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This is a very special site for me. I can express this way my perception of reality through these photo image creations and share them with you as if you were at my home.

A Spaniard teaches us to overcome our fears
13 December 2018

      Three weeks ago, I was thinking about 'commitment' and in particular, when we do not want to take sides in a conflict, either for fear of the consequences or due to laziness.... Then, I searched, on the Internet, for a conference of some spaniard, about the Commitment; but I could not find anything.

      However, few days later, I found a very interesting conference, by Miguel Ángel Tobías, about the fears that do not allow us to advance in our life.

Miguel Angel Tobías

      Miguel Angel is a Producer and Film Director. In 1994, he started working at Telecinco (on health issues). Then he worked at Telemadrid. Later he worked in Antena 3 and, finally, he was hired in Televisión Española (TVE)  --where he started presenting two galas and the specials of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve--.

      In 2003, he founded Acca Media, with the intention of covering a clear gap in audiovisual production, to unite the concepts of culture and entertainment. With this premise, he created one of the most successful television formats of the last decade,”Españoles en el mundo” ("Spaniards in the World"), which he produced, directed and presented, at TVE, during its first stage.

      From there, he developed a whole line of work with the idea of producing and directing audiovisual projects that serve society as Training, Dissemination, Education, and that promote universal values, such as Equality, Solidarity, Justice, Peace ...

      Miguel Angel has also developed other formats for television and documentary series.

      Committed to the diffusion of values, citizen awareness and mobilization, it has dedicated enormous resources of its own to the dissemination of social, solidarity and charitable causes. He produced and directed, as if lost, the first and only documentary, made in Haiti, after the devastating earthquake, in 2010, “Sueños de Haití”, with which he raised funds, for different projects in that country.

      In 2014, Miguel Angel premiered the documentary "Gurba, La Condena".

      In 2015, he filmed the documentary "Rising Nepal", about the earthquake that devastated that country.

      In 2016, he premiered the documentary "El Caos y el Orden", about the life of the painter and sculptor, Manuel Felguérez, from Mexico.

      In 2017, he premiered the documentary, "Gritos de silencio", against bullying.

      At the same time, and for two years, he has been working on the documentary, “Un dia en el mundo” ("One day in the world"), about hunger in the whole earth.

      The last audiovisual project, by Miguel Angel, in coproduction with TVE and in this year 2018, is the film "My name is Gennet", which tells the story of the first Spaniard congenital deafblind to get a university degree  --it is the first in Spain and in Europe--.

      But, in addition to working as Producer and Director, Miguel Angel also offers talks and conferences at Universities, Congresses and Companies, on Human Rights, Solidarity, Leadership, Dignity, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. One of those conferences is the one that I would like to summarise to you next.

      In 2015, Miguel Angel received, from the President of the Republic of Italy, the decoration of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy (Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity), in recognition of his personal and professional commitment, with the Social causes and Human Rights.

      Among his lectures, there is one, in Seville, that I have found  --as I said at the beginning of this post--.

      With this conference, Miguel Ángel wants us to think, dream, imagine and be emotional; and he will try it with the help of another person.

      He says he has been traveling the world, with his cameras, for fifteen years.

      In those fifteen years, he has seen and known many stories  --and has told some of them-- of people who have shown him that the origin does not have to determine the future.

      Nobody has chosen where to be born, nor the circumstances that we have, that sometimes have us trapped, condition our life and we do not know how to escape; but Miguel Angel has met people who have escaped. Then, he reflected to try to understand what those variables were, what conditions us. Miguel Angel discovered that all those people had one thing in common: fear.

      We all have fears: we are afraid of Being afraid.

      We are afraid, on our way, to Fulfill our dreams, in order that our origin does not determine our destiny.

      Miguel Angel says that we are afraid of the Determination: fear of not being able, not believing enough in ourselves to ask ourselves: Will I be able to reach that place I want to reach?. He says that we are all capable of doing what we set out to do and nobody will ask us how much we have been slow to get it or how much effort we have had to make, what matters is to achieve the objective. We have to overcome that fear of Determination.

      According to Miguel Angel, we are afraid of Rejection; but to what rejection?. Rejection can not be felt by those who love us, because if they reject us, it is because they do not love us. And if a friend rejects you, at some point, it is not that he rejects you, but that he was not your friend.

      We are afraid of the rejection of the rest of society, because many people criticize or advise us, everyone thinks of our life and that should not matter to us  --as it does not matter to people who are capable of causing their origin not to determine their destiny--. For that reason, it does not make sense to be afraid of the rejection of people who really do not care about our lives.

      We are afraid of Failure; that is why we do not undertake many tasks. But the failure is not to have reached the goal that we proposed ourselves. No, failure is not trying it. All people, who have changed their origins and who do not condition their destinies, have overcome the fear of failure.

