I would like to write about things like the new extra low power microcontrollers from Texas Instruments like Stellaris and MSP430
I would love comment about the fact that there is no translation to Spanish or English of the book that impressed Freeman Dyson so much when he was young: Cours d'analyse de l'École polytechnique of Camile Jordan.
I would like to share my perplexity when I realized that classic books like this are very hard to find, even in languages like English or Spanish. There are surprisingly few editions of Diophantus Arithmetica, of Conics of Apollonius of Perga (not to be confused with Apollonius of Tyana or Apollonius of Rhodes, well, I don’t think I need to worry about this, people cannot confuse things they never heard of).
I had numerous projects for this blog always delayed, to comment Aeschylus’ Oresteia, where Orestes is forced commit a murder because of the familial duty to avenge his father murder, and in the end he is saved when there is for the first time a judgment by a jury. Athena, of a newer generation of gods, goddess of wisdom, intercede for him, against of what the Erinyes, goddesses of vengeance, wanted. It is a beautiful tale about the beginning of civilization and the rule of the law, that I consider one of the most beautiful Greek stories together with Prometheus bound (that may be by Aeschylus too) and that certainly influenced Sophocles in its much more famous play Oedipus the King.
I would love to write about how Titus Livius (Livy) influenced me profoundly, as he influenced generations before me, from Shakespeare to Fernando Pessoa. About how I think Rome had much bigger impact in the structure of our modern society than Greece (although not certainly in mathematics), but this today is forgotten, what Michael Lind called “The second fall of Rome”.
I always try, but I have not been able, among my work, my son and my exhaustion, to summon the strength to write about the things I love.
When I write here, in general I cite references in a meticulous and almost compulsive way, believing that there is no value from hearsay, and believing that many times bad books with good bibliographies shaped me better than good books with bad bibliographies, showing me that if we are what we are, the powerful modern men with airplanes and Internet, it is thanks to simple ideas from men that are forgotten today.
But today a subject has emerged that I cannot fail to comment, otherwise I will be as coward as our supposed leaders; the freedom of speech. There is no time for bibliographies or references. Today we are under such a danger that there is no place for delay.
I got sad to see on Jornal da Cultura  the awarded journalist Maria Cristina Poli make the unfortunate commentary that the visit of the Cuban “blogger” (isn’t there a more laudatory term?) Yoani Sánchez reignited the debate about freedom of speech.
Why sad? Because it is the same as hearing: “reignites the debate about the right to life”. The right to life and to freedom of speech are some of the few absolutes that we can count in humanity. It should not exist a debate if someone has the right to live, as it should not exist any debate about freedom of speech, they are rights, end of question.
It is sad to hear this horde of fools uttering nonsense, saying that she is sponsored by CIA, as if were any necessity to sponsor Cubans to criticize Fidel. But independently of this being sad, this horde of fools has the right to say it, as I have the right to say that they are an horde of fools.
It is infinitely sad to see the mobilization of hundreds of people to prevent a free human being of expressing her opinions. They don’t want to debate with her, they want to suppress her. If Castros’ government is so sublime and wonderful, why can’t they survive some, or even many criticisms, without the need of a horde of uneducated wild people which aim to suppress all opinions that disagree with them?
If Cuba is the communist paradise prophesized by Marx, why don’t we have a migratory movement to, and not from Cuba? Because of the American embargo? It is much simpler to blame USA instead of taking responsibility, isn’t it? Recently USA was blamed even for the meteorite that fell on Siberia, by the right-wing Vladimir Zhirinovsky (I don’t know what is to be right-wing in Russia today, and I believe even Russians don’t know exactly too).
If Fidel is so morally superior to Batista, if he is so sure of his messianic destiny as savior of Cuba, why didn’t he call elections decades ago? What he fears so much? Well, we know what dictators fear. Lies wouldn’t take hundreds of aspiring dictators from home to prevent a liar of speaking.
They fear the truth. They don’t fear that truth reach other people, because they know that most people know the truth. They fear that truth reaches them, appearing as a giant mirror before them and showing themselves as the monsters they are. They fear that truth will destroy their dictatorship fantasies in which they save the world, by suppressing the dissenting voices.
