Gufodotto would like you to read these:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Goodbye blog, welcome Facebook

I realised that I need no blog to share my ideas with all of you friends, now that facebook gives me the opportunity of expressing my mood, post links, videos and other objects. So I guess this is my last post here. I am sure you will not miss me. If you do, just come on and visit me:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Personally, I pledge to give some - don't have decided what yet. probably 50US$. I've used wikipedia often in the last years... I even tried to edit some pages, but didn't really give back as much as I took. So, if I can help pay the bills, I'll do that!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When brains are outlawed...

An old blog post found thanks to the guys at Freakonomics...

When Wonderbras are outlawed, only outlaws will have wonderbras

August 24, 2006 · 3 Comments

It is once again safe to wear gel-filled bras on airplanes.The TSA pretty much HAD to do this as it realized the only other move would have been to ban breast implants as well which would have shut down LAX.


Occupational Questions...

Stephen Dubner, one of the two people behind Freakonomics, comes up with a bleg forwarded by a reader:

When I’m at a party and get asked what I do (I am an architect), I always hear one of the same five responses:

+ What kind of architecture do you do?

+ Hey, you can design my dream home!

+ I like Frank Lloyd Wright, do you think he’s good?

+ My brother/father/aunt is an architect.

+ I thought about going into architecture.

All of these responses are fine, but just knowing how consistent they are, it makes me wonder in what ways I ask stereotypical questions of others.

It would be nice to avoid this by having a list of what jobs get what kinds of responses. This idea has led to many interesting party conversations — because many times, the responses are not so nice!

So here’s my bleg question: what are the typical responses you hear when you tell people what you do?

So, how about myself? Well I have given up (mostly) trying to explain people what I do in detail...

I am a computational chemist. people usually says one of these two things:

  • - A what?!?
  • - Complicational Chemistry? Uh, interesting... I sucked at chemistry in high school / college / primary / whatever...

So, how about you?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Any european...

...who believes that ANY American president (or presidential candidate) will give a crap about their idea of how america should be is in for a (nasty) surprise. Mark my words.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Harry and Paul - Clarkson Island

Spore: for real this time.

Zebrafish development tracked cell by cell

Microscopic imaging reconstructs embryo's first day.

embryoFluorescence microscopy can reconstruct a digital zebrafish embryo.P. KELLER/EMBL

A new type of microscope has allowed scientists to map the behaviour and movements of cells during zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryonic development, and create a three-dimensional digital movie of the process.

The team, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, says that this is the first complete developmental blueprint of a vertebrate. They think that the technique, called digital scanned laser light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (DSLM), could be applied to embryos of other vertebrates such as mice and frogs.

more on

Monday, September 29, 2008

Got a new (finger crossed) job

I've got a new job, starting (probably) end of the year more or less.

nice position, challenging, where I'll be able to learn lots of techniques and, if everything goes according to plan, manage at least partly my own drug discovery project.

More to follow soon.


This is what I ran this morning. Little, I know, just 2Km (+ un allungo da 200m) in circa 15' totali.

View Larger Map

Ora speriamo di continuare nei giorni successivi...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Been far away

As per topic, I've been far far away, mentally if not geographically.

lots of things to do in these weeks, with my almost-brother-in-law's wedding preparations first and celebrations then - in fact, as expected, the two parts got heavily mixed resulting in very little sleep for between wednesday and yesterday night, with all the going to-and-from the various Belgian cities, waiting for things to happen, skipping lunches and then gorging on buffets of the more or less traditional kind.

All in all, it went very well, the external face put up that o a fairytale wedding, with an inside made of sweat, grit and sometimes all-out open war between the people involved. Ok, may be not 'war' but some heated arguments. But then, I've a very short temper myself, so who am I to judge? I am aware that all of this may be quite uninteresting for whomever reads (if any) but hey, that's my diary, I think i got the right to write everything I feel like no? No? Well then...

Pictures coming soon, for those of you who would like to see us wearing fancy suites (the men) and wonderfully hand-stitched dresses (the girls)...

So long...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Science for the masses. In Italian

A new blog I just happened to strike on, while reading The Loom (which, if you don't know, recently left Seed's ScienceBlogs for Discover magazine.

It's called "i divagatori scientifici", and looks like the guy has very wide interests. For the moment the number of posts is on the low side but hey... You can't have it all...

I'll stick it in my blog roll.

Next: Who on Earth keeps visiting this blog?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Windows is for Wimps

'cause, can you do this?

main=$PWD; for dir in `\ls`; do [ -d $main/$dir ] && cd $main/$dir && echo && echo && echo $main/$dir"\n" && echo && /ppr/cadd/pkgs/openeye/bin/babel3 -i `\ls -c1 *.oeb.gz| head -n1` -o $dir.sdf -n 1 && cp -v $dir.sdf $dir-on-GCRS.ROCS.sdf && for gzed in `\ls *.oeb.gz`; do [ -f $PWD/$gzed ] && sdf=`echo $gzed | sed s/'.oeb.gz'/'.sdf'/` && /ppr/cadd/pkgs/openeye/bin/babel3 -i $gzed -o $sdf -skip 1 && cat $sdf>>$dir-on-GCRS.ROCS.sdf && rm -v $sdf && sleep 1s; done; python ../ --in=$dir-on-GCRS.ROCS.sdf --out=$dir-on-ROCS.oeb.gz --blanks_first --sdtag=ComboScore && rm -rv $dir-on-GCRS.ROCS.sdf && sleep 3s; done; cd $main;

or this?

while read line; do echo "${line}"; option=${line}; opt=`echo $option| sed s/\ //g`; echo $option \=\> $opt; for data in `echo IV1 IV2 IS`; do grep -A 100 Evaluation */$data/*-$data.$opt | tee logs/onTrain/${data}${opt}-performances.log; done; done < <(cat

John Rambo

Hi, after a long iatus. I saw this movie yesterday, and boy, it has a higher body count than Saving Private Ryan... (what follows has a lots of spoilers. be warned)

It's not a bad movie, per se, it's just that it isn't as good as it could have been. They certainly went the extra-mile to show how gory war can be. People don't just die, they explode as if they were nothing more than baloons filled with blood and intestines... Arrows pierce heads as if they were watermelons... landmines blow leags and bodies in two different directions...

