Thursday, December 21, 2017

MADBOOTS DANCE: Dancing to Male Identity

MADBOOTS DANCE is a NYC-based company founded and led by two dancer-choreographers, Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz, who are also life partners. Having met in 2010 as both were starting their professional careers as dancers, Campbell and Diaz soon began to collaborate in the choreography of their own duets. In time, they began to create pieces for a small ensemble of male dancers, producing such works as Sad Boys, All Fours, and Masc. Their work frequently addresses gay themes and features male-to-male contact and intimacy. Excerpts of their pieces can be seen in high definition on their website or on Vimeo.

Austin Diaz and Jonathan Campbell of Madboots. Photo: Nir Arielli
The Gay & Lesbian Review met Diaz and Campbell at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass., in 2015 , where they performed Beau and Sad Boys in the Doris Duke Theatre. 
The Gay & Lesbian Review: Let me start with some background questions about where you grew up and how you got into dancing. How long have you’ve been dancing? And how did you come to found Madboots?
Jonathan Campbell: I grew up in Dallas. I started dancing when I was eight or nine. I kind of started out doing tap, because I was fascinated by the tap shoes. But when I got older, I realized I hated tap and started doing jazz. I went to a performing arts high school, and I was introduced to ballet and modern, and I realized that’s what I wanted to do. And then I got accepted to the Juilliard School. I graduated from there in 2010. And then I met Austin.
Austin Diaz: I grew up in New Jersey. I went to a small, local studio, and trained on my own. I started when I was about ten, and trained in jazz, tap, all that. It wasn’t until college that I really got to take modern and more ballet. I went to NYU, and I graduated in 2011. Which is actually when we met. We met at NYU.
JC: I had just finished school and started working for a choreographer in New York named Sidra Bell. She was commissioned by NYU to make a piece on the Second Avenue Dance Company. I was her assistant and Austin was in the piece. She actually hired Austin while he was still in school to join her company, so Austin and I ended up dancing together while he was still in school. We spent a lot of time together because she created a duet for us. It just kind of felt like there was a lot of chemistry artistically and dance-wise between us.
AD: It was at NYU that I rented space, and we were like, let’s fool around for a couple of hours and see if we can make something together, and we did. We made a duet, and that was sort of the birth of Madboots, in that moment. It was something that we wanted to continue doing. It took a little time to say, okay, we’re starting a dance company, but we did it pretty quickly, without understanding, really, what we were getting into and what it meant to have a dance company. So, the momentum picked up faster than we expected. But I’m glad that we did it.
G&LR: So, initially Madboots was just the two of you. At what point did you start to bring in other dancers?
AD: It was just the two of us for about a year, year-and-a-half. We were making duets at little festivals and anywhere we could perform. We’ve done some pretty embarrassing shows. We ended up performing in bars, and we did a show where no one showed up. We’ve had our share of lows when it comes to performing, but of course we’re happy to have had those experiences.
G&LR: Getting to perform at Jacob’s Pillow in 2015—how big a deal was that for you?
AD: It was a huge moment for us. We had been asked to do the Inside Out festival at Jacob’s Pillow in 2012, and that in itself was a really cool moment for us. Then we made the connection with Ella [Baff, the artistic director], and she kept in touch and offered us two residencies. Finally, the performance opportunity came in 2015, at the Doris Duke Theatre.
G&LR: That was Ella’s last year, wasn't it?
AD: It was actually her very last show. We closed the festival along with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Ella did her [farewell] speech and came over and did her last show, her last “Let’s dance!” So that was an epic moment for us.
G&LR: Do you think of Madboots as basically the two of you? Do you bring in dancers as needed, or do you have a company of dancers who stay with you?
JC: Right now we’ve moved towards a project-based model. We hire for each project that we do. The piece we’re working on now is for five dancers, but it’s always kind of shifting. The difficult thing about having an all-male company is that hiring dancers at a certain level and caliber—it’s hard to keep them, especially on a project freelance basis, because these guys can get work very quickly and easily. So, often they get these gigs that are high-paying or touring, and we can’t blame them for taking these opportunities. So it’s fluid; people come in and out; and we’ve gotten used to that. But it’s still somehow a company, even if it’s just the two of us.