      We are afraid of not having sufficient Commitment with what we have said we want to do or want to achieve. We have that fear because we have been taught the logical sequence: desire is before the will. For example, I want to buy a car -- first I want it-- and then I save money to buy it. But it really is not like that --and the people who have fought so that their origin does not determine their destiny know it-- ; first I have to have the deep commitment to want to save money and, later, I want to buy that car. This is a very powerful tool and all people, who make that their origin do not determine their future, know it  --and apply it-- .

      We are afraid to Surrender, along the way. We are all very ashamed; but not by what others think  --remember the fear of Rejection ... Rejection of who?--. Surrender to who, to ourselves?. Sometimes we want to try challenges, for which we are not well prepared; we tried and maybe we did not succeed, but we did not fail, because at least we tried.

      And then, we have a huge fear of trusting. But it turns out that this is an irrational fear. We trust the politicians, the bus driver, in our hearts  --that it does not stop beating--; but we rely on those things, which we can not control and on which we can not make decisions. For example, I have to trust that my heart keeps beating, because I can not do anything in order that my heart do it or not. Therefore, the people who are able to change the destiny that their origin had determined them, they trust in themselves. They trust in their hearts.

      All the people, who have managed to get out of that destiny that they had predetermined, have done one thing: put their hearts and trust. Miguel Ángel calls this: "to be able to jump fear", because "LIFE, with capital letters, is on the other side of fear", this side is survival: work to eat, do everyday things .....; but maybe this has nothing to do with our dreams. Because we have many obligations to many people; but with ourselves we only have one obligation: to pursue our dreams. It is the only obligation. Pursuing our dreams does not guarantee our happiness; but not chasing them will give us unhappiness. It does not matter if we stay halfway, because we have been able to jump to the other side of fear.

      At this point, Miguel Angel introduces us to a person, who represents everything he has explained to us. But before presenting it, he asks us to cover our eyes and be silent for ten seconds; then he wants us to imagine that it was like that forever. That person has been able to overcome fear of fear, not be afraid of whether she will have determination or not, that she does not mind rejection, that she does not mind failure, commit to pursue his dreams, know that she will fight until her last forces (not surrender) and, in addition, trust.

      Miguel Angel has filmed the film of that person's life, and that person is called Gennet. And Gennet appeared on the stage of the conference, to tell her experience.

Gennet between Miguel Angel and the Gennet interpreter

The film “My name is Gennet”

      Miguel Angel says that Gennet was born, in Ethiopia, thirty-seven years ago, in a family of shepherds, nomads, very poor. Her biological parents, with four more siblings, decided they could not care for her; that if they stayed with her, her daughter was going to die. So they took her to the capital (Addis Ababa) and after trying to get the doctors to help Gennet recover her sight and hearing, when the doctors told the father that it was not possible, he understood that he could not go back with Gennet to his home and, therefore, he entrusted her in an orphanage of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. At that moment, in Ethiopia, there was a terrifying hunger; the nuns of that orphanage could only give Gennet and the other children a plate of food. And, when Gennet was sicker, weaker, a Spaniard (Carmen Corcuera), who had gone to Addis Ababa to visit her daughter, appeared in that orphanage  --by chance or because she did not want to accept that her origin was going to determine her fate--, she met Gennet, she was impressed and the two weeks, which she thought to be in Ethiopia, became three years. Then, Carmen adopted Gennet and brought her to Spain. Gennet came when she was  9 years old and without any intellectual stimulation  --because the nuns did not know how to communicate with her--. Gennet, in Spain, began an academic development, which made that ,at the age of 21, she entered the Institute --beginning at 11 years old--. And 4 or 5 years ago, she became the first deaf-blind, to obtain a university degree, in all of Europe.

      If Gennet had not been able to overcome all those fears, which we have analysed before, she would not be here, being what she is.

      Gennet says that she was afraid, when entering the University, because she thought that she did not have that capacity. She also knew that it was going to be a tough situation for her: but she found the support of her adoptive mother and, thanks to her, Gennet lost her fear of being in the University and she got her degree  --also with her effort, of course--.

       She was also helped a lot by the interpret, whom she had in the Institute, because it gave her a lot of security  --although with the communication tablet, she no longer needed the interpreter, in the University—.

      Gennet also was afraid when she did the university entrance exams; but she got a good grade and got what she wanted. Gennet says that it is true that she has had many fears, but thanks to her mother, who gave her peace of mind, she was able to overcome them. When her adoptive mother died, gennet looked for that kind of support in other institutions. With that help, she has turned those fears into a struggle of life, to achieve everything that she propose herself.

      Currently, Gennet lives in Seville, independently, with her dog  --who supports her, in nearby locations. She has had a dog since her mother died and Gennet went to live in Seville, from Madrid. She has new friends and each time she meets more people. She says that in close locations she handles herself well, with her dog; but in places further away from home and around, she needs the help of her personal assistant.

