“Empurre ou puxe” — which one of those words means push and which one pull? I have noticed a lot of confusion around these two words, especially since “puxe” is pronounced “push-eh”. As you might have guessed “empurre” means push and “puxe” means pull. So, if you stand in front of a door that you are trying to push open and a Portuguese person behind you helpfully says “puxe”, don’t push even harder because they are actually telling you to pull.

The Portuguese have a couple of extra snack meals, which will suit some people I know. :-) There’s one in the late morning, called “lanche da manhã” and one in mid afternoon, “lanche da tarde”. Each meal is usually accompanied by coffee. People drink a lot of coffee here and it is almost always espresso. In Lisbon a café, or espresso, is also called “bica”. Some people think that bica could be an acronym for “Beba Isto Com Açucar” – drink this with sugar – but I don’t believe it. I also learned that in Porto the same coffee is called “cimbalino”. Interestingly bica is feminine while cimbalino is masculine.

“Bico” (masculine) means spout. An espresso machine has little spouts out of which the coffee flows. That could be the origin of “Bica”? That which comes out of the coffee spout…

Lusophone + Lusitania

I learned new words today: one of them is Lusophone (Wikipedia Link)

Lusophones (Portuguese: Lusófonos) are peoples and nations that that recognize Portuguese as an official language, comprising an estimated 270 million people spread across 10 sovereign states and territories. This area, known as Lusofonia or the Lusophone world (Mundo Lusófono), is the corresponding community of Lusophone nations which exist in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.


The term Lusophone is a classical compound, wherein the combining form “Luso-” derives from the Latin term for an area roughly corresponding to modern Portugal, called Lusitania. The suffix “-phone” derives from the Ancient Greek word φωνή (phōnē), meaning “voice”. The use of the term Lusophone mirrors similar terms such as Anglophone for English speakers, Francophone for French speakers, Hispanophone for Spanish speakers, and Sinophone for Chinese speakers. The term is sometimes used in reference to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, similarly to the Francophonie.

Ah, another new word: Lusitania, the name of the Roman Province that eventually became Portugal. (Wikipedia Link)

I read the word Lusophone in today’s Monocle Minute Newsletter

President de Sousa’s whistle-stop trip marked the 100th anniversary of the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro – and 200 years since Brazil’s independence from Portugal. That flight was crucial in strengthening the relationship between the two Lusophone nations. To honour the connection, his schedule included meetings with former Brazilian presidents including Lula da Silva, Michel Temer and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, as well as a planned stop in Brasília to sit down with current Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro that never came to pass. Instead of successful diplomacy, the headlines were dominated by Bolsonaro’s decision to cancel the lunch after he discovered that De Sousa also planned to meet with Lula, his main opposition in October’s elections.

Portugal’s president De Sousa gave the world a lesson in how to deal with a bully. The newsletter continues:

Bolsonaro’s move backfired. Not only did De Sousa’s meetings with former leaders go ahead regardless but Portugal’s president pressed on with his schedule, seemingly indifferent to the changes. It was an attitude received favourably by the press: Folha de São Paulo, for example, ran an opinion piece describing Bolsonaro’s decision as “diplomatic vandalism”. In diplomacy it seems that any publicity is better than none. When he first heard about the cancellation, De Sousa politely told reporters, “Whoever invites you to lunch is the one who decides whether to have lunch or not.” If anything, the success of his trip proves that etiquette and common decency still go a long way in diplomatic circles.

Monday in Santa Fe

Ottmar Liebert World HDtracks high resolution audiophile music downloads
No album added yet. One Guitar and Up Close should become available as 24/96k FLAC soon.

The beauty of simple things, little things, overlooked things…
Watercolor paperclips on Flickr.

iPhone translations:

I wonder how much more likely it is that a person understands a sentence when they can see the mouth move. How important is lip-reading in daily life? I imagine it is more important than we might think.


It’s becoming increasingly difficult for one media outlet to reach multiple audiences. Here’s Clay Shirky on Twitter, CNN and Iran:

TED Blog: Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran
CNN has the same problem this decade that Time magazine had last decade. They simultaneously want to appeal to middle America and leading influencers. Reaching multiple audiences is increasingly difficult. The people who are hungry for info on events of global significance are used to instinctively switching on CNN. But they are realizng that that reflex doesn’t serve them very well anymore, and that can’t be good for CNN.

Will Santa Fe have a Phoenix climate and Phoenix the climate of hell?
From the United States Global Change Research Program:

Recent warming in the Southwest has been among the most rapid in the nation. This is driving declines in spring snowpack and Colorado River flow. Projections of future climate change indicate continued strong warming in the region, with much larger increases under higher emissions scenarios compared to lower. Projected summertime temperature increases are greater than the annual average increases in parts of the region and are likely to be exacerbated by expanding urban heat island effects.

How does language affect thought?

From the Long Now Blog

In one reported study of several:

“We gave people sets of pictures that showed some kind of temporal progression (e.g., pictures of a man aging, or a crocodile growing, or a banana being eaten). Their job was to arrange the shuffled photos on the ground to show the correct temporal order. We tested each person in two separate sittings, each time facing in a different cardinal direction. If you ask English speakers to do this, they’ll arrange the cards so that time proceeds from left to right. Hebrew speakers will tend to lay out the cards from right to left, showing that writing direction in a language plays a role. So what about folks like the Kuuk Thaayorre, who don’t use words like “left” and “right”? What will they do?

The Kuuk Thaayorre did not arrange the cards more often from left to right than from right to left, nor more toward or away from the body. But their arrangements were not random: there was a pattern, just a different one from that of English speakers. Instead of arranging time from left to right, they arranged it from east to west. That is, when they were seated facing south, the cards went left to right. When they faced north, the cards went from right to left. When they faced east, the cards came toward the body and so on. This was true even though we never told any of our subjects which direction they faced. The Kuuk Thaayorre not only knew that already (usually much better than I did), but they also spontaneously used this spatial orientation to construct their representations of time.”

I wonder how this fits in:
Let’s say you are a self-taught artist, maybe a painter or musician, and through your work and experience you are creating rules or methods for your work that you had no knowledge of and no words for. You did not learn this and you did not know the words for this, and yet, you developed your own vocabulary, based simply on your experience over time.

I don’t think this contradicts the notion that the language you speak fundamentally shapes your thinking – linguistic relativity – but complicates the matter somewhat.

And, isn’t the same true for meditation? Without knowing names for their meditative experiences, without the framework of a religion, without any linguistic background, hermits throughout history have arrived at knowledge through experience.

Make sure you clean you boots really well, when you return from Mars!

Revived Microbe May Hold Clues For ET Lifeforms
Science Daily is reporting that a microbe, Herminiimonas glaciei, buried some 3 km under glacial ice in Greenland, and believed to have been frozen for some 120,000 years, has been brought back to life (abstract). The microbe, some ten to fifty times smaller than E. coli, was brought back over several months by slowly incubating it at gradually increasing temperatures. After 11.5 months, the microbe began to replicate.
(Via Slashdot)