I have been the guest of Anna and Danae’s podcast, The isolation booth. As Anna said when she first contacted me, it’s all rather amateur and casual. We chatted a bit about my projects, but mostly about our experience with the lockdown.
Alex Afonso finally made this dream come through. I have been his guest in the latest episode of ‘The Borders of Equality‘, the podcast he manages at the University of Leiden. We spoke about the different ways in which human movement is being restricted by governments all around the world, and what consequences this entails. The conversation is probably too long; but all in all it came out well. Thanks to Alex, we touched upon a variety of different issues and I hope we managed to provide precise figures.
Anecdote: I was supposed to meet Alex in 2013, when I was interviewed for a doctoral position at King’s College London. He was my designated supervisor. Unfortunately, Alex got robbed the night before and could not show up for the meeting. I did the interview with Adrian Blau, an extremely kind and competent professor. I got the position and a scholarship, but in the end chose to go to the European University Institute instead. Alex and I met many times afterwards. He has never been robbed again.
Once upon a time, there were courageous individuals who dreamed of discovering new lands. And the Americas were discovered. Then came individuals who dreamed of discovering the space. And the moon was discovered. Then came individuals who dreamed of discovering the universe… Well, you get my drift. It is thanks to these courageous pioneers that we can continue broadening our horizons.
Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I am pretty content with the mundane things I can realistically achieve and I am no big dreamer when in comes to uncharted territories. So the only discoveries I can personally claim are rather pedestrian information-wise services. No big deal, you might say. You would be mistaken: it’s thrilling to discover things that I can use for keeping up to date. Best of all, I am happy to share these with you, my reader. And be warned: this was a pretty good year for discovering stuff.
Surprisingly enough, the best service of 2014 turns out to be a paid newsletter. Generally speaking I despise newsletters and I would have never thought I could end up paying for one. Believe it or not, Good Morning Italia is a great treat. It costs less than 20 euro a year and it has become my primary source of information when I turn on my laptop in the morning. (Of course, you can also have it as a mobile app. Now, if there’s one thing I despise more than newsletter it is reading the news on my mobile devices, so personally I wouldn’t go that far. But, hei, feel free). I almost forgot: it is in Italian.
Speaking of Italian, I have started to read consistently some columns that I used to consult only sporadically: l’Oroscopo di Brezny – e quando capita anche quello di Breznev – le Regole, il Manuale di Conversazione e Buongiorno. Dovrei leggere anche l’Amaca, ma siccome non ha un suo spazio online me ne dimentico quasi sempre. Di italiano ho scoperto anche due siti che scrivono di sport e cultura: l’UltimoUomo e Rivista Studio. Credo che entrambi siano stati avviati proprio nel corso del 2014.
English-wise, I have simply re-discovered a couple of useful services I had given up in the course of 2013. The week ahead by the Economist is a useful podcast that comes in once a week – for free. Similarly useful, only slightly less effective, is The World Weekly with Gideon Rachman – again, once a week, for free, between 10 and 15 minutes. Other than these, I stick to my classics: openDemocracy, the Guardian, and BBC Breaking News now on Twitter. I have briefly tried the Upshot and Five Thirty Eight, but neither of these lasted very long on my bookmark list.
You may or may not use these resources in the coming months. You can think they will help you flourish. Or you can conclude it is a plain waste of time. Just remember: when Europeans first explored the New World, ships captained by Italians led the way. I see a lesson here for you, dear reader.