Carnival fritters

by Mirella Facchin

This recipe comes from the mom of my friend Alessandra. This is a traditional Carnival sweet (yes, we’re a wee bit early) well-known everywhere in Italy, albeit with different names depending on the region: “Chiacchiere” (=chit-chat) “Bugie” (=lies), “Cenci” (=rags), plus others which are meaningless also in Italian like “Frappe” “Crostoli” or “Galani”.

Health hypocrisy generated the monster of an oven version which in our family is tantamount to blasphemy, so I won’t spend any more time on it. Having said that, the eggs will make sure the dough absorbs very little oil, so after a minute or two of cooling, the fritters will be surprisingly dry.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

  • 100g butter
  • 2 large tablespoons of sugar
  • 500g “00” flour (finely ground flour, if you don’t know what I am talking about, read this)
  • 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons of rum
  • grated zest of 2 lemons

Melt the butter, add sugar and milk and a pinch of salt. Make a flour volcano and place this mix in its center, followed by the eggs, rum and lemon zest. Knead the dough thoroughly (at least 20 minutes, if available use a kneading machine) then let it rest 20 minutes before you roll it into layers “so thin you can see through”.

Rolling the dough is best done with a pasta machine like this one, working progressively through the rollers steps all the way to the last one (don’t cheat, though, only one step at a time !)

Cut the dough into sheets of 20×10 cm with two halfway cuts in the middle of each.

Heat peanut oil in a large frying pan to 170/180 °C and fry each sheet individually for no more than 30 seconds (see video), then put it to cool on kitchen paper.

Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar before serving, but eat carefully: they’re so thin they break easily!

Autentica?

Gira in rete questa foto, attribuita ad una persona che vive sulle mura della Città Alta di Bergamo: si vedono le luci della Città Bassa e, sullo sfondo, la skyline di Milano, visibile grazie all’aria resa limpida dall’assenza di traffico.

La Città Alta di Bergamo dista in linea d’aria da piazza Gae Aulenti a Milano circa 45,3km e la mia impressione è che da quella distanza Milano sembri un po’ troppo “grande”.

Ho allora cercato in rete qualche webcam puntata sulla stessa zona, ma il problema è che mutando la prospettiva la skyline diventa molto diversa; ne ho però trovata una collocata a Baggio (zona ovest di Milano), cioè in una direzione grosso modo opposta a quella da cui è presa questa foto, ma ad una distanza molto minore (solo 8 km); l’ho rovesciata per renderla sostanzialmente sovrapponibile a questa e ho aggiunto qualche didascalia:

Ebbene la separazione tra i grattacieli Allianz e Unicredit in questa immagine (presa da 8 km di distanza) è equivalente all’altezza apparente della Torre Isozaki (Allianz) stessa, mentre nell’immagine da Bergamo (presa a 45 km di distanza) è circa 5 volte l’altezza della torre.

Sono dunque portato a ritenere che l’immagine “da Bergamo” sia in realtà un falso.

Terza puntata

Questo post è la terza puntata (qui il riassunto delle puntate precedenti) delle mie disavventure con la batteria dei servizi della mia Kona EV 64kWh della quale sono peraltro molto soddisfatto.

In particolare, visto che sia Hyundai che l’officina non sembrano sapere che pesci prendere, ho deciso di cercare di capire cosa non ci sia da solo.

Ho dunque acquistato un data logger collegandolo in parallelo sui morsetti della batteria 12V; il vantaggio rispetto alla pinza amperometrica è che posso misurare e registrare la tensione della batteria senza aprire l’auto o il cofano e dunque in condizioni di perfetta quiete.

Ho precedentemente riferito di aver rilevato circa 4A in uscita dalla vettura spenta. Un successivo test mi ha permesso di verificare che dopo circa 25′ questa corrente scende a zero: la mia ipotesi dunque è che si tratti di sensori vari che vanno in quiete completa solo dopo questo intervallo di tempo.

Per farla breve, questi sono i risultati dei miei test. Tutte le ricariche sono state fatte arrivando al limite impostato sull’auto (100% per AC e 80% per DC) perché l’inconveniente si presenta solo quando la ricarica si interrompe e l’auto va (o meglio, dovrebbe) andare in stato di quiete.

