15 de ago. de 2016

Setting up my Windows MinGW C++ environment

So... I have to run some code, and it takes hours to run. In the meanwhile, I was thinking of programming some stuff: I have been reading a lot about Neural Networks lately and I thought I could generate some code to guarantee that I do understand the concepts as well as I believe I do. But the problem is: I wanted to have fun, and I can only have fun if I do my program beautifully in C++. My first step was (as I would do when I was giving my initial steps towards becoming a C++ programmer) installing Code::Blocks; but I soon realized it hides a lot of my options behind that User Interface, and it is really annoying having to search for everything there. I needed a a g++, a Makefile... stuff that I am used to when programming in Windows.

When I was in my third semester in my Bachelor, I had tried installing MinGW once, and it was really a pain (and in the end I failed miserably). I decided I would do it this time. MinGW has everything I need: it has a compiler (g++.exe) and a make (mingw32-make.exe). If you go to their website, you can find a nice installer. I tried installing it following the orientations in Documentations->Getting Started. Basically, all I had to do was to run that installer (notice that, ideally, you should install MinGW in an address that doesn't have spaces -- as they say in the website, the best place is C:/MinGW), and a nice window would appear asking me which packets to install (pretty much like the Package Manager of Ubuntu). I chose the packets I wanted, clicked in Apply Changes, and everything seemed to have worked perfectly.

Then, following the rest of the instructions, I was supposed to have installed MSYS. MSYS is a minimalist shell with whatever I may need to run the MinGW commands more comfortably. It is important to notice: one can use MinGW from the Windows `cmd`. I wanted a lot a nice shell... and it was only then that I realized I actually already had one: if you install Git in Windows (which I was going to do next anyway) it comes along with MSYS2 (apparently some fancy version of MSYS -- I didn't take the trouble to read more about it). If you run `Git Bash` in your system, this is what I am talking about.

One can configure Git Bash by editing a file called .bash_profile in the home folder. Just type

$ vim ~/.bash_profile

to edit this file. In this file, I edited the path to include MinGW, and also made some alias (so that I don't have to write `mingw32-make` everytime I want to run make. I included the following lines:

alias make='mingw32-make'

Done. Now you can run stuff like g++ blah.cpp to compile any .cpp file, or also make to run your Makefile. The nice thing is that, if you go to the MinGW folder and run ./mingw-get you can still install a lot of MinGW libraries using its package manager. Then you just need to include something like


in your Makefile to allow g++ to find the library, and probably include some linking flags along.

I was happy on how simple all of this was.


1 de jun. de 2016

Repro-dropping Brazilian Portuguese

(This is something I had very long ago thought about, and I am not even sure if I ever wrote about it here, but because I can't sleep and don't have any mood to do anything more productive I thought of writing here.)

Something that I have realized for a while about Brazilian Portuguese (ok, maybe there is literature about it, I didn't check) is that Brazilian Portuguese has done a move that is similar to French a while back and nowadays has become mostly non-pro-drop. This means that, while in languages like Spanish or Latin saying things like

Spanish: Estoy comiendo pasta.
English: [I] am eating pasta. (the word "I" was ommited in the Spanish sentence)

is common, it is not generally common to hear the equivalent Estou comendo pasta (which is, however, prescriptively grammatical, that is, can be accepted generally according to what we learn in school). Instead, we generally don't drop the pronoun (that is why "non-pro-drop") and do it like in English, Eu estou comendo pasta, with the I in the beginning.

Why does this happen? I think the problem is with ambiguity (which is the same with French): Brazilian Portuguese has (in many many regions!) simply stopped using the conjugations of the verbs in the second person. What does this mean? Below is a chart with how Portuguese has changed:
Hey... it is pretty neat, isn't it. I didn't expect to manage to express it that well =)

As you can see in the image, both tu (second person singular, i.e., you singular) and vós (second person plural, i.e., you plural) are simply gone. Most people don't use them. The first person plural (we) also got mapped into the same conjugation of the third person singular (he): instead of saying we, we say a gente (which means the people), and then conjugate the verb as if we were referring to them (in Portuguese, gente is singular... so we use the third person singular).

I call this phenomenon "third-personalization" of Portuguese (actually, I use a word in Portuguese: "terceiro-personalização"). Because it makes everything so ambiguous (it also causes us to drop the second person possessive pronouns, and use the third as if they were second... and then use something else for the third), we need to say what we are referring to when we conjugate a verb (similar problem with French, where a lot of stuff sounds the same and it is impossible to tell what they are referring to simply by the verb conjugation).

[before I proceed, I need to just say something: this is by no means the way everyone speaks. E.g., people in my region, including me, use tu and conjugate the verb in the third person (e.g., you eats). People in Rio use tu and você interchangeably, people in many regions still use nós, people in the Amazon, as far as I know, conjugate the verbs right, and many other places scattered through the country still make a fair distinction between the conjugations of tu and você. One thing, however, applies to everyone: noone uses vós (actually, I try a lot to, and lots of people find it funny)]

But hey... pronouns are words that are repeated everywhere by everyone all the time. And because they are used so often, we are good at correcting wrong pronunciations of them, right? For example, theoretically, the way I'd say the you eat in Portuguese is tu come (read again the last paragraph if you don't get why I wouldn't follow that chart). But my pronunciation of it is actually very "bad", and I can't notice any difference between saying tcome and tu come. Similarly, for people who say você, I don't see a lot of difference (but I see some... and I don't know how to represent it in letters) between saying ce come (contraction of você come) and scome. Even the 3-syllabic a gente becomes some aentsch when near a verb: aentschcome could perfectly express how I say a gente come when speaking rapidly.

