A blog by Eduard Muntaner PerichMind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be candled, Plutarch

Jan 18, 2015

The Roots of India


A través d'en Lluís Compte de Laia Foundation, he descobert la web The Roots of India, una iniciativa que comparteix a través d'Internet fotografies que promouen la cultura, les tradicions, i els paisatges rurals, urbans i humans de l'Índia.

Val molt la pena visitar-la i gaudir tranquil·lament de les fotografies seleccionades que s'hi exposen en diferents categories. Si us agrada l'Índia, imprescindible.

En aquest apunt he seleccionat algunes fotos que m'han cridat l'atenció. Els autors són: Jose Larian, Kumar Sankaralingam, Naveen Gowtham, Priya Somasundaran, Rakesh J.V., i Sarathi Thamadoran.



Jan 6, 2015

Més o menys jo, Miquel Duran


Recordo molt bé que quan, ja fa anys, llegia els relats que penjava en Miquel Duran en els seus diferents blogs, em preguntava quant de temps passaria fins que trobés un llibre amb el seu nom a la portada. Doncs bé, ja ha aparegut, i és un debut excepcional. [Per cert, no l'hem de confondre amb un altre Miquel Duran (també químic) que ha aparegut més d'un cop en aquest blog]

Honestament, llegeixo poca narrativa catalana, perquè em costa trobar veus singulars i que em sorprenguin. Les vaques sagrades de la literatura catalana actual no m'interessen gaire (parlo exclusivament de ficció narrativa). Miquel Duran ha debutat amb Més o menys jo (Bridge-La Galera 2014) una novel·la on exhibeix un estil i una veu extremadament originals. La seva prosa desborda poètica, realisme i surrealisme alhora, és una mena de realisme màgic a la catalana, amb constants metàfores i fragments d'un lirisme molt i molt personal. Vaig llegir la novel·la gairebé d'una tirada (164 pàg.) i estic d'acord amb el prologuista (Andreu Martin): pots obrir el llibre per qualsevol pàgina, llegir una mica i segur que trobaràs un fragment prometedor. No és casualitat, tot el llibre és així.

No m'atreviria a incloure la novel·la dins de cap gènere. Tot i que va ser finalista del premi juvenil Ruyra, definitivament no crec que sigui un llibre per a adolescents (tot i que estigui narrat en primera persona per un jove). La trama es desenvolupa a Pujarnol i per la zona de Banyoles, on el narrador va desgranant records i successos al voltant del seu nucli familiar. Té un final potent i  gens decebedor. Prefereixo no explicar gaire res més.

Molt recomanable. Probablement la millor novel·la que he llegit el 2014.

Per cert, que sempre és plaent trobar gent de ciències fent literatura (a Catalunya n'hi ha altres casos, com l'amic bloguer Salvador Macip, a qui per cert dec una ressenya).


Dec 30, 2014

Violacions dels drets humans

http://www.editorialuoc.cat/violacionsdelsdretshumansepub-p-1493.html

Fa uns mesos em van contactar des de la UOC per veure si volia participar com autor en un llibre col·lectiu sobre violacions dels drets humans. En concret m'encomanaven a parlar de l'esclavatge modern, tema del que ja havia escrit algun article en aquest blog i en d'altres.

El resultat de tot plegat ha estat un llibre digital que porta el títol de Violacions dels drets humans (Editorial UOC 2014) i que va ser presentat el passat dia 15 de desembre al Palau Macaya de Barcelona (malauradament jo encara era a l'Índia i no vaig poder assistir-hi). El meu capítol porta per títol Esclavatge modern: present però invisible.

La llista completa d'autors és la següent: Siscu Baiges Planas, Maria Guadalupe Barajas López, Blanca Camps-Febrer, Andrea Compagno, Alba Cuevas Barba, Debora D’Alleva, José Vicente Mestre Chust, Eduard Muntaner Perich, Silvia Plana Subirana, Alicia Sadetzki Santos, Ramon Tena Pera, Eduard Vinyamata.

L'edició ha anat a càrrec d'Eduard Vinyamata, i la coordinació del volum, a càrrec de Maria Guadalupe Barajas López.

