Categories
democrazia Diritti Umani Italia Italiano Pace Politica Radicali

Nonviolenza e Liberta’ di Espressione

Un applauso all’articolo di Francesco Pullia “Tolleranza laica e vigliaccheria blasfema” (Notizie Radicali, 25 giugno).

La difesa e la promozione dei diritti civili sono e devono essere infatti ottenute secondo il principio del Satyagraha, della nonviolenza, ben distinto sia dalla violenza, sia naturalmente dalla arrendevole non-violenza.

Se devo attraversare una citta’ in guerra e conosco quali strade sono infestate di cecchini e quali no, e scelgo le prime, cosa avro’ ottenuto dopo essermi fatto sparare? Avro’ solo dimostrato che li’ c’erano i cecchini, cosa arcinota fin dall’inizio, grazie.

Non avro’ combinato niente sul lato di come liberare la citta’ da quel poblema.

Di converso: se quel tizio che non crede che gli astronauti siano atterrati sulla Luna, si piazza davanti a Buzz Aldrin urlandogli di “Confessare la verita’“, e Aldrin gli da’ un manrovescio (o era un pugno?), e’ forse quello un attentato alla libera espressione delle idee?

Chi potrebbe mai dire che dei due, sia stato l’anziano astronauta ad evocare il demone della violenza?

Il Satyagraha, la nonviolenza Gandhiana, che non significa aspettare di farsi ammazzare, non significa neanche fare della violenza gratuita e provocatoria.

Significa seguire il Mahatma nel principio dello Swaraj, cercando di controllare la propria voglia di urlare e dominare gli altri, nel desiderio di vivere con tutti in termini di compassione ed uguaglianza (*). Perche’ i diritti civili sono di tutti.

Ora, con tutti i problemi che esistono sul pianeta, davvero non me ne importa un tubo della voglia degli organizzatori della mostra al quartiere San Vitale di Bologna, di farsi impallinare, o di riuscire a dominare chi si ritiene offeso dell’esistenza stessa di quella mostra.

Gli uni (e gli altri) fanno parte del problema, non della soluzione.

(*) libera traduzione da “The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” di Martha C. Nussbaum, Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2007

Categories
English EU Politics

Turkey Bashers Should Be More Honest About It

People ideologically bent on keeping Turkey outside of the EU should be more honest about it, instead of trying to come up with yet more excuses.

President Sarkozy of France is maneuvering to prevent further openings of talks between the EU and the Ankara government, taking advantage of the impasse over Cyprus and still toying with the silly idea of a Mediterranean Union of poor States with the main aim of keeping them out of the EU.

Reader H.R. Clausen applaudes the stance on the International Herald Tribune (Letters, June 28) and goes as far as accusing Turkey of “badly lacking implementation of the Copenhagen criteria“.

But Sarkozy (and Clausen) can’t have it both ways. If Turkey were not complying with the EU minimal requirements, there would be plenty of rules already in place to halt its entry into the Union.

And therefore there would be no need to stop negotiations. Simply, these would report the current non-compliance.

If some are trying so hard to even prevent negotiations, it may actually be out of their own fear that Turkey is not really so far off in fulfilling the EU entry criteria.

Categories
English Environment Humanity

Environmental Cleanliness Isn’t A Novel Concept

Who could remember, 50 years ago they had the same concerns for the environment and fellow human beings as we do.

And so time and money was spent on the development of a… clean H-Bomb

William L. Lawrence, Construction of a ‘Clean’ H-Bomb Presents Formidable Problems for the Experts – June 23, 1957 – The New York Times

How comforting…perhaps after a future war, when scavenging for survival through flattened cities there will be little danger, at least of the radioactive variety.

Categories
democrazia Diritti Umani Italia Italiano

Vittoria per Luigi Moncalvo

Chissa’ se sono l’unico italiano che non sapeva fino ad oggi chi fosse, il Luigi Moncalvo che un mese fa e’ stato risarcito con €300 condonate, dopo che due anni fa su Internet la sua reputazione e’ stata offesa (come da sentenza) dalla frase “Gigi Moncalvo, ex idiota, ora riabilitato dai più, famosa la sua faccia da rimprovero“.

Avra’ ragione Zambardino a dire che non vale la pena di appellarsi, a quella sentenza? Forse e’ salutare per tutti diffondere il piu’ possibile la notizia, in tutti i particolari da cui poter trarre i dovuti insegnamenti.

Categories
Italia Italiano Politica Umorismo

Tutti Cogli Oni

A destra, con Berlusconi. A sinistra, con Veltroni. Tutti, cogli “oni”.

Ecco perche’ le carriere politiche di Fassino, Fini, Follini, Casini, Rutelli si sono fermate.

Si prevede un futuro radioso invece per Gentiloni, e Morabitoni naturalmente…

Categories
Afghanistan Diritto Internazionale Guerra Italia Italiano NATO Pace Politica

Moratoria ai Bombardamenti in Afghanistan

Sulla scia delle proteste del Governo Afghano, anche il Ministro Parisi si e’ svegliato all’omicida realta’ delle continue stragi di civili in Afghanistan, causate dai bombardamenti NATO.

Parisi si illude di ottenere “assicurazioni definitive”. Non prendiamoci in giro. Vuole andare oltre le solite inchieste? Si legga un libro di Storia.