So... what if we could reanalyse this grammar? What if we have been looking in the wrong place all the time? What if the t/c/entsch are actually part of the conjugation of the verb, and actually dropping the pronoun is mandatory, as opposed to optional? Or even... maybe we don't even have these pronouns after all, and everything is part of the same construction. Then the verb conjugations would look more or less like this:

The letters "ö" and "ä" are actually supposed to sound as they would in German.
What would have to change so that this new grammar makes sense? First thing: negation. The sound (corresponding to our não, meaning not) would have to come after the conjugation, and would have to be attached to the verb. E.g.,

öcomo -----> öcomo
äntschcome -----> äntschcome

Negation, actually, seems to be only one specific case among a myriad of words that generally can come in between the pronoun and the verb, as sempre (always), nunca (never) normalmente (normally) or nem (not even), that would have to be reanalyzed as either part of the word, or "words that you put in between words" (does this even make sense?). E.g.,

Portuguese: ö-sempre-como
English: I always eat

So far, it would be still ok, but there is one problem I see (that I don't know how to solve unless we make Portuguese the language with most hifens ever): we can put some weird "subordinate" clauses in between the pronoun and the verb:

Portuguese: eu sempre que tenho tempo como negrinho.
English (in the order of Portuguese): I always when have time eat negrinho.
(yes, I ommited the I between when and have to reflect how the sentence is in Portuguese)
[negrinho is my regional word for "brigadeiro", a small ball of chocolate common in parties]

But actually this doesn't seem to be the "direct" way in which we would say stuff. To me, what we are doing there is using only one eu for two sentences (and that is why we say the sentence in that order). The "direct" way in which I think I would say this is:

Portuguese: sempre que eu tenho tempo, eu como negrinho.
English: always when I have time, I eat negrinho.

And then we don't incur in this problem.

I actually find it way more interesting (and fun) to look at Portuguese this way. Then our verb conjugations would be composed by circumfixes instead of suffixes (that are boring). We could even include the demonstrative pronouns as one more class of conjugations:

Portuguese: Esse é o seu carro.
English: This is your/his car. (again, third-personalization: "seu" is ambiguous here)
New Portuguese: essé o seu carro.

But... well... anyone please tell me your opinions =)


26 de mai. de 2016

Elisa adventures -- As aventuras de Elisa

[versão em Português abaixo]

I may start writing some random "tales" about someone I call Elisa.

Why? Well... through the years I have been writing here a lot of thoughts, and I have many other thoughts that I don't write here, and this place became a place where simply thoughts are "thrown". But lately I had been thinking to myself: what if I could write tales instead? What if these thoughts were somehow parts of my tales? What if, through the tales, I could pass to the reader the ideas that I think about, only in a more "literary" way?

Unfortunately, I will write in Portuguese: I want to play with my writing style in Portuguese, which is very "excentric" to say the least, using very strange conjugations, and strange pronouns, and creating new words all the time. I will probably end up creating translations into English -- because I want the ideas I discuss in the story to be also read --, but the English versions would probably lose the style (which may be bad... but well... maybe I end up managing to bring some of my "weirdity" into English anyways).

 I still don't know where I'd publish my stories -- maybe here, maybe in another blog, maybe I won't even publish them for a while --, but in the worst case I will create a new tab there in the top of the page saying where to find them. I am very excited with this (although, well, I should be studying about Neural Networks at this moment). Hope at least any one reads this and finds it entertaining.

[version in English above]

Eu devo começar a escrever "contos" aleatórios sobre alguém que eu chamo de Elisa.

Por quê? Bem... através dos anos eu venho escrevendo aqui um monte de pensamentos, e eu tenho muitos outros que eu não escrev aqui, e esse lugar se tornou um lugar onde simplesmente pensamentos são "jogados". Mas ultimamente eu venho pensando comigo mesmo: e se eu pudesse escrever contos em vez disso? E se esses pensamentos fossem de alguma forma partes dos meus contos? E se, através dos contos, eu pudesse passar ao leitor idéias sobre que eu penso, só que em uma forma mais "literária"?

Eu devo escrever em Português: eu quero brincar com meu estilo em Português, que é no mínimo bastante "excêntrico", e que usa conjugações super estranhas, e pronomes estranhos, e cria palavras novas todo o tempo. Eu devo provavelmente acabar criando traduções pro Inglês -- porque eu quero que as idéias que eu devo discutir na história sejam lidas também --, mas as versões em Inglês vão provavelemnte perder o estilo (o que deve ser ruim... mas bem... talvez eu acabe conseguindo trazer um pouco da minha "estranheza" pro Inglês de qualquer forma).

