2014 in Venezuela: what the hell is going on?

by Laura Vilaça

As you browse the news of this month, you cannot stand indifferent to the huge popular turmoils happening: Ukraine, Venezuela, Brazil. Whereas the first up-rise seems to have succeeded, giving hope to the precept that says “the people united will never be defeated“, the other two are still working their way into making civil disobedience heard by their governments. While the Brazilian protests are ongoing since June 2013, the Venezuelan riots are fresh events from a week ago and no one seems to quite understand what is going on there. I’ve looked into things and will try to explain them a bit.

Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela (abcnews.com, tvi.pt, reuters)

Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela
(credit: abcnews.com, tvi.pt, reuters)

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Fernanda Lima and other (non) important things

by João Lobo Monteiro

My purpose was to write about the World Cup draw. But then I thought: “The draw was on Friday, I’m writing this on Wednesday and people don’t want to know about the draw anymore”. So, instead of writing about the draw itself, I’m going to write about the most important thing this draw gave to the world: Fernanda Lima. And then, I will deify Ronaldo and write about the group stage, focusing on my country, Portugal. 

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How using social media can help you get a job

by Laura Vilaça

As Jasmijn de Baan explained this week, the work market is a dogfight. As such, you must be as prepared as possible, always finding ways to make yourself stand out from the competition. Today, being able to throw around a few clicks to get others engaged is as valuable as gold, and one must not fall behind on the trends. Social media may just be the push you need to look like a safe bet on a casino night. And though these tools are not as useful for some jobs as they are for others, knowing the basics can also be a way to improve how you manage your internet persona and, just maybe, turn out to be nice conversation ice breaker in an elevator or a party because, like it or not, we’re all Barbie girls in a digital world.

Given that I’m a nicer person than a new-born puppy, I organized a little guide to the social networks that are trending and that you should be mastering – or at least be aware of them. You’re welcome, future employed you.

Barbie, the computer engineer. Yes, it exists. via engineeringworks.tamu.edu/
Barbie, the computer engineer. Yes, it exists.
via engineeringworks.tamu.edu/

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The Illusion of Choice

by Laura Vilaça

Two years ago, the Occupy Movement made a stand with the slogan “We are the 99%”. They were referring to, as Wikipedia puts it, “the concentration of income and wealth among the top earning 1%, which reflected an opinion that the “99%” are paying the price for the mistakes of a tiny minority within the upper class”. Though this was an American movement, their protest expanded around the world, with Europeans feeling this inequality as well.

The world is run by a few – that we all start to realize. But how few are they? And how do they become so big? Well, dear reader, not only but also, because of you. We are part of the oil that makes these giant, transnational corporations run smoothly, earn market power and, consequently, political influence. An example: Breakfast. You have a Nescafe coffee. Then a shower, using L’Oréal to wash your hair and Garnier to cleanse your face. Moving on, you moisturize your body with products from The Body Shop, put on your Diesel jeans and grab a KitKat for the way. In a simple, standard morning routine, all things used are owned by Nestlé.

William True - "Nestlé's Milk Project" (1901)

William True – “Nestlé’s Milk Project” (1901)

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Is the European Union kaputt?

 by Laura Vilaça

I moved to Germany – more specifically to Hamburg – little over a month ago. And you know what I realized? I haven’t been able to prove a single stereotype I got about Germany from the media in my Southern European country. And along with me, many others agreed on this. So why does the media from my country – and that of the other PIGS (acronym for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, the European countries in financial trouble) – insist otherwise?

I’ve realized that people are foolishly patriotic. And more than being that, they’re patriots who choose to trust ignorance instead of facts. And the question is: why? Because they are not necessarily given the facts. The media, much like the average citizen, has proven to have little knowledge of economy and, being so, is not capable of translating the heavy economic jargon. And this interests the heads of state, because blaming someone else is always less of a hassle than having citizens mad at you. They vote, they choose who gets what (or at least they are led to believe so) – and this misinterpretation of the political play helps supporting floating promises and inflamed speeches about Europe. The European political scene is a circus – and everyone juggles it the best they can.

merkel

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