.


Upon completion of the recordings of Benny & Joon and Gilbert, Johnny accompanied Winona Italy, and that she had obtained a role in The Godfather III and I started filming. But she fell seriously ill and had to opt out of the film, during his convalescence were together all the time, and decided for the sake of the two put an end to their relationship.
Coinciding with the 30th birthday of Johnny, in June 1993 he announced to the world their separation.


THE VIPER ROOM AND DARK PERIOD.

rupture affected him a lot and entered a stage which he calls his "dark period". Lost control of his life, turned to drugs, began to drink much, smoke a lot, not sleeping and getting into trouble, tried to live without memories.
all happened to an unnatural speed. On one occasion, by his own admission, he nearly died from an overdose.
At one time he did not want to hear about Winona, even went on to undergo a painful treatment to modify your tattoo, and erased the last two letters.

Together with a friend bought a nightclub on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. He named the Viper Room and together with his partner Chuck Weiss managed to make the club a place visited by celebrity fashion in those days were in the spotlight. Stars as Shane Doherty, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green of Beverly Hills 90210 series or the rap star Mark Walbergh, still called Marky Mark, he always partying Charlie Sheen, among others.
also passed by people like the famous singer Johnny Cash and his wife June, the journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Allen Ginsberg, the LSD guru Tim Leary, the band Oasis. JD
not imagine that they would succeed, he just wanted the club to receive all his musician friends and make himself a little music with his band P, formed by some of them.



with Charlie Sheen.

with Johnny Cash and June.
But what would the small club infamous Johnny was the death of young actor River Phoenix.
River used to frequent the club although it was a close friend of JD
On October 30, 1993, Halloween night, while Johnny was on stage performing with his band left the club River, faltered and died in doors the place, his death was apparently from an overdose caused by inhaling an exotic substance in the bathroom of the place.

Although River had a long history with drugs, the press accused to the owners of the Viper Room, which they called "the Hollywood-based drug," and Johnny attacked without piety, who was shocked and distressed at the way they handled the incident without any respect for the young man died.
Anyway, after exhaustive research has concluded that the Viper Room was not involved in the death of the actor.
whole scandal, coupled with the hostile attitude of Johnny with the press, his breakup with Winona, the look carefree and his love of rock did in the end could hang a tag: "new Hollywood bad boy."
Here is a personal selection of photo shoots, 1993 Johnny Depp and his long hair:





Johnny in Cannes 1993.

In the next edition, more movies and new romance, this time Kate Moss.
I hope you enjoyed this new installment, because it really is worth watching films that JD made at this stage of his life.
Thank you all for reading and see you soon.

A Republican Reading of the President's Birth Certificate

I found this hilarious picture here.

Unrequited

Apparently, the students in my Intermediate level language class who caused me so much trouble this semester felt very differently about me than I did about them. Almost all of them informed me that they had registered for the subsequent level of Spanish that the course calendar announced as being taught by me next semester. I had to disappoint them by mentioning that my grant gives me a course release from this class.

Their disappointment looked very genuine. Hmm.

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And Finally It's Summer

I just taught my last class of this academic year. Which means that I'm free until the end of August. Four months of delicious freedom await me. There will be a lot of reading, writing, translation, badminton, cooking, and long leisurely walks while listening to my Kindle. And, of course, a lot of blogging.

Freedom, here I come!

P.S. I don't want anybody to think I dislike teaching. I love it passionately. But my vision of a perfect academic schedule includes a teaching-free semester, dedicated exclusively to research and intellectual growth.

I feel happy, people.


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The Schizophrenic Computer

All over the world, inanimate objects are getting schizophrenia. Last week, it was a dish (full of neurons).

Before that, it was a computer program. That's according to a paper, which appeared in Biological Psychiatry last month, although it involved no biology, called Using Computational Patients to Evaluate Illness Mechanisms in Schizophrenia.

The authors set up a neural network model, called DISCERN, and trained it to "read" stories. The nuts and bolts are, we're reassured, not something that readers of Biological Psychiatry need to worry about: "Its details, many of which are not essential in understanding this study..."

Anyway, it's basically a series of connectionist models. These are computer simulations of a large number of simple units, or nodes, which can have "activations" of varying strengths, and which have "connections" to other nodes. The model "learns" by modifying the strength of these connections according to some kind of simple learning rule.

