domenica 16 marzo 2008

If you speak English..

..and you'd like to appear on TV, this post is for you!

The production company Less Visible Things is looking for people that speak fluent English to participate to the shootings of the second season of the minisieries "The Sleep of Reason" .
Interesting experiment of docu-fiction on the paranormal subject realized in coproduction with Studio Universal, the series tells the misterious story of the murder of a psychiatrist specialized in regressive hypnosis. The first season, comprised of 8 episodes of 7 to 12 minutes, is already been aired on Studio Universal last year and is now available on Youtube and on iTunes as a video podcast (here the link to subscribe).
The new episodes will be shot in Rome. Like for the first one, no compensation will be given to the participants, but the series will air on Studio Universal and it will be presented to several events in Italy and abroad.
Even if Studio Universal has dubbed the episodes in Italian, the docu-fiction is shot almost entirely in English. Therefore perfect knowledge of this language is required to participate to the shootings.

For further information you may write to the journalist that hosts the series, Steve Bell, via this form.

lunedì 10 marzo 2008

Incineration like Recycling? No, thank you!

In the next days the European Parliament will be asked to vote on the proposal for “rebranding” incineration as a “recovery” option, almost comparable to recycling. Incinerators cause cancer, we need to express our opposition to the Euro Parliament, for our own sake and the one of those who will come. Copy the following text into an email and send it to all the members (in bcc). Different translations are available at the links below, along with the email addresses of all the EP members.

"Dear Member of the European Parliament,

Soon, in the context of the ongoing debate on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive, you’ll be submitted a proposal for “rebranding” incineration as a “recovery” option, almost comparable to recycling, thereby stopping its current classification as “disposal”.

This letter is intended to let you consider carefully the following related issues.

You may be aware that, even with high efficiency of energy recovery at incineration sites, the recovered energy may not compensate that we may save by means of recycling those same materials. As a matter of fact, if we burn such materials, we’ll be compelled to produce them again from primary raw materials, which implies by far higher energetic inputs.

Resources on earth are not endless, and unfortunately they are already being widely depleted.
After incineration, resources are dispersed and may not be used any more.

On the contrary, planet earth benefits from an endless energy source, notably the sun, which has ensured, so far, life on the planet, and from which other natural sources of energy derive (wind, tides, waterfalls).

Therefore, even disregarding health implications of incineration (which concern us anyway), we consider unreasonable to “rebrand” waste incineration putting it almost at the same level as material recycling.

Furthermore, even best available technologies do not keep incineration from filling the environment with persistent pollutants, noxious to health, including various carcinogens.

This is the reason why millions of doctors and EU citizens advocate a ban on incineration: we may mention e.g. the platform of French Medical Organisations, including the National Council of Medical Associations; also, many other Medical Associations from across the EU have called on Governments to implement a ban on new installations for incineration

Remarkably, we have nowadays strategies/options other than incineration and landfilling, which allow an almost full recover of resources in waste. It would therefore be unreasonable to promote a further development of incineration through its “rebranding”

Building on the precautionary principle, incineration should be an option progressively phased out, similarly to landfilling, and both should be replaced by those options that ensure by far higher material recycling and energy savings, with much lower environmental and health impacts.

We therefore trust your common sense and sense of responsibility, and beg your commitment to vote against “rebranding” incineration as “recovery”

Sincerely yours,

[Your Name]"

Download the Italian translation

Download the french translation

Download the german translation

Download the email addresses of the Environment Commission

Download the Email of all Euro Parliament members

martedì 6 novembre 2007

Save the Park "Selva di Paliano"

The Park a few years ago - now- in the future (?)

This park: La Selva di Paliano is dying. Garbage everywhere, animals killed by poachers..and since October 30th its whole territory will be put out for a public auction, after being parceled out. It will be probably be purchased by building firms and, as it's nowadays the Italian trend, trees will be replaced by concrete.

After 30 years of activity and 9 millions visits by people of any age, this once beautiful park will be eliminated.

The Association "Grillo Parlante" has started a petition to save the Park. Please read it and sign it if you agree with it.

A few days ago, on October 31st, an Italian member of the European Parliament, Luca Romagnoli, wrote me and sent me copy of the question he made about this Park.

The Commission should give an answer within 90 days. This document will not block the auction, but it will probably be useful to increase the attention on this matter.

What we can do is write to the members of the Italian Parliament and ask them to take action in this matter. This post of mine in my Italian Blog contains various email addresses that can be useful, you can find other ones on This website.

You can also watch the Video the Association made available on YouTube.

sabato 11 agosto 2007

When flying into Fiumicino..

..Be prepared to have your luggage lost!

