Napoli 1980s: No/New York, but a Factory of Global Social and Cultural Revolution

What follows is the integral version of the essay accompanying Toty Ruggieri’s photos in the book Diamond Dogs Officina Post Industriale just published by Rome’s (Italy) Yard Press.


Napoli 1980s: No/New York, but a Factory of Global Social and Cultural Revolution

© Paolo Pontoniere

The Diamond Dogs opened its doors in 1984 in Naples, in the midst of what appeared to be a sudden turn toward ephemeral and hedonism


Photo: Toty Ruggiery

of Italy’s proverbially political-savvy youths. Salvio Causano, Stefania Vastarella, Salvatore Magnoni, Enzo Casella, Michele Genovese, Alessandra Novelli, Tonino Piccolo, Leopoldo, Gennaro da Piscinola, Luca Cangemi, Salvatore Cusano, Franco il Rosso.  As for many juvenile enterprises of these times, the points of stylistic reference were the famous punk-houses of Northern Europe. Berlin, the Risiko. London, the Windsor Castle. The Manna Machine, the Dissidenten,  the Clash, David Bowie.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

David Bowie/Diamond Dogs: an archetypical binomial of sexual fluidity, political transgressivism, pursuers of glamorous visions of a post-apocalyptic and dystopian future. All true…,But it would be a big mistake reducing the history of the Diamond Dogs to a curious result of imported cultural trends, or even worse to a mere expression of social malaise, to the result of social fragmentation and, or cultural marginalization. To be extremely clear, let me say: to another Punk-me-too experience like the many thousands that emerged, “becoming”, throughout Europe during the ‘80s.


The clothes, the symbolism and the mannerisms may have been similar to those adopted by punks across the old continent but make no mistake, the experience of the Diamond Dogs, as the social and political vicissitudes that Naples lived during those years, were unique in the Italian panorama, and probably in Europe as well.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

Foretellers of phenomena to come in years to follow, the events that took place in Naples, and at the Diamond Dogs, during the second half of the nineteen eighties were harbinger of a world to come in which social fluidity, economic instability, and political transformism would become the rule rather than the exception.


In this view the parabola the Diamond Dogs, rather than a marginal trajectory, may constitute one of the most exquisite examples of the social revolution that was taking place in Naples during the eighties.


It was a youth-driven social revolution that–even if just for a short moment–returned Naples to its role of international capital of culture, and social experimentation. Returned the city to a ‘loci’ where debating ideas was anew the bread and butter of a generation of youths who, poised on the frontier of cultural innovation and social involution–as it had been during the times of Vico, Cuoco, Filangieri, Galanti, Pimentel, and Genovesi– aimed to heal the wounds caused by recent natural disasters, by man-made criminal emergencies, and by political mismanagement.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

Since the big earthquake that had struck Campania in November of 1980, the city had been poised between grace and desperation, constructivism and destruction; between social progress and political involution, in synthesis between hell—the crumpling historical center in the flatlands and the sprawling project-land that grew eastward and southward beyond its famed hills–and paradise—uptown: Vomero, Posillipo, Santa Lucia.  And while the whole nation was coming to terms with the fact that the country had a serious problem with political corruption and criminal infiltrations in the public administration, toward the mid-eighties, for some media alchemy the narrative about crime, moral turpitude and social degradation came to be associated with Naples and the south of Italy. Naples in particular, with its high juvenile unemployment, gripped in the vise of mafia’s gang wars, with its daily bulletin of wounded and killed, a crumbling urban structure and an ineffective public administration, become the image of everything that did not work with the country.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

While reports about the north described a country in the midst of an economic boom, in which science, design, fashion and technology were fostering a rapid transition from what was still mainly an agricultural society to an industrial and service based economy, media investigations about Naples and the South focused mainly onto its problems, and on the shortcomings of its people. Thus Napoli became a convenient distraction from other and more troubling developments. From events like the bombing of Itavia flight 870 over Ustica, the bombing of Bologna’s Train station, the bombing of train 940, the discovery of the existence of P2–yet another secret service inspired putschist organization—and of the existence of Operation Gladio, yet another clandestine “stay-behind” plan developed during the Cold War by Italian rightwing politicians in cahoots with CIA and NATO to prepare for resistance in case left-leaning forces should ever gain control of governing levers. Years later Mani Pulite (Clean Hands)–a 1990s’ nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption that lead to the demise of Italy’s so called first republic, and eventually to the dissolution of Italy’s traditional political parties –will in fact confirm that corruption and malfeasance weren’t just a Neapolitan problem, nevertheless the media-driven negative narrative about a community gone astray would associate Naples’ public image indelibly with garbage, petty crime, social and urban chaos.