Eu ainda não sei como eu vou publicar as minhas histórias -- talvez aqui, talvez num outro blg, talvez eu nem as publique ainda por um tempo --, mas no pior caso eu vou pelo menos criar uma nova aba lá no topo da página dizendo onde encontrá-las. Eu to bem empolgado com isso (apesar de que, bem, eu deveria estar estudando Redes Neurais nesse momento). Tomara que pelo menos alguém as leia e as ache entretenentes.


25 de mar. de 2016

Palavras Africanas / African Words

Brazilian Portuguese is full of words with African origin. Because the black people came to Brazil as slaves, however, they often are loaded with some bad connotation. The other day I started listing some that, to me, sounded African (I know I am being very loose and treating the different people as if they were all the same... but this is supposed to be a fast post =) ), and a friend called me racist because I could only remember words with bad connotation (actually, it was not true -- some words were food names, and he ignored them v__v). I wanted to put somewhere a list of them (so that I can close some tabs in my browser), and that is why I am posting this here.

The version in Portuguese of the article on Kimbundu (a language spoken by many of the slaves who came to Brazil) in Wikipedia has a list of many of the words I am looking for, like
  • muamba: anything that is cheap in another place that you bring home when coming back -- often without paying the taxes);
  • muleque: boy;
  • bunda: ass;
  • fubá: some corn flour/powder.
Another word, mandinga (a curse or a "spell"), comes from the Mandinka people in West Africa. Also, some places say that treta (previously, I always heard it as a "scheme", in sentences like tem treta nisso aí ["there is treta in this thing"], but nowadays it became some kind of "flamewar", and people say isso vai dar uma treta [this is gonna cause a huge treta]) is European, having versions in Spanish and French, while mutreta (this can only have the first scheme meaning) probably came from Kimbundu.

Finally, there are two words that confused me.
  • balangandã actually comes from just the sounds that heavy stuff hanging does. It should refer to some "ornaments" that women wear, but also sometimes is used as how "tough" some woman is, in sentences like não tem balangandã pra isso (i.e., "[this woman] doesn't have enough balangandã for this").
  • maracutaia, which is just a "fraud" or a "scheme" (just like mutreta above), was said to come from indigenous origins when proferred by our ex-president Lula in the 90's, but apparently it is unclear where it comes from.
In fact, finally, while this Facebook post is VERY inaccurate (apparently, they didn't take the trouble to check the origins of the words before writing those stuff), it has a list of at least interesting words that I suppose are not much used in Portugal. It is public, so you don't need Facebook to see it.

Sobre "ser" / On "to be"

[Desculpa falantes de Português. Dessa vez sem tradução =/ ]

In the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, I spent some time with a colleague who liked to be "philosophical", to discuss about random concepts. One day, I suggested a question (but we ended up never discussing much about it) to him, which is the topic of this post: "what is 'to be' something?" [see below for a discussion on how this question was badly translated into English]. As the time goes, I often come back to this question. This post is about random stuff I thought about it.

On the "Romance copula"

When I asked this friend, I said it in Portuguese (naturally, since I was in Brazil -- and no one in his full mental health would be speaking in English there unless there is a very good reason for it). This has some "hairy" implications, which justify making a detour on the main topic and talking about how our verb for "to be" evolved.

[the Wikipedia has a full article on this topic, but I recommend a grain of salt: the Portuguese part has at least one example sentence that I don't like, "confusing" copula with the passive]

As (I suppose) you know, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian (and many other languages) descend from Latin. As any Indo-European language (besides English =P), verbs in Latin could assume many forms. Because of that, it was easy to confuse conjugations of one verb as if they were part of some other (or simply not using some conjugation because it "didn't sound" well). Through time, three verbs gave birth to "to be" in the Romance Languages: sedere, esse and stare.  I want to talk a little about these verbs:
  • sedere: apparently, it meant "to sit". There is another verb related to it, sidere, which meant "to sit down". I was taking a look at their etimologies and comparing them to the opposition between setzen and sitzen in German (and set and sit in English) and apparently they are all cognates (but I'm not sure -- will have to take a better look at the Wiktionary).
    For our purposes, what matters is that this verb merged with the third one, esse and generated a lot of its conjugations.
  • stare: "to stay", or "to stand". Stare is a very interesting verb. Its past participle was status, and gave birth to English's state and it is even cognate with English stand and German stehen. Words like instance or circumstances are also derived from its active present participle.
    In Latin, it was possible to sometimes use stare in places where esse should be used, but apart from these cases, it didn't normally have (as far as I know) the meaning of to be.
  • esse: this was the verb for "to be" in Latin. But notice also other words that this verb created. From its active present participle, the word essentia gave birth to essence and essential. A corrupted version of the active present participle, ens, created things like entity.
Why it is interesting to know this? The thing is that Portuguese (the language in which I posited the question to my friend) has two translations for the "to be" from English (similar usages also occur in Spanish and Catalan, for example; but there are some discrepancies, and it is always great to talk in Spanish and find out I am using the wrong one):
  • ser: descendent of a mixture between sedere and esse, this to be is more related to the "essence" of what is being talked about. If I say "I am (ser) happy", this means I am a happy person. It doesn't mean I can't get unhappy for a moment, but it means that "overall" I am happy.
  • estar: direct descendant from stare, but with a different meaning. This to be is more related to the "state" of what is being talked about. If I say "I am (estar) happy", this means I am currently (at this moment) happy, because, e.g., the sun is shining or I ate a good lasagna.
So, now, I can finally "retranslate" my question (that one I asked my friend) in a [weirdly] different way: "What is 'to be' (ser) something?".

