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Nessuno si aspetta l'inquisizione spagnola

Res publica   04.02.16  

Non esistendo alcun valido appiglio morale, legale o scientifico per negare diritti civili alle famiglie omosessuali, la discussione si sposta sul piano del sessismo, scadendo nella minacciosa invocazione di punizioni divine. È il caso del direttore di Radio Maria don Livio Fanzaga.

Questa qui, Monica Cirinnà, mi sembra un po' la donna del capitolo diciassettesimo dell'Apocalisse, la Babilonia, che adesso brinda prosecco alla vittoria. Signora, arriverà anche il funerale, stia tranquilla. Glielo auguro il più lontano possibile, ma arriverà anche quello.

A riportare il confronto sul terreno della civiltà ci pensa la stessa senatrice del Partito Democratico Monica Cirinnà, citando Troisi e relegando al regno del ridicolo posizioni irrazionali e ultraconservatrici.

Mo' me lo segno.

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Storia della comicità moderna americana

Res publica   04.02.16  

Quattromila anni di burle, scherzi e sketch raccontati da Vulture attraverso le 100 battute che hanno segnato la storia della comicità in America nel XX e XXI secolo.

The oldest joke on record, a Sumerian proverb, was first told all the way back in 1900 B.C. Yes, it was a fart joke: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap." Don’t feel bad if you don't get it — something was definitely lost in time and translation (you have to imagine it was the Mesopotamian equivalent of "Women be shopping"), but not before the joke helped pave the way for almost 4,000 years of toilet humor. It's just a shame we'll never know the name of the Sumerian genius to whom we owe Blazing Saddles. But with the rise of comedy as a commercial art form in the 20th century, and with advances in modern bookkeeping, it's now much easier to assign credit for innovations in joke-telling, which is exactly what Vulture set out to do with this list of the 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy.

A few notes on our methodology: We've defined "joke" pretty broadly here. Yes, a joke can be a one-liner built from a setup and a punch line, but it can also be an act of physical comedy. Pretending to stick a needle in your eye, or pooping in the street while wearing a wedding dress: both jokes. A joke, as defined by this list, is a discrete moment of comedy, whether from stand-up, a sketch, an album, a movie, or a TV show.

For clarity's sake, we've established certain ground rules for inclusion. First, we decided early on that these jokes needed to be performed and recorded at some point. Second, with apologies to Monty Python, whose influence on contemporary comedy is tremendous and undeniable, we focused only on American humor. Third, we only included one joke per comedian. And fourth, the list doesn't include comedy that we ultimately felt was bad, harmful, or retrograde.

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Come funzionano i caucus

Res publica   01.02.16  

Guida minima per capire le primarie-non-primarie che iniziano oggi in Iowa. Prima tappa della corsa alla nomina dei candidati alla presidenza degli Stati Uniti.

Un po' storia sui caucus e le primarie americane.

In the early 20th century there was a movement to give more power to citizens in the selection of candidates for the party's nomination. The primary election developed from this reform movement. In a primary election, registered voters may participate in choosing the candidate for the party's nomination by voting through secret ballot, as in a general election.

Le origini del termine caucus.

The origin of the word caucus is debated, but it is generally agreed that it first came into use in the English colonies of North America.

A February 1763 entry in the diary of John Adams of Braintree, Massachusetts, is one of the earliest appearances of Caucas, already with its modern connotations of a "smoke-filled room" where candidates for public election are pre-selected in private:

This day learned that the Caucas Clubb meets at certain Times in the Garret of Tom Daws, the Adjutant of the Boston Regiment. He has a large House, and he has a moveable Partition in his Garrett, which he takes down and the whole Clubb meets in one Room. There they smoke tobacco till you cannot see from one End of the Garrett to the other. There they drink Phlip I suppose, and there they choose a Moderator, who puts Questions to the Vote regularly, and select Men, Assessors, Collectors, Wardens, Fire Wards, and Representatives are Regularly chosen before they are chosen in the Town...

An article in Great Leaders and National Issues of 1896 surveying famous presidential campaigns of the past, begins with an unsourced popular etymology of the origin of the caucus:

The Origin of the "Caucus"
The presidential nominating convention is a modern institution. In the early days of the Republic a very different method was pursued in order to place the candidates for the highest office in the land before the people.

In the first place, as to the origin of the "caucus." In the early part of the eighteenth century a number of caulkers connected with the shipping business in the North End of Boston held a meeting for consultation. That meeting was the germ of the political caucuses which have formed so prominent a feature of our government ever since its organization.

No wholly satisfactory etymology has been documented. James Hammond Trumbull suggested to the American Philological Association that it comes from an Algonquian word for "counsel", 'cau´-cau-as´u'. The word might also derive from the Algonquian cawaassough, meaning an advisor, talker, or orator. This explanation was favoured by Charles Dudley Warner. The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that it possibly derived from medieval Latin caucus, meaning "drinking vessel", such as might have been used for the flip drunk at Caucus Club of colonial Boston.

