Archive for the ‘Scienza’ Category

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Via Ginnastica at Esof 2008

luglio 24, 2008

Just back from Barcelona after seven days of intense activity at Esof 2008 and now it’s time to discuss a bit about the conference and the week spent in BCN.

Esof 2008 is the 3rd edition of Euroscience Open Forum (2004 in Stockholm and 2006 in Munich) and because I haven’t seen the other two ones I can’t compare one to the others. I’ll try to do my best.

As a beginner of Esofs firstly I studied a bit.

From the website I know that Euroscience is a “pan-European association of individuals interested in constructing scientific Europe from the bottom-up”.

So during the main conference of the association (Esof) I thought to find thousands of people from the bottom who debate about science.

I really looked for them but I didn’t find lots of people from the bottom, neither from the top.

I found a lot of people from the “middle”: communicators and journalists who talked about their area of interest and discussed about the future of science and Europe. But where the public was?

As a volunteer during the conference I’ve worked in the outreach programme that means with the general spanish/catalan public, chidren, teenagers and above all families.

All the communicators involved in the outreach activities had to run their workshops or shows in a huge area (someone of us -including me- have thought that the area was a parking converted to the fair only for Esof) where there was no indication about what show was going on.

People and children seemed a bit lost in such a big area. You could feel more that you were looking for your car than for a workshop about science.

But it’s not the whole story about Esof 2008. I got in touch with people from all over the Europe and listened to a lot of intersting and clever speeches and discussions.

In this kind of conference you switch on your brain at the beginning of the day and you’re worn out at the end. And you might like feeling exahusted with a lot of ideas.

Again it’s not the whole story about Barcelona. VG community, in order to be a good team of reporters, has also been around the city, visiting all the amanities and enjoying some tapas at night.

We’ve also been to CosmoCaixa, the Science Museum of BCN, wondering all the time if CosmoCaixa is more a science museum with a bit of art or an art museum with a bit of science.

I’ve uploaded some pictures from the journey to have an idea of the atmosphere of BCN.

Claudia

Annunci
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Stenelle striate alla Gorgona – Striped Dolphin near Gorgona Island

luglio 15, 2008

Stenella coeruleoalba, Gorgona Island, may 11 2008

Marina Semiglia

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Killers from the sea

giugno 5, 2008

From www.telegraph.co.uk

It could easily have been the role model for the terrifying creature in the film ‘Alien’.

A perfect toxin-loaded killing machine, there is no creature on earth that can dispatch a human being so easily or so quickly.The box jellyfish is so packed with venom that the briefest of touches can bring agonising death within 180 seconds.

And if comes under sustained attack it responds by sending its compatriots into a super-breeding frenzy in which millions of replacements are created.

Video – Jellyfish invasion – National Geographic – Nature Shock

Video - Jellydish Invasion - channel.nationalgeographic.com

The jellyfish have a formidable array of genetic equipment to help them survive:

  • Four brains that operate competitively in the search for food.
  • A highly complex sensory capacity and the ability to distinguish colour.
  • The ability to live in inhospitable waters at a depth of up to 10,900 metres.
  • A total of 24 eyes with moveable pupils giving them 360-degree visibility.
  • Box jellyfish have 6-8ft long tentacles. Just 5-6ft across the body is enough to kill a human in 180 seconds.
  • Venom is released on contact – even after it is dead – and each creature has 4000,000,000 venomous fibres.
  • Humans who have been stung and survived have needed 30-40 milligrams of morphine. A broken leg requires between 5-10 milligrams.
  • Despite decades of study scientists have been unable to unravel the mysteries of its complex venom but it is known to contain 20 different proteins.

The swarms of jellyfish are multiplying in the Western extent of the Pacific ocean and threatening 20,000 miles of coastline off Japan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Marina Semiglia