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The Internet of Things and Smart Crops

Today it's not enought to just talk about Internet. This concept has broaden up and it's a good challenge for those who want to become electronic engineers. César Viloria Núñez, professor at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, explains what is the Internet of things:

Consiste en que las cosas en general estén conectadas y que no solo las personas ingresemos información a la red, sino que las cosas mismas generen información, la compartan entre ellas y tomen decisiones con el fin de automatizar distintos procesos.

It's about things in general be connected and not that only the people feed data to the web, but that things themselves generate information, that they share it and make decisions aiming to automatize different processes.

And although engineer Viloria Núñez tries to explain the concept with the example of a ‘smart refrigerator', he also mentions smart crops. He wonders:

¿Qué tal una red de sensores en el terreno cultivado que identifique qué tan húmedo o seco está el suelo para activar automáticamente el sistema de riego? Tal vez dependiendo de qué tan maduro esté el producto cultivado se requiera más o menos agua, o más o menos fertilizantes, o los sensores pueden identificar si el cultivo está siendo atacado por alguna plaga para activar el suministro automático de insecticida.

What about a network of sensors in a cultivated land that identifies how irrigated or dry a soil is to automatically activate the irrigation system? Maybe relying on how madure the cultivated product is, it will need more or less water, or more or less fertilizers, or the sensors might be able to identify if the crop has been attacked by some plague to activate automatic supply of insecticide.

Welcome to the Internet of things.

If you are interested in science, don't forget to follow César Viloria Núñez on his accounts on LinkedIn or Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty-eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

11-Year-Old Girl Starts Petition Calling for Mexican President's Resignation

Captura de pantalla de la campaña Personas que quieren la renuncia de Peña Nieto en la plataforma Change.org

Screenshot of the people who want the resignation of Peña Nieto campaign on the Change.org platform.

Political activism is not exclusively reserved for young people and adults. This was demonstrated by Sofia, an 11-year-old Mexican girl who decided to collect signatures calling for the resignation of the president of her country, Enrique Peña Nieto. These are her reasons.

Peña Nieto no le ha respondido como se debe a los familiares de los estudiantes desaparecidos, se fue a China y tiene una casa de 80 millones de pesos.

Peña Nieto has not responded as he should have to the families of the missing students, he went to China and he has a house costing 80 million pesos (approximately 5.88 million dollars).

This initiative caused many positive reactions. For example, some decided to sign in order to demonstrate to Sofia and other Mexican children (as well as adults) that having a better country is possible, and to remind those who govern that people placed them there and that the people can remove them. Sofia's mother said:

Yo no tengo idea de cómo se destituye a un presidente. Pero ojalá pueda de verdad llevar esas hojas a alguna parte que ayude a Sofía a sentir que su esfuerzo vale la pena, que lo intentamos a toda costa. Fui incapaz de decirle que no lo hiciera, que era casi imposible. No puedo cortarle las alas. Esta generación viene con fuerza, con fe y determinación, y con un concepto de lo que es decente y justo que ya quisieran muchos para un fin de semana.

I don't know how to dismiss a president. But, hopefully one can take those papers somewhere so that Sofia can feel that her efforts were worth it, that we tried at all costs. I was unable to tell her not to do it because it was almost impossible. I couldn't cut her wings. This generation is full of strength with faith and determination, and with a concept of what is decent, something that many want for a weekend.

The petition was placed on the Change.org platform and already has 10,500 signatures at the time of this post.

Paddington Bear Visits the Land of His Peruvian Forefathers

"Por favor, cuiden de este oso. Muchas gracias". Imagen en Flickr del usuario Mark Kenny (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Image on Flickr by user Mark Kenny (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Paddington Bear, the lovable fictional character in children's literature popular in the United Kindgonm, arrived in Peru, the land of his forefathers. According to the character's story, Paddington was found at Paddington Railway Station in London by the Brown family. Because, apparently, “no one understands his Peruvian name”, he becomes known as Paddington after the railway station in which he was found.

