1. This week was the Doha Climate Change Conference in Qatar, just as a typhoon ravaged the Phillipines and only weeks after hurricane Sandy wrought havoc in a region of the United States where hurricanes did not use to be a thing. As politicians sit and talk and talk, agreeing only to the fact that perhaps, yes, something must be done, but not right now, several manifestations have been going outside in both Qatar and the rest of the world. One particularly moving protest has the international executive director of Greenpace, Kumi Naidoo, directing a chant with a chorus of followers.
2. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a team of researchers at Stanford University is pondering the answer to the question: is there such a thing as a California accent? Their hope is to find and describe the Californian dialect, beyond gimmicky impersonations of San Fernando Valley girls or surfer dudes.
3. Talking about pondering difficult questions: will Puerto Rico ever achieve statehood, or will it become independent, or worse yet, will it remain in its current political limbo? An attempt at a solution took place in these past elections, an event overshadowed by the bigger game taking place up north. A referendum asking Puertorricans whether statehood was their goal in life ended up having mixed results because of the way the ballot was designed but, more importantly, due to the the US’ apparent lack of interest in Puertorrican affairs.
4. El Cantar del Mío Cid, as the Spanish language’s epic poem that serves as a symbolic marker of the birth of the Castilian language, is mandatory reading for teenagers and college students across Spanish-speaking countries. Passed down through oral tradition and written down around 800 years ago, it belongs to an age when killing as many Arabs as you could was a mark of heroism and men’s swords, which had proper names and are characters in the story, had hilts embedded with relics stolen from the bodies of saints. Interesting the younger generations in this epic of valor, kings and their vassals proves ever more challenging. Mr. Antonio Orejudo proposes a new way to study the classics: lose our fear of desecrating them and start playing with them.
5. There is a war happening in the world of computing. Four tech giants are likened to the four kingdoms in the popular novels and TV show A Game of Thrones in this entertaining article from The Economist about the war Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are currently locked into.