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Di seguito tutti gli interventi pubblicati sul sito, in ordine cronologico.
 
 
By Admin (from 27/04/2011 @ 14:00:18, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 2652 times)

L'Abbazia benedettina di Ettal, a pochi km dal castello di Linderhof, è stata fondata nel 1330 dall'imperatore Ludwig IV il Bavaro ma solo a partire dal 1700 visse una vera e propria fioritura, che procedette di pari passo con lo sviluppo del barocco in Baviera e in tutta la Germania meridionale.

Oltre ad una forte ripresa della vita religiosa, venne istituita una scuola, la cosiddetta “Ritterakademie” (accademia di cavalieri), che rappresentò una via di mezzo fra il liceo e l’università e formò una serie di importanti figure della politica bavarese e austriaca. La scuola oggi è un prestigioso liceo, sempre diretto dai Benedettini, che accoglie circa 450 alunni.
 
Il grande complesso venne ampliato e ristrutturato in forme barocche sotto la guida di Enrico Zuccalli, già attivo alla corte di Monaco nella realizzazione della Theatinerkirche e del castello di Nymphenburg, e in seguito di Joseph Schmutzer, in particolare su impulso dell'abate Placidus II, che resse il monastero dal 1709 al 1736. Nel 1803 Ettal viene secolarizzata, parte dell'edificio monastico demolito, molti arredi confiscati e l'abbazia trasformata in parrocchia. Solo un secolo dopo, il 6 agosto 1900, i Benedettini fanno ritorno ad Ettal.

 
La chiesa, a pianta centrale, è costituita da un edificio dodecagonale originariamente coperto da un alto tetto a spioventi e rappresenta una delle testimonianze più notevoli del barocco bavarese. Appena entrato, il visitatore rimane quasi abbagliato dalla grande ricchezza: stucchi dorati, statue di santi e putti, i dipinti degli altari e la straordinaria cupola affrescata dalla quale pende un lampadario di cristallo.
 
Nel negozio annesso al complesso abbaziale si possono acquistare la birra bionda e il liquore, entrambi prodotti con l'originale ricetta dei monaci.

Fonte: tuttobaviera.it

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By Admin (from 27/04/2011 @ 11:00:54, in en - Global Observatory, read 1944 times)

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres.

The helical "supermolecules" are made of tiny colloid balls instead of atoms or molecules. Similar methods could be used to make new materials with the functionality of complex colloidal molecules. The team publishes its findings in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Science.

"We can now make a whole new class of smart materials, which opens the door to new functionality that we couldn't imagine before," said Steve Granick, Founder Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois and a professor of materials science and engineering, chemistry, and physics.

Granick's team developed tiny latex spheres, dubbed "Janus spheres," which attract each other in water on one side, but repel each other on the other side. The dual nature is what gives the spheres their ability to form unusual structures, in a similar way to atoms and molecules.

In pure water, the particles disperse completely because their charged sides repel one another. However, when salt is added to the solution, the salt ions soften the repulsion so the spheres can approach sufficiently closely for their hydrophobic ends to attract. The attraction between those ends draws the spheres together into clusters.

At low salt concentrations, small clusters of only a few particles form. At higher levels, larger clusters form, eventually self-assembling into chains with an intricate helical structure.

"Just like atoms growing into molecules, these particles can grow into supracolloids," Granick said. "Such pathways would be very conventional if we were talking about atoms and molecules reacting with each other chemically, but people haven't realized that particles can behave in this way also."

The team designed spheres with just the right amount of attraction between their hydrophobic halves so that they would stick to one another but still be dynamic enough to allow for motion, rearrangement, and cluster growth.

"The amount of stickiness really does matter a lot. You can end up with something that's disordered, just small clusters, or if the spheres are too sticky, you end up with a globular mess instead of these beautiful structures," said graduate student Jonathan Whitmer, a co-author of the paper.