From Sad Boys. Christoper Duggan Photography
G&LR: I’ve just been binge-watching the footage on your website. You guys have done some incredible work. I want to address your use of gay themes in your work. A lot of modern dancers or dancers in general are gay, but most companies don’t specifically deal with gay issues of isolation and homophobia, but you guys do so. Can you talk a little about this?
JC: It’s interesting, we started making work not necessarily with the goal of being driven from a gay male perspective or anything like that. We just wanted to make work together. It’s kind of because it’s who we are, so it’s inherent in the work that we’re making. It wasn’t until fairly recently that someone asked us, are you a gay company? We kind of looked at each other and said, “Yeah, we are.” We’re making gay works and we’re a gay company, and we should just embrace it.
AD: In concert dance, there has been some degree of homophobia. We’ve had trouble with a couple of venues presenting our work because of the gay content. The theaters will connect to the physicality, and they really enjoy the dancing, but when it comes to the gay content, they’re not so thrilled by it. It’s tricky, but the work is the work, and people will present it who are interested in showing that kind of intimacy onstage, which a lot of people shy away from.
G&LR: In your multimedia piece called Sad Boys, you flash words like “gay” and “faggot” on the floor during the performance. Would you call this a “political” statement?
JC: And “beast.” And “I feel pretty, witty, and gay.” I think people do read it as “political,” and I guess it kind of is. But these are just comments on our experiences and the things that people go through on a daily basis. These experiences are real, but it’s perceived as political or aggressive in that way.
AD: For us, it’s just our lives.
JC: You get called “faggot” on the street; we don’t step away from those things. We try to push them forward. It does make people uncomfortable, but I think it’s okay to do that. It’s kind of necessary.
AD: We think the visibility is important, to continue to try and bring up these topics and bring them into conversation and just create more dialogue.
G&LR: Another thing I wanted to ask about was your use of spoken narrative as background, such as a passage from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. In Beau, a piece you did at Jacob’s Pillow, the lines are from the “holy” section as read by Ginsberg himself, whose voice is slowed down and deepened for the piece.
AD: We read Howl and other of his works, and it was so impactful; it affected us so deeply. I think there’s something about Ginsberg and his sense of rebellion that we really connected with. His writing has ended up in a few of our creations. I mean, there’s a lot of humanity in it, there’s a lot of vulnerability in it, and a lot of truth and bluntness in it.
G&LR: I also liked your use of a passage by David Wojnarowicz in your piece called All Fours. I guess it’s probably about AIDS and dying, but it’s also a commentary on the madness of modern civilization. What do you think?
AD: With David’s text, it was probably last fall that we found a couple of books about him, and we found these pieces of text that were so heartbreaking. It was when he was dying of AIDS that he was writing. It’s about his isolation, his feeling of voicelessness, of not being heard. He says, “I’m screaming, but it comes out like pieces of clear ice.” It’s full of heartbreaking images of trying to connect or trying to be seen, but you’re not. Which I think was a huge issue during the AIDS crisis: that these people were dying, and it was being swept aside. Even today, it’s still just as impactful and relevant—how many people feel voiceless and helpless.
G&LR: The way that you worked the words and the dance together is very intense. It’s an amazing vision. All Fours also features full nudity if I remember correctly. Was that aspect controversial, and does it present problems in terms of performance?
AD: For sure, for men in dance. It’s a little bit more accepted for women to be fully nude. But for men it does create more problems. We were performing another work—Sad Boys, which we’ve sort of edited since we premiered at the Pillow. Ella was totally fine with the nudity, but it has gone through a bit of an evolution after one presenter had a problem with it. Had it been a woman, the theater would have been okay with it. The fact that it was male genitalia was a problem. We were kind of stunned by that, and it was kind of infuriating. Basically, we just turned the lights very low. We made a compromise, which is sadly what artists sometimes have to do. However, I think nudity is becoming more prevalent in our work. It just is a vulnerable state of being—the exposure. Even going in toAll Fours—it wasn’t like we were thrilled about doing it nude, but we knew it needed to be done that way. Experiencing it alone onstage in real time—it changes you.
G&LR: Let me ask you about your influences, and where you would place your work in the context of modern dance.
JC: We’ve been asked this before, but I don’t know that there’s a good label for it, because it feels like our work is constantly shifting. The movement language, the æsthetic, even the way we set up the stage—we feel like we’ve kind of gotten to a certain place where we are already moving forward to change it.
G&LR: I’m fascinated by the creative process, especially with dance, because it seems to evolve in a more spontaneous way than, say, writing. You talked at the beginning about how you work together, how you start playing around with some ideas, and it seems like the work starts to take on a life of its own. Is that a reasonable description of how it works?
JC: It can. It has been different for each project. Sometimes we come in knowing exactly what we’re trying to do. We know how the piece starts and how it ends, and we’ll fill in the middle. Or we come in with just a title, and the piece kind of grows out of that.
AD: For our next creation, we have a thirty-minute piece of music that we want to use. This is something that we’ve never done before.
JC: We’re starting with the music, without knowing anything else. So, I think the starting point is different with each project. There have been processes where we started with just a phrase, and we come in and start making moves. We don’t know where it will go or what we’re going to do with it, because it kind of snowballs and things start to fall in place.
AD: And we kind of let our lives come in, and there are so many things that will happen just randomly, like a song will come up in a movie, or—
JC: Or even the people, when we’re working with other people and they say or do something, and it kind of triggers something and it gets absorbed into the work. So, speaking of influences, they can be music, texts, poetry, fashion. We look at the fashion blogs on-line and the way things are designed. So, it’s really sort of this big amalgamation of all of these elements.
THE GAY & LESBIAN REVEW, July-August 2017, pages 24-26

