Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate a scienza ed arte. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Get physical

Michael Quinion (World Wide Words) writes
"Have you noticed how physical has begun to be more popular as one element in retronyms relating to the online world? If you actually go into a store to buy something, instead of ordering online, that’s physical shopping. Similarly, a physical book is one made with ink on dead trees, in contrast to a digital e-book. Both terms have been around for more than a decade but my impression is that they’ve only recently gone mainstream."

Nano 'ears' for nano whispers

"MOVE over microphones, nanophones have arrived. A gold sphere just 60 nanometres in diameter is the most sensitive listening device ever created, paving the way for soundtracks to formerly silent movies of bacteria and other single-celled organisms.
Alexander Ohlinger at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (LMU), Germany, and colleagues suspended gold nanoparticles in a drop of water. They trapped one sphere in a laser beam and then fired rapid pulses of light from a second laser at others a few micrometres away. The pulses heated the nanoparticles, which disturbed the water around them, generating pressure, or sound, waves."
Gold nano 'ears' set to listen in on cells - health - 13 January 2012 - New Scientist

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Shelter of Candelo

Il ricetto è una struttura fortificata protetta, posta all'interno di un paese, dove si accumulavano i beni (foraggi, vini, etc) della popolazione e, occasionalmente, dove si ritirava la popolazione in caso di attacchi dall'esterno.
The The name Ricetto comes form the latin word "Receptum" that, in the Middle ages, simply meant "Shelter".

The Erbil Citadel

"Erbil Citadel Town, which is situated dramatically on top of an artificial, 32-meters high earthen mound, and visually dominating the expansive modern city of Erbil, is believed to have been in continuous existence for 7000 years or even more. Thus, it may be regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the world. Because of its past fortifications and steeply inclined mound, which is at some locations nearly 45 degrees, it has managed to survive numerous sieges and fierce attacks. The existing fabric, however, goes back to several hundred years but is, nevertheless, of extreme vernacular architectural and urban interest, not only for Iraq but also for humanity at large."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Megalith Map

An important resource for finding megalithic and prehistoric sites in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Louisiana's wetlands

Jim Allen is proposing some quite interesting images of the Louisiana's wetlands. Look them at

Ohm's law at atomic scale

"A new technique for embedding atomic-scale wires within crystals of silicon has revealed that Ohm's law can hold true for wires just four atoms thick and one atom tall. The result comes as a surprise because conventional wisdom suggests that quantum effects should cause large deviations from Ohm's law for such tiny wires. Paradoxically, the researchers hope the finding will aid the development of quantum computers."

Ohm's law holds down to atomic scale - physicsworld.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012


"The world's first monkeys to be created from the embryos of several individuals have been born at a US research centre. Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Centre produced the animals, known as chimeras, by sticking together between three and six rhesus monkey embryos in the early stages of their development....The first chimeric animals were created by researchers in the 1960s, when experiments with mouse embryos showed they could combine to form a single mouse of normal size. Since then, scientists have created chimeric versions of rats, rabbits, sheep and cattle."
More http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jan/05/chimera-monkeys-combining-several-embryos

Noah's problems

Quite interesting paper, published in Econometrica, Vol. 66, No. 6 (November, 1998}, 1279-1298.
Abstract: This paper is about the economic theory of biodiversity preservation. A cost-effectiveness methodology is constructed, which results in a particular formula that can be used as a criterion to rank projects. The ranking criterion is sufficiently operational to be useful in suggesting what to look at when determining actual conservation priorities among endangered species. At the same time, the formula is firmly rooted in a mathematically rigorous optimization framework, so that its theoretical underpinnings are clear. The underlying model, called the “Noah‘s Ark Problem,” is intended to be a kind of canonical form that  hones down to its analytical essence the problem of best preserving diversity under a limited budget constraint.
Keywords: Biodiversity, endangered species, diversity theory
The author writes
"There are several motivations for this paper. Essentially, I am trying to introduce an analytical framework that represents a useful way of thinking about the economics of diversity through the medium of an abstract mathematical model. The “Noah’s Ark Problem” is a parable intended to be a kind of canonical form of the simplest possible way of representing how best to preserve biodiversity under a limited budget constraint. Throughout the paper, emphasis is laid upon simplicity of structure, in order to get at the analytical essence of
the problem."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Aran Islands

 "On the cliff tops, ancient forts such as Dún Aengus on Inishmór and Dún Chonchúir on Inishmaan are some of the oldest archaeological remains in Ireland. A lacework of ancient stone walls enfolds all three islands to contain local livestock. Also found are early clocháns (dry-stone beehive huts from the early-Christian period). Enda of Aran founded the first true Irish Monastery near Killeany (Cill Éinne or Church of Enda). In time there were a dozen monasteries on Inishmór alone. Many Irish saints had some connection with Aran: St. Brendan was blessed for his voyage there; Jarlath of Tuam, Finnian of Clonard, and St. Columba called it the "Sun of the West."" From  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aran_Islands