Stallone has a monolithic presence on the big screen. He's so tough that he doesn't even have to utter a word to annoy people around him, especially the boss of the mercenary group he's leading into the Burmese jungle... And of course, he can shoot arrows quicker than anybody can draw a gun... Kind of a post-modern Willem Tell. What is missing, in the movie, is a point. A story. A reason for it all. But then, may be that's OK, as it goes to show Rambo cynical and disenchanted attitude towards the world, especially towards those people he tries to dissuade from looking into trouble, only to have to save them after... The war is brutal, but I felt like the Burmese troops didn't really put up a fight here, I mean, if the soviet could not be a match for John, how can they? So, from the point of view of fun, they are like, well, trees waiting to be felled by him...

Cool trick, with the british bomb though.

Enough spoilers...

Monday, June 16, 2008

La mirinzana e' tarocca!!!

come scoperto su "Sassareserie"

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Le Twittre

I've come to know that there exists an advanced (though don't know yet how much more) version of the mood message in facebook, gmail, skype or other instant messanging services...

It's called Twitter, and I came to know about it thanks to the immor(t)al Penny Arcade online comic.

Essentially, you type in what you're doing at the moment, and friends around the world which are interested will receive a near-istant update on it...

You can write meaningful things such as 'in flight to madrid', or less interesting ones (but not less meaningful) such as 'I am taking a dump' (I am not going to do it, but this is what Penny Arcade gloats about)...

Albeit in its infancy, and a bit clunky (compared to facebook's and other's mood msg) it's got the advantage of being 'postable' on other site via a javascript snippet, so that my blog now has a mood message too. you can also, interestingly, post to it from your mobile (and of course, my guess, read update from it. One step closer, if you like, to that permanently connected society of tecnomadic people The Economist was talking about in the Special Report of last week. (click here to download thefull edition), or 'here' for the Special Report only. Thanks Economist for putting this online for free. We greatly appreciate.

So, where do we go from here? will we become 100% internet freak attempting to digest this sea of essentially irrelevant information about our friends and less close relationship? Or we will learn to ignore as pointless background noise, the same way I ignore the Economist's readers once I dwelve deeply into the work? Who knows?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man

The movie is out, and it may even be decent, accordingly to the NY Times Review. Most of all, you've got to love their children rating

“Iron Man” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has a lot of action violence, none of it especially graphic or gruesome. Also, Iron Man has sex, and not with the suit on. But not completely naked either.

Isn't it lovely?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dedicated to women ;-)

I know many will despise, me, but I think this sond is funny, witty and, well... I just like it ;-)

Serenata Rap by Giovanotti

Se t'incontro per strada non riesco a parlarti mi
si bloccano le parole non riesco a guardarti
negli occhi mi sembra di impazzire se potessi
amplificare il battito del mio cuore sentiresti
un batterista di una band di metallo pesante ed
è per questo che sono qui davanti
perché mi viene molto più facile
cantarti una canzone magari che la sentano i muri
e le persone piuttosto che telefonarti e dirti
tutto faccia a faccia rischiando di fare una
figuraccia; sono timido ma l'amore mi dà
coraggio per dirti che da quando io ti ho visto
è sempre maggio e a maggio il mondo
è bello e invitante di colori ma ancora
sugli alberi ci sono solo fiori che prima o poi
si dice diverranno pure frutti e allora tu che
fai? golosamente aspetti, aspetti che quel
desiderio venga condiviso io sono qui davanti che
ti chiedo un sorriso, affacciati alla finestra
amore mio. Affacciati al balcone rispondimi al
citofono sono venuto qui col giradischi e col
microfono insieme al mio complesso per cantarti
il sentimento e se tu mi vorrai baciare
sarò contento e questa serenata è
la mia sfida col destino vorrei che per la vita
noi due fossimo vicino una serenata rap per dirti
che di te mi piace come mi guardi mi piace come
sei con me mi piace quel tuo naso che s'intona
con il mondo mi piace il tuo sedere così
rotondo da rendere satellite ogni essere vivente
mi piaci perché sei intelligente si vede
dalle tue mani come le muovi mi provochi pensieri
e sentimenti sempre nuovi nei tuoi fianchi sono
le alpi nei tuoi seni le dolomiti mi piace quel
tuo gusto nello scegliere i vestiti quel tuo
essere al di sopra delle mode del momento sei un
[ Find more Lyrics at ]
fiore che è cresciuto sull'asfalto e sul

Affacciati alla finestra amore mio, affacciati
alla finestra amore mio affacciati alla finestra
amore mio affacciati alla finestra amore mio

Serenata rap serenata metropolitana mettiti con
me non sarò un figlio di puttana non ci
credere alle cose che ti dicono di me sono tutti
un po' invidiosi chissà perché io
non ti prometto storie di passioni da copione di
cinema, romanzi e che ne so di una canzone io ti
offro verità corpo anima e cervello amore
solamente amore solo solo quello

Affacciati alla finestra amore mio affacciati
alla finestra amore mio affacciati alla finestra
amore mio affacciati alla finestra amore mio

Amor che a nullo amato amar perdona porco cane
lo scriverò sui muri e sulle metropolitane
di questa città milioni di abitanti che
giorno dopo giorno ignorandosi vanno avanti e poi
chissà perché perché
chissà per come nessuno sa perché
perché chissà per come due sguardi
in un momento sovrappongono un destino palazzi,
asfalto e smog si trasformano in giardino persone
consacrate dallo scambio di un anello e un
monolocale che diventerà un castello,
affacciati alla finestra amore mio.

