Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Being a Vegan is easy, both at home and while traveling

Is it easy to be a vegan? Will traveling as a vegan make your life complicate? We asked a vegan.

Vegan lobster tails

Vegan lobster tails


Food habits are crucial for our well-being, health, and in turn for our happiness.

Although I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, I like gathering as much as possible information about any nutrition style, in the belief that food habits are one of the most important things we can work on in order to fully and happily live our lives.

Today I asked my friend Dora some questions about the ins and outs of a vegan diet. Dora is a fellow ex-pat who moved her whole life to the other side of the ocean, by relocating from Italy to the U.S.

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How to overcome fear of speaking a foreign language so to be able to move everywhere

Fear and embarrassment of speaking a foreign language are quite common, therefore being able to overcome them is crucial for those who want to relocate abroad.

A reason I heard many times against moving one’s life to another country is: “I’m afraid that when I’m speaking a foreign language I’d make a fool of myself”.
An aspect that really got me surprised is that I also heard this argument from people who were really skilled in the language spoken in the country they dreamed of moving to.

In other words, just not being able to speak the language as good as a native speaker, although still very well, prevents some from moving abroad at all, including those who’d like to.

One could think that culture shock has mainly to do with facing an alien culture, a different climate, and distance from family and life-long friends. However, this is not always the case.
I found that this kind of concerns often hit people more after they have moved than before.
But being afraid of not being good enough with local language always comes before moving.

I am not writing all of this because I’m preaching that people should emigrate. I do that since there are many who really want to seek a better or new life abroad, and can’t do that due to their fear of not being able to speak another language properly.

We are not all the same and although I’m not personally particularly worried about situations described above, those who are have my sympathy and I want to tell them: if you have a dream of moving abroad, whatever is the reason, if you feel that it would be right to give a boost to your life by emigrating, then do something to overcome your fears. You’ve got only one life.

I’ll show you here what you can do in order to overcome your fear of speaking another language.

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Rural pictures of Romania

A well in the Banat region

A well in the Banat region

I’ve been several times to Romania.
I like the beauty of its landscapes, the easy-going way-of-life, and the friendship and extreme hospitality of its citizens.

Country landscape somewhere in Romania's Moldavia

Country landscape somewhere in Romania’s Moldavia (not to be confused with the independent state with the same name)

Romania never completely enjoyed the benefits from moving from a communist regime into a capitalistic economy and it has been severely hit by the economic crisis. As a result, Romania is rather poor at the moment, it doesn’t have a large industry sector and experiences a diaspora of work force toward other countries.

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Highest suspension bridge in Europe

Today the highest suspension bridge in Europe has been opened.

It is located on Mount Titlis in Switzerland, a well known ski resort also famous for the breathtaking views that can be enjoyed from the Rotair, the first rotating cable car in the world.

The new Titlis suspension bridge is located close to the top of the mountain, at an altitude approaching 10,000 feet above the sea level. It is a pedestrian bridge, being only one meter wide.

However, being the highest of its kind in Europe is not the most astonishing distinctive point of this new bridge, in my opinion.

For me, it is the fact that from today on, when weather grants permission, tourists will be able to walk over a chasm 1600 ft deep over the Titlis south wall.

Here some images provided by Mount Titlis tourist association. You can see the mountain and the computer project of the bridge.

Titlis suspension bridge

Titlis suspension bridge


Video of the first day (German audio)

Follow this link to watch today’s video of the opening in the snow-storm.


If you want to see the bridge in steel and concrete, and maybe walk on it if you don’t suffer from vertigo, it is very simple to do. Just drive to Engelberg, Canton Obwalden, in Central Switzerland. Alternatively, you can use a train service from Lucerne. Once in Engelberg, take the rotating cable car to the top of the mountain.

View Larger Map

Once there, you will walk on a trail comprising an underground tunnel that will lead you over the abyss of Titlis south wall. There is the bridge.

The famous Titlis Rotating Cableway, first in the world

The famous Titlis Rotating Cableway, first in the world

Voyager 1 Space Probe to be the first human artifact to reach the end of the Solar System

The Solar System Bubble, the Heliosphere, with Voyager 1 and 2 positions - Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Solar System Bubble, the Heliosphere, with Voyager 1 and 2 positions – Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Voyager 1 space probe, which instrumentation is still working 35 years after its launch, is now at a crucial point of its mission, as it is reaching the very edge of our region in space: the Solar System.

Voyager 1 distance and current position

Voyager 1, now distant 11 billion miles from our home-planet, is close to be the first human-made artifact to leave (forever) the bubble in space that we call Solar System and to which Earth belongs.

With its activity, the Sun changes physical and chemical properties of the space surrounding it. It emits radiation and particles and it has its own magnetic field. By measuring these things, scientists can state that a certain portion of the space within a certain distance from the Sun is typical of it, it’s belonging to it: it’s like a “Sun courtyard”.

But even the influence of the Sun decreases over distance, to evevtually vanish. Therefore, there is some place where particles and magnetic field from the Sun are no longer distinguishable from the ones typical of deep space.

Voyager 1 data

Since Voyager 1 has most of its instruments still working, it can measure those physical quantities and transmit them home.

Therefore, we know that this probe, launched in 1977 is now approaching the place where the Solar System vanishes into deep space.

In 2003, Voyager 1 already reached the zone where particles blown away from the Sun at the remarkable speed of 250 miles per second start slowing down. But during the last months something even bigger happened: those particles decreased sharply in quantity, while particles that fill up the interstellar deep space started to increase.

Well, you don’t need a PhD in Physics to realize what that implies. It’s just a matter of time, and Voyager 1 will by the only thing ever made by humans to sail in deep space.

However, researchers say that at this moment magnetic field’s orientation is indicating that the probe is still inside the Solar System. When MF orientation will change, then Voyager 1 will be definitely out. They believe that the final transition into interstellar space will occur in the following months. Two years tops.

Artist's rendering of Voyager 1 - Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s rendering of Voyager 1 – Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Further readings: the unexpected data

While the magnetic field direction is unchanged, its magnitude is increasing. That was totally unexpected. More on that here, or in Nasa’s website.

Voyager 1 picture of Earth : “The Pale Blue Dot”

The Pale Blue Dot is a photo taken by Voyager 1 in 1990, from a 3.7 billion miles distance. A pixel in the image, barely visible is the Earth. You can take a look at that here.

Voyager 1 launch

Here’s a video of the launch. It was September 5th, 1977

Voyager 1 is a machine made by humans, the clever apes that populate planet Earth, a small inner planet located inside one of the billions of stellar systems present in our Galaxy. Voyager space probe is now leaving that system and it is the first one.


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