One of the advantages of the team's supermolecules is that they are large enough to observe in real time using a microscope. The researchers were able to watch the Janus spheres come together and the clusters grow -- whether one sphere at a time or by merging with other small clusters -- and rearrange into different structural configurations the team calls isomers.

"We design these smart materials to fall into useful shapes that nature wouldn't choose," Granick said.

Surprisingly, theoretical calculations and computer simulations by Erik Luijten, Northwestern University professor of materials science and engineering and of engineering sciences and applied mathematics, and Whitmer, a student in his group, showed that the most common helical structures are not the most energetically favorable. Rather, the spheres come together in a way that is the most kinetically favorable -- that is, the first good fit that they encounter.

Next, the researchers hope to continue to explore the colloid properties with a view toward engineering more unnatural structures. Janus particles of differing sizes or shapes could open the door to building other supermolecules and to greater control over their formation.

"These particular particles have preferred structures, but now that we realize the general mechanism, we can apply it to other systems -- smaller particles, different interactions -- and try to engineer clusters that switch in shape," Granick said.

Source: ScienceDaily

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By Admin (from 27/04/2011 @ 08:00:41, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 2375 times)

 Diabetul implica numeroase probleme pentru cel afectat si pentru familia sa. Bolnavul trebuie sa rezolve o multitudine de cerinte privind dieta alimentara, tratamentul medicamentos, tentatiile unor alimente interzise si consecintele bolii. In timp, aceasta devine un cosmar permanent. Dar, la fel cum calitatea ingrijirilor de orice tip si atmosfera generala in care traieste diabeticul pot ajuta la ameliorarea problemelor, aceleasi elemente pot agrava neinchipuit de mult boala.

Se stie ca factorii care pot declansa diabetul sunt, în ordine: alimentatia bogata în hidrati de carbon; obezitatea (mai ales la maturitate); peste 50 de ani rareori se poate ajunge la diabet, daca nu esti obez; sarcina, prin perturbarea metabolismului general, la unele femei; traumatismele psihice pentru persoanele cu o rezistenta nervoasa scazuta; agenti farmacologici; apetitul pentru alimente, ce atinge forme exagerate (polifagie).

Bolnavul începe sa bea mult si urineaza pana la 5 litri in 24 de ore. Cu toate acestea, diabeticul înregistreaza, paradoxal, o scadere în greutate. Un alt simptom ce merita atentie este rezistenta infectiilor de orice natura, dar mai ales a celor cutanate, la diferite forme de tratament. Alte semne ale bolii sunt astenia fizica si unele tulburari sexuale sau de vedere, la cei mai în varsta.

Cand boala este depistata si bolnavul se afla sub tratament, membrii familiei trebuie sa fie familiarizati cu regimul dietetic si cu tratamentul ce trebuie efectuat in mod regulat. Consecinta abaterilor de la aceste imperative este grava, putand duce pana la precoma sau la coma diabetica.

La precoma apar anorexia (lipsa poftei de mancare), greturi, varsaturi, dureri în epigastru – cosul pieptului. Se asociaza astenie si oboseala accentuata, bolnavul se misca cu greutate si raspunde greu la întrebari. Devin foarte evidente semnele de deshidratare, care progreseaza vizibil: limba, ca si pielea sunt uscate, iar ochii devin excavati. Creste frecventa cardiaca la 100-120 batai/minut (tahicardie).

La coma diabetica, ce urmeaza stadiului de precoma, bolnavul este palid, deshidratat, fara tonus, cu extremitatile reci si violacee. Se accentueaza tulburarile de cunostinta. De asemenea, sunt evidente deshidratarea si absenta febrei, chiar si în prezenta unei infectii. Frecventa cardiaca ajunge la 120-130 batai pe minut, ceea ce determina riscul unui colaps. Este extrem de important ajutorul familiei, înca de la primele simptome ale bolii, deoarece diabetul prost îngrijit da foarte multe complicatii.