L’esperienza da Guernica in poi e’ che tirare nel mucchio bombe (quand’anche “intelligenti”) uccide civili inermi e innocenti. Punto.

Decidiamo quindi: restiamo complici e co-colpevoli delle stragi, e smettiamo di piangere sui corpi dei bambini che tutto sommato vogliamo uccidere.

OPPURE mettiamo al bando i bombardamenti aerei di civili: cominciando con il SOSPENDERE IMMEDIATAMENTE quelli in Afghanistan.

Non c’e’ Osama bin Laden che tenga, come scusa per continuare quelli che sono omicidi considerati perfettamente accettabili.

Categories
Italia Italiano Politica

Che Politica del Caso!

Le polemiche su Speciale e Visco alla vigilia delle rivelazioni sulle intromissioni DS a favore di Unipol.

Il licenziamento di De Gennaro mentre e’ in corso il processo sui fatti di Genova 2001.

La separazione della coppia Fini pochi giorni prima che la futura ex-moglie fosse indagata.

Si vede che la politica italiana e’ proprio mercuriale, nel senso di essere governata dal caso

Categories
English Humor

Diary Entries Through The Ages

Main Diary Entries according to one’s age

0-2: Milk
4-12: Games
13-18: Sports
19-30: Girls (or Boys)
30-40: Depressive after-work meetings with co-workers
40-50: School and doctor appointments
50-60: Pension advisers. More doctor appointments
60-70: Boules (or Poker). Even more doctor appointments
70-100: Friends’ funerals in-between doctor appointments
100- : Doctors’ funerals

Categories
democrazia Italia Italiano Politica

L’Incompetenza Regna Sovrana

Fra un fischio e una contestazione, con i sindacati che minacciano scioperi, il Governo Italiano si e’ ritrovato il Tesoretto fra le mani, e di questi giorni e’ la notizia che la disoccupazione e’ ai minimi dal 1992.

Vabbe’ che il Signor B sa anche fin troppo bene come manipolare giornali e televisione, ma possibile che nella truppa al Governo adesso non ci sia uno con mezza competenza nel migliorare l’immagine di Prodi & Co.???

Penseranno forse che darsi una lustrata sia commettere “peccato”?

Categories
Democracy English EU History Humanity Politics

90 Years After Killing Itself, Europe at the Crossroads

The umpteenth EU summit is taking place in Brussels from tonight.

The issue at stake is far heavier than in past meetings of Heads of State and Government. With the expansion to include countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain, the EU has to find a way to work despite its components living in different histories.

Call it “Constitution”, call it “Treaty”, call it “Donald Duck” but a new set of rules is needed for a future of prospects rather than implosion.

As I wrote yesterday, the best way to keep one’s life truly alive is to deal with the diverse times that cohabit in one’s soul: just as well for the European Union. Its old, Western core is several decades in front of the new Eastern members in matters of handling national interest in a multi-state Union.

It is not that the Poles or the Czechs are slow-witted: it is that by wrapping their national evolutions in ice under the Soviet domination, it is all too natural to them for history-heavy questions such as strategic defence and World War II considerations to be on the table right now.

Unfortunately, those are exactly the questions that cannot interest their Western counterparts. Because to them, history is at best a nuisance.

———

Europe and European culture committed suicide around 1917 and perhaps didn’t stop stabbing itself for another 30 years. All the Empires that boldly entered World War I in 1914 were irreparably damaged by three years of war, and in all the participating countries only the most rabid types were not appalled by the pointless carnage.

To compound the situation, millions had joined the fight inspired by enthusiastic nationalism, almost invariably spiced up by religious references. Ominously, they had done it in Britain, in France, in Germany, in Russia, in Italy, everywhere following similar patterns.

They literally marched on to kill one another, seemingly unaware of their extraordinary similarities. And obviously in hindsight, their war could not end, as they were able to perfectly match and outwit one another.

That’s why it was a mass suicide, of bodies and of culture. The U.S. officially joined the war on April 2, 1917. Their mere presence was enough to finally put it to a stop. Old Europe heard its bell tolling.

———

Fast-forward to 1947. Hell-bent on destroying themselves, Europeans had managed to complete the Great War with the even bigger World War II. A great chunk of them were taken out of history by falling into the hands of that failed experiment called Soviet Communism.

Another large chunk, to the West, decided to forego history altogether, laying its soul finally to rest. No more violent nationalism, no desire to stomp on one another, no talk of reparation of this or that historical tort, and since they were at it, steam ahead with a Union of nation states, but down with religion and all mores of old (from “Father knows best” to “A woman’s place is in the kitchen“). Some call it “modernity“.

Sixty years later, the process is almost complete. There is no aspect of contemporary (Western) European life that has not been affected by modernity. The artistic renovation s of the 1920’s have fathered an incredible variety of movements. Religion is on the wane, especially organized religion, and it has become perfectly normal to practice homosexuality and to raise single-parent children, things considered quite deviant as recently as 30 years ago.

Frankly, it is more than absurd to imagine the great-grandchildren of those knowingly sent to die at the Somme or Caporetto, accept any Government initiative without much skepticism.

————–

That’s not the experience elsewhere on the Continent and beyond. For example it is almost impossible to deny the impetus given to liberation of Western European women by the request to work during both wars in stead of their war front-bound men. That’s not exactly what has happened in Communist countries (where the desire to free men and women alike somehow became synonimous of morphing citizens into State servants).

