29 may. 2011

The number Pi

π (sometimes written pi) is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter; this is the same value as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. π is approximately equal to 3.14159 in the usual decimal positional notation. 
Many ecuations from mathematics, science and engineering involve π, which makes it one of the most important mathematical constants. π is an irrational number, which means that its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction (m/n, where m and n are integers). Consequently, its decimal representation never ends or repeats. π is also a transcendental number, which implies, among other things, that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) can be equal to its value; proving this was a late achievement in mathematical history and a significant result of 19th century German mathematics.
Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been much effort to determine π more accurately and to understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into non-mathematical culture.
Probably because of the simplicity of its definition, the concept of π has become entrenched in popular culture to a degree far greater than almost any other mathematical construct. It is, perhaps, the most common ground between mathematicians and non-mathematicians. Reports on the latest, most-precise calculation of π are common news items. The current record for the decimal expansion of π, if verified, stands at 5 trillion digits. 
The Greek letter π was first adopted for the number as an abbreviation of the Greek word for perimeter, or as an abbreviation for "periphery/diameter", by William Jones in 1706. The constant is also known as Archimedes' Constant, after Archimedes of Syracuse who provided an approximation of the number, although this name for the constant is uncommon in modern English-speaking contexts.

"There are various other ways of finding the Lengths or Areas of particular Curve Lines, or Planes, which may very much facilitate the Practice; as for instance, in the Circle, the Diameter is to the Circumference as 1 to  ...  3.14159, etc. = π ..." William Jones.
  
The decimal representation of π truncated to 50 decimal places is:
π = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...
Despite much analytical work, and supercomputer calculations that have determined over 1 trillion digits of the decimal representation of π, no simple base-10 pattern in the digits has ever been found:

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094 3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912 9833673362 4406566430 8602139494 6395224737 1907021798 6094370277 0539217176 2931767523 8467481846 7669405132 0005681271 4526356082 7785771342 7577896091 7363717872 1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235 4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113 4999999837 2978049951 0597317328 1609631859 5024459455 3469083026 4252230825 3344685035 2619311881 7101000313 7838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303 5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532 1712268066 1300192787 6611195909 2164201989 3809525720 1065485863 2788659361 5338182796 8230301952 0353018529 6899577362 2599413891 2497217752 8347913151 5574857242 4541506959

An estimate of Pi accurate to 1120 decimal digits was obtained using a gear-driven calculator in 1948, by John Wrench and Levi Smith. This was the most accurate estimate of Pi before electronic computers came into use. 
Many schools around the world observe Pi Day (March 14, from 3.14).

On November 7, 2005, alternative musician Kate Bush released the album Aerial. The album contains the song "Pi" whose lyrics consist principally of Bush singing the digits of π to music, beginning with "3.14".
In Carl Sagan's novel Contact, π played a key role in the story. The novel suggested that there was a message buried deep within the digits of π placed there by the creator of the universe. This part of the story was omitted from the film adaptation of the novel.

Some films and TV series deals with the number Pi as a part of the mysteries that involved the plot too.


26 may. 2011

National Geographic

The National Geographic Society (NGS), is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture. 
The National Geographic’s president since March 1998,  John M. Fahey, Jr. says it was created for “Inspiring people to care about the planet to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical and natural resources.”
The Society publishes an official journal, National Geographic Magazine and other magazines, books, school products, maps, other publications, web and film products in numerous languages and countries around the world. 
It also has an educational foundation that gives grants to education organizations and individuals to enhance geography education. The Society has helped sponsor many expeditions and research projects over the years.
There are 12 monthly issues of National Geographic per year, plus at least four additional map supplements. On rare occasions, special issues of the magazine are also created. The magazine contains articles about geography, popular science, world history, culture, current events and photography of places and things all over the world and universe.
The National Geographic magazine is currently published in 32 language editions in many countries around the world. Combined English and other language circulation is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly.
In October 2007, National Geographic created a new Global Media group composed of its magazine, book publishing, television specials as well as television series, film, music, radio, digital media and maps units. 
National Geographic Channel, launched in January 2001, is a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Broadcasting Company. It has featured stories on numerous scientific figures that not only featured their work but helped make them world-famous and accessible to millions. A majority of the specials were narrated by various famous actors. 
The specials' theme music, by Elmer Bernstein, was also adopted by the National Geographic Channel. The National Geographic Channel has begun to launch a number of subbranded channels in international markets, such as Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Junior, and Nat Geo Music.



