Pinned toot

* Letter to a Japanese Friend, Winter Solstice *

Just now finished writing a letter to a good friend, a Japanese lady who is my penpal via the Slowly app.

My friend sent me a nice letter and described some local customs, including the one that explains the image in the post.

Now the story is on my blog:

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* Memories, a visit to the Archeology Museum *

It started this morning, the thread. And over short posts, someone told a story. Of a Greek man, who lived in antiquity, by the Mediterranean side; in a city whose name is still preserved, and today is written "Marseille".

This series of posts was interesting, liked it and went to the top to find the rest.

Enjoying his post, I remembered similar thoughts, of History, and how things worked, how small bits and pieces came to me as I visited an exposition, at the Archeological Museum, in Lisbon.

Now the story is on my blog:

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A nice set of guidelines and tips for new Users 

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"The Web We Have to Save
The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying.

Why is nobody stopping it?"

Amazing art on the post header. See the FULL SIZE image here, lots of detail:*DLI

Pinned toot

QOTO and off-topic Toots - long post 

* Vintage Bicycles - Restoration or Preservation *

I posted an article here yesterday about a Humber 1925 British bicycle which was quite lovingly maintained. The blog post was quite neat, great photos, a well cared for bicycle.

And I spent sometime reading other posts in the same site; he has many, many nice pages with some incredibly nice bicycles, including René Herse models from the 1930's to the 1980's.

I enjoyed the articles, he frequently mentions his views on how we should handle those, which are really precious cultural artifacts (his Herse bikes are Constructeur, hand built frames and bicycles, pinacle of the art).

There's one post in particular that explains his approach to this -- Preservation is the way to go, and I liked it a lot.

I hate the Trailler Queen type of thing we see sometiems in car or bicycle Vintage shows, where something is polished to hell and painted with modern finishes that have much higher gloss than the originals. Turning into something that in fact, never existed. Demented, imo.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in , , bikes and cultural preservation policies.

Deserving of mention as well.

"COVID-19: the biology of an effective therapy
We already know lots about coronavirus biology."

An extensive article at Ars Technica that in my opinion deserves mention and inclusion as a reference in our own -- so people can find and read it if interested.

Long Read, lots of Biology details. But a good reference, imo.

Rob G. boosted

@freemo Keep an eye out, new incoming migration wave. Troubling the mothership already.
QT: []


A number of Russian users who joined yesterday are evidently playing bingo on trying to break as many of our rules in a single post as possible

Rob G. boosted
Rob G. boosted

A comet was always perceived as a major event, astrologically, since Antiquity.

We have one called Atlas coming our way now, and it seems it will put in a big display.

Bing translation from an original Spanish article.

The Economist gives Brazilian idiotic president Jair Bolsonaro a fitting nickname -- "BolsoNero" (as in the Roman emperor who fiddled with his harp as Rome burned.)

Washigton Post has a good article too :

I find it really worrisome, knowing the country and how poorly funded the public health system there is (basically a last resort for anyone who can't afford private health insurance plans a la Americana).

Worse yet is the neighbouring Venezuela, which was already in shambles before this pandemic arrives.

A quick Bing Translation from a Toot posted by Aristotele - I could find a Spanish article for the text he posted here but no English version yet.

Source from a Bing Search --

-------------[ Article starts ]---------------

Serious tensions in southern Italy: first looting in supermarkets and calls for rebellion. Citizens in difficulty over the crisis launch aggressive messages on social media, calling for the revolt.

The health emergency also becomes, as feared, a social emergency in southern Italy: Strong social protests are feared and the first looting has begun, forcing supermarkets to be given special surveillance. From the south, a cry of alarm emerges from the south that Italian mayors and information services echo that warn the government: "People are hungry." The signs are many and dramatic, becoming viral in a few hours. One of them is a video of a father and daughter biting a slice of bread with Nutella; he is threateningly addressed to Prime Minister Conte and the mayor of Palermo in a threatening way: "If my daughter will not be able to eat a piece of bread we will go asaltar the supermarkets."