And that’s not what has happened in the Middle East either. Who knows, without World War I there would still be little or no voting rights for female citizens of…liberal democracies! (The U.S.A., of course, is a whole different topic).

————-

And so the new bunch of countries cannot simply join the European Union without a lot of kicking and screaming: Poland especially, a former Empire in itself from the Baltic to the Black Sea, then put together, dismembered and forcibly moved westward by its neighbours.

Will the Brussels meeting be any fruitful? Usually, if a summit like that fails, it is simply forgotten. But let’s hope it does succeed, so it will leave a mark in history.

Imagine if Germany could finally accept Poland’s requests, recognizing each other’s completely different historical paths, and convince it to actually become a leader in the Union: putting to rest at least 13 centuries of enmity.

———–

If the EU will be able to rationally accommodate so many countries with such a variety of experience, cares and worries, then it will be ready to expand even further: Turkey, the Ukraine, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia…and why not?

As a sort of grass-root United Nations, the EU could then become the first gift to Humanity by a more peaceful, re-born Europe. 

Categories
Cultura Emigrazione Italia Italiano Repubblica

Bush, l’Orologio e la Vergogna

(messaggio spedito a Vittorio Zucconi de La Repubblica)

Caro Direttore

Mi dispiace che lei prenda cosi’ alla leggera il vergognoso comportamento de La Repubblica sulla storia dell’orologio che (non) e’ stato rubato a Bush dalla folla a Tirana.

Vergognoso perche’ la redazione, almeno sul web, non ha avuto remore a distribuire le titillanti immagini che “dimostravano” due sicuri pregiudizi dei lettori: la dabbenaggine del Presidente USA e peggio, molto peggio, la predisposizione al furto da parte degli albanesi.

Sul fatto che tali immagini, come si e’ poi venuto a sapere, non avessero dimostrato ne’ l’una e soprattutto neanche l’altra cosa, neanche una parola da parte de La Repubblica (l’unica citazione sembra essere una pagina quasi invisibile con due righe copiate dal Corriere)

Naturalmente le do atto di aver ospitato la lettera del signor Zefi nella rubrica del 19 giugno. Spero che quel messaggio abbia chiarito come stanno le cose a me e a tanti altri.

Pero’ non puo’ non dirmi che in questi tempi dove le paure vengono rinvigorite quasi da ogni parte, c’e’ niente da essere fieri quando si dedica parte del proprio sito web a quella che in ultima analisi e’ una propaganda di odio che puo’ solo aggiungere un altro mattone ai muri che ci stiamo/stanno costruendo.

saluti
maurizio morabito

Categories
Culture English Humanity Philosophy Sociology

Every Day, a Christmas Carol for the Soul

In Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is an aging man, money-tight and with a soul drier than the harshest desert, finding happiness and moral redemption only after meeting the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future.

Most of us will not receive any visit by eerie presences: still, we all risk to see our lives wither away in a hailstorm of irritability and sulking.

Fortunately, there is a way to recover youth and enthusiasm the way of Scrooge: by looking at our inner “ghosts”, the pieces torn from our inner selves one by one by Time itself.

=========

As the years go by, in fact, the constituents of one’s soul lose “sync” with one another. Some parts of the inner being survive as throwbacks to the past, becoming the Past Inner Ghost, “Ego Praeteritus”. Other elements live in the here-and-now, making up the Present Inner Ghost, “Ego Presens”. Others still have their basis in what is yet to come, belonging to the Future Inner Ghost, “Ego Posterus“.

For example, women and cars, fast or slow as they be, provide the best evidence that an important element of our souls does indeed live in the present. In fact, an obvious component of the Ego Presens is the sense of fashion: contemporary in the extreme and constantly a-changing, with wardrobes getting refreshed not just of worn-out items and impossible-to-find (as new) the same stuff of a few years earlier.

Female beauty itself means changing body shapes every decade or so, even if the owners of the proverbially beauty-beholding eyes don’t all die off that often

That is exactly what happens with cars. Look back at the vehicles in the market 20 or 30 years ago, and apart from true “classics”, you will see primitive, ugly boxes of metal, not the sleek lines, inviting quality, and superior engines of today’s automobiles (alas! themselves destined to turn into ugly boxes of metal… by 2027!).

Politics is itself not immune from the “spirit of the times”, the zeitgeist. Big worldwide debates appear to be coming and going, monopolizing it all for a while, then becoming either boring and outdated or boring and obvious (another definition for “being fashionable”?).

In the past century, colonialism, imperialism, protectionism, fascism, communism, democracy and universal suffrage, worries about nuclear war, civil liberties, poverty, the environment: nowadays, “global warming”.

Are we then “Citizens of the Zeitgeist”? Or “Prisoners of Our Times”, with our Ego Presens socially and commercially pressured into “freely” thinking with the consensus and “voluntarily” getting the most up-to-date gadgets?

=========

Not completely.

It’s an altogether different story for musical tastes. For some reason, most people get their melodic preferences cast in stone between the ages of 16 and 25. So if you’re 50 you may have to accept that your preferred music was recorded at least 25 years ago, and is unlikely ever to re-appear in the charts but for a very short time.

That’s an example of what constitutes the Ego Praeteritus, the inner Ghost of the Past. Other instances include lifelong friendships, usually forged by the end of the “teens” years, as anybody that has ever left hometown can attest; and most personal fears including fully-fledged phobias, rooted perhaps in the first 3 or 4 years of one’s life (just like family ties: are all those related, one wonders?).