An analogical Latin-type plural "cauci" is occasionally used.

Cosa sono i caucus e quali sono le principali differenze con le primarie. C'entra chi paga e chi gestisce le consultazioni.

The main difference between a primary election and a caucus is who is running the show. State governments conduct primaries, but state parties are behind caucuses. State governments fund and run primary elections in much the same way they do the general election in the fall. Voters go to a polling place, vote, and leave. The primary election was a Progressive-era reform intended to reduce the potential for mischief in a nomination system controlled by the parties.

Come si svolgono i caucus.

[...] voters in each local precinct (there are 1,774) gather in gyms, bars and basements to openly discuss the presidential election, not just vote for a specific candidate. Supporters give impassioned speeches on behalf of their candidate, attempting to sway the undecided folks in the room. Unlike primaries, caucuses are held at a specific time of the day, the only time when voters can cast their ballot.

Partiti diversi. Caucus diversi.
I democrati li fanno complicati.

The Democratic caucuses are far more complicated — they're rowdy hours-long, public affairs, with back-and-forth debate among attendees who have to go physically stand with other supporters of their preferred candidate ... There's no secret ballot, and if a Democratic candidate doesn't get enough supporters in a precinct (15 percent of attendees), he or she is eliminated, reality-show style.

Poi ci sono i repubblicani.

Before the vote, each campaign is able to have an official representative deliver a short speech on behalf of the candidate (usually a local supporter, volunteering for the task). The votes are in fact all write-in votes — caucus attendees are each given a blank piece of paper, onto which they write the name of the candidate of their choice. Afterwards, the local precinct will count up the votes, with campaign representatives allowed to observe the process.

Dal 1976 il risultato del voto nei caucus in Iowa e nelle primarie del New Hampshire anticipa spesso il candidato vincente alle convention democratiche e repubblicane.

Since 1976, when proliferating primaries and caucuses became the basis for selecting convention delegates, every single nominee but one, in both parties, won either Iowa or New Hampshire. The singular exception occurred in 1992 when a favorite son rendered Iowa's Democratic caucuses moot and Bill Clinton's comeback, second-place finish to a near favorite son in New Hampshire left the contest unresolved.

Quasi una profezia auto avverante che si basa sull'attenzione dei media e sull'hype.

But where the event truly gains its importance is in terms of momentum. Leading up to the Democratic primary of 1972, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine was widely considered to be the front-runner. Muskie received the highest percentage of the vote in Iowa that year, but his challenger, Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota, made a very strong second-place showing. McGovern's second-place finish gave him a boost of media attention, which he rode all the way to his party's nomination.

Chi ben comincia è a metà dell'opera.

One reason the Hawkeye State retains its influence in the nominating fight is the nature of its caucus system, which forces candidates to do far more than persuade voters to punch a hole or fill in an oval. Instead, the process requires a commitment of several hours for a voter. And it encourages campaigns to have a level of organizational sophistication that often helps separate candidates who can go the distance from those who cannot.

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Cosa sappiamo del virus Zika

Res publica   28.01.16  

Cos'è il virus Zika.

Il virus Zika (ZIKV) è un RNA virus della famiglia Flaviviridae, genere Flavivirus, gruppo Spondweni, isolato per la prima volta nel 1947 da un primate in Uganda, nella Foresta Zika, riserva naturale vicino Entebbe. Negli ultimi anni la malattia si è poi diffusa in tutti i continenti, Europa inclusa.

Negli esseri umani provoca una malattia nota come "zika" o febbre Zika. Il virus è strettamente correlato a quelli che provocano la dengue, la febbre gialla, l'encefalite del Nilo occidentale e l'encefalite giapponese, tutti trasmessi principalmente da punture di insetto e pertanto definiti arbovirus.

Esso è trasmesso da numerose zanzare del genere Aedes, negli ambienti equatoriali soprattutto la Aedes aegypti e in quelli temperati la Aedes albopictus (zanzara tigre).

Secondo la mappa pubblicata dall'Economist sulla diffusione del virus Zika gli stati dell'Unione Europea più a rischio sarebbero l'Italia, il Portogallo e la Francia.

Diffusione potenziale del virus Zika

Perché improvvisamente è diventato così allarmante. C'entra un'epidemia in Brasile.

Brazil has reported 3,893 suspected cases of microcephaly, the WHO said last Friday, over 30 times more than in any year since 2010 and equivalent to 1-2 percent of all newborns in the state of Pernambuco, one of the worst-hit areas.

La preoccupazione dell'Organizzazione Mondialie della Sanità per la rapida diffusione del virus che se in bambini e adulti provoca solo una lieve infezione con qualche sfogo cutaneo, guaribile di solito dopo una settimana di febbre, nelle donne in gravidanza si sospetta possa portare a malformazioni del feto.

Officials from the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the Zika virus was "spreading explosively" in the Americas and announced that they would convene an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency. "The level of alarm is extremely high," said Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., in a speech in Geneva.

Gli abitanti del continente americano infettati potrebbero superare i 3 milioni nei prossimi 12 mesi.

Some 3 to 4 million people in South America and North America may become infected by Zika in the next 12 months, health officials estimated at a WHO update in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

Il virus potrebbe trasmettersi sessualmente.

Zika virus has already been linked to brain damage in babies and paralysis in adults. Now scientists are facing another ominous possibility: that on rare occasions, the virus might be transmitted through sex. The evidence is very slim; only a couple of cases have been described in medical literature. But a few experts feel the prospect is disturbing enough that federal health officials should inform all travelers, not just pregnant women, of the potential danger.

Quali sono i pericoli per i feti.
Si parla principalmente di microcefalia.

Those infected with Zika during pregnancy appear to be able to transmit the virus to their fetuses. In some cases, this may lead to microcephaly, a terrible congenital condition that's associated with a small head and incomplete brain development. Babies born with microcephaly have a limited life expectancy and poor brain function.

Ma si teme anche la sindrome di Guillain-Barré.

With GBS, a person typically will lose strength in the legs at first; for some, the problem progresses in an "ascending" manner, meaning that the arms and the muscles of breathing may be next affected. Thankfully, for most patients, this severe form does not develop. If a patient—even one with paralyzed breathing muscles — can be stabilized, including support with a ventilator if needed, most will survive.

Al momento per il virus Zika non esiste una cura e neppure un vaccino. Per il loro sviluppo potrebbe essere necessario parecchio tempo.

[A] real cure could be decades from existence. Infectious disease experts say a safe and effective Zika virus vaccine is "probably three to 10 years away even with accelerated research."

Lo stato di El Salvador ha avvisato la popolazione femminile di evitare gravidanze, per quanto possibile, almeno sino al 2018.

In a stunning development in El Salvador, health officials have advised all women of reproductive age to delay pregnancy until 2018 due to concerns about possible birth defects linked to the virus. Earlier this month, the El Salvador Health Department disclosed they had found 492 Zika cases.

Gli Stati Uniti si sono limitati a consigliare a donne incinte di evitare viaggi in gran parte del centro e sud America.

Pregnant women should not travel to Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa because of Zika virus, the CDC said Friday... This comes on the heels of last week's travel alert from the CDC recommending pregnant women postpone travel to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Alcuni scienziati pensano che una delle causa dell'epidemia scoppiata in sud America possa essere ricondursi agli effetti del riscaldamento globale.

In recent years, researchers have increasingly devoted themselves to the investigation of how future climate scenarios might affect these mosquito populations. And many have concluded that a warmer world is likely to be a boon to the bugs, allowing them reproduce faster, emerge earlier in the season, survive longer and even spread northward. The appearance of Zika in the Americas, where it was likely carried by travelers from the eastern hemisphere, thus adds one more disease to the list of potential public health concerns under a warming scenario.

LEGGI ALTRO...

È tempo di far avanzare i diritti civili

Res publica   21.01.16  

La campagna SvegliatItalia per la legge sulle unioni civili

È l'ora di essere civili. La campagna #svegliatitalia per l'approvazione della legge sulle unioni civili in discussione in Parlamento.

È ora che Dominic e Caterina possano svegliarsi in un paese più giusto. È ora che l’amore dei loro amici omosessuali sia tutelato. È ora che lo Stato la smetta di imprimere una distanza imperdonabile tra loro e i loro colleghi gay o le vicine di casa lesbiche. Perché se un diritto non è di tutti si chiama privilegio, e loro non vogliono essere dei privilegiati. Su questo non hanno dubbi, ed è ora che non ce li abbia più nessuno. Perché non è il momento, se mai lo è stato, di essere più o meno d’accordo, contro o a favore, convinti o indecisi su come qualcun altro dovrebbe vivere la propria vita. In Italia è ora di essere prima di tutto qualcos’altro, davvero e fino in fondo. È ora di essere civili.

E se sei una persona con la mente aperta, anche per te è ora di svegliarti. Perché sognare un paese più giusto non basta. Il 23 gennaio, scendi in piazza per fare insieme il primo passo verso l'uguaglianza.

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Wes Anderson presenta lo State of the Union

Res publica   12.01.16  

Il discorso sullo stato dell'Unione, la relazione che ha ormai assunto cadenza annuale tenuta dal presidente degli Stati Uniti d'America davanti al Congresso convocato a sezioni riunite, spiegato dalla CNN con lo stile di un film diretto da Wes Anderson.

Forse non tutti lo sanno, ma anche il presidente della Commissione Europea è invitato dal Parlamento Europeo a tenere annualmente a settembre un'analoga relazione.

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