24 may. 2011

Where's Wally?


Where's Wally? was published in the United States and Canada as Where's Waldo?. It is a series of children's books created by British illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting dozens or more people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group. 

Wally's distinctive red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses make him slightly easier to recognise, but many illustrations contain "red herrings" involving deceptive use of red-and-white striped objects. Later entries in the long-running book series added other targets for readers to find in each illustration.
The first book in the series, titled Where's Wally (known as Waldo in the US and Canada), was published in 1987. The books became extremely popular and were localised for many different territories, with name changes for Wally in certain regions. The franchise also spawned other media in a more storyline-based form, including TV series (The Simpsons,Frasier or Family Guy), a comic strip and series of video games.
There are currently seven primary Wally books. The books were released both in hard-cover (for the original books) and subsequently in paperback. Each contains around a dozen scenes with Wally hidden in them. Each book has additional hidden objects and/or characters hidden in each scene specific to that book. The books usually reserve telling the reader about some item(s) to find until the end of the book so that the reader will have to go through the book again. The books contain checklists for each scene of interesting things or people to find.
In addition to the primary seven books, other books have also been published in the Wally franchise. The first alternate-format Wally book was the "Ultimate Fun Book". In addition to standard Wally scenes, this paperback activity book featured other types of games and activities, as well as cardboard punch-outs and stickers. 

There was also a series of geographical magazines made available for children in Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and Malta, called Wally's World. In each issue Wally would travel to a different country or region of the world telling the reader interesting facts
A film based on the "Where's Wally?" series of books has been pursued by various studios. Nickelodeon was the most recent studio to take an interest in the idea but when the regime at Paramount (Nickelodeon's parent company) changed, the project was cancelled.

In June, 2009, it was announced that Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment had acquired the rights to turn Where's Wally? into a live-action film.

23 may. 2011

Eneko

Eneko es uno de los mejores viñetistas en activo en España. Con su lápiz-bisturí disecciona la actualidad y la presenta ante los ojos en toda su crudeza. Siempre incisivo, ingenioso, original y poético.

22 may. 2011

Pixar

Pixar Animation Studios is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California, United States. The studio has earned numerous awards for their feature films and other work, including twenty-six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and three Grammys. Pixar is best known for these CGI-animated features created with Photorealistic Renderman, its own implementation of the industry-standard Renderman image-rendering API used to generate high-quality images.
Pixar was founded as the Graphics Group, one third of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm that was launched in 1979 with the hiring of Dr. Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where he was in charge of the Computer Graphics Lab (CGL). At NYIT, the researchers had pioneered many of the CG techniques. After moving to Lucasfilm, the team worked on creating the precursor to RenderMan. In 1986, Pixar was acquired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

As of 2011, Pixar has released eleven CGI (Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media.) films, all released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner. 
Pixar has produced eleven feature films, beginning with Toy Story in 1995. It was followed by A Bug's Life in 1998, Toy Story 2 in 1999, Monsters. Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, The Incredibles in 2004, Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, WALL-E in 2008, Up in 2009 and Toy Story 3 in 2010. All films that Pixar has produced have been largely successful, both critically and commercially


Eight of Pixar's films released since the inauguration of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 have been nominated for that award, commencing with Monsters, Inc.. Six of the eight have won the award: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. Up and Toy Story 3 are among the only three animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2004, the deal between Pixar and the Disney Company would be only for distribution, as Pixar intended to control production and own the resulting film properties themselves. The company also wanted to finance their films on their own and collect 100 percent of the profits, paying Disney only the 10 to 15 percent distribution fee. More importantly, as part of any distribution agreement with Disney, Pixar demanded control over films already in production under their old agreement. Disney considered these conditions unacceptable, but Pixar would not concede.
Disagreements between Steve Jobs and then Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner made the negotiations more difficult than they otherwise might have been. They broke down completely in mid-2004, with Jobs declaring that Pixar was actively seeking partners other than Disney. Pixar did not enter negotiations with other distributors. After a lengthy hiatus, negotiations between the two companies resumed by the Walt Disney Company bought Pixar. The transaction made Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney adding Pixar to Disney in 2006.

17 may. 2011

New York

New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the north and west, and Quebec to the north. New York is often referred to as New York State to distinguish it from New York City.
About one third of all the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in New York. New York became an independent state on July 9, 1776, and enacted its constitution in 1777. The state ratified the United States Constitution on July 26, 1788 to become the eleventh state of the union.