Connectionist models are a bit like brains, in other words. A bit. They're several orders of magnitude simpler than a real brain, in several different respects. Still, they can "learn" to do some quite complicated things. You can train them to recognise faces and stuff, which is not trivial.


Anyway, DISCERN is a connectionist model of language, but it's not necessary a model of how the human brain actually learns language. Because we just have no idea how the human brain does that. We don't even know if our brain acts as a connectionist network at all, above the cellular level. Some cognitive scientists think it is, but others think that those guys are talking out of an orifice connected to their mouth, but not their mouth. Not in so many words you understand.

So they set up this system and got it to learn 28 stories, each of which consisted of multiple sentences. Some of the stories were the autobiography of a doctor - "I was a doctor. I worked in New York. I liked my job. I was good doctor" - he was not a great communicator, clearly. Others were a story about gangster ("Tony was a gangster. Tony worked in Chicago..." etc.) The network had to read these stories and then recall them.

The core of the study was that they tested to see what happened when they interfered with the program by introducing certain bugs - interfering with the activations or connections of nodes in particular parts of the model. They tried 8.

They compared the computer's performance to that of 37 actual patients with schizophrenia (or the related schizoaffective disorder) who were tested on a similar task, compared to 20 healthy controls. When the human patients came to recall the stories they'd read, they tended to make more errors of particular kinds: mixing up who did what ("agent switching"), and adding stuff that wasn't in the story ("derailment").

What they found was that DISCERN made the same kinds of errors when it was given 2 particular deficits, "working memory disconnection" and "hyperlearning". The other 6 deficits didn't cause the same pattern of findings. Hyperlearning was the best match.

They comment that
A majority of three-parameter best-fit hyperlearning simulations also recurrently confused specific agents in personal stories (including the self-representation) with specific agents in crime stories (and vice versa) in a highly nonrandom fashion.

Noteworthy was the high frequency of agent-slotting exchanges between the hospital boss, Joe, and the Mafia boss, Vito, and parallel confusions between the “I” self-reference and underling Mafia members, suggesting generalization of boss/underling relationships.

Insofar as story scripts provide templates for assigning intentions to agents, a consequence of recurrent agent-slotting confusions could be assignment of intentions and roles to autobiographical characters (possibly including the self) that borrow from impersonal stories derived from culture or the media.

Confusion between agent representations in autobiographical stories and those in culturally determined narratives could account for the bizarreness of fixed, self-referential delusions, e.g., a patient insisting that her father-in-law is Saddam Hussein or that she herself is the Virgin Mary.
So if you believe it, they've just made a program that experiences schizophrenic-type paranoid delusions.

It's fair to say that this is speculative. On the other hand, it's an interesting approach, and at least it's theory-based, rather than just an attempt to use ever more powerful genetic, neuroimaging and biological techniques to find differences between a patient group and a control group.

ResearchBlogging.orgHoffman RE, Grasemann U, Gueorguieva R, Quinlan D, Lane D, & Miikkulainen R (2011). Using computational patients to evaluate illness mechanisms in schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry, 69 (10), 997-1005 PMID: 21397213

The Schizophrenic Computer

All over the world, inanimate objects are getting schizophrenia. Last week, it was a dish (full of neurons).

Before that, it was a computer program. That's according to a paper, which appeared in Biological Psychiatry last month, although it involved no biology, called Using Computational Patients to Evaluate Illness Mechanisms in Schizophrenia.

The authors set up a neural network model, called DISCERN, and trained it to "read" stories. The nuts and bolts are, we're reassured, not something that readers of Biological Psychiatry need to worry about: "Its details, many of which are not essential in understanding this study..."

Anyway, it's basically a series of connectionist models. These are computer simulations of a large number of simple units, or nodes, which can have "activations" of varying strengths, and which have "connections" to other nodes. The model "learns" by modifying the strength of these connections according to some kind of simple learning rule.

Connectionist models are a bit like brains, in other words. A bit. They're several orders of magnitude simpler than a real brain, in several different respects. Still, they can "learn" to do some quite complicated things. You can train them to recognise faces and stuff, which is not trivial.