A lacework

Dún Chonchúir on Inishmaan

Megalithic Ireland

Map of Ireland, showing the Counties and historical Provinces
For each county, there is the list of places and images. See for instance:

A "Noah's ark" rock

Mount Ararat is a volcanic structure, having two peaks: the Greater Ararat with an elevation of 5,137 m and  Lesser Ararat with an elevation of 3,896 m. The Ararat massif is about 40 km  in diameter. Traditionally, Mount Ararat is associated with the Mountains of Ararat, where according to the book of Genesis,  Noah's ark came to rest. In Wikipedia, "The Bible says that Noah's ark landed on the mountains of Ararat. This does not refer to any specific mountain or peak, but rather to a mountain range within the region of Ararat, which was the name of an ancient proto-Armenian kingdom also known as Urartu.... Ararat is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta, with no volcanic crater. Above the height of 4,100 m, the mountain mostly consists of igneous rocks covered by an ice cap. A smaller 3,896 m  cone, Little Ararat, rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak. The lava plateau stretches out between the two pinnacles. .... It is not known when the last eruption of Ararat occurred; there are no historic or recent observations of large-scale activity recorded. ... It seems that Ararat was active in the 3rd millennium BC; under the pyroclastic flows, artifacts from the early Bronze Age and remains of human bodies have been found."

Using the satellite maps, I was searching for any stone structure in the Ararat area, made by ancient men, as I  did in Arabia and Syrian Desert [1,2], when I saw what looks like a huge rock structure, broken in two parts. This natural structure has a color and outline quite different from the surrounding area. Since it is on Ararat, let me call it the "Noah's ark" rock!

Genesis 6:15, English Standard Version (ESV)
This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits,
its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits.

To see some ancient man-made stone structures, please visit: 
Arabia: from craters to stone circles,  http://www.archaeogate.org/classica/article/1327/1/arabia-from-craters-to-stone-circles-di-amelia-carolina.html
Stone structures in the Syrian Desert , http://www.archaeogate.org/vicino_oriente/article.php?id=1445

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An Arctic solution to the data storage

Cold storage - an Arctic solution to the data storage cooling problem | In-depth | The Engineer
"We generate a storm of data throughout the day, whether we want to or not ... And the amount of data we generate personally is dwarfed by the numbers generated by government, industry and commerce. All this data has to be stored and this is giving rise to a new form of building, characteristic to the early 21st century: the data centre. Sharing some of the form and characteristics of ages-old strongrooms and more modern hardened bunkers, these are the locations that keep the numbers vital to our lifestyles, and the fortunes of government and industry, safe. But this has also generated a set of problems for civil engineers. The most vital thing that a data centre has to do is to keep its ranks of computer servers running. For that, they need two things: power and cooling..."

Cloaking objects from surface water waves

Viewpoint: Cloaking Comes Out of the Shadows, by Ross McPhedran, Alexander Movchan.
"Cloaking devices made of a composite of soft and hard materials can divert elastic vibrational waves around an object as though it wasn’t there. Though cloaking devices are mainly associated with hiding objects from light, the concept of cloaking is not restricted to electromagnetic waves. Experimentalists have shown they can cloak objects from surface water waves [1] and electron waves on the surface of metals (plasmons) [2]. Now, Nicolas Stenger at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and his colleagues have designed and tested a cloak that makes an object in a flexible medium invisible to elastic vibrational waves [3]; that is, the waves pass by the object as though it wasn’t there. The work, which is presented in Physical Review Letters, describes a cloaking device that is both more efficient and covers a wider bandwidth than any other existing cloak."

Aristippus of Cyrene


ARISTIPPUS, the Socratic philosopher, shipwrecked on  the coast of Rhodes, perceiving some geometrical diagrams thereon, is reported to have exclaimed to his companions, " Be of good courage, I see marks of  civilization" and  straightway making for the city of  Rhodes, he arrived at the Gymnasium; where, disputing on philosophical subjects, he obtained such honours, that he not only provided for himself, but furnished clothing and food to his companions. When his companions had completed their arrangements for returning home, and asked what message he wished to send to his friends, he desired them to say that the possessions and provision to be made for children should be those which can be preserved in case of shipwreck; inasmuch as those things are the real supports of life which the chances of fortune, the changes of public affairs, and the devastation of war, cannot injure.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: The Year of Materials

Vibrant displays head to market, invisibility cloaks become more practical, and batteries store more energy...
The Year in Materials - Technology Review