wordpress replaces e-mail

Couple of days ago I was asked to send someone special a handwritten note. Well, there is a longer story behind it but that is not so important right now.

The problem is that we don’t live in the same continent, so mail would take far to long and I decided to go with the e-mail option. First, we checked that our e-mail accounts “like each other” and it all went fine. But right now I was sending my handwritten notes as attached photo files (not extremely big ones) and to my big surprise “non-delivery” report without any explanation (on the other side it is a Latvian e-mail service provider) came back to my hotmail.

So, I decided that I will use WordPress and my blog and will just include those two handwritten notes here as photos!

Here you go, my dear Kni, I hope I get at least some prize for innovative way to send you handwritten notes! and yes, I do like tea (the best would be 7 agrumes)

with greetings from Tunis, smsb

Will go to see Kni for a tea :)
Will go to see Kni for a tea


after I relax - "will go to see..."

Research and Innovation Commissioner visits Latvia – 6th of July 2011

Finally – some good news for Latvian Research Community – Research and Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn visits Latvia on 6th of July 2011.

As the first and only Latvian Science Attache to the EU I am very happy about such a visit and I wish could be there and provide my input.

But as I am not able to attend this most important event, here are my comments/questions from a distance:

  • Latvia’s reprepresentation within ERA decisive bodies like for example Research Working Party of the Council, as well as SFIC and different CREST bodies is certainly weekend as of January 2010, when the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia decided to delete the position of the Science Attache.
  • So, I would love to ask what would be Commissioner’s reaction and/or comment to the fact that Latvia (almost only of the EU Member States) has no diplomatic position of Science/research/innovation Attache in Brussels? Dear, Commissioner, do you think that a country is able to assume the Presidency in the field of Research and Innovation without a proper level representation in Brussels?
  • And on a more positive note – what are COM plans regarding the participation of “smaller” Members of ERA within new Research and Innovation programme after 2013? Are you considering some specific measures for those countries that right now are facing serious problems regarding the number of projects in all the EU Research programmes?

Hoping to read more follow-up information about Commissioner’s visit to Riga on EU RTD pages or somewhere else,


the one and only (ex) Science Attache of Latvia to the EU (Brussels) Mrs Signe Martišūne 4th of July 2011

on discussion culture in a post-soviet country

Dear readers,

Just wanted to shortly share with you my experiences on discussion culture in a post soviet country. Country I am talking about is my country of origin and the name is not so important right now.

The most important thing is to know – that discussion as such has never been a part of the soviet regime ideology or politics – so also was never part of the education system. Therefore even 20 years after independence you will always find people that have NO culture or understanding what a really democratic and free discussion is about.

The most pessimistic situation is once it comes to the social media and blogging and comments. Majority of people would leave anonimous comments and by using this “childish” shield then attack directly the person instead of discussing the problem.

Once faced with argumented and logical response that also shows how incorrect it is to attack the person instead of making comments about the topic they either don’t respond or get even angrier with fiew examples who actually start thinking and may be change (although I don’t really believe in this one).

I hope this might be useful for those of you who have to be faced with similar cases.

On my solutions how to overcome this issue – next time.

Greetings from Tunis,

excellent point of view
excellent point of view - kram tunisia by smsb


simple rule

This is a very easy and simple rule: when you have to do something that you don’t want (like) just do the first little step!

I am a freelance translator among other things. And sometimes I get to translate documents that I really don’t feel like translating. Nevertheless the deadline is agreed and the clock starts ticking (sometimes real fast).

I am working from home office now that is at the same time our kitchen, dining and living space. And we recently adopted two adorable cats. And I live in a very beautiful and touristic and welcoming town where sun always shines. So, you can only imagine how difficult it is to put my head on translations.

Today was one of those days. Really, really hard to get started and stuff continued to come up – travel to organize, calls to make, e-mails to answer, comments to make, news to watch, papers to read, coffee to make, cats to educate…non-stop distractions..

So what I did – I just did the first little step – which was to open that one file and the word. And it already felt better! Even if I did not too much. Somehow the fact that job is started makes the engine work I guess. 

And here I am – 2:26am (my computer is still on Riga time) and I am doing what needs to be done!

good night and good morning to you all, smbs


things to learn from CATS

We could learn things from cats:

Stretching after just waking up (and from time to time during the day)

Having a structured day plan – eat, drink milk, play, sleep a good three hours per day, eat again, drink water and play

Be curious about things around us – they can sit and admire just a shadow of a tree or flower or fix on a flying mosquito for un bon moment

Keep ourselves clean at all times

three cats I love stretching
three cats, I love, stretching

Sharpen our nails every day (well, maybe not every day but often enough to be ready to use them if need be)

Be friendly and nice to each other (at least my little ones – brother and sister are very kind to each other except of course the play time when teeth and nails are used quite a bit)

Stay calm just to relax without sleeping – stretched on the floor when it is really hot or sitting in a comfortable position 

Avoid trouble – mine are trained and know that the Trouble is on the table (where all our documents and electronics are) as well as n our bedroom (where they are not allowed)

To curl up and sleep (or just relax eyes half-open)

And last but not least – keep things simple!

paris – good to be back

visited Paris for 5 days and it was amazing, amazing to be back and feel like home again! things have changed over last 10 years of course – but all in all – Paris is my hometown and I hope to be back soon.

more observations and photos about Paris 2000 and Paris 2011 soon here but for the time being just a nice hotel suggestion for you: http://www.hotel-ce.com/ in 17ieme – very close to Arc the Triomphe.

lots of good wishes to all your projects (and let it be not too hot – not as hot as in Riga – over last weeks over +30 C)


ERA and T/D and I/D research evaluation

One thing that I am working on right now is – to find out what are the problems with ERA and transdisciplinary (T/D) and interdisciplinary (I/D) research projects evaluation at present?

Any ideas? Please, feel free to comment and direct me to articles or studies about this issue. Thank you very much in advance! I will be very happy to hear your personal experiences as well!

I have of course some of my own observations – mainly regarding EURAB analysis of the situation and the latest developments withing the political documents of the EU. However the political side of the issue is not the most important one, even if it influences everything else – implementation, money attribution etc.

What I really would like to understand is – what are the real issues and real problems of the scientific community in Europe (or worldwide) once they decide to move towards more T/D and I/D research approaches – is everything there for them to implement and be productive in those fields – no matter would it be biotechnologies or medicine or space related applied research projects.

I promise to up-date you on my findings as I am getting ready for a more serious analysis and my policy paper.

wishing you all a very productive day,