Octoberfest 2019 Begins

2 Octubre 2019

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The 186th Oktoberfest is officially under way. The mayor of Munich opened the annual event, and the first glass of beer was filled.

Millions of party lovers from across the globe travel to Munich each September to visit the world’s most famous beer festival.

People expect that more than 7 million litres of beer will be consumed during the 15-day event. People can enjoy the festival in 38 big tents. They can also take part in some historical tours.

Salman Khan and the Khan Academy

13 Septiembre 2019

Salman Khan and the Khan Academy, Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

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Salman Khan and the Khan Academy have been bestowed with the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

Son of an Indian mother and Bangladeshi father, Salman Amin Khan was born on 11th October 1976 in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA) , where he grew up. A graduate in Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Khan earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University, after which he began working as a financial analyst. In 2004, Salman Khan offered to help his cousin Nadia with her Maths schoolwork. Due to living in different cities, they communicated by telephone with the support of some basic computer tools. As this formula yielded quite positive results, within a short time Khan was remotely monitoring the progress of several relatives with similar problems at school. In 2006, Salman Khan began publishing videos on the YouTube platform explaining his lessons so that everyone could view them on their own. These videos began to be seen by more and more people, who encouraged him to continue publishing new lessons. So, in 2008 he created the Khan Academy, a non-profit organization to which he has devoted himself full time since 2009, when he presented his resignation from the investment fund for which he was then working.

Salman Khan’s academic preparation and his teaching capacity quickly led him to discover his interest in the field of education. The Khan Academy is the consolidation of an innovative, transformative format that offers free educational material on the Internet for all ages, from primary through to high school. Although the content was initially aimed at students, it has gradually become a very useful tool for teachers who wish to complement their classroom lessons with additional material. Oriented towards mathematics in its origins, the educational platform has gradually opened up to new fields including science, history and grammar.

The Khan Academy is currently found in more than 190 countries, with nearly sixty million registered users. It also has around 20 000 videos available that have been viewed more than 1400 million times. Complementing the function of the videos by offering the possibility of monitoring individual student progress, doing practice exercises or providing additional tools to teachers, the Academy’s web platform is available in five languages in addition to English: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Turkish and Bengali, and its videos have been translated into 36 languages. The Khan Academy also offers the possibility of preparing for general college and medical college admission tests (SAT and MCAT, respectively). In 2017, it became an official partner for the preparation of American College Board tests and, since 2018, it also offers preparation for law school admission tests (LSAT). The Academy likewise promotes the concept of the ‘flipped classroom’, which seeks to ‘flip’ the traditional teaching method, encouraging students to prepare theory at home so as to allocate class time to the more practical part, working directly with the teacher. Salman Khan’s commitment is thus to the universality of education and the empowerment of people from an early age. His motto is: “You only have to know one thing: you can learn anything.”

Distinguished with the 2014 Heinz Award for innovative contributions in the category of the Human Condition, Salman Khan has managed both to draw the attention and seek the support of prestigious personalities and institutions such as Bill Gates, Google (2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities), Carlos Slim and Disney, among others, who have seen his project as a way to support free universal education.

As stated in the Regulations, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation shall be aimed at recognizing “individual or collective work, in cooperation with another or others, to develop and promote public health, universal education, the protection and defense of the environment, as well as the economic, cultural and social advancement of peoples.”

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture –representing and symbolizing the Awards–, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a solemn ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

Notre Dame

21 Agosto 2019

A French architect says that Notre Dame Cathedral still isn’t safe enough for restoration work to begin, more than three months after a devastating fire nearly destroyed the monument.

French television showed the chief architect of France’s historic monuments, Philippe Villeneuve, taking Culture Minister Franck Riester on a tour Wednesday of the cathedral, which President Emmanuel Macron wants restored in five years.

He said that “we are still in extreme urgency of securing the site.”

Wooden supporting arches are being placed under the 28 buttresses, without anchoring them in stone. A robot was helping to clear debris on the lower level of the cathedral.

The minister said that the safety and quality of the restoration “is what counts” despite the goal of finishing the repairs by 2024.

