29 June 2014

Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination and the start of World War I (History Channel Documentary)

Franz Ferdinand, aged 51, was heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was married to Sophie Chotek von Chotvoka and had three children. Franz Ferdinand was, however, very unpopular because he had made it clear that once he became Emperor he would make changes.
Franz Ferdinand decided to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovnia, to make an inspection of the Austro-Hungarian troops there. The inspection was scheduled for 28th June 1914. It was planned that Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie would be met at the station and taken by car to the City Hall where they would have lunch before going to inspect the troops.
A Serbian terrorist group, called The Black Hand, had decided that the Archduke should be assassinated and the planned visit provided the ideal opportunity. Seven young men who had been trained in bomb throwing and marksmanship were stationed along the route that Franz Ferdinand's car would follow from the City Hall to the inspection.
The first two terrorists were unable to throw their grenades because the streets were too crowded and the car was travelling quite fast. The third terrorist, a young man called Cabrinovic, threw a grenade which exploded under the car following that of the Archduke. Although the Archduke and his wife were unhurt, some of his attendants were injured and had to be taken to hospital.
After lunch at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand insisted on visiting the injured attendants in hospital. However, on the way to the hospital the driver took a wrong turn. Realising his mistake he stopped the car and began to reverse. Another terrorist, named Gavrilo Princip, stepped forward and fired two shots. The first hit the pregnant Sophia in the stomach, she died almost instantly. The second shot hit the Archduke in the neck. He died a short while later.
http://www.historyonthenet.com/

17 June 2014

FULBRIGHT GRANTS

Senator Fulbright envisioned an educational and cultural exchange program that would connect people and encourage them to learn about each others' cultures and values - that vision became the Fulbright Program.
If you want to know more about application procedures: http://fulbright.es/

12 June 2014

Did laughter evolve to make us healthy?

Researchers are looking into what laughter can do for our health. More than a form of communication, laughter helps people thrive. Some folks take that to heart and gather for "laughter yoga."
TRANSCRIPT:
 Dr. Alex Eingorn, Laughter Yoga Leader and Chiropractor
We need to get back to the natural, built in mechanisms that we have for self preservation and health.
Laughter is one of them.
Debra Corwin, Laughter Yoga Leader
Laughter Yoga is a way for people to use laughter without telling jokes and being able to get the
laughter to help them feel better.
 The interesting thing is that it helps ease pain, it can ease depression, it's a way to move and get into your inner child and it's a lot of fun. And adults don't remember necessarily how to have fun.
Dr. Michael Miller, Director, Center for Preventative Cardiology - University of Maryland Medical Center
The bottom line of our research is that laughter not only makes us feel good but it has a direct effect on our blood vessels. And our blood vessels control the likelihood of us developing a heart attack or a stroke. So if we keep the blood vessels healthy, then we're going to be healthy.
You can burn up to 40 calories for 5-10 minutes of laughter. But equally important is the blood vessel opening we see is the same as going jogging or even taking one of our cholesterol medications. You get the same effect in terms of opening up your blood vessels as you do with a good, deep, belly laugh.
Laughing on a regular basis is not only good for our soul, but also great for our heart.
Dr. Alex Eingorn
Laughter is a way of communication and that's why it's contagious. When I'm laughing you're looking
and me and you're like 'wow, this is a positive energy' and you're more likely to join me in the laughter.
Dr. Robert Provine, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
But laughter's not present at birth. It appears about 3-4 months of age and it's one of the most important
early means of communication between babies and mothers.
A mother will tickle the baby and the baby will smile and laugh. And the mother will do more of that. If the baby does like it, the baby will fuss or cry and the mother stops. It's a kind of instinctive language that exists before we learn to talk.
Laughter, like speech, evolved to change the behavior of other individuals. Does it have to have other purposes? It probably does, but we're just now starting to tease out what those differences are.
Did the benefits of laughter come from the act of laughing or is it the social context, spending time with friends, family, and lovers. All of these are very difficult scientific issues that haven't been teased out.
But laughter clearly feels good when we do it. Isn't that enough?