Tratamentul dietetic ocupa locul central, iar cel mai eficient s-a considerat a fi regimul cantarit. O problema esentiala în terapia familiala o constituie evitarea consumarii alimentelor care ii sunt interzise bolnavului. Cand bolnavul este copil, parintii vor supraveghea strict iesirile acestuia în colectivitate, unde apare tentatia de a consuma din produsele ce abunda pe tarabe. De asemenea, parintii vor evita ca odrasla lor sa mearga la onomastici sau mese festive, ceea ce nu este usor pentru un copil de 5-6 ani, caruia i se refuza felia de tort sau de înghetata cu frisca, de aceea este mai bine sa fie evitat sentimentul de frustrare pe care îl traieste un asemenea bolnav de varsta frageda.

Acelasi lucru este valabil si pentru adultul sau varstnicul diabetic, în fata caruia nu este bine sa se manance ceea ce lui îi este interzis, dar îi face multa placere. Exercitiul fizic face parte din terapeutica diabeticului, deoarece are un efect de potentare a actiunii insulinei, cu scaderea concomitenta a glicemiei. Educatia sanitara a familiei ca întreg, a bolnavului însusi, este de o mare importanta în evolutia afectiunii. Orice plaga sau excoriatie risca sa degenereze în cangrena sau în infectie, în absenta igienei.

Reamintim (sau precizam, pentru cei care nu stiu) ca forma cea mai frecventa a acestei maladii este diabetul zaharat de tip I – la copii si la persoane pana la 30-40 de ani, sau cel de tip II – la adultii de peste 40 de ani, sedentari, supraponderali si supraalimentati. Hiperglicemia se instaleaza la valori ale glucozei in sange de peste 1,5-1,8‰ . Acesti bolnavi au nevoie de administrarea insulinei, necesara „arderii” glucozei din sange.

 Mai rar, apare hipoglicemia, secretia de insulina in exces si scaderea nivelului de glucoza din sange. Cauza sa poate fi o disfunctie grava (tumori) la pancreas, a glandelor hipofiza, tiroida, suprarenale, a unor maladii hepatice, la consumatorii de alcool, la persoanele subalimentate sau cu o hranire deficitara in mod curent.

ADRIAN-NICOLAE POPESCU - magazin.ro

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Friends,

About: ZM Global Radio is a weekly radio show presented by various active coordinators of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. These broadcasts discuss the developments and aims of The Zeitgeist Movement.
http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com

This Wed., April. 27th 2011 at 4pm EDT (for the world Time Table variations, please verify this LINK) Federico Pistono, coordinator of the Italian Chapter, will host The Zeitgeist Movement's Global Radio show, covering the topics of collaboration and organization.

http://www.turismoassociati.it/lang1/blog_talk_radio.html

Time: Wed. April 27th at 4pm EDT

ZM

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By Admin (from 26/04/2011 @ 14:00:10, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 1769 times)

Il Chiemsee, il maggiore bacino lacustre della Baviera, ospita diverse isole ma le maggiori sono due: la Fraueninsel, l'Isola delle donne, un ambiente particolarmente suggestivo e romantico dove ha sede un antico monastero di Benedettine, noto perché custodisce le venerate spoglie della Beata Irmengarda, e la Herreninsel, l'Isola degli uomini.
 
In quest'ultima si trovano il celebre castello di Herrenchiemsee, costruito da Re Ludwig II come copia della reggia di Versailles, e l'ex convento dei Canonici Agostiniani, oggi trasformato in museo. Al suo interno è possibile vedere il piccolo appartamento dove risiedeva Ludwig durante la costruzione del nuovo castello, la sala dove si riunì nel 1948 la commissione incaricata della stesura della Costituzione della Repubblica Federale Tedesca e una pinacoteca che custodisce le opere dei cosiddetti "pittori del Chiemsee".

