• Every now and then, people find in their inbox some email that would have been much better not to send. I’m not talking about spam. I refer to those “urgent warnings” about some danger, or to all those wonderful or scandalous “news” that some well meaning friend sends or forward to everybody in his address book because it only takes one click and “this is big, everybody gotta know it!”

    Whenever you have one of these messages in your hands, do yourself and the whole human race a favour by following the following simple rules before sending or forwarding it:

  • Once upon a time there was a country. Year after year, that country funded the wrong projects, built the wrong infrastructure and bought the wrong things. Eventually, the accumulation of bad investment made that country so fragile that even the smallest shock could topple it.

  • In Google Search, autocomplete is that mechanism that tries to save your time, by making suggestions appear after the words you’ve already typed. Google itself tells us how its autocomplete works: predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities… The autocomplete data is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries. Right now, if you type “Berlusconi” in www.google.it, the result is what you see in this snapshot. ](/images/berlusconi_google_result.png)]

    What Berlusconi looks like from Google Italy /img/berlusconi_google_result.png

  • [](/images/saccheggi_londra.png) The London lootings are those you’ve surely heard about these days. The Unhappiest Advertising Executives of 2011 are, almost surely, those of the italian advertising agency Armando Testa. Just a few months ago, they launched the new version of the Lancia Ypsilon compact car with a series of TV spots in which actor Vincent Cassel defiantly declares and explains that “Il Lusso e un Diritto”. The literal translation of that slogan in English is “Luxury is a Right”, that is exactly the same concept (*) firmly planted in the mind of those London looters who focused on big screen TVs, smartphones, trendy clothes and other absolutely primary, indispensable goods.
  • (this is from an email I wrote to somebody around 2003. We aren’t there yet, but it’s interesting to see that lots of the pieces to make what’s described below happen are already in place, even if in ways I’d have not imagined back then) Let’s make cities with more condos, to save space and energy. With lots of city parks, locally administered. Above all, with cars out of the way.
  • If [Arab] public opinion were to influence policy, the U.S. not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it, along with its allies, undermining fundamental principles of global dominance. The U.S. and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world. So says Noam Chomsky in a piece I just discovered and recommend as useful food for thought: Is the World Too Big to Fail?