Space Exploration

23 Julio 2019

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Mount Everest

5 Junio 2019

Three people have died on Mount Everest amid scenes of overcrowding at the summit of the world’s highest mountain. The latest fatalities bring the number of people who have died on the mountain in the past week to seven. The three victims were said to have died from exhaustion while descending from the summit. In the last few days, a 65-year-old Austrian climber, an Irish professor and an Indian mountaineer have also lost their lives on Mount Everest. The deaths come amid traffic jams near the summit as record numbers make the ascent, despite calls to limit the number of climbing permits. It has been reported that Nepal has issued 381 permits of roughly £8,600 each for the spring climbing season at the world’s highest peak. A photograph of hundreds of climbers queuing to reach the top of Everest ignited fears that the high number of attempts is putting lives at risk. The photo of the route to the 8,848m (29,029ft) summit was taken by Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha and Royal Marine. Mr Purja, who is making a world-record attempt to climb all 14 peaks of the Himalayas in seven months, estimated that there were around 320 climbers in the queue. The number of people climbing Everest in 2019 could exceed last year’s record of 807 people. This has led to calls for limits to be put in place.

AC Radio

2 Mayo 2019

AC Radio (IES Avelina Cerra)

AC Radio

Radio del IES Avelina Cerra de Ribadesella.

Popocatepetl Volcano

1 Abril 2019

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Plant For The Planet

4 Marzo 2019

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Groundhog Day 2019

2 Febrero 2019

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On Groundhog Day 2019, Punxsutawney Phil could not find his shadow. And as the legend goes, this means we’re in for an early spring. 

The Pennsylvania groundhog isn’t the only weather-predicting rodent in this quirky American tradition, but he is the most famous. And according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, his opinion is the only one that matters.

This is only the 19th time out of 123 in his recorded history (there are 10 years where no record remains) that Phil hasn’t been able to find his shadow. 

Even so, Phil is usually wrong, and meteorologists aren’t too sure Phil’s suspicions are right either. 

It’s hard to imagine that spring is right around the corner after the polar vortex this past week, but we’ll just have to wait and see. 

At least one other prognosticating groundhog disagreed with Phil on Saturday: New Jersey’s Milltown Mel predicted a longer winter after reportedly seeing his shadow. Mel has been giving predictions for the past 10 years.

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, is held by the gloved hands of handler Ron Ploucha during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2015.

The Groundhog Day shadow legend

The legend goes that if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, there will be wintry weather for the next six weeks (just about until the start of spring). If he doesn’t see his shadow, that means fairer weather is on the way. 

What happened at Gobbler’s Knob this morning?

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle — a group that organizes the event and cares for groundhog Phil — brought Punxsutawney Phil out of his den in front of a large crowd as cameras beamed his image around the world.

They reported that Phil communicated in “groundhogese” that he could not find his shadow.  According to legend, that means there will be an early spring.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club traces the tradition’s roots back to Candlemas Day in Europe – the Christian “festival of lights” that falls on Feb. 2, midway between the start and end of winter.

Do emojis and GIFs restrict our language and communication?

3 Enero 2019

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Recently I read Nineteen Eighty-Four, a dystopian novel by George Orwell set in a totalitarian state where even the language they use is controlled. Adjectives are forbidden and instead they use phrases such as ‘ungood’, ‘plus good’ and ‘double plus good’ to express emotions. As I first read this I thought how impossible it would be in our society to have such vocabulary. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised in its own way it’s already happening. I type messages to my friends and alongside each is the obligatory emoji. I often use them to emphasise something, or to not seem too serious, or because this specific GIF conveys my emotions much better than I ever could using just words. And I wonder, with our excessive use of emojis, are we losing the beauty and diversity of our vocabulary?

English has the largest vocabulary in the world, with over one million words, but who’s to say what it’ll be like in the future? Perhaps we will have a shorter language, full of saying ‘cry face’ if something sad happens or using abbreviations like LOL (laugh out loud) or BRB (be right back) instead of saying the full phrase. So does this mean our vocab will shrink? Is it the start of an exciting new era? Will they look back on us in the future and say this is where it all began – the new language? Or is this a classic case of the older generations saying, ‘Things weren’t like that when I was younger. We didn’t use emoticons to show our emotions’?

Yet when you look back over time, the power of image has always been there. Even in the prehistoric era they used imagery to communicate, and what’s even more incredible is that we are able to analyse those drawings and understand the meaning of them thousands of years later. Pictures have the ability to transcend time and language. Images, be it cave paintings or emojis, allow us to convey a message that’s not restrictive but rather universal.