The southern Italy earthquake of 1980
It was a rather hot day for November. We teens and children were playing outside, in the courtyard and in the surrounding countryside. It was a beautiful autumn Sunday, sunny and cool, but not too much. In the afternoon there was the classic ball game in the courtyard. Our cheap but legendary Super Santos orange plastic ball, very common in Italy even today, had ended up in a balcony on the 2nd floor and one of us had climbed over from the stairs window to retrieve it. He took a risk that today as a parent would make my skin crawl. But over time we had all taken that risk in turn: the courtyard was surrounded by balconies and terraces on the ground floor, it was inevitable that the ball would end up in one of them. Sometimes we buzzed the owner to ask the favor to return it. More often, since the ball was easily confiscated, or worse, cut in two with scissors in a solemn ritual that they made us attend ruthlessly, we took the risk of climbing over before the owner noticed. When it went wrong, we would resort to a desperate fundraiser and rush to buy another one. In practice, we risked breaking and entering to avoid embezzlement by the flat’s owner. But that Sunday afternoon, November 30, 1980, the ball had ended up in the balcony of a friend of ours who no longer lived there, the apartment on the 2nd floor was uninhabited. So someone had to go to retrieve it despite its height of about 6 m…
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Geoscientists usually work with lines, planes and their angular relationships. Studying these relationships requires some techniques to put real 3D features into simple 2D visualizations. We don’t always need to design super complex 3D models just to figure out the angle between two planes, right?
This is why the Stereographic Projection and the Stereonets became so important to geologists. This projection is fast and efficient when we just want to analyze angular relationships. It does not preserve distances or areas of the features that are projected in it, just angles.
For today’s examples I will assume you already understand how a stereonet works and are familiar with:
- strike and dip / plunge and bearing;
- poles and planes
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I had a dream. It was night and the headlights of a car illuminated a gate of a country house. It was as if I was looking at them sideways at their height, as if I were a child. I felt that feeling of security and warmth of going home with your family, a very positive feeling that was imprinted on me with that same image of the dream. The car headlights were round and chrome. There were four of them. In the middle was a V-shaped grille with a round logo on the top that always reminded me of a time when life was different, it had another, more natural rhythm. A time when when you were traveling or simply taking a ride you were untraceable and to call someone you had to look for a pay phone. It was also the most glorious period of the brand of that logo and I associate it with my childhood and a pre-digital period, with more human rhythms. It was the Alfa Romeo logo on a front panel typical of those years: Oo=V=oO.
Things change. Life is a becoming. What happens has consequences. It’s natural. The big changes in life, those that leave a mark, that cause the greatest stress and therefore require a greater readjustment of a person’s life, come sooner or later for everyone: bereavements, changes or loss of jobs, relocations, marriages and separations, births of children. They are both positive and negative stress. You are no longer the same when you become a parent, nor when you lose a loved one. As far as my life is concerned, the most beautiful and intense positive stress was the birth of my son: I discovered that you can’t describe how you feel, you only understand it when it happens to you; the feeling I describe to those who ask me is that I felt finally “complete”. So far the worst negative stress that has happened to me has been the loss of my job.
Two things made it heavier than it normally is: the struggle and sacrifices I made to get to the job I dreamed of and the critical age at which I lost it, shortly after I was 50. It was like being in no man’s land, too young to retire, too old to be hired again.
I was born and raised in Italy and obviously I have been exposed to our musical culture. I’ve been humming songs since before going to school. I also sang the musical parts, for the fun of the many uncles and aunts who buzzed around me. Then I started putting my hands on a toy keyboard and finally got to the guitar around the age of 11. Of course I played the Italian songs I listened to on the radio. But a voice inside me told me I needed something more…