Antonio Vivaldi inspired today’s Google Doodle

Google made another Doodle for Antonio Vivaldi because today is his birthday. So who the hell is Antonio Vivaldi and why he is worthy to have his very own Google doodle? There are so many musicians out there, but why did Google choose Vivaldi?

Antonio Vivaldi was a Venetian baroque composer and priest, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist, born and raised in the Republic of Venice.

His most famous work is Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons) of 1723. In essence, it resembles an early example of a tone poem, where he attempted to capture all the moods of the four seasons. It’s his best-known work and is representative of the baroque period in European art music.

He has 46 operas and 90 sonatas which is quite a record and nobody ever achieved that much number of operas and sonatas in the history of mankind. Over 500 Vivaldi concertos exists today, as well as 40 cantatas, 22 operas, and more than 60 sacred works.

So is that enough to be worthy of a Google Doodle?

It’s not just that. Vivaldi’s music was innovative in its time, breaking a consolidated tradition in schemes; he gave brightness to the formal and the rhythmic structure of the concerto, repeatedly looking for harmonic contrasts and innovative melodies and themes; many of his compositions reflect a flamboyant, and almost playful exuberance.

Vivaldi is considered one of the composers who brought baroque music to evolve into a classical style.

Is Philanthropy Charity?

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The old proverb – attributed to everyone from Lao Tzu to Maimonides – still holds as true today as it did in the past. It also highlights a fundamental difference between two types of giving – that which expects nothing in return, and that which demands something from the recipient. For the sake of argument, let us refer to the first one as charity and the second one as philanthropy.

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Carlos Slim, founder of the Latin American business empire that includes the continent’s largest mobile phone company, famously refused to join Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, where billionaires commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic or charitable causes. The reason Slim gave is that he did not believe that charity solves problems. However, Slim, one of the world’s wealthiest men, has been a positive force in the lives of millions in Latin America through the jobs that he has created and the economic prosperity this has brought. Rather than committing his wealth to “charitable” causes, he chooses to use his wealth to continue to drive further economic growth. And there is nothing wrong with that approach.

In fact, in many ways this illustrates the nature of philanthropy as opposed to charity. Charity is unconditional giving, and has its place. It can help to lift the destitute out of starvation or stem the flow of AIDS in Africa. It is appropriate when people have reached the point where they can no longer help themselves. However, philanthropy is about teaching people how to fish – it expects something in return, whether that is labor in return for pay, or the expectation that the recipient will better themselves through education. It is ultimately about creating a reciprocal relationship, rather than a dependency.

Because of this reciprocity, philanthropy is very closely allied with entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs – such as Kashim Bukar Shettima – are also philanthropists rather than supporters of charitable causes. This is because their own experience has taught them that people only succeed when they have control of their own destiny and are motivated. Philanthropy is about creating the conditions for people to seize this control, rather than taking it away from them by giving them charity. Empowerment is the only sustainable way of bettering the human condition – charity has shown itself time and time again to be a short-term bandage, although sometimes a necessary one.

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There has been a long tradition in America linking entrepreneurship and capitalism with philanthropy. Industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller from the Gilded Age of the late 19th century poured huge amounts of their money into philanthropic activities. The Carnegie Foundation, among other things, funded the creation of over 2500 libraries around the world to “promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” Carnegie knew that in order for a person to fish in our modern society, they need both information and education. That is a lesson that we need to continue to remember today.

A Rare Crocodile Was Found in Florida at St. Petersburg by Shondra Farner

News reports came in where a rare crocodile was spotted by a resident named Shondra Farner at St. Petersburg in Florida.

Shondra Farner found the rare crocodile in her own backyard by the community pond and reported it to Florida Seafood and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission last Sunday, September 18, 2011. They had set a cage trap with beef loin hoping to catch the reptile.

“That big boy was just about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from our patio. It’s terribly scary looking. And fast. When he turned to leave, I couldn’t believe how quick he was.”

Through his trip to Costa Rica, Farner had recognized the difference between crocodiles and alligators. Crocs have narrower, more triangular snout while alligators not only have wider, more rounded snouts, but they also don’t like the brackish and salt waters that crocs can live in.

Lindsey Hord, the crocodile response coordinator for the wildlife commission, said it’s possible that this is the same reptile spotted south of St. Petersburg in 2008. Hord said the crocodile is living on the ducks that swim in the water.

Reviews state that you will find about 1,500 crocodiles in Florida plus they are usually available at 300 miles south within the Florida Secrets where it’s warmer.

FWC authorities says when taken, a magnet is going to be inserted around the rare crocodile and it’ll be launched in to the Polk Bay. The magnet can help disorient the rare reptile and stop it from coming back to communities.

Colleges in State of Washington Now Have Tuition Control

In-state public university students in Washington may have to shoulder more of the costs of their education than ever before.

This followed after a bill was passed by the Legislature last Tuesday that gives colleges and universities in Washington four years of control over their tuition fees.

