Grotte di Castellana, Apulia, Italy

July 2nd, 2012
Grotte di Castellana by Paolo Ciccarese
Grotte di Castellana by Paolo Ciccarese Grotte di Castellana by Paolo Ciccarese

Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

January 2nd, 2012

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities. El Castillo or Kukulcán’s pyramid is essentially a nine-step structure culminating in a flat platform that supports a two-story temple. El Castillo’s design is thought to relate to the Mayan calendar.

Each of the four faces incorporates a broad, steep staircase consisting of 91 steps that ascends to the top platform. Counting the top platform as an additional step gives a total of 365 steps: 1 step for each day of the year.

Chichen Itza by Paolo Ciccarese
Chichen Itza by Paolo Ciccarese Chichen Itza by Paolo Ciccarese
Chichen Itza by Paolo Ciccarese

New England Aquarium - Sharks

November 23rd, 2011

Last weekend I finally got to visit the Aquarium. The sharks were looking pretty threatening and this is what you would see if you had to jump in the big tank for the cleaning operations. Shark teeth are embedded in the gums rather than directly affixed to the jaw, and are constantly replaced throughout life. Multiple rows of replacement teeth grow in a groove on the inside of the jaw and steadily move forward as in a “conveyor belt”; some sharks lose 30,000 or more teeth in their lifetime. The rate of tooth replacement varies from once every 8–10 days to several months.Wikipedia

Artic Sea Ice News Website

February 10th, 2009

Recently I read an article claiming that the ice in the Artic sea has grown really fast this year going back to the level of 1979. And honestly, I felt happy for those poor polar bears that are obliged to swim for many miles for moving from one site to another (with the inevitable lost of many cubs).


Then I discovered this website and thing became a little more clear. In fact after a rapid initial increase, January extent remained well below normal. I would suggest to take a look of the last 30 years trend.

Interesting experience

January 17th, 2008
Mouse embryo
Thanks to Sheede, today I’ve been watching a mouse embryo dissection. It is incredible to see the anatomy: heart, lungs, kidneys, intestine, mouth… Everything looked so small to me, but she has been able, through the help of the microscope, to detect and isolate the organs in a few seconds. She said is a matter of exercise (I think it is also a matter of skills… a bit like surgeons). Only after isolating the different parts, it was really possible for me recognizing them. Wish I had the chance to take some pictures to post here.And then comes another interesting topic, growing the single organs… hopefully, one day, I will see that too.

Simply amazing.

Dream (from Wikipedia)

December 9th, 2007

A dream is an experience of a sequence of images, sounds, ideas, emotions, or other sensations usually during sleep, especially REM sleep.

The events of dreams are often impossible, or unlikely to occur, in physical reality: they are also outside the control of the dreamer. The exception to this is known as lucid dreaming, in which dreamers realize that they are dreaming, and are sometimes capable of changing their dream environment and controlling various aspects of the dream. The dream environment is often much more realistic in a lucid dream, and the senses heightened.

How many dreams can you remember in the morning? How many lucid dreams? Are you a dreamer?

JDPF (Java Data Processing Framework)

December 5th, 2007

This is the first time I am posting something regarding my projects. JDPF ( is a framework for the definition of pipelines/nets for performing data analysis. I’ve been personally involved many times in the definition of algorithms for doing every sort of data processing (mainly in medical informatics). For this reasons, some time ago I thought to create something that was able to foster re-usability of data analysis components. And I thought it should have been free, hopefully community driven.

The first implementation, two years ago, has been done from scratch and it was already giving an idea of the power of such an architecture (pipelines are not a news). Recently with the outstanding work of a couple of students (Bruno Farina and Paolo Mauri) and with the valuable help of Ezio Caffi we decided to move to OSGI technology… (it continues here).