Entrambe sono raggiungibili dalla costa con un traghetto che parte da Prien (10.000 ab.), il caratteristico paese che si affaccia sul lago.
 
Il lago, 90 km a sud-est di Monaco, si raggiunge con l'autostrada A8 München-Salzburg (uscita Bernau) oppure in treno (scendere a Prien).
 
La stagione estiva è accompagnata al Chiemsee da un vivace programma culturale con rappresentazioni che vanno dalla musica classica, al pop, al reggae, alla musica tradizionale bavarese.
 
Spettacoli, concerti e musical si svolgono in luoghi di rara suggestione: in castelli, come a Herrenchiemsee e ad Aschau, oppure anche nel teatro all’aperto “Seebühne” in riva al lago o in aree appositamente attrezzate.

 
Inoltre è proprio il contatto diretto con una natura incontaminata che contribuisce a rendere indimenticabile ogni soggiorno in questa regione: escursioni, passeggiate intorno al lago, mountain-bike e ciclismo, bird-watching nella riserva naturale, vela, windsurf e trattamenti termali. Da non dimenticare, inoltre, il moderno centro acquatico “Prienavera” allestito in riva al lago.
 
Nel periodo dell'Avvento viene allestito un mercatino natalizio nella Fraueninsel che viene considerato uno dei più belli dell'Alta Baviera.

Fonte: tuttobaviera.it

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By Admin (from 26/04/2011 @ 11:00:25, in en - Global Observatory, read 1930 times)

In a new Cognitive Robotics Lab, students at Rensselaer are exploring how human thought outwits brute force computing in the real world. The lab's 20 programmable robots allow students to test the real-world performance of computer models that mimic human thought.

"The real world has a lot of inconsistency that humans handle almost without noticing -- for example, we walk on uneven terrain, we see in shifting light," said Professor Vladislav Daniel Veksler, who is currently teaching Cognitive Robotics. "With robots, we can see the problems humans face when navigating their environment."

Cognitive Robotics marries the study of cognitive science -- how the brain represents and transforms information -- with the challenges of a physical environment. Advances in cognitive robotics transfer to artificial intelligence, which seeks to develop more efficient computer systems patterned on the versatility of human thought.

Professor Bram Van Heuveln, who organized the lab, said cognitive scientists have developed a suite of elements -- perception/action, planning, reasoning, memory, decision-making -- that are believed to constitute human thought. When properly modeled and connected, those elements are capable of solving complex problems without the raw power required by precise mathematical computations.

"Suppose we wanted to build a robot to catch fly balls in an outfield. There are two approaches: one uses a lot of calculations -- Newton's law, mechanics, trigonometry, calculus -- to get the robot to be in the right spot at the right time," said Van Heuveln. "But that's not the way humans do it. We just keep moving toward the ball. It's a very simple solution that doesn't involve a lot of computation but it gets the job done."

Robotics are an ideal testing ground for that principle because robots act in the real world, and a correct cognitive solution will withstand the unexpected variables presented by the real world.

"The physical world can help us to drive science because it's different from any simulated world we could come up with -- the camera shakes, the motors slip, there's friction, the light changes," Veksler said. "This platform -- robotics -- allows us to see that you can't rely on calculations. You have to be adaptive."

The lab is open to all students at Rensselaer. In its first semester, the lab has largely attracted computer science and cognitive science students enrolled in a Cognitive Robotics course taught by Veksler, but Veksler and Van Heuveln hope it will attract more engineering and art students as word of the facility spreads.

"We want different students together in one space -- a place where we can bring the different disciplines and perspectives together," said Van Heuveln. "I would like students to use this space for independent research: they come up with the research project, they say 'let's look at this.'"

The lab is equipped with five "Create" robots -- essentially a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner paired with a laptop; three hand-eye systems; one Chiara (which looks like a large metal crab); and 10 LEGO robots paired with the Sony Handy Board robotic controller.