And of course, we are bound to keep accumulating memories, those images and feelings condensed (and filtered) in an increasingly-heavier baggage capable of influencing all our thoughts and actions.

Worse still: parts of the Ego Praeteritus appear to become lethargic, if not dead altogether, around 16 years of age (as famously quipped by Benjamin Franklin). For instance, the ability to change and embrace innovation; the sense of academic excellence, invariably coinciding with one’s own year of graduation; morality, inevitably going down the drain since the days of one’s own youth; youths themselves, not showing any longer the respect of old to parents and adults in general.

=========

It’s in the Ego Futurus that one can find life instead, in the very dreams that keep us alive.

Those may be the hope of getting to see another day, or of seeing one’s children live long and prosper, or of being able to buy whatever one desires. Whatever their kind, still those are hopes, the last bits of us to die, and without which life would be absolutely pointless.

Hopes and expectations are not only rooted in the future: they belong to it. Fulfillment of one’s desires may be what we think we aspire to, but more often than not, when that happens it strikes as anticlimactic.

No need to be an Apollo astronaut back on Earth or a retiring World Leader to ask oneself that most open-ended, unsettling, and desperate of questions: “now what?”. A question that we will all have to face.

=========

As times goes on, and dreams come to materialize (or fail to), one’s Ego Posterus can only fade. In the meanwhile, the Ego Praeteritus grows bigger. More and more of one’s inner self gets anchored to the past, resulting in a progressive larger detachment from the “real world”, and from one’s slowly disappearing Ego Presens.

This may be the strongest sign of having an elderly mind: when the soul is left with almost no connection with the present, or the future.

Sadly, that’s a well-traveled path, with one slowly but steadily growing “grumpy”, stagnatingly aged in spirit instead of just old in body.

=========

How can one avoid such an end?

Perhaps some good memory erasure would help. There would be plenty of space to learn new musical tastes and how to become a different person.

A more practical way may be to become instead aware that parts of the soul do not live in the same epoch as the rest of them, or the World out there.

Accepting all internal differences on a temporal level too, we can then confront our Egos of the past, present and future, day-in, day-out, in an unrelentingly rejuvenating “time travel of the soul”.

=========

In fact, it’s the Christmas Ghosts that bring back grumpy extraordinaire Ebenezer Scrooge to a happier life, better connected to the world out there and at peace with what went before, what is happening now and what is yet to come.

Categories
Astronomy Astronomy & Space Cosmos English Eris Moon NASA Pluto Science Universe

Drawback In The Sad “Dwarf Planet” Saga

Size does matter for NASA, ESA and the likes. That’s the drawback.

This summer, 49 years after being established, NASA will launch its first major space probe dedicated to the study of main-belt asteroids Ceres and Vesta.

In the meanwhile, in 46 years of interplanetary travels there have been only a couple of Russian attempts at studying Phobos, the satellite of Mars that is likely to be a captured asteroid.

And none at all about Deimos, the other satellite of Mars, despite the fact that it is the easiest and cheapest place to reach in the Solar System from the Low Earth Orbit (such as the Space Station’s). It’s easier and cheaper than the surface of our own Moon.

Can’t anybody else see a pattern emerging? Yes there have been peculiar missions like the one to asteroid Eros, but those are by far the exception.

Let’s face it: Big Space Agencies don’t like to bother with small components of the Solar System. It is not “cool” enough to say “Well guys and gals we are going to see a space rock smaller than Rhode Island” (despite the surprises those space rocks may be hiding for us to discover).

There is a mission en-route to Pluto now. It was cancelled before lift-off at least once, and I am sure it would have never been approved had Pluto been demoted to “dwarf planet” in that silly astronomical congress a few months back.

========

And all of that, just to make sure schoolchildren could keep a mnemonic of 8 planets?

There are more than 9 stars and more than 9 galaxies…

The more time passes, the more unbelievable the whole thing is. Now Eris has been discovered to be larger than Pluto.

So what?

Anyway, I think 99.99% of people will agree that there is no way to scientifically define a planet. Here’s a definition for the “Average Joe and Jane” then:

A Planet is a round-ish object that orbits around a star and does not orbit around another round-ish object” (c) Maurizio Morabito 2007.

Who can get simpler than that?

And what would be soooooooooooooo wrong with it?

Categories
Astronautica Italiano RAI Spazio TG1 Umorismo

Al TG1 Non Sanno l’Inglisc’

9 Giugno 2007 – In esclusiva mondiale, il TG1 rivela che la Navetta Spaziale “Atlantis” e’ esplosa al decollo (vedere per credere).

Eppure migliaia di persone avevano appena visto in Florida, e su Internet, che la partenza del primo Shuttle del 2007 era andata avanti senza problemi.

Dove avranno scovato quello scoop eccezionale, a Mamma Rai? Ma su Babelfish, probabilmente.

Babelfish e’ un servizio semiserio fornito gratuitamente per tradurre testi su Internet.

Cosi’ non c’e’ piu’ da imparare l’inglisc’, questa ostica lingua parlata da miliardi di persone tranne che in Itaglia.

