Time for another life? The reality of an artificial virtual reality world!

graph_of_second_life_population.png 

I was reading this article in an Australian newpaper yesterday, and I suppose I’ve been ignorant of just how far the gaming world has become…it told of people entering virtual worlds… there are 5 million worldwide regular subscribers to online games of these sort… In the game “Second Life”, not only do they pay a subscription fee, but they actually buy “virtual gold” called Linden dollars to help their progress in the game… what’s the point?

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Chinese online gamer sentenced to life after murdering another player.

virtual-sword-death-21st-century-violence.jpg

A Shanghai online gamer has been given a suspended death sentence for killing a fellow gamer. Qiu Chengwei stabbed Zhu Caoyuan in the chest when he found out he had sold his virtual sword for 7,200 Yuan (£473). The sword, which Mr Qiu had lent to Mr Zhu, was won in the popular online game Legend of Mir 3. Attempts to take the dispute to the police failed because there is currently no law in China to protect virtual property.

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Filming denied in Mt. Teide National Park!

licence-fee-special-permit.jpg

Last Sunday, we weren’t permitted to film within Mt. Teide National Park; “special permission” is required from Santa Cruz - something which we weren’t aware of. A representative from “ministerio de medio ambiente” promptly arrived on the scene as soon as we set up the tripod, and then kindly waited for us to pack up all the video equipment and leave. I think they patrol that whole area with an almighty telescope…

medio.gif

Its not really fair, because the videos are still what we’d consider amateurish, and it is for the benefit of Tenerife. We don’t make a single cent from the videos we produce. To aquire the permit, they ask for a security deposit of €300-3000, which they refund if the park is undamaged after the unedited material is submitted… Since there’s never any guarantees with regards to such deposits, we’ve decided to abandon the shoot in that zone. For future reference, further information concerning video permits in Tenerife can be obtained here.

Tenerife-Training now on myspace!

myspace-traffic.png

Call me ignorant, but I had no idea how popular myspace had become. Just take a look at the growth statistics over the last year! Incredible! It makes me wonder: where have I been?

The best thing that happened to me today was that Stuart O’Grady added me as a friend on myspace. If you know anything about cycling, you know who he is! Thanks Stuey!

Actually, most of the content (pictures, videos, etc) can be found scattered all over the original www.Tenerife-Training.net page. I’m primarily doing this (networking) to increase web-traffic. Because more web-visits equals more customers. So if you’re on myspace, and you’d like to help, please consider adding me as a friend! It all helps! Thanks! :-)

http://www.myspace.com/quintessentquirk

News on the latest videos!

ivan-camera.jpg

This week, we’re busy filming a new MTB video!! 😀

We still have another day of footage to shoot. And then it’ll take about a week or so to edit the video. A special thanks goes to Iván, a proffesional videographer who works for channel azul, who lugged his heavy camera + tripod all over the North valley of Tenerife (with the bicycle) during the filming. I lost count of the number of takes, and also the number of times he unpacked and re-packed his camera. 😐

For some reason I can’t embed the existing videos (even though I previously embedded that funny once lottery video advertisement in another post). Its a little frustrating… anyway, here’s the link to my youtube video page:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=quintessentquirk

True Symbols of the Canary Islands:

curry-canary-islands.jpg 

I recently asked my aunt-in-law what are the true symbols of the Canary Islands. Sadly, these things are completely forgotten with the conversion to mass-tourism. Together, we came up with the folllowing list authentic symbols of the Canary islands and of endemic wildlife of Tenerife.

FOOD:

  • Corn Flour (Gofio)
  • Potaje
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Honey obtained from Palm Trees (and the drink made from it, Guarapo)

 gofio.jpg 

TRADITIONAL CULTURE SYMBOLS:

  • Mount Teide
  • The Spiral from the Guanches
  • Traditional Traperas & Costumes:
  • Calados (embroidery)

baile-de-magos-tenerife.gif 

 calados.gif

NATIVE / ENDEMIC  FLORA:

  • Canary Island Pine Tree
  • Canary Island Date Palm
  • Tajinaste
  • Retama
  • Margarzas
  • Violeta del Teide
  • El famoso drago de Icod de los Vinos

retama-amarilla.jpg violeta-del-teide.jpg tajinaste-parque-national-del-teide.jpg magarzas.jpg

NATIVE / ENDEMIC  FAUNA:

guirre-alimoche-aguila-islas-canarias.jpg guirres-canary-island-eagle.jpg pinzon-azul-teide.jpg

podi.jpg perro-de-bardino-ganado-majorero.jpg presa_canario.jpg

TEIDE EXTREME 2008. King of the Mountains Climbing Competition:

king-of-the-mountains-kom-jersey.jpg 

I am currently “testing the waters” in regards to organising an annual, single-day amateur bicycle challenge event some time late in 2008:

The “Teide Extreme Climbing Competition”, a sealevel – 2300m climb over a distance of 35 km!

