Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sevilla in Motion_Timelapse

One of my former students has created and published this timelapse video on the web by editing 12,000 photographs, and sent me the link today. So proud of you, Jose! Simply Awesome! Enjoy it on full screen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Ocho apellidos vascos" becomes most-seen Spanish movie ever

In the end, not even the Amazing Spider-Man could beat the Basques. The release of the second part of the rebooted Marvel superhero franchise last Thursday had been expected to spell the end of the reign of the all-conquering Ocho apellidos vascos at the top of the national box office chart, but it wasn’t to be. Director Emilio Martínez-Lázaro’s Basque Country-set romantic comedy remains at the top of Spain’s film charts for the sixth week, where it continues breaking records, taking in almost triple the gross of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It retains its place in the global box office top 15, which it has never left these past weeks despite having only been released in Spain, and this weekend it also became the most-watched Spanish film of all time in the nation’s theaters.
According to provisional figures released by box office measurement service Rentrak Spain (results from some theaters are still to be added), by Sunday Ocho apellidos vascos (starring Dani Rovira, Karra Elejalde, Carmen Machi and Clara Lago) had been seen by 6,525,919 people and had taken more than €38,154,471, leaving behind Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others (2001), which had previously topped the list with 6,410,561 tickets sold and earnings of €27,254,163.
Further behind are Juan Antonio Bayona’s tsunami-drama The Impossible (2012), with 6,124,698 viewers and earnings of €42,386,171;For a Few Dollars More (1966), with 5,520,971 tickets sold; comedian Santiago Segura’s Torrente 2, misión en Marbella (2001), with 5,321,969; La gran aventura de Mortadelo y Filemón (2003), with 4,985,983; Bayona’s The Orphanage (2007), with 4,420,636; and the 1970 Alfredo Landa comedy No desearás al vecino del quinto, which sold 4,371,624 tickets.
Those figures are for Spanish films at the domestic box office. In terms of the global market for Spanish movies, The Others reigns supreme as the highest-grossing Spanish movie in history, with worldwide earnings of almost €210 million, followed by The Impossible with €180 million, animation Planet 51 (€105 million), Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver (85 million) and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (€83 million).
Ocho apellidos vascos, which is about an Andalusian young man trying to pass himself off as a Basque for a girl, has yet to be released abroad, and judging by films dealing with similar themes, such as France’s Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, it is unlikely to have the same impact outside of Spain.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pulitzer Prize

The Guardian and the Washington Post have been awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.
The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records.
In the series of articles that ensued, teams of journalists at the Guardian and the Washington Post published the most substantial disclosures of US government secrets since the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war in 1971.
The Pulitzer committee praised the Guardian for its "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy".
Snowden, in a statement, said: "Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance."
He said that his actions in leaking the documents that formed the basis of the reporting "would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers".

"We are truly honoured that our journalism has been recognised with the Pulitzer prize," said Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian. "This was a complex story, written, edited and produced by a team of wonderful journalists. We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting. And we share this honour, not only with our colleagues at the Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize."
Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of Guardian US, said: "We're extremely proud and gratified to have been honoured by the Pulitzer board. It's been an intense, exhaustive and sometimes chilling year working on this story, and we're grateful for the acknowledgement by our peers that the revelations made by Edward Snowden and the work by the journalists involved represent a high achievement in public service."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Derecho a desconectar

Hace no tantos años, en los inicios de las nuevas tecnologías digitales, a Steve Jobs y otros grandes emprendedores les costaba convencer a los empresarios de que regalaran ordenadores portátiles y teléfonos móviles a sus empleados. Pensaban que lo que querían era vender más aparatos. "Una buena idea puede surgir en la ducha”, decía Jobs. Pronto se convencieron de las ventajas de la propuesta: facilitarles la conexión ponía a cualquier empleado en disposición de producir las 24 horas del día.
Ahora son algunos empleados los que tratan de liberarse del yugo de la conectividad. Tienen todas las facilidades, todo cuanto necesitan para trabajar al alcance de un clic, pero ya no hay límites a su jornada laboral. Mejor dicho, toda la jornada es laboral. Un alto número de empresas ha aprovechado esa mayor disponibilidad para aumentar la carga de trabajo, especialmente en los niveles directivos y de gestión, de modo que no desconectan, literalmente. Así es como hemos llegado a una reivindicación insólita: definir la jornada laboral, no por el tiempo de trabajo, sino por el tiempo de descanso. Por primera vez se ha plantado en Francia el derecho a la desconexión como una reivindicación laboral.
La patronal y los sindicatos de los sectores de asesoría técnica, ingeniería, informática, recursos humanos y consultoría han llegado a un acuerdo por el que los empleados desconectarán sus aparatos al menos 11 horas al día y los fines de semana. El acuerdo surge después de constatar que la conexión permanente tiene un coste en términos de salud: aumenta el estrés y la ansiedad. El sociólogo Daniel Cohen ya advirtió en Nuestros tiempos modernos que el estrés es la enfermedad laboral de este momento.
El trabajo por objetivos y la competitividad extrema han creado tal clima de tensión en algunas empresas que ha llegado a ser acusado de causar suicidios. El expresidente de France Télécom, Didier Lombard, fue procesado el año pasado por acoso moral tras el suicidio de una treintena de empleados entre 2008 y 2009. 
El acuerdo puede aportar cierta mejora, pero no será fácil que se cumpla y tampoco aborda el problema de la exigencia de disponibilidad absoluta y de las cargas de trabajo excesivas. (El País, 12.04.14)

Monday, April 07, 2014

Say / Tell / Speak / Talk

  • To say is to make a simple statement of fact. The statement does not necessarily have to be addressed to any particular person, but, if it is, it is followed by "to".
  • To tell is to give instructions, orders or information to another person and must always be followed by a person object, except in certain expressions: tell the truth, tell a lie, tell the time, tell the difference, tell a story, etc.
  • To speak is generally considered to be more specific than talk. It is used with languages and adverbs of manner. 
  • To talk is often used with "about". 
Exercise 1. Cross out the incorrect verbs in the following sentences:
  1. He said/told that he had a headache.
  2. "What did he say/tell?" "He said/told me he didn't want to go out tonight."
  3. "What a lovely dress!", told/said Helen.
  4. The teacher told/said them to finish their homework.
  5. My sister always says/tells the truth; she never tells/says lies.
  6. I had to say/tell him how to make an omelette.
  7. "Do you have something to tell/say me?"
  8. "You are speaking/talking much too fast. Slow down!"
  9. He talks/speaks English much more fluently since he's been to the States.
  10. "What sort of things would you like to talk/speak about today?"
Exercise 2. Put the corresponding tense/form of say, tell, speak or talk in the blanks.

My friend John is always on the phone. He calls me ________ about hs job, ________ me the latest news or sometimes just ________ hello. His conversations are never very short; sometimes he ________ for hours about his favourite subjects and he ________ very quickly. The trouble with John is that you can't always believe what he ________. When he _______ me he'd met a wonderful Spanish woman on holiday and she'd ________ she would marry him, I was pretty sure he was ________ a lie. Apart from the fact that he doesn't _______ the language at all, a mutual friend of ours _______ me that he has never actually been abroad. She also _______ that he doesn't even have a passport!