May 31, 2011

Teen shoots 3 girls fight and uploads video to Facebook network

We live the oddest days. For a normal person that lives by the rules, it’s difficult to make sense of some behaviors. When I was young and attending high school boys had fist fights in the space outside. Some would watch and do nothing; the old ones may try to put an end to the fight. I remember broken noses and bleeding on the cement floor. Boys will always engage in fights. Girls also had their share of grievances and acts of vengeance. But it was another game. Violence has a number of complex factors that contribute to it. Violence at an early age is chocking. What kind of human beings are we raising? The education of children and young people is demanding. Many face hard living conditions. But my grandmother lived through the War times and she and the community where she lived endured hardship, yet, she never told me about significant tales of violence in her neighborhood. Parents delegate their responsibility in school but a school cannot substitute for the role of parents. Teacher’s authority is gone. Many teachers are often disrespected and even assaulted. The society itself hasn’t a culture of nonviolence in its root. Since the event took place the television showed that video many times, a video that can be translated into half a dozen words. But the spectacle is what our society enjoys. Words are not enough. To young people is no longer enough to tell the story. They share the images on mobile phones and the internet. Audiences also want to consume the images as if they were addicted to them. Without a change in education, there is no change in society. 

This month of May a young man of 18 years filmed and posted on Facebook a video of a 13-year-old being beaten by two other girls of 15 and 16 years of age before the passivity of other youngsters. They were slapping, kicking the victim's head on the floor and pulling his hair. This happened on the outskirts of Lisbon. Authorities raided the house of the alleged author of the video and seized the suspect's phone and computer. The older girl and the young man who has a criminal record are now preventively detained. Others that watched with hands down were made defendants in the process.
The Criminal Court of Lisbon decided to detain the 16-year-old girl accused of assaulting. This measure was equally applied to the boy of 18 who filmed the episode. The other girl just turned 16 two days after that episode, so it’s a case to the Court of Children and Family.

It is not common to order preventive arrest to someone with 16 years for grievous bodily assault. Up to 18 years it is rare to go to jail. Youngsters must have done some serious stuff to go to jail. This measure just applies to crimes that are punished with at least five years of imprisonment. 

The Head of the Lawyers (Barristers) has already questioned this measure. But others do agree with the judge that took it. There’s a big discussion going on. Some say that sometimes the arrest is used to protect the aggressor himself. The attitude of the girl during interrogatory may have led to this, just imagine that she was not sorry for what she did. 

The special perversity of the aggression that included the dissemination of violent aggression over the Internet, causing social unrest and an intense alarm was important for the judge to rule that way. This decision is also a warning to youth and to those who like to attack, shoot and publish videos of the deed on social networks. 

In Portugal, there is a law for young people between 16 and 21 years. These are subject to a Special Criminal Regime and must stay in detention centers not prisons, but these centers do not exist.
How would this situation be dealt with by authorities in your country? Do you have knowledge of similar cases? (For some facts I based my post on a news article published on Público Portuguese newspaper)

May 30, 2011

WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY parents and kids activity

I know that you already have a calendar for this year. But if you have been reading my posts on Secondhand smoke and enjoyed the little Smoke Monters I have a freebie for you. Each month page of this calendar has one cute and colorful Smoke Monster. Your kids will love it.

It will be an easy and fun WORLD NO TOBACO DAY activity for you and your kid!

Here's how to do it!

Go to my SCRIBD page to download the 7 pages PDF file.

2º Print the file in your office printer using a good size A4 paper.

3º Cut it with X acto knife and ruler using the printed guides.

4º Use a CD jewel box as a stand-flip.

5º Keep all the sheets inside the CD box.

6º Avoid secondhand smoke exposure all year!

Freebie Calendar 2011

This activity was included in The Crafty Crow blog and on One Pretty Thing blog too. But I can't link to this one now, don't know what's the problem with it, both are interesting blogs for you to follow too if you enjoy DIY projects. The first is DIY for kids 3-5 years old.

May 29, 2011

Protect pets from secondhand smoke!

Secondhand smoke catching machine! mousepad

Look for more here!

Just two more days till World No Tobacco Day! Are you going to participate in any activity next May 31? Are you planning to quit smoking next Tuesday?

If you smoke, has your veterinary ever told you that when you light up a cigarette you can be putting your pet’s health at risk? Well, it’s true. Whether your pet is a cat, a dog, a rabbit or a bird your loved animal will be affected too. Pets will suffer the distress of life-threatening cancer or chronic breathing difficulties just as persons do. Surprised? I was. But I wrote the story after watching Davis reaction to secondhand smoke. Davis is my sister's shar-pei dog. It seemed very uncomfortable with it.