I’d like to ascertain the level of interest before pursuing this idea any further. Please express your interest in this event by casting your vote in the poll below. The Exact Date is also yet to be decided… a vote on that would also be appreciated. Tell your friends & stay tuned!

 [poll=2]

New poll feature added to site; permalink structure updated.

Latest opinion poll blog surveyI’ve finally figured out how to add a decent poll voting system to this site. One that is free, contains no ads, and is customiseable. I’ve also updated the permalink structure, hence the downtime just experienced. Please advise me if something is not working (eg: polls, posts)

[poll=1]

“ Yesterday there were so many things I was never told. Now that I’m startin’ to learn I feel I’m growin’ old” – Guns N’ Roses.

Dog breeds in the Canary Islands & their appearance on the official insignia: “the dog islands”

perroschicos1logo.gif

Why a post about dogs you ask? Well firstly, there are no native Canaries or endemic “Lorro” Parrots in the Canary Islands and there never have been. The islands were named after the local dogs (canines). I’ve come to despise Lorro Park for this reason (but that will surely be covered in future article “Lorro Park: guilty of guerilla mass-marketing?”)

podi.jpg podenco-canario.jpg

The podenco as its known is quite common in Tenerife, and they can often be seen hunting up in Las Cañadas every Sunday morning. The local owners cruelly pack them in cages on the back of their utes, and usually feast on lunch after they finish hunting rabbits, while the dogs stand or sit patiently all squished together for at least an hour! So much for being man’s best friend. There’s not enough room for them, and it always upsets me every time I see it. They are surely the most beautiful dogs, and deserve better treatment. One day I hope to own or adopt one (or two!).

There are another types of dogs in the Canary Islands, primarily for goat herding (Perro bardino o de ganado majorero), and another (perro de presa canario) which was bred for dog fighting. They are now sometimes used as guard dogs for the few rich people living in Tenerife.

perro-de-bardino-majorero.jpg perro-de-bardino-ganado-majorero.jpg 

perro-de-presa-canario.jpg presa_canario.jpg

Shown below are several insignias depicted on the official flag of the Canary Islands, the government logo, and among other places such as the town hall. Look at the evolution of the shield through time, as it tends towards simplification, the seven islands of the Canary Island Chain now being represented by nothing more than simple triangles:

official-insignia-canary-islands-1786.jpg

insignia-shield-canary-islands_1982.gif

escudo-shield-canary-islands.gif

escudo-insignia-canary-islands_20051.gif

Further information about breeders of native Canarian dogs:

http://www.mydogocanario.com/istoria.php

http://www.elitedogs.us/history.htm

The K9 Animal Refuge Tenerife!

Nicolás Amador Bello dies aged 16; fatal cycling accident in Tenerife.

nicolas-bello-amador-tenerife.jpg

Funeral de Nicolas Amador Bello

Nicolás Amador Bello of Club Taoro Fonteide dies in car accident, age 16.

It really saddens me to report this bad news: I just got a call saying that a young aquaintance of mine, Nicolás Amador Bello, a cyclist in the local Taoro Fonteide team died today in a grave cycling accident. This happened not far from where I live at a roundabout near La Orotava, Tenerife, Canarys Islands, Spain.

Actually although I am not officially a part of that team, I had ridden, trained & spoken with him several training rides… I still hadn’t even memorised his face all that well. I am quite literally lost for words. He was just 16, and this has really come as quite some shock to me.

The sponsor of Club Taoro, Fonteide.

My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and especially Jesús Martín Pérez (the director of the local Cycling Club Taoro sponsored by Fonteide), who always tries his utmost to protect those young aspiring champion cyclists in club Taoro. I will surely speak with Jesús tomorrow morning.

El joven fallecido en La Orotava pertenecía al equipo de ciclismo ‘Fonteide’ y chocó con un vehículo mientras entrenaba
El joven ciclista del equipo Fonteide, Nicolás Amador Bello, de 16 años, fue atropellado esta mañana en la rotonda de acceso a San Antonio cuando entrenaba. La Federación Insular de Ciclismo de Tenerife ha expresado sus condolencias a los familiares del joven y prevé aplazar la carrera prevista para hoy en el III Trofeo Ciclista en Palo Blanco en señal de luto.
El joven de 16 años que falleció hoy atropellado en la rotonda de acceso al barrio de San Antonio, en La Orotava, era el ciclista Nicolás Amador Bello, de la categoría cadete del equipo Fonteide y sufrió el accidente mientras entrenaba, según informó la Federación Tinerfeña de Ciclismo, que ha expresado sus condolencias a los familiares del joven fallecido.