Aquest és l'enllaç a la pàgina de l'Editorial UOC on si voleu podeu adquirir el llibre en format ePUB. El podeu llegir amb qualsevol lector de llibres digitals, o si voleu fer-ho a l'ordinador necessitareu l'Adobe Digital Editions, que es pot descarregar gratuïtament aquí.


Dec 29, 2014

El viaje


El viaje: cada vez más adentro, cada vez más profundo. Viajar es tomar distancia del . Viajar es relativizar, desterritorializar, desidentificar. En el viaje uno se queda con lo que importa, prescinde de lo superfluo. Cada vez es más lo superfluo, cada vez menos lo que importa. Cada vez es más lo que se deja, cada vez menos lo que uno lleva.

El viaje es siempre una franja intermedia. Aquel que de nuevo se establece, aunque sea muy lejos de su hogar de partida, deja de viajar. Se inicia entonces nuevamente el ritual del yo, el montaje de la vida, la identificación, la nueva identidad. Hará falta otro viaje. Un volver tal vez. O una nueva salida.

Cada viaje ahonda en la extrañeza, en la erradicación de lo supuesto: todo aquello que no cuestionamos y sostiene la vida de todos los que se agrupan en el nos.

En cada viaje adelgazo más: algo del se pierde.

Voy quedando menos.

Chantal Maillard, India (Pre-textos 2014)


Dec 19, 2014

Moments


Una estada curta però intensa. Amb moments durs, com amb les nenes del carrer, al voltant de l'Agara Temple. Moments complicats, com la mossegada d'un gos a Lower Agaram Road. Moments alegres, com els de les visites d'amics o els de les trobades amb ex-alumnes. Moments emocionants, com el sopar amb en Rajini i la Karthika. Moments de reflexió, llegint Panikkar o arreglant el món amb l'Eric de Chile. Moments de satisfacció, quan pots tenir una petita conversa en Hindi. Moments de gaudi, com els concerts i els balls a les escoles. Moments "lost in translation", com per exemple amb el barber de 5th Cross Road. Moments de converses sense paraules, aquelles estones amb la Preetha. Moments d'aprenentatge, a tot arreu i a tota hora. Moments d'esglai, quan veus una serp a pocs metres del teu dormitori. Moments de feina intensa, durant els tallers i les activitats amb els nens. Moments saborosos, tot esmorzant masala dosa, poori o idli. Moments d'estrés, enmig de la jungla urbana de Bangalore. Moments de riure fins a plorar, sopant amb els més petitons. Moments d'orgull, al veure com estan de preparats els alumnes seniors. Moments contemplatius, sotjant les estrelles de Shanti Bhavan, els rangolis de Koramangala, o observant jugar els corbs des de l'ombra d'un arbre...


Dec 12, 2014

Santa and Rudolph reach Tamil Nadu


Yesterday at Shanti Bhavan we celebrated Christmas in advance (next Sunday the children leave school for winter break). Although no religion is taught in this school, major holidays are respected and celebrated. Christians are found all across India, with major populations in parts of South India. 

The evening was full of carols, followed by games and activities organized by the students of the eleventh grade. Tamil Nadu does not escape globalization, and we even had a small Santa Claus on stage. We also had an special dinner that was delicious.

My contribution to the celebration consisted of a Santa & Rudolph robot that delighted the little ones at the school.  

Below you can see some photos of the celebration and a video of the robot surrounded by children singing Jingle Bells.




Dec 11, 2014

Shanti Bhavan (Robotic) Football Team


Yesterday some kids of Shanti Bhavan built robotic footballers with LEGO Wedo and Scratch. There were three types of robots: goal kicker, goal keeper and the cheerful fans.

Of course, after building and program, the kids played with the robots, and they organized some penalty shootouts.

Another nice activity where you can see children engaged and having fun while learning!



Dec 9, 2014

Star Wars at Shanti Bhavan


Today at Shanti Bhavan school a LEGO WeDO robot inspired by Star Wars AT-ST Walker (I took the building instructions at: demo.robocamp.eu) caused surprise, curiosity and lots of fun within the first and second classes.