So here's the story on pets and secondhand smoke. Not a pretty one. Dogs can develop nasal and lung cancer and experience breathing and cardiac problems. Dogs are especially prone to secondhand smoke’s respiratory effects. Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. How can you tell? They will scratch, bit and chew off their skin. Cigarette butts are also a danger if ingested. If eaten by a puppy can cause death. The same goes for nicotine replacement gum and patches. Cigarettes will kill a pet too if eaten. Sometimes pets may drink water that contains cigarette butts in it. This water is like poison to a pet. So keep ashtrays clean.

Cats may get oral cancer. Cats constantly lick themselves. As they groom themselves they eat toxic particles and poisons from secondhand smoke that have settled on their fur. They can also develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma.

A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air. Birds may develop eye problems and respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing. And heart and fertility problems too. Some birds may pull out their feathers if they get dermatitis from nicotine. I had budgeted for a long time. These birds are likely to fly to our shoulder or hand. Nicotine can remain in the smokers hand for a long time and thus affecting the bird. So, if you’re a smoker do not play with your birds unless you wash your hands very well. ( Do it also before petting other animals)

There are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke for humans - and that goes for animals as well. If you like four-legged furry ones, well, they are just another reason for considering not to smoke or quitting. Or adopt a fish instead.

May 28, 2011

Against secondhand smoke!

Quit smoking please dry erase whiteboard
Quit smoking please dry erase whiteboard by noboringwhite
Check out other Quit Dry Erase Boards at
Secondhand smoke is very bad company! doodle

Are you celebrating it?

Smoke inhaled by smokers contains many dangerous chemicals. Secondhand smoke contains many of that same chemicals. It contains higher concentrations of many of the toxins found in cigarette smoke! The USA National Toxicology Program estimates that at least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic! Secondhand smoke has been designated as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and an occupational carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Why? It contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals! When nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale. So, there are monsters in secondhand smoke. They will harm your health in many ways. Maybe you were not aware of it! You cant’ see it! I confess, I never imagine that secondhand smoke was this dangerous until I started my research on the theme!

Get to know the monsters! Check this quick list!

Poisonous gases and chemicals:

Hydrogen cyanide - it is used in chemical weapons

Carbon monoxide - it is found in car exhaust

Butane - it is used in lighter fluid

Ammonia - it is used in household cleaners

Toluene - you can found it paint thinners. 

Some of the toxic metals contained in secondhand smoke:

Arsenic - it is used in pesticides

Lead - it was formerly found in paint

Chromium - it's used to make steel

Cadmium - it's used to make batteries. 

There are more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke that fall into different chemical classes, including:

Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (such as Benzo[a]pyrene)

N-Nitrosamines (such as tobacco-specific nitrosamines)

Aromatic amines (such as 4-aminobiphenyl)

Aldehydes (such as formaldehyde)

Miscellaneous organic chemicals (such as benzene and vinyl chloride) and

Inorganic compounds (such as those containing metals like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel and radioactive polonium-210).

Eleven compounds in tobacco smoke have been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 (known human carcinogen) carcinogens:




Vinyl chloride

Ethylene oxide



Nickel compounds


Cadmium and polonium-210.

May 27, 2011

How to protect yourself and your loved ones from secondhand smoke?

Look for more here!

The answer is simple: just avoid exposure whenever possible. The only way to fully protect yourself and your family from the dangers of secondhand smoke is through 100% smoke-free environments. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.

Here's a couple of rules to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- make your home and vehicles smoke-free;
- do not allow family, friends, visitors to smoke inside your house or car;
- ask people not to smoke around you and your children;
- make sure that your children’s day care center or school is smoke-free;
- choose restaurants and other businesses that are smoke-free;
- share your knowledge on secondhand smoke;
If you smoke, ok, you have the right to do it. But keep in mind that it may endanger other persons health. Try to think of it when you are smoking. What if you live with a smoker who is not interested in quitting? Always ask the smoker to go outside the house to smoke. This will reduce secondhand smoking exposure. Smoke-free home rules also help smokers to quit and reduce the risk of adolescents becoming smokers.

Celebrate World No Tobacco Day, May 31

May 26, 2011

Secondhand smoke: why so dangerous?

Happy cars are smoke free! postcard
The smoke released from the burning end of a cigarette pipe, cigar, bidi, or kretek or that seeps from the mouthpiece of one of these products is called mainstream smoke. Sidestream smoke is the one exhaled by the smoker. Secondhand smoke it’s a mixture of both. And it’s dangerous for several reasons.
It contains many of the same chemicals that are present in the smoke inhaled by smokers. At least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer causing). People’s exposure to secondhand smoke happens in homes, workplaces, vehicles, and in public areas such as restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, and casinos. In many countries, to smoke in public areas it’s prohibited.

Smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles substantially reduce secondhand smoke exposure among children and nonsmoking adults but do not totally eliminate their exposure. Harmful residues from secondhand smoke may be present in areas where no one is currently smoking. Now, this was something new to me. Never thought that secondhand smoke could presence could be so persistent. It may enter the house in the air, on dust particles, or on the smoker’s breath or clothing. Moreover heating, ventilating and air conditioning system can distribute secondhand smoke throughout a building. As today many persons live in buildings or apartments sometimes the air is shared amongst people. And so does passive smoking for households of nonsmokers. Ventilation systems cannot remove secondhand smoke from indoor environments. Conventional air cleaning systems can remove large particles in secondhand smoke, but they cannot effectively eliminate smaller particles and gases.
And as you might already know exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer and heart disease in nonsmoking adults, and it increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other serious respiratory conditions in children. So we should not underestimate secondhand smoke presence.

May 24, 2011

Who loves the beach more than I do?

Today's afternoon.

Splendid weather.

Fantastic sea. Lot's of surfers. No fishermen.

Top less girls. Lazy couples. Happy children. Seagulls standing.

= Lovely beach!

May 23, 2011

Secondhand smoke is bad to everybody

Secondhand smoke catching machine! mousepad

All my life I was aware that many of the poisons in the cigarette smoke are absorbed into the bloodstream. After birth, the baby can still get the poisons through the mother’s breast milk. I was sensitive to that maybe because I am a woman and also because I have seen lots of campaigns carrying this message. So when my smoker female friends got pregnant I always tried to convince them to stop smoking as many seemed not to care that these chemicals pass from the mother into the baby’s blood. It’s too risky as the baby may be born underweight, premature or dead. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or 'cot death') and the mother also faces a higher risk of having a miscarriage or complications during birth. It makes her feel more breathless and have less energy. Babies of mothers who smoke are more likely to die in the first year of life. If they survive, they have a greater risk of lung infections as well as poor physical and mental development. 

But I must confess that I never cared about the fact that the smoke that a pregnant woman breathes in from her companion or husband’s cigarettes can affect their unborn child! I never thought of it! This really strikes only when I started my research for the little book. I consider myself more or less informed but that was a surprise. Of course, I was aware that passive smokers that breathe in smoke from another person’s cigarette suffer the same health risks as smokers - irritation to the eyes, runny nose, sore throat, and headache. I had that experience myself. I always worked with smokers. They did not care a bit about my health. Fortunately, I did not suffer from asthma, bronchitis, allergies or anything. Passive smoke can bring severe attacks on people who suffer from these diseases or even heart disease. I did not seem to care about my health either as I never questioned their right to smoke in work reunions. Today I would be pretty upset if they smoked in the same room for hours and hours. I know now that if I continue to breathe in other people’s smoke, I will have a higher chance of developing lung cancer, heart attack or a lung infection. But strangely I never thought that both parents need to give up smoking early in pregnancy if they want to reduce the risk of their baby being affected. Most health campaigns that I have seen all my life focused only on the mother to be, not the father. And it was only very recently that I saw a campaign on secondhand smoke harmful effects for children, I think maybe four years ago. So I learned that passive smoking is dangerous to unborn children, babies, and children in general, women, men, everybody. As I read more and more I was more surprised with what I found.

Celebrate World No Tobacco Day, 31 May

What's your opinion about Portuguese music in English language?

Video  Gomo , Feeling Alive

Some like it, others don't. If we have a mother tongue, why should we go and sing in a language that is not ours? So that our songs have more acceptance abroad? It's just a market strategy? But if we think about it for a second we'll see the most successful Portuguese singers abroad - like Mariza - sing in Portuguese, not in English. I have no CDs of Portuguese artists singing in English. I do not think they are better or worse than their foreign counterparts. I don't like it that much. I am also very picky when buying songs in Portuguese. But I have my favorites. The Portuguese are so used to consume songs in English that no one seemed surprised when the Portuguese Football Federation chose a song by Black Eyed Peas - I gotta feeling - for the anthem National Football Team in the World Cup in South Africa...!!

May 21, 2011

Smoking prevention strategies and children

Secondhand smoke's bad company! postcard

Less than 10 days to World No Tobacco Day, May 31! So bear with me, here's another post on smoking & kids. There are persons, professionals, who are in a special position that grants them the privilege to act and to speak and be heard because they have authority. This is true for parents whether smokers or non-smokers and siblings, for teachers, doctors, and medical personnel, especially pediatricians and obstetricians, social and youth workers and caregivers. But anyone can try to prevent children from smoking. Let’s see how prevention strategies work.

A prevention program, an action you promote in school or anywhere, or whatever you do, a mere friendly conversation, a letter or email that you write to a child, must be able to influence the attitude, the belief of that child. You can begin by emphasizing the benefits of not smoking and the disadvantages of smoking. Provide information on short-term smoking effects because children do not consider the long-term consequences. Think that if the child has friends that smoke they will try to minimize the risk of it. So build your case! They will try to point out the advantages of that behavior very strongly when confronted. The child must be made aware that those benefits are false.

