Italy gives boot to 629 desperate migrants

This past weekend, a woefully overloaded rescue ship operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières made its way across the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe, looking for a safe port in Italy. Many of the 629 migrants on board of the ship, all of which were fleeing the horrors of war in Syria and Libya and the exploitation that displaced individuals often endure in Africa.

Among the 629 passengers are 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 kids who made the crossing with family members and seven pregnant women. Some of the ship's passengers are said to be injured from beatings and torture endured in the home countries. By Sunday, there were only enough provisions to feed those on board for another 48 hours. Italy’s response to the vessel’s request to dock in the country?

Nah, fuck those guys.

According to the Globe and Mail, Italy’s newly elected populist government acted in a manner that may be familiar to those under the yoke of a populist government here in North America. In a xenophobic fervor, instead of rendering aid or shelter to a group of people who were in woeful need of it, they turned them away. Matteo Salvini, the governing party’s deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, gave the order to keep the boat-borne individuals from stepping foot on his country’s shores.

From the Globe & Mail:

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, and the Libyan civil war three years later, Italy has absorbed more than 600,000 undocumented or illegal migrants, most of whom arrived by sea from North Africa.

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Conan road trips around Italy acting like a big, dumb American (in the funniest way ever)

Conan O'Brien and his show's associate producer Jordan Schlansky recently traveled to Italy together. According to Conan, Jordan is a "self-proclaimed expert of all things Italian," as he's traveled there before 30 different times.

Their road trip -- in a tiny red vintage Fiat, no less -- began in Florence and ended in Naples, the same route Jordan has driven many times sans his boss.

Now, in case you haven't seen their previous interactions, Jordan is the perfect "uptight straight man" to Conan's over-the-top "funny man" shenanigans. And there are definitely some over-the-top shenanigans on this road trip. For instance, while walking down a street, Conan starts yelling out pasta names as if they were legit greetings to random Italians, "Rigatoni!"

In the next segment, Jordan, not once cracking a smile, strips naked to pose for Conan's drawing class. You get the picture.

I've seen all of the Conan Without Borders (imo, it's the best work Team Coco creates), and I think this particular one is the funniest yet. The entire playlist for it is here and includes behind-the-scenes footage and a Q&A segment. Read the rest

Ancient bad ass had knife for a hand

So, there's this skeleton that archaeologists discovered in Italy during the mid-1990s. They reckon the man, who became the skeleton, was alive somewhere between the sixth and eighth century. Those were hard times. Life was short and seldom sweet. In the case of our man the skeleton, somewhere along the line, he lost his hand. Archaeologists say that it was taken off with a single blow. Maybe it was because he was involved in a war or being punished for a crime. It could have been removed for medical reasons. Anyway, BOOM, gone. It's amazing, in an era where antibiotics didn't exist, that someone would survive an amputation. Sure, it happened but it was rare. The recovery process must have been terrible. But did our pal from so long ago allow the lose of a hand and acquisition of a new stump get him down? Hell no. He did what I'd like to believe anyone of you reading this would do: HE REPLACED HIS LOST HAND WITH A FRIGGING KNIFE BLADE.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Antrological Sciences by Ileana Micarelli, Robert Paine, Caterina Giostra, Mary Anne Tafuri, Antonio Profico, Marco Boggioni, Fabio Di Vincenzo, Danilo Massani, Andrea Papini and Giorgio Manzi (something something Too Many Cooks.) Once the Middle Ages bad ass healed up, he found a way to lash a knife blade to his stump using a leather mount that he tied in place with his teeth. The paper makes for pretty dense reading, but Gizmodo's George Dvorsky does a great job of digging into it:

Further analysis of the man’s bones points to the use of a prosthesis.

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Cyber-arms-dealer Grey Heron really, really doesn't want you to know about the connections between them and the disgraced Hacking Team

When Grey Heron surfaced this month selling anti-Signal and anti-Telegram surveillance tools at a UK trade show for cyber-arms-dealers, sharp-eyed journalists at Motherboard immediately noticed that the company's spokesman was last seen fronting for Hacking Team, a disgraced Italian cyber-arms-dealer that provided surveillance weapons to some of the world's cruelest dictators. Read the rest

The Rich and the Normal

A few weeks ago, the Italian people finally broke the political framework that dates to the end of World War II. The M5S Five Stars Movement, a party without a heritage, won the most popular votes. The M5S has been on a wave of growth since winning mayoral control of some Italian cities.

