So now it’s clear to everybody: the swine flu, aka H1N1, was just a joke. It was slated as a dangerous pandemic that could kill many people and therefore deserved urgent large-scale vaccination. Of course, following a suggestion that came directly from World Health Organization (no less) all industrialized nations ordered massive amounts of vaccine doses. The small club of producers (Novartis, Glaxosmith and Baxter), collected a huge amount of money. Was it worthwhile? Was it rational? Read the rest of this entry »
Google led the creation of Open Handset Alliance, a consortium involving a number of telco and manufacturers . As its first act the Alliance released Android, an open source operating system for mobiles complete of SDK and API. The SDK includes a working emulator and half a dozen example applications. The idea to establish an open platform for mobile developers is very good but not particularly new: project Openmoko has been working to a similar concept for several months and went as far as to release a developer version of the handset. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple started to sell iPhone in Europe. In Germany the price is €399 for the handset, that is $586! Either they don’t get currency exchange or they think ripping off Europeans is OK. Moreover, on top of that you need a mandatory 24-month subscription plan at €49 a month (100 min/month voice calls). In total it’s €1575 ($2316!).
By comparison, at the same price I can buy a Blackberry Curve 8310 (more feature rich with GPS receiver, SD memory, MMS) and a subscription plan with flat data and 400 min/month voice included. And there’s no 24-month term: I can stop this contract after one month if I don’t like it, and pay just for that.
No wonder few people cared when Apple stores opened in Germany last night…
Last night I wanted to go to the movies, even if unfortunately in August you take what is available. The only open-air theater in town ran Borat. I knew I wasn’t going to like it, but I thought I had to see in order to better criticize… Read the rest of this entry »
In 2004 a new European Commission had to be nominated. José Manuel Barroso was going to be the President while Italian Government (back then ruled by President Berlusconi) proposed Rocco Buttiglione for the Justice, Freedom and Security portfolio. Unfortunately, Buttiglione’s view on sex, family and homosexuality was so fundamentalist conservative that after just a couple hearings the Parliament was totally upset with him and the entire Commission was at risk of a rejection (something unheard of). Read the rest of this entry »
After reading this post I went further investigating this matter and discovered there are western countries that declare themselves secular and yet fail to stick to it, to the point that in some cases religion is more or less mandated by law! Read the rest of this entry »
While talking with a friend this morning, at some point he mentioned he saw a statue of Guglielmo Oberdan in Venezia. I recalled streets and squares named after him in several Italian cities but didn’t know who he was, so I decided to look it up on the Internet and I was impressed by what I found.
Guglielmo Oberdan was born in Trieste in 1858. Back then, the Italian nation struggled to reunite under a single kingdom and Guglielmo lived his youth during Garibaldi‘s legendary fights. Garibaldi couldn’t conquer Trieste, so that remained domain of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. People from Trieste strongly felt they had to fight to become part of Italy. The revolting movement was know as irredentism. Read the rest of this entry »
Say you are a journalist, one working in a famous and heralded newspaper. You have been assigned to write an interview about an hostess who enjoys selling her body as a second job. Now, your article would surely attract more attention if you add a nice picture, wouldn’t it? Too bad you forgot to take a photo of your interviewee and to ask her permission for publishing. Read the rest of this entry »
The World Bank has interesting data about how many cars we have. It looks like some countries had a huge increase in cars per 1000 people over the last few years.
Now we have 6 countries over the “1 car every 2 people” threshold: New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. The United States decreased their number of cars relative to population. Who is wealthier and who’s behind? Should we conclude that public transportation is a sign of really more advanced economies?
Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact.
This incredible statement comes from this article on Newsweek talking about American beliefs and no, unfortunately it’s not April fools yet.