Most people think that cigarettes will harm their health only in a far future. But this is not entirely correct and you must be aware of it. When smoking a cigarette the nicotine will speed up the child’s heart rate, raise her blood pressure and disturb the flow of blood and air into the lungs. This will happen within a few minutes of smoking just one cigarette. As a result, a child who smokes will feel more tired than one that does not smoke.
Nicotine will also paralyze the tiny hairs in the lung passages. These hairs help to clean dirt and germs out. If they are down then the child will start to cough, will develop a sore throat and runny nose. Probably she will get colds more often as the protection against germs will be less. The carbon monoxide in the smoke lowers the amount of oxygen carried in the blood to the rest of the child’s body, including the heart and the brain. A child who smokes has less endurance when running and playing sports and won’t be as fit as another one who doesn’t smoke. Finally, tar and cancer-causing substances are deposited in child airways and lungs.

Cigarettes smoke have plenty of toxic and poisonous chemicals. In a word or two: the child will feel and be sick. One day she will spend time going to a doctor instead of going out to play football. Then she will have to take medicines. Eventually, she will miss school, she will stay indoors so she can be treated. She will not be able to go out with her healthy friends to a party. This will be an unpleasant routine for the child and will be happening in the present, not in the future.

Smoking cigarettes deadens the nerve-endings for smell and taste. It’s not good if one who smokes cannot smell or taste as well as a non-smoker. Smoking stains teeth within yellowish color and gives bad breath. Also leaves an unpleasant smell in clothes. So there goes the child’s allowance in mint chewing gum and spray. Smoking is expensive and if a child gets hooked on nicotine she will have to spend more money on it and less on Mp3 download or movie or football tickets or cool t-shirts or whatever she likes and saves money for.

As far as developing a subjective norm unfavorable to smoking point out that most people in the building where you live, neighborhood, village, city, world… do not smoke. Movies, TV and tobacco industry advertising created a false notion that smoking is cool and OK and quite common. Not necessarily so. Many persons find smoking an unpleasant, expensive, filthy and unhealthy habit. Many disapprove it. Many of these people are famous people from the world of sports, movies, music, and politics. Probably you have dear friends that don’t smoke. Many people are trying to give up smoking every day. Why? They realized it's dangerous. Smokers influence non-smokers and it’s easy for these to feel that saying no to smoke can be awkward as it may be seen as implicit criticism. Smokers tend to minimize smoking risks and often talk with great conviction about their capacity of breaking free the minute they want to. Truth is very different.

Some challenging situations that a child might endure must be discussed before taking place. The child must be taught to say no when confronted with a cigarette trial offer that comes from a friend she looks up to. She must have the notion that if she’s facing any sort of difficulty at school a cigar will not help. It will not solve it and it certainly not relaxes her better than a swim in the pool or a movie or a long walk in the park or a football match. A cigar is not a fashion accessory. It simply does not add anything that so ever to one's image.

Law prohibits the sale of tobacco to underage. It’s illegal. For some children the possibility of being fined as they try to buy tobacco is real. What will they do then? Steal? At last, cigarette smoke pollutes the air people breath and chemicals in it are toxic and poisonous to everybody, babies, children, women, men, even pets. It isn’t good for the planet either because the paper is needed to make the cigars and cigar boxes. Smoking is not a green thing to do. 

Finally, you can use techniques of commitment. It can be done just in the family circle. Let the child explain why she considers that smoking is a bad choice. As a consequence, she commits herself not to smoke in front of an audience. Another idea is to put in writing a sort of a contract between you and the child you’re addressing. That will reinforce her behavior.

Source for main facts: Bases científicas para a prevenção do consumo de tabaco na escola, José Precioso and Manuel Macedo, Instituto de Educação e Psicologia, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal

May 20, 2011

New customizable Doodle speakers from Zazzle

It has been a while since my last product showcase. This one is special. Zazzle has a new product: MUSIC SPEAKERS! The world's first customizable speaker is now on Zazzle! Perfect for travel, parties, or just a day at the beach, ultra-portable and ultra-fun for everyone.This is an awesome gadget that makes your music look as good as it sounds!
These are some of my favorite designs! Take a look!
Trumpet music instrument custom speaker doodle

Pink Orange Floral Custom Photo Doodle Speakers doodle

Mount Rockmore Doodle Speakers doodle

Personalized Retro Radio Doodle doodle

The trip, a short Portuguese movie at Cannes Festival 2011

Anthony (Orlando Costa) spends the day in the tavern. Mary (Margarida Carpinteiro) spends the hours knitting and watching television. But one day Anthony suffers a sudden heart attack which he survives. That will make him question his life around and return the love for the woman with whom he lived for years but scarcely know. Without thinking twice he gets both savings to rent a convertible to go on holiday with his wife. Only Antonio forgets the map. And from there, things start to go wrong to the point where the couple finds himself lost in the woods at night not knowing where to go ...