Nei tuoi fianchi sono le alpi nei tuoi seni le
dolomiti mi piace quel tuo gusto nello scegliere
i vestiti questo essere al di sopra delle mode
del momento sei un fiore che è cresciuto
sull'asfalto e sul cemento.

Affacciati alla finestra amore mio affacciati
alla finestra amore mio affacciati alla finestra
amore mio affacciati alla finestra amore mio

affacciati alla finestra amore mio affacciati
alla finestra amore mio per te da questa sera ci
sono io

Friday, April 25, 2008

Microcosm is out!!!

So, if you really want to make me a present, well, you know my address don't you?

I'd be happy with an E. Coli plush toy, if you wish...

The author is touring the US, so if you happen to be close to one of his presentation, please go, as he's a really science writer. The best one around, I dare say.

This is the legal equivalent of an ex-girlfriend request to be 'still friends'...

Get a life, but don't go that far that you can' be reached, should I still need you... D'oh!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gufo Was Here...

Yesterday, I went here to look at Tulips and Hyacinths in flower. The colors were quite nice, although the whole thing at times did look more like an industrial estate than a garden...

View Larger Map

I must admit, though, that looking at the landscape painted in various colors was impressive. a Pity that Holland is so flat...

Piccies to follow.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mi piace...

Allora, visto che una certa signorina (ancora x quanto?) mi ha invitato, mi ci appento fra le pause del lavoro...

Ecco il regolamento:
Indicare il link di chi vi ha coinvolti; (tick!)
Inserire il regolamento del gioco sul blog; (copia-incolla, ti adoro!)
Citare sei cose che vi piace fare; (non appena trovo il tempo)
Coinvolgere altre sei persone; (mi metteranno nella loro spam-list...)
Comunicare l'invito sul loro blog. (uhm... skippero' questa?)

Allora, si comincia:

- Mi piaciono gli animali, ma piu' di tutto i dinosauri, xke' son di questo pianeta, ma di un altro mondo...
- Mi piace leggere, possibilmente un libro sui dinosauri :-P, ma qualunque libro che mi faccia scoprire qualcosa di nuovo e' benvenuto.
- Mi piace andare in bici o camminare in montagna, in una foresta, e passo i fine settimana a chiedermi perche' non lo faccia piu' spesso.
- Mi piace cucinare, x gli amici o anche solo x marie, quando la sera si rientra a casa. Mi piace prender cose semplici e trasformarle magicamente nel mio fuoco alchemico... La rivincita del chimico che lavora al computer.
- Mi piace viaggiare, scoprire un posto nuovo, la gente che ci vive e anche le altre cose che lo rendono diverso da dove ho gia' vissuto. L'Africa, come a molti, mi ha rubato il cuore.
- Mi piace esser il primo, mostrare che sto un passo avanti, anche se non e' bello essere immodesti. Ma son fatto cosi'.
- Mi piace romper le regole non appena posso, x questo ho scritto sette cose che mi piacciono e non sei :-P

ed ora, gli inviti: Francesca, Antonio/Gaccu, Ilalice (o Ilalice?), Emiliano, Gupy, Luca (prima che lo inviti Paolo, lol!!!).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Attack Number One!!! Real Live Action!!!

Of course somebody had to get it on the (You)Tube.

But if anybody can point me to a website where I can buy this series, I'll owe him for ever. Seriously. This was one of my favourite sport series...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Xke ha cambiato sesso allora?

sxo si vedano...

Anch'io, anch'io!!!

Hilarious (encore...) se non si vede, cliccate sul titolo del post...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Benefit for bringing to term a pregnancy.

This is Hilarious.

After suggesting the Freakonomics blog to a friend, I went off to read some posts myself.

In particular, one of the posts captured my attention, about a study correlating Depression and abortion rates in Australian women...

Then I start reading the comments, and I find out that the Australian government recently raised child benefits, instituting a 4000US$ Baby Bonus which can be claimed for every pregnancy brought to term. That's right, you get the 4000 bucks not only for bringing to light a live baby, but also if he/she's stillborn.

Factsheet is here.

this brought me to think how hard the legislator job really is, when to draft a law it has to account for almost every possible case!!! It's akin to programming, in fact, where every outcome of an expression must be guessed before hand to avoid crashes or the program malfunctioning. Only, there are no known debuggers for politics. Not yet...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My next steps.

I am toying with the idea of applying for research position in the anti-microbial, or generally anti-infective area.

The reasons? As far as I know, targets are easier to work with, more specifically, proteins are easier to Xtallize so that Structure-based drug design actually has some chance to work. Well, at least there's some material to start from. second, and most importantly, there is a resurgence of such diseases all over the world.

On the converse, though, big [pharma seems to have dropped this field as few doses of an antifungal or anti-viral are less remunerative than the long term treatment of a mentally or metabolically ill patient. But frankly, I don't like that area. It may be challenging, but also gets frustrating when your animal models have very limited analogy with the human condition.

One withdraw of such a coice is that such research positions are mainly available from small companies, and this means (ouch!) smaller salaries too. On the good side though, I'll be able to wear more than one hat, the environment will be more dynamic, and I may grow quicker, if I play my card well.

Well, good luck to me... Now, let's go and hunt down some bacteria!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Richard Dawkins goes to the movies with PZ Myers

They went together to a free (as in beer, not as in speech) pre-screening of Expelled, a documentary about the lack of controversy between Evolutionary theory and IDiocy.

Anyway, PZ Myers was singled out by the security guards and asked to leave, whereas the much less illustrious Tricky Dicky was let in.