      At this point, Miguel Angel highlights the merit of Gennet, when his adoptive mother died and she went to live alone in Seville  --but she was not afraid to change the city--. Gennet, who does not see or hear and has no sense of smell  --with the result that  she has almost no taste--  learned to cook and iron  --that is what you can see in the film--. Miguel Angel says that in the film Gennet is also seen with her dog; but it is not a guide dog, as everyone thinks, but it is a dog that Gennet adopted, because it was going to be sacrificed.

      Another surprise is that Gennet went to the refugee camps, in the Sahara, to give courses to teachers, who work with deaf-blind people, to encourage them to work with children who are deaf-blind. And Gennet does not say NO to anything. With everything that is asked of her, she is jumping fears.

      Miguel Angel asks her what is the most important thing in her life and she replies: "The most is to feel happy, to feel calm, to feel good, even having changes in my life, but to feel good, to feel calm".

Gennet is happy in Seville

      Currently, Gennet is working, as a special educator, in the only residential center for children who are deaf-blind, in Spain,

      Miguel Angel also asks her what frightens her now, if she fears the future; and Gennet replies: "No, fear no, I have experience of having felt fear, at other times, and then I feel calm, in that sense; I have people around me, I am not alone, I know certain solutions for certain problems, that can arise and, then, I feel calm”.

      To finish, Miguel Angel asks her what would be the message that she would like to give to all those attending the conference. And Gennet answers: "I want that, through the film that I have participated with Miguel Angel, be seen the evolution that a deaf-blind person can have; that Society knows what is deaf-blindness; that my example serves as an example to follow, in that sense; that this disability is known and that Society knows that the deaf-blind can do everything, independently, and that we can be effective, just like any other person”.

      Miguel Angel asks Gennet What would be her advice to people who have so many fears, but we do not have any disability. And Gennet says: "Regardless of whether there is disability or not, you must leave fear out; you must give priority to feel good; doing things that benefit you; being aware that you are capable of doing anything, with disabilities or without it, in exactly the same way as another person; do not feel less yourself, because you see less capable yourself, but quite the opposite; promote your ability, which surely you have it".

      Gennet says goodbye to the public saying: "I am delighted to be here and thank you very much".

      Miguel Angel also says goodbye saying: "Life is on the other side of fear, thank you".

      Well, I hope you will like this article, as well as me. I liked the courage and determination of Miguel Ángel, when he decides to look for impressive stories, like Genet's, and he tells them with his films; but I have also been impressed by his own story of overcoming, when in 2003, he went with two friends to Los Andes. They climbed up a mountain and, suddenly, all three felt sick. Then, Miguel Angel decided to go down the mountain, with a great effort, to ask for help; but he was so bad that he took refuge in a corner and fell asleep. After a while, he noticed a hand, which touched his face –it was his hand, of course--, then he woke up and, with a great effort, he began to walk. He was lostwithout food and water and freezing to death--. Suddenly he found a small road  --built only to build a warehouse and, therefore, almost no car circulated over there; but, surprisingly, a very old man appeared, on his motorcycle, and he helped Miguel Angel to get out of that situation, which seemed miraculous. Miguel Angel tells this experience in his book “Renacer en los Andes”--.

      On the other hand, I have identified with Gennet  --In spite of the apparent differences, because she has had more difficulties than me-- , because I have had many difficulties, in my eyes, since I was born; but with a great tenacity, with a lot of discipline and a lot of self-love, I have been able to overcome some fears and I achieved my challenge of being a Bachelor in Image and Sound. I always had the great help of my parents and also of other people; but I also tried hard, because I trusted a lot in myself. That is why I was not afraid of several operations  --because I knew I was going to improve a lot, as it happened--. That is why I did not care when some people did not trust me --I did not want to hold a grudge against them, not even those who made fun of me, for wearing glasses; but I did not want to waste my time listening to them either--. So, that was my “recipe”, that was my Commitment, with myself. At the end, I found the word Commitment of which I spoke to you, at the beginning of this article, remembering my own experience and through the impressive stories of Gennet and Miguel Angel.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Fuentebella: another nice and abandoned village in the north of Spain
26 November 2018

      Fuentebella is a depopulated and old municipality of the province of Soria. Autonomous Community of Castilla y León. A village of the region of Highlands and the Valley, that belongs to the municipality of San Pedro Manrique.

      I have chosen this village, because I find it very beautiful: with the stone houses  --which look like they were painted in pink--  and the pink roofs, almost all the houses look the same ...

The map of Castilla y León in Spain

Provinces of Castilla-Leon

A general view of Fuentebella

Fuentebella close up

Another view of Fuentebella close up

Several houses from anothe angle

The bell tower of the church

      At the end of the 70s, the locality was constituted in constitutional municipality, in the region of Castilla La Vieja, judicial district of Ágreda, that in the census of 1842 counted on 40 homes and 158 neighbours.