Another possible way of viewing it

Something that disturbs me a litte is how loose our use of this "essence vs. state" difference is in Portuguese. Instead of  (or in addition to) this difference, people often refer to another opposition: that of "permanence vs. state". But...

When I say I am alive, I use estar. If I say I am (ser) alive, then it sounds like (i.e., it is a slang for) I am always careful not to be fooled. Analogally, I say my grandfather is (estar) dead, but he obviously can't change his state of being dead.

It becomes actually worse because I can say someone is (ser) dead, and it sounds to me either that he is always "down", "slow", in a terrible mood; or that he is (and won't ever not be) a dead being (like a zombie, or something).

And to confuse the non-native speaker, there is actually even an expression, agora Inês é morta (i.e., "now Inês is (ser) dead"), meaning now it is too late, which uses ser for the dead state of Inês (a woman).

A humble answer

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. Sometimes, in order to make us (children) eat something, she would tell us some lies. I.e., she would say there is no something at home, so that I would eat something_else. The problem was that, because she did it too often, and having seen that something was actually there, I would say it is a lie (in Portuguese, I'd simply speak "lie" -- implying that what was just said was a lie).

Immediately, the other adults would look at me and tell me something along the lines of "aren't you ashamed of calling your grandma a lier?". For me, it was not the case. I was not saying she is (ser) a lier: I was saying she is (estar) lying [though the lie is (ser) a lie]. She would be (ser) a lier only if she did it all the time (which actually she did......... but oh well :v ).

Here in Kaiserslautern, I made a friend I rarely can trust to be punctual. While initially I would say he only was (estar) unpunctual, through time I started simply accepting that this is who he is (ser). When I complained to him about his problem, I recalled the question (topic of this post). Basically, I told the same: if a person lies only once or twice, I can't say he is (ser) a lier, but only that (probably) the circunstances led him to lie; but if a person lies all the time, then this characteristic becomes part of his "essence", and now he is (ser) someone who lies.

So, well... I don't believe this is actually very useful [it was only an excuse to talk a lot about these words], but this is just a humble answer.

And... what are (ser) we actually?

We are so transitory that we are (ser) not: we are (estar).
[a friend posted this in Facebook some time ago]

Something I have been thinking about now is that we often change our state. And this is expectable, right? It is just a state. In fact, I will post below my all time favorite Ted Talk, on how simply changing small body behaviors could help one to change a lot in how the body is functioning:

But it seems to me that we are often also capable of changing our essence (she herself in video above says "fake it until you become it" -- in opposition to "fake it until you make it"). What I am (ser) now doesn't necessarily is what I will become soon. Though I am (ser) currently a Portuguese speaker, nothing prevents me from (Deus o livre*) having an accident and completely forgetting the language, which would make me stop being (ser) a Portuguese speaker.

This can also happen in the opposite direction. Four years ago I wouldn't consider myself a Spanish speaker. Nowadays, I do say I am (ser) a [at least okay] Spanish speaker. Hopefully, in the next years, I will also become a Hindi speaker.

All of this makes me think of how much whatever our "essence" is keeps changing. One could think he is (ser) not intelligent, but through time and hard work change this belief (and/or actually even become intelligent?). It seems that if we think we are (ser) something (and, because it is our "essence", we can't change it) we end up embracing this something, and maybe even (if we actually weren't) becoming it. And conversely, if we think we are (state) something, then we feel capable enough of changing it.

Of course, I am not saying you can grow some height (if you are short), or change your skin color (though some rich and popular guy from the last century tried it); but there are things you for sure can change. And this reminded me, actually, of a Ted Talk on Mindset (some concept developed by some researchers in Stanford, apparently) I saw some time ago:

Well... that is it. I wanted to only share these ideas. I don't think they are in any way "groundbreaking" or "new", but I thought it would be a nice reminder that they exist =)

* I searched for a link to send you, reader, to understand this, and didn't find any. I couldn't believe. It means literally "God free him [of whatever is gonna be said]", and one often says that before saying something hipothetical situation in which something bad happens. It is also used in other contexts (e.g., if I do something really incredible, I myself would say it; or also if someone eats a lot and we want to express that the person doesn't ever stop eating -- though in this case I'd also use "benza Deus", i.e., something like "may God bless [him/you]"). I had never thought how strongly religious these expressions sound... HUEHUEAHUEA