Section Cinéfondation is known for discovering and disseminating new talents of international cinema from schools and universities around the world. The Cinéfondation jury, headed by Michel Gondry, will announce the three Cinéfondation prizes on May 20.

Of nearly 1,600 submitted entries originating from 360 film schools, the short film A Viagem - The trip wrote and directed by Simão Cayatte 26-year-old Portuguese director was chosen to be among the 16 in competition. It will be screened today at the Cannes Festival. A Viagem was inspired by a short story by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. The 64th Festival de Cannes runs from May 11 – May 22. 

How do children start smoking?

Science has studied and provided several models to understand children smoking behavior. If we want to do something to prevent kids from smoking we must have some idea on how it works. Explaining human behavior isn’t easy as it depends on many factors. One model has identified four to five stages until the child becomes a dependent smoker. There are social and psychological risks that are critical to the child’s smoking behavior.

The first stage is called Preparation. In this stage, a child forms positive attitudes and beliefs about smoking. When a child grows up she will look up to what the mother and father, sister or brother do at home. They are her closest model. We learn by example from others. If they smoke it’s easier for the child to assume that's a natural habit. But some kids whose parents do not smoke will start smoking just the same. Maybe they're curious. Or because the idea of doing something grownups don't want them to do is appealing to them. Other kids will just be imitating adults behavior because they want to act or look like an adult. Other such as peers, actors and pop stars can lead the child to emulate their behavior and try smoking.

At the second stage, the child will make the first try. So this stage is called Trial. In the story, I wrote - yes, I created a little book about smoking prevention - the curious boy, is desperate to try a cigar. He will not give up until he does it although parents told him that cigar smoking is dangerous. I created a lot of drama around this episode because, in my opinion, it is very important that a child does not make this one try. The nicotine has an immediate effect on the brain so the child can keep smoking to get that reward. But can be a terrible experience. In fact, the first cigarette I smoked wasn’t a good experience. Probably a child will cough a lot and feel pain or burning in the throat and lungs. Some will feel sick to their stomachs or even throw up. But organisms respond differently to an individual’s motivations and evaluations are a mystery. One will never know if that experience will determine the abandon of cigarettes or if it will fuel the child’s will to go on trying. I must say I did not give cigarettes up after that first one. I gave it some more tries. 

So, after the first trial, the child will start to smoke sporadic cigarettes. This stage is called Experimentation. Now and then the child will smoke a cigar or two. At this stage the influence of the group of friends is determinant. Smoking can play an important role in friendships. It can create a bond between smokers. If the child has friends who smoke probably they will not discourage the child to quit and she will feel a pressure to keep the habit as to break free might be considered criticism. The kind of environment surrounding the child is also important. Television shows and films have built up positive images about smoking for many years. Advertising promoted smoking and made positive associations between cigarettes and brands. Or if there are no rules against smoking in the private or public space the child circulates or if the information on smoking dangers is sparse or inexistent in school or other institutions. At last, if the child has access to cigarettes easily. These are the risk factors. If a child smokes a cigarette per week she has reached the fourth stage. This stage is called Habituation. Generally, if a child is on regular consumption one must expect that she has friends that smoke too. That group of friends approves smoking behavior. On the other hand, this child has a low ability to refuse a cigar. She perceives that smoking is good to her somehow. It gives her social status, it relaxes her, helps her dealing with stress, fears, it goes along with her image whatever. If she lives in an environment where smoking is not restricted or if in school there is tolerance to smoking behavior and lack of information and campaigns on smoking dangers, these are risk factors.

When this child enters the fifth stage she is dependent on consumption. This stage is called Maintenance. The child is hooked to tobacco because it has nicotine. This substance causes addiction, both of body and mind. She stops and she'll get withdrawal symptoms like irritability, snappiness, lack of concentration. So the child smokes another cigarette. But nicotine also causes tolerance and that’s why she will need to increase the number of cigarettes to get the same effect. It’s easy for one to be addicted and it’s hard to give it up as it causes on giving up smoking. It also causes a social dependence as the child or youngster will create a bond to the group of smokers. By this stage, smoking will be associated with other activities like going out. The child is conditioned so when she thinks of going out she needs to have a cigarette. If you try to quit you'll be punished

Another model is called The theory of rational action. The child’s intention to smoke is determined both by attitude and subjective norm. Attitude: it represents the sentiment (positive or negative) for behavior, for example, smoking is bad. The attitude is influenced by the child's beliefs about the consequences of this behavior: favorable or unfavorable. The subjective norm: is the child’s perception of whether most people who are important to her think that she should or should not smoke. This norm measures the degree of social pressure to perform or not this behavior.