On a recent day, Jacqui Brunelli and Benno Lee were working on their robot "cat" and "mouse" pair, which try to chase and evade each other respectively; Shane Reilly was improving the computer "vision" of his robotic arm; and Ben Ball was programming his robot to maintain a fixed distance from a pink object waved in front of its "eye."

"The thing that I've learned is that the sensor data isn't exact -- what it 'sees' constantly changes by a few pixels -- and to try to go by that isn't going to work," said Ball, a junior and student of computer science and physics.

Ball said he is trying to pattern his robot on a more human approach.

"We don't just look at an object and walk toward it. We check our position, adjusting our course," Ball said. "I need to devise an iterative approach where the robot looks at something, then moves, then looks again to check its results."

The work of the students, who program their robots with the Tekkotsu open-source software, could be applied in future projects, said Van Heuveln.

"As a cognitive scientist, I want this to be built on elements that are cognitively plausible and that are recyclable -- parts of cognition that I can apply to other solutions as well," said Van Heuveln. "To me, that's a heck of a lot more interesting than the computational solution."

In a generic domain, their early investigations clearly show how a more cognitive approach employing limited resources can easily outpace more powerful computers using a brute force approach, said Veksler.

"We look to humans not just because we want to simulate what we do, which is an interesting problem in itself, but also because we're smart," said Veksler. "Some of the things we have, like limited working memory -- which may seem like a bad thing -- are actually optimal for solving problems in our environment. If you remembered everything, how would you know what's important?"

Source: ScienceDaily

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By Admin (from 26/04/2011 @ 08:00:57, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 2697 times)

 In medicina populara romaneasca (dar si din alte zone), o multitudine de practici si de remedii, folosite odinioara cu succes, astazi ne fac cel putin sa ridicam din sprancene, a mirare. Va prezentam cateva asemenea leacuri, pe care ar fi gresit sa le catalogam drept „babesti” si sa le trimitem in ridicol, preferand fara drept de apel, exclusiv, medicamentele de sinteza chimica.

 - Ochii de rac. Alaturi de cojile de oua sau pulberea de oase, „ochii de rac au in ei var mult, calcium cum spunem in medicina, lecuitor al ofticii si mare intaritor al trupului. Se pot da ochi de rac copiilor slabi, cu oase moi, tinerilor sleiti si amenintati de oftica, femeilor insarcinate, bolnavilor cu oase rupte etc., adica pretutindeni, unde medicul ar scrie glicerofosfat de luat de la farmacie”.

- Seul de vita (de oaie, de vaca) „se foloseste pe dinafara ca sa inmoaie tusea din raceala. Se unge o flanela cu seu si se incalzeste bine pana se infierbanta, apoi se aseaza repede pe piept sau pe nodul lui Adam (daca bolnavul are raguseala). Carpa aceasta cu seu fierbinte, dupa ce s-a pus pe piept trebuie bine acoperita cu vata ori calti sau cu o blanita. Bolnavul ia aspirina si bea ceaiuri calde”.

- Benzina ca leac „slujeste pentru stersul pielei, spalarea buboaielor si de jurimprejurul ranilor cu puroi. Benzina ucide paduchii din cap, de pe corp, de pe rufe si haine. Cu ea se starpesc paduchii de lemn din paturi, saltele, usi, ferestre, podele si din orice mobila s-ar fi incuibat, peste care trebuie sa se toarne regulat benzina, macar de doua ori pe saptamana, asa ca sa patrunda prin toate crapaturile. Trebuie insa mare paza de foc. Pe dinauntru benzina se intrebuinteaza uneori pentru scoaterea viermilor din mate, dar acum avem alte leacuri mai bune”.

