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chasing movement

Category: life (page 1 of 2)

home

I once wrote:

Anywhere I can be with inspiring people is home.

Now, I says: ‘It is rather not as simple’. Finding oneself in a new city is hard, even harder when you have to face lots of limitations on infrastructure. Another important point is the cultural aspects… if one likes them or not, they are going to be there anyways.

I’m having a tough time with nutrition here. Although Natal is really rich on fruits, people tend not to eat healthy, therefore the availability of healthy options is miserable. The only solution I could find is to cook all my meals. It is tiring and I have so many other things to do, but what can I do?!

Working with neural signals and neuroscience is really cool. I’m in love with electrophysiology and I’m working on adapting my toolbox to work with these super cool signals. Between mice, cotton-tops, data, graphs, conditioning circuits, I’m finding it super exciting and inspiring. More to come on this track.

On Tuesday, it will be time to install Debian Neuroscience in a lab computer. This will be really beautiful. I’m trying to get myself to speak Julia more, but switching between languages is not always as efficient as in Montreal.

pinterest: a sexist social network service

I created an account on pinterest these days, as soon as I knew that Jure Leskovec, a big name on big data is the new pinterest’s chief scientist. I was excited to see how his work would progressively change a platform.

My first impression was horrible, not to say terrifying. There was an entry selection for gender, as soon as a click on female, suddenly all these images of clothing, fashion, cooking, marriage poped up on my screen. I felt so disturbed that for a second I didn’t know what to do, I even felt embarrassed for something I didn’t do (horrible socially constructed feeling). I searched for a place where I could select my interests and among the list of things they offered me in this search, I couldn’t find engineering, science, physics. Yes, I found dance and ballet there. It was something. Scrolling down, again, again, and again, and nothing. I had to use the search tool and type engineering, science, etc, one by one.

Well, I was confused and disturbed but finally my feed looked like something I could relate with. But, one of these days, I receive, by e-mail, a suggestion of trends supposedly design for my interests and (again) supposedly using tools of data science. The results was this:

pinterest

Tips for cleaning, recipes etc. Don’t take me wrong, as an independent human being, I do like those things but I do not consume them as information.

If in the beginning I was curious about the results of Jure’s work on it, now I wish him good luck. Whatever data processing they have there, it’s garbage, it’s gender centered and sexist. I’m mad. I think I won’t wait improvements to come, even if I love the street art pictures, science anecdotes, ballet pictures etc.

We need better data science! All technical decisions are also political, therefore we need to keep discussing privacy and respect, otherwise we will end up in a fugazzi cloud of information, which will require new spam detection tolls to filter them out. (uhh… looks good… data science creating the next generation of data science jobs, now I get it). And yes, by the way, we should finally design tools that do not require gender definition whatsoever.

Liberation

They started making out as usual those days of ovulation and fire. She came down on him but in her way, she couldn’t control her compulsion. 

It was huge and its colors were hard to ignore. She could almost feel her hands on it, the explosion in the moment of the liberation. She could not control herself, she ignored him completely and went for it. 

After the intensity of the explosion, he couldn’t keep up with the sexual act, his ingrown hair was now released but he was down to sleep. 

Since my friend N, argentinisimo, showed me Spinoza’s text: ‘On the Improvement of the Understanding‘, a text that circulated unfinished before 1662(?) and was finally published in its final version after Spinoza’s death in 1677.

Spinoza’s text is powerful if one is searching for purpose, personal evaluation, and life changes. He starts by discussing the ordinary objects of men’s desires:

For the ordinary
surroundings of life which are esteemed by men (as their actions
testify) to be the highest good, may be classed under the three
heads—Riches, Fame, and the Pleasures of Sense: with these three the
mind is so absorbed that it has little power to reflect on any different
good.

He then defends a minimalist and humble life in his ‘rules of life’, which are probably unattainable in the current capitalist world, but which idealism makes sense as a reference with its place in time.

Maybe one of the most up-to-date claims of Spinoza is the idea that we should understand what is real or not. This is also a difficult task when everything is made to seduce us into consumption, passiveness at a certain level or in certain spaces, etc. Any form of isolation or obsession is indeed the creation of another reality which exists to make your world more comfy. But it is not real. Discerning one thing from another requires a continuous mind inquietude.

I shall confine
myself to what concerns method—that is, to the character of fictitious,
false and doubtful perceptions, and the means of freeing ourselves
therefrom

I like to say that the laws of physics help me defining my ideas and that I sometimes I catch myself trying to live as an experiment, which requires method, hypotheses, evaluation, discussion. After all, I think I’m nuts but Spinoza goes even deeper into this:

We need, therefore, be in no fear of forming hypotheses,
so long as we have a clear and distinct perception of what is involved.
For, if we were to assert, haply, that men are suddenly turned into
beasts, the statement would be extremely general, so general that there
would be no conception, that is, no idea or connection of subject and
predicate, in our mind.