Facile immaginare quindi l’impiegatino che lavora in notturna alla RAI, si vede arrivare la notizia di agenzia sul computer, la copia pari pari su Babelfish ed ecco servita la traduzione che va solo aggiustata in lingua corrente:

(originale) […] The US Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off […]

(traduzione da Babelfish) […] La spola di spazio degli Stati Uniti Atlantis fatto saltare fuori […]

(conversione in Itagliano) […] La Navetta Spaziale americana Atlantis e’ esplosa […]

Per fortuna e’ molto improbabile che parenti e amici degli astronauti avessero deciso di seguire le notizie utilizzando i potenti mezzi della TV di Stato italiana. Altrimenti sai che crepacuore!!

=======

Ma possibile che a nessuno fosse venuto in mente di controllare la notizia, prima di passarla alla tapina lettrice del telegiornale?

E chissa’ che altre rivelazioni ci saranno in futuro al TG1…il nuovo film su “Il Vasaio di Harry(Harry Potter)? Il nuovo disco di Britney Spears, diva della musica Schiocco (Pop)? La corsa natalizia a comprare il nuovo Giocatore (Player) iPod?

Categories
English Letters Science Scientific American

Please Rescue Scientific American

To: editors@sciam.com

Dear Editors

May I ask if anybody could please rescue Scientific American (SciAm)?

Time and again in the past year or so, I have been disappointed by what comes up in SciAm, especially compared to the though-provoking, ground-breaking stuff that regularly graces American Scientist (AS).

Here’s an example. In SciAm‘s July 2007 magazine, you published an already-outdated article “Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes“, by K.E. Trenberth.

The author barely mentions the issue of wind shear, that most if not all models indicate will increase because of Global Warming, thereby creating a huge obstacle for the formation of hurricanes.

Talk about negative feedback…

In American Scientist‘s July 2007 magazine for comparison, one can find the excitingly great science made by people that, despite being convinced there is a problem with anthropogenic global warming, still don’t have any fear to state that there may be other reasons for the glaciers of Mt Kilimanjaro to disappear.

=======

I hope you’ll be able to get your act together sooner rather than later, and go back to what Scientific American has been known for, for more than a century: a magazine where ordinary people can stand on the shoulder of giants, instead of being fed their stale crumbs.

Addendum

Am I saying that SciAm needs rescuing because their articles accept anthropogenic climate change? Not at all.

If that were the problem I’d be even less keen to read from American Scientist and Sigma Xi, the scientists’ organization behind it. They are into Anthropogenic Climate Change right, left and center.

The relation between the articles I mention is that the hurricane one is old and incomplete (*), whilst the Kilimanjaro piece is new and challenging.

That’s why my plea is to the Editors of SciAm, not the author of the hurricane article.

(*) check this: Vecchi, G. A., and B. J. Soden (2007), “Increased tropical Atlantic wind shear in model projections of global warming“, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L08702, doi:10.1029/2006GL028905

=========

I have a long-standing respect for SciAm. “All” I am asking is for it to get back to cutting-edge stuff covered in deep by major contributors challenging their readers into reconsidering long-standing beliefs.

Why was it AS rather than SciAm that published the article shattering the myth that Easter Island was destroyed by humans?

These days, the SciAm Editors are so concerned about appearing mainstream,
they can publish an article by AIDS-theory-dissident Duisberg on cancer only after plastering it up with disclaimers.

=========

So please Editors of SciAm: get the fluff out of the magazine, “un-button up” a little bit, stop worrying so much about Science vs. Religion, and about what is mainstream science and what is not, and Scientific American will be once again as great as ever.

I am still hopeful. Perhaps one day the richness of the SciAm website will make it into the magazine.

Categories
Astronomia Cambiamento Climatico Clima Italiano Riscaldamento Globale

Venere vs. Terra

Temperature medie===>
Terra, superficie (1000 mbar) : 288K
Venere, con atmosfera piena di CO2, a 50km (1000 mbar): 330K

A parita’ di pressione (superficie terrestre), la temperatura su Venere e’ il 114% di quella terrestre.

Disponibilita’ di potenza per la sonda Venus Express===>
Orbita terrestre: 806W
Orbita venusiana: 1,425W

Alla distanza di Venere c’e’ quindi il 177% piu’ energia dal Sole che all’orbita terrestre (in realta’ il valore e’ piu’ prossimo al 190%, considerati i raggi delle orbite dei due pianeti)

114%<177% = Venere e’ piu’ fredda di quanto di dovremmo aspettare = probabilmente l’effetto di raffreddamento e’ dovuto alle nuvole opache venusiane di acido solforico

E infine===>
Temperatura comprimendo aria terrestre da 288k/1,000mbar a 90,000mbar:
887K
Temperatura alla superficie di Venere (~90,000mbar): 735K

(calcoli basati su http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1996/ph162/l10a.html)

Quindi a parita’ di pressione (superficie venusiana), la temperatura terrestre sarebbe addirittura il 120% di quella di Venere. Di nuovo, Venere e’ piu’ fredda di quanto ci dovremmo aspettare: di nuovo, probabilmente a causa di un raffreddamento dovuto alle nuvole di cui sopra, alte nell’atmosfera di Venere, che fanno arrivare poca energia solare alla superficie.

==========

Evidentemente mi sto sbagliando di grosso, perche’ dell’ “effetto serra” da CO2 che starebbe causando le temperature infernali della superficie di Venere, non ne vedo traccia.

A naso sembrerebbe tutto un gran bel processo adiabatico. Magari pero’ un astronomo o fisico atmosferico potra’ fornirmi lumi.

