The tasty paella.

The tasty paella.

When we talk about paella it not only means the exquisite gastronomic dish, it implies a richness beyond the palate.

The delightful pleasure of knowing it in the first instance, we owe it to the Valencians who designed a dish that without realizing it became a Spanish iconography.

Thanks to the interaction of daring navigators who brought rice to the continent from Asia and to the Roman irrigation systems, it was possible to sow and harvest this cereal.

A proper place for it was Valencia.

I will also give credit to the Arabs who brought (apart from cultivation techniques), saffron from distant lands.

The paella was born humble of peasant origin, without pretensions beyond those of solving the day to day.

But little by little it became a dish of kings and today it’s a gift for the humanity.

As a curious fact the paella was described with its current Valencian ingredients in the cookbook of Pope Pius V in the fifteenth century.

The origin of the word paella is uncertain.

Some say that it is of Latin origin, someone else mentions Arabic as the origin.

It is also said that it comes from the name of the frying pan that was used to cook it called “patela” (now known as paellera), the most romantic say that it was invented to flatter a lady and that is why the contraction of “pa’ella”(for her), anyway, I like all versions because I think that serves only to enrich it.

The versatility of combinations between the ingredients offered by the paella is enormous.

On top of that, each region in Spain has given it its unique and personal touch.

The only immutable condition when cooking paella is to always use saffron and of course rice as absolute base ingredients.

Of course it is important to mention that there are different types of rice (fine, bomba, Valencian, etc.), which does influence the final taste by its ability to absorb through starch, the flavors of the ingredients and the water used for cooking.

But without being so strict with the rice that is used, rice is still rice in the end, and with that premise, different types of paellas have emerged:

Valencian, peasant, seafood (that I cook and is my favorite), the mixed one, and many more and that it would be impossible to mention and at least for me to classify.

Barcelona gave the world the paella parellada or as the Catalans know it: arròs mandra, arròs gandula or arròs de cec, which is a recipe of a man named Juli Maria Parrellada.

To end this article, I will say that the word paella has the quality to unite people, to unite cultures, and to be a reference of the creativity of the human race as well as to delight us with its flavor.

So don´t hesitate to taste it in all its forms and varieties.

I am Pedro Fort and long live the rich paella.

Money and the value of things

Money and the value of things

Sometimes they ask me the question:

What is money and what gives value to things?

I will briefly tell you that money, which is something common for everyone, is elusive and therefore not so simple to define.

A simplistic way of doing so, would be to say that money replaced barter by creating an agreement of equivalence of goods to be exchanged.

That is to say: A cow is equivalent to how many hens, how many lettuces …?

And therefore is a means of exchange.

There is a well-known story that well exemplifies the ethereal of money:

In a small town where everyone is in debt, a foreign customer arrives with money at a hotel and pays with a 100 euro bill and goes up to his room.

The owner of the hotel takes the bill and runs to pay the butcher the 100 he owes him for a delivery to his restaurant.

Upon receiving the bill, the butcher runs to pay the 100 he owes the farmer who provides the animals.

The peasant with the bill in hand runs to pay his debt to the prostitute, who upon receiving the bill runs to pay her debt of 100 euros with the owner of the hotel for the use of room with her customers.

In that the foreigner comes down, he asks that he be reimbursed because he does not like his room and he takes his bill and leaves …

In certain cases like yours and mine, a backup is required, but definitely not our own endorsement.

That is, I can issue a check to make a payment, but that check has no value, if there is not a bank account with funds to back it up.

In other cases like the US Federal Reserve, they do not require this support to generate new money and make any payments, they simply generate that money without needing a reserve of gold or silver for example.

In the modern world money (which no longer has an endorsement in goods like gold as it had formerly) is defined as exchange paper money.

Of course this is already changing with the era of electronic money, in which case we talk about transactions through electronic means.

But returning to paper money as exchange, there are those who argue with right reason that a note of change is a paper currency and that what it produces is a debt and not an exchange, and is not part of a monetary economy, but a credit economy.

So we speak of exchange paper for final payment (there is no debt).

Taking these factors into account, the Italian economist professor Augusto Graziano spoke in his book “The theory of the monetary circuit”, before the advent of electronic transactions, that money is fundamentally the promise of a bank to its customers and a monetary payment is the transfer of that promise from one client to another.

Therefore, in a monetary transaction are involved at least three parties, the seller, the buyer and the bank.

Now talking about the value of things.

Who determines the value of things?

For me there are two values, one commercial and the other the personal.

The first is the value that the owner or manufacturer gives to his merchandise or service.

For example, two shirts of the same quality can have diametrically opposed prices.

That price is put by its manufacturers and the article acquires that commercial real value when there are consumers willing to acquire it, hence the so-called brands, with exorbitant prices.

On the other hand, we have the value that we individually give to things and which is based on the person, his needs, the place and the whole context that surrounds it.

For example, a person can have an immense pool in their house and that can be very valuable commercially, however, if that person is in the middle of the desert all dehydrated, a glass with water is much more valuable.