I hope you find yourself curious about this text and that one day we get the chance to discuss it.

aparecida

Last weekend I visited an iconic site in Brazil: the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora Aparecida. This saint is the Brazilian patroness.

The first intriguing thing about this place is the numbers. During the religious holiday celebrating Our Lady of Aparecida, up to 300,000 pilgrims visit the basilic during the weekend. People come from everywhere including across seas. The parking lot? 6,000 cars, but most of the visitors travels for a couple of days by bus to reach the Basilic.

The second and most intriguing thing to me is the faith and humiliation expressed by devotees paying tribute or bring their offerings to the saint. Some walk on their knees for about 4 km, others carry heavy figurines of Aparecida or a cross.

The take away:

* it is hard not to be touched by the atmosphere of this place. There are so many people desiring the good, trusting, offering their life, so humble …. it is indeed overwhelming

* beyond faith resides business. Catholic priest and admins, Jewish, Muslims which own a small – mostly informal – businesses … all of them make business life in Aparecida’s city really active. There is no single way of exploiting the devotees’ faith that hadn’t been used in that town. In the end, everything comes to money.

aparecida's devotee

Some silence is required to remember the essential in life and how hard it is not to perceive it till it is not there anymore.

take some time for silence and contemplation.

look forward but keep an eye on your ground.

colorfulness

A while ago, movies about Nazism, slavery, and dictatorships would annoy me a lot. Facing the decision to watch them or not, I’d always think that I had had enough. The reason: I have a hard time coping with the  segregation, suffering, and distress that people like me had. And the worst: it was also caused by people like me. I had a hard time feeling any sense of belonging to this humanity.

Today a tweet hit me like a shot. @JasonMitch was retweeted by @EdgeofSports in my timeline:

“When the color of your skin is perceived as a ‘weapon’ there is no such thing as being unarmed.” (@JasonMitch)

Today, it has been one year that unarmed black Mike Brown was killed with no evidences he could cause any harm.

Today, a song came to my memory: It’s called Angelica by Chico Buarque. The song talks about a woman that couldn’t bury her son that was thrown in the ocean by the Brazilian dictatorship. The song says: “How’s that women that sings the same chorus, she just wanna to cradle her son that lives in the darkness of the ocean.”.

One thought:

I wish all those movies had a documentary appeal and that we weren’t living under similar segregation and distress.

These movies are indeed a mirror of our own current reality, which can be called into question through these movies. So, no, I hadn’t had enough.  Apparently, the message was not caught yet.

Youtube has a good selection of movies about the Brazilian dictatorship. Some suggestions are:

RIP Mike Brown. RIP all victims of police brutality and racism.

ain’t no space for me

Today, the rain was somehow so similar to snow. I could feel it. Listening to Godspeed, I could sense Montreal while waiting for the bus. My thoughts have been loose and I’m lost. Into the deepest of my own, I can barely stand the feeling that I don’t know what I’ve done or thought against what I’ve been dreamed about.
I’m late and this is a continuum. But I can’t tell I haven’t been able to prioritize. Buses are just so fucking horrible. It’s school break and I didn’t take this into account.
No. No umbrella for me. I like the feeling of this drizzle on my hair. It’s not enough rain to interfere on my phone’s touch screen. Fair enough. No bus. No bus. I’ll be damn late.

Time for a shelter. Fucking stupid public transportation. Fuckin mafia.

Bus.
No. It was not.
Another one in the corner. Maybe….

I took it as I used to do everyday. How pretty and stressful commutes can be. It’s just a question of having time for it.

My hip is odd. Better, it’s just like any other humid day of pain. My back is on fire, distressed and unquiet. It talks to me every minute while I ignore it and try to dismiss this weird conversation and the alert.

Oh. I’ll be late. Godamn.

Weirdos alike, I feel safe. Godspeed, oh Godspeed, you give me explosions in the sky and Le soleil sort de la bouche.

Canada Canada. I ain’t be your son.

bad on finishing things

I guess I’m bad on finishing things in general… I don’t wanna be sassy or too impulsive, so I drag into my thoughts and reconsider, reconsider, reconsider….

It’s not always a good choice tho, sometimes, and most of the times, it is just a relief to get it done, the decision I mean… get over it.

transition times are hard… so hard… specially with no perspective. between two spaces and not in any of them… too smart for one, too dummy for another…

who knows… maybe I was too optimistic, maybe I’m too pessimistic now… I’m lost

which world do I belong? I feel like a 16-yo trying to find her group… desiring to fit it… contradiction rules!

bending the rules and keeping it forward and curvy

try again

this story might be long, for me, has last long enough, enough!

age 14, I joined technical high school on  Electronics. I think I was 15 when we were given a practical assignment in the Digital Electronics course. The open path to make it was chosen by all my colleagues, but I knew how do it using that component. I thought I could use another component. The professor said it was feasible but didn’t know how. Logically, as everything in Electronics, it would work but it did not. I watched all my colleagues getting that shit done, except me and the lazy ones. I don’t remember the teacher judging me or discouraging my “different way”. I think this was the key. He couldn’t understand why it was not working either. I finally found a pin priority function that was screwing things up. I remember I was so happy finding it out, finding something by myself, digging in and finding it out. I was not conscious at the time, but I understood that this was my jam.