He's said to have gone berserk half-way in the projection, dismembering several spectators before being put to rest by the bite of an intelligently designed bull-mastiff. Lol. What a quintessentially english gentleman...

Get the full story here.


Been using my new Forerunner 305 this morning.

Here's the recorded track from home to work along the motorway.

Its accuracy is remarkable... It even gets the lane right, most of the time, an operation that seems to be beyond of the abilities of my GPS navigator, which uses its maps to lock my position on the road.

The forerunner can get a precise lock just by staying in the passenger's seat... Great!!!

I wish I could upload the kml file so that you can have a look at my wanderings on google Earth... Well, may be not my way home, but it would be nice to fly over my next Rwanda trip by using Google Earth in 3D mode...

In the Easter Egg

First post in so much time...

A white Easter has come and gone, with some friends from the UK over to visit us. It was nice and we had a good time, toruing around and eating lots of good stuff...

Also, they acted as surrogate Easter Bunnies, delivering to me a new pair of isolating ear-phones for my MP3 listening, plus the ultimate gadget, a GPS-enabled watch with cardio-pulse recorder...

Now I can finally track my errings, up and down belgium, within a few metres... Now particularly interesting I know, but it'll come in handy when I want to geo-tag some pictures during trips and so on... Plus I can upload my tracks and treks to Google Earth, to look at them frm above and brag about with my friends ;-)

Ain't that nice?

Happy Easter to everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Evolution of foods

Some scientist have analysed the evolution of recipes through time in four different cookbooks, and concluded that traditional cuisine evolve quite slowly, mosty because special ingredient are difficult to replace.

I wonder if some sort of tree of cooking could be built from gastronomic traditions of various populations and how it would relate to migrations, either known or presumed to have happened before historical records began...

update: in fact, since recipes are memes, as in the original definition of Dawkins, it may really turn out to be an interesting exercise...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 4 the Amazon

After reading a piece on conservation-lease of land in developing countries, a reader (Simon Edwards) had an idea:

Simon Edwards wrote:

March 04, 2008 01:50

Let's get to start saving the Amazon! Imagine what a great publicity stunt it would be both for and for leased conservation if they adopted a "Save Your World" business approach. Everyone would write about it! They wouldn't even need to launch an advertising campaign, the story would sell itself. has nothing to loose; they could even make it optional: "add 50 cents to the price of your book, and will match your donation to preserve one hectare of the Amazon for one year." Everyone wins! I implore everyone who reads this, do what you can to spread this idea. Post it on blogs, email it to, whatever. Maybe somehow it will seep through and someone will act on it. Only one way to find out!

So Amazon, let's make it happen.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We are moving...

Following the example of the Rabbit, I may soon be moving to WordPress, importing all my old post and such over there.

The reason, quite simply, is the lack of pre-made 3-columns templates on Blogger.

I know I could modify myself the html to allow for that, but I can't be arsed. After all, that's the age of internet 2.0, we users are not supposed to know what html is, exactly like you don't need to know electronics to operate a TV. And since I am no enginneer and want a wide-screen blog in these times of wide-everything, I am getting a new one exactly how I would get a new TV.

It's as simple as that.

So, you will temporarily be able to find me at:

Upload your blogrolls then...

PS: I will possibly use the opportunity to start another, science-only related blog. I haven't decided yet what its name is going to be, but I will try to write down a diary of what my work is about... Let's see how it shapes up...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wisdom, or lack thereof...

It's taken thirty years to convince my lonely wisdom tooth to emerge from his burrow... It was a tiny sliver of enamel poking up of my upper-right mandible, only a couple of years ago... Then, it came out bit by bit, and my tongue learned every feature of its contorted surface. It never was much of help in chewing, having come out sideways compared to the other teeth. But alas, I didn't mind too much - it was a welcome (well tolerated) guest in my mouth...

Wisdom teeth have, by the way, quite an interesting scientific story. They come out later in life, after you've been adult for a while, and that's why they're called wisdom teeth. At least, that's my educated guess. Why do they come out later in life? because this way our ancestors would have at least a spare tooth when the other molars were rotten, or just too worn out. I guess they used them on much tougher food that we do today... Charles Darwin himself cites the wisdom teeth as 'rudimentary', in "The descent of Man', which I am reading right now in the new, concise edition curated by Carl Zimmer.

But let's go back to my single lonely tooth. Suddenly, just a couple of weeks ago, a dull pain started to manifest itself, and playing with my tongue and finger over it (just imagine the scene) I self-diagnosed that the last, invisible addition to the smile had started to push against the neighbor... yesterday took a dive and, for the first time in years, and only the third time in life, I went to the dentist.

She opened my mouth wide open, looking inside and poking with her shiny metal tools... And prodding around, found a cavity, my first cavity, in my little wisdom tooth... The bastard. Last one to come out, first one to cause me troubles... }8-[

She suggested to take it out, and I buggered off with an excuse (not before being asked to pay 84 Euros for the privilege), with the promise that I'll show up next wednesday to let her play a bit more with her pliers and drills.

She has, I noticed when she took out her mask, the most beautiful lips I've ever seen up close. Hopefully, having a crash on my dentist will help me bear the pain she'll inflict me. Ouch!

Stay tuned. More to follow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michael Pollan has a blog, too!

One of my favourite writers/journalists has a blog, about good agriculture and good food.

Check it out: On The Table

and make sure you read how agricultural policies of developed states influence the things we eat.

It's a pity he does not update it more often...

Have an Ice Day!!!

Pseudomonas syringae is an extremely interesting bacterium, which I discovered reading Olivia Judson's latest post on cloud-dwelling bacteria.

Usually, plants growing in cold regions use special chemicals as anti-freeze. This bacterium, though, secretes Ice Nucleation-active proteins to make ice crystals grow at temperatures as high as -2C. The crystals cause damage to cell walls of plants, and the bacterium vacuums up the nutrients released.