Categories
Ambiente Cambiamento Climatico Clima Diritti Umani Economia Italiano Politica Riscaldamento Globale Sovrappopolazione

Il Cambiamento Climatico E’ Morto

O quantomeno, in animazione sospesa.

Dopotutto, c’e’ un limite anche a quanto si possa spremere fuori da questo o quel modello di disastro prossimo venturo. Dopo un po’ di articoli, supplementi e urla di dolore ambientale in televisione, la noia regna sovrana.

Si e’ appena concluso un G-8 dove e’ stata fatta la solita pantomima inconcludente su come combattere il “riscaldamento globale”. Non c’e’ che da aspettarsi successi del calibro di quelli ottenuti per far scomparire droghe e poverta’.

Gli accordi e i congressi internazionali non si contano piu’, e l’unica differenza percettibile sara’ nello straordinario inquinamento che producono con migliaia di persone che volano di qua’ e di la’ per dirci di non inquinare.

Nel frattempo, “la scienza” del cambiamento climatico ha i piedi di argilla sempre piu’ fragile. Un rispettato ed eminente membro dell’IPCC dichiara pubblicamente che “dovremmo rispondere prudentemente alle minacce dal cambiamento di clima“.

Michael Griffin, il Capo della NASA, non ci pensa troppo a commettere il peccato cardinale di parlare contro tutto il “consenso climatico”: “Non sono sicuro che sia giusto dire che [ il riscaldamento globale ] sia un problema che dobbiamo affrontare [… ] Mi chiedo quale essere umano possa mai avere il privilegio di decidere quello se questo clima particolare qui oggi, ora, sia il clima migliore per tutti gli altri esseri umani.”

In un segno ulteriore che c’e’ qualcosa che non va, non esiste neppure mezzo suggerimento di progettazione di un satellite capace di raccogliere i dati e possibilmente le prove globali del cambiamento climatico che sarebbe in atto. Il cosidettro GoreSat e’ dimenticato da tutti, malgrado aspetti di volare da 7 anni.

E adesso la Sigma Xi, associazione di scienziati americani in prima linea nello studio del riscaldamento globale, decide di pubblicare nel numero di Luglio-Agosto 2007 un articolo che dice che le nevi del Kilimanjaro non stanno scomparendo a causa del cambiamento climatico

Quanto sopra indica chiaramente che ormai il “riscaldamento globale” e’ morto, moribondo o in animazione sospesa.

Nel migliore dei casi, si e’ rivelato una scusa per qualcosa di differente, nel peggiore, uno specchietto per allodole.

Diamo a tutti quelli coinvolti il beneficio del dubbio. Qual’e’ allora il problema reale cui interessarsi, se il “cambiamento climatico” e’ giusto una scusa?

I candidati possibili includono: (1) la volontà di neutralizzare la potenza delle multinazionali stabilendo un qualche tipo di governo globale; (2) il desiderio di ripulire l’umanità dai suoi peccati, in particolare ingordigia e mancanza di rispetto per l’ambiente; (3) un modo di contenere lo sviluppo di Cina e India sotto controllo, rendendo loro la vita difficile con tutti questi discorsi sulle emissioni di CO2.

Ma se c’e’ un problema che sono attualmente piu’ propenso a considerare, e’ (4) la preoccupazione che ci sono semplicemente troppi esseri umani vivi allo stesso tempo, ed il loro numero continua ad aumentare: mentre allo stesso tempo, abbiamo l’istinto ma non gli attrezzi ne’ la volonta’ di fornire loro tutti una vita decente.

Quello e’ un soggetto molto piu’ interessante che le quisquilie sulla misura dell’anidride carbonica atmosferica e delle temperature planetarie.

Categories
Antiterrorism Democracy English Immigration Politics

Heroical Immigration Police

I am having a nightmare.

It is about a democratic country on this planet, where Immigration Police routinely ambushes people at their place of work, sending armed officers into workplaces to apprehend those guilty of working a decent and honest job.

In the process, those officers scare the wits out of any law-abiding person in sight.

Anybody and everybody, not just the person they are looking for, is threatened if not manhandled, unless he or she provides full co-operation, including letting said officers rummage through personal items including e-mails without showing so much of a photo ID.

All in all, the experience has the one result of instilling terror in perfectly innocent people, more than a couple of train bombs put together. How much they will feel protected, it’s anybody’s guess.

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My nightmare is that such a country is 40,000km/25,000mi away from where I am standing at the moment.

Categories
Culture English Ethics Humanity Journalism Skepticism

Newsmedia, not History Books

Somebody has posted a great list of all that is wrong with newsmedia:

1. Great emphasis on the dramatic
2. Failure to distinguish between opinion and fact
3. Repetitive dissemination of original reports from a few limited sources without checking or questioning information
4. A catering to what the media perceives as the popular belief or their belief over reporting the facts
5. Reporters that have disturbingly low levels of knowledge in the areas they report on
6. Sometimes blatant misrepresentation of the facts by reporters in major news organizations
7. A tendency to run with the “latest story” to the point of boredom at the expense of broader, more informative reporting
8. Information becoming “truth” based on degree of repetition

Those points truly are the way contemporary newsmedia work, and especially those dealing with day-to-day stuff.

We should never forget that newspapers, newsmagazines, TV/radio news programs are meant to be sold and capture the widest possible audience.