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Guy's Talk on Toxic Masculinity

Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity -- to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: "See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper," Baldoni says. "Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?"

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Should “real” students do an online course on the side?

By Kalia Ross, The Guardian, 19 February 2013

Universities have started giving away their content free as "Massive Open Online Courses", with the satisfyingly ridiculous acronym MOOCs. Eleven top UK universities recently announced they were joining the Open University to launch FutureLearn, in an attempt to catch up with the elite US institutions that have led the way in teaching huge numbers online.

It all sounds great for people who, for one reason or another, can't go to a traditional university. But do MOOCs have anything to offer students already studying at a conventional institution? Well, I've signed up for a MOOC in microeconomics. I did it because I'm thinking about whether to do a master’s degree and what to study. I'm testing my resolve: if I enjoy it enough to study in my own time, maybe I'm ready for a master’s. Better to find out before I hand over the money. Why else would a university student consider a MOOC? You could use it to improve your CV – it shows you're motivated, you have a variety of interests and you're not struggling with your workload.

And before you can use an online course to help you get a job, employers have to learn what they are and respect them. University isn't just about what you learn but proving you know it. The only proof you did your MOOC is that you clicked on "I promise not to cheat[i]". This is changing, though: one of the biggest MOOC organisers, Coursera, is testing facial recognition software to monitor students, and charging a small fee for verification.
Moocs are extra tuition from a different perspective. Dreading[ii] that compulsory class you know you'll find difficult to pass, the one with the 50% fail rate? MOOC comes to the rescue. Free preparation: better than failing and suffering the consequences to your grade point average and student loan.

Are MOOCs a threat to old school universities? Should we fear that, before we've even paid them off, traditional university degrees will become obsolete like floppy disks [iii]? Probably not, as they are a long way from ready to replace traditional degrees. There might not be a MOOC versus traditional university mega-battle – instead, online courses offer another option on higher education's menu of delights.

MOOCs still have serious problems. A Coursera course crashed[iv] recently, unable to cope with the thousands of students trying to join online discussions. MOOCs are limited to subjects that can be assessed with multiple choice exams, marked automatically. Written any essays in your degree? Your professor's critique of them can't be replicated by a MOOC – yet. As for me, although I did not make a single friend in a community of 37,000, I enjoyed the chance to learn what I was interested in, on my own terms. MOOCs are a new approach to education – and we, traditional university students, needn't miss out[v]

[i] cheat= act dishonestly in an exam
[ii] dread= be afraid of
[iii] floppy disk= diskette
[iv] crashed= stopped functioning
[v] miss out= miss the opportunity to benefit from something