20 de mar. de 2016

Poemas no blog [7] + mudanças / Poems in the blog [7] + changes

[Versão em Português abaixo]
If you were used to visit this place before, you will notice that I did some (many) changes. I created those menus there at the top, where I now include an "about" page with information about myself and the blog, a "poems" page with the list of all these poems I keep publishing here (in fact, seriously, I am kind of proud of the result :v ), and a "works" page, where I intend (soon) to put some list of different stuff I have worked on. Maybe through time I will have other ideas and create other pages.
Of course, it is some kind of "cult of personality" that I am doing here: it is clear I am trying to show how "good and likeable" I am. But the truth is that I wanted for a while already to create some kind of "website" for myself, where I'd store "stuff" I am somehow proud of having done, and now I decided to use Google's services for that purpose: Google Drive to store the links, and Blogger to create the webpage. Sure, it is not as flexible as it could be, but I think it is probably better than I'd have the patience to make it had I decided to do everything by myself (in fact, I know absolutely *nothing* about Web, and I am kind of ashamed of that =/ -- it is not a problem when you spend most of your time programming low level stuff in C =S).
Now... about the poem... I swear... this is the last poem in a row. I actually had already done it some time ago, and now I just wanted to post it here (so that I could list it in the "poems" page). The context is kind of melancholic, and I won't write too many details. To me, it sounds like it could easily become some samba, i.e., it could easily receive an "upgrade" from "poem" to "song" [after all, what is a song, but a poem with music?].

I hope you like it.
(of course... I know it is a shame the non-Portuguese speakers won't be able to appreciate it. I really hope I will soon come up with content that is not language specific )

[Version in English above]
Se estáveis acostumados a visitar esse lugar antes, então percebereis que eu fiz algumas (muitas) mudanças. Criei aqueles menus ali em cima, onde eu agora incluo [todas as páginas têm versão em Português] uma página "sobre" com informações sobre mim e o blog, uma página "poems" com uma lista de todos esses poemas que eu fico publicando aqui (de fato, sério, eu mei-que sou orgulhoso do resultado :v ), e uma página "works" [trabalhos], onde eu pretendo (mais pra frente) pôr uma lista de diferentes tralhas em que eu já trabalhei. Talvez através do tempo eu acabe tendo outras idéias e crie outras páginas.

É claro que isso é um certo "culto à personalidade" que eu to fazendo aqui: é claro que eu to tentando mostrar o quão "bom e gostável" eu sou. Mas a verdade é que eu queria já há um tempo criar algum tipo de "site" pra mim, onde eu guardaria "tralhas" de que eu tenho algum orgulho por ter feito, e agora eu decidi usar os serviços do Google pra esse propósito: Google Drive pra guardar os links, e Blogger pra criar a página. Certamente não é tão flexível quanto poderia ser, mas acho que é provavelmente melhor do que eu teria paciência de fazer se tivesse decidido fazer tudo por minha própria conta (de fato, eu não absolutamente *nada* sobre Web, e mei-que tenho vergonha disso =/ -- isso não é um problema quando se passa a maior parte do tempo programando coisas em baixo nível em C =S).

Agora... sobre o poema... eu prometo.... esse é o último poema um atrás do outro. Na verdade eu já o tinha feito um tempo atrás, e agora eu só quis postá-lo aqui (pra poder pô-lo na lista na página de poemas). O contexto é mei-que melancólico, e eu não darei muitos detalhes. Pra mim, ele soa como se pudesse facilmente tornar-se um samba, i.e., ele poderia facilmente ser "subido de nível" de "poema" pra "música" [afinal, o que é uma música, se não um poema musicalizado?].

Espero que gosteis.

(é claro... eu sei que é uma pena que os não falantes de Português não poderão apreciá-lo. Eu realmente espero logo idealizar algum conteúdo que não é específico pra uma só língua )

Oh Lua

A Lua há tempo já não
A Lua tentei em vão
Já a Lua dessa oração
não há.
Na Lua meu coração

À Lua humilde canção
Pagão, meus versos, então
"Oh dou-te o meu coração:
Contigo sempre estarei!"
bradei e com distinção

No peito a bondade vou
dos tempos em que deixou-se
Daquilo que me ensinou,
sem nada, pois, me cobrar,
a Lua, que, há tempo, já
(dizendo que forte sou)
partiu e só me deixou
silêncio, pois se ausentou.
Passou, ja foi, se ocultou
no mar.

21 de fev. de 2016

Poemas no blog [6]

[English version below]

Duns tempos pra cá, eu venho escrevendo poemas até que com uma certa freqüência. Tem sido um bom escape pra tensão das provas e trabalhos que se aproximam (o problema é que eu tenho "escapado" demais e produzido de menos). Hoje eu ocasionalmente me "inspirei" com o tema "ser adulto" e escrevi isso aí debaixo. Tomara que a alguém agrade =)


O tempo vai passando... com ele, a gente,
sem dúvida que, quando, no porvir,
nem mais banal, nem mais adolescente
for, já seguro então vai se sentir.

Um dia então percebe estranhamente,
que adulto o é, porém, sem perceber-
se diferente do seu eu recente.
Entende: terminou-se o adolescer.

Mas aonde foi aquela segurança
que os pais passavam quando era criança,
que víamos adultos sempre ter?

