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Showing posts from December, 2005

Leftist countries grow more in Latin America

According to a report from the Economic Comission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), countries governed by leftist parties had higher economic growth in Latin America in 2005. In recent years (Cuba being the exception), many countries have elected presidents from leftist parties (Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and now Bolivia... the list keeps growing). Why? Well, rightwing governments seem to be less aware of the social problems that are common to all Latin American countries. At least they don't do much to solve the problems. A big one is the debt, that some of the mentioned countries have been paying in advance. Another is unemployment. (If you solve these, activating the economy, there is no need for people to immigrate). Hopefully, it seems that Mexico will join the list of leftist countries next year...
Now, I wouldn't say that socialist development programmes are the best for all countries in the world. Some really need dictatorships (otherwise …

Evolution of Complexity Workshop @ ALifeX Conference

Tom Lenaerts and I are organising a workshop on the Evolution of Complexity You can read more at ecco.vub.ac.be/ECO/

The Gringan Wall...

Last weekend I read an article by Jorge Carrillo Olea in La Jornada. (The full article in Spanish is here)It speaks about the big wall that USA intends to build along its border with Mexico. The author notes that Ronald Reagan (Bush's political grandfather, we could say), became famous (among other things...) for asking Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall... The article also reflects on the uselessness of other big walls throughout history (Chinese, Hadrian's, Israeli...)Well, this just adds to the contradictions that the USA is used to do. Claiming to be the "land of the free", in the 50's people became blacklisted if they were suspected communists... speak about freedom of speech... They invaded Irak against the U.N. security council, with the excuse to overthrow a tyrant that did torture and other horrible things... I am not saying this is not true, but the USA does the same and worse things in Irak, Guantanamo, etc... that's called hypocre…

Rude times we live in...

Following Nadia's advice, I started reading "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door" by Lynne Truss. It is not a guide to good manners, but more of an exhibition of the rudeness ruling today's lifes, with a focus to the UK. Comparing with Victorian times, it seems that indeed we are going downhill. But if you go before, let's say French Revolution... I don't think that the aristocrats were polite to the paisans, nor vice versa... (Exquius mee, monsieur, vould iu bee zo keind too ghemoove iugh hat beefough enteghing de guillotine?).

All this made me think of what José Emilio Pacheco and other mexican authors said some months ago about empathy. Adding a bit of spice from my own sack, it was something like: "Empathy is lacking in our present society. This is a cause of crime and violence (and rudeness), because people cannot put themselves in the place of others. Otherwise, they woul…

Religion and Science

We all know that Christmas is more than presents (tell that to a 5 year old, bombarded since October by TV ads)... I know that it is a Christian holiday, but I believe that in many cases it's more a time to spend together with family than anything else. (Also in Mexico we don't have Thanksgiving, and New Year is celebrated sometimes more with friends than with family).

OK, I don't have a religion, and many countries in theory don't have an official one either. (e.g. Mexico is a laic state, but December 25th is one of the five official holidays of the year) But I don't think that even if religions change, Christmas would be declared useless... Well, the same goes for religions. Scientific evidence against many strongly held religious beliefs demands a change in them: shape of the Earth, origin of life, origin of human species... (read Christian De Duve's "Life Evolving" (he's a catholic)). But the moral function of religions is not provided by any …

Complex Humour

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I am busy with different aspects of complex systems (from scientific and philosopical points of view)
Some time ago (having nothing better to do, it seems), I made some complexity-related cartoons... Here's one of them:


Recent aphorisms...

“A happy life is full of sufferings”

“Only misery is for free”

“Even if you do everything a woman wants, it will not be enough. But of course, this is no reason for not doing it”

“Understanding is but the sum of our misunderstndings” -Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart, Ch. 11, p. 146


You can find many more at http://homepages.vub.ac.be/~cgershen/jlagunez/aforismos.html
(since 1997)

My first blog...

What for to have a blog? Well, there's only one way to find out...