Nicolás Amador Bello chocó con un vehículo en La Orotava y los equipos sanitarios de la ambulancia medicalizada y de urgencias desplazados al lugar del accidente no pudieron hacer nada por la vida del afectado, que presentaba varios traumatismos de carácter grave.

Time management & bike riding motivation: maximise exercise benifits of your Cycle Training regime

Time management & organisation

  1. Head for the hills – there’s no cheating yourself here, because you can’t draft behind other riders, and it forces you to keep pedalling continuously. This is our philosophy.
  2. Get your cycling equipment ready the night before – so you have no excuses in the morning not to go. That way, you feel extra guilty if you sleep in, and you won’t miss all-important weekend training sessions due to “general morning laziness”.
  3. Become an “instant fixer” – don’t procrastinate & delay any bicycle repairs. Fix it ASAP, because a broken bike gives you one more reason not to go for the next ride.
  4. Increase your mileage to improve endurance – for example: rather than go for daily 1 hour rides, go for a 2 hour ride every other day, or 3 – 4 hour ride twice a week. This also eliminates a lot of wasted preparation time.
  5. Get out quick before you change your mind – clouds looming overhead? Computer not working? Cycling jersey still in the wash? Pacing & wondering whether to go or not? If so, you’re procrastinating. Don’t think, act! Just go already, even if the conditions aren’t ideal! Even if it rains, once you’re wet, you can’t get any wetter. 😉 Provided that your habitual bike position doesn’t change, if you make the time to ride, you will get fitter & you will enjoy cycling more… with plain old tap water or with sports drinks; with or without knowing the distance you’ve travelled or the current speed you’re doing; wet or dry.
  6. Go for a short ride – we all have other important commitments besides cycling. If you don’t have time for a long 3 – 5 hour ride, don’t obsess over not being able to go. I.e. don’t suffer from “all or nothing syndrome”. Go for an hour. Go for 20 minutes. Its still better than nothing! If you’re really serious, treat it as a “rest or recovery day”.
  7. Ride to work – exercise while you commute. Also great for the environment; no further explanation necessary.
  8. Join a bike club – the commitment to meet with other cyclists at a specified time and date helps your motivation level. You’re less likely to bail out of a training session, because you let other people down as well as yourself.
  9. Don’t set unrealistic goals – because when you fail to reach them, you’ll lose motivation to continue with your training plan. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you skip a day or a week or even a month. Even professional cyclists need rest periods. And lastly, remember that half the fun of excercising is feeling the gradual improvement in your own fitness level. If you haven’t ridden for a looong time, there’s only one way to go, and that’s to be fitter. Maintain positive thinking.
  10. Don’t be a slave; embrace change! – this applies to heart rate monitors, cycle-computers, training schedules, ride routines, clothing, food, etc. We’re all humans, we’re all fallible. All routines eventually become boring and “samey”, and then they fail. Hence change is the key. Plan a new ride once in a while.

“Ride your bike. Ride your bike. Ride Your bike.” – Fausto Copi

Cycle Training in Spain. 10 Reasons for cycling in Tenerife instead of Mallorca:

The Flag of Mallorca. Bandera de Majorca

  1. The mountains are higher in Tenerife than Mallorca (the roads here go up to 2300m, Mt Teide is 3700m)
  2. Tenerife is much warmer in the winter months than Mallorca (January, February, March) so you can start your on-bike training earlier in the season.
  3. Tenerife has no flat roads, forcing you to train harder.
  4. Tenerife is where all the professional pro-tour cyclists do their pro cycle-training camps. :-)
  5. You’re sick of all the beginner cyclists /café-poser cyclist culture in Mallorca
  6. You’re a loner, and you’re sick at the sight of all the other cyclists in Majorca! 😛
  7. You prefer to end a day’s ride on a black volcanic sand beach than an off-white coloured one.
  8. You’ve already cycled through all the roads in Mallorca and cycle lanes in the surrounding Balearic Islands.
  9. You don’t know how to pronounce “Mallorca”
  10. There are no decent offroad down-hill runs in Mallorca!

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” – Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso Self Portrait Cubism

His full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso!

By Robert Hughes – TIME magazine art critic

To say that Pablo Picasso dominated Western art in the 20th century is, by now, the merest commonplace. Before his 50th birthday, the little Spaniard from Malaga had become the very prototype of the modern artist as public figure. No painter before him had had a mass audience in his own lifetime. The total public for Titian in the 16th century or Velazquez in the 17th was probably no more than a few thousand people–though that included most of the crowned heads, nobility and intelligentsia of Europe. Picasso’s audience–meaning people who had heard of him and seen his work, at least in reproduction–was in the tens, possibly hundreds, of millions. He and his work were the subjects of unending analysis, gossip, dislike, adoration and rumor.

Pablo Picasso Guernica

He was a superstitious, sarcastic man, sometimes rotten to his children, often beastly to his women. He had contempt for women artists. His famous remark about women being “goddesses or doormats” has rendered him odious to feminists, but women tended to walk into both roles open-eyed and eagerly, for his charm was legendary. Whole cultural industries derived from his much mythologized virility. He was the Minotaur in a canvas-and-paper labyrinth of his own construction.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Oil on Canvas (244 x 234 cm).

He was also politically lucky. Though to Nazis his work was the epitome of “degenerate art,” his fame protected him during the German occupation of Paris, where he lived; and after the war, when artists and writers were thought disgraced by the slightest affiliation with Nazism or fascism, Picasso gave enthusiastic endorsement to Joseph Stalin, a mass murderer on a scale far beyond Hitler’s, and scarcely received a word of criticism for it, even in cold war America.

No painter or sculptor, not even Michelangelo, had been as famous as this in his own lifetime. And it is quite possible that none ever will be again, now that the mandate to set forth social meaning, to articulate myth and generate widely memorable images has been so largely transferred from painting and sculpture to other media: photography, movies, television.

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Its a pity a lot of Canarian people just don’t seem to understand this concept

public transport car crisis traffic VAO carril

Although I deeply respect Canarian culture, a lot of them are already biased against the new tram that runs from Santa Cruz to La Laguna. I overheard one of them saying it was only okay for people that come home after a late night drinking in Santa Cruz (or whatever). In my opinion the density of traffic in that zone warrants its installation; if that’s where its most needed, then that’s where it should go. Are they jealous because the tram doesn’t stop right beside their apartment? Or would they complain either way?

As usual, in the beginning the media had a field day with all the negative aspects of the new transport system… how only one line was functioning initially and the number of vehicles (both car and bus accidents) that had crashed with the new tram.

Bus collides with tram in Santa Cruz. Una guagua colisiona con el tranvía de Tenerife

They also all seem to be dead-set against the proposed North-South train link. Why do they love cars so much, and seem to despise anything that runs on rails? :-S

Interesting Internet Statistics:

Interesting Internet Statistics:

Click here for a current traffic report of the global internet communications network!

Within the last decade it seems, the internet has grown to contain ~1 trillion pages. There is ~1 Petabyte of total information storage (a billion Gigabytes). What is the size of the internet?

Host domain name & url growth statistics graph Internet penetration: percentage internet users by region Internet world usage: total number of internet users by region

What would you do if the internet stopped working tomorrow?

The internet doesn’t work.

[poll=3]

I’m sure the local Canarians people could cope quite well but I invite your comments!

 a time before the internet

A time before the internet:

A time before the internet.

Boy I must be getting old… I can just picture my future son or daughter responding in disbelief: “You mean when you were a teenager, the internet never even existed???!!”. Its funny just how rapidly the internet has infiltrated our lives. We communicate with the internet (email, chat, forum posts, blogs) instead of the old fashioned ways (conversations over the telephone and in person); we do our banking online; we buy and sell online; we make new friends online; we learn new things online; we watch “television” online (youtube videos); we get the latest news and weather online. In other words, we essentially work and play online. A quick look at your favourites folder conveys some sense of the reality.

What people did before the internet ever existed? When we had to write an essay or a homework assignment, it meant a trip to the library (at the university, school or local council library). Or your family was lucky and your home had a full-colour encyclopaedia set! Neither computers nor colour printers were around, so you had to stick pieces of paper with glue… hence the expresson “cut and paste”. I’m sure that phrase has been lost on the current young generation! Information simply could not be accessed almost instantly like it can today. We played outside, so there was more chance of being exposed to sunlight for one thing… life, in short, was simple.

I for one would like to see an annual “world without internet day”. What do you think about that?

The Chupa Chup logo was designed by Salvador Dali, a friend of Bernat…

The chupa chup is a spanish creation

BARCELONA, Jan 2, 2004. This is a naming and branding epic.

Spanish candy maker Enric Bernat Fontlladosa died in Barcelona on December 27. He was 80 years old. Born to a family of candy makers, Bernat bought Granja Asturias S.A., a troubled Spanish confectioner, back in the 1950’s. He took the advice of an article in the December, 2003 issue of the Harvard Business Review written by Nirmalya Kumar, Director of the Centre for Marketing at the London Business School. Kumar makes the case for eliminating unprofitable brands and focusing on the clear winners. He points out that many corporations generate over 80% of their profits from fewer than 20% of their brands. And he explains how hard it is for companies to kill their unprofitable brands. 

Soon after he took over Granja Asturias, Bernat made the brave move of axing most of the company’s 200 products to focus on a line of caramel-filled lollipops. Bernat picked a strong brand name that would appeal to kids: Chupa Chups. It comes from the Spanish verb “chupar–to suck.” In English the product name might be “Sucky Suckers.” The lollipops went on sale in 1958, and ten years later his friend Salvador Dali designed the current logo which you can see in the picture. The festive display was an important part of the merchandising, and shopkeepers were told to keep it right next to the register, a fresh idea at the time.

Within five years, Chupa Chups were sold at 300,000 outlets in Spain, and Bernat renamed the company after its flagship brand. The Chupa Chups Group produces four billion lollipops a year which are sold in 40 flavors– including mango, chili and lychee–in 170 countries. Bernat’s three sons are now in charge, and Chupa Chups are the second biggest confectionary product brand in the world after Hall’s, with over $700 million in sales. And it all goes back to having the courage to kill off weak products and focus brand development on one good idea.

What’s your poison? Drugs or Religion?

funny placebo hope drug cartoonYou can hardly escape the reality of these two graphs:
the future is doomed     

emissions-per-capita-projection

With so much bad news about the environmental & financial crisis the world is suffering, and knowing it is only going to get worse, how can we ever hope to maintain a positive outlook for the future? I am of the opinion that both drugs and religion give us a false sense of “hope” or “faith”. People will continue to turn to these methods to maintain their false sense of optimism. But how long can people fool themseves as climate change comes into effect, the state of the environment worsens, society decays, and even the latest stock market crisis comes into effect? When all hope for the future of the world (the environment) is lost, severe conflicts will surely arise the next generation, and the rest will be history. What are your thoughts on this?

Is “Buddhist economics” the real answer to the problems we all face?

planet-wide obituary

What is happening to the world? In short, most people refuse to ACT, because they’re be too busy justifying their need for a high standard of living, blaming goverments for the situation, & avoiding the underlying social & environmental crises. This sounds like an inescapable viscous cycle to me.

Yes its all been brought about by greedy 1st world nations. Blatant consumerism- which capitalises on the latest scientific advances and all the while fueled by governments who only think in short term economic gains. The first need is to communicate the problem. The next requirement is change. People are afraid of change, but to me it seems the world is changing for the worse anyway.

Anyone who has read Schumachers book “Small is beautful” will know that over the long term, what we are doing to planet Earth surely must be considered uneconomical. Are people so afraid of change now that they’re willing to bury their heads in the sand about the future repercussions? I think where we’re headed, the changes will be alot more daunting than the thought of giving up our most prized possessions. Chaos will be surely covered in one of my future articles, but who wants to live in a world without nature?

TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC WORKING PRINCIPLE:

  • There is a general consensus that a fundamental source of weatlth is human labour
  • Businesses & Governments maximise profit, consumption and therefore economic growth
  • Employers maximise labour effort (bosses expect their “pound of flesh”)
  • Employees minimise labour effort (to work is viewed as a sacrifice of one’s leisure and comfort; wages being a kind of compensation)

BUDDHIST ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE OF WORK:

  • Work gives each person a chance to utilise and develop their [unique] faculties
  • Work enables humans to overcome their ego-centredness by joining with other people in a common task
  • Work provides the goods and services needed for a becoming existence [creativity activity is vital]

The former, in short, tries to maximise consumption by the optimal pattern of productive effort, while the latter tries to maximise human satisfactions by the optimal pattern of consumption. It is easy to see that the effort needed sustain a way of life which seeks to attain the optimal pattern of consumption is likely to be much smaller than the effort needed to sustain a drive for maximum consumption.

It is not wealth that stands in the way of liberation but the attachment to wealth; not the enjoment of pleasurable things but the craving for them.

But what can we actually do about it? Firstly, don’t replace things before we need to; repair them if necessary, use them until they can no longer be repaired. Yes, there is some real satisfaction to be gained by owning things that last through time. Do we need the latest 3G phone or mobile electronic device? A phone is a phone for Pete’s sake!