Thursday, November 16, 2017

¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

Cada vez más padres se plantean comunicarse en un segundo idioma con sus niños desde que nacen

Bastarreche con sus mellizos y Rodríguez junto a su hijo.
Bastarreche con sus mellizos y Rodríguez junto a su hijo. CLAUDIO ÁLVAREZ

Cuando se enteró de que su mujer estaba embarazada de mellizos, Tomás Bastarreche lo tuvo claro: él y su madre le hablarían a los niños en inglés. “Luego, a la hora de la verdad, a mi madre no le salió, pero a mí sí, sin problema”. Desde la infancia de Tomás, la familia de Bastarreche se interesó por que aprendiera el idioma y pasó varios veranos en Estados Unidos. Sus mellizos, Javier y Matilde, de dos años, ya entienden lo que les dice con su marcado acento español.
Por su parte, Carol Rodríguez se animó a hablarle en inglés a su hijo Eric una vez lo tuvo en brazos. “Me encanta el idioma, que me costó aprender, y decidí hacer la prueba durante un par de semanas a ver qué tal me sentía. Y no se me dio mal”. 
“Hablarle a los hijos en inglés cuando no se es bilingüe requiere un gran sacrificio”, dice Valeria Ávila, logopeda en Sinews, un centro de Madrid que ofrece terapia (psicología, psiquiatría, logopedia y terapia ocupacional) en varios idiomas y organiza talleres periódicos para padres que tratan de criar niños bilingües (el próximo, este sábado). “Tiene que ser una decisión muy firme y madurada entre la pareja para que el niño sepa cuál de los dos le va a hablar en qué idioma”.
Tanto Bastarreche, profesor de Derecho Constitucional en la Universidad Autónoma, como Rodríguez, azafata de Iberia, son unos enamorados del inglés, y poder darles a sus hijos la posibilidad de aprenderlo desde la cuna les pareció una idea estupenda. “Como dice mi mujer, es una inversión de futuro”, añade Bastarreche. “Lo que no puedo es cortar las expresiones que me salen naturales en español y les digo: “Venga, let´s go to the park”, añade. “Yo no he querido cortar los apelativos cariñosos que no me salen naturales en inglés", interviene Rodríguez. "Le digo “bichito, eat a little more”.
Desde el British Council, la coordinadora María Pipeneda, trilingüe (habla griego, inglés y español), dice que la máxima para los padres que se están planteando hablarle a sus hijos en inglés debe ser "cuanto antes, cuanto más y cuanto mejor, mejor". “Y hay que tener una actitud positiva. Que sus hijos vean que sus padres también disfrutan con el idioma. Que le cantan, se lanzan a hablarlo…”.
El sevillano Alex Pérez, que le habla en inglés a su hijo de dos años desde que nació, ha creado la web y en septiembre lanzó un curso para los padres que como él toman esta decisión. “Vi una necesidad de información y he lanzado 10 clases por las que se paga una suscripción mensual de cinco euros”, explica Pérez. “Espero ayudar a otros padres que estén haciendo como yo", explica Pérez. "Yo no soy nativo y tengo una limitación. Pero eso no me corta, porque él va a aprender más que si no le hablara en inglés y sé que algún día me superará”.
Una de las dudas que tiene es con qué acento hablarán sus respectivos hijos cuando crezcan. “El acento de los padres no influye nada”, dice Ávila. “Los niños están programados para adquirir otro idioma y animamos a todos los padres, tengan el acento que tengan, a hablarles en inglés”. “Hay muchos acentos en inglés, que es un idioma global”, añade Pipedes. “Lo que están construyendo es una base que posteriormente irán afinando”. Tomás va más allá: “Yo incluso a veces soy consciente de cometer errores cuando hablo con mis hijos. Pero es un riesgo que asumo. Espero que algún día se den cuenta de cómo es en realidad”, ríe.
Sus expectativas futuras, son compartidas: que un día sus hijos se dirijan a ellos en inglés. “Estaría bien si más adelante quisieran que fuera nuestro lenguaje común, pero no es necesariamente mi objetivo. Lo que tengo claro es que yo les seguiré hablando en este idioma”. (El País, 16.11.17)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