This means that the state can enjoy a deregulated tuition system and even double-digit increases in their tuition fees. Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina.

“In a perfect world, we might not want to do this, but we find ourselves not in a perfect world. We find ourselves in a budget crisis like we’ve never faced before. What we’re trying to do with this measure is really maintain the quality of the institutions that we’ve been blessed with here in Washington state.”

The governor says she’ll sign the bill into law. In effect, state four-year schools can start setting their own tuition fee rates this coming school year. They can also raise their tuition fees above a certain threshold but will have to put some of the money to financial aid if they do so. This is what tuition control allows the universities to do.

The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, along with the supporters of the proposal for tuition control, believes that the bill carefully balances quality, affordability, and accessibility.

The tuition control is part of the state’s move to close a $5.3 billion budget shortfall. Furthermore, House and Senate Budget proposals are cutting state funding for higher education over the next biennium by over $600 million.

Opponents, however, of the proposal argue that the bill makes college education inaccessible to Washington families.

“We have now in essence answered that big question: are these public institutions? I think we’re answering no longer are they public institutions,” said Sen. Jim Kastama who is a Puyallup Democrat who joined 12 republicans in voting against the bill.

Photo Credit: Campus Explorer

North Korea Has Built An Ultra-Modern Nuclear Facility

According to New York Times, an American nuclear scientist said that North Korea secretly and speedily built a large new facility to enrich uranium.

Siegfried Hecker, the scientist, told NY Times in an interview that he was “stunned” by the sophistication of the enrichment facility which included hundreds of newly installed centrifuges which he described as “ultra-modern control room.”

Hecker is a professor at Stanford University and former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He privately informed the White House of his findings a few days ago, said the newspaper in an account published late Saturday on its Web site.

Hecker previously described the construction by the North Korean regime of an experimental light-water reactor, confirming satellite photographs that had recently been made public.

But Hecker has made no mention of the discovery of a new uranium enrichment operation that can be used to produce weapons grade material. He told the NY Times that the North Koreans claimed 2,000 centrifuges had already been installed and were running.

It was not made unclear as to why the North provided Hecker with access to the facility and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

During the last international inspection was made, US officials are certain no such facility existed in April 2009.

The Obama administration could use the information gathered by Hecker as evidence that North Korea continues to forge ahead with its nuclear program in violation of United Nations mandates.

Anuradha Koirala Is CNN’s 2010 Hero Of The Year

Anuradha Koirala was chosen as CNN’s 2010 Hero of the Year. Koirala is a member of a group who rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery since 1993. With her organization, she has provided a loving home for these victims. A place for them to heal, go to school, learn a skill, and for some who are infected with HIV/AIDS.

Koirala was voted by the public in an online poll that ran for eight weeks on CNN.com. Anderson Cooper, CNN’s primary anchor, revealed the result at the conclusion of the fourth-annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.”

Actress Demi Moore, who is an advocate in eliminating child sex slavery worldwide and founder of DNA – Demi and Ashton Foundation, introduced Koirala.

“Human trafficking is a crime, a heinous crime, a shame to humanity,” Koirala said after being introduced as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010. “I ask everyone to join me to create a society free of trafficking. We need to do this for all our daughters.”

Koirala will receive $100,000 in addition to the $25,000 awarded to each of the top 10 Heroes honored Saturday night. She will back to Nepal to continue her heroic service.

World’s Tallest Married Couple: The Hallquists

Guinness World Records just recently announced its Tallest Married Couple in New York.

Hailed from Stockton, California, Wayne and Laurie Hallquist stood proudly before the world as they receive such recognition.

The couple sums a combined height of 13.44 feet (407.4 centimeters). Husband Wayne stands at 6 feet and 10.4 inches and wife Laurie at 6 feet and 5.95 inches.

Official adjudicator Stuart Claxton will preside over the couple’s astounding achievement and announce the dynamic duo’s incredible proportions while presenting the pair with an official Guinness World Records certificate.

“We’re excited and proud,” declared the statuesque Laurie. “Representing the U.S. in this year’s Guinness World Records Day is quite a thrill.”

The colossal couple met at a singles gathering hosted by their local Baptist church seven years ago and have been happily married ever since. Wayne currently works as a telecommunications engineer and Laurie is a realtor in their place and was a former women’s basketball player at California State University. The Hallquists collect classic cars, enjoy boating and sleep in a California King size bed measuring 7 feet. They currently do not have children.

Computer Gamers Can Save The World From Climate Change


Computer Gamers Can Save The World From Climate Change – Computer gamers who like a challenge can now take on one of the toughest around: saving the entire planet, this time from climate change.

“Fate of the World” is a game created as a strategy with a social conscience. It sees players try to protect the world’s climate and resources while managing a growing population which demands more power, food, and living space.

It is a scenario-based game where the player runs Earth for 200 years and save it or potentially destroys it. According to the game’s British inventor Gobion Rowlands, “the whole power is in your hands.” The player takes charge as head of the fictional Global Environment Organization (GEO).