Anyway, DISCERN is a connectionist model of language, but it's not necessary a model of how the human brain actually learns language. Because we just have no idea how the human brain does that. We don't even know if our brain acts as a connectionist network at all, above the cellular level. Some cognitive scientists think it is, but others think that those guys are talking out of an orifice connected to their mouth, but not their mouth. Not in so many words you understand.

So they set up this system and got it to learn 28 stories, each of which consisted of multiple sentences. Some of the stories were the autobiography of a doctor - "I was a doctor. I worked in New York. I liked my job. I was good doctor" - he was not a great communicator, clearly. Others were a story about gangster ("Tony was a gangster. Tony worked in Chicago..." etc.) The network had to read these stories and then recall them.

The core of the study was that they tested to see what happened when they interfered with the program by introducing certain bugs - interfering with the activations or connections of nodes in particular parts of the model. They tried 8.

They compared the computer's performance to that of 37 actual patients with schizophrenia (or the related schizoaffective disorder) who were tested on a similar task, compared to 20 healthy controls. When the human patients came to recall the stories they'd read, they tended to make more errors of particular kinds: mixing up who did what ("agent switching"), and adding stuff that wasn't in the story ("derailment").

What they found was that DISCERN made the same kinds of errors when it was given 2 particular deficits, "working memory disconnection" and "hyperlearning". The other 6 deficits didn't cause the same pattern of findings. Hyperlearning was the best match.

They comment that
A majority of three-parameter best-fit hyperlearning simulations also recurrently confused specific agents in personal stories (including the self-representation) with specific agents in crime stories (and vice versa) in a highly nonrandom fashion.

Noteworthy was the high frequency of agent-slotting exchanges between the hospital boss, Joe, and the Mafia boss, Vito, and parallel confusions between the “I” self-reference and underling Mafia members, suggesting generalization of boss/underling relationships.

Insofar as story scripts provide templates for assigning intentions to agents, a consequence of recurrent agent-slotting confusions could be assignment of intentions and roles to autobiographical characters (possibly including the self) that borrow from impersonal stories derived from culture or the media.

Confusion between agent representations in autobiographical stories and those in culturally determined narratives could account for the bizarreness of fixed, self-referential delusions, e.g., a patient insisting that her father-in-law is Saddam Hussein or that she herself is the Virgin Mary.
So if you believe it, they've just made a program that experiences schizophrenic-type paranoid delusions.

It's fair to say that this is speculative. On the other hand, it's an interesting approach, and at least it's theory-based, rather than just an attempt to use ever more powerful genetic, neuroimaging and biological techniques to find differences between a patient group and a control group.

ResearchBlogging.orgHoffman RE, Grasemann U, Gueorguieva R, Quinlan D, Lane D, & Miikkulainen R (2011). Using computational patients to evaluate illness mechanisms in schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry, 69 (10), 997-1005 PMID: 21397213

Ads on Kindle

Amazon has now released a cheaper version of the Kindle. The reason why it's cheaper is that it features ads. I can just imagine what reading will soon be turned into for those who decide to save a few bucks this way.

"And Don Quijote said to Sancho, "Remember, Sancho, that . . . the new Cottonelle ultra is not only extremely soft but absorbs liquids at a much higher rate than other brands of toilet paper."

"Anna Karenina wept when she realized that. . . Black & Decker household appliances are innovatively designed to not only make your life easier, but to match your unique style all around your home."

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by me. . . Campbell's Soups are heartier, healthier, and lower in sodium as testified by the American Heart Association."

Words of Wisdom from a Senior Colleague

A senior colleague in a field closely related to mine is about to retire. Here are some excerpts from a personal email I received from this scholar*:
As I look back on my career in academia, the greatest regret I have is that I didn't prioritize my research as much as I could have. I know that I could have done a lot more, made a greater contribution to my field, published more consistently. The world of academia offers so many activities and imposes so many obligations that seem designed to entice us away from our desks, from our unfinished manuscripts, from that eternally terrifying blank page it is our calling and our duty to fill. It is never too hard to find convincing, seemingly valid reasons why this difficult and often painful work needs to be postponed. "Just one moment more, executioner, just one little moment more," we plead in the style of Madame du Barry faced with the guillotine whenever we find ourselves in front of that blank page. This, however, is the greatest mistake made by so many scholars. . . Your are still very young, and your life as a scholar is just beginning. Since you asked for advice, here is the best suggestion I can offer: do everything in your power to make a name for yourself as a specialist in your field. Your record of publications will be the bulwark that will protect you in times of strife and uncertainty, give you security, respect, and ultimately, yes, power. There are institutional humiliations that become harder to accept as you age. . . The only way you can prevent the work of a lifetime from being undermined by these kinds of pressures is by ensuring that your name carries enough weight to shield you.
*Of course, I requested and received permission to publish this text anonymously on my blog. I translated it into English, so all verbal infelicites should be attributed only to me.