Precisely in Palermo, an organized group of twenty people showed up, in front of the boxes of a Lidl supermarket – in viale Regione, one of the largest and most frequented in Palermo – with their carts full of products, refusing to pay while shouting: "Enough being at home, we have no money to pay, we have to eat". Supermarket employees called police and carabinieri as panic loathed among the large crowd waiting on the street, queuing with a one-metre distance of safety between people. The chaos dragged on for hours. To avoid the worst, law enforcement is watching today to protect supermarkets in Palermo and other cities

Calls to revolts
Calls to the revolt spread like gunpowder on social media. Facebook has opened the profile of a group called "Noi", which encourages the revolt with a slogan: "Recover what they take from us". Within hours it had hundreds of followers, some of whom are organized by chat. Your messages leave no room for doubt. Some say: "Those who are ready for war on the 3rd (the date scheduled for the end of the emergency, although it is assumed that the government will decree an extension), it must write it down here", "we must break all supermarkets". Another writes: "The problem is immediate, children should eat."

Like this is Alexander's message: "I do not wait for April, I am without a euro, my family must eat". Many put videos, showing their identity, calling for social revolt, making their own children see. Luky shouts in one of these videos: "At home there may be those who have a fixed salary, if we are to be locked up, the state has to take us food and must pay the rents, we are not Cristiano Ronaldo: Here three quarters of Italians work in black; Rebel!" According to a recent study by the CGIL (main Italian union), in Palermo and province one worker in three works in black.

Street robberies
The call to looting the supermecados is not only in Sicily, it extends to other places in the south. In that half of Italian territory, the submerged economy employs nearly four million people. In Campania, particularly in some areas of the province of Naples, street thefts have increased, with people removing bags with the products that some customers have just bought in supermarkets. Rare is the day where in some southern provinces there is no assault on a pharmacy. There are people who shout their anguish and hunger from the balcony: In Bari, the capital of Puglia, the Councillor for Social Affairs, Francesca Bottaloci, had to personally introduce hesar to bring two packages of necessities to a family that had put in social media a video screaming from the balcony of your house: "We don't have any money anymore, we don't have anything. Come and see it."

The so-called 007, the information service, has produced a reserved report sent to Prime Minister Conte and Interior Minister Lamorgese with this warning: "There is a potential danger of revolts and rebellions, spontaneous and organized, especially in southern Italy, where the submerged economy and the capillary presence of organized crime are two of the main risk factors." No one escapes that the mafias are always ready to take advantage of any explosive occasion. For mafia organizations, the coronavirus represents an optimal opportunity for their criminal businesses.

This risk from the Mafia is warned by Palermo's mayor Leoluca Orlando, who warns that organized crime will take advantage of leading the revolts. The ruler of the Sicilian capital calls on the government to grant a survival income: "Alongside many who live this moment of very serious crisis with anguish but with dignity, there are groups of jackals and protest professionals who promote action violent people, characters and groups that show and claim their mafia membership. I ask all citizens to report them to the police authorities," warns the mayor of Palermo.

There are several wary ones who sound the alarm, among them some of an area with high criminality, the Campania, where the camorra considers that it is presented with a golden opportunity. Ciro Buonajuto, mayor of Herculano, threatened by the camorra, reported: "We have a youth unemployment of 75%, who works does so in many cases in precarious; I now fear the economic-social effects: usury, drug trafficking, the business of camorra can spread...".

"Attention to the south, it can explode"
He echoes the unrest in the "Mezzogiorno" the minister for the south, Peppe Provenzano, who in an interview tells Repubblica today: "Attention to the south, can explode. We must act quickly, the maintenance of democracy is at risk. Citizenship income must be extended' (this is financial aid, around EUR 550 on average, offered by the State to those who are not employed).

In this context of the very serious crisis caused by the coronavirus, it is also explained the dramatic speech that on Friday night the President of the Republic, Giorgio Mattarella, addressed to the country, with an eye on Brussels: "We are living a sad page of our history. We've seen images that it'll be impossible to forget. Some territories, and in particular older generations, are paying a very high price. Europe must understand the seriousness of the threat, or it will be too late. Further common initiatives are indispensable," Mattarella added, overcoming old schemes that are already outside the reality of the dramatic conditions in which our Continent is located."

The well-known Italian scientist Silvio Garatini has said these days: "The meaning of life comes before the meaning of business. But someone has reversed the priorities." With Europe in mind, a diplomat said it in other words: "When the dead count, the billions are not counted."

A nice Blog post about a rare and original Vintage bicycle. This is quite neat.

Humber Cross Frame, 1925 in pristine condition.

...and just looking at that photo makes me wish to be out there, in the road, at this location. ❤️ 😄

I have traveled with my fully loaded Touring bike, similarly to the one on the photo (but lower tech and affordable, built it myself), and it's a great way to see and experience new places.