IdI Students and Alumni Go to the Cinema in 2017

IdI Students and Alumni Go to the Cinema
Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 at 8.20pm
Cine Avenida, Marqués de Paradas 15, €3.90

Like in previous years since 2003, the Instituto de Idiomas is organizing a cultural activity at the cinema. On this 2017 edition, we are going to see a recent British drama film (with Spanish subtitles), which was highly acclaimed at the Seville European Film Festival, only a few weeks ago. God's Own Country is a story about love, dignity, immigration, and ultimately about male identity in our time. Hope you can join us that day.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Are you a nomophobe?

If you're wondering how to respond to that question, an Iowa State University study can help you find the answer. ISU researchers have developed a questionnaire to help you determine if you suffer from nomophobia or a fear of being without your mobile phone. 

Caglar Yildirim, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student in human computer interaction, and Ana-Paula Correia, an associate professor in ISU's School of Education, identified four dimensions of this modern-day phobia. The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Watch the video below to learn more about nomophobia and then answer the questions below to see if you are nomophobic.

Nomophobia Questionnaire  

Study participants were asked to respond to the following statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Total scores were calculated by adding the responses to each item. The higher scores corresponded to greater nomophobia severity.  
  1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my .
  2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
  3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
  4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
  5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
  6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
  7. If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly  to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
  8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
  9. If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.

If I did not have my smartphone with me:
  1. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
  2. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
  3. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
  4. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
  5. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
  6. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
  7. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
  8. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
  9. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
  10. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
  11. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Politics at play when banning books

Politics at play when banning books

55% of Republicans think that texts with homosexual or transgender characters should be banned from elementary school libraries. This is Donald Trump's America.

The American Library Association is set to release its 2017 list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books, and a peek at last year’s lineup reveals a very distinct trend –  five of the ten books were disputed by parents, educators, and concerned citizens alike for their inclusion of LGBT characters. New data from YouGov Omnibus suggests that the trend will likely continue onto this year’s list.
The majority of Republicans (55%) feel that books with homosexual or transgender characters should be banned from all elementary school libraries, and 2 in 5 (21%) think that they shouldn’t be present in public libraries either. In comparison, a quarter of Democrats (26%) agree that this sort of literature should not be accessible to grade school students, while just 13% would consider public libraries an improper place to house LGBT-related reading materials.
Since Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone first appeared on bookshelves in 1997, it has stirred up intense controversy – and been regarded by some as “satanic,”  – for presenting children with themes related to “the dark arts.” Two decades after the popular novel was published, negative sentiment surrounding texts featuring witchcraft, wizardry, and magic remains. In fact, 41% of Republicans want books with these subjects banned from elementary school libraries, and over a quarter (28%) don’t think they belong in the hands of high schoolers. Comparatively, 24% of Democrats would keep occult literature out of elementary schools, while 17% would in high schools. However, 13% of both Republicans and Democrats don’t think public libraries should carry books related to magic.
Similarly, over half of Republicans (57%) want books which employ blasphemous language to be banned from elementary schools, in comparison to 38% of Democrats. The partisan split narrows, though, when it comes to public libraries, with 27% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats saying books which takes God’s name in vain should be kept out.
However, for the most part, party agreement on the appropriateness of certain elements in literature ends there. For example, the majority of Republicans (55%) believe it is inappropriate to exhibit books with sexually suggestive images on the cover in a public library, while just over a third of Democrats feel this way (35%). There is also a break between the sexes on this particular topic – 52% of women think it is inappropriate, but just 40% of men.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Teens are sleeping less – but there’s a surprisingly easy fix

The Conversation, October 19th 2017

Something is stealing teens’ sleep.
In a newly released analysis of two large national surveys, my co-authors and I found that the number of U.S. teens who reported sleeping less than seven hours a night jumped 22 percent between 2012 and 2015. Sleep experts agree that teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night. But by 2015, 43 percent of teens reported sleeping less than seven hours a night on most nights – meaning almost half of U.S. teens are significantly sleep-deprived.
What could have raised sleep deprivation among teens to such unprecedented levels? Some factors are easy to rule out. For example, we found that the amount of time teens spent working, doing homework and participating in extracurricular activities held steady during those years. But there was one large change in teens’ lives between 2012 and 2015: More owned smartphones.