Parece que não é como se pensa,
que à diferença adulto não pertença
... ou o é e eu que adulto ainda não sei ser?

[Versão em Português acima]

Since some time ago, I've been writing poems with a certain frequency. It's been a good escape (escape way?) for the tension of the exams and works that are coming soon (the problem is that I've been "escaping" too much and producing too less). Today I occasionally got "inspired" with the theme "to be an adult" and wrote this thing. I hope you like =)

[ok ok... again... it is a poem, with metrics and rhymes. It is virtually impossible for me to translate it to English without breaking everything. I won't even try. But don't get disappointed... soon I write some content that makes sense in English :v]

7 de fev. de 2016

Poemas no blog [5]

[English version below]

Um amigo me tinha pedido pra voltar a escrever poemas por aqui. A procrastinação falou alto, e eu acabei fazendo-o.


Sem paz, permanece o menino,
em vão, nem insano nem são.
Sem ânimo ou fé, pequenino,
sem mimo, ao relento, sem chão.

Com tantas perguntas em mente,
confuso, ao léu, sem resposta.
Bem mal, no momento, se sente,
no tempo está sua aposta.

Não sabe se aquilo que vê
entende de forma correta;
lhe cabe, compreende, escolher

(assim desistente sem meta)
sozinho o caminho a correr.
Melhor já se sente, poeta.


[Portuguese version above]

A friend had asked me to start again writing poems in my blog. The procrastination was strong and I ended up doing it. Unfortunately, I write in Portuguese, and I simply can't see how to even start to translate it into English without breaking everything. Sorry to the foreigners =/

4 de fev. de 2016

On Problems / Sobre Problemas

[Versão em Português abaixo]

So... my hair is really long. It has been 1 year and 6 months now that I don't cut it. Funnily, many people say I look like Jesus (even people from other religions -- I will come back to this by the end of this post) and make jokes about me multiplying breads, and transforming water into wine. At some point, I realized too much of it has been falling. Besides, I don't like the current appearance: the hair seems always "broken". I have been trying to ask different people for ways to make it look better, but keep receiving conflicting information. So... well... I must say: somehow, I am frustrated with this "problem". When talking about it this week, someone told a sentence similar to "if this is the kind of problems you have been struggling with, then your life must be pretty easy lately".

In other moments, I'd probably just agree and ignore. I never cared about my appearance (reason why I always changed it a lot), and it would be just the obvious conclusion to draw. But this time this sentence made me think. But why? Probably because I actually have cared (at least a little) about it lately. Is my life that easy? Is it somehow different than it has ever been?

I always tend to think, when talking about different "levels" of problems, of the Maslow pyramid. Once, in a discussion about why european countries tended to give more value to humanities than poorer countries (like Brazil, in my case), a friend suggested that maybe their people (i.e., the europeans) were generally in a higher "level" of the Maslow pyramid. So, while we were still giving a lot of importance to money so that we could eat (giving importance to jobs that would earn more money, and not necessarily doing what we actually love), they, having food, would focus more on "what gives them meaning".

In fact, I could easily say that I always struggled with the "Love/Belonging" part of the pyramid. Despite being always surrounded by friends and family, I always had a serious difficulty on feeling "part" of the groups I was in. But I'd say this has been improving... and I nowadays could even say I have been finally developing some "okayer" self-esteem (which, well, any close friend would know I never had). Maybe this is a kind of problem that is completely different, after all. But is it in any way "worse" than the problems of people below the pyramid?

I always see (in 9gag, for example) lots of people complaining that women's problems (those that appear in stereotypical comics comparing women and men) are dumb problems, like "hair", "nails" or "being fat". Also, I always heard of couples that fight over petty things like "wet towel over the bed" or "the way they press the toothpaste". I think, somehow, that often what matters is not the problem, but how much someone cares about it

We often tend to dismiss other people's problems because they are not as important to us as they are to them. I always remember of my grandma, who used to put garlic in the lunch that my mom would eat, even though she knew that my mom would feel bad the whole afternoon because of it. For the grandma, mom was just being fussy (though she was already an adult); for mom, it was a serious problem.

People tend to give more importance to problems that are physical (like my mom feeling her stomach the whole afternoon for eating garlic, or someone having back pain) than to psychological ones. However, those guys of the Cognitive Sciences already know for some years that, e.g., feeling rejected activates the same areas of your brain as those "activated when you're burned by hot coffee". So if someone (me! This explains a lot how I often feel) is anxious and can't stop thinking about something, asking him if he has ever tried not to think won't help =/

Obviously, there should be (and I don't see how to impose) limits. If a person feels all the time threatened by some problem only he (or some of his group) sees in society, then this person probably needs help (i.e., it is probably not that society should change). I had followed for a while some discussions about safe spaces and trigger warnings in the USA, but at some point time was short and had to stop. For what is worth, I think that if a person needs trigger warnings for pretty much anything, or can't stand, for example, the usage words like violate in contexts completely unrelated to rape (like violate the law), then the person needs help!