The conclusion is that children are more likely to smoke when they have a favorable attitude towards their achievement. And when there is support for their achievement by people children consider important. A child smoker has a positive attitude about the act of smoking. A child that does not smoke doesn’t. She has also had a more negative subjective norm regarding smoking regularly due to parents, siblings, doctors, teachers that are non-smokers. According to this model promoting positive attitudes towards non-smoking and the development of a subjective norm unfavorable to smoking has a preventive effect on tobacco consumption.

Source for scientific facts: Bases científicas para a prevenção do consumo de tabaco na escola, José Precioso and Manuel Macedo, Instituto de Educação e Psicologia, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal


May 19, 2011

404 - Page not found

Just clicked on a banner on my blog and got this! Cute! Banner removed.

Do you use Google Keyword Tool?

Last Zazzle Newsletter included a link to Keywords & tag information and that gave me an idea to write a post. Google likes a webpage for several reasons and one is the number of popular keywords that a page contains. I first started to pay attention to this when I started using Google Adsense in some of my blogs. You’ll need it too if you want to get potential traffic to your site or blog. Good keywords choice, good content and an updated regularly blog are just what you need to get good search engine traffic. Research good keywords and use them in your content and you´ll get better results. Gather keywords related to your business or blog topic in a list and use it when posting. You can even use these ideas to create blog posts when you run out of imagination. Keywords you want are the words and phrases people search for when they visit a search engine. So think about those people you want to get attention from and use their words not yours when you do this exercise.

How to find the right keywords? Use the Gooogle Keyword Tool. There are others but this one is free. Go to Google Keyword Tool and type it in the appropriate box. You can use advanced options and filters. How do you know that a keyword is a good keyword? Look at the data you’re getting from the Google Keyword tool. On the second column, you get the number of advertisers that invest in the correspondent word – it’s COMPETITION. The Competition column gives you a sense of how many advertisers are bidding for a particular keyword. It’s people who are paying to advertise on Google. The higher this value the higher the commission you’ll receive if people click on your blog ads but it will be also more difficult to optimize your blog to this search. Keywords that have a lot of competition aren’t good for you. If the bar is full turn away and searches for another keyword.
Also, stay away from keywords that don’t get enough volume searches. GLOBAL MONTHLY SEARCHES shows you this volume per month. You must find a balance between these two values, Competition, and Search. What you want to find is a relevant search. If a keyword is not good you must search-related keyword phrases that aren't quite as competitive and yet can be potentially more lucrative because they have relevant search. Explore the Google Keyword Tool: search for keyword ideas using any combination of keywords, a URL, and categories. You can download and save your searches to your PC for later use. Note that The Keyword Tool shows search data from Google search. Data from the tool may vary due to the ad group you've selected, or whether you've accessed the tool from outside of your account. You don’t need to pay anything to use Google Adwords account and its tool.

FC Porto wins UEFA Europa League Cup 2010/2011

All about it, at FC PORTO site, here.

FC Porto won Europa League 2010/2011 final by beating SC Braga (1-0), in Dublin, yesterday, Wednesday. André Villas-Boas, FC Porto trainer who is 33 years old, became the youngest technician to lift the European Cup. He’s also the youngster Portuguese league trainer and when he arrived at FC Porto this year some disbelieved his talent to take the team to victory. He’s a former pupil of José Mourinho, who trained FC Porto in the past with tremendous success before heading to other European football teams like Chelsea or Inter Milan. André is now our “The Special two” after getting a second UEFA Europa League Cup – first was in Seville, 2003, beating Celtic of Scotland - to this team and leading FC Porto to victory. Congrats to my blue and white favorite team ever and to SC Braga also!

At what age does children start to smoke?

World No Tobacco Day is upon us. Have you seen my Quit smoking page over Zazzle? Are you going to do anything to celebrate it on 31 May? According to my research children start to smoke at age 12-15. Four cigarettes a day are enough to lead adults to addiction to nicotine but children only need two cigarettes a day for four to six weeks to find themselves hooked. The girls are addicted to nicotine faster than boys. The earlier one starts smoking the easier it is to become dependent. Smoking tobacco also increases the risk of dependence on other substances. But what is the biggest risk that a child or youngster faces immediately when smoking? It’s to become dependent on it for life. 

Source: Bases científicas para a prevenção do consumo de tabaco na escola, José Precioso and Manuel Macedo, Instituto de Educação e Psicologia, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal

May 17, 2011

2010/2011 UEFA Europa League Final is Portuguese

Before the Carnation Revolution, 25 April 1974, to say that Portugal was the country of the “3 F’s” - fado, football and Fátima (religion) was a common thing to say. The combination of these three elements would be enough to keep the Portuguese happy. I really can’t say. I was too young then. But, well, I have already posted about fado and Fátima. So I guess a post on football is missing! I had the perfect excuse to bring the match into this Portuguese blog corner today. Not sure if I’ll be happier afterward, though!