These are not lucky days for travelers that use the Fiumicino Airport. In fact it has already been several weeks since a real chaos started in the 'bagagge claim department'. At today's date thousands and thousands of Italians - and most likely also foreigners- have lost their luggage after having departed or landed in Fiumicino, the main airport of the Capital that serves every day around 100,000 people.
Government is investigating, but currently the mystery has remain unsolved. If you are about to arrive to Rome by plane, then, the best thing you can do is to gather accurate and updated information of the baggage question in Rome, before taking your flight. In case of loss, in fact, the procedure to recuperate your luggage is not at all easy, and you might, at the end, not even have it returned to you and receive instead -possibly -a mere compensation of 200 euros (as for what concerns Alitalia's flights).
Furthermore, if you happen to loose your luggage when on an Alitalia flight, after landing and having done all the necessary formalities (loss declaration at the airport), the airline will give you two numbers to call to verify if your luggage has been found or not. You can call the first number for the first 5 days, this is a local phone number, not expensive to call, but after 5 days, you will need to call the number 199.137.811 (Baggage assistance of Alitalia's Customer Care), which, please note, it's very expensive to call: 11.88 eurocent each minute of call, including the time you are waiting for them to answer, which - as it happened to a friend of mine that has recently lost her luggage these days- can be very long: around ten days calling the 199 number just to be able to speak to somebody (and 25 euros spent in calls).
What happens if you don't call? Your luggage might never been returned to you, your file will be abandoned by Alitalia and your luggage is destined to be sold in an auction (you won't even get the revenue from this, though!).
Remember also to keep the receipts of the expenses you incur due to the loss of your luggage, as those can be reimbursed, if you provide Alitalia with a series of other documents in original: baggage receipts, a letter in which you ask them for the reimboursment and a declaration of loss made to Alitalia at the moment you landed, which have all to be sent to Alitalia with a registered letter (in Italian: "raccomandata") with a return receipt (which can prove you wrote them). The worse thing in all this is that once again Italian companies -like Alitalia- show us how badly they treat their Customers, with an assistance that can only be reached by spending an unfair amount of money!

giovedì 9 agosto 2007

on the roman Underground

Image: Flickr
Today I was surfing the english website of the Roman underground and on the Line A page, I noticed a paragraph that says:

"Just to let go on the works that will renew the Line, from the 10Th of January 2005 until the next three years, the last train is at 9:00pm from terminal Anagnina as like from terminal Battistini. So for the next 36 months, two new bus lines named MA1 and MA2 are added, and they will cover the entire Line A route. That two shuttles supplied by Trambus, are on duty from Monday to Friday including holidays from 9:00pm to 11:30pm, and on Saturday until 0:30am"

I think that it's a pretty bad translation from (a bad) Italian to (an even worse) English. I wonder why a big company like Metroroma, that handles the roman underground, cannot find a better qualified employee to do its translations...Italian mysteries!!

I am not a professional translator, but I believe that they meant:

The Line A is currently undergoing renovation works. Due to these, from January 10th 2005 and for the following three years, Line A trains will run every day from 5:30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.(when the last train will depart from each of the two terminus A stations). Until January 2008, buses MA1 and MA2 will be available to replace underground transportation, from 9.00 pm, to 11.30 pm each day from Monday to Friday and from 9.00 pm to 0:30 am on Saturdays.

Also I noticed that a very important thing is missing: a map with the location of the bus stops where one can take the bus that replaces the underground after 9.00 pm.
I use the underground every day and I have no idea where these bus stops have been placed. I searched every underground station, websites, local newspapers, but I haven't found their location! I can imagine the problems that visitors from other countries can have, when in Rome, in finding out where these alleged bus stops are located! I bet at the end they are forced to take the taxi (if they can find one!).
I sent my suggestions to Metroroma's Customer Care. Let's see if they accept them.

By the way, have you ever seen, in other countries, an Underground closing at night as soon as 11:30 pm? Our does!
At what time does the underground (americans read: subway) close at night in your town?

Rome, land of hucksters

Rome, Pantheon Square

In no other European city one can witness the same presence of 'hucksters' than in Rome. Escaped from the povery of their native countries, many of them have arrived to Italy and can nowadays be seen in all the beautiful and historic roman squares of the Italian Capital.
Stationary from dusk until dawn, these people are busy every day selling their goods: fake designer purses, glasses, but also little gadgets.
Their excessive number causes, evidently, negative effects on the aesthetics of Rome. The roman Administration, that tries in several ways to make Rome a modern and cultural city (a part from the ruines, that we have inherited), organizing, for example, many international events - even if we are far from the lively London or New York- seems to forget that the look of the Eternal City can be affected also by other elements.
First of all what everyone can see along the streets of the old town. In Rome, even the more vacant look cannot avoid to notice all these hucksters, with their goods well exposed on sheets placed on the ground. This view strucks the citizens, like it does the turists, that while is busy admiring a nice monument like the Pantheon (see picture above), is destined to bump into a crowd of pitchmen, all selling the same items.
The 25 millions tourists that at the end of 2007 will have visited Rome will remember of course the monuments, the exhibits, the nice buildings, the food, the weather.. but they will probably also remember the dirt, the garbage and the absurd number of hucksters spread everywhere around town.
No-one enjoys their presence: not the citizens (they all sell the same items so how many fake designer purses should we buy, after -maybe- the first one?) nor the shop owners (competitors).

Who, then, benefits from the hucksters?

If the Mayor wants to mantain this type of commerce why doesn't he organize it like in Manhattan, where they all concentrate in one place (the always busy Canal Street) leaving in peace the rest of the town?