A nice way to explain the operation of motors and sensors, and also to explain how difficult it is to build robots that can walk.

Enjoy the video! :)


Dec 8, 2014

New robotic creatures invade Shanti Bhavan


This week at Shanti Bhavan in the afternoons I'm working with a mixed group of kids from different grades (6th and up). It's an after-school volunteer activity and the kids are really motivated. 

Today we started with a low-cost robotics workshop. In no time the kids modified bristle-bots and created all kinds of robotic creatures (with tooth brushes, button cells, vibrator motors and sticks), some really amazing! Spiders, helicopters, spacecraft battles...

This week is promising! 



Dec 6, 2014

Social network experiment with 4th graders


A few days ago I asked the fourth graders of Shanti Bhavan if they knew what is a social network. No one knew, but when I asked if they knew what is Facebook all said yes! (not because they use it, of course, but because they have heard or have seen through their older classmates, teachers and volunteers)

To explain the concept of social network and show them that nowadays we are all very interconnected, we did an experiment. We shared in my Facebook wall a photo of Prathana asking people to share the post and comment where they were, just to see how far does her picture travel in few days.

The result is amazing. In three days the publication has been shared 258 times, and we have comments from around the world. We counted over 20 different countries in different continents and hundreds of cities and villages. Prathana and her classmates are amazed with the list, which continues to grow. The first comment came from Borneo! (Thanks Prameela!)


Dec 5, 2014

4th graders make LEGO WeDo robots


After underwater robots, bristle-bots and Scratch, today the 4th graders of Shanti Bhavan made LEGO WeDo robots and then programmed them with Scratch. Most of them had never played with LEGO, but they managed to build the robots very well and very fast.

With their previous experience with Scratch, programming was also very quick, and a part of moving the robots, they immediately began to program interactions between virtual characters and the physical robots.



Dec 3, 2014


Dec 2, 2014

4th graders make bristle-bots at Shanti Bhavan


After underwater robots now is the time to return to the surface and start making other kind of robots, first with low-cost materials and then with LEGO. 

The 4th graders enjoyed a great time while building the bristle-bots. Shanti Bhavan kids are awesome, they never cease to amaze me!

In this short video you can see how is a robotics class at a rural school in South India. Basically, like in any other school in the world: children engaged and having fun while learning :)



Dec 1, 2014

Trying to understand


I have worked in several schools for underserved children in South India and something that I think is important for a volunteer is to try to understand the reality in which these children are immersed. If I have the opportunity I always try to visit their villages and homes, and meet their families. I did it with some children of Shanti Bhavan, and also with children of Forkids-PVS. Now I have had the opportunity with children of Parikrma Humanity Foundation.


Last Sunday with my colleagues of the University of Girona we were having a walk within some slums around Parikrma Centre for Learning in Koramangala and we met by chance Sangeetha, one of my students there. She immediately became our guide and showed us her neighborhood, she introduced us to her friends, and invited us to her house, where we met her nice family, originary from Tamil Nadu.


To see the unsanitary living conditions in the slums make you realize the importance of the work of Parikrma. Our guide Sangeetha wants to become a journalist, and this is now a feasible ambition, but without the help of Parikrma this would not have been possible and she is fully aware of that. Although she belongs to a poor family she is a privileged compared to many children in her neighborhood who do not have the same luck and do not go to school.

The visit was a good way to end the trip for my colleagues. They have already left but I'll still be working in India for two weeks.



Nov 27, 2014

Underwater robotics at Shanti Bhavan? Yeah!!


Today has been a busy day for our UdiGitalEdu team at Shanti Bhavan. We conducted an incredible underwater robotics workshop in a fountain at the school. 


An amazing activity considering that we are in a rural area of South India. The robot is made with low cost materials by high school kids in Catalonia. Shanti Bhavan children teleoperated the underwater vehicle and learned concepts of robotics and physics. They also used an underwater camera and a monitor to view what was happening under the water. Tomorrow we will repeat the experience with more kids.

We truly believe in the power of robotics to encourage creativity, critical thinking and teamwork.