So, they use ice crystals as straw, although the name "syringae" doesn't come from there. Rather, it comes from the plants they were isolated from at first:

It is named after the lilac tree (Syringa vulgaris), from which it was first isolated[2]
(from the wikipedia)

and always on the theme of vampires from the cold, the new Penny Arcade strip is out!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Double blind scientific review

John Denney over at Evilutionary Biologist makes an interesting point: How often and how much knowing the reputation of the author of a paper influences the opinion we get from reading it?

The discussion was sparked by a piece on the journal Nature.

Would it not be better if the review process was double blinded, as it happens in the case of clinical trials of new drugs?

I do happen to think it is a good idea too.

It is certainly possible to guess who the author of the paper is from the subject, his writing style and (possibly) the amount of self-citations(!).

But one more hurdle to accepting a paper as a gold nugget just because it's been crapped up (down) by Dr Eminent can't hurt, can he?

I am personally in the middle of the final touches to my paper before submission - and I think that another good point of it is that reviewers who will happen to read it (if it gets accepted for review, that is) will not know my name so they will not black list me for future collaborations.

Oh, come on, a bit of self-confidence, Dr Fenu...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do supermarkets make our lives better?

The BBC radio program "World Have Your Say" points to an opinion piece by food critic Jay Rayner discussing whether or not supermaret are a good or evil force in our fight for better, affordable food.

I have to admit that I quite like his position, founding it well reasoned and far from the anti-supermarket crowd rants...

Yes, supermarket "are bloody convenient", as he points out. But they are not the "the dismal and anonymous places" they are made out to be... The people working in there are just, well, people, and they are as likely to behave nicely or badly with their customers as any other "small-retailer" who has been put out of business by them.

Also, I may add, from my personal experience, in Italy the small distribution is suffering now the revenge of customers who until now were forced to pay extortion prices for goods often 1/3rd cheaper in the supermarket.

And as Jay thoughtfully points out, all those chef recommending exotic ingredients would not be able to offer recipes for less than 5 pounds if it weren't for the big scale economies that allow big chain to sell these foods at a lower price.

There certainly is a lot to be done to force supermarket to pay an honest price to farmers... But as long as people pushes them to have cheaper and cheaper food, they're going to attempt anything they can to provide them with it. Once people will start demanding high quality food, we will see a shift in the chains' modus operandi. Not one second before.

Almeno l'itagliano... Impalalo!!!

Tanto x ripostare qua qualcosa che mi ha fatto ridere quando mi e' arrivato via e-mail... l'N-esima catena umoristica...

1. Mi puoi disinnescare la segreteria telefonica? (Ordigni moderni...)

2. Soffro di vene vorticose. (Sarà un ballerino...)

3. Di fronte a queste cose rimango putrefatto! (Che

4. In farmacia: Puoi darmi un 'una tantum'? (forse si
chiama 'tantum verde'?)

5. Quando muoio mi faccio cromare. (Valido!)

6. Arriva il treno, hai blaterato il biglietto? (.....)

7. Come faccio a fare tutte queste cose simultaneamente?
Dovrei avere il dono dell'obliquità! (la torre di Pisa???)

8. Un'onda anonima ha travolto i surfisti. (e nessuno la
sa riconoscere???)

9. Almeno l'italiano... sallo! (Eh...)

10. Basta! Vi state coagulando contro di me!(trasfusione?)

11. E' nel mio carattere: quando qualcosa non va, io
sodomizzo! (Stategli lontano!)

12. Anche l'occhio va dalla sua parte... (Si chiama strabismo...)

13. Non so a che santo riavvolgermi. (Una videocassetta devota....)

14. Avete i nuovi telefonini GPL? (No mi spiace solo benzina!!!)

15. Il cadavere presentava evidenti segni di decesso. (Ma va?! Strano)

16. Prima di operarmi mi fanno un'autopsia generale. (Auguri!)

17. Vorrei un pacco di cotone idraulico. (Ha una perdita???)

18. Abbiamo mangiato la trota salmonellata. (Ancora auguri!)

19. Vorrei un'aspirina in supposte effervescenti. (Quando
si dice faccia da culo...)

20. Vorrei una maglia con il collo a volpino. (Non era

21. Devo andare dall'otorinolalinguaiatra. (che dire...)

22. Ho visitato palazzo degli infissi a Firenze. (
ci sono infissi alla finestre e allora??)

23. Vorrei una pomata per l'Irpef. (Herpes è

24. Se lo sapevo glielo divo! (Ovvio...)

25. Usare il DDT fa diventare più grande il buco nell'Orzoro. (Addio colazione)

26. Tu non sei proprio uno sterco di santo. (Meno

27. Tu l'hai letto il fu Mattia Bazar? (Antonella

28. E' andato a lavorare negli evirati arabi. (Contento lui...)

29. Lo scontro ha causato 5 feriti e 10 confusi. (Uno dei confusi sei tu??)

30. A forza di andare di corpo mi sono quasi disintegrata. (O disidratata??? Alla faccia della diarrea!)

31. Mia nonna ha il morbo di Pakistan. (....)

32. La mia auto ha la marmitta paralitica. (...e al posto dei cavalli ha le sedie a rotelle??)

33. Verrà in ufficio una stragista per il tirocinio. (Si salvi chi può!)

34. Sono momentaneamente in stand-bike. (L'attesa in bicicletta....)

35. Che lingua si parla in Turchia? Il turchese. (...è logico)

36. Davanti alla sua prepotenza resto illibato. (

37. Scendi il cane che lo piscio. (...guinzagliato però!!!!)

38. Da vicino vedo bene, è da lontano che sono lesbica.(Aiuto...)

39. C'è una peluria di operai. (Che schifo!!)

40. E' inutile piangere sul latte macchiato. (Meglio farlo su un bel cappuccino...)

41. Sono sempre io il cappio espiatorio (L'impiccato)

42. Beviamo una Magnum di Kruger. (salute)

43. Signora, vorrei 100 grammi di prosciutto senza polistirolo. (...che faccio un po' fatica a digerirlo...)

44. Mi sono fatta il Leasing al viso. (..pensavo un mutuo...)

Ed infine (AUTENTICA sentita oggi in uno studio medico)....
“.... ci ho l’ernia letale”

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ankylosaurs' week is almost over...

