Category Archives: Brazil

Portuguese Pronunciation and Language Tips

I’ll be taking a group of 34 MBA students on an international business immersion trip to my native Brazil this Spring. We’ll be visiting about a dozen companies in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This is an initiative created by the awesome Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the University of Miami.

I’d like my students to be able to pronounce some of the main sounds in Portuguese correctly because I know Brazilians pay attention and really enjoy when foreigners make an effort to say things properly. Therefore, I created a video in which I go over what I consider to be some of the most important things to know when speaking Portuguese (there are others, but I didn’t want the video to be too long).

You can access it on my YouTube channel here:

Moreover, the 2016 Olympic Games are coming, so I figured these tips could be useful for a larger audience as well. I wish American sports casters would watch this video because they murdered the pronunciation of everything during the World Cup in 2014.

Bonus material: My daughter, Lavinia Lilith, a.k.a. #LLCoolBaby, makes a short appearance at around the halfway mark.



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Filed under Brazil, People, Teaching, Tips and Tricks, Travel, Videos, YouTube

Hang Gliding and O.R.

During my last trip to Brazil, I took a couple of weeks off. While spending some time in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to go hang gliding. After all, how dangerous could it be? The day was gorgeous: partly sunny and not too hot. After a bumpy ride through narrow winding roads till the top of Pedra Bonita, there it was: the take-off ramp


It didn’t take long for the butterflies to start flapping their wings in my stomach, but I didn’t back out. There is only one word to describe the sensation: awesome! It’s the closest one can get to knowing how birds feel while in the air. By now, however, you may be wondering what O.R. has to do with this. Take a look at this picture:


That’s the assembly/take-off queue. Pilots join the line in a first-come first-served (FCFS) basis, then start assembling the hang glider (or “wing” as the Brazilians call it), often with extra help. Guess what happens? Assembly speeds vary a lot, and you may be finished before the person in front of you in the queue. With no room to go around, you basically have to wait (and complain).

So here’s one possible solution: leave an open aisle that enables people to access the take-off ramp and assemble the hang gliders to the side of it. When you’re done, just walk to the ramp and go; no need to wait for anyone else. Since everyone has to check-in with a controller, there’s an easy tie-breaking rule: arrival time. From what I heard while waiting for my turn, shorter waiting times would definitely increase the arrival rate and, as a consequence, revenue.

If you have a Facebook account, you can see a video recording of the entire flight here (make sure to see the landing; it’s also very nice).

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Filed under Applications, Brazil