They can implement policies such as banning logging in the Amazon rainforest, making all Europe’s public transport run on electricity or slapping a one-child policy on the whole of Asia.

However, this power comes with grave consequences. For example, if the player decides to bring down the birth rate to protect natural resources, the workforce could plunge and people could be forced to work until age 80. As a result, the player sees the impact of their decisions: orangutans are saved from extinction, global temperatures drop by a degree; however, bad moves could see Europe battered by floods, or Africa ravaged by war.

According to the creator of the game, even if they choose to destroy the world, the players will still learn more about the subject. The game was based on scientific, economic and demographic data from sources such as NASA, the United Nations and Oxford University. The game allows people to experience the decisions we are likely to confront and makes clear there are no easy answers.

Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito’s Fight For Their Countries’ Pride

Two of the world’s greatest boxing fighters will be fighting for the glory of their countries at Dallas Cowboy Stadium on November 13, 2010.

Singing the Lupang Hinirang, Philippine national anthem, is Ms. Zyrene Parsad. The latter was personally chosen by the Filipino pride himself, Congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

Lupang Hinirang Lyrics:
(Filipino Version)

Bayang magiliw,
Perlas ng Silanganan
Alab ng puso,
Sa Dibdib mo’y buhay.

Lupang Hinirang,
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Sa manlulupig,
Di ka pasisiil.

Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula,
At awit sa paglayang minamahal.

Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
Tagumpay na nagniningning,
Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma’y di magdidilim,

Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo,
Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.

Beloved Country
Unofficial English Translation:

Land of the morning,
child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning,
thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
cradle of noble heroes,
Ne’er shall invaders,
trample thy sacred shore.

Even within thy skies and through thy clouds,
And o’er thy hills and sea.
Do we behold the radiance,
Feel the throb of glorious liberty.

Thy banner, dear to all our hearts,
Its sun and stars alight.
O, never shall its shining field,
Be dimmed by tyrant’s might!

Beautiful land of love, O land of light,
In thine embrace ’tis rapature to lie.
But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged,
For us, thy sons, to suffer and die.

Himno Nacional Mexicano

CORO
Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón,
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra.
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.

I
Ciña ¡oh patria! tus sienes de oliva
De la paz el arcángel divino,
Que en el cielo tu eterno destino
Por el dedo de Dios se escribió.

Más si osare un extraño enemigo
Profanar con su planta tu suelo,
Piensa ¡oh Patria querida! que el cielo
Un soldado en cada hijo te dio.

CORO

II
¡Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
De la patria manchar los blasones!
¡Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.

¡Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones horrísonos truenen,
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de ¡Unión! ¡Libertad!

CORO

III
Antes, patria, que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campiñas con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.

Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con hórrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil héroes la patria aquí fue.

CORO

IV
¡Patria! ¡Patria! Tus hijos te juran
Exhalar en tus aras su aliento,
Si el clarín con su bélico acento
nos convoca a lidiar con valor.

¡Para ti las guirnaldas de oliva!
¡Un recuerdo para ellos de gloria!
¡Un laurel para ti de victoria!
¡Un sepulcro para ellos de honor!

CORO
Mexicanos al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón,
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra.
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.

Mexico’s National Anthem
(English Translation)

Chorus:
Mexicans, at the cry of war,
make ready the steel and the bridle,
and the earth trembles at its centers
at the resounding roar of the cannon.
and the earth trembles at its centers
at the resounding roar of the cannon!

First Stanza:
Let gird, oh Fatherland, your brow with olive
by the divine archangel of peace,
for in heaven your eternal destiny
was written by the finger of God.
But if some enemy outlander should dare
to profane your ground with his step,
think, oh beloved Fatherland, that heaven
has given you a soldier in every son.

Stanza V:
War, war without quarter to any who dare
to tarnish the coat of arms!
War, war! Let the national banners
be soaked in waves of blood.
War, war! In the mountain, in the valley,
let the cannons thunder in horrid unison
and may the sonorous echoes resound
with cries of Union! Liberty!

Stanza VI:
O, Fatherland, ere your children, defenseless
bend their neck beneath the yoke,
may your fields be watered with blood,
may their foot be printed in blood.
And may your temples, palaces and towers
collapse with horrid clamor,
and may their ruins continue on, saying:
Of one thousand heroes, here the Fatherland began.

Stanza X:
Fatherland! Fatherland! your children swear to you
to breathe their last for your sake,
if the bugle with its bellicose accent
persuades them to battle with courage.
For you, olive wreathes!
A memory for them of glory!
For you, a laurel of victory!
A tomb for them of honor!

Time Magazine Has Named Its 25 Candidates for Person of The Year Award

Time Magazine has named the 25 candidates for the annual selection of the Person of the Year Award. Who will likely be chosen to receive such recognition?

Among the candidates were the famous Lady Gaga, who is also Google’s number 1 most popular woman, US President Barack Obama and the youngest person and the first woman elected Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.

Here’s the complete list of candidates: