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Italian towns, asteroids, and caring


Civita di Bagnoregio

Who Will Save These Dying Italian Towns about small rural towns across Italy threatened by depopulation, poverty, and sometimes by being on top of a massive hill. The answer to the question (‘who will save them?’) is probably tourism, as it turns out, because they’re frequently stunning.

I do prefer the approach taken with Sutera though, which “in 2013, at the behest of its mayor, the town opened its doors — and its empty houses — to survivors of the catastrophic Lampedusa shipwreck”. Love this:

Sutera’s population had dwindled from 5,000 in 1970 to just 1,500, and the mayor recognized the humanitarian and economic opportunity the migrants could provide for his moribund town. To help the refugees, most of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa, integrate into the community, they are paired with local families, and required to take Italian lessons, given to them by the town’s citizens. (The European Union provides funding for food, clothing and housing, which can spur the creation of jobs for both migrants and locals.) Initially, there was some resistance, but that has disappeared with the energy these newcomers have brought to the area. Today, one can find young Nigerians taking their morning espresso alongside the old men, and local children kicking soccer balls in the street with their new playmates. And each summer the town hosts a daylong festival featuring the traditional food, music and dance of the immigrants.

This post on ‘House Address “Twins” Proximity‘ by Paul Plowman (and the comments) about his quest to find houses with matching addresses nearby. It sounds a little dry now that I’ve tried to explain it in a sentence, but it’s a fun read.


A little thing to visualise data from the NASA Near Earth Object Web Service API. I call it: ‘asteroid locator‘. You pass in a particular date, and it’ll show you all the objects [that NASA count as ‘near Earth’ and have logged] in space on that day.


The Fundamentals of Caring. Very much enjoyed it. All the feels.

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