Archives for category: Others

A musical rendition of what’s ahead: enjoy.


I rarely care for anniversaries: I barely remember my own birthday and I find weird to party on December 31st. But there are some dates that I hold dear: April 25th, Piazza Fontana … and the day I moved to the US.

il museo/presepe di pentema

La valigia di cartone — photo credits: maudanros

of places long gone and of places discovered


Settimana scorsa ci si aspettava neve, una soffiata leggera, un paio di centimetri, cinque al massimo, e tanto per far vedere che l’inverno sta arrivando, invece nella notte tra sabato e domenica prima di Halloween di centimetri ne sono caduti 30. Gli alberi ancora rigonfi delle foglie autunnali non hanno retto il peso e sono crollati sui marciapiedi, le strade, ed i cavi della luce che negli avanzatissimi Stati Uniti d’America non sono ancora sottoterra.
Domenica mattina l’aria era tersa ed insolitamente silenziosa; non si sentivano macchine o televisori in lontananza, anche il frigorifero era incredibilmente muto. La luce salta sovente da queste parti, solitamente perché un qualche ramo cade su un qualche cavo e devono sconnettere la corrente per poter pulire cavi e ramo, ma le strade vengono ripulite dalla neve nel giro di poche ore. Ho preso la macchina sperando che a Northampton ci fosse la luce, ma i semafori spenti ovunque e l’assenza di luci nelle malls non mi davano molte speranze; una volta a Northampton non c’era nulla di aperto, persino Starbucks era chiuso. Ho preso l’occasione per documentare una nevicata impossibile e lo strano contrasto delle foglie rosse dell’autunno sul bianco della neve.

Le foto le trovate in questo set su flickr. (Ad oggi, 5 novembre, sto ancora scegliendo e sistemando le foto: nei prossimi giorni dovrebbero apparirne altre.)

[running] per mantenere il tema di questo blog, un annuncio: in un attimo di pura, assurda follia mi sono registrato per la Maratona di Berlino 2012. E sono certo che questo mi porterà sfiga con il recupero dalla tendinite — continuiamo a tenere le dita debitamente incrociate.

An exceptional white and orange landscape.

The exceptionality of last week snow-fall and subsequent week-long power outage (for some; I was one of the lucky few to have power restored Sunday night) demanded its own set on flickr. I’m still post-processing the photos took last Sunday and more will come up on the next few days.


Don’t you ever miss Bushisms now that Obama is in the third year of his first term? Italy is here to help!

You may have already heard of the OPERA experiment that claims to have found neutrinos traveling faster than light; it would be a pretty serious headache for particle physics, were the experiment confirmed. (I personally doubt it will, and suspect some systematic was not accounted for; in the next days, I will try to find time to read the “official” paper which is freely available on the arXiv.)
This morning the Italian social media was in a frenzy for the official press release (the cowards purged it from their site) from the Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research, Mariastella Gelmini, wherein they call for epochal victories and claim a tunnel was built between the CERN in Geneva and Gran Sasso near Rome. The experiment has to be confirmed and reproduced elsewhere before calling for victories and the bit about the tunnel being built is so laughable — neutrinos travel through solid rock like light through a clear glass, actually even better — that it would have been a shame to to leave the press release in Italian and to not share it with the world at large: here’s my translation (the original is written in the affected formal Italian which is difficult to render in English)

I would like to applaud and to communicate my most sincere congratulations to the authors of a historical experiment. I am profoundly grateful to all the Italian researchers who had contributed to an event that will change the shape of modern physics.
The crossing of the speed of light limit is a momentous victory for the scientific research on Earth.

To the construction of the tunnel between the CERN and the Gran Sasso laboratories, through which the experiment has taken place, Italy contributed with an appropriation of around 45 millions euro.

Moreover, today Italy supports CERN with absolute conviction, with an allocation of more than 80 millions euro a year and the events we are living confirm to us that this is a wise and far-sighted choice.

To infinity ... and beyond! - ©Disney

in italiano

I lived in NYC six years and I have no memories of the Twin Towers.
When I moved, the towers were absent from the skyline already by one year and I never saw them towering in the distance behind the Arch in Washington Sq: a weird experience for someone who went to NYU.

9/11 changed US for better and for worse, and changed NYC even more. Being a New Yorker by adoption, despite not living there anymore, I still feel linked to the City: watching its streets on TV will forever bring up memories, going back to New York will always feel like coming home.
Like many others, I visited Ground Zero; it was the first place I saw in a sultry day of summer 2002. I watched as it was being cleaned up, and I was surprised when I saw the first girders coming out of the dig.

The ruins of Ground Zero are the most striking memory of 9/11, but sadly that’s only what remains of a building. What will always have a place in my mind is the spontaneous tribute on the fences of Trinity Church for those who died and the silent, invisible one for those caught in the subsequent two wars.

A view of the Twin Towers as they were seen from Washington Sq - photo: Veronica DeLallo Erlich


The World Championships in Daegu closed with a new world record in the men 4x100m relay set by Jamaica who, if anyone was still doubting, firmly sits as one of the best nations in the world for sprinting in a way parallel to Kenya in distance running.
It was the only WR set in Daegu but that didn’t mean the World Champs weren’t full of emotions and some controversies: Bolt’s false-start in the final 100m, Robles disqualified for (accidentally) hitting Liu in the 110m hurdles, or the beautiful victory of Jennie Barringer Simpson and the performance of Lauren Fleshman (by the way, read her report of the day leading to the 5,000m final). For me, it was probably the first time I realized I didn’t care about Italian athletes and I was almost in disbelief when the commentators were mentioning some of them, like Antonietta di Martino, bronze in the high jump, or Daniele Meucci, who finished 10th in the final 10,000m, or Ruggero Pertile, whose 8th place in the marathon was the first among Western athletes. True, I was watching it in the US so the focus was on American athletes, and moreover following the sport here made me familiar with American runners while knowing close to nothing about European runners. Still, it was a somewhat weird feeling, mostly because I was naturally unconcerned about Italians medaling or participating in the events. It’s sad but natural: the more I’m living abroad, the more foreign my home-country, Italy, will become — already today I have (mild) culture shocks when back to Milan which and whose people I am recognizing less and less.

Jennie Barringer Simpson winning the 1500m title took everybody by surprise, including herself.

in italiano

A friend and colleague here at UMass often tells me, whenever I take off a tangent and talk way too much about running and racing, that the only reason on Earth he would considering running a sensible activity is if he were being chased; it doesn’t matter by what or whom, he’d run only if his life were to depend on it.
He’s not the first (and won’t be the last) to use the image of run for your life, after all the first thing the Doctor said to Rose was: Run! And the Doctors — capitalized initial is important — are famous (or infamous) to run a hell lot.

So watch this clip of a chase of unclear reason I read about from Writing About Running, one of the (too many) blogs I’m reading, or at least I’ve on the RSS feed. The interesting bit of the car chase is at the 0:35 time-stamp, when the guy escaping the police stops his car and takes off on foot! And what a run: he easily leave the cops behind and effortlessly leaps up a hill and over a fence! Pretty amazing run, I must say.

(By the way, he eventually got caught.)

The image is linked to the video, whose interesting bit is at second 35.