2010/2011 UEFA Europa League Final is tomorrow in Dublin, Ireland. It will be a unique final with two Portuguese football teams on the field. FC Porto eliminated Villarreal 7-4 and will meet Braga in the Europa League final. Dublin will host the first ever all-Portuguese European final. The Portuguese champions FC Porto are favored in the final, having already beaten Braga twice this season. I am not a football enthusiast anymore but once I watched many FC Porto’s games. This team is the best Portuguese football team at the moment. But SC Braga is also showing interesting football and I bet Dublin will be enjoying a great match.

May 14, 2011

Fátima, the miracle of sun, May 13, 2011

Yesterday thousands of pilgrims gathered in Fátima to celebrate May 13th apparitions. And a solar halo, a halo that formed around the sun, was visible yesterday at the Shrine of Fátima at the precise moment a film about the bonds of John Paul II to the Cova da Iria was shown. A bright ring centered on the sun and caused by the refraction of light by ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. It provoked expressions of religious fervor, with many speaking of an action of God. Many of the presents wept and recorded the phenomenon on the phone. 

I am not a person of faith but I respect other people believes. And I can get the symbolism of such an event and its coincidence was perfect even if science can clearly explain it. Every year I see pilgrims crossing my country on foot to pay respect to the Virgin. Some go there to thank a grace they received, others to ask for a miracle. Devotion to Nossa Senhora de Fátima is very strong. People from many nationalities gather at Fátima to take part in religious ceremonies and the traditional Procissão do Adeus - people wave the statue with white handkerchiefs as it is carried from the shrine’s altar to Capelinha das Aparições. The day before, at night, thousands of people join the night celebrations. Praying the Rosary, attending mass and joining the procession of the candles – Procissão das Velas - with thousands of candles being lighted is a moving moment for everybody.

If you never heard of Nossa Senhora de Fátima cult, here’s a few lines about it. I’m not a specialist on this subject. If you are curious about it go here for more information.

Santa Bernadette Soubirous, Lourdes,1858, France, S. Juan Diego in Ciudad de Mexico, 1531, Mexico, and the three children shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta e Francisco Marto, in Portugal, 1917, are probably the three most well know apparitions of Virgin Mary or Our Lady of Fatima, as it is known in Portugal.

 In the Spring, Summer, and Autumn of 1916 an angel appeared to the children three times and taught them how to pray and prepare for the coming. The first apparition took place on 13th May 1917. The children saw a lady all dressed in white more shinning that the sun standing over an holm-oak tree. Then there was a second and a third apparition, in July, where the Virgin provided a secret to the children. 

The secret had three parts: the vision of Hell and the need to reconvert the world to Christianity. These two were known when Lucia wrote her memories. The third part of the secret was written and sent to Pope Pius XII. There were six apparitions in total and the last one took place on October 13th. Mary urged prayer of the rosary, penance for the conversion of sinners and consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Miracles and signs were described as Dancing Sun, Healings, Conversion of Russia, Incorruptible body of Jacinta. 

Francisco and Jacinta died due to the Spanish flu, they were aged 10 and 9. Lucia lived until 97 years old at the Carmelitas Convent, in Coimbra city, in 2005. Pope John Paul II recognized Jacinta’s and Francisco virtues in 1989. They were beatified on May 13, 2000, when Pope John Paul II visited the Fátima’s Sanctuary. 

The Fátima Basilica construction begun in 1928 and was consecrated on October 7, 1953, its 15 altars are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. The monumental organ, mounted in 1952, has about 12 thousand pipes. The Statue of the Lady venerated in Little Chapel of Apparitions, the heart of the Shrine of Fatima was donated to the Shrine in 1920 by Mr. Gilberto Fernandes dos Santos. It was made by sculptor José Ferreira Thedim, of cedar from Brazil and it is 1.10m high. The bullet donated by John Paul II is encrusted in the crown. He donated the bullet that pierced his body during the attempt on his life in Rome, on May 13, 1981, as a sign of gratitude to the Virgin Mary for having saved his life. In May 2011 Pope John Paul II was beatified in St. Peter's Square, presided over by Benedict XVI, and thousands of pilgrims attended.

May 13, 2011

Do you smoke? Why and how did you start smoking?