The Individual Approach in Teaching

Because I'm a sucker for punishment (a.k.a a very responsible educator dedicated to the intellectual well-being of her students), I allow students in my literature courses to send me rough drafts of their essays as many times as they need before handing in the final version. I go over the rough drafts and make extensive comments on how the essays can be improved. This, of course, makes the end of the semester particularly brutal for me. However, when all that pays off, I feel really fantastic.

There is a student who, for the longest time, couldn't understand what it meant to write an essay in a literature class. Over the course of 4 rough drafts, this student regaled me with statements of the "La Celestina is an interesting work of literature" variety. With every new version of the essay, I kept nudging and pushing the student towards engaging with the text critically, towards learning the difference between describing and analyzing. And this morning, finally, the student sent me the fifth rough draft that has actual analysis of the text. This version of the essay is still not perfect, of course, but it is engaging, lucid and free of trivial observations and annoying generalizations. 

It is my firm belief that all you need is to awaken students' critical faculties once. Just one single time. The moment when a person has their first taste of what it means to become free of the constraints of received wisdoms and produce a critical opinion of their own, they will never go back to regurgitating boring platitudes. This is what my role as an educator really is.

I feel very happy right now. 

Who Matters More, Educators or Administrators?

Educators are being constantly admonishes to cut costs. Funding for conferences is almost impossible to obtain. Library collections don't get updated for years. Some universities remove telephones from professor's offices. In many colleges, teaching faculty have to purchase class supplies with their own money. Many academics buy into this narrative of scarcity and accede to measures that are supposed to save their institutions by cutting corners on vital things. This, of course, is completely silly because all that money we save by depriving our students, ourselves and our universities from crucial education-related materials only goes to feed a growing army of bureaucrats:
 Even at nonprofit schools, top-level administrators and financial managers pull down six- and seven-figure salaries, more on par with their industry counterparts than with their fellow faculty members. And while the proportion of tenure-track teaching faculty has dwindled, the number of managers has skyrocketed in both relative and absolute terms. If current trends continue, the Department of Education estimates that by 2014 there will be more administrators than instructors at American four-year nonprofit colleges. A bigger administration also consumes a larger portion of available funds, so it’s unsurprising that budget shares for instruction and student services have dipped over the past fifteen years.
This is worth being repeated because of how shocking it is: by 2014 there will be more administrators than educators at our nonprofit institutions of higher education. On what planet can this possibly make sense, people? How can we allow even our non-profit universities to become places where a bunch of useless bureaucrats proliferates parasitically by feeding off the hard work of students and teachers? Why are we letting this happen? Why do we sit there like patient dummies while some semi-literate idiot du jour explains to us that we need to drop everything that we are doing and fill out yet another bunch of ridiculous paperwork? Why are we letting these bureaucrats squeeze us out of academia? 

On Obama's Birth Certificate

I was going to blog about President Obama releasing the long version of his birth certificate yesterday but my friend from Nigeria did it a lot better than I ever could:
I am a firm believer in the inner goodness of every human being in spite of their colour. I approached this country and people with the same open mindedness and was – like everyone else around the world – ecstatic and absolved when Obama was elected in 2008 in spite of what many considered his biggest obstacle: the colour of his skin. And then, from then, disappointed as to how every criticism of his policies seemed to come with something more than just a mere disagreement with economic policies. The press conference by Mr. Trump exemplified for me an unfortunate culmination of an underlying culture of intolerance. . . I don’t think that many Americans realize just how bad this reflects on the country to the rest of the world, and that makes it a little more unfortunate. I’m not American and may never try to be one. But seeing how the country treats its own and one of its best leaves very much to be desired. 
You can read the post in its entirety here.

"Ninguém tem a
felicidade garantida.
A vida simplesmente dá a cada
pessoa tempo e espaço.
Depende de você
enchê-los de alegria."

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