They are built to re-inforce the prejudice and convictions of the people that are going to buy them. Sometimes, they could challenge their readers, but bankruptcy is in order if they do that too boldly.

You simply can’t do that by being 100% honest, informative, opinion-free…articles based on that would bore to death most of the readership.

That’s why history books are written by scholars, instead of being reprints of old newspapers.

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The above is not meant to be taken as an insult. Hey, I am a part-time journalist myself!!

I see it more as the way things “are”, just as new models of cars are always presented with scantily-clad girls and watches invariably point to 10 past 10 in photo ads.

People have tried to act differently but few if any of those businesses have survived.

On the other hand I do agree there is no internal, contemporary  “media trend” toward alarmism. Readers’ titillation has always been the order of the day, so any change is likely to have been as a result of a change in what the readers wanted.

As an example, compare the opening pages of London’s The Independent from 20-30 years ago with the screaming trendy single-issue front page of today. And don’t forget the failure of the “good news” newspaper put out a few years ago, again in London (by the Guardian, I believe)?

I don’t think I need to mention any self-proclaimed “Fair and Balanced” news network here.

Perhaps the newspapers of 1907 were scary, exciting and dramatic for their readers, but they don’t appear as such to us simply because (by definition) we are not the people those were meant to be sold to.

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There is only one challenge for all the readers: and that is to provide ourselves with the tools for critically managing the streams of news we are bombarded with.

And by that I mean being able first of all to look for cause-and-effect, so that if event A should cause event B, don’t believe A has happened until B has showed up too.

Categories
Italiano USA Viaggi

TB or not TB: lo Scandalo Speaker, la Tubercolosi, e la Paura

Sono esterrefatto di fronte alle continue richieste di una punizione esemplare per Andrew Speaker, l’avvocato americano che e’ partito in viaggio di nozze per l’Europa nonostante fosse stato diagnosticato con una forma particolarmente brutta di turbercolosi.

Si legga per esempio una lettera sull’International Herald Tribune (in inglese), dove ne viene richiesta addirittura l’incarcerazione.

Una richiesta cosi’ emotiva dice di piu’ dell’Eta’ della Paura in cui viviamo, che dell’effettiva incoscienza del comportamento di Speaker.

In realta’ nessuno si e’ mai ammalato di tubercolosi dopo un viaggio aereo in compagnia di un portatore sano.

L’intero “Scandalo Speaker” e’ quasi impenetrabile a ogni chiarimento: la diagnosi e’ stata fatta per caso, a seguito della rottura di una costola; il padre di Speaker, anch’egli avvocato, ha registrato gli incontri con le autorita’ sanitarie prima del viaggio; il suocero e’ un microbiologo federale specializzato, guarda caso, in tubercolosi.

E’ anche praticamente inspiegabile perche’ Speaker non sia stato fermato prima o durante il viaggio, nonostante tutte le opportunita’: a meno che, naturalmente, lo “scandalo” non sia stato gonfiato a dismisura.

A naso direi che nessuno si sentira’ male fra chi ha viaggiato con Speaker; egli stesso non soffrira’ di alcun sintomo di tubercolosi; la diagnosi sara’ rivelata sbagliata fra qualche tempo; e nessuna lezione verra’ appresa in termini di gestione internazionale di rischi per la salute…specialmente perche’ non c’e’ mai stato, in questo caso, alcun rischio.

Categories
Culture English Ethics International Herald Tribune Letters USA

TB or not TB: The Speaker’s Affair as a Monument to Our Fears

I am aghast at finding out it’s open season on Andrew Speaker, the American lawyer that honeymooned around Europe despite being affected by a particularly dangerous strain of TB.

See for example a letter on the IHT asking for Speaker’s incarceration.

Emotional outpourings like that say a lot more about our current Age of Fear than of any recklessness on the part of Mr Speaker.

Fact is that nobody anywhere has ever caught TB because of a shared flight with a TB carrier.

The whole story is actually too murky to understand, with Speaker getting diagnosed by chance after breaking a rib, his father recording conversations with health care officials, and his father-in-law a prominent federal microbiologist and an expert on TB of all things.

It remains pretty much unexplicable why Speaker was not stopped before or whilst travelling, when there were plenty of occasions to do so: unless of course the whole “scandal” has been overbloated.

Methinks nobody will die out of Speaker’s travels; he himself will not suffer of any consequence, and will not develop any TB symptoms; the diagnosis will be revealed incorrect in the future; and no lessons will be learned in how to handle potential health scares…especially as there was no basis to speak of for the “scare” in the first place.

Categories
Ergastolo Italia Italiano Politica

Non Aboliamo l’Ergastolo…

Cambiamone piuttosto il significato.

Il problema esiste, dell’enormita’ e della crudelta’ di una pena dalla fine indefinita, anzi “fine mai” come da lettura delle sentenze (un “mai” da interpretare liberamente, visto che la maggior parte delle volte si arriva a una qualche liberta’, anche se non si puo’ sapere quando e si e’ comunque in balia delle decisioni di questo o quel giudice).

Esiste anche il fatto che di fronte a certi comportamenti, come stragi efferate o delitti atroci, sara’ pur doveroso chiedersi quanto tempo potra’ mai passare prima che il reo possa diventare una persona diversa, non piu’ pericolosa per la societa’.