It starts as an alarm clock…

Today’s teens – whom I call “iGen” – are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones.
In our analyses, we found that teens who spent more time online and on social media were more likely to sleep less. Time spent watching television had a much weaker link to fewer hours of sleep, and teens who spent more time with their friends in person or on sports or exercise actually slept more.
Time spent online, however, was the one teen activity that both increased during the 2010s and was linked to shorter sleep, making it the most likely cause of teen sleep deprivation. Seventeen- and 18-year-olds – who spend more time online than younger teens – were also the most sleep-deprived: The majority, 51 percent, slept less than seven hours on most nights by 2015.
The link between time spent online and less sleep was considerable. Spending five or more hours a day online (vs. one hour) upped the risk of sleeping too little more than 50 percent. Spending three hours a day (vs. one hour) upped the risk nearly 20 percent.
Smartphones – which the majority of Americans owned by the end of 2012 – allow mobile and instant internet access. It’s difficult to prove what causes what in an analysis like this, but it seems much more likely that teens’ increased smartphone use between 2012 and 2015 led to less sleep than less sleep leading to more smartphone use.
Why might smartphones cause teens to sleep less? Unlike other electronic devices such as TVs and desktop computers, smartphones (and tablets) are easily carried into the bedroom and held by hand in bed.
Most of the students I interviewed for my book “iGen” told me they kept their phones within reach as they slept, in part, because they all used it as their alarm clock. Many also told me that their smartphones were the last thing they looked at before they went to sleep at night. That’s a problem, because answering texts and scrolling through social media is mentally and emotionally stimulating, which leads to disturbed sleep. Others told me that they also regularly reached for their phones, often just out of habit, when they woke up in the middle of the night.
There’s a physiological response as well: The blue light emitted by smartphones and tablets simulates daylight, inhibiting the brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. And that’s if teens try to go to sleep at all.
A 2014 study found that 80 percent of teens admitted to using their phones when they were supposed to be sleeping – a practice some call “vamping.” Some said they stayed up most of the night when their parents thought they were asleep.

Some simple limits

Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for teens.
Those who don’t sleep enough perform more poorly in school and are at greater risk of developing obesity. Sleep deprivation is also linked to mental health issues including depression and anxiety among both teens and adults.
When conducting research for my book, I found that iGen teens are more likely to be depressed and anxious than previous generations. If smartphones cause teens to sleep less, and less sleep leads to depression, sleep deprivation might explain why teen depression increased sharply after 2012 – exactly when smartphones became common, and exactly when sleep deprivation began to increase among teens.
What can be done? Later start times at high schools have significant positive impacts on teen sleep, but school start times aren’t something parents and teens can control.
In contrast, limiting smartphone use before bed is a strategy that can be immediately implemented (ideally for the whole family, adults included). A “no phones in the bedroom after bedtime” rule can work. If your family uses phones as alarm clocks, buy inexpensive alarm clocks. Put an app on phones that shuts them down during certain hours, or leave phones and tablets in another room overnight. Suggest reading a book, taking a bath or writing in a journal in the hour before bed. Your teens will probably get some more sleep – and they might find themselves healthier and happier as well.
The author is a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University

Monday, October 30, 2017

The (Sensible) Outsider's View

Seven minutes of good sense from the European Parliament. It's worth listening to. With Spanish subtitles
PS: Deception means "engaño" in Spanish, not "decepción", which is disappointment. 
It is a false friend which the translator clearly missed

Monday, October 23, 2017

Seville European Film Festival

A new edition of the Seville European Film Festival is coming up! Watch films in English and in other European languages, in the original version and with digital quality (mostly at the Nervión Plaza cinemas), at the SEFF. Don't miss a good opportunity to see and hear a selection of quality European films and improve your language skills either by listening to films in English (with Spanish subtitles) or by reading the English subtitles of films in other languages. It is good value for money (a student pass allows you access to 15 films for only 20€!). Come and enjoy the festival's international atmosphere. See you there :)