Rubén Rivero Capriles

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January 2010 - Posts

Haiti Hospital; Bolívar fuerte devalued; Massachusetts; kids on social media


eros naturae.JPG"Haiti needs doctors. If you are a doctor or a nurse, or have a friend who is a doctor or a nurse who would like to go to volunteer some of their time and skills, please contact me, and I will do all the contact-leg-work for you and spare you the hassle. Please specify what kind of doctor you are, and when you are available." ( message from close friends at Haiti Hospital )

The Venezuelan currency devaluation issue is a measure that should have been taken years ago. I am glad the currency was devalued closer to its market value. The overall effect will reduce the uncertainty on the value of the Bolívar fuerte. Chaos was the previous official exchange rate at 2,15 BsF per USD, while the parallel rate was over twice higher. Many would have preferred the exchange control regime being dismantled, but this devaluation in January 2010 was a step to the right direction. Today, the official rate at 4,30 BsF per USD is much closer to the parallel rate. A previous forex differential blog article reflects on the exchange rate system as I saw it in mid 2009. Then I thought it was chaos. Now I am actually hopeful that this sinceration of prices, even though it will lead to initial inflation, will make exports more profitable for Venezuelan producers and will diminish the occurrence of non essential imports.

Massachusetts voters elected a Republican senator who happened to conduct a campaign more people-oriented than a Democrat candidate who recently went on vacation instead of grassroots campaigning. Massachusetts voters have consistently elected democratic candidates during many decades. This time they felt a change was needed according to their own state politics, as this was a state election. Democrats still have 59 senators and a President. They still have the potential, next fall, of securing more votes in traditionally red states in Middle America. This statistical setback should not derail the historic health care legisation that is being discussed in the U.S. congress. Massachusetts should not be blamed for voting down universal health care to the rest of the U.S., as this traditionally blue state is not responsible of the U.S. congress breakdown by party, as a result of previous elections in all other 49 states.

A study has found that children spend more hours a day using social media than in previous years. However, we as adults spend as much time as kids on our social media. Adults are not setting an example for our kids and cannot blame them for doing otherwise. I was a geeky kid who used to look up all kinds of things in encyclopedias. I am sure that if I were a kid now I would be looking up all sorts of content as well on these new media rather than on books as I used to. However I think it is wise to have limits on time consumption of those things. My wrist tells me when I've been using a mouse too much and when it's time to stop. It would be nice to find a way to guide kids into interesting info they could get on the media instead of watching them relentlessly consume top publicized, low quality content.

Rubén Rivero Capriles
Caracas, January 27, 2010

Eros naturae pastel artwork
Started in 2005 by Harold M. Cooper, 
Vice-President of Rivero & Cooper, Inc. 
Completed by RRivero 2010

Yemen, happy new year 2010!


Yemen happy new year 2010!.jpg
While I was enjoying the new year fireworks at Plaza Altamira in Caracas, I supposed that a few hours earlier, somewhere in Aden, there was a similar public celebration, perhaps smaller or maybe larger, to welcome 2010. People from Yemen with whom I've had a chance to chat seem proudly eager to show their antique skycrappers and other beauties from their country. Online Yemenites remind me of my own efforts to promote tourism into Venezuela. It seems that none of our countries attracts visitors, despite our gorgeous scenary, as the world's tourists seem more interested in traveling to countries with well-known infrastructure and with less negative media exposure.

Many maps of the Middle East cut the Arabian peninsula at the expense of its Southern half, leaving Oman and Yemen behind. The relative lack of oil in Yemen diverts worldwide attention elsewhere. The friendly relations maintained by the people of Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti should be regarded as a cultural bridge between Asia and Africa, and an interest in the development of this whole region would do wonders to a greater international understanding for the benefit of the entire world. Yemen, Happy New Year 2010! (Rubén Rivero Capriles - Caracas, January 3, 2010)
"A German living in Brazil told me that the Brazilians have difficulty in putting a plan on paper. In the Brazilian company I currently work in, I observed indeed a lack of planning formalized on paper. Germans are known for their level of organization and planning into detail and their vocational skills. Ango-saxons are very good at project management. There are obviously differences in the way how people from different cultures think and approach problems. Probably this can be related to different level of left and right brain activity.