Carica su wallbox domestica S&H Wally 7,4kW

Da grafico si vede chiaramente che la ricarica viene completata alle 2:27 e in quell’istante la tensione della batteria dei servizi scende bruscamente da 13,1V (valore che caratterizza tutta la fase di ricarica) a 12,5V per poi scendere costantemente nelle circa 6,5 ore successive fino a 11,9V (circa -1,8mV al minuto). A quel punto accendo l’auto e tutto torna normale.

Carica su caricatore centellinare Hyundai 12A

La carica termina alle 3:49 con la batteria dei servizi è a 13,1V; a fine ricarica il “gradino” è quasi inesistente (12,9V) e dopo 5 ore la tensione è ancora 12,8V; dunque la perdita di tensione è praticamente impercettibile: circa 0,3mV al minuto.

Carica su stazione Fast DC 45kW

La carica finisce alle 17:37; al termine la batteria dei servizi si porta a 12.9V e lì resta, senza “gradini” né erosione alcuna (addirittura guadagna qualche decina di mV) finché non rimetto in moto intorno alle 19:00.

Carica su stazione AC 7,4kW

Questo test è stato effettuato su una stazione Fast DC, collegando però l’auto alla presa Tipo2 in AC. Questa potrebbe erogare 43kW, ma l’OBC dell’auto ne accetta solo 7,4 ed in effetti questa è proprio la potenza a cui ricarico.

La carica finisce alle 18:05 con un brevissimo transitorio con la tensione che scende da 13,1V a 12,77 per poi riportarsi nei 10 minuti successivi a 13,1V dove resta fino al riavvio alle 19:13.

Conclusioni

Da questi test sembra evidente che l’inconveniente si presenta solo quando carico dalla wallbox di casa: l’erosione della tensione è però lenta e perché la batteria scenda sotto la tensione minima di accensione (che non so quale sia) sono necessarie almeno 8-10 ore di sosta dopo che è finita la ricarica.

In capo a S&H dunque capire cosa causi l’inconveniente.

In capo a Hyundai capire perché la funzione salvabatteria non intervenga a rimediare.

[Vai alla quarta (ed ultima) puntata]

Why the Senate audition is NOT good news for Facebook

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By many accounts, mr. Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing yesterday was a roaring success: stock’s up and Senators appeared NOT to understand what Facebook does or how the Internet works. From a media standpoint

the Zuck 1 – U.S. Senate 0.

But that’s nothing new: lawmakers (not just American) rarely understand what’s happening at the bleeding edge of innovation. In truth, very few people do, and this explains why these very few people are obscenely rich and powerful.

This happened before: U.S. lawmakers did not understand the railways, did not understand mainframe computers, did not understand the Personal Computer – but seeing the immense fortunes amassed by people or companies like Cornelius Vanderbilt, IBM or Microsoft they clumsily tried to rein them in. In my time, both IBM and Microsoft ended up being hamstrung by their stormy relationship with the DoJ and while neither company was “made poor” (in fact they still rank among the world’s largest and most successful corporations) their world dominance streak was chopped.

The stock market witnessed Zuckerberg’s superiority in the hearing and bid the share price up, but IMHO they will soon realize that what they hailed as a victory is indeed a damning episode for Facebook: expect the emergence of a powerful legal compliance department which will dictate what can or cannot be done. Expect long and costly wranglings with the DoJ as U.S. (and European) lawmakers hammer down on its dominance, fueled by competitors’ lobbyists.

It was an old adage that “IBM was run by lawyers” and not many people may have noticed Microsoft’s current President is a Bradford L. Smith whom I have met and worked with when he was one of their senior lawyers.

Expect now EU Commission hearings (compounded by the well-known taxation ongoing issue, and maybe others.

Far from positive for the company, yesterday started a major, irreversible modification of the way Facebook does business.

Case studies from History (1)

I am looking forward to a very intense fall traveling schedule which will take me to Mumbai, Istanbul and Cairo in the space of a few weeks.

I will start with the last one, because I will be covering a whole new topic which I never discussed before in a public occasion, and that is

Propaganda vs. True Public Engagement

How is Propaganda different from True Public Engagement?

Is one leading to the other, or are the two opposed? And, has this changed with the advent of Digital, which removed all barriers to access making each individual a potential, if temporary, news channel?

More importantly, perhaps, did the transition to Digital usher an era of more authentic Communications, where people talk to people directly and information is free to travel across the world?

My impression is that after a very short period of under-evaluation, Propaganda has learned its digital ropes quite well, if nothing else because Propaganda has money and it can afford the best consultants.