In a press release from the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, a campaign by Promperú, which is part of the ministry, was made public:

[...] para promover a nuestro país como uno de los destinos más fascinantes de América del Sur y del mundo, incluye esta visita durante la cual el Oso Paddington pondrá en vitrina nuestras culturas vivas, historia milenaria, biodiversidad, gastronomía y celebraciones.

[...] to promote our country as one of the most fascinating places in South America and the world, during this visit Paddington Bear will highlight our lively cultures, millenary history, biodiversity, cuisine and celebrations.

So, Paddington Bear was seen all around Lima:

Paddington Bear in our capital city Main Square. Go ahead and meet him!

Paddington Bear attends First International Fair President of the Republic Scholarship

I came across Paddington Bear and I can only conclude he must be boiling under that costume.

Today, Paddington Bear visited our newsroom.

Mexico ‘Adrift'!

The tragedy of the students from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero, Mexico, has started a wave of solidarity among Mexicans and people throughout the world, so much so that students from at least 43 counties are demanding justice for their missing peers.

But to explain the sentiments of families and locals engaged with security and good living, let's listen to what a Mexican has to say. Fernando Vázquez Rigada, in a sensitive article, is harsh in his criticisms of passive society and of his government as well:

El estado llegó tarde y llegó mal. La desaparición de más de 50 seres humanos hubiera accionado los resortes de seguridad nacional de cualquier estado decente. Pero éste no lo es. Y llegó mal: porque, titubeante, no ha atinado a tomar el control de una crisis que hace que las instituciones se desmoronen y que la irritación social sea contenida. La esposa de Abarca está arraigada, porque no se pudo acreditarle ningún delito que ameritara orden de aprehensión del juez. La mujer que los escondió salió bajo caución: porque no se le considera cómplice, encubridora, de un crimen que ha conmovido al mundo entero.

The state arrived late and in bad shape. The disappearance of more than 50 human beings would have unleashed the national security mechanisms in any decent society. But this one is not. And it arrived in bad shape: because being hesitant, it has been unable to take control of a crisis that makes institutions crumble and that social irritation gets restrained. No crime could be proved to Abarca's wife, so there is no judicial order for her arrest. The woman who hid them was bailed out: as she is not considered accomplice, accessory to a crime that has shocked the whole world.

Vasquez Rigada concludes: “The sea is rough. The vessel creaks. The crew can't control the vessel. The passengers have fear and hate. And the helm is loose.”

You can follow Fernando on Twitter: @fvazquezrig

This post was part of the 28th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

The Tragedy in Mexico's Iguala Is a ‘Game Changer’

Photo from the blog by Fernando Vasquez Rigada and used with permission.

Fernando Vázquez Rigada blogged on October 27 about the dreadful events occured in the community of Iguala, Mexico. By his understanding, this has unveiled just how rotten the government is, starting from the involvement of the former mayor and continuing with the corruption within institutions.

El 26 había una crisis local, el 27 una nacional, el 28 una internacional. Hoy, un callejón sin salida.

On the 26th it was a local crisis, on the 27th it was national, the 28th it became international. Today, a dead end.

Vázquez called the situation a ”game changer”, saying, “Those shocks that don't change the rules of a game: they change the game.” He pointed out several things the government should consider in those moments:

Primero: deberá redefinir sus objetivos.
Segundo: deberá escuchar. La calle hierve. Hay un reclamo general.
Tercero: sus cálculos políticos deberán modificarse.

First: The government should redefine its goals.
Second: It will have to listen. The streets are boiling. There is general uproar.
Third: Their political calculations will have to be modified.

The author ends by noting:

El país cambió el 26 de septiembre. El gobierno aún no se ha dado cuenta. Veremos si no es muy tarde.

The country changed on September 26. The government still hasn't realized. Let's see if it's not too late.

Today, more than three weeks later, we know it's late too for the government, but we hope it might not be for the 43 students who are still missing. Just as the protesters chant: “They were taken alive, we want them alive!

You can add your signature to a petition to demand the Mexican government investigate who was behind the tragedy and why.