If you are in Malaysia you will note that many Tamils and Singh are doctors, engineers or lawyers. Chinese excel in trading, marketing and private business. Indian muslims are money changers and traders. Malays are more oriented on agriculture, art, music. The level of domination in different job segments by different races is diminishing, but the notion still persists. Similar observations can be made in Indonesia. Would that be related to the level of left-right brain activity? In South America it appears to me that people are philosophical in their thinking, but in Asia thinking is based on spiritual, religious and mystical aspects of life." (Leonardus van Dijk - the Netherlands, December 5, 2009)
transitioning from the zeroes to the teens.jpg
In the 1990s I drew my early artwork listening to Nirvana and techno. Now in the late zeroes there is only reggaeton left. In this age of no creativity and obsessive repetition of oldies, in this decade of the zeroes that couldn't even secure a name for posterity, in this decade that was unable to add cultural value, music and art are hybernating in wait of better times. 

It was comparatively easy for Michael Jackson to excel as he stood over the shoulders and creative background of previous artists of the 1960s and 1970s.  Today's artists don't have tools available to recover the lost sociological ground, that is beyond our scope. Hopefully in the 2010s or 2020s someone new we don't know yet, through his or her success, will vindicate the silent effort of those of us who could at least produce some early 21st century mediocre work. But at least us, the mediocre artists of early 21st century, can be credited that we did not let art die in an age where the credibility of national politics in any country is dead.

There are plenty of technological content sharing devices but little content to share. Humanity has become too robotic, which increases the probability of someone pushing the famous red button. A global bored society is losing the perspective of its legacy. (Rubén Rivero Capriles - Caracas, December 20, 2009)

"You know what? You are right. The other day we were listening to 1980's music (classics) and were amazed on the difference... so many hits and now? It is hard to tell. I am glad that we enjoyed those good times and keep it in our minds and hearts. We try to pass that on to our kids... and have a good music collection of those good times. The red button issue is worrisome and scary. I hope we will react before it gets too late." Paula Asbun (from Bolivia/Texas)

"I fully share these thoughts. The number of human problems growing on synchronous to the development of science and technologies. Such statement is objective and for arts too." Alexander Lipsky (from Ukraine)

"I agree, Rubén. Perhaps we should get back to basics, to what makes us more human, without forgetting the good we can make and achieve during this post-modernity. After all, even though it is already overstated, it a correct use of resources is more important than resources themselves. We have emphasized the creation of countless media to produce new things. We must equally think about avoiding the loss of our human essence during this process of creation and development, how to continue being humanely technological instead of technologically human." Omar Rodríguez Álvarez." (from El Tigre, Venezuela) 

"The 20th century was an outpouring of creativity specifically because of a number of social and technological factors. Now, we in the 21st century are living in the fading echoes of this monumental upheaval. Historically, new music styles, such as jazz, blues, gospel etc. were the result of fusions of cultures - African slaves imported to America, making sense of the upheaval. Much of the later 20th century music was really theft and adaptation of those new sounds.
As a result of this, now music styles and themes have become largely set. Marketing execs for the media companies have learnt that brand and image is everything - hence artists' images and appearance are more important than their music. Rap is only "credible" if sung by people with criminal records, for example. It's very difficult for artists to buck a trend with really good music, such as Coldplay. Creativity is very often now in the hands of the audio mixers and backing composers, who make the music compelling. The Black Eyed Peas' latest offerings are very poor in actual talent, but rich in audio effects. Ever since Cher came out with that "Do you believe in life after love" song, digital distortion became vogue, but in reality bands were mangling their audio tracks since the 1970s.
It could be argued that other media is suffering from the same problems. TV is simply pepped-up cliches, and even video games are churning out reams of near-identical sequels such as Halo: ODST (making it the 4th Halo incarnation)." Troy Campbell (in Japan)

"Interesting comments Ruben, I must be the last person on earth to get an ipod (thanks Santa) and am looking forward to loading it with good music from today. Seems I dropped out of current music somewhere in my thirties. I take your comments as a challenge to see if anything good has been created since my records started gathering dust. hmm might have to call in my teenage relatives to help. Take care and God bless." Peter Bender (from Australia)