Julio de 2012 (Continuación)

La treintena es una de las etapas más difíciles en la vida del hombre. Durante esa década, intensamente competitiva, ha de fundar una casa y consolidar un trabajo para definir su posición en el mundo. Con frecuencia ese individuo, que, por regla general, no ha tenido tiempo para acomodarse a las exigencias de la edad madura, sufre por entonces un episodio clínico desagradable: ansiedad, estrés nervioso, insomnio, arritmias, cuando no algo peor. Quien durante mucho tiempo desoyó consejos bienintencionados se decide por fin a adoptar costumbres más saludables cediendo al pánico que le ha producido esa experiencia negativa, en el transcurso de la cual se le ha representado el peligro de un colapso total como una posibilidad real y aun probable.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Saturday night I was in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, performing at an Aids awareness concert. Some people might have preferred me not to come. Why? Because Ukraine, which waited so long for its own freedom, now threatens the freedom of gay people to express themselves in the most basic of ways – by taking part in a gay-pride parade or even speaking openly about homosexuality.

Draft law number 8711, due to be debated by the Ukrainian parliament this week, would make it an offence to talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the media. Even HIV advice to gay men could be banned.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezuela rings in its official presidential election campaign this Sunday. President Hugo Chávez and Henrique Capriles, the candidate of the united opposition, have both registered as candidates. The coming months could prove to be Chávez’s toughest yet. They could also put the country on edge as uncertainties over his health lay bare its fragility and ill-preparedness for a potential transition.

Under normal circumstances, Chávez would not have much to fear. He still enjoys the support of many Venezuelans who perceive that their lives have improved under his Bolivarian revolution. With strong emotional ties to his core constituency, the president has successfully distanced himself from governance problems — such as exorbitant crime rates — even as popular support for his administration weakens.…  Seguir leyendo »

A calorie is a calorie. This truism has been the foundation of nutritional wisdom and our beliefs about obesity since the 1960s.

What it means is that a calorie of protein will generate the same energy when metabolized in a living organism as a calorie of fat or carbohydrate. When talking about obesity or why we get fat, evoking the phrase “a calorie is a calorie” is almost invariably used to imply that what we eat is relatively unimportant. We get fat because we take in more calories than we expend; we get lean if we do the opposite. Anyone who tells you otherwise, by this logic, is trying to sell you something.…  Seguir leyendo »

A confrontation between the insatiable appetite for energy and the enduring need for habitability is under way in Brazil as it moves aggressively to harness the power of its rivers with plans for dozens of hydroelectric dams.

Such projects are engineering and aesthetic marvels that provide hydroelectric power and can also control floods and direct water for irrigation. But they also divert rivers, destroy animal habitat, displace entire communities and drown vast amounts of land beneath reservoirs.

One project has galvanized the anti-dam movement in Brazil — the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon in Pará State.…  Seguir leyendo »

Writting some 50 years ago, Archduke Otto Hapsburg, the last pretender to the crowns of Austria and Hungary, warned that economic cooperation alone would not satisfy the peoples of Europe and that European unification could not succeed unless it was imbued with an abstract principle. Only something as mystical, he wrote, as the Holy Roman Empire could give people hope, a sense of religious renewal and combat the pernicious effects of local interest, chauvinism, xenophobia and racism.

Today’s European crisis indeed shows that great political institutions cannot be constituted solely on a rational basis or through the bureaucracy and incrementalism of Brussels.…  Seguir leyendo »