The Christmas Tree Cluster

This beautiful image shows the so-called Christmas Tree Cluster. The blue and white lights are produced by young stars emitting X-rays, detected by NASA’s Chandra satellite. Optical data from the National Science Foundation’s 0.9-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak shows the gas in the nebula in green, corresponding to the tree’s pine needles, and infrared data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey shows the stars in the foreground plan and white background. This image has been appropriately rotated, so that the top of the tree appears towards the top of the image itself.

No Christmas tree bigger than this, definitely …
Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: T.A. Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOIRLab/NSF/AURA) and B.A. Wolpa (NOIRLab/NSF/AURA); Infrared: NASA/NSF/IPAC/CalTech/Univ. of Massachusetts; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/L. Frattare & J.Major

The cluster I’m talking about is NGC 2264, a bright open cluster surrounded by an extensive system of diffuse nebulosities.



I notice it, I notice it immediately. Something about the quality of the air, you might say. I’m not sure what, but something. Something in the vibration of things, in the specific way of vibration of things.

In the different way of their rest, too.

I’ve been in the park for two minutes and I already know it. I already feel it, I already know it. It’s autumn, it’s already autumn, and it’s the most evident thing. I don’t know what exactly to attach this perception to, but it is certain. It is even more certain than a scientific fact, a mathematical algorithm, a computational procedure.

Image from Parco di Aguzzano, Oct 2023.

Autumn is this desire for a tepid retreat, after the summer expansion. It is the timid desire for shelter, which comes back to life. It is a renewed attention to the delicacy of oneself. It’s telling it each other — each other. Or one to the other, again. Cover yourself, don’t get cold, please remember, and it’s just the first step, just the first step, a small fundamental step, to rediscover that warmth of love that heals from the depths, which leaves you on your feet, puts you back on your feet and leaves you in feet.

You can walk, in a structure of love around you.


That black X that ‘killed’ the blue bird

I don’t like it, I have to say. I don’t like. Twitter has changed profoundly. It’s changing before my eyes. It’s no longer him. Even the name is going to change.

I don’t know about you, I no longer have much desire to stay there, to interact, to write and respond. The new logo – that black X – chosen by Musk instead of the blue bird seems a bit repulsive to me. Too cold, too technological. It makes me think of steel.

The original blue bird logo has already disappeared. First from the site, immediately after (rather predictably) from the various iOS and Android apps.


Looking for the perfect client (and meeting Vivaldi)

Okay, email – as a concept – is surely aged. In fact, the one who is writing this post (who does not boast a particular technological perspicacity) already ten years ago claimed that the mail was old. Let alone if it is not true today.

Then, there was the beautiful, crisp, thrilling, open Google Wave experiment. Pretty soon, as good as dead. And, nothing relevant, after. In the end, it’s evident that the email protocol suits us just fine.

Notwithstanding the extendend stationarity of email concept, the choice of the client remains a field in which we have never stopped. So much so that today there are many excellent programs to manage e-mail. Moreover, many of them are also completely free of charge.

As far as I’m concerned, the ones I’ve adopted lately have been essenctially two.

  • Apple Mail (the default on MacOS). Well made, essential but complete, in pure Apple style. Do whatever you need, even more. For those within the horizon of products with apples, probably the happiest choice (certainly the simplest).
  • Windows Mail (the default on Windows). Well, what can I say… Colorful, definitively. It feels more like something to showcase than a software you use. Minimum functionality guaranteed the essential but little space (or even less) for everything that goes beyond.

Until not too long ago, on my laptop (Galaxy Book Ion, with Windows) I used Mail and, on my iMac, Apple Mail. However, I was a bit annoyed in using different programs (with different keys, different settings, different ways to do the same thing… you got the idea). So, I was still looking for something that was available on all platforms.


The music of the cosmos

Can the lyrics of a song be literature? When I was in middle school (last century), the words of La Guerra di Piero by the Italian songwriter Fabrizio De André (Stefano Sandrelli recently spoke about him with ChatGPT) with amazement I saw them appear in my subsidiary, side by side with those of far more renowned poets.

At the time, I still had a sense of culture as (mainly) dusty and ancient stuff, so it seemed to me funny that a person related to the living world of song (a world that constantly engaged my emotions and my feelings, as it still does), could earn a place there. The question has followed me ever since: was that text okay in the subsidiary? Was it the right place? I won’t even try to answer: I know the question would still haunt me from time to time… [Keep reading on Edu INAF magazine]

Why use Vivaldi?

We were in front of the screen, in my office. Just trying to fix something; I can’t remember exactly. Internet site stuff, anyway. At one point the colleague tells me something like open Chrome, let’s see… and I say no, I don’t have Chrome, I use Vivaldi instead to which she, in return, ah well, but then!

How to say, then you are going to look for troubles! And here I would like to plead. Because the colleague’s exclamation is largely the result of misinformation. If you meant that that particular site should be viewed with Chrome and not with a browser that you don’t trust (because you still don’t know it), well you’re probably wrong. At lest in this situation. Chrome and Vivaldi are built around the same core, which as we know is Chromium . Therefore, the rendering of the various sites does not present substantial differences. In other words, what looks good with Chrome looks good with Vivaldi. And viceversa.