Was this an original experience? Did it provide a unique insight?



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

It is by no means a stretch of imagination affirming that attempting to revolutionize the chaos that smothered the city the youth of Napoli, like those who frequented the Diamond Dogs, laid the foundation of phenomena to come. Of phenomena like Italy’s Mani Pulite and the dissolution of Italy’s traditional political system; the Second Republic; the end of the political categories of right and left; Slow Food; Italy’s New Cinema; Italy’s New Theatre, and the quest to pacify and reclaim the Mediterranean as a sea of peace and of all people, as well as a newfound acceptance of ethnic and sexual minorities.


It would in synthesis not be an overstatement to say that from many points of view the city was living a new season of ideal and cultural ferment similar to that it had lived in 1799, when a short lived Illuminist revolution in response to Bourbonic despotism–allowed the city to unleash the creative energy of its people, and to become a leader in events that lead to the end of feudalism, to the rise of modern Europe, and to the beginning a global discourse about the rights of the people, democracy, and freedom. A discourse this one that will reach maturity during the American anti-cololonial Revolution, and that continues today.


The Diamond Dogs, the Selvaggi Napoletani and the New Giacobini


Taking place between 1984 and 1989, the experience of the Diamond Dogs coincides with the ‘escape velocity’ phase of the socio-political processes triggered by the earthquake of 1980.


Four years from the seismic events the metal scaffoldings that had been initially propping-up thousands of the city’s buildings, like arms supporting a sorrowful mourner to prevent her ruinous fall, have become a straitjacket. Their rigid embrace is suffocating not only the view, but also putting a damp on the enthusiasm and the inventiveness for which the city population is renowned around the world. This is the tail-end of the years of lead. Are the years of the heroin epidemic—which like the crack epidemic in the US will erase a generation of political activists–of the state coming to pact with the Camorra via its secret service, while every day’s reality has become a Kafkian experience with unscripted rules, and in which any action can generate multiple and contradictory results.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

Skepticism, cynicism, social segregation, cultural marginalization, behavioral anomie and helplessness are causing a diffused lethargy of the spirit and exerting a chilling effect on the collective creativity. The streets are invaded by a daily flood of protesters, both from the right and from the left of the political spectrum, asking for everything and the opposite of everything else. Prone to be easily influenced by demagogues and their promises –from the movement of the unemployed (il movimento dei disoccupati), to that of the homeless (i senza casa)–these crowds hold siege to the city precipitating it into a state of permanent conflict while public-services, from waste-collection to public transportation, are in disarray and can barely meet the needs of the population.


And while in other cities music and culture gave rise to “urban tribes” like the Paninari, the dark, the new romantics, the  metal heads and post punks – groups of young people who bonded mostly over clothing style or musical preference–in Naples the social emergency and the structural catastrophe provide fertile ground to the birth of an unique indigenous clan, the Selvaggi Napoletani (the Wild Neapolitans, as they will be quickly dubbed by the media): an unstructured youth movement that sought to oppose creative anarchy and rational thought to the socio-political chaos which would in short order sweep over—first–the city and then the nation.


A transgenerational and tran-stylistic horde-libre that included fine artists, photographers, musicians, journalists, poets, sculptors, actors, and free thinkers, the ‘Selvaggi Napoletani’ emerged from the tufan belly of the city, from the same musky and proto-Christian catacombs where the Diamond Dogs lived its adventure.


Photo: Toty Ruggigeri


Forming a network of tunnels that connects the hills to the Greek palaeopolis buried under city’s center, these guts provided refuge, and a stage, to a generation of artists, scholars, performers, which had set out to cut a different trajectory in the maze of indecipherable and unscripted laws that regulated Napoli’s social dynamics.


While national media had written off the city off as lost cause, teams of Neapolitan investigative photographers and journalists–including this editor—like Toty Ruggieri, Gianni Fiorito, Luciano Ferrara, Marina Arlotta, Michele Buonuomo, Francesco Durante, Gianni Montesano, and Federico Vacalebre were tearing the veil of national indifference toward the Neapolitan drama and, venturing into the soft underbelly of the city, were unveiling uncomfortable truths and secrets worth killing to shroud them from public scrutiny.