A similarly high end product with internal gearing (and all the advantages thereof, but this time mounted at the front end, near the bottom bracket and shifted there before transmission to the rear wheel) is the Pinion gear boxes.

Also a German product, these require frames specially built to accommodate them, but have a good reputation as well.

Here's their page for Touring bicycle gear boxes :

I was just talking to a friend this morning and mentioning the beauty of the technology of the fancy internal gearing hubs for bicycles.

Simpler ones with 3 gears have been around for more than 100 years (the Sturmey Archer. a British brand, has been around that long), and more recent and higher tech models from Rohloff like the one in the photo are wonderful pieces of Engineering.

They are high quality, pricey but a peace of mind confort for a Touring cyclist -- as they are strong, functional and require much less care and maintenance than regular derailleurs during long trips.

Throw in some sandy roads, mud, and they shine even more - as they are all sealed and much less damage by the grit and mud.

Wikipedia has a good page for Rohloff :

And Sheldon Brown as usual has a pristine page for the more mechanically inclined :

User impressions about Rohloff hib bicycles:

A personal letter in reply to a local user I just sent.

How can a new user in the Fediverse start finding interesting people and making connections?

Some ideas and suggestions, maybe they could be useful to others.


Hello and welcome to Qoto.

I would suggest you look at my profile, any info I intended to share is posted there, along with most of my toots, done in public mode.

For a new user in Mastodon, it's a good thing to post some info about yourself. This can be done in your profile itself, and also with an "Introductions"post which is specifically done for that; tell people what you do, what you are interested in, maybe hobbies and a general idea of your location (don't need an exact location, best kept private).

Usually, these posts are done and "pinned"to the user's profile so any visitors can see and find them easily. And we use a hashtag so it also gets indexed and easily found that way.

Mastodon and the Fediverse are quite interesting, but it takes a bit of time and patience to make friends here. Replying to people's posts does help, any posts that you find useful or have an opinion on, adding a comment will get the poster to become familiar with you.

Right now there's been very little social posting here at, we used to have some frequent users and friendly chatter (all started in the same manner I suggested above, by commenting and reacting to each other's posts).

Sadly, people come and go; I have been very active and am a moderator here, but have done very little posting for the past month or so.

Any posts you make here are seen by many people out in other servers as well. It's also a good idea to find interesting conversations in the Home (the little House icon) feed or the Federated feed (much busier, the Globe icon). I have responded and got involved in great conversations in these places, and you start making friends in other servers as well.

Hope you enjoy your stay, and find many interesting conversations to be part of. The Fediverse is quite interesting, although for a newcomer it might feel less welcoming than Facebook, for example. But it's much richer and more interesting once you start getting to know people and places around here.

Have a good day! 😄

"Boris Johnson has spent decades preparing for his lead role, honing his adopted character, perfecting his mannerisms, gauging the reactions to his performance and adjusting it for maximum effect. Now he has the national stage and the rapt audience he always craved. His speech this week announcing a lockdown drew the biggest television audience in Britain in this century.

The problem is that he has been preparing for the wrong part. The man came to power playing Falstaff, a double-dealing, comically entertaining, shameless rogue; now he is suddenly onstage as Henry V, the wartime king whose solemn judgment, intense focus, charisma and conviction must lead his nation in a time of crisis. Mr. Johnson does not know how to play that part, and it shows."

"Lloyd Blankfein, who ran Goldman Sachs Group Inc. until 2018, helped kickstart the calls to get back to work on Sunday when he tweeted that “extreme measures to flatten the virus ‘curve’” were sensible “for a time” but could crush the economy: “Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.”

His longtime deputy, Gary Cohn, who left the bank to become Trump’s top economic adviser, asked if it was time “to start discussing the need for a date when the economy can turn back on.” Without clarity, businesses “will assume the worst,” he said."

From the same article above, an interesting fact -- that Medtronic is open sourcing their design plans for some simpler models of ventilators, to allow any interested parties to produce them.

This is good news on a sorely needed item in this pandemic.

"Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC on Wednesday that it is increasing capacity of its critical care ventilators and partnering with others such as Tesla. He said Medtronic is open sourcing one of its lower-end ventilators in less acute situations for others to make ventilators as quickly as they can. These lower-end ventilators, which are easier to produce because there are fewer components, can be used as an intermediary step in critical care."

'Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York will open “as soon as humanly possible” to produce ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments, which were made Wednesday via Twitter, follows previous statements by the CEO outlining plans to either donate ventilators or work to increase production of the critical piece of medical equipment needed for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus."

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