Back to me... in previous times, I'd feel ridiculous for the kinds of problems I care about. I felt highly ashamed of them (while other people are hungry in Africa, I used to tell myself), but as my self-esteem has improved (as the result of a long process... finally leveling up in that Maslow pyramid), I started thinking about them as genuine problems, as things that I need to solve if I want to become a better person.

"A better person", in fact, can mean a lot of things. One thing I have difficulties to accept is duplicity of judgement -- reason why I hate so much lots of progressive groups that often hold that the exact same behaviors performed by different individuals are different things. I really liked the following video:

And this is where the hair/Jesus thing comes back: I keep asking myself (though I don't have major problems with it)... would those who make these kinds of jokes be willing to accept the same jokes with prominent elements of other religions? I actually am not fully sure about it. All of this thinking about problems made me start to believe that probably (and actually quite obviously, but in this context I think it makes sense to put it in words) the reason why speaking about elements of other religions is easier is that, after all, we care less about them. This explains why the same progressive groups above often have no respect by what is sacred for some... though, truly, I must say religion also often doesn't help with their causes, giving very less credit for feminism, for example. But well... this is something I don't have any strong opinion about (and I think I should stop here).

[basically... I decided to post this to see if it would help me to feel better about something I've been thinking about. Don't think it worked, but I liked the resulting post]


[English version above]

Então... o meu cabelo tá realmente longo. Já tem 1 ano e 6 meses que eu não o corto. É engraçado que muita gente diz que eu pareço Jesus (mesmo gente de outras religiões -- voltarei a isso ao fim da postagem) e faz piada sobre mim multiplicando pães, e transformando água em vinho. Em algum ponto, me liguei que tá caindo muito cabelo. Também, eu não gosto da aparência atual: o cabelo parece sempre "quebrado". Eu venho tentando perguntar pra diferentes pessoas por formas de fazer o cabelo parecer melhor; mas fico recebendo informação conflitante. Então... bem... devo dizer: de certa forma, estou frustrado com esse "problema". Quando conversando sobre isso essa semana, alguém me largou algo como "se esse é o tipo de problema que tu tem tido, então tua vida deve estar bem fácil ultimamente".

Em outros momentos, eu provavelmente apenas concordaria e ignoraria. Eu nunca me importei com minha aparência (razão pela qual eu sempre a mudei affuuuu), e essa seria simplesmente a conclusão óbvia a se chegar. Mas dessa vez essa frame me fez pensar. Mas por quê? Provavelmente porque eu na verdade (pelo menos um pouco) tenho me importado com isso. É a minha vida tão fácil? Tem ela sido de alguma forma diferente do que sempre foi?

Eu sempre tendo a pensar, quando falando de "níveis" de problemas, sobre a pirâmide de Maslow. Uma vez, numa discussão sobre por que os países europeus tendiam a dar mais valor às humanidades do que países mais pobres (como Brasil, no meu caso), uma amiga sugeriu que talvez as suas pessoas (i.e., os europeus) tivessem geralmente num "nível" mais alto da pirâmide de Maslow. Por isso, enquanto nós estávamos ainda dando um monte de importância pra dinheiro pra conseguirmos comer (dando importância a empregos que nos permitiriam ganhar mais dinheiro, e não necessariamente fazendo aquilo que amamos), eles, tendo comida, focariam mais "naquilo que lhes dá significado".

De fato, eu poderia facilmente dizer que eu sempre tive problemas com a parte "Amor/Pertencimento" da pirâmide. Apesar de estar sempre rodeado de amigos e família, eu sempre tive sérias dificuldades em me sentir "parte" dos grupos nos quais estive. Mas diria que isso tem melhorado... e eu hoje em dia poderia até mesmo dizer que tenho finalmente desenvolvido uma auto-estima "mais ok" (a qual, bem, qualquer amigo próximo saberia que eu nunca tive). Talvez aquele seja um problema completamente diferente, no fim das contas. Mas é ele de qualquer forma "pior" do que os problemas das pessoas mais abaixo da pirâmide?

Eu sempre vejo (no 9gag, por exemplo) muitas pessoas reclamando de como problemas de mulher (aqueles que aparecem em tirinhas estereotipadas comparando mulheres e homens) são problemas burros, tipo "cabelo", "unhas" ou "estar gorda". Também, eu sempre ouvi falar de casais que brigam por causa de coisas insignificantes como "toalha molhada em cima da cama" ou "a forma como se aperta a pasta de dente". Eu acho, de alguma forma, que frequentemente o que importa não é o problema, mas o quanto alguém se importa com ele.

A gente frequentemente tende a desprezar os problemas das outras pessoas porque eles não são tão importantes pra nós quanto são pra elas. Eu sempre lembro da minha vó, que colocava alho no almoço que a minha mãe comeria, apesar de saber que minha mãe passaria mal a tarde inteira por isso. Pra vó, a mãe tava sendo fresca; pra mãe, esse era um problema sério.