Ágreda

      At the end of the XX4th century, this municipality disappeared, because it was integrated in San Pedro Manrique, it had then 34 homes and 135 inhabitants.

San Pedro Manrique​​​​​​​

      Together with other villages, in the Sierra, in the 60s, the lands were bought by ICONA to be reforested.

      Although geographically it belongs to the district of San Pedro, for the ecclesiastical administration, the locality belonged to the diocese of Calahorra, and to the judicial party of Ágreda for the administration of Justice.

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you will can visite this small village, as soon as possible.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Sea shells in southern Spain
19 November 2018

      Today I would like to share some photos with you, which a brother of mine made a few days ago.

      Yes,  he was on the beach of Getares (Algeciras, Cadiz) and saw how a girl was putting several shells on a small wall, on the seafront of Getares; he liked the scene and decided to take several pictures.

The beach of Getares

Another view of this beach

The beach close up

A part of the seafront of Getares​​​​​​​

The seafront and Gibraltar in the background​​​​​​​

The shells put by a girl and Gibraltar in the background​​​​​​​

The shells close up​​​​​​​

Another view of the shells close up​​​​​​​

      I wanted to talk about the shells on a beach of Algeciras  --and therefore, of the Campo de Gibraltar--  because it seems unfair that, lately, on television, they only talk about this area as the main focus of drug trafficking; but they do not speak of many honest people, who work hard, every day, to raise a family and an entire area, which has many riches, such as a great variety of fish –for example “The Voraz” is a fish that you can only find in this area, because it lives in the Strait of Gibraltar--, and many companies that, with much effort, offer several quality services to their customers  –for example, recently, IMPULSA (a business group destined to promote the excellence of this region of the Campo de Gibraltar) has been created.

The Campo de Gibraltar​​​​​​​

      You can identify a Voraz thanks to the black spot that it has near the head.

A Voraz​​​​​​​

A meeting of IMPULSA in Algeciras    ​​​​​​​

      Well, now I am going to talk to you about shell.

      The shell serves as a defensive element for mollusks to protect themselves from the external aggressions of their predators, and as an anchoring point for their muscles and organs. That is, for protection and anatomical support. It has three layers, although some of them can disappear in certain groups of mollusks. The innermost is the nacre or endostraco. It is an organic mixture of layers of conchiolin (a scleroprotein, related to chitin that forms the shell of insects, crustaceans and other organisms) and aragonite crystals.

The mollusk inside the shell​​​​​​​

A shell with nacre​​​​​​​

A sea shell open​​​​​​​

      The intermediate layer is the mesostraco, where prismatic crystals of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) appear, in the form of aragonite or calcite.

      Finally, the periostraco is an organic layer of conchiolin. It could only be said that the conchiolin resembles keratin, because both are scleroproteins.

      The nacre is secreted by ectodermal cells of the mantle of certain mollusc species. The blood of molluscs is rich, in a liquid form of calcium, which is concentrated outside the bloodstream and crystallises as calcium carbonate. The individual crystals of each layer differ in their shape and orientation. The nacre is deposited continuously on the inner surface of the shell of the animal (the pearly iridescent layer, also known as mother-of-pearl). These processes provide the mollusk with a means to smooth the shell itself and defense mechanism against parasitic organisms and harmful wastes.

      When a mollusk is invaded by a parasite or bothered by a foreign object, that the animal can not expel, a process known as “encysting” enters into action, by which the offensive entity is progressively involved, by concentric layers of nacre. Over time, what we know as pearls forms, and the “encystment” is maintained, while the mollusk lives.

A shell with a pearl​​​​​​​

Mollusk with pearls​​​​​​​

      The shells are very durable and remain much longer than the soft-bodied animals, that produce them. In places, where large amounts of shells accumulate, sediments are formed that can be converted by compression into limestone. When the mollusks die, the shells are dragged, by the currents, towards the shore of some beach.

A large amount of shells on a beach​​​​​​​

A few amount of shells on a beach​​​​​​​

      It is secreted by the mantle, a skin fold that covers the body of the animal and serves as the basis for the subsequent deposit of mineral salts. These crystallise, in different ways, giving rise to the different layers of the shell.

      They are, in their majority, “dextrógiras”, ie, the spiral that constitutes it is always rolled towards the right. There are others (very few) that are levorotatory (that is, to the left), such as the “Neptunea contraia” or “Sinistralia maroccensis” and, sometimes, there is a levorotatory specimen of a species that is normally dextrorotatory, due to a mutation produced in the first stages of the development of the larva.