Watch this very good boy fearlessly escape a pack of wolves

While bopping around Italy's Abruzzo National Park, zoologist Paolo Forconi witnessed a pack of three young wolves assaulting a garden variety house pooch. While it takes a few nips from the wolves, their young jaws, according to Forconi, weren't able to do much damage. Tthe dog was able to make its escape through a small hole in a fence. Read the rest

A census of leading Italian politicians' Twitter followings finds a horde of zombies and bots

As Italy heads into a national election in which mass inequality and food poverty have disrupted Italy's always-shaky political equilibrium, La Republica publishes its analysis (Google Translate) of the Twitter followers associated with each of Italy's political superstars and finds some pretty intense inflation in the numbers. Read the rest

This video on how to cut a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel is very satisfying

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a highly valued and tightly controlled commodity. This instructional video shows how to use specialized Parmesan cheese knives to cut the cheese by hand. Read the rest

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is empty inside

Except for some interior stairs and some retrofitted safety and stabilizing additions, the inside of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is smooth marble. This lovely tour goes all the way up to the bells at the top, offering a great view. Read the rest

Convicted criminal Silvio Berlusconi returns to Italian politics as a kingmaker

Silvio Berlusconi, a misogynist, racist creep-authoritarian who was caught paying a teenager for sex and then lied to cops to get them to stop investigating the case, is banned from holding public office in Italy thanks to a criminal conviction for fraud; but that hasn't kept Italy's media (a large slice of which he controls) from elevating him to the role of political kingmaker in the country's upcoming elections. Read the rest

A newly discovered strain of Android malware contains never-seen surveillance features

A new research report from Kaspersky Labs details their analysis of Skygofree, a newly discovered strain of malware that offers some of the most comprehensive and invasive surveillance tools ever seen for Android.

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Talking Casa Jasmina, a house of the future designed for people, not corporations, with Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling

The Casa Jasmina project (previously) is an automated smart house designed to be made of open source hardware, with the needs of the people who live there -- not the corporations who extract rent from them -- in mind. Read the rest

Apple brought back Braun design, but Google is bringing back Olivetti

1960s/70s Italian industrial design was led by Olivetti, featuring products with "touches of joy that enliven everyday tasks" featuring bright color and playful forms, very different from the Braun look of minimalist, "Snow White" gadgets that are the precursor to Apple's design language. Read the rest

The story of Casa Jasmina: the first automated home built to improve its residents' lives

Casa Jasmina (previously) is a groundbreaking experiment in human-centered, open source home automation, the birthplace of the Internet of Women's Things -- built in Torino, Italy by Boing Boing pals Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling with the help of the Arduino organization, Casa Jasmina pushed the boundaries of what a home-automation system would be like if it were designed to make peoples' lives better without extracting revenue from them. Read the rest

In austerity-pounded Italy, 11 alternative currencies smooth out a surging barter economy

In the years since the 2008 financial crisis, Italy had seen European central bankers effect a regime-change in its national government in order to enforce a brutal austerity in the name of paying back its creditors, resulting in a 5% contraction in its national economy and unemployment soaring to 11.1%. Read the rest

Fascist beach closed

Italian police shut down a club that established a "fascist beach" near Venice sporting various totalitarian-themed elements, such as portraits of Mussolini, "anti-democracy" slogans, and a charmingly humorous warning not to go in the gas chambers. Conservatives, outraged at the lack of free speech, have called for the beach to be reopened and for democracy to be destroyed.

The Mussolini theme was clear from the entrance to the privately run Punta Canna resort, where the sign read "Rules: Order, cleanliness and discipline."

As well as fascist slogans, the beach at Chioggia, a short distance south of Venice, broadcast regular messages over speakers from its manager, Gianni Scarpa, a 64 year-old clad in a black bandana.

Before police raided the beach he told La Repubblica newspaper (in Italian) that he was "delighted to have an exemplary clientele", and that he hated filthy people and democracy.

I'm certain "fascist beach" was the setting of at least a dozen Benny Hill skits. Read the rest

No, Italy isn't banning the iPhone

On June 23rd, 2017, a lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper that said that our new Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's an English article). That's just wrong. This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it will protect and benefit Italians.

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