New York City, with a population of over 8,000,000 people, is the most populous city in the United States. It covers 49,576 square miles (128,400 km2) and ranks as the 27th largest state. There are 62 cities in New York, which comprises five counties, the Bronx, New York (Manhattan), Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), and Richmond (Staten Island). New York City is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population.

It is known for its status as a financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center, and for its history as a gateway for immigration to the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is also a destination of choice for many foreign visitors. 
In contrast with New York City's urban atmosphere, the vast majority of the state is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. New York's Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the United States. New York established the first state park in the United States at Niagara Falls in 1885. Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River as it flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, is a popular attraction. However, New York City is world renowned as a city of lights.

14 may. 2011

Charlotte Martin


You can't judge the love by the lover,
the sky by its thunder,
the road with no sign.
You can't make the snow fall in summer.

I will say with all my might that:
I'm imperfect,
uncertain,

and I cannot
make this work if you won't take my call.
We do get colder now that we're much older
and we're also bolder.
Words fly far away
and it doesn't work today.

Maybe you'll stay in touch years down the road.
Maybe we'll meet up in Denver
talk about weather,
talk of old times.
I know every word that we said
was what we both meant,
well, we meant it at the time.

I'll be standing up straight,
chasing rivers, shadows and time.
The sun may come up and go down again
and I'll still swear it's a beautiful life.

Time flies, time cries.
Oh time flies, time cries.

So swim to the end of the river
until there's no shiver.
Live like there won't be tomorrow,
see through your sorrow,
see through your own eyes.

Try to remember these days down the road and
try to remember this time.
The sun may come up and go down again
I'll still swear it's a beautiful life.

Maybe I'll be here.
Maybe...

Now, I'm moving on my way. 

(Modification of "Beautiful life"&"Apology", songs by Charlotte Martin)


11 may. 2011

Queen

Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971. It was originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (known as Farrokh Bulsara at the 70´s and at the first years of 80´s) (lead vocals, piano and guitar) (1970-1991), Brian May (guitar, keyboards and vocals)(1970), John Deacon (bass guitar)(1971-1997), and Roger Taylor (drums, percussion and vocals)(1970). Queen's earliest works were heavily influenced by progressive rock; in the middle 1970s, the band ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, bringing them greater commercial success. It also became something of a trademark to incorporate more diverse and innovative styles in their music, exploring the likes of vaudeville, gospel music, electronic music and funk.

Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile. Farrokh Bulsara was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to 'Queen' and adopted his familiar stage name (Freddie Mercury). 

"I thought up the name Queen. It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it." (Freddie Mercury)

John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their first album. Queen enjoyed success in the UK during the early 1970s, but it was the release of  "Sheer Heart Attack" (1974) and "A Night at the Opera" (1975) that gained the band international success. 
In 1973, after a series of delays, Queen released their eponymous debut album, an effort influenced by the heavy metal and progressive rock of the day. The album was received well by critics; Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone said "their debut album is superb", and Chicago's Daily Herald called it an "above average debut".

"I don't care what the journalists say, we achieved our own identity after Queen II." (Freddie Mercury)
The band drew artistic influence from many other British rock acts at the time such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and Led Zeppellin. Queen composed music that drew inspiration from many different genres of music, often with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Among the genres they have been associated with are: progressive rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal, pop-rock, dance/disco, blues-rock and psychedelic rock. Queen also wrote songs that were inspired by genres that are not typically associated with rock, such as ragtime, opera, gospel, vaudeville and folk. It was for these music-experiments wiht several kind music that the band has been recognised as having made significant contributions to such genres as hard rock and heavy metal, amongst others. Hence the band has been cited as an influence by many other musicians. Moreover, like their music, the bands and artists that have claimed to be influenced by Queen are diverse and span different generations, countries and genres.
"A concert is not a live rendition of our album. It's a theatrica! event." (Freddie Mercury)
"I always knew I was a star And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." (Freddie Mercury)
A great number of their songs were considered number one in the hit lists music not only in UK but also in several countries around the world. Queen worked with many well-known music artists like David Bowie or Monserrat Caballe not only on stage but also outside them. Queen had Peter Grant as manager (as Led Zeppelin too). Grant wanted them to sign with Led Zeppelin´s own production company, Swan Song Records. The band found the contract unacceptable and instead, contacted Elton John´s manager (John Reid), who accepted the position.
"And, we have no such thing as a budget anymore. Our manager freaks when we show him the bill. We're lavish to the bone, but all our money goes back into the product" (Freddie Mercury)
Since the band's beginning, nearly all songs had been written by and credited to a single member, with other members adding minimally. With The Miracle the band's songwriting became more collaborative, and they vowed to credit the final product only to Queen as a group. The band has released a total of 18 number one albums and 10 number one DVDs. They have sold over 150 million albums, with some estimates in excess of 300 million albums, making them one of the world´s best-selling music artists. They have been honoured with seven Ivor Novello award and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
"I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend." (Freddie Mercury)
When fans noticed Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance in 1988, rumours began to spread that Mercury was suffering from AIDS. After cury flatly denied this, insisting he was merely "exhausted" and too busy to provide interviews. The band decided to continue making albums, starting with "The Miracle " in 1989 and continuing with Innuendo in 1991. Despite his, indeed, deteriorating health, the lead singer continued to contribute. In 1991 Mercury died of bronchopneumonia within 24 hours Mercury confirmed that he had AIDS.
"There was all that time when we knew Freddie was on the way out, we kept our heads down." (Brian May) 
In 1997 Queen performed "The Show Must Go On "  with Elton John and the Berjart Ballet marking the last performance and public appearance of John Deacon, who chose to retire.

