Happy Birthday to The Cladogram!

Just after announcing the temporary hibernation of this blog, I’m BAAAAAACK! Only for today, though. ‘Cause the 23rd of august of one year ago, The Cladogram was born! Oh, what a glorious adventure during the course of a year! Well, maybe not that great, some of you might say, but I’m still pretty satisfied with what I’ve done, and I’ve learned a few more tricks about blogging. And remember all those good ol’ memories? Like when I mocked mockumentaries. Or when I shamelessly analyzed the biology in Avatar. And what about my clumsy attempts at microphotography? Not to mention the most awesome environmentalist ad ever made, and my encounters with rare animals and plants. So, I hope I’ll come back soon and better than ever. Long live The Cladogram!

Happy Birthday, Charles!

Darwin Day

The cake is a lie, but evolution is not. Happy birthday Charles!

Fuck, I managed to miss Darwin Day: yesterday, 12 february 2012, was the 203rd anniversary of the birth of the man who unlocked the secret of life itself and thus basically invented modern biology and discovered our real place in the universe: Charles Robert Darwin. Zoologist, botanist, geologist, he wrote many milestones of natural history, the most important of course being On the Origin of Species by  Means of Natural Selection, published in 1859 after more than 20 years since Darwin had developed the idea of natural selection and gradual biological changes for the first time, during his fateful journey around the world on the Beagle. 20 years of rewritings, experiments and fear – fear of the power of his own idea, of how it could affect the scientific and religious views. Thank you, Charles.

As a special gift, enjoy this completely accurate and quite awesome video about Darwin’s life.

Happy 30th Birthday, SuperQuark!

Piero Angela

The background isn't photoshopped: Piero Angela can breath in space, and is bigger than Jupiter.

Just a couple of days ago here in Italy was broadcasted the 30 years anniversary special of SuperQuark, which is by far the most important and most interesting italian TV program of scientific divulgation (well, basically it’s the only real scientific education TV show in Italy). The episode centered around the history of the show and of scientific progress in these 30 years and was hosted, as it was every single episode since the beginning, by the awesome science journalist Piero Angela, now 83 years old and still much more intelligent and lucid than most younger italian these days. The celebration will continue for a couple of episodes, with a special highlighting the best of naturalistic footage shown by SuperQuark over the years and another about the most wonderful buildings in the history of mankind.

I’ve been watching SuperQuark since I was a kid, but it’s certainly not a kid program, although the explanations are very clear, thanks to footage, live experiments and even illustrative cartoons, some of which by legendary italian cartoonist Bruno Bozzetto. With this TV program Piero Angela created a show that treats science with respect and teaches it clearly to the vast italian public, in a way that is sadly unmatched by any other TV show in my country.  Angela is also a fierce adversary of pseudoscience, homeopathy and paranormal bullshit, and has often criticized them in spite of all the morons who attacked him only because he dared to apply skepticism and reason to their crap. He has always tried to teach italians about science and the scientific method, applying it to every topic.

Thank you, Piero, and happy birthday SuperQuark!