Thursday, December 30, 2010

Robot teachers

Many Hollywood films describe the future and show futuristic gadgets that seem alien to the world we live in today, although the way with which technology evolves rapidly makes anything seem possible. Seeing the film I, Robot starring Will Smith we see how jobs are taken from humans and given to robots. This unfortunate topic has become a reality in primary schools in South Korea. KAIST ( Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) introduced a robot with a screen in place of a head.

The robot teaches English, reads books and dances, moving its hands and head-screen. Currently there are 29 robots around the country. Kim Mi-Young explains that the robot helps the shy students get more involved in class.
This project is disturbing, since this will be a major problem in the future. Maybe the film I Robot will seem prophetic and humans will in the future lose their jobs to robots. Also ethical dilemmas are involved, concerning child psychology. How will a robot explain feelings, show compassion or even hug a child who needs love? I may not be the most experienced in the field but these are practical issues a teacher has to deal with, especially when teaching in primary school.
Other Governments should be critical towards this project and maybe discard it since it will create ethical and practical problems not only for the pupils but also for the teachers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cloud Project

Although we are not yet fully integrated into the Olympic spirit, maybe its time we understand and learn what we will see in less than two years here in London. One project, which seems quite futuristic, is the Cloud Project. A group from MIT has tried to find ways to increase tourist attractions in London, especially during the games in 2012.  

The Digital Cloud would float over London, which will be made from towers 120m high, producing a series of interconnected plastic bubbles that would display images and data. This will be placed in the Olympic Park, making it a major attraction not only for the Games but also for London in the long run. The London Olympics will try and achieve its goal of being the greenest Game in its history, which could also be achieved by introducing this Cloud Project. Maybe this project will provoke the sceptics and the conspiracy theorists. All I can say is that maybe Big Brother in the UK will have from now on a fancier look...

The handwritten newspaper

The Musalman Daily is the only handwritten newspaper in the world. Although we live in a digital era this Indian newspaper, written in Urdu, maintains its school-like look . It was founded by Syed Azmathullah in 1927, making it one of the oldest Urdu language daily newspaper published in Chennai, which is located  in the South Eastern part of India.

The four pages of the newspaper are written by calligraphers and then mass produced with a printing press. It is housed in a small one room office, without any modern facilities, except for the one computer acquired lately to make it easier for advertisers to send their ads to the newspaper via email. 

The calligraphers, who are named katib, are responsible each for one page. If one is sick then the others have to stay on and write that person's page, since there are not many katibs in town. Of course as anyone can imagine if the calligraphers make a mistake then they have to rewrite everything from scratch. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

The most expensive coffee

Coffee is a drink most of us love. Living in Greece for four years I had too much coffee. But it never occurred to me to try the most expensive one in the world..and all I can say is thank God I didn't. Kopi Iuwak is considered the most expensive coffee.
It is made from a specific variety of red beans but it is vital it goes through the digestive system of the Asian Palm Civet to give it the flavour people pay hundreds of pounds for.

The berries grow in the Philippines and Indonesia and are eaten by the civet who like them for their flesh. The problem is that they cannot digest the core bean which eventually comes out as poop.  
These droppings are gathered, thoroughly washed, dried in the sun, roasted and then brewed which yield an aromatic coffee. After being in the civet's digestive system it picks up a unique flavour, giving it a caramel and chocolate like flavour.
It would be interesting to taste this but it will not be on my list of things to try for a while...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Colourful Cemetery

Death is a topic that many do not want to talk about, maybe because we do not know much about it, most of us if not all are even scared of it. But many cultures celebrate it and even look towards it, since it is the portal to the after life, as Plato put it 'The World of Ideas'. The Egyptians built enormous pyramids with outstanding hieroglyphs to celebrate the afterlife and prepare the deceased.

The colourful cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala is another example of celebrating life, making it probably the only cemetery which one would be interested to visit.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, the birth of all festivities in the Christian faith!! I hope this video will emphasise the spirit of this season!!! Bring on the meat..!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why be traditional?

Every year we around the beginning of December we have the same conversation...Should we buy a real tree or should we decorate the fake one..And if we buy a real one will it be tall, short...
Many people have gone further than that and have applied their tastes and imagination in creating different kinds of Christmas trees using anything they have..
Maybe next year we will try something crazy..the first picture with the books is probably the best alternative for my family, since we are surrounded by thousands of books..

