Stephen Hawking’s funny phrases

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

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Not long ago, my knowledge of Stephen Hawking was limited to the fact that he was an exceptional scientist with a physical condition that prevented him from moving. Then, after the series The Big Bang Theory , I knew that he communicated with a voice synthesizer, which was jokingly emulated by the character Howard Wolowitz (played by actor Simon Helberg ), in the first chapter of the series, Hawking appeared in several episodes of this sitcom and after he died, was honored by the actors of it.

Funny phrases by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking with Simon Helberg

Later, I had the opportunity to watch on Netflix The Theory of Everything, a film about Hawking’s biography. Two things struck me about this film: 1. The performance of the protagonists; it was simply impeccable (especially Felicity Jones’); and 2. The moral. Stephen Hawking was an example in which the intention to reach a goal is above any consideration, even in the case of suffering a health condition as serious as the one suffered by the now deceased physicist: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

After Hawking’s death – as often happens with the departure of celebrities in general, I had that feeling that «one of the great ones» was gone, even though I did not know much about him. So I decided to investigate a little about his theories and then decided to write in his honor a different type of article, to reduce sadness and give this genius a farewell the proper way: with joy. Therefore, below you’ll be able to read some of the phrases that reveal this physicist’s funny side.

Nine funny phrases by Stephen Hawking

“There may be an infinite number of universes, but none in which John Oliver dates Charlize Theron.”

“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.”

“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”

“God not only plays dice, he throws them in the corner where you can’t see them.”

«If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.»

(On the «Eureka Moment» of a scientific discovery) “I wouldn’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”

«I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.»

(On his I.Q.) «I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.»

(On women) “They are a complete mystery.”


Dreamers’legal status

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

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What is DACA?

One of Donald Trump’s promises from his candidacy to the Presidency of the United States has been the hardening of immigration policies of that nation. A major promise that was fulfilled was the elimination of the Deferred Action Program for Children Arrivals (DACA), which was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. This program was created to prevent the deportation of approximately 800,000 immigrants, who entered illegally into the country when they were underage. They are today known as dreamers.

What is DACA

As consequence of this decision, the DACA program would end on the March 5, 2018 deadline in which Congress should have enacted an legislation to regulate the legal status of people who are beneficiaries of the program. This legislative agreement has not happened due to disagreements between the two political parties. Moreover, DACA beneficiaries whose permission expired before that date, were able to request a two-year extension of it before October 5, 2017.

DACA’s current state of affairs

Naturally, this decision caused unrest in the legal sphere of DACA’s beneficiaries, many of which filed lawsuits throughout the United States. Some of these lawsuits were resolved recently, bringing new encouragement to the «dreamers». San Francisco federal courts and New York revived the program, declaring the illegality and unconstitutionality of President’s Trump decision to finish end the program. Thus, DACA is currently active, despite the fact that a judge in Maryland ruled in opposition.

Now, in the judgment made by Judge William Alsup of the Federal Court in San Francisco on 9 January 2018, it was ruled that DACA program could not finish because there were still other pending for resolution cases related to it. Against that decision, the Department of Justice of the United States appealed to the Supreme Court, but the appeal was rejected by the United States Supreme Court.

As a result, the DACA program remains an issue for the courts to decide.  Currently it continues to be active despite President’s Trump threats, even for those 22,000 beneficiaries of this program who failed to make the application deadline before October 5, 2017, and for whom it was ordered the processing of renewal applications.

Benefits of technology in education

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas.

Léalo en español.

It often happens that when hearing in the same sentence the words «technology» and «education», many parents raise an eyebrow. It is not necessarily a resounding no to the idea, but an alarm that is lit to question the true use given to technological tools in this area.

This state of alert is natural, the use of smart devices opens the door to a sea of information and connectivity that, without proper supervision, can put a child’s integrity at risk, but that does not always have to be the case. Indeed, the use of technological tools in the classrooms, under the proper control of responsible schools, has proven to have numerous benefits throughout the world. Here are some of them:

Benefits of technology in education

Benefits of technology in education
Smart classroom

Benefits for students

On the one hand, students increase in their efficiency and effectiveness in the studies, due to the fact that they are able to obtain information quickly on any subject, and can do team work using tools of collaboration in real time, as is the case of Google Docs.

While it is true that these tools may be used to facilitate plagiarism, when students limit themselves to a copy & paste of the researched information, this can be countered with the use of anti-plagiarism tools such as Copyscape, compares in a matter of seconds the originality of a text with billions of others that are on the web. In addition, regardless of the use of technology, teachers – and parents at home – will always have the task of verifying that, in fact, learning has taken place, through the different types of evaluations carried out by students.

Benefits for teachers

The importance of technology in education
Student using a VR device

Teachers can be more instructive by using tools such as virtual or augmented reality, including devices of this type in their classes. For example, in a Universal History class, they could show three-dimensional images of the pyramids – which is a difference from traditional classes that have only chalk and blackboard!  In addition, there are programs that allow teachers to adjust the exigency in the instruction of each student, in a personalized way; such is the case of Dreambox , a software that is used for the teaching of mathematics and has been very well received .

Likewise, according to an article published by Forbes magazine, use of artificial intelligence makes it possible for professors to delegate to machines the performance of burdensome activities such as the correction of exams, thus significantly reducing their workload.

General benefits

technology and education
Access to education

Probably, the greatest benefit that technology in the educational area is greater access to education. It is no longer necessary to be physically present in a certain place to study a discipline, because of the existence of the Internet, there are countless distance education programs, endorsed by renowned institutions, that allow anyone to educate themselves in the area or discipline of their choice.

In this same sense, the current technology has allowed the less fortunate to receive equal education. Because of the implementation of programs such as  Samsung Smart Schools, which are provided with a digital board, tablets, a server, Internet connectivity and solar panels, these individuals are able to have access to the same tools. These smart schools, of which there are already more than three thousand worldwide, provide a real-time learning platform in rural areas that do not have electric service.