      I take this opportunity to express my desire that nobody throw plastics to the sea and thus allow shells and other marine animals to live in peace within the sea.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Spanish researchers develop a system to obtain an early diagnosis of lung cancer
12 November 2018

      Today I would like to share with you this important news: "Some researchers from Valencia develop a system that allows the early diagnosis of lung cancer".

      A new system based on epigenetic biomarkers, for the early diagnosis of reliable, minimally invasive and affordable lung cancer, allows to help a faster detection of this type of tumor and, thus, reduces the current high mortality rates.

Radiographs of the epigenetic biomarkers of lungs with tumor

      This epigenetic model is especially indicated in those cases in which the biopsy is not feasible or when the cytology is not conclusive, as reported to EFE from the Health Research Institute (IIS) of the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, an entity that has patented the system internationally.

La Fe Hospital​​​​​​​

      The IIS of La Fe and the Valencian company of advanced services of cancer prevention and genetic counseling ,“Bemygene”, have signed a license agreement to commercialise and promote the development and commercialization of this epigenetic kit.

Team of Bemygene​​​​​​​

      They have also signed a license agreement to market it the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra.

IDIBELL

The team of IDIBELL​​​​​​​

      The system allows combining the epigenetic state of four genes to generate a probability value of lung cancer, customised for each patient.

      The Director of the Epigenomics Unit and member of the Biomarkers and Precision Medicine Group of IIS La Fe, Juan Sandoval, is the principal investigator of this research project, that will be transferred to the patient, through a diagnostic kit.

Juan Sandoval​​​​​​​

      The kit is the result of research funded with FEDER funds and the Carlos III Health Institute and collected, in the article “A novel epigenetic signature for early diagnosis in lung cancer”, published in the scientific journal Clinical Cancer Research, in 2016.

Carlos III Hospital​​​​​​​

      Bemygene has developed a study that has allowed to define the segment of patients, in which the kit will be really necessary, due to the limitations of conventional techniques, thus favoring its future introduction into the clinical routine. According to Sandoval, this model of epigenetic markers "can help improve the early diagnosis of lung cancer and, therefore, reduce the current high mortality rates".

      "It is a very reliable, minimally invasive and affordable kit, which complements and improves the systems currently applied and also allows the diagnosis of areas where it is not possible to use conventional techniques, as they are not biopsy-able", he assures. Sandoval, who considers it a "determining aspect" for its future incorporation into the health system.

      The lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality, worldwide, and the evolution of the patient is closely linked to the stage of the tumor, at the time of diagnosis.

      Due to its late clinical manifestation, most patients are diagnosed in advanced stages, when curative treatment is no longer possible.

      Currently, cytology is the standard method for the diagnosis of this type of cancer, in minimally invasive respiratory samples, but it is a method with low sensitivity. Therefore, there is a need to search for new molecular biomarkers, that improve the diagnostic process of lung cancer, according to the sources.

      The main contribution of this diagnostic kit, in bronchoaspirates and sputum induced, in addition to its high sensitivity, is its ability to produce a continuous range of predictions, between 100% and 0% (positive-negative).

      The specialist oncology staff will be able to take various actions, according to the predictions, such as carrying out additional tests in doubtful cases.

      The development of lung cancer usually has associated a morbidity that prevents the performance of biopsies and, in these cases, it is indicated the application of this epigenetic tool that, in addition, is able to identify false negatives from cytology tests. "The combination of this epigenetic model, highly sensitive and specific, along with standard clinical methods, can help improve the diagnosis of lung cancer and decrease the current mortality rate", he says.

      Being a minimally invasive and affordable technique, its use could be extended to the routine hospital clinic and the next step, according to sources, is the promotion of a clinical trial, from the “IIS La Fe”, that allows to evaluate the application of the algorithm, in a real clinical environment.

      According to the person in charge of Bemygene, Teresa Valdés Sánchez, the agreement to develop this system implies the possibility of getting patients a technology that could significantly increase the probability of success of lung cancer therapies.

Teresa Valdés​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that this article has seemed as interesting to you as to me.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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A typical warm dish from southern Spain
06 November 2018

      Today I would like to share with you the recipe of a typical hot dish of Andalusia: "Ajo calentito (o Caliente)" (“Warm (or Hot) garlic”).

      This is a dish prepared in the style of "Mayeto Roteño"  --Mayeto Roteño is the farmer who, in the past, tilled the land, in an artisanal way and took out his vegetables and fruits, to the market, in the month of May--

      It is a very complete and very healthy dish, elaborated in a traditional way, in its earthenware bowl and with typical ingredients of the Mayeta roteña garden, peppers, tomatoes and garlic. It is very similar to the “Arranque roteño”  ("roteño start" –Roteño means that it comes from Rota, a village in the province of Cadiz, Costa de la Luz, South of Spain--) with the variant of which is prepared with the water of the cooking of the tomatoes and that it is served warm.

