Lent fasting & abstinence: do they make sense?

When I was in nursery school the nuns taught us to make some small sacrifices, which were labeled fioretti (literally: small flowers. This word expresses the idea of a small offer to the Virgin Mary). Good deeds, of course, but typically focusing on the effort itself, not on obtaining tangible results. I have a vivid memory of the small poster on the wall where we glued our tiny paper flowers, regular shapes comprised of a few red petals and a yellow circle in the middle. One flower for each fioretto (sacrifice) made: we felt rewarded for being good. And proud of the accomplishment! I don’t remember instead the specific subject of my…

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Palm Sunday Rivulet of Consciousness

At mass   We gather in scattered groups; the place isn’t far from our small church. A nice blue sky. Children carry in their hands the traditional braids made of palm fronds. Every adult holds a bunch of olive branches. I notice -again- a stark contrast with my old parish in Northern Italy: here in the South it seems they love large quantities of stuff. Each of the most resourceful parishioners gathered enough branches to supply the whole congregation back in the North.   Odd: people here use to wish a happy Palm Sunday. Never heard of that. After mass we’ll exchange a olive branch with our friends and acquaintances: a nice, simple…

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Syria, Sarin & Red Pills

A surprisingly widespread reaction to anti-Assad propaganda (UPDATED) As you probably already know, yesterday tens of people have been killed in Idlib, Syria, seemingly as a consequence of chemical weapons being released in the air. Horrible images of civilians and children, gasping for air or already dead, have been disseminated around the mediasphere. According to reports, the Syrian Army attacked the rebel-controlled territory using Sarin gas. The source: a so-called Observatory for Human Rights, a well-known propaganda operation based in London, part of an international concerted effort to remove the Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, favoring the “rebels” (essentially ISIS, Al-Qaeda spin-offs and their allies) that are at war with the…

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Are victims of terrorism relevant?

Seriously. This is one of those stale tropes that periodically emerge from the collective consciousness of the oh-so-smart liberals: the threat of terrorism “is way overblown”. Americans stand a greater chance of dying while slipping in their bathtubs than at the hand of terrorists. Barack Obama used to quote this factoid, as it was reported by the New York Times a year ago. Building on the concept, the ineffable NYT columnist proceeded to explain us that we (as a species) are unable to correctly judge risks, overreacting to measly acts of terror while failing to grasp the danger posed by Climate Change™. We’d need to get properly educated… Back then, the news item everybody…

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A lonely Japanese drone got lost in Europe

Prodrone PD6B

UPDATE -11:50 am CET- the linked page is no longer available (See bottom of page) A sort of artificial tourist is wandering the skies A Osaka University autonomous drone, designed to explore urban environments and take photos of Google Maps landmarks, went missing during a test flight on March 18 while the developers were visiting the University of Hannover, in Germany. This machine is programmed to fly solo, without the need of human intervention. As reported on the webpage dedicated to this project, a malfunction occurred to the drone’s CNC (cellular network connection module) so that the robot couldn’t receive the “COME HOME” signal. As reported by the project manager Kazuo…

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ONO, smart 3D printing with your phone

What is ONO Some ideas are so elegant (clever yet simple) that you regret not being the guy who came up with them. The startup company ONO is launching a new 3D printing system for smartphones, with which you can obtain solid objects based on a design that you created or downloaded. The main piece of hardware of the ONO system is your phone: modern handheld devices sport excellent raw computing power, internet connection, versatility, and crucially a high resolution screen. The screen is at the core of this technology because it’s tasked to emit light patterns in a step-by-step process, mirroring the shape of the various sections of the object that is being printed. Those light…

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Understanding the Muslim Travel Ban kabuki theater

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things. David Mamet   Donald Trump recently issued two different executive orders banning people from a few problematic Islamic countries from entering the US; in both cases, the orders have been blocked by rulings issued by district judges, despite the fact that travel restrictions on foreigners are a prerogative of the President of the United States, meant to protect the country’s interests.   Unnecessary explanation of the legal theater (please skip it)   To get to block the orders, they needed a pretty creative interpretation of a 1965 (Hart-Celler) Act, stating that you shouldn’t…

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What About The Netherlands? Wait. What about Islam?

women on a boat, contrasting attire: bikins, niqab

UPDATE ↓ Wilders can’t score Holland or Turkey?   Tomorrow, March 15, is election day in the Netherlands. Will Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch nationalist party PVV (Party For Freedom) win? I can’t pretend to know. I’m really not an expert. I may go out on a limb and predict that he will prevail, but only marginally, on the incumbent Mark Rutte. What you can put your money on is that Thursday’s newspapers across the western world will contain high howls from pundits lamenting the horrible risk for the stability of Europe and the survival of  democracy represented by the Ultra-Nationalist, xenophobic, Islamophobic far right movement led by Wilders.…

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When even the Pope yelds: Euthanasia for a civilization

We are part of a grand scheme   The election of Pope Francis was a shock to me, second only to the death of my closest relatives. When I heard the name “Bergoglio” proclaimed from the balcony, I felt like I had been teleported to a parallel universe, to the other side of the mirror; a place where everything seems slightly out of place. Just slightly. Don’t get me wrong. This event may represent just a step of a wider process: the long and gradual decay of western civilization. But non-Catholics may miss the importance of the Church in Rome as a force capable of halting -or at least slowing down- the fall. The last…

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March 8: Women’s Day is actually for us Neanderthal males!

If you are based in the US and don’t know it already, today is International Women’s Day. Here in Europe everybody seems preoccupied with sending good wishes to all female acquaintances and with expressing their politically correct opinion on the subject of women’s rights. This is especially true since the advent of social media. Facebook timelines are inundated with cheesy stuff. Now, let’s think this through.   1. We are called to side with the weak and the needy. Especially victims. Moreover, those who unwittingly fall in the category of victims are suffering an even worse fate.   2. We’ve been accused of “homophobia and transphobia” because we didn’t cheer for the…

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More crowd counting lies, less common sense

CGIL rally. Rome, Circo Massimo, 2009

Women vs.Trump, NYT vs.Trump In my last article I discussed the crowd sizes for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies in Washington DC, offering my rough estimates: O 2009: 500;   O 2013: 350;   T 2017: 300 (in thousands)   while according to the mainstream media you’d have to believe the following baseless reconstruction: O 2009: 1800;   O 2013: 1000;   T 2017: 250 or some unspecified number in the low 100s (of thousands)   Most news outlets chose to contrast Trump’s crowd with the Women’s March against him, where a large number of people gathered to express their anger against the newly elected President, on the Sunday following the Inauguration. My…

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On Trump, crowd counting & lies. Look what I found!

How big was the crowd at Trump’s Inauguration? Bear with me. I wasted waaay too much time on this study. But the results are significant.   This is a teachable moment. What happens when literally everybody is lying, and the matter is quite difficult to verify to begin with? Ideally, you’d expect people to notice and demand better standards from politicians and journalists, but no. The two sides just choose the narrative they like, then run with it. Eventually the public moves on. But I’m not. I waited a few days to see if someone came up with a decent article on the subject, in vain. See, the topic itself isn’t…

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