Then, I went to study Electrical Engineering. Actually, in Brazil, there is a major admission exam for joining public universities. Public universities in Brazil are the ones that hold quality, research, and innovation. The private ones, with few exceptions, are not worth mentioning. When you register, you were given three options 1,1a,2. My choices were mechatronics, electrical eng, and industrial eng. I didn’t get a good mark to join mechatronics, and I was approved for industrial eng. man, I thought I went bad, third option. Actually, a year later, thinking on reapplying for the exam and already studying industrial engineering (which I hated), I discovered that actually industrial was my second option and not third. Then, I was informed there was something called “internal mobility”, which allowed students to transfer from one faculty to another. Electrical engineering had had several spots for internal mobility in the past semesters, so I decided to request a spot as soon as possible: after the 4th semester. By the 4th semester, I was already known for my political stands.  There was never a single spot for internal mobility since my interest came out, all vacant spots were designated for external mobility (mainly students coming from private schools). I forgot the industrial engineering curriculum and I took all the electrical engineering classes, where I was segregated for being registered in an *inferior* engineering faculty (*not real engineering*), even if I took all the classes they took. A year prior to finish the requirements for graduation,  I took the admission exam again, with no preparation. My chances were far from high: I hadn’t studied portuguese and chemistry for 4 years, and hadn’t had solid studies on biology, geography, history, etc since primary school (technical high school didn’t have those disciplines). I was approved, and they were obliged to take me. Of course, they made me do a lot of extra courses but I finally graduated with 4200 hours instead of 3500 like my colleagues.

Then, time for the masters. I was approved with scholarship for two programs I applied for, both in mechanical engineering, one in first place and the other in second. It was really hard to choose one, really. I decided to go for the one with less funding, less support, and a way less glitter than the other one, for a single reason: I could do what the hell I had in my fucking mind, I could have my own research questions instead of running research about the details of the detail of an industrial partner piece of technology. I took three instead of two years to finish as a butthole wouldn’t lend me the equipment to run my experimental studies and I didn’t want to deliver something theoretical. I finally delivered the thesis and the committee got super mad at me for two reasons: first, it was too long (I was stupid enough to have ~400 pages long dissertation) and I had really political acknowledgments (which I don’t regret at all). My defense took over 4 hours, and finished with a fight between electrical versus mechanical engineering professors. At some point, I was completely ignored while they were using the contribution of my thesis as subject for ego fighting. I was approved but had to reduce the text to 80-100 pages, which I sort of did in 120 pages total. Time to get that shit signed after all. The committee president, the guy I decided not to work with when I chose the master’s program, had to approve the final version. After rejecting version after version for four months, he clearly stated what the real problem was. He would flip the pages, reaching the acknowledgments, and then choose a random page and complain about something, saying “change it”. Again, all my colleagues were done at this point, except me. One of the professor from the committee said, your acknowledgments are in your way, I don’t know what else. I remember one day, after another batch printing of copies and another version reproved, I sat down in the side walk in front of the professor’s university building crying as a kid, short of breath, and not able to coordinate my thoughts. A professor that I had work with was taking his car out of the parking lot, saw me, and said, “c’mon Carol, what’s going on?” I showed the print outs. He said: “go home and take your time, you can think properly now”. As I couldn’t make sense of life, I follow his directions and went home. cried like hell and once more thought on leaving academia forever. I threatened my advisor saying I would give up on the title, and if he wanted it, he should at last do something. After yelling at him at his fancy administration office, he finally reviewed my text for the first time, and ask revisions, after which the committee president would approve. I did and finally got it signed.

I won’t even tell how much I’ve dropped to go to Canada for the PhD. After 4 years and 2 journal papers, I found another rock on my shoes. No matter if political, IP, technical, or ego related issue this person have with me (as I can’t prove), probably with my advisor, I found myself once more in the same situation. This time is even more ridiculous as I was way more dedicated with my work and no political stands were clear to the academic public. Besides that, giving my personal biomechanical issue, my work was directed to it and I was not able to differentiate work from life. When it happened, I felt something was taken from me, and this was my life. Fortunately, before any major harm, I realized my work is not my life.  The reminder was given by my mom and by the risk that my biomechanical complications come from a rheumatic disease that is progressively making me loose my range of motion. Thinking on not being able to move and dance reduce my academia frustration to hell, where tell should live and die. I’m sure something good is reserved to me, and I’m ready. I’ve had enough, long enough.

 

“don’t say the song is lost” (Raul Seixas)

“don’t think that your brain stands it if you stop”(Raul Seixas)

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