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Weekly News – Aug 22, 2019

Glaciers in Crisis

Renato Colucci, a glaciologist with Italian National Research Council CNR, sounded the alarm last week about the impact that climate change is having on Alpine glaciers. “Over the last 100 years, the glaciers of the Alps have lost 50% of their mass,” said Colucci “Of this amount, 70% has disappeared over the last 30 years.” He went to explain that if the reduction of mass continues at its present rate, alpine glaciers below ice an altitude of 11,500 feet could disappear within a generation. He indicated that the root cause for the change is carbon dioxide stating “Core samples taken on glaciers indicate that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased 100 times more quickly over the last century than at any other period in the last 800,000 years.” Bad news for glaciers.

DJ in Space

‘DJ Astro Luca’, also known as Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, became the first person to perform a live DJ session from outer space. After talking about his work onboard the International Space Station, he said that “ten years ago I was selected as an astronaut and I was asked how I would change the world if I could. I answered the possibility of a single shared language.” Later, the European Space Agency astronaut said thst he realized that there are two internationally shared languages, “one is mathematics – the language of science and the other is music, which everyone understands and enables everyone to communicate.” With tablet in hand, he chose songs for his earth-bound audience to enjoy. “Space is a shared dream that unites the world” he added.

Treasure Trove Discovered in Pompeii

Archaeologists have uncovered a trunk at Pompeii containing a variety of fascinating objects described as possibly being part of a ‘sorcerer’s treasure trove’ said the site’s director, Massimo Osanna. The objects included crystals, amber and amethyst stones, buttons made of bones, beetles from the orient, amulets, dolls, bells and even a tiny skull. They were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was uncovered last year that made historians change the date of the Vesuvius eruption from August 24th to October 24th 79 AD. “There are dozens of good luck charms next to objects that were thought to have the power to crush bad luck,” said Osanna, adding that he thinks that it is more likely that the objects belonged to a servant, rather than the owner of the house, since the chest did not include any gold jewelry. Experts say the objects may have been used in rituals for fertility, seduction, or to seek good omens for a birth or pregnancy.

Hypno-birthing Coming to Italy

Hypno-birthing technique has been in the news of late and it will soon be available at Turin’s Mauriziano Hospital. Starting this autumn, numerous obstetricians will offer the chance to learn self-hypnosis as part of birthing techniques for pain control. The method centers on respiration and relaxation and is said to help in the case of pain reduction. It can also reduce the time in labor for the mother by as much as half compared with average times. Both the mother and the newborn benefit, since studies have shown that the technique increases blood flow to the placenta and increases the oxygenation of the baby. About 60% of the population respond well to hypnosis, while 20% can reach a state of hypnosis so deep that surgeries can be performed on them without anesthesia. It is not a technique that will work for every expectant mother. More than 20% of the population does not respond to hypnosis at all.

Architect Fined over Venetian Bridge

An Audit Court in Venice has ruled that Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava must pay a fine of 78,000 euros for revenue losses caused by his controversial Constitution Bridge on the Lagoon City’s Grand Canal. Originally a court of first instance had acquitted the architect. The project cost 11.6 million euros instead of the seven million originally planned, a “macroscopic negligence” for which the architect was held responsible. The judges said that Calatrava, among other things, underestimated the dimension of pipes for the bridge and planned stairs, partly in glass, that were originally supposed to last at least 20 years, yet immediately began to ruin. Additionally, when it rains, the steps become so slippery that an average of two per day sustain injuries that result in law suits against Venice.

Aircraft Parts Rain from Sky

Italian authorities are investigating why debris from a departing Norwegian Air flight rained down “like bullets” on a neighborhood just outside Rome. Pieces from the plane damaged cars, rooftops and awnings. One person reported being burned by a shard that fell from the sky, who said “They were like bullets! My shirt was on fire.” The flight, which departed for Los Angeles, safely returned to Fiumicino Airport after experiencing a “technical issue a few minutes after take-off.” The aircraft – a Boeing 787, was taken out of service. The shards were reportedly part of one of the aircraft’s engines.