La fabbrica delle previsioni del tempo, nell’immaginario del fisico Lewis Fry Richardson. Fare previsioni è da sempre una delle più alte ambizioni per gli scienziati. (credits)

Nel suo libro EARTHQUAKES: models, statistics, testable forecasts¹, il noto sismologo Yan Y. Kagan illustra molto chiaramente le difficoltà inerenti allo studio dei terremoti: il problema scientifico di descrivere i fenomeni di fratturazione fragile — e quindi il processo di rottura che è all’origine del terremoto — presenta complessità maggiori persino di quelle incontrate nello sviluppo della teoria della turbolenza dei fluidi, che è uno dei sette problemi matematici del millennio (www.claymath.org/millennium-problems). Da sola, questa constatazione sarebbe sufficiente a lasciar intendere le complessità incontrate da chi dedica la propria vita allo studio dei terremoti. …


These strange days of quarantine. As soon as we slowed down and the dust settled, many little big things abruptly changed. So abruptly that they became suddenly evident to our eyes.

The right of getting bored

Many of us have always seen their life as an empty agenda waiting to be filled by the boss, the personal trainer, the exotic guru. Those who dared not to be excessively busy were invariably labelled as lazy people lying on the sofa while watching TV and eating chips. The problem is that for Mr./Miss Agenda this has always represented the only alternative to an obsessively planned life. No matter what scientists say about the importance of boredom in triggering individual productivity and creativity, children included. No matter what the ancient philosophers already wrote about the importance of having free…


A basic guide on the ETAS (Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence) model, which includes essential theory, applications and links to useful codes

Earthquakes tend to cluster in space and time. This well-known property of seismicity, which represents the strongest departure from a purely random process, is successfully reproduced by stochastic point process models based on a few empirical scaling laws such as the Gutenberg and Richter¹, the Omori² and the Omori-Utsu³ relationships⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷.
Among them, the ETAS (Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence) model⁴ ⁵ represents the most accurate short-term earthquake forecast model available according to prospective tests carried out by the…


È nei dibattiti sui diritti delle minoranze che dimostriamo tutta la nostra italianità. Dal lontano 1964, anno di uscita del saggio di Barzini “Gli Italiani - Virtù e vizi di un popolo”, siamo cambiati ben poco.

credits

Mai incipit di post fu talmente travagliato. Colpa di quella voce (apparentemente) interiore che vorrebbe scrivessi, sotto sua dettatura, un prologo cauto, a scanso di equivoci, che indicasse chiaramente la mia posizione politica (ma anche sociale, religiosa, etica ecc.); un preambolo, insomma, che guidasse il lettore nel suo irrefrenabile impulso di etichettarmi sin dalle prime righe, così da decidere se proseguire o meno nella…


If I asked you which one performs better, AI or the human mind, you would likely answer: the first! And, indeed, that would be quite correct.

If we consider the ability to recognize well-defined and recurrent structures in the observed objects (pattern recognition), it turns out that our mind has a performance far better than any machine. At least, so far. For the sake of completeness, this ability of humans is also the cause of many problems, as it often leads to identify patterns or links between objects that actually do not exist (and, yes, this is an example of…


Elon Musk, a great antidote !

Pride, vanity and negativity: three viruses as subtle as contagious, increasingly widespread in our society. There are various remedies for containing their effects. One who bluntly advised a Dutch lady was: simply stop talking to these people!

That is a possibility. Another possibility is to surround yourself — more or less literally — with those characterized by personality traits capable of countering these viruses. A good antidote example? Elon Musk.

The presumptuous

Virus

Interacting with a presumptuous person is a bit like playing on the seesaw, the swing based on the principle of leverage: for him/her to go up, the others must…


In Spain, the judges have rejected the accusations made by the bus companies against BlaBlaCar, the well-known car-sharing company, accused of competing unfairly with public transport. Evidently, the losses of bus companies originate from other factors, but the easiest solution was to find a scapegoat to put to the public pillory.

Everyone talks about sharing economy, but few know exactly what it is. As a matter of fact, it is a new concept, not uniquely defined and very transversal, therefore subject to countless interpretations. This is frightening to many, and it is understandable.

Some people don’t even like the adjective…


Generalizations are questionable. Actually, deplorable. More, they are detestable. Let’s consider the statement: “Traveling improves you, opens your mind and makes you happy”. The implication is considerable, since it implies a certain benefit brought by the act of traveling in terms of personal evolution, open-mindedness and the achievement of happiness. That is quite an achievement!

Obviously, it is not as simple as that, for each of those goals not only depends on our nature but above all is the result of a huge amount of work on ourselves. …


Small details are by far the most important (Sherlock Holmes).

A manifest and externalized prejudice is as dangerous as its latent version that hides behind a mask of apparent openness and benevolence. Racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice are often recognizable in their latent form only by paying attention to detail.

  1. First working lunch in Holland: one of my colleagues, just learned of my southern origins, doesn’t think twice about calling me a “mafiosa”. Blatant prejudice.
  2. Coffee break: I am joking with my Chinese colleague about their complicated calendar (he himself has difficulty associating years and animals and laughs…


Created with @canva

Fighting for a cleaner planet is a worthy cause, without a shadow of a doubt. However, it is not worthy to adopt attitudes that are in clear conflict with one’s own convictions. Perhaps not by chance, those who embrace certain ideas with an intransigent approach tend to be affected by heavy cognitive dissonances, behaving in a way that they blame in others. And certain (self-styled) environmentalists are an example of this.

The extract below was taken from a report by the EEA (European Environment Agency), which addresses, among other things, the growing problem of the environmental impact of air travel.

Angela Stallone

📊 Researcher in Geophysics || ✍️ Passionate about writing

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