      These are the Ingredients1 Kilo of ripe tomatoes. 2 green peppers. 3 garlic cloves. Extra virgin olive oil. Pole bread settled. Salt. Paprika.

The Ingredients

      In a pot, you have to cook the previously washed tomatoes, so that they become tender and to be able to remove the skin easily. Then you have to reserve the water for cooking.

      While the tomatoes are cooking, in a earthenware bowl, you are going to knead the peppers, the garlic, the salt and a little bit of paprika, very well, adding the olive oil that you need, little by little, until it has a juicy consistency.

      Once the mash is finished, you cut the bread into pieces and add it to the mash.

      Then, you have to put the cooked tomatoes, peeled and chopped on top of the bread, with a little bit of water, of which you have used to cook the tomatoes, and cover the earthenware bowl with a thick kitchen cloth, for five or six minutes.

      And finally, with the pestle and little by little, you have to grind all the contents, until everything is well crushed and bound, being able to add, during the mash, a little bit more oil or hot water from the cooking of the tomatoes, as you see that you need it.

      Serve the “Warm garlic”, in small clay pots, and decorate it with pieces of green pepper.

      And this one must be the result:

Ajo calentito

      Well, I hope that you will like this recipe and hope that you will try to cook it.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Another Spanish saying and proverb 82
30 October 2018

      This saying, “La Codicia (o Avaricia) rompe el saco” ("Greed --or Avarice-- breaks the sack" is very popular in Spain, and appears in the work of the Marquis of Santillana and also in the novel “Retrato de la lozana andaluza” ("Portrait of the Andalusian lush"), by Francisco Delicado.

The novel

      And this saying teaches that there have not been few times, when a person has lost the opportunity to obtain a reasonable profit for the longing to get another greater.

Money​​​​​​​

A broken sack​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that you will like this saying.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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International Flower Fair in southern Spain
26 October 2018

      From the 19th to the 28th of this month, the International Fair of Flowers (FLORA) 2018, in Córdoba (Southern Spain), is being celebrated.

Córdoba

Poster of FLORA 2018

      This year, the motto of the Fair is: "The game".

      There have been several artists, exposing their creations with flowers in different patios –specifically 6-- of the city.

      The patios of Cordoba awaited their second spring and the last Friday, punctual to their appointment, opened their doors to those who already wanted to know the creations of the second edition of the International Fair of Flowers, FLORA. Since 11:00 hours, Cordovans and tourists have visited the six installations of contemporary floral artists who, installed in many other institutional courtyards of the city, have left no one indifferent. Flora rediscovers again the beauty of Cordoba's courtyards.

      We started our tour in the Clock Court of the Provincial Council, where the Russian artist, Natalia Zhizhko, has installed the composition “Here comes the sun”. Inspired by the sundial, that gives its name to the patio, the creation resembles seven rays of the sun, playing with flowers of different shades from pale yellow to the brightest, as are the tones of the sun according to the time of day. From orchids to carnations, the flowers come alive within those sunbeams and also play around the courtyard fountain.

The Palace of the Council 

Work by Natalia Zhizhko at the Palace of the Council​​​​​​​

Natalia Zhizhko working​​​​​​​

      In another of the spaces that compete in Flora, the Patio de las Columnas of the Palacio de Viana, the creation of the Chinese Honghui You, known as Sherlovell, takes shape with its installation “Flowing“ (Fluido). Because the flow of water, in the rectangular fountain on which the creation is installed, is the guiding thread of this work, where the red colour takes center stage, compared to the transparency of the water and the circular structures used to support the flowers. Red flowers  --many zinnias--, that drink from small crystal spheres and that expand along the fountain, playing with the flow of water, with the waves of their movement and the waves of the relaxing sound of the falling water.

Sherlovell Yu´s work at the Palacio de Viana​​​​​​​

Sherlovell Yu´s work close up​​​​​​​

Honghui-Yu  (“Sherlovell”)​​​​​​​

      A snapshot of nature is what can be found in the Palacio de Orive, where the Cordovan Lola Guerrera has created “Perseidas”. Mosses and stones make up a base for plants, with a predominantly intense green colour, and where live flowers and dried flowers, collected by the artist, are protagonists. As the Perseids fall in the sky, on this creation falls a shower of small flowers and dry leaves, as if one of those stars was treated and could be traced from the same sky. And, a curiosity, from the heights --in the upper floor of the Orive Palace, that overlooks the courtyard-- small telescopes show the visitor how the nature, that is mixed, is also composed of small insects.

