2017, the year of Bitcoin

bitcoin evanescentYour 10 euro bills tomorrow will only be a piece of paper. From midnight today, the money you treasure in your pocket will not be worth anything. Citizens who wish to exchange their notes for others of lesser value will have to wait until next week when the banks open again. For the time being, they will remain closed by a presidential order. Until then, no one shall exceed the limit imposed on exchanges, and an ID will be required at the counter.

This notice is a half-fiction. It does not concern any country of the European Union, so no European should worry. But it has just happened in India, where President Narendra Modi surprised his citizens with an announcement similar to this one that went into effect without prior notice. «Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles to eradicating poverty», the president said in his defense of a measure as radical as eliminating much of the money circulating overnight in the country. Continue reading

Hotel Complaints

quejas

About the controversial issue of Internet users’ reviews and the discomfort they cause among the most reluctant hoteliers, I host some doubts about how many hotels are constrained by the same Achilles heel. Or are the most sensitive factors in a hotel, those that can disappoint travelers, always the same? Let’s see what the study of a popular online booking engine brings us. It is an interesting research which has gathered the main complaints of its clients after has evaluated all this knowledge and effects for its platform affiliates.

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The Ruse of Ununbium

periodic tableUnunbium, as is well known, has been one of the latest elements of the periodic table of elements to be synthesized by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. Until 2010, it hadn’t received its definitive name, Copernicium, in honor of the scientist and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), with the Cn symbol. Previously, this chemical element with the atomic number 112 was recognized by its latin spelling «one-one-two», and its Uub symbol. Its physical appearance isn’t known yet, but that its 285 isotope has a medium lifespan of 0.24 milliseconds is known. To have some reference, uranium has three isotope with 234, 235, and 238 atomic weights. So we can imagine the potential of this wild foal of nature that weighs 277 time more than hydrogen and is the rarest of the transition metals. Continue reading

Hotels for cyclists

hotelcycle

Would you forbid someone to take his bike into his room?

It is undeniable that the number of cyclists has increased substantially in recent years in so-called slow cities and steep mountain areas. In Europe, Amsterdam is a genuine amusement park for bicycles. Copenhagen, with a not exactly Mediterranean temperature, already has the bicycle as the main means of transport of its citizens. No less than 55% of urban movements are made there on two wheels. When I drove through their streets last year, I remembered what these Nordic cities were like when I first visited them 30 years ago, totally invaded by polluting cars and major traffic jams everywhere.

The bicycle today has become entrenched in the collective mindset as an instrument of advanced societies. More than a means of locomotion, it is the icon of a new philosophy of life, a flag of freedom and personal sensibility toward the environment. In fact, the stage of development of a city is no longer measured by the number of cars or televisions per capita, but by the kilometers of bike lanes. Both the fiber optic layout and the proliferation of parking lots are no longer valued. Thus, we can surely say that Seville and Barcelona are more developed cities than Madrid in this sense. Continue reading

Gastronomy without dribbling

gastronomy

«Limit yourself to speak about the food», snapped a chef, whose name I’d rather refrain from providing, to the journalist Veronica Ocvirk when she was interviewing him. The answer berated her professional respectability. She confided in me, hurt by the disagreement and mostly stunned mostly from the limited level of culture displayed by the aforementioned master of the stoves.

«To me the traditional gastronomic journalism bores me» Vero confessed to me. «I swear I fall asleep just having to think about writing an Ode to Palm Heart. What I enjoy is the social aspect of gastronomy, and my dream, one of them at least, is to between us  all think of how we can make high cuisine reach even more people, not less».

Perhaps I shouldn’t have confused a kitchen helper as a chef. Because if the person in question refused to comment on any other melody except that of his pans, I have no doubt that his culinary category is that of a kitchen helper, with all due respect to all kitchen workers. Someone could bring up that I myself once said that a soccer player cannot be asked for a skilled interview, where he should prove his abilities is by skillfully dribbling on the field, with his shoes not with his tongue or pen. But nowadays an elite chef is an artist, and as such, he should respond to the intelligentsia of his art. Continue reading

Fishing in the Network

fishing in the networkIn 2010, when Facebook had barely reached 400 million followers —compared with 1.2 billion it has today—, I wrote a prediction about the increasing power of this social network and the importance that I anticipated for the future of the hospitality industry. Now we already know how it is. Actually, without Facebook utilities, a tourist accommodation has no chance to exist in the next decade, simply because the tourist market is all digital and connected. Soon, travelers will choose and book their rooms on Facebook. And hotels will know on Facebook who their customers are, how they think and what they really want. Welcome to Planet Earth, welcome to Planet Facebook.

The future of search is social, I hazarded in a short essay about the use of social networks on the Internet and its so-called ‘Facebook effect’.  Could Mark Zuckerberg’s ecosystem dare to unseat Google’s digital culture dominance? Assaulting the algorithms used by the company of goggles, Facebook has come to optimize its search engine which allows displaying in real-time all that we are writing on our timeline. Continue reading