Worried about swine flu?

* Swine flu (swine influenza) is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease normally found in pigs. It spreads through tiny particles in the air or by direct contact. According to WHO(World Health Organization) it tends to infect large numbers of a given pig population, killing between 1 and 4 percent of those affected. Not every animal infected displays symptoms.

"A swine flu outbreak that appears to have caused fatalities in humans in Mexico and nonfatal cases in the United States prompted the World Health Organization this weekend to urge countries around the world to be alert for suspicious cases of influenza.

WHO chief Margaret Chan says the global body is taking the outbreak very seriously, though comparisons with the 1918 epidemic are premature.

The U.S. has declared a public health emergency after identifying 20 cases of swine flu around the country. 81 deaths in Mexico have been called "likely linked" to the virus, and officials around the world are encouraging people to take standard precautions such as frequent hand washing and avoiding work or school if ill.

Are you worried about swine flu, or do you think it’s much ado about nothing? Do you think this illness – which has affected a relatively small number of people so far – is something we should be concerned with at this point? Or is all the media coverage creating unnecessary panic?"


Renata, teacher at Ipanema - RJ.


The Future is here and now!

According to Scientific American:

"The exoskeleton detects—via a sensor attached to the wearer’s skin—brain signals sent to muscles to get them moving. The exoskeleton’s computer analyzes these signals to determine how it must move (and with how much force) to assist the wearer. The company claims on its Web site that the device can also operate autonomously (based on data stored in its computer), which is key when used by people suffering spinal cord injuries or physical disabilities resulting from strokes or other disorders."

So, yes, this IS an exoskeleton. Just like the ones you see in Japanese series like Jaspion or Power Rangers (technically Power Rangers are american, but who really cares?). With a difference: this one seems to work. I just hope it doesn't get snatched up by a group of evil terrorists so they can try to rule the world or something, because we are really out of superheroes at the moment.

Not trying to alarm any of you, but the japanese company (of course it was them! Who do you think was going to invent one of these?) which created this prototype is called Cyberdyne. The sci-fi movie fans will remember that this is the name of the company of the Terminator's series which becomes Skynet, the evil robot company that builds the terminators and end up taking over the world.

Seriously now, what you think about this: Should scientific labs worry about things as fancy as these or we just have a lot of other problems to solve first? Please, comment below.

Carlos, teacher at Copacabana. RJ.




We are happy (and quite proud) to announce that the Blog of the branches of Zona Sul is indeed on-line!

In order to celebrate this initiative I'd like to invite teachers and students to comment on their views on blogs: What kind of blog you would like to see here, what your favorite blogs are.

Not really a blog reader? No problem, it's always time to take up a new hobby!

Some tips and rules for our folowers:

- In order to comment on this blog you must have a Google account. It's very easy and quick to create one: just go to www.gmail.com and create an e-mail account. Voi-lá! It takes no more than 3 minutes.

- If you want to know whenever there is a new post, this blog has a RSS feed. This means that if you use Google reader or a similar tool it will tell you about new posts and you can follow all the updates without having to log-on on a daily basis.

That's it for now! I hope everybody will enjoy this new tool.

Carlos. Teacher at Copacabana