Work by Lola Guerrera in the Palace of Orive​​​​​​​

Work by Lola Guerrera from below​​​​​​​

Lola Guerrera with two works of her​​​​​​​

      Advancing in the route, it is the turn of the patio of the Posada del Potro. Here, the Japanese, Hideyuki Niwa, has installed “The Impulse of Passion”, a creation made of 10,000 branches of red dogwood, that cover a spiral structure, on which stand out yellow flowers  --glorious--, that drink from small test tubes arranged in the installation. Simplicity has guided the author, in this creation that centers all the protagonism of this centennial courtyard.

The work by Hideyuki Niwa The Second prize​​​​​​​

Hideyuki Niwa​​​​​​​

      Many more elements are those used by the British Carly Rogers, in her installation in the courtyard of the Archaeological Museum. “Capricho” is the name of a creation, that recreates an English garden and where, from a huge sphere of green moss, all kinds of plants and branches of trees, that show the wild nature of this wild garden, are born. From weeping willow branches, to shrubs with fruits and flowers, overflow this creation, that stands out among the white marble of the patio and the archaeological pieces of the building.

The work by Carly Rogers in the Archaeological Museum​​​​​​​

Carly Rogers​​​​​​​

      The colours are precisely the protagonists of the last patio in competition. The Art School Mateo Inurria welcomes the creation of the Belgian, Mark Colle, in his garden, which with “Los niños del parque” (“The children of the park”) wanted to represent just that, a playground. But an empty playground, abandoned, where he has given life with roses, hydrangeas, carnations or brightly colored chrysanthemums to the swings and games of a playground, in which, however, wild plants are entangled above them, because no child has been playing there for a long time. Their voices and their games, however, are present in the ambient sound that this author has put as part of his message, vindicating the traditional games between children, in front of the solitude of these in front of a computer screen or ipad.

The work by Mark Colle in the School Mateo Inurria​​​​​​​

Another angle of the work by Mark Colle​​​​​​​

Another work by Mark Colle in Mateo Inurria​​​​​​​

Mark Colle The First Prize​​​​​​​

      Messages and creations, flowers and plants, come back to surprise in this second edition who visits the patios of FLORA. Today, Friday, the Exhibition of these floral art works, which could be visited from 11 to 20 hours, is closed.

      I do not know if you can go to this Fair –perhaps the next year--, but I hope that you can go to Cordoba, as soon as possible, because Cordoba  is a wonder, it is ”Pure Art”.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

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Spain will be the country with the highest life expectancy in the world in 2040
23 October 2018

      Spaniards will have a life expectancy of 85.8 years by 2040, which will make Spain the country with the highest life expectancy in the world, according to a study by the University of Washington (Seattle, USA).

      Currently, Spanish citizens live an average of 82.9 years, an amount that puts Spain in fourth place, in the world ranking on life expectancy, which is made up of 195 nations.

Older Spaniards nowadays

      Japan, Switzerland and Singapore are the first three countries, that now surpass Spain in that table, which considers the situation of health, at the national level and mortality rates, among others.

      However, the projections of the Institute for the Metrics and Evaluation of Health of the University of Washington, for 2040, indicate that Spain will surpass these three nations, in the classification, and will lead the table "if recent health trends continue".

      In addition, in the best possible scenario raised in the report, life expectancy in Spain could rise up to 4.5 years, that is, up to 87.4 years of age.

      In 2016, the top ten causes of premature death in Spain were, in order, ischemic heart disease, Alzheimer's, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer of the colon and rectum, breast cancer, suicide, other cardiovascular diseases and lower respiratory infections.

       In 2040, however, it is expected that the fundamental reasons for premature death in Spain are Alzheimer's, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, colon and rectal cancer, stroke, chronic kidney disease, other cardiovascular diseases, pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

      The United States, meanwhile, which is ranked number 43 worldwide, with a life expectancy of 78.7 years, will go down to position 64 in this ranking, according to the calculations of the experts.

      On the other hand, the team led by the teacher Kyle Foreman projected a significant global increase in deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, chronic kidney disease and lung cancer, as well as the worsening of health outcomes linked to obesity.

      In their conclusions, the authors stressed that there is "a great potential" to influence health through the fight against high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, alcohol and air pollution, among others.

      They also recommended to the national governments to address "key risk factors", such as education levels and per capita income, to improve the life expectancy of their countries.

      But, in addition to these factors, I believe that the "Mediterranean Diet" also influences the life expectancy of Spaniards.

The Mediterranean Diet​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you enjoy Spain, if you are living here or you are visiting my country.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Alquife: an almost abandoned village in the southeast of Spain
18 October 2018

      Today I would like to talk to you about an almost abandoned village, which formerly had important mines: "The mines of Alquife".

Alquife from afar

Alquife close up​​​​​​​

The mines of Alquife​​​​​​​

Another view of the mines and Sierra Nevada in the background​​​​​​​

Inside the mines of Alquife​​​​​​​

The quarry of Los Pozos​​​​​​​

      This village belongs to the province of Granada and is located in the southern part of the region of Guadix. It is limited with the municipalities of La Calahorra, Aldeire, Lanteira, Valle del Zalabí and Jérez del Marquesado. Other nearby locations are Albuñán, Cogollos de Guadix and Ferreira. In 2016 it had 703 inhabitants. It is 82 kilometers from Granada capital.