Edward Tufte’s Talk

February 26th, 2007

Recently I’ve been in Harvard to listen to an Edward Tufte’s talk. Edward Tufte is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science, and Senior Critic in the School of Art at Yale (do you think it is enough?). I am writing here some quotes from the speech:

  • I spent many years of my life willing to be a professor but I was wondering what the hell of professor I wanted to be
  • every time I had the feeling that in the place I was working in I wasn’t able anymore to learn I moved
  • probably I took more from other people than what I gave them
  • if you want to play you have to play with the big guys, to play small doesn’t make any sense

All this made me thoughtful…

Some charts… on temperature changes

January 9th, 2007
12 Thousands Years of Temperature
(Courtesy of Global Warming Art. See source for details on the various reconstructions tangled above.)
Last 2000 years of temperature
(Courtesy of Global Warming Art. See source for details on the various reconstructions tangled above.)

ehm… scary?

November 2nd, 2006

Tonight I’ve been in Harvard for attending the talk: “Intelligence Will Underlie Everything of Value” by Ray Kurzweil.

Leading inventor Ray Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. His latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller.

I am reporting here some quotes:

  • “with nanotechnologies we can inject into the the blood artificial red cells that can carry more oxigen in the body. A person could run the olimpic final of 100 meters without breathing”
  • “in the near fufure it will be possible to switch on/off genes responsible for diseases and not only”
  • “it will be possible to take cells out of the human body, reprogam them and put them back in their place”

But it was more scary the idea that Moore’s law is valid not only for electronic evolution but for everything. Accordng to Kurzweil, medicine and genomics will grow exponentially because of technology improvements. For instance, because of the new CT scan we will have it will be possible to do the reverse engineering of the brain and to reproduce the brain functionalities with computers (i.e. intelligence). No matter what will happen, growing is exponential. Also people life expectancy is growing exponentially.

Thus, it seems we will have super-humans able to live a really long life and intelligent machines able to think as humans… doubts? According to Kurzweil he has been always right… isn’t it scary?

MIT Stata Center

November 1st, 2006

The Stata Center is one of the most interesting building at the MIT (Massachusetts iInstitute of Technology). It is one of my favourite places to work too. The building is home to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). And there are some other new cool buildings around (The evolving MIT campus).

Stata Center Stata Center Stata Center Stata Center

Movie “An Inconvenient Truth”

September 23rd, 2006

This evening I’ve been to watch an interesting movie proposed by the MIT Lectures Series Committee: “An Inconvenient Truth”. The former vice-president Al Gore presented in a really effective way some data and information regarding, mainly, the global warming phenomenon and effects. I should report here many interesting things I saw in that documentary but I rather suggest you to watch it… besides Al Gore personal story (which is a bit out of topic) it is a really good contribuition. Here’s the website where you can find many info.

By the way, in the documentary, it has been presented among the others, an interesting survay. In summary, it seems that scientists do agree on the existence of the global effect problem but looking at the media it not really clear if global warming exists or not. Now, I can’t say that what Gore is saying is truth or not and honestly, I have to say that I don’t care that much if it is the truth… the point is… do we really need to know we are killing the planet before starting to change our behaviour? If there are ways to reduce carbon dioxide generation now… it is really a good idea to wait until the day they will tell us “too late man… it’s over”. Even if that day will never come, why don’t we start with some simple actions in our micro-environment? Why don’t we pay more attention NOW? It is pointless, from the planet point of view, to discuss about what was right or what was wrong in the movie. We should do something in any case.

Looking at the movie’s website there is a list of actions that can help in respecting our planet a it more. For instance in the house:

  • Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb
  • Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer
  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
  • Turn off electronic devices you’re not using
  • Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them
  • ……

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Global Warming Effects?

August 27th, 2006

Yesterday, I was going to the kitchen to have a cold bier. While opening the fridge, I saw with some wierd lights coming from outside. At the beginning, I din’t pay attention but after some seconds I went to the window… The entire sky was enlighted about every 2 seconds. There were no thunders or noise, only light. And then came the rain and the light effect continued for other 30 minutes. This year such phenomena are really common.

Sky picture 1 Sky picture 2
Sky picture 3 Sky picture 4
Sky picture 5

Pictures taken around midnight with the same camera settings (Click to enlarge).

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