venerdì 13 novembre 2015

Il consiglio comunale sancisce solo il potere del partito

In attesa che discutessero la mozione su Gonfienti e l'area archeologica, mentre mi preparavo da mangiare prima di andare a fare lezione, mi sono collegata in diretta streaming per assistere alla seduta del consiglio comunale che si è tenuta oggi a Prato (in realtà ieri).
Sono rimasta basita. E non tanto perché la mozione non è stata discussa (tanto, che possono dire mentre stanno invece trattando di cementificare ancora di più con l'atto di indirizzo del nuovo Piano Operativo?), ma per il livello culturale e politico, davvero misero, e per la reale perdita di tempo che tale attività sembra ormai assumere.

Il consiglio comunale non serve tanto ad affrontare le problematiche della città, quanto piuttosto a sancire e ratificare il potere del partito, e le relative scelte già fatte altrove, tramite i suoi aderenti-adepti, che eseguono senza battere ciglio.

E non è un caso che frequentemente i sindaci siano assenti alle sedute del consiglio. Questo ha sempre meno valore e dà sempre più fastidio al potere e alle decisioni che vuole prendere.

Per sistemare questioni di coscienza, e metterla a tacere credendo di stare nel giusto, si utilizzano i campionari del modello politico 'corretto', con lemmi e diciture tutte maiuscole: Libertà, Resistenza, Democrazia, Accoglienza, Pari Opportunità, Sviluppo, eccetera eccetera.

Insomma, siamo a una distanza siderale da un mondo che potrebbe essere diverso e più gradevole per un numero maggiore di persone rispetto all'attuale, se solo chi può decidere alcuni aspetti di vita delle città fosse non tanto al servizio del partito o della fazione, e dei propri interessi, ma della comunità.

Fantascienza, in Italia.

E pensando alla fantascienza di cui sono una appassionata, non potevo non finire nel sito dell'ESA, la European Space Agency, che con estrema semplicità e chiarezza testimonia che il fior fiore degli scienziati, nell'umida e ventosa Olanda, dove piove un giorno sì e uno sì, vive un'altra vita dalla nostra, magari andando a lavorare in bicicletta. Una vita più salutare, per esempio, e quindi più ecologica; o viceversa. Più fantasiosa e ricca di stimoli. E chi viene da fuori, è incoraggiato a viverla, e consigliato.

Mentre noi, in Italia, siamo costretti a subire, e in troppe occasioni, le decisioni di ignoranti, arrivisti, arroganti, collusi; e li vediamo e li ascoltiamo sproloquiare per ordine di partito e di fazione.  In alcuni casi, come le notizie ormai ci annunciano a ogni ora del giorno e della notte, la cosa pubblica è dominata da veri e propri banditi.



Biking in the Netherlands
Wet weather? No problem!
11 November 2015





Riding your bike comfortably in the rain is relatively easy by using preparation and a bit of additional gear. For those of us working at ESTEC and living in the Netherlands, we see our Dutch colleagues riding their bikes in any kind of weather. Whether it’s raining, snowing or the sun is shining, bike paths in the Netherlands are constantly busy.

What may seem as normal bike riding for our Dutch colleagues can seem a little strange to newcomers. For example, in many countries it is the law to wear a bicycle helmet. That is not the case here. Hand signals may be different from what you were taught in your country. In the Netherlands, it’s very easy; left hand extended means you are turning left, right hand means you are turning right. 
“On Monday 16 November ESTEC's HSE-unit has organised a bike light safety check. You can drop off your bike at the Remco 1 (Mb) building and pick up your bike on your way home or any time during the day.” 
How about bicyclists giving a “lift” to another person with the person sitting on the back fender? Not a problem in the Netherlands. Nor is it uncommon to see a person holding an umbrella while biking.Side by side biking is also accepted in the Netherlands and this can be a little nerve-wracking when you see a group of school-aged kids biking toward you taking up the entire bike path or road. It’s not allowed, but it happens.
Did you know that biking to go shopping or to get to work, and cycling for sport are two different things in the Netherlands? Cycling for sport means wearing the correct gear including cycling shoes, helmets, gloves, etc, as well as using the proper racing (road) bike. Biking to get to work (if you live within 5 to 10 km) means getting on your bike in your everyday clothes and going.
Keep safety in mind
ESTEC’s HSE-unit encourages you to ride your bike for many reasons, including your health and the positive impact cycling has on the environment, but it’s always important to keep safety in mind.
Here are a few things to remember:
  • Bike brakes are much less effective when wet. Take it slower than normal and give yourself LOTS more time to stop.
  • Metal, painted, and brick surfaces can become very slippery during and after the rain. This means watch out for train tracks, manholes, roads and bike paths made with cobblestones , etc. When you cross over them keep your handlebars straight, not turning, to avoid a slip.
  • You may see the locals holding umbrellas in wet and windy conditions while riding their bikes, but if you are not an experienced bicyclist, do not try this. Wind and rain can make you feel unsteady enough. Keep both hands on your handle bars.





Here are a few more tips to consider when biking in wet conditions:
Wear glasses: A pair of glasses with a clear or yellow lens will protect your eyes from flying water, insects, mud, road grit and all the other bits of debris that can be thrown up by bike wheels. Yellow or orange lenses will increase contrast if the light levels are low, which will help you make out lump and bumps in the road more easily.Avoid potholes and puddles: Potholes are bad news. They can cause you to go off course, or in a worse-case scenario, damage your wheels or make you crash. In the rain, they become trickier still because you won’t be able to see if it’s a shallow puddle or a huge gaping hole ready to swallow you up. Stay clear!
Drop your tire pressure: By dropping the pressure in your tires a little, say about 15 – 20 psi from your normal levels, you can get a lot more grip on the road. The downside to this is you will be that much slower, but this can be a worthwhile compromise if the weather conditions are bad.
Control your speed and avoid hard braking: Wet weather means you’ll have to be more aware how you ride and how you control your speed. Sudden hard braking is best avoided as you are more likely to lose your grip on the road and skid. Make sure you look up and ahead, anticipate where you might need to stop or slow down, and make moves to do it slowly and well in advance. Apply your brakes smoothly and slowly, decelerating gradually.
Take care when cornering: Corners become a serious obstacle you’ll need to take care with. Look up and anticipate the corner, and reduce your speed before the corner so you are not applying the brakes going into or around it.
Ride consistently and predictably and keep to your lane: This is something you can do for other riders on the road. It means not suddenly slowing down, turning, cutting across riders, etc. These actions not only affect you, they might mean riders around you have to brake suddenly which increases the likelihood of someone skidding or crashing.
Make sure you have the right gear: A good waterproof jacket will make all the difference to your riding experience in the wet. Waterproof shoe covers, over trousers and gloves are all also good options to go for if you want to be completely protected from the elements. Neon and bright colours are especially important in dim but not dark conditions. A waterproof bag, pannier (In Holland, a pannier is known as a “fietstas” pronounced feats tass), or backpack will ensure that all of your valuables stay dry even if you don’t. Hands and feet get the coldest. If you plan to bike more than just a few km in the rain, make sure both are covered with waterproof and well insulated material.
Enjoy your ride! Besides the healthy benefits, it’s also a good opportunity to discover new routes to and from work.









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