      The visit to the old Alquife mines  --an open-pit iron deposit considered the largest in Europe of its kind--  is the municipality's main tourist attraction.

      The village is known for its two mines  --the last one was in operation until 1996--  and its history has been linked to the extraction of minerals, in its surroundings, since the times of the Roman Empire. The monument to the miner --located at the entrance of the municipality--  gives a good proof of it.

The monument to the miner​​​​​​​

      In the mines there is an inner lake formed by the flow of groundwater, which is currently a reservoir with a depth of about one hundred and thirty metres of water. The huge crater is already a natural part of the landscape. Another of the most striking features are the large slag heaps of the iron mines and the huge deposit that reached the water pipes in charge of supplying the mining district.

The Alquife reservoir from afar​​​​​​​

The reservoir close up​​​​​​​

A street of Alquife​​​​​​​

Another street of Alquife​​​​​​​

A house with a swing​​​​​​​

      The municipality celebrates its popular and patronal celebrations between the last days of the month of April and the first days of May, in honor of San Hermenegildo, with its popular “Palo Alquifeño” (“stick of Alquife”), the patron saint of the village. In the next picture, you can see, in the background, the image of San Hermenegildo and, in the first place, "El palo Alquifeño"  --that when the procession is finished, the stick will be burned down--.The "stick" is a hollow trunk with the size of the old poles of light, and filled inside with all the rockets that fit, usually between 300 and 400. When the wick is lit, it is all a matter of seconds, but the deafening roar and the spectacle of the rockets, leaving each one by where they can, they remain already in the memory of the people of Alquife, until the following year.

San Hermenegildo Patron Saint of Alquife​​​​​​​

      In the afternoon, the floral offering is made, at nightfall the processional Rosary is performed, in which San Hermenegildo is accompanied by Our Lady of the Rosary, which for two consecutive years has accompanied him, since fifty years ago the tradition was lost.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario​​​​​​​

      The procession of the Rosary begins around half past ten at night, where gunpowder is the sign of the fervor and delirium of a people by their patron saint and the virgin. The procession usually lasts until the wee hours of the morning. The big day of the festivities begins with the celebration of the Mass in honor of Saint Hermenegildo, presided by numerous parish priests of the nearby parishes. Around seven o'clock, in the afternoon, San Hermenegildo goes out in procession on a carnation mountain, carried by the men and women of the village, along the procession are offered hundreds of rockets that culminate with the burning of the traditional “Palo Alquifeño” to that from midnight. The legion honors the great patron saint of the village of Alquife, marching in front of him, in the procession parade. The festivity of Santa Bárbara, on December 4, is also commemorated, in line with the mining tradition of the area.

       Well, I hope that you will like this article.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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Spanish researchers confirm for the first time that a tumor suppressor protein protects against obesity
04 October 2018

      Today I would like to tell you about a very important news related to Medicine: "Some Spanish scientists find a protein that helps against cancer and obesity".

      Researchers from the group of Molecular Metabolism have discovered that the “p53 protein”, known for its function as a tumor suppressor, can act as a new therapeutic target, to fight against obesity.

P53 protein

The P53 against obesity​​​​​​​

      Specifically, this group of researchers, attached to the Center for Biomedical Research Network, in its thematic area of Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN) and the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), and the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (IDIS), has shown, for the first time, that the activation of p53 protein, in a specific region of the brain, is capable of reversing obesity, in obese mice, as it decreases intake and especially stimulates brown fat (The "brown fat" is a special type of body fat, that is activated when you feel cold), which burns calories increasing thus the energetic cost.

University of Santiago de Compostela​​​​​​​

      In contrast, the specific inhibition of p53, in the same region of the brain, causes obesity in experimental animals. In this way, the results "could have an important relevance, since they indicate that proteins, that have a key role in the formation or suppression of tumors, can also participate in the development of obesity”.

      There are results that indicate that “an obese person is more likely to develop certain types of cancer, and therefore, two diseases, that seem as distant as cancer and obesity, have molecular mechanisms in common", according to Mar Quiñones, Omar Al Massadi and Cintia Folgueira, main authors.

Mar Quiñones​​​​​​​

Omar Al Massadi on the left side of the image​​​​​​​

Cintia Folgueira in the centre of the image​​​​​​​

      This work has been carried out in collaboration with national and international centers such as the CNIO, the IDIBAPS, the University of Córdoba, the University of Cambridge, the Helzholtz Zentrum, in Munich, or the Max Planck Institute, in Germany.

The University of Cordoba​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that you will like this article.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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