Tag Archives | Italy

Sightings Of The Ghost Of Occult Alchemist Cagliostro Reported In Italian Town

Mass fear that a notorious spirit has returned? Spookiness via Gazzetta del Sud:

Italian paranormal-phenomena experts have been called to the Tuscan hilltown of Arezzo to probe a dozen alleged sightings of the ghost of legendary 18th-century alchemist, adventurer, con-man and occult dabbler ‘Count’ Cagliostro.

We aren’t here to ‘bust’ any ghosts, we simply study phenomena which appear strange,” said Massimo Merendi of the National Ghost Uncover association. The sightings, “of a two-metre-tall cloaked figure” have occurred in the centre of the town, near its famous Duomo, between March 2011 and last month, Merendi said.

An alchemist, fake physician and necromancer, Cagliostro became extremely rich selling miraculous cures and elixirs of youth, also posing as the founder of an occult branch of freemasonry. Although he was an impostor, his daring and ingenuity briefly made him the darling of Europe. Arrested for heresy in Rome in 1789 he was condemned to death but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and he died unsung in a prison in the hilltop town of San Leo near Urbino.

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Pot, Coke in the Air in Some Italian Cities

Via Neatorama:

A study of psychotropic drug levels in ambient air from eight Italian cities found background levels of cocaine, cannabinoids – the active ingredients in marijuana – nicotine and caffeine in every urban centre.

Turin had the highest concentrations of cocaine, says Angelo Cecinato at the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research in Rome. Meanwhile, Bologna and Florence had some of the highest cannabinoid levels, which Cecinato attributes to the large student populations in the two cities.

Read more at Neatorama

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Not-So-Smart Phone? Italian Court Rules Man’s Tumor Linked to Cell Phone Use

Picture: Nevit Dilmen (CC)

Via MedCityNews:

An Italian court has ruled that plaintiff Innocenzo Marcolini was correct in his claim that cell phone usage led to his brain tumor. However, others aren’t convinced:

The court’s decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject.

“Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumors,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Read more.

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Italy Elects First Transhumanist Member Of Parliament

No Child Left Behind: the newest member of Italian Parliament is calling for humans to evolve into a higher form of life via technology. KurzweilAI writes:

In July, Italy — ironically, a stronghold of the Catholic Church — became the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist.

Giuseppe Vatinno ran on a platform of “politics that strive to improve the human condition, making use of appropriate advanced technologies.” And not a moment too soon, as Italy slides dangerously toward bankruptcy and urgently needs a new direction.

Transhumanism — the idea that we can radically change ourselves by merging with technology — already had a precedent in Italy: former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi invested in MolMed, which aims to raise average life expectancy to 120 years and beyond. And transhumanism was already present in the work of the Futurist movement of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which had an important influence in Italian politics in the first half of the 20th century, and is explicitly transhumanist in its modern revival.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Deep-Drilling an Italian Supervolcano

Campi Flegrei

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Edwin Cartlidge writes on Science:

A project to drill deep into the heart of a “supervolcano” in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep.

The Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project was set up by an international collaboration of scientists to assess the risks posed by the Campi Flegrei caldera, a geological formation just a few kilometers to the west of Naples that formed over thousands of years following the collapse of several volcanoes. Researchers believe that if it erupted, Campi Flegrei could have global repercussions, potentially killing millions of people and having a major effect on the climate, but that such massive eruptions are extremely rare…

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Vatican Told to Pay Taxes as Italy Tackles Budget Crisis

VaticanIf you missed this one, what’s this whole “accountability” thing about when it comes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Michael Day reports in the Independent:

After several years of scandal in which the Catholic Church has faced allegations of financial impropriety, paedophile priests and rumours of plots to kill the Pope, the Vatican is now facing a new €600m-a-year tax bill as Rome seeks to head off European Commission censure over controversial property tax breaks enjoyed by the Church.

As the EC heads closer to officially condemning the fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the Berlusconi administration, Prime Minister Mario Monti has written to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, saying that the Vatican will resume property tax, or Ici, payments.

Mr Almunia said in 2010 that the exemption amounted to state aid that might breach EU competition law. A parliamentary proposal by the Italian Radicals party last August to repeal the exemption, with a successful petition on Facebook, upped the pressure.

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Young, Smart and No Future

ItalyCollege graduates in the United States might think it’s tough to land a decent job — and they’re right — but it’s a whole lot harder in Italy and other southern European countries, as Rachel Donadio reports for the New York Times:

LECCE, Italy — Francesca Esposito, 29 and exquisitely educated, helped win millions of euros in false disability and other lawsuits for her employer, a major Italian state agency. But one day last fall she quit, fed up with how surreal and ultimately sad it is to be young in Italy today.

It galled her that even with her competence and fluency in five languages, it was nearly impossible to land a paying job. Working as an unpaid trainee lawyer was bad enough, she thought, but doing it at Italy’s social security administration seemed too much. She not only worked for free on behalf of the nation’s elderly, who have generally crowded out the young for jobs, but her efforts there did not even apply to her own pension.

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Italian Anarchists Hark Back to Forgotten 1970s Terrorists

Anarchy-symbolRecently VICE magazine published a story that was nostalgic for forgotten terrorist groups from the 1970s, to the point of eulogizing them in an age of far more deadly and insidious Islamist attacks around the world. Could it be that the cowards behind the Rome embassy attacks this week sensed the moment was ripe for a return to letter bombs and misguided anarchist idealism? TIME takes a look at the perps:

The Italian anarchists who have claimed responsibility for the letter bombs that exploded in the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome Thursday want to make it clear that they consider themselves part of something bigger. “We’ve decided to make our voice heard once again, with words and with deeds,” read a note written in Italian found in the remains of a crude bomb that exploded in the Chilean embassy. “We will destroy the system of domination.”

The note was signed by the Informal Federation of Anarchy, a loose union of Italian anarchist groups that authorities say is the largest such organization in the country.

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Damanhur: My Sci-Fi Theophany Under the Mountain

December, 2007. The distant Alps are covered in snow. Small flakes swirl in the wind, dancing around red clay statues of muscular giants and voluptuous goddesses, reminiscent of Egypt. Most prominent is the falcon-headed god, Horus, facing the Fire Altar where the looming statues converge.

I start to walk into the grove of the Earth Altar, but my guide Shama tells me I should go no further.

“It is dangerous for anyone who is not spiritually prepared,” she warns me. “Very dangerous.”

I would be willing to chance it, but I suppose rules are rules.

In the distance is Monti Pelati, the sacred mountain of the Damanhurians. It is said that more Synchronic Lines converge there than any place in the world. These lines are like the Earth’s magnetic field — only magic. They were discovered psychically by the founder and leader of the Damanhurians, Falco.

This is a place of power, of mystery.… Read the rest

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