Darren Naish has kept his promise to publish one wonderful post x day about Ankylosaurs for a whole week!!! There's only one day left but may be he'll skip to rest...

Go and read them all right now, cause they're worth it...

I personally loved Ankilosaurs when I was a child and used to play with it and beat the crap out of a plastic T-Rex with his knobby, armored tail.

Incidentally, my little brother used to keep the model dinosaurs in between cattle and poultry in his plastic little farm... Do you think he knew that chicken and T-Rex were, after all, very close genetically?

Folding Bicycle

I am considering to buy one, to keep in the car more or less always, so that when I need to go some medium distance I can use it...

For example in Antwerp, where parking in the centre is impossible and/or expensive, it'd be nice to park far from it, for free, then cycle there in two or three minutes.

Same at work, when I need to go to the bank, or the doctor, and so on...

The problem, is they're quite pricey... I've been suggested to go buy them in the netherlands where the market is larger and I could probably get a fair price for a model from last year... uhm...

The one you can see in the picture is a cool prototype... Called The Locust, probably because of its green color.

Let's see if I have any money left by the end of the month...

Or may be I could get this one?

Every little helps...

On 15/02/2008, An ingenuous friend wrote me:




Scusate il francesismo, ma che coglionata.

La lampada dietro al mio schermo LCD resta accesa sia che il pixel sia bianco, sia nero.

Il colore e' dato dal pixel stesso che filtra la luce, facendola passare o meno...

Nel caso dei tubi catodici vale la stessa cosa, visto che il consumo principale e' dato dal tenere il cannone elettronico ad alto voltaggio, non dalla corrente effettiva sparata contro lo schermo. D'oh!!!

Ma chi si inventa certe cose?


Thursday, February 14, 2008


What wouldn't I do to waste time...

thanks to my dear friend Dario for showing it to me...

Let's try to embed a podcast

The one from The Economist, for example:

It works!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gufodotto's Shared Items

Look up there...

Since I often comment about news I read on the, and now I don't get much time to wrte on them, I put up a new feed burner with a few of those I think it would be nice to share with you. It's all thanks to google's reader, which I restarted using since my blogroll was getting too long to keep a daily eye on all of them...

On the diary side of my life, I managed to start correcting the paper and hopefully will get it done by the end of the week. If I can get away from the internet, that is...

Monday, February 11, 2008


I am bored. I should correct my paper and get it finally submitted, but it's stronger than me and can't just decide whether to accept the corrections suggested by a co-author or not...

Scientific publications are so troublesome (at least for me) that I am almost tempted to give up on this career and pursuit a job in finance (lol, not really) or any other field where you are not required to write up your stuff. It's not that I don't want to share, I am more than happy of that and well willing to talk about my work. It's just that I am very very bad at writing up, possibly because none of the endless literature courses during my school in Italy ever concentrated on the basic of good and understandable writing.

IYou can see it from how long the previous phrase was. In Italy long phrases, branching in two or three nested level get you a premium by the professor. Ow, all this sucks. I wish I was like many of my colleagues, with a much wider cultural span but much more 'able' to do the job... They're like very sharp knives, good to cut steaks, whereas I am the jack of all knives (d`uh!) - with multiple skills but none up to an acceptable level.

Enough complaining. I'm leaving work early to discover the joys of having a Makro card - Then I will try to correct the paper in the evening at home, with the advantage of Word XP which lets you see the correction and the original at once...

see you soon...

Friday, February 08, 2008

New Blog on the block

I just discovered Desktop Tales, a blog (in Italian) where marco publishes, among other things, the comic strip with the same name, featuring a Mac and PC commenting current news from the computer world and not.

I loved it, so I thought you may want to have a look too.

Thanks to [Emo] for spreading the news.


George Bush at one recent G8 meeting, caught in the act of massaging Angela Merkel...

Ewww... May be he wanted to seduce her off the Tokyo Treaty?

Big Scarlet A

I've pasted a big scarlet A in my profile. For the non-cognoscendi, this is to show to everybody on the planet (well everybody with an internet connection) that I am an Atheist.

Yes, one of those godless creatures that only rely on their own judgement to act morally and make the world a better place, out of personal interest and not for fear of punishment.

With this, I mean not to despise people who feel that belief is important in their life, and certainly I don't want to stay on the side of those who assert religions are at all costs a bad things. I believe that they have a certain value, if nothing else as a way for humans to cope with a very very complex and indifferent universe. It must have had an evolutionary advantage, otherwise it would not be here. Or to be more precise, what caused religions to develop in our minds must have ALSO had an evolutionary advantage. May be religion is just a side-effect of arts, or story-telling?

Alas, I hope it's just a short transitory phase in our evolutionary path... Kind of teenagers' mood swings.

But back to the big scarlet A, you can click on it to get one yourself. Or not. Your choice.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

new new digital camera...

D-40X with 18-55 and 55-200mm - which, because the camera is not full-frame (thanks to Luca for explaining me this bit), in fact are more like 24-70, and 70-300. Even better for naturalistic photography. I found it for 989 EUR at the Carrefour near home. The D-40 with the same objectives goes for 649 EUR, and the only difference is a 6Mpizel sensor rather than a 10Mpixel.