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Westminster Hall

I visited the British Parliament, which is housed in Westminster Palace, where the most famous attraction and symbol of Britain is Big Ben. After a lovely visit and a very interesting tour of the Palace, which is full of history and symbolism, we ended up in Westminster Hall. This Hall has witnessed a thousand years of British history. It was Built by William Rufus in 1097-1099 and it has served a number of purposes since then.

The Law Courts met here until the 19th century and it also functioned as a law court. The royal family used to hold magnificent banquets in this hall. The last monarch to be coronated here was George IV in 1821. It is also the place where Kings, Queens have lain in state in the hall, as has Winston Churchill.
The hammerbeam gothic style roof depicted above is the largest one of its kind in the world. It spanns the entire width and length of Westminster Hall without the need for supporting columns, hence the massive open space, making it a work of technical brilliance.
For those who are interested in history it would be interesting to point out that on the left side of this picture is the place where William Wallace was given the death penalty. Also right in the middle of the picture is where King Charles I was tried, convicted and condemned to death in 1649.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Work from above

These pictures would be unimaginable in the modern world, especially when having in mind Health and Safety which prevails in the UK. It is interesting to see that although they did not have the same safety precautions we now have, they still built skyscrapers.

 Then the only requirement for employment was good physical condition and no fear of heights.  The preconditions for the same job would be totally different today...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is God Evil?

Since Christmas is less than a week away, I thought that this video would be interesting for anyone to see. The modern secular world needs logical ways of understanding whether God exists or not, faith is not enough for many. Maybe the sceptics to this ancient question: Does God Exist? will eventually receive a small but logical answer to their question.

Yet again without an ounce of faith this will be difficult..
It is important to state that religion and science do not clash but answer different questions..Science is interested in answering questions beginning with 'how, when'...Religion answers questions referring to 'by whom and why'... Different matters maybe answered by both Religion and Science but they both have a different purpose, the first salvation, theosis, the second knowledge.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Tree

This seems to be a normal Christmas Tree, nothing special if you ask me, but again it is the most expensive Christmas Tree in the world, which was valued at 11 million dollars. This overpriced tree is located in the lobby of the 7 star Emirates Palace Hotel, UAE. It holds a total of 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones.

It is ironic how the most expensive Christmas Tree is in the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim state. Maybe it is another example of how the modern capitalist globalized world understands Christmas as being a Capitalist Celebration and not a Christian one.
Maybe in a couple of years the non-christian world will also celebrate Easter by making the most expensive Easter egg in the world...!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stone Forest in Madagascar

I found this topic very interesting..It is another example of how our world is diverse and it emphasises the fact that every region has its unique features. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict nature Reserve is located near the Western coast of Madagascar, Africa's biggest island. It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 due to its unique and breathtaking geography.

This forest includes karstic landscapes and limestone uplands cut into impressive tsingy peaks and a 'forest' of limestone needles, the sectacular canyon of the Manambolo river, rolling hills and high peaks. The word tsingy is indigenous to the Malagasy language and means "where one cannot walk barefoot". As seen in the pictures this seems to be the case. The undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps are the habitat for rare and endangered lemurs and birds.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Temple of Truth

The Temple of Truth was initiated by a businessman from Thailand in 1981. It is still being built and will be completed in 2025. It is mainly built with wood and it is full of religious and philosophical depictions of Truth.

This temple does not represent any religion but it is an amalgam of national and religious traditions evident in Thailand, mainly Hindi, Khmer, Chinese and Thai. It has representing images mainly from the Buddhist and Hindu religions and mythologies of Cambodia, India and Thailand. The idea behind this Temple is to promote the understanding of Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of Living, Life Relationship with Universe and Common Goal of Life toward Utopia.
I believe that the existence of this Temple is important for everyone in the modern epoch since it is a virtue which has been quoted by many wise people and believed by many, through religion, through philosophy, through life, but which has been today misplaced and left aside...Maybe one day we will wonder like the philosophers and will question what is and what isn't True in our lives..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

First post

This is my first post...Although I do not yet know how this blog will evolve I hope who ever reads it will enjoy the topics and arguments I post here...
Since I am a Greek who lives in London I gave my blog a name which would be given to London if it was invented by Greeks in the ancient era...I only hope no one gets offended by this initiative.
I will post different topics concerning not only England and Greece but various of my interests...
So with this introduction I commence my voyage, a journey towards an Ithaca of knowledge..!