It is not the same if I have a large refrigerator in my kitchen in a big city, than a small refrigerator in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

During the Second World War, people with diamonds and gold exchanged them for food.

Diamonds can not be eaten and for survival food is paramount and third in the scale of the human’s essential needs, after breathing and drinking.

There is also the sentimental value. For example, a grandmother’s jewelry has a lot of sentimental value and we are not willing to get rid of it for any sum.

That same jewelry in a pawn shop would be paid with a price even below the commercial value, because for the lender the value of the same object is very different.

One of the factors that gives value to things, is precisely the scarcity. But everything is relative.

There are things that are scarce and not valuable.

For example, they say that Iceland is one of the places where pollution is scarce and I assure you that does not make pollution valuable, but the place.

I remember being a boy, when the first Star Wars movie came out and they sold figures of the characters, R2D2 the robot was one of the most quoted, because everyone wanted to have one.

The figure that did not have much value was the one of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the old Jedi master that few understood at that time.

As children, no one wanted to play with the old character. It was even mockery.

For the same reason, they made a few of that character.

Now that character, the first one they pulled that was not even worth $ 3USD is auctioned in thousands of dollars. Time gave him worth. And simultaneously, time is the most valuable thing we have.

That is why it is a great time for us to take the reins of our destiny and determine our own value, to invest in ourselves and grow.

It is important to continue learning. Read books like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” and many more.

Do not depreciate or despise yourself. It is a question of attitude.

My value, doesn’t come from what I own, but from who I am!

Pedro´s Fort Honor

HONOR

As some will know I have been slandered and falsely accused by the Spanish newspaper EL PAIS.

This situation has gone around the world through the media and social networks, by unscrupulous people, who have not only taken such false information, without investigating its truthfulness, but they have added lies on top of it, with the purpose of scandalizing and obtaining ratings.

Defamation and creating negative situations around a person, company or product in order to discredit it has become commonplace and is called “Astroturfing” (it comes from Astro Turf, a trademark of synthetic carpets that imitate the lawn.

The term was used to indicate something created artificially).

Although it is nothing new, and originally is something used as a marketing tool to launch an idea, opinion about a person, product, etc., making believe that it is something spontaneous that comes from public opinion, gradually it has become a way of discrediting competitors.

For example, a company, instead of saying that its product is very good, what it does is to pay a smear campaign against a competitor, making believe that its product is bad, harmful … inventing statistics, cases with fictional testimonials.

Articles are written and people are paid to create blogs, post comments on social networks, giving the impression that everyone is aware of it and agrees.

The same is done with people and is also used a lot in politics.

This is the world we live in.

To discredit someone or something, is the simplest thing that exists.

If a lie is said, it is spread and repeated enough, it becomes “truth” and no one questions it and involuntarily the people eager to warn their neighbor, join the smear campaign, spreading it and adding even more fictional data or out of context that justify their support to a cause that they really do not know anything about.

I cannot attack the whole network, but I can go against the obvious source that has stained my name and discredited my business.

Therefore, I have sued the newspaper EL PAÍS and the journalist who originated the story.

Biometry

BIOMETRY

Every day we will hear more about technologies such as Face Recognition and Biometry.

Both technologies are focused on recording, analyzing and keeping unique characteristics of each individual, in order to recognize and differentiate it from the rest of mortal beings.

Each of us has unique features that are unrepeatable, such as the face, fingerprints, DNA, eye retina, etc.

And precisely this technology is developed to recognize the differences and to identify an individual when comparing it against a database, where previously the individual data of each one of us has been stored.

It is an impressive technology that is being perfected and you’ve surely seen its performance in television series or movies.

There are also many articles about it. It is the corporations and governments that begin to use these systems for the benefit of all.

It is very comforting to know that everything they do is for our benefit.

Thus, one of the points is:

FOR OUR SAFETY:

That no one, for example, can impersonate us, detect wanted persons or with a criminal background, catch terrorists, prevent a scam or fraud, etc.

FOR OUR COMFORT:

Identifications will no longer be needed and all procedures and processes of various kinds will be much faster.

There are serious plans that have begun to be implemented.

For example, at Sydney’s Airport Australia this year a system of biometric machines will be implemented that will check fingerprint, face and iris of the eye.

The passport will no longer be required and the passengers will process themselves, eliminating the need for an immigration agent.

USA has similar plans, only they want to take it one step further.

They want to install machines that in addition of the above, will measure the physiological reactions of people, very similar to the lie detector, so that the machine that scans a person will detect if one is nervous, afraid, if one lies in answering the questions, etc.

The UN has also announced since 2015 that it has plans to follow biometric tracking of all humans on the face of the earth, by creating a central data bank in Geneva.

This of course to improve our lives and improve their ability to serve us. Completion date is 2030.

Citibank, for its part, wants to deploy ATMs that will not require a card, but rather employ biometrics to deliver the money.

MasterCard already announced for the summer the system to make payments online without card, but, you guessed it, the facial scan.