Ma non ci si puo’ fermare qui. La fraseologia e’ importante nella politica, come ci insegnano le campagne elettorali di George W Bush in America: e dire di voler “abolire l’ergastolo” non puo’ che suscitare orrore nell’ascoltatore e lettore medio.

Infine, bisogna rendersi conto che una riduzione da “fine mai” a “32 anni max” come da alcuni proposto, significherebbe ridurre tutte le altre pene, specie quelle piu’ lunghe, per evitare palesi assurdita’.

Manteniamolo, quindi, questo “ergastolo”, ma da “pena a vita” trasformiamolo in “pena a mezza vita“: minimo quaranta anni, e per i recidivi senza buona condotta comunque senza possibilita’ di uscita prima del settantesimo compleanno.

Diventerebbe allora una pena comunque molto piu’ lunga di ogni altra, ma non disperata: e quindi meno crudele.

Categories
Italia Italiano Politica

I Limiti di Di Pietro

Ci sono delle volte in cui mi verrebbe quasi voglia di iscrivermi all’Italia dei Valori di Di Pietro.

Ci sono altre volte invece in cui capisco benissimo perche’ ne voglio stare lontano: ad esempio, riguardo l’affaire Visco-Speciale.

Alla fine dei conti di sostanza nelle accuse pubblicate su Il Giornale deve essercene proprio poca visto che Speciale stesso dopo tanta cagnara ha praticamente deciso di lasciar cadere la cosa. Che gli si diano pure, questi “onori militari”.

Puzza anche il fatto che tutta questa storia sia stata fatta uscire fuori a pochi giorni dall’arrivo in Parlamento dei “verbali Unipol”, e guarda caso abbia messo in secondo piano le buone notizie economiche dopo la relazione OCSE.

Insomma non bisogna essere paranoici per vedere le solite manipolazioni da parte di chi anni fa denuncio’ di essere spiato con “cimici” che si sono rivelate finte.

E invece: eccolo li’ Di Pietro a chiedere che il Governo spieghi questo o quello, come se non ci fosse altro da pensare nel Paese.

Il problema probabilmente e’ nella ragion d’essere dell’Italia dei Valori: la quale esiste principalmente come movimento giustizialista, che in altri tempi sarebbe stato definito forcaiolo. Per cui non puo’ esimersi dal battere i pugni ogni qualvolta non siano state rispettate le regole alla lettera e fino in fondo.

Insomma, la logica di partito che fa a pugni, e vince, sulla logica di governo.

Un ottimo modo per farsi manipolare da chi ha lo scandalo facile: caro Di Pietro, non ci siamo proprio.

Categories
Christianity English Evolution Science USA

Way to go, Senator Brownback!

Kudos to Sam Brownback for the wisdom of not dismissing evolution wholesale as an atheist conspiracy (“Creation does not preclude evolution“, International Herald Tribune, June 1).

But will the Senator have the courage of accepting the consequences?

Brownback states that “the process of creation […] is sustained by the hand of God in a manner known fully only to him“. In other words, God may as well have been using multi-billion-year evolution, 6-day creation or whatever else of His liking.

Therefore, to think of “evolution” as changing one species into another is no blasphemy.

To the contrary, it’s a hard-headed, literal reading of the (English?) Bible that strikes just as absurd and close-minded as those declarations by scientists using evolution to “prove” the non-existence of God.

As for “man’s unique and intended place in the cosmos” (another of Brownback’s points) that may well be but… it is a dangerous reasoning path for a person of Christian faith.

The way of Jesus is one of humility, not hubris.

Categories
Climate Change Development English Environment Politics Science Skepticism Space

The Death of Climate Change

G-8 leaders are preparing to go through the motions about “doing something against Climate Change” (presumably, with similar successes as their wars on poverty and drugs). Countless pacts, accords, international conferences have not meant much as yet, and in all likelihood they won’t make any perceivable difference in the future either.

In the meanwhile, the “science” of Climate Change is as clay-footed as ever. A leading IPCC reviewer publicly states “We should respond prudently to the threats from climate change“. The NASA top honcho Michael Griffin commits the cardinal sin of saying the obvious against all “consensus”:

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that [global warming] is a problem we must wrestle with […]

I would ask which human beings—where and when—are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we might have right here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings.

In a further sign that something is amiss, there is not even the suggestion of designing a satellite capable of collecting global data and possibly evidence of global warming / climate change.

GoreSat itself is not mentioned anywhere, despite sitting ready to fly for the past 7 years.

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The above clearly indicates that “Climate Change” as a real issue has died already, or is at a terminal stage.

At best, it has revealed itself as a proxy for something different, at worst a smokescreen, ancillary issue.

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Let’s give everybody involved the benefit of the doubt. What is the real problem they are concerned about, then, if “Climate Change” is just a proxy?

Possible candidates include: (1) the will to counteract the power of global companies by establishing some kind of (toothed) global government; (2) a general feeling tha Humanity must be cleansed of its sins, especially of greed and of disrespect for the Environment; (3) a way of keeping the development of places such as China and India in check, by making their lives difficult with newly-fangled emission caps.

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But the one trouble I am presently more inclined to consider, it’s (4) the worry that there simply are too many humans alive at the same time, and their numbers keep on increasing: at the same time, we have the attitude but not the tools nor the will to provide them all with a decent life.

That’s a much more interesting topic than silly measures of atmospheric carbon dioxide and unreliable, patched-up, secretive historical temperature recordings.