- Iasca, „ciuperca uscata si fiarta, ce slujeste la aprins focul, foloseste pe dinafara la opritul sangelui, dupa lipitori, ventuze taiate, negi rupti, taieturi etc. Se pun pe rana bucati de iasca, fie asa, fie inmuiate in apa de fier (perclorur) sau in apa de antipirina (1 pachetel la o lingura de apa) si apoi se leaga pe deasupra cu o fasa. Pentru oprirea tranjilor se aprind, intr-o oala de noapte, bucati de iasca, iar bolnavul se aseaza cu sezutul pe oala, asa ca fumul sa ajunga la partile cu tranji”.

- Papara este nu numai o mancare buna, dar si un leac pentru prunci slabi si piperniciti. Papara se face cu bucati de paine uscata, fierte in lapte dulce cu putina sare, pana se terciuiesc bine, ca papara. Uneori se pune si ou. Aceasta mancare se poate da copiilor de la 8 luni in sus sau catre vremea intarcatului.

ADRIAN-NICOLAE POPESCU - magazin.ro

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McClatchy Newspapers writes “the US military set up a human intelligence laboratory at Guantanamo,” the Washington Post details new classified military documents obtained by the “anti-secrecy organization” present “new details” of detainees whereabouts on Sept 11, 2001 and afterward and the Daily Telegraph reports that it has exposed “America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists.”

Months after news organizations reported the Guantanamo Files might be WikiLeaks’ next release, the files are now posted on the WikiLeaks website. Nearly 800 documents, memoranda from Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), the combined force in charge of the Guantanamo Bay prison to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

The memoranda do not detail torture or how detainees were interrogated. The reports from between 2002 and 2008 show how JTF-GTMO justified when to keep detainees and also when it chose to release detainees. In cases of detainees “released,” that detainee’s “transfer” is detailed to “the custody of his own government or that of some othergovernment.”

The reports represent not just JTF-GTMO but, according to WikiLeaks, they also represent the Criminal Investigation Task Force created by the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations and the Behavioral Science Teams (BSCTs) consisting of psychologists who had “a major say in “exploitation” of [detainees] in interrogations.”

The Washington Post, the McClatchy Company, El Pais, the Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Le Monde,Aftonbladet,La Repubblica, L’Espresso, and Andy Worthington are each listed as partners. (TheNew York Times has coverage of the documents but is not listed as a partner and neither is NPR.)

What is a Guantanamo file?

First, the detainee’s personal information is listed. That information includes what the US considers to be the detainee’s name, aliases, place and date of birth, citizenship. The information also includes an Internment Serial Number (ISN).

The second section describes detainees’ mental health or physical health issues.

The third section is a “JTF-GTMO Assessment.” This section is where recommendations on whether a detainee should be held or released can be found. “Executive Summaries” in this section provide explanation for why a detainee should continue to be detained or released. The section denotes whether the detainee is a low, medium or high-risk detainee. And, under “Summary of Changes,” whether there have been changes in the information provided since the last report on the detainee is listed.

The fourth section is the detainee’s own testimony detailing the detainee’s background and how the detainee was seized and captured.

The fifth section is “capture information.” This section may be one of the more interesting sections in the released reports. Here one can see “Reasons for Transfer.” These are alleged reasons for the detainee’s transfer. WikiLeaks, however, notes there is reason to be skeptical:

The reason that [these reasons are] unconvincing is because, as former interrogator Chris Mackey (a pseudonym) explained in his book The Interrogators, the US high command, based in Camp Doha, Kuwait, stipulated that every prisoner who ended up in US custody had to be transferred to Guantánamo -- and that there were no exceptions; in other words, the "Reasons for transfer" were grafted on afterwards, as an attempt to justify the largely random rounding-up of prisoners.

A sixth section contains an analysis from the Task Force explaining whether the Force finds the detainee’s testimony to be convincing.

The seventh section presents an assessment detailing how much of a threat the detainee happens to be. This is another one of the more interesting sections of the reports because the “Reasons for Continued Detention” often come from statements from fellow detainees in Guantanamo or secret prisons run by the CIA where torture or other forms of coercion have been used to get detainees to talk. In some cases, detainees were offered rewards such as better treatment if they made statements on detainees in US military custody.