Will a small woman be a threat to the powerful Fidel Castro that endured for generations and survived half a dozen assassination attempts? No, certainly not.
Bug a great woman telling the truth, certainly would be very dangerous, because she makes dictators remember that they cannot control everything forever, that things get out of control. And there is nothing that horrify more a dictator than that. She is dangerous, oh yes, to the point that it is the need to manufacture a farce similar to those Mao Zedong manufactured, in which students spontaneously (so they told us) removed professors from classes at universities and spanked them to death.
Mao and Fidel will certainly go down in history, but not alongside of Yoani Sánchez, Rosa Parks, and people we have been robbed of the right to know the names, nameless heroes like the tank man on Tiananmen in 1989, or his nameless brother , in front of Russian tanks in Prague in 1968 .
Mao and Fidel will go down in history alongside cowards, like Stalin, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Ceausescu, Ahmadinejad and hundreds of small aspiring dictators, screaming in front of Cultura bookshop in São Paulo, screaming of fear of a great woman, and it took hundreds of these small aspiring dictators to try to silence this woman, because they would never get the courage to try this alone, alone as she faced oppression in Cuba.
They achieved a good thing, they made me let aside my procrastination and my exhaustion to write this post, before they begin to burn books too, like they did in Nazi Germany.
To close and don’t let Sophocles jealous as I praised Aeschylus and even accused him of plagiarism, I want to remember of the hero Philoctetes. Hercules in agony because of Hydra’s poison put on a tunic because of a trick by a centaur, wishes to be burned alive, to thank Philoctetes by lighting the pyre he gives him his bow and arrow (this happens in another play). When the Trojan war begins Philoctetes leaves with the others to Troy, but when he is bitten by a snake and is left by Odysseus (Ulysses) on Lemnos. After years of war, a seer reveals that only Hercules bow can bring victory to the Greek, and Odysseus and Achilles son come back to Lemnos to try to steal the bow. However Achilles’ son has a conscience crisis and returns the bow to Philoctetes and try to convince him to go willingly and he refuses. So Hercules come from Olympus to intervene and convinces Philoctetes to go to Troy and the war is won (this happens in another play).
This play discuss individual’s duty to the society, but also society duty to the individual, showing that a man (or woman) can make a big difference. Remembering of the tank men, of Rosa Parks and Yoani Sánchez, I believe that, sometimes just one person can make a giant difference.
Yoani Sánchez will be remembered generations after Castro rule fall. But no one will remember of the aspiring dictators that today ashamed Brazil before the world.
. In fact, always existed some confusion about this photo. It was distributed around the world by news agencies, with a caption that stated it was shot in Prague, it was considered one of the 100 most important photos of the 20th century. Only after the photographer death in 1984 and with communism end in 1989, a friend found the original photo. It was easy to prove that it was the original. There was a negative and the distributed photo was only the central part of the original (the part you can see above). But it was not shot in Prague, the photo was shot in Bratislava, in 1968, by Ladislav Bielik, almost as unknown as the man in the picture. In a curious way the government knew that he shot the photo and e was persecuted by that, making him another victim alongside the man in the photo [SSP1]. In 2006 an auction was made of copies of his photos on authenticated barite paper, here you can see the auction catalogue: [KZV1], on the catalogue you can appreciate other photos of the occupation.
. About the man identity, in 1991 an Slovak paper (in 1989 Czechoslovakia was divided into Slovakia whose capital is Bratislava, and Czech Republic whose capital is Prague) called SMENA did a campaign to identify the man, and succeeded: his name was Emil Gallo, he committed suicide in 1971 [SME1] (reference in Slovak unfortunately).
[SSP1]: Infamous journey of famous photo - The Slovak Spectator. Available at: <http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/16982>. Accessed on: 24 FEB 2013.
[KZV1]: BIELIK, Ladislav: Auction of photographs for the support of the camera obskura project. Bratislava , 2006. Available at: <http://www.konzervativizmus.sk/upload/pdf/bielikkatalog.pdf>. Accessed on: 24 FEB 2013.
[SME1]: SME.sk | Tanku nastavil hruï Emil Gallo. Available at: <http://www.sme.sk/c/4034149/tanku-nastavil-hrud-emil-gallo.html>. Accessed on: 24 FEB 2013.