One of the largest contracts I led was the Digital campaign for the 2009 European Elections: the Party that was our client won, even though with age I stopped claiming merit for that victory. Barack Obama is widely credited to have won especially the 2008 election thanks to masterful use of Social Media; across Europe, new euro-skeptic parties thrive on digital-only communications.

The Goebbels of our time have demonstrated they are as good at manipulating public opinion as they were in the ‘40s because Digital and Social Media are a channel like any other: they are not un-stoppable, they can be (and are) monitored. If anything, for this purpose they are better suited than most channels, because all that goes through them is already in machine-digestible form: as a matter of fact, some of the most advanced Artificial Intelligence applications are classified and used in military grade surveillance.

Moreover, both sides of any dispute have become so good at storytelling that very often it is quite difficult to figure out who are the Good Guys. I presume we can all think of contemporary geo-political scenarios that fit this description.

When I look at the world we all live in, alongside glorious examples of citizen journalism I see evidence of digital tools being very effectively used to recruit and indoctrinate distraught youngsters to become terrorist chrysalises, ready to blossom into the next Breivik or Abdeslam.

So I started looking at the past, where I found two stories that I believe are of relevance, as they show how in the past crises not dissimilar from the ones facing us right now have been addressed using two of the fundamentals of Communications: Messages and Reputation.

You can call these Case Studies from History.

[more to follow…]

Reading the tea leaves of the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign

To the eye of the external observer the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign seems to have turned a corner.

Now that he clinched the republican nomination Trump seems to be on a rampage of self-inflicted damage: first the goofy attack on the Khan family (whose fallen kid is a war hero of Muslim religion), then the refusal to endorse the primaries of GOP heavyweights Paul Ryan and John McCain (perhaps as revenge for their absence at the RNC), then the unbelievably clumsy kicking out of a crying baby at a rally – and the list goes on.

Media are taking their gloves off, with well-researched attacks that suggest he is not at all as successful as he portrays himself (Newsweek) and that the republican top brass is really, REALLY fed up with him (WaPo).

So what’s going on?

I think Trump plan was never to be President at all. The POTUS job is a tough one and the Don is not ready to work his ass off like that. Especially since he always had a fallback solution that requires much less work, zero risk and almost as much visibility, visibility being the only thing he really craves.

The solution is called “I could have been President if only the pussies in my party hadn’t thrown me out” and it works like this:

  1. win the nomination – CHECK !
  2. outrage the GOP so much they kick him out – NEARLY THERE
  3. HRC wins by a substantive margin
  4. for all her Presidency, Trump can go on behaving like the madman the media love, acting as her shadow opposer.

For someone who thrives on exaggeration, brashness the “I could have been President” solution is the best: no responsibility, almost the same visibility.

WCF Davos 2016

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This is the event you don’t want to miss, where the Global Communications Elite gets together to discuss what is going on in our profession.

An exciting program, great speakers and an unrivalled opportunity to network with an audience that is perhaps the only true example of globally diverse in an industry that sometimes folds over itself.

As a Committee Member I have a limited number of early bird discount tickets (EUR 1,150) available until Christmas, email me for details.

Research for “The Extinction of Trust”

As I usually do when setting out on a new book project, I will devote the first six months of next year to reading good previous works on the broad subject of Trust.

Right now I am reading “A Culture of Credit” by Rowena Olegario, next up will be “Reinventing the Bazaar” by John McMillan, suggested by Niall Kearn Mills.

If you have other reading suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I am specifically interested in the history of the concept of Trust, how it evolved, how it got codified in rules and best practices.

Best is to post your suggestions in the comments below, so others can see if a book is already in the list. And it will make it easier for me to remember WHERE is the list :-D

CaseTV goes live

Psyched to report that my good friend Galina Panina has aired the first episode of “CaseTV” a video channel dedicated to the commentary of actual cases by various PR experts from around the globe.

I love the ingenuity she uses: names and surnames, everything is very plainly described; in this episode, she has chosen the case of a PR agency who attempted to bribe a reporter not to air a story that was very unfavourable for a client; the journalist however not only refused the bribe of about EUR 4,500, but recorded the clumsy attempt and reported on it as well.

Galina’s questions to the panel were therefore:

What would be the right behaviour to avoid getting in this situation?

What do do now?

Do not worry If your Russian is a little rusty, as they kindly provided english subtitles, and all the answers are in English.

Enjoy!