This section also looks at the “detainee’s conduct” and how a detainee has behaved citing “disciplinary infractions.”

The eighth section contains a “Detainee Intelligence Value Assessment.” This information suggests areas of intelligence that could be further “exploited.”

Finally, the “EC Status,” yet another interesting section, details whether the detainee is to still be considered an “enemy combatant” or not. Based on findings from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, just 38 out of 558 detainees that came before tribunals held in 2004-05 were determined to no longer be enemy combatants.

Now, as of 12:15 AM ET on April 25, sixty-seven detainee reports have been posted on the WikiLeaks website.

This is WikiLeaks first new leak since Cablegate. Presumably, WikiLeaks will continue to post US State Embassy Cables to its website as it releases these files.

Source: WLCentral.org (*WLCentral will have coverage all week of the Guantanamo Files. Check back here regularly for updates.)

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By Admin (from 25/04/2011 @ 14:00:38, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 2608 times)

Quando si parla di luoghi comuni! Inutile negare l'idea di compiere un viaggio in terra conosciuta più che altro per quel preponderante aspetto fatto di affari, economia e mercato non sembrava tentazione allettante.
Percorrerla tutta dalle Alpi alla pianura, attraverso campagne e corsi d'acqua, montagne ardite e sconfinati parchi, città piene di vita e di arte e solitari monasteri, ed ancora paesi, borghi, strade e autostrade senza fine non è decisione che si improvvisa.

Girovagando tra Castelli, per scoprire una Lombardia da sempre terra di confine. Una storia fatta di difese armate contro gli invasori venuti dalle alpi in una terra teatro di sanguinose battaglie ma anche di nobili eroi, di grandi Papi e di magnifiche residenze patrizie. Sulle tracce delle grandi figure carismatiche che l'hanno attraversata, dai magnifici templi cristiani alle Chiese, le cattedrali,le abbazie ed i monasteri disseminati ovunque sul territorio.

Con gli occhi rivolti al cielo per ammirare il Duomo di Milano, affacciati a un balcone panoramico per godersi tutto lo splendore di Bergamo Alta, placidamente accoccolati su un prato sulle sponde del Lago di Como e poi ancora Lecco, Sondrio, Varese e Brescia o forse Cremona e perché no Mantova, altera e bellissima come ogni Città d'arte. Perdersi tra il verde dei boschi, percorrere sentieri misteriosi, godere la carezza della brezza nella sera d'estate, quando la Montagna si risveglia tra i mille rumori, percorsa da fremiti di vita che tornano a popolarla dopo il lungo sonno invernale.

Fermarsi a riflettere nel silenzio delle nevi perenni, lanciarsi dalle cime imbiancate giù verso valle storditi da una sensazione di ebbrezza, per ritrovarsi la sera attorno alla danza del fuoco del camino.
Risalire il corso dei fiumi per vederla scorrere lenta; godere di ciò che la natura ha costruito dalle Acque del lago, tra piccole isole alla scoperta di borghi.

Assaporarla tutta, per conoscerla a fondo. Scoprirla nelle verdi distese della Franciacorta in un bicchiere di vino, riconoscerla in alta montagna nei pomeriggi d'alpeggio, coglierne l'aroma in riva al lago nell'olio dorato del Garda. Camminare lungo il sentiero dell'Enogastronomia per ripercorrere la storia ed il sapore antico delle tradizioni, per accogliere un po' di lei e donare un po' di se.

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By Admin (from 25/04/2011 @ 11:00:32, in en - Video Alert, read 2067 times)

Despite all the recent advances in robotics, one fundamental task has always been very difficult: robot programming.  New Research in the field of robotic programming is moving towards more natural and exciting directions.

To be sure, robot programming in industrial settings has evolved significantly, from a series of mechanical switches to advanced programming languages and teach-pendant devices for trajectory planning. But getting robots to do their jobs still requires a great deal of human labor -- and human intelligence.