And they say “it’s going to be something that will enchant us”. Apparently they already count on the support of several companies, like Samsung, Apple, Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry among others.

We will no longer be afraid to forget or lose our cards.

htpp://money.cnn.com/2015/07/01/technology/mastercard-facial-scan/

Facebook is counteracting demands about its technology that scans the photos that everyone puts online and pass them through facial recognition programs, and then store the information.

They claim that this information belongs to them because people give their data voluntarily.

Kentucky Fried Chicken has just opened a pilot branch in Beijing.

In their establishment they use machines with technology of facial recognition.

And according to the mood, age and sex of the client, machines make the recommendation of what they would like to eat.

The customer pays through his cell phone and the information is stored to serve him in his next visit.

Welcome to the Matrix!

All these wonders that they strive to develop so that we live better, are nothing more than just another brick in the wall.

Pink Floyd, Stephen Hawking and I

Pink Floyd, Stephen Hawking and I

I should start by explaining the title of this writing because it may seem very presumptuous.

We all know on a smaller or larger scale this British progressive rock band Pink Floyd.

As a curious fact I will say that the name of the band was suggested by Syd Barrt, who was a member that lasted a short time in the group, and derives from the combination of a pair of blues singers, I mean Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

There is a lot more history about the name and the group itself, but it is not my intention to get into the fantastic trajectory of this legendary group that I enjoy so much.

This is the first element I refer to in the title.

On the other hand the second reference in the title is Stephen Hawking, a great theoretical physicist with a privileged mind and literally out of this world.

I share with him the taste for scientific disclosure, cosmology and astrophysics.

Of course you have to understand that my knowledge is on a tiny and ridiculous scale compared to what he knows.

However, that doesn’t stop me to be passionate about these topics.

As it is well known, Hawking suffers from a serious neuromotor disorder, related to sclerosis.

It’s hard to imagine the paradox of living with that chaotic personal physical situation, while at the same time having a mind dedicated to theorize about the physical enigmas of the universe.

And now the best part, what do Stephen Hawking and Pink Floyd have in common?

That they are fans of each other, and I’m a fan of both.

The highlight of all this is that Pink Floyd members dedicated him a song called “Keep Talking”, included in the incredibly delicious album “The Division Bell” of 1994. In this cut, you can hear at the beginning Hawking’s “real” robotic voice, which in turn was manipulated and processed to sound like it comes from another planet.

The result was such that this single reached number one on the list of the prestigious musical magazine “Billboard”.

This is not the end of this conjunction since the astrophysicist lent his voice once again to enrich the sounds of Pink Floyd and now we can also hear it in the song “Talking Hawking” from the sequel to “The Division Bell”, a 2013 album called “Endless River”.

Thanks to this union, I can now say more than ever, that I like to hear Stephen speak more every time.

XFEL, the atomic photograph

XFEL, the atomic photograph

What in the world!

Technology captivates me and I hope that this little article will arouse your curiosity or at least inform you a little about what happens at the technological level on this our planet Earth.

The idea is that soon we will be listening in different media about the European EXFEL.

These acronyms may not sound incredible, but I know that thanks to them, we will see unprecedented applications.

As I write these lines, this project is being carefully constructed and developed in Germany, specifically in Hamburg and to be more specific under it, as tunnels were made to create an underground installation. 1.22 billion Euros are being invested.

It is said that it will be finished by this 2017 and for that reason it is about to come to light literally.

But the important question is: what is it and what is it for?

It began in 2009 with multilateral representatives from 10 countries (Germany – the largest investor with 58% ,- Denmark, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia – whose share is 27% -, Sweden and Switzerland). These countries signed to make possible the creation of the installation XFEL (Free Electron Laser with X-ray) in Europe. I will mention that in 2010 France joined and in 2011 Spain raised the hand to be annexed and able to participate.

With the European XFEL, this continent is in fast track to be the leader in science and technology based on light sources produced by accelerators, as it is the only installation in the world that will have superconducting technology to accelerate electrons.

I do not want to go into technological details beyond our understanding. Suffice to say that because of its exceptional characteristics the XFEL emits X-ray pulses by means of magnetism that are extremely bright, small, instantaneous and intense. To have an idea of ​​the importance and impact of the XFEL, those pulses are approximately one billion times greater than what is currently possible to produce in other laboratories in the world.

It gets interesting when we see that this will be reflected (I like the analogies regarding optics in this post), in various scientific disciplines such as materials physics, nanotechnology in 3D, medicine (mapping the structure of viruses at an atomic level, deciphering the molecular structure of cells), pharmacology, plasma physics, astrophysics (which attracts me a lot), alternative energy research, chemistry, structural or biochemical biology, electronics and much more. And of course all this will be seen in our daily lives in the not too distant future.

To close, I leave you with this mental image: let’s imagine filming frame by frame for the first time in history how the molecular chemical reactions processes of any kind are being carried out, how they behave to merge and react in order to simply become something else they are not. A real metamorphosis.

Fascinating, right?