Follow Fernando Vázquez Rigada on Twitter: @fvazquezrig

This post was part of the 26th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on October 27, 2014.

Ecuador: National Encounter of Internet Governance

The International Center of Research in Communication for Latin America (CIESPAL, by its name in Spanish), the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), Association of Free Software of Ecuador (ASLE), Infodesarrollo Network, the organization Free Libre Open Knowledge Society (FLOK) and the Latinoamerican Agency of Information (ALAI) are hosting the National Encounter of Internet Governance with the purpose of discussing the situation of Internet governance in Ecuador, regionally as well as globally. A number of national and international experts are part of the encounter:

National Encounter of Internet Governance – Ecuador > November 27, 2014.

According to the schedule, during the event there will be discussions about Internet access, regarding infrastructure and contents with the participation of experts such as Pilar Sáenz (Fundación Karisma) and Carlos Correa (Creative Commons Ecuador and Technical Private University of Loja), among others. The moderator will be Pablo Escandón (CIESPAL). On the other hand, the second session, moderated by Valeria Betancourt (APC), will be about surveilance, privacy and security in Internet, with experts such as Renata Ávila (Web We Want) and Pilar Sáenz. Marcelo Branco (Free Software Association, Brazil) will open the event and Julián Assange will close it with a reflection about the implications about governance on Internet for Latin America.

The event is free and will take place on November 27, 2014 at Av. Diego de Almagro N32-133 Andrade Marín, Quito. You can sign up here.

Using Your Reflex Camera From Your Cellphone? Lumera!

Yes, now it's possible! Thanks to Lumera, after two years of hard work as a result of a project by Open Hardware, from Hackbo, Bogota's hackerspace. It's all about a small device that gets integrated into your reflex photographic camera, transforming it into a “smart camera”. Using Lumera, you can handle your camera from your cell phone, save your photos in the cloud, share them on social networks or edit, among other possibilities.

Fotografía extraída del sitio web Kickstarter, utilizada con autorización

Photo from the website Kickstarter, used with permission

Sergio Fabara explains how it works:

Lumera cuenta con conectividad Wi-Fi y Bluetooth LE, un display LED, doble puerto USB, batería integrada y varios botones para compartir y transferir archivos de manera rápida y sencilla. El accesorio se ancla a la cámara mediante la entrada de tornillo universal y por el puerto USB se conecta al de la cámara. Y se vinculará con su celular mediante una app que estará disponible para Android y iOS. Con esta app, podrán configurar la antena para conectarla directo a las cuentas de Dropbox y Google Drive, haciendo el respaldo digital mucho más sencillo.

Lumera has Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth LE, a LED display, double USB port, integrated battery and several buttons for quickly and easily file sharing and transfering. The accessory is fixed to the camera through the universal bolt input and through the USB port gets connected to the camera. And it will be linked to your cell phone through an app that will be available for Android and iOS. With this app, you will be able to set up he antenna to connect it directly to your Dropbox and Google Drive accounts, thus making digital backup way much simpler.

LumeraLabs is a Colombian-origin hardware, software and application firm that participates in a campaign by Kickstarter to raise funds to launch Lumera. So far, the project has raised $41,903 out of the $90,000 they have set as a goal. There is still time until December 12 for those photographs or amateurs that want Lumera to reach its goal.

Recreating Life of Comechingon People

Villa de Merlo, in the province of San Luis, was home of one of many indigenous communities that settled in the territory of what we now know as the Republic of Argentina. Wenceslao Bottaro tells us about the Theme Park Yucat Land of Comechingones, which teach us about this culture:

[el parque] es un emprendimiento familiar basado en una investigación histórica. La idea del parque es poder dar a conocer a los visitantes la historia humana de las sierras de los comechingones, rescatando la cultura, las costumbres y los saberes del pueblo comechingón, antiguos habitantes de la región del valle donde en la actualidad se asienta Villa de Merlo.

[the park] is a family undertaking base on historical research. The idea of the park is to make visitors know human history in the highlands of the Comechingones, rescuing their culture, customs and knowledge of the Comechingon people, who used to live in the region of the valley where Villa de Merlo is located today.