The situation is even worse when it comes to programming robots to do things in non-industrial environments. Homes, offices, and hospitals are unstructured spaces, where robots need to deal with more uncertainty and act more safely.

To overcome this programming bottleneck, engineers need to create robots that are more flexible and adaptable -- robots that, like humans, learn by doing.

That's what a team led by Dr. Jan Peters at the Robot Learning Lab, part of the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, in Tübingen, Germany, is trying to do. Peters wants to transform robot programming into robot learning. In other words, he wants to design robots that can learn tasks effortlessly instead of requiring people to painstakingly determine their every move.

In the video below, you can see his students taking their robot "by the hand" to teach it motor skills needed for three tasks: paddle a ball on a string, play the ball-in-a-cup game, and hit a ping pong ball.

Here's how Dr. Peters explained to Automaton his team's approach: "Take the example of a person learning tennis. The teacher takes the student by the hand and shows basic movements: This is a forehand, this is a backhand, this is a serve. Still, it will take hours and hours of training before the student even feels comfortable at performing these behaviors. Even more practice is needed for the student to be able to play an actual game with these elementary behaviors." But still, he adds, humans succeed at learning the task. Why can't robots do the same? "That's what we're trying to do: Make our robots mimic the way humans learn new behaviors."

In the first part of the video, graduate student Katharina Muelling shows the robot how to paddle a ball on a string by performing the action while holding the robot's "hand." The robot decomposes the movement into primitive motor behaviors -- a discrete motor primitive that modulates the rhythmic paddling with an increasing amplitude until it becomes a stable rhythmic behavior -- and quickly "learns" how to perform the task.

For comparison purposes, the researchers tried to manually program the robot's motors to perform the same task. It took them three months and the result wasn't as good as the imitation learning experiment, which took less than an hour, Dr. Peters says.

In the second part of the video, Muelling teaches the robot the ball-in-a-cup game. [See photo on the right; the robot has to swing the yellow ball, which is att ached to a string, and make it land into the blue cup.] This skill is significantly more difficult than paddling the ball on a string, and the robot doesn't have enough data to simply imitate what the human did. In fact, when the robot attempts to reproduce the human action, it can't match the accelerations of the human hand and the ball misses the cup by a large margin. Here, self-improvement becomes key, Dr. Peters says.

"For every new attempt, when the robot reduces the distance by which the ball misses the cup, the robot receives a 'reward,' " he says. "The robot subsequently self-improves on a trial-by-trial basis. It usually gets the ball in the cup for the first time after 40 to 45 trials and it succeeds all the time after about 90 to 95 trials."

How does the robot's learning ability compare to a human being? PhD student Jens Kober , who led this particular experiment, wanted to find out: He went home for a holiday last year and enjoyed the benefit of an extended, large family -- always good subjects for a scientific experiment. He showed his many cousins the ball-in-a-cup game and rewarded them with chocolate. It turned out that the younger ones (around 6 years old) would not learn the behavior at all, the ones in their early teens (10 to 12) would learn it within 30 to 35 trials, and the grownups would be much faster.

"His supervisor may be the only person in his lab who has not managed to learn this task," Dr. Peters quips.

In the last part of the video, the researchers tackle an ever harder task: ping pong. Again, Muelling teaches the robot by holding its "hand," this time to hit a ping pong ball sent by a ball gun. The challenge here is to use -- and modify -- previously learned basic motions and combine them with visual stimuli: The robot needs to keep track of the ball, which may come from different directions, and then execute the right set of motions.

Some of their work, part of GeRT consortium, a program that aims at generalizing robot manipulation tasks, is still preliminary, Dr. Peters notes. But he's confident they can teach their robot to become a good ping pong player. How good? Maybe not as good as Forrest Gump, but good enough to beat everyone in the lab.

Source: Spectrum

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Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that Thank you for lunch! Whenever you ha...
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