That's a steep price hike for just the sensor (as far as I can tell, the rest is absolutely the same). Plus I have the doubt that less resolution may actually improve the quality by diminishing the noise. less elements for the same size, means larger elements, so more light per pixel. And I've had lots of troubles with the new TZ-3 because of low luminosity.

So... May be the old new digital camera is better. And cheaper. Mah?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Of Mouses, and Moles...

After coming back from Rwanda, I was greetend by the discovery of a teeny tiny mouse in the house. She (as I assessed) had spent some two weeks eating her way through the bread my GF left in a basket, and making a cosy nest inside one of my oven gloves, by using the other one as source of fluffy bits...

I gently caught it with a towel, swiftly checked whether it was male or female, then let it out in the garden after he swore he would not enter the premises again.

Now, only weeks after, I have moles in my garden, poking their little volcano-like mounds of grounds here and there, under my watchful eye. They do not seem scared of me, so they keep pushing ground out even if I stand directly over the mound. Unfortunately, I can not catch them wit the camera, which is a pity since I have never seen one in my life - I don't think they are common in Sardinia, or may be they aren't there at all. Here's a piccie of them: aren't they cute critters?

Now I am on the lookout for a human way top get them out of there, not because I mind them (actually, quite the opposite) but I know the neighbors may and could resort to poison (but on which bait? what do moles eat? worms and/or tubers I guess?) Even worst, somebody may decide to cruelly drown them by sticking a hose pipe in their holes...

Old Blog Out, New Blog In

Ho cambiato il mio blog rool, non quello degli amici ma quello dei blog da seguire.

Sparisce GalacticaBlog, che da tempo non seguivo, fondamentalmente xke' l'autore e' un fascista (ah ah) appassionato di una serie che fascista non e' ma che da tempo non mi piace piu'.

Ed arriva Verso Itaca, che invece ho scoperto x caso (seguendo link da uno dei blog amici) e che penso rivisitero' in seguito. x cui, benvenuto ne mio blog roll (che per il momento rolla ben poco)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

IR or Time-lapse? Questo e' il problema.

Ho comprato una webcam x 8 euro, ieri. dovevo aprirla x levarne il filtro IR, ma alla fine non ce l'ho fatta. Me la son portata appresso a lavoro, ed ecco che mi vien in mente un'altra cosa. xke' non usarla x fare un time-lapse movie della vista dalla finestra, con l'albero che lentamente riprende vita con l'arrivo della primavera?

edit: ci provo, con l'aiuto dell'unico sw free che mi consente di prender meno di un fps - HSSVSS.

x ora una semplice ripresa a 1 frame x minuto del panorama fuori dall'ufficio. domattina se il risultato e' decente, vediamo se si puo' fare qualcosa di piu' lungo.

e' un peccato che la qualita' della webcam sia cosi' bassa:

magari se questo va a buon fine prendo una webcam decente o trovo un modo di usare la vecchia digicam.

EDIT: in verita' la cam va piu' che bene, solo che era messa di default ad una risoluzione schifosa e la interpolava via sw, il che la rendeva estremamente lenta. Ora fila che e' una meraviglia. Wow!!! solo 8 EUR x l'equivalente di una webcam hercules con ottica in vetro (che di euro ne vien 50).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Infrared photography

I recently heard on the naked science podcast that pointing a remote control to my camera phone I could see it flashing, because the sensitivity of the CCD inside extends to the near-IR.

It wrks! And it gave me a terrible case of cognitive dissonance to look at the remote through the screen, then with the naked eye, then with the screen again and so on. I just could not believe it, PhD in physical chemistry notwithstanding my mind was not prepared to accept it.

Anyway, the cool factor of the thing pushed me to show it to all my friends (real, as virtual) and to look on the for more info about it, and possibly for how-to on how to build a proper IR-camera.

I discovered that few of them IR-capable cameras are sold, mostly for forensic use, possibly because you can see through clothes. In general, CCD are screened against IR not for this reason, but because the color yield is altered by the IR noise.

Anyway, there are plenty of descriptions on line and may be this evening I'll buy a 9.99 EUR webcam to open it and remove the IR filter. I already have a ten diode IR lamp at home, so may be it'll be enough to get nice pictures of my house in human-eye darkness.

More to follow!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I've taken a LOT of wind last weekend in Oostende, going around to take this pictures. The least you can do is to have a look at them.

Do you believe that forks are evolved from spoons?

In fact, from recent genetic studies it is clear how the cutlery center of biodiversity is China, where an endemic population of primordial chopsticks still lives. From these, or a similar concestor, the ancestor of knives emerged, with a successive speciation into steak, fish and butter knives. More recently, a second clade gave birth to spoons and forks, with both adapting to different gastronomic niches and accordingly varying in size.

Loosing my Italian

It's finally happening. Mentre il mio amico Paolo festeggia l'avvento del suo inglese nativo, cioe' del momento in cui parla direttamente in questa lingua invece che dover tradurre back and forth dall'italiano, io mi rendo conto del contrario. Quando leggo in Italiano, mi suona strano, e cerco continuamente di ritradurlo in inglese, come a correggere gli errori di un incompetente (ma inesistente) doppiatore.


Friday, January 25, 2008


I discovered yesterday this fantastic internet phenomenon of taking pictures of animals and adding funny caption to them, most often in a degenerate, gangster-rapper-like form of English language.

Here's one example: funny pictures

It has been hard to get back to work after seeing the first few, yesterday.
In between the piccies I also found a funny movie posted on youtube:

So go here for moar funny pictures.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How much the (OECD) world invests in R&D

It's in this nice graph, from the latest edition of Nature. Sad to see Italy lagging behind, I did not expect the 4% that Sweden pulls but at least 2%, come on!!!