My father and I. At this time he was a pipe smoker.
It's May. Indulge me on this one. World No Tobacco Day is May 31. Let me make some campaign against secondhand smoke. I do not smoke. But I smoked once. I smoked when I was attending high school and just for a short period. I was 15 years old and stupid. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was just imitating some of my closest friends’ habits. I wasn’t even that curious about it. My father was a smoker. He smoked since he was a teenager. Smoking behavior was familiar to me. I grew up watching my father doing it. So I guess I didn’t consider it to be a really bad habit. He smoked at home and burned curtains and bed covers lots of times upsetting my mom. He smoked both cigarettes and pipe. I remember that I loved the smell of fresh tobacco he used in the pipe. On the way to the beach each Sunday morning he smoked in the car too. He drove us, me, my sister and my mother, lots of times many places and always kept smoking.
Tobacco packs and ashtrays were everywhere in the house. The car ashtray was always full of cigar tips and the car smelled really bad. My mother disliked his habit a lot and was always complaining. She wasn’t a smoker. I was never told not to smoke by my father or mother. As a baby, my sister suffered from asthma and bronchus disease. Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, and environmental factors play an important role in determining both onset and severity. Both asthma and respiratory symptoms (wheeze, cough, breathlessness, and phlegm) are increased among children whose parents smoke. By the time I and my sister were children, there wasn’t a clear understanding of the danger of smoking or secondhand smoking amongst the population. Furthermore, I do not think that my father or mother ever thought that I might even try it. I do not remember being told not to smoke by my father. It was only until I was last high school years when I picked Health subject as an option that I first learned about tobacco dangers. So, why did I start smoking? Several factors can lead to the consumption of tobacco and it varies from individual to individual. In my case, I was clearly influenced by my peer group. In my family, I had smokers and non-smokers. I did not have a strong belief against smoking but I knew it wasn't 100% good. I did not have much information on it either. Fortunately, I quitted before I went to college. If not I know now that it would have become a problem. Smoking was expensive for a teen, I did not have much money to spend and I found other things to do with my fingers much more pleasing: writing and drawing. I still enjoy writing and drawing today and I never touched a cigarette again. When my sister was maybe 14 years old she convinced my father not to smoke. She enrolled him on a quit smoking program held at a local institution and she attended each session with him. At home, he had family support. He did not use any kind of medicine. He was 40 years old at that time and had been smoking all his life. He was successful in quitting tobacco consumption. he never smoked again even in more troubled life periods. Today he’s 70. Although he has some respiratory problems he’s fine. Now you know. This is one of the reasons why I believe that small children should be empowered with knowledge about secondhand smoking and smoking. They do have the means and the power to change adults’ behavior. It’s called love.
Me and my father on Sunday morning walks. He holds a cigarette, it was his faithfull friend, always there.
He was 29 years old when my mother took this photo. I was 2 years old at the time.

May 9, 2011

Popcorn to combat pollution in aquatic environment?!

The Portuguese coast is more than 1000 kilometers long. I love to go to the beach. I like everything about it. Also, I prefer to eat fish to meet and can't resist seafood! Sea animals are fantastic and one of my best childhood memories is about going to the beach and look for small fish, octopus, and crabs, in nested pools on the rocks. I think that's very important to test how to deal with accidents that cause coast pollution. Mock combat pollution in the aquatic environment took place on May 4th, in Figueira da Foz, the city where I live now, involving various resources from the Navy and local authorities, and volunteers.

The scenario: by night the merchant ship "Mondego" crashed in the port of Figueira da Foz and for the next for four hours, 500 cubic meters of fuel was dispersed by the sea and reached the river and adjacent beaches. Then the operation followed with actions on land and at sea aimed to containment and removal of hydrocarbons – this was simulated using hundreds of pounds of popcorn! I had never heard of this possibility, I find it curious. The popcorn is not pollutants. The oil used to cook is not a pollutant. The popcorn that was not caught by the team is eaten by fish and the seagulls! These exercises are important for future prevention of coastal environments. I'm glad they're doing it!

News source here

May 7, 2011

What Finland must know about Portugal

As some of my blog visitors might know my country, Portugal, is going through pretty rough times. This year's street protests were the biggest ever to take place. 400,000 people took to the streets and many strikes occur just before the downfall of Sócrates socialist government. Then the IMF arrived in Portugal to negotiate the terms of the rescue, the bailout. The "troika" are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission (EC). Negotiations took place about the conditions that Portugal has to obey in order to receive financial aid. If you think that things are going to get better for Portuguese people you are not aware of what this bailout means. The IMF help depends on accepting austerity measures that will deepen the crisis further. I believe that living standards will fall and unemployment will get higher. So most of us are not happy about IMF presence, but Portugal had no choice because at one point banks withdrew together from funding the State. I think the Government's poor public service to the country, the banking together with several international factors led to this unbearable situation. But banks are immune to the crisis. Working people will now pay for the mistakes of the rich. Now, this video was made as a response to the party The True Finns, a Finland political party that was against aid to indebted governments such ours. Finland last year helped bail out Greece and Ireland. But the new Portuguese request had no favor from the True Finns party who has vowed to veto any request to increase Finland's contribution to European bailout funds...The video shows some of our achievements in history and modern times society. Unfortunately, it isn't 100% accurate. But it's fun to watch and I'm sure you'll get surprised about this nation called Portugal.