                                                                                     To J.L.A.F. ;)

1 may. 2011

SGAE

La Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) es una sociedad privada española reconocida legalmente como de gestión colectiva, dedicada a la gestión del cobro, la distribución de los derechos de autor de sus socios, entre los que se cuentan toda clase de artistas y empresarios del negocio de la cultura y, a la vez, "vela" por los intereses de los editores. El actual presidente es José Luis Borau. El presidente del Consejo de Dirección es Teddy Bautista.
Ha alcanzado una relevante notoriedad estos últimos años, a raíz del conflicto que le ha enfrentado con la industria electrónica por la aplicación a los nuevos soportes digitales del llamado "Canon compensatorio por copia privada" (una tasa genérica que busca compensar a los autores por las copias que realizaran los usuarios de sus obras). Se encontró con una fuerte oposición por parte de los comerciantes y consumidores que financiaron campañas publicitarias y crearon asociaciones y elementos propagandísticos que han hecho mella en la imagen pública de la entidad cuya recaudación se reparte entre los asociados. 
La SGAE ha visto incrementado sus ingresos financieros de forma asombrosa consiguiendo en 3 años (2005-2008) multiplicar por 110 sus activos disfrutando de una abundante liquidez, a pesar de declarar en el ejercico de algún año pérdidas de explotación como diferencia entre los ingresos obtenidos y sus gastos corrientes. En el año 2003 poseía 0,5 millones de euros; en el 2006 55,6 millones de euros. La sociedad ha replicado que no hace mas que aquello para lo que fue creada: defender los derechos de sus socios, reclamando la aplicación de la ley.
Se ha denunciado que en algunos casos la SGAE ha reclamado una parte de los ingresos en concepto de «derechos de autor» en casos en que esos espectáculos no los vulneran ni esos derechos sean propiedad de los afiliados a la SGAE. La SGAE se defendió señalando que no todos los proveedores de los actos benéficos renuncian a cobrar y ha declarado en varias ocasiones que no está capacitada para decidir por sus socios si están o no dispuestos a renunciar a percibir los correspondientes derechos de autor, por ejemplo, en un concierto solidario. 
El 21 de octubre de 2010, el tribunal de la Unión Europea declara ilegal la aplicación del canon digital para empresas y profesionales de España, excluyendo a los consumidores y aclarando que siempre y cuando sea para fines distintos al de la copia privada. A pesar de ello las sociedades de gestión, entre ellas la SGAE, rechazan devover el dinero del cano argumentando que la sentencia no tiene carácter retroactivo. 
En el 2008, la Unión Europea abrió un expediente a la SGAE para estudiar si su posición en el mercado puede vulnerar leyes anti-monopolio en la venta de licencias para descargar música en internet. Más tarde ese mismo año la Comisión Europea puso fin al monopolio de la SGAE al prohibir que fuera la única a la que letristas y compositores españoles puedan encomendar la gestión de sus derechos de autor.

En el 2010 los medios de comunicación se hicieron eco del intento de la SGAE de cobrar a algunos pequeños comercios, como peluquerías o pastelerías, por tener música en sus locales.