Public Service [PORTUGUESE]

October 21, 2014

Kenneth Maxwell – Folha de São Paulo, 10/16/2014

Kenneth Maxwell recognizes and thanks Professor David Fleischer and Leona Forman for their contributions to informing those who live outside of Brazil about this disputed election season. Professor David Fleischer published the online newsletter “Brazil Focus” that focuses on the elections, public opinion research, and politics (Fleischer@uol.com.br). Leona Forman is the founder and president of the Brazil Foundation, an organization dedicated to redirecting funds of individual and corporate supporters of Brazil into directed projects for humanitarian causes in Brazil (www.brazilfoundation.org).

Read more [in Portuguese]…


As graduate numbers fall, Brazil looks to raise quality

September 25, 2014

Donna Bowater – Times Higher Education, 09/25/2014

The number of students completing higher education in Brazil has fallen for the first time in a decade, figures show.

There was a 5.7 per cent drop in the number of graduates last year compared with 2012 – the first decline in the number of university leavers since 2003.

Some 991,000 students graduated in 2013, a drop of almost 60,000 on 2012, despite the number of students enrolled on courses across the country increasing to 7.3 million. Across the federal system (as distinct from state and for-profit private universities), the number of graduates increased by 3.8 per cent.

Read more… 


Coursera launches in Brazil, becomes first online education provider to partner with its public universities

September 18, 2014

Emil Protalinski – TNW, 09/17/2014

Coursera today announced it is officially launching in Brazil. The company is teaming up with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), its first university partners in Latin America to offer Portuguese courses.

That’s not the only first. Coursera is the first open online education provider to partner with Brazil’s top universities. Furthermore, the move today also means it is offering its first native Portuguese courses for learners not just in Brazil, but across the globe.

The two universities will develop courses targeted at Brazilian learners in high-demand topics from entrepreneurship to finance, slated for early next year. Coursera has also struck a deal with R7, one of Brazil’s largest web portals, to increase awareness of these new educational opportunities by featuring its courses.

Read more…


Rio de Janeiro named host city for the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians

September 10, 2014

Secretariat for Social Communication of the Presidency of Brazil (SECOM), 09/10/2014

Also announced at this year’s Congress, in 2018 Brazil will become the first Latin American nation to host the Congress, which will bring some 4,500 researchers from around the world to Rio de Janeiro, again highlighting Brazil’s commitment to investing in global human capital.

In addition to Mr. Artur Ávila (a 35-year old Brazilian mathematician who was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (the Congress) in Seoul, South Korea), four Brazilians were invited to lecture at this year’s Congress in Seoul, also all from the IMPA:  Fernando Codá, Carlos Gustavo Moreira, Mikhail Belolipetsky and Vladas Sidoravicius.

The IMPA has built a global reputation for supporting ground-breaking research, often in partnerships with other leading institutions around the world, as well as for educational activities to assist the development of young Brazilians across the country.  For example, the IMPA supports Brazil’s Olympic Mathematics Program – a national competition involving 190,000 students, as well as teachers from 5,300 schools and 155 graduate courses across Brazil. Mr. Ávila is just one example of a former Mathematics Olympian who has gone on to achieve global breakthroughs in his field.


Students In Brazil Use Pattern Recognition Algorithm For Safe Driving

August 25, 2014

Empire State Tribune, 8/25/2014

Five students at the Santa Catarina State University in Brazil submitted a project to Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition subjects that functions as a pattern recognition system in a dashboard camera to detect the use of mobile phones of drivers while on the road.

The head proponent Rafael Berri, together with his friends, Alexandre Silva, Rafael Parpinelli, Elaine Girardi and Rangel Arthur introduced a solution to prevent drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. The camera monitors the pattern of the face, ears, and hands and other signs of ‘on the phone’ to lessen the chances of accidents.

Berri and his team said that drivers tend to fix their gaze straight ahead while on the phone. Thus, placing the dashboard camera in front of the driver is an ideal spot to effectively scan the patterns, according to MIT Technology Review. If the driver is caught while on the phone, the system sends a warning.

Read more…


The Jane Austen of Brazil

August 7, 2014

Miranda France – The Spectator, 8/7/2014

When the American poet Elizabeth Bishop arrived in Brazil in 1951, she expected to spend two weeks there and ended up staying 15 years, a time of emotional turbulence and creative productivity. Bishop wrote poetry and prose and translated Latin American writers, including Octavio Paz, but this project, suggested by friends as a way to improve her Portuguese, is something completely different. It’s a teenager’s diary, written between 1893 and 1895 in the remote mining town of Diamantina, the highest town in Brazil. It’s a delightful, funny and revealing memoir, a little bit of Austen in the Americas.

Helena’s real name was Alice Dayrell, (the pseudonym came from her English relations). At the time she was writing, Diamantina was ten days’ journey from Rio de Janeiro, two by train, eight by mule. Set in a weird landscape of giant boulders and ant-hills, it’s a town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and, as Helena often reminds us, all of them are lunatics. ‘Just build a wall around the town. The place is a regular asylum.’

Helena’s father is mostly absent; he’s invested in a new diamond mine, so far with nothing to show for it. Many of the region’s inhabitants are after that elusive, fortune-making diamond that will change everything. Helena’s family live in hope of future riches and scrape by as best they can.

Read more…


What Factors Will Decide Brazil’s Presidential Race?

August 5, 2014

Inter-American Dialogue – Latin America Advisor, 8/1/2014

Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva

Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva

Q: Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is maintaining a lead over main opposition candidate Aecio Neves ahead of the country’s October elections and would beat him in a potential second round, according to a recent poll by Ibope. However, other recent polls have shown the two candidates neck-and-neck in a runoff. With just over two months to go before the election, what factors will have the largest influence on the vote’s outcome? With Brazilians also voting for national and state legislatures and state governors, what are the other key races to watch?

A: Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva, global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: “At this point of the presidential campaign in Brazil, it seems that the odds in favor of Dilma Rousseff’s re-election are better in the election’s first round than in the runoff if it becomes necessary. President Rousseff has a relatively comfortable advantage over the two main opposition candidates in public opinion polls in the first round. But in the runoff simulations, she appears in a virtual tie with Aecio Neves and with a larger but not huge majority over Eduardo Campos. This is probably because the runoff will appear as a kind of referendum on her government. Her chances to be re-elected in the first round will increase if the present inclination of around one-fourth of all voters (according to the most recent polls) to nullify their votes or to vote blank remains. If this happens, with more than a dozen candidates on the ballot, Rousseff may get more than 50 percent of the valid votes and avoid a runoff. The record amount of voters who say they do not want to vote for anyone reflects a growing frustration among Brazilians with the country’s political system. The immense majority of poll respondents say they want change. But most do not seem happy with what the candidates have offered them as possible change. The same polls show that health and public security are the main concerns of the population. But the dissatisfaction is also huge with public transportation, education and other social public services. To these problems, in recent months have been added serious doubts regarding the economy, chiefly about inflation and unemployment. All these will be the main issues in the campaign.

Read more…


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