Sunday, September 16, 2012

Portuguese Anti-austerity demonstration

I'm a Portuguese living in Germany, yesterday roughly 7% of my country's population participated in an Anti-austerity demonstration.

That is close to 700.000 people all over the country.

Unemployment is rising, grandmothers are spending their pensions on their grandsons to suport them, many families live with < 600 Euros (US $790) per month as one of the parents struggles to find a job.

People with degrees usually work 10-12 hours a day with the simple hope of not being the next layoff.

But the employer's demand is not because they want to abuse, instead because they are stressed. Many companies are in kept in near life-support, with increasing taxes, decreasing sales and no other way to increase profits other than demanding more work from the employees. The government measures seem to approve by increasing minimum working hours and basically ignoring employee complaints all together.

Portuguese were told they needed to make sacrifices, for a country already low on expenses, last year that meant a cut of 15% in taxes and an increase of 2.5 work hours.

Our compensation was saying that more cuts would be necessary this year.
Needless to say people weren't happy.

What sadness me the most is how most EU media will handle this. I remember watching CNN life when the same happened in Greece and then comparing it to European sources were everything was minimized..

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fat Aliens

A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has spotted sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star. This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.
The astronomers found molecules of glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar [1] — in the gas surrounding a young binary star, with similar mass to the Sun, called IRAS 16293-2422. Glycolaldehyde has been seen in interstellar space before [2], but this is the first time it has been found so near to a Sun-like star, at distances comparable to the distance of Uranus from the Sun in the Solar System. This discovery shows that some of the chemical compounds needed for life existed in this system at the time of planet formation [3].