The latest analysis from the US National Science Board confirms that Israel leads the world in its economic devotion to research and development (R&D).
Its civilian R&D spending in 2005 accounted for 4.71% of gross domestic product (GDP), more than twice the average among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Although US R&D investment was the world’s largest ( $340 billion ) and in 2004, it was more than that of the rest of the G7 nations combined, the report offers some evidence of a slight decline in its standing.
Its 2.57% share of GDP is comfortably above the OECD average of 2.25%, but both South Korea and Switzerland have leapfrogged ahead of the United States by this measure since the board’s previous report in 2006.
Germany could now be poised to do the same.
Most countries are investing more in R&D than they were, says Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation, which published the report.
For example, although China ranks 23rd in GDP share ( just 1.34% ) it has pulled ahead to third in total R&D investment with an estimated $115 billion in 2005.

I am most surprised at the incredible figure for Israel expenditure: almost 5% of the GDP in R&D. and I thought they had to spend all of their GDP in weapons to keep their many enemies at bay...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Octopus loves Mr Potato

Here's a new one. I have always been trying to convince people that octopuses are very advanced creatures in terms of 'braininess'. That it really isn't a good thing to fish them out of the water and kill them bashing them on a rock, or even worse biting their heads while still alive, as my gilrfriend saw with horror in a beach in Sardinia (no picture of the event, unfortunately).

And now, I discover they can get emotionally attached to puppets, just like a six-year old boy. In the picture, an octopus who was given a Mr Potato toy some months ago, and has been defending it since then. Differently from me, the octopus must have liked the new Transformers movie, since the puppet is in fact OptiMash Prime, Mr Potato version of the Autobot's chief in command. Who would have thought that an 18-wheeler would need protection from a Kraken?

A New Digital Camera?

After only a few months with the DMC TZ-3? Yes.

It's not that I don't like it, it's a great camera, its seamless 28-280mm zoom is fantastic, but... there is always a but with me... the noise introduced by the chip messes up everything, I feel like my old nikopn gets better pictures after all, plus in darkness without a viewfinder the large LCD screen is a pain to use. I am pondering now on a big step, that is, to get a real SLR body with a good lens to start with.

Nikon, since I still love the little coolpix, plus the fact that my father has one so we could share lenses and stuff.

Probably the d40, or the d40x if I can cough up the cash.

The only thing I don't understand is whether the lenses works as in 35mm film cameras, or the 18-55mm is really more of a 24-70mm. Anyone who can tell me more?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another one bites the dust...

Another friend leaves "old" Europe to fly away, to the West Coast nonetheless!

She's one of the smartest and prettiest girls around. And she makes good coffee too! (the link is broken. one day may be they will put it)

Francesca, good luck with your big American adventure!

EurAsia V Americas

I break for one post the diary from Africa series.

When I was a child in primary school, my teacher asked us to jot down a story with us as characters. Most people would have written about a picnic, I went for a Science-Fiction-Thriller.

At the height of the Cold War, I imagined a near future where Europe and Russia were united together, and the enemy was a super-state born from the US's annexion of most of the Americas. In this story, me and my classmate had to skate all the way up to Moscow to disable a weapon or explain a situation to some powerful man sitting in the Cremlin, and wish away a war. Crazy stuff uh?

I was reminded of this this morning when I heard that Poland is now joining the EU's Schengen Area. This is causing lots of protests from Ukrainian, who were used to freely cross the Polish border to trade (food for tobacco and alcool), but now an't any longer. I guess they will be the next to enter the EU, then. yet, I was surprised by how quickly the EU has grown during my lifetime... Where will it stop? At the South, Turkey is pressing to enter, how much before the whole Mediterranean Sea is encircled by it?

At the same time, a US Homeland Security officer yells that Europe is a breeding ground for the terrorists' next generation... May be my childish story caught the attention of a much more influential storyteller... (that's megalomania, for you)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Giraffe, Babbuini, e Impala: Parco Nazionale dell'Akagera.

Il giorno dopo natale, ci si sveglia prestissimo (h 5.00) x mettersi in viaggio verso l'estremita' orientale del paese, al confine con la Tanzania. Qua e' situato il Parco nazionale dell'Akagera, una splendida riserva naturale ricca e diversa come habitata, che ha sfortunatamente risentito del rientro degli esuli tutsi dopo il genocidio. Visto che infatti parecchi di loro non avevano i mezzi x acquistare un pezzo di terra altrove, il governo ha concesso loro (volente o nolente) di occupare meta' circa del l'akagera, dimezzandone la superficie a 1250 Km2 circa. Buona parte del territorio restante e' occupato da laghi e paludi, dunque non attraente x contadini o allevatori.
Della guerra risentirono anche le popolazioni di animali, specialmente la megafauna erbivora sterminata dall'esercito invasore (che ad oggi regna il paese). I pochi leoni superstiti vennero invece sterminati dai nuovi allevatori xke' minacciavano le mucche che pascolavano (illegalmente) nel territorio del parco. E vabbe'.

Alla fin fine, cio' che si vede oggi e' solo un pallido ricordo della ricchezza di qualche anno fa. La reintroduzione, sia essa forzata o naturale dall'adiacente Tanzania, e' lenta. X me comunque, questa prima esperienza nella savana e' stata eccezionale, e pianifico di ritornarci, possibilmente x dormire li' qualche giorno e cogliere gli animali all'alba.

Kibuye - Trip to il nido dei chauve-souris.

Perdonatemi x il titolo tetraglotta, ma in questi ultimi giorni le lingue si confondono nella mia mente.

Ecco qua uno slide show del viaggio in barca. Dalla guest-house Bethanie siamo arrivati sino all'isola Napoleone, cosidetta x via della forma che ricorda il cappello dell'omonimo condottiero/imperatore francese.

x il momento metto solo lo slideshow delle foto. a piu' tardi x un resoconto piu' dettagliato.