Pessoas tendem a dar mais importância pra problemas físicos (tipo minha mãe sentindo o seu estômago a tarde inteira, ou alguém com dor nas costas) do que pra problemas psicológicos. Porém, não é de hoje que os caras das Ciências Cognitivas sabem que, e..g., se sentir rejeitado ativa as mesmas áreas do cérebro que aquelas ativadas quando se é queimado por café. Assim, se alguém (eu! Isso explica bem como eu frequentemente me sinto) é ansioso e não consegue parar de pensar em algo, perguntar se ele já tentou simplesmente não pensar no assunto não vai ajudar =/

Obviamente, precisa haver (e eu não sei como impor) limites. Se uma pessoa se sente todo o tempo ameaçada por algum problema que só ela (ou alguns do seu grupo) vê na sociedade, então essa pessoa provavelmente precise de ajude (i.e., provavelmente não seja a sociedade que tenha que mudar). Eu segui por um tempo alguma discussão sobre safe spaces e trigger warnings [1] nos EUA, mas em algum momento o tempo ficou curto e tive que parar. O importante é que eu pens que se uma pessoa precisa de trigger warnings pra qualquer coisa, ou não aguenta nem, por exemplo, o uso da palavra violar em contextos completamente não relacionados a estupro (como violar a lei), então a pessoa precisa de ajuda!

De volta a mim... em tempos anteriores, eu me sentiria ridículo pelos tipos de problemas com que eu me importava. Eu me sentia fortemente veshado por eles (enquanto outros estão com fome na África, eu dizia pra mim mesmo), mas conforme a minha auto-estima vem melhorando (como o resultado de um longo processo... finalmente subindo de level naquela pirâmide do Maslow), eu passei a pensar sobre eles como problemas genuínos, como coisas que eu preciso resolver se quero me tornar uma pessoa melhor.

"Uma pessoa melhor", de fato, pode significar um monte de coisas. Uma coisa que eu tenho dificuldades pra aceitar é duplicidade de julgamentos -- razão pela qual eu odeio tanto muitos movementos progressistas que defendem frequentemente que os exatos mesmos comportamentos, quando executado por indivíduos diferentes, são na verdade coisas diferentes. Eu realmente gostei do video a seguir:

E aqui é onde eu volto às piadas com cabelo/Jesus: eu permaneço me perguntando (apesar de não ter maiores problemas com isso)... estariam aqueles que fazem essas piadas dispostos a aceitar as mesmas piadas com elementos fundamentais de outras religiões? Eu realmente não tenho total certeza sobre isso. Todo esse pensamento sobre problemas me fez começar a acreditar que provavelmente (e na verdade bem obvialmente, apesar de nesse contexto eu achar que faça sentido pô-lo em palavras) a razão por que falar sobre elementos de outras religiões é mais fácil é que, afinal, a gente se importa menos com elas. Isso explica por que os mesmos grupos progressistas acima frequentemente não tem respeito algum com o que é sagrado pra alguns... apesar de que, na real, devo dizer que a religião também frequentemente não ajuda com suas causas, dando quase nenhum crédito ao feminismo por exemplo. Mas bem... isso é algo sobre que eu não tenho uma opinião forte (e eu acho que eu deveria parar por aqui).

[basicamente... eu decidi postar isso pra ver se me ajudaria a me sentir melhor com algo sobre que eu venho pensando muito ultimamente. Não acho que funcionou, mas gostei da postagem]

[1] Explicando de forma bem "livre", Safe spaces são uns lugares onde as pessoas podem estar seguras de que não serão triggered por nada. Ser triggered é ter algum "desconforto" por lembrar ou ouvir ou sentir algo relacionado a algum trauma que a pessoa tenha. Trigger warning, daí, é um aviso de que algo pode causar esse tipo de desconforto.


31 de jan. de 2016

Etymology of Malandro / Etimologia de Malandro

[English version below]
Tava ouvindo isso:

E pensei: bem... malandro é uma palavra comum no país inteiro. Deve ter origem européia [com acento!] mesmo (nada de influência indígena ou africana). Fui atrás:

< --- vem de malandrino
< --- vem da mesma palavra em italiano

Quem diria? Vem de mal (ruim mesmo) + *landrino, esse último de origem germânica!

[claro, claro... minha fonte foi o Wiktionary. Não muito confiável, mas achei legal a história]

[Versão em Português acima]
I was hearing this:

And then thought: well... malandro[1] is a common word in the entire country. It must have some european origin then (no indigenous or african influence[2]). Searched for it:

< --- comes from malandrino
< --- comes from the same word in Italian

Who would tell? It comes from mal (bad) + *landrino, the latter from germanic origin!

[of course, of course... my source was the Wiktionary. Not that trustworthy, but I found the history nice]

[1]: in Portuguese, nowadays, it means someone who is "smart", who may try to fool you. In the past (i.e., ~1950s), it meant exactly what the English definition of the Wiktionary says: A young criminal, punk or thug [...] conscious of image and status; preoccupied with projecting coolness and non-conformity, and willing to use violence to establish social status.

[2]: "outsiders" (non-Brazilians) normally don't realize the extent of the importance of these two groups in our culture. Half of our population has some african ascent, and words from african languages abound in our Portuguese. Indigenous words are also common (though the influence is way more constrained -- at least in my region).