Fotografía extraída del blog Blucansendel, utilizada con autorización

Photo from the blog Blucansendel, used with permission.

The park is named after Yucat, one of the caciques (chiefs), and has 18 stations that can be visited with the assistance of audio guides in Spanish and English. Thus, tourists are able to find out different historical and cultural aspects of the Comechingones’ life. Aside from learning about their culture and customs, visitors can enjoy nature and typical flora, such as carob trees, chañars, iguana Hackberry, espinillos, piquillines and molles, all part of the natural scenery there. The region also provides other leisure opportunities, such as zip-lines.

You can follow Wenceslao Bottaro on Twitter.

This post was part of the 27th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs) on November 3, 2014.

Let's Keep Fighting Gender-Based Violence!

Mujeres construyendo (Women building) reports about the Campaign Beijing+20 de UN, a small contribution in the fight against gender-based violence. Violence against women isn't just about physical violence, but sexual and psychological violence as well.

Imagen extraída del blog Mujeres Construyendo, utilizada con autorización.

Image from the blog of Mujeres Construyendo. Used with permission.

According to data provided by UH Women, 120 million girls have been victims of sexual abuse, 700 million women were married while they were still young girls, and 4.5 million of the victims of sexual exploitation are women and girls. In the 21st century, violence against women is still a daily reality:

Esto no es vida, es el infierno. Mientras tú y yo estamos aquí leyendo este post, una niña o una mujer está siendo víctima de violencia en alguna de sus muchas formas, algunas sutiles, otras brutales, pero la realidad sigue siendo esa: la violencia prevalece.

This isn't life, this is hell. While you and me are here reading this post, a girl or a women is becoming victim of violence in one of its many forms, some are subtle, some others are brutal, but the reality remains: violence prevails.

What can we do to fight back?

First, be informed. Second, look for support and report the violence. Third, put pressure on our governments so they comply with laws that protect women. We should also educate younger generations within a culture of peace, put pressure on the media and politicians to raise awareness about this issue, and (why not?) produce our own content, using the digital tools we have at hand.

You can follow Mujeres Construyendo on Twitter.

This post was part of the 27th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 3, 2014.

Rural Tourism at Itapeby Country House in Argentina

Wenceslao Bottaro, blogging on Blucansendel, presents us with a business venture in sustainable rural tourism: Itapeby Country House, located in the Argentinian province of Entre Ríos, close to Gualeguaychú.

Itapeby is home to Poppy and Rodolfo, who grow crops and raise cows, pigs, poultry and sheep, offering visitors the fruits of their labor. If visitors want to, they can participate in the daily activities of rural life, such as milling corn, milking or shearing. They can also take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, go horseback riding, do some trekking or go birdwatching.

Fotografía extraída del blog Blucansendel, utilizada con autorización

Photo from the blog Blucansendel, used with permission.

Visitors can also enjoy country home-made specialties, such as fritters, scones, breads, candy, all made by Poppy. Everything Itapeby produces is consumed: animals, dairy, vegetables, hams, sausages, salamis, etc. Itapeby combines rural lifestyle with comfort for the guests:

La Posada es el área destinada a los visitantes. Es una construcción cubierta por un espeso techo de paja y chapas debajo del cual hay cinco habitaciones, enormes, confortables y de lujosa rusticidad. La Posada está rodeada por un deck/galería donde cuelgan hamacas paraguayas dispuestas de manera estratégica para disfrutar de las salidas y las puestas del sol. Todo el conjunto está envuelto por el aroma de las flores que rodean la casa.

The Inn is the area for visitors. It's a building covered by a thick straw roof. Inside, there are five bedrooms, huge, comfortable and with luxury rusticity. The Inn is surrounded by a deck where Paraguayan hammocks hang, strategically arranged to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. The whole area is blanketed in the aroma of flowers that surround the house.

You can follow Wenceslao Bottaro on Twitter.

This post was part of the 28th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

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