Gianni Montesano, Toty Ruggeri and Pino Cimo’s investigation into the assassination of young Neapolitan journalist Giancarlo Siani–“Mani Pulite” ante tempora—indicated the clear existence of an incestuous connubial between organized crime and public institutions. A connection which extended into the high-echelon of power: a leader of the ruling Socialist Party–and mayor of one of the major cities in the county of Naples–emerged in fact among the masterminds of the assassination. Siani had been investigating into shady dealings between local political figures and crime cartels surrounding the distribution of public funds for the reconstruction of the city.

A series of reports about the effects that NATO’s military servitude had on human trafficking, prostitution, drug trade and petty crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the port of Naples, produced by this writer, Ruggieri and Montesano for a now defunct regional magazine, were met with physical treats, and subjected to inexplicable rejections by local media, even though is some cases they had commissioned the reports in the first place.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

And while Neapolitan publishers like Vincenzo Sparagna of Editoriale Primo Carnera —Frigidaire, Frizzer, Tempi Supplementari, and Vomito—and Gaetano Colonnese of Colonnese Editore, revived the art and craft of independent book publishing, theatrical revolution was afoot as well. 40 years from another theatrical revolution driven by international giants of dramaturgy like Raffele Viviani and Eduardo  De Filippo, innovators the likes of the late playwright Antonio Newiller—founder of Teatro dei Mutamenti—and Enzo Moscato were revitalizing Naples’ storied theatrical tradition with plays such as “Titanic the End” and “Scannasurice”, which allegorizing on the tragic story of steamship RMS Titanic (which sank between the polar ice on April 14, 1912), the first, and the plight of a transgender in a post-earthquake Naples–the second,–offered a suitable and immediately understandable metaphor for the tragic destiny that had befallen not only the city but an entire generation of Neapolitan intellectuals and political leaders who in their soporiferous, and self-serving lethargy, where sleeping at the wheel while the world in which they lived was steadily being swollen –amidst a Babelic chaos–into a sea of banality and incompetence, or even worse into a cruel co-dependency between abused and abusers, exploited and exploiters, degradation and excellence.


Phto: Toty Ruggieri

Newiller and Moscato weren’t white flies though. At their heels was a news school of talents. The “Nuova Drammaturgia Napoletana” as it will be successively defined, which included groups such as Falso Movimento, and Teatro Studio, founded respectively by Mario Martone and Tony Servillo with a cadre of emerging actors and scenographers who will eventually—currently–become the “New Face” of the city around the world . Actors like Tony Servillo, Licia Maglietta, Andrea Renzi, Daghi Rondanini, Annibale Ruccello, Salvatore Cantalupo. In those years the number of off–houses grew as well. Like mushrooms following a tempest they sprang up an disappeared around the city some times in a matter of weeks. For a minute Napoli rivaled London for the number of off-locations–with the most renowned being the Teatro del Garage, Teatro Nuovo, Teatro Ausonia and San Carluccio.


And while the off-scene was alive and well, the nigthclubbing network provided a fertile ground for an exquisitely unique Neapolitan off-off scene. Locales like Diamond Dogs, the Pulsar in area Costantinopoli, the Riot at Palazzo Donn’Anna off Spaccanapoli, the ZX, the KGB, the Rockery-Nook, the Sensemilla, the Caffe della Luna (The Moon Café’), and social centers such as Segnali di Accelerazione (in the hinterland Acerrano), the Tienament (remember in Neapolitan, on the northwestern board of the city in that of Soccavo), offered an outlet to a slew of personal “pastiches” by budding young performers from local art schools like the Accademia di Belle Arti, and to bands like the Bisca, the Avion Travel, Les bandard Foux, the Liquid Eye, the Detonazione, the Almamegretta, which will produce the first musical expression of an emerging dialectical ethno-punk/ska of Mediterranean flavor, and which will pave the way to the ‘90s phenomenon of the musical posse around this ancient basin.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

In the meantime Sparagana’s monthlies Frigidaire, and Freezer had introduced readers to a new kind of reporting. A reporting in which real news, current and political affairs were revisited through the lens of cartoons, and which was promptly imitated across the Alps by French, Spanish and German newspapers and magazines. This new form of narrative in recent years has been dubbed “graphic novel”, and has proven to be extremely useful to Middle Eastern writers attempting to show the human face of the Iraqi war–and of the Palestinian conflict–to readers around the world.


Fine artists merit probably a chapter apart in this history. Poets of inner landscapes reflecting the struggle of an entire generation to gain a  seat at the table of history, painters, sculptors and photographers were at the vanguard of this push to explore new paths toward modernity. Their cadre included—among the others–Gabriele Di Matteo, Massimo Latte, Francesco Sansone, Piero Gatto, Michele Ciardiello, Salvatore Giusto, Maurizio Colantuoni, Fathi Hassan, Aldo Arlotta, Umberto Manzo, Salvatore Silvestro, Salvatore Bossone, Saverio Lucariello, Pina de Luca, Maurizio Pivetta and Lucia Gangheri. Taken together they constituted a new Neapolitan school of painting the likes of Neapolitan painters of the sixteen hundreds and revived the Neapolitan pictorial tradition of innovation, as the Transavantagarde had done during the seventies, returning the city the role of historic leader of the visual arts. A role that seemed to have dissolved during the impact with the earthquake.


Photo: Toty Ruggieri


What was happening in Naples hadn’t escaped artist who were on the cusp of experimentation though. Those were in fact the years in which the international avant-garde attracted by the city’s cultural ferment returned to Naples. Kounellis, Beuys, Nitsch, Kubelka and Warhol, to name a few, descend on Naples attracted by the Jacobin spirit of its artists and its performers. Great exhibitions like Terraemotus; of Naples No New York; Napoli 99 (which will give ‘life’ also to a namesake foundation and to one of the city’s most renowned posses, the 99 Posse); of “Bloque, Cerise, Boquetes, Jacquerte, Bijou”, will bring international attention to the city. Jean Noel Schifano appointment as director of the Grenoble Institute will also reveal an interest among European intellectuals to restitute Naples to its role of European capital of culture. Prophetically anticipating experiences such as California’s ethno-mixed cuisine— Schifano, a bonvivant and an estimator of Neapolitan beauty, will prompt the first ever experiment of culinary fusion, proposing the development of recipes mixing French and Neapolitan cuisine. Welcomed and promoted by the clubs of the nightclubbing network, Schifano’s exhortation will result in the birth a slew of eateries around the city which, managed by young entrepreneurs, will propose a new kind of fast-food, made of traditional foods wrapped in servings of convenience, and so are born the first buds of what will eventually become the Slow Food movement and eateries that, like the Campagnola (The Countrified) of Piazzetta Nilo and La Cantina del Sole (The Tavern of the Sun) at Via Palladino , which were popular grubs locales will in short order turn from taverns of the people into starred Michelin Guide destinations for the enjoyment of gourmands worldwide.


One should not commit the error though to believe that experiences like the Diamond Dogs were meant to fulfill only a superstructural need—to adopt a Materialistic point of view. They promoted also social engagement and political committement. At the end  we must not forget that one of the most widespread graffiti of the time—and one of the most diffused slogan among Neapolitan punks and left leaning activists–was “Eroina, Fascisti, e Polizia dai nostril quartieri vi spazzeremo via”— Heroin, Fascists , and police from our neighborhoods we will wipe you out. Clubs like the Diamond Dogs, the Pulsar, Segnali di Accelerazione, and many other played a defining role in local and international campaigns, promoting indigenous, national and international causes; historical the campaign that they organized in favor of the Welsh miners protesting the Thatcher government. It involved practically all the city’s club and led to a national march in their support in Rome.



Photo: Toty Ruggieri

To recall events that took place more than 30 years ago may appear self-celebratory, the need of a generation well on its way to Sunset Boulevard, but we beg to differ. Napoli is once again a center of international attraction, and its innovative spirit is recognized again by innovators form some of the world’s major technological centers—it is not an accident in fact that giants of technology like Apple and Cisco have decided to open research and development in this city. The first inaugurating a center on the Eastern edge of the city to train European App developers, and the second opening a production center in that of Scampia, one of the largest housing settlement for the poor and the economically disadvantaged in Europe. It is at this juncture, when defining changes are afoot, which risk to change the nature of the city for ever—see for example what a booming tech economy has done to the social fabric of San Francisco and Northern California–important to understand, and to remember, where we came from, and how we got where we are. Experiences like that of the Diamond Dogs contributed to creating what is being defined the Neapolitan Risorgimento. It is imperative to learn from those years what was done that was good, and thus apply it today, and what we should avoid. Not only to avoid that the negatives of history repeat themselves—to get out in other terms for history’s course and recourse loop– but above all to project what we have learned that works into the future, so that new generations of Neapolitan artists, thinkers, politicians, and social activists may prosper, create and thrive.



Posted in Glocanomica | Leave a comment

Stanford confidential, scandali e sesso minacciano la business school più famosa al mondo

Foam party stanfordRelazioni extraconiugali tra docenti, festini ed eccessi degli studenti: l’istituzione accademica simbolo della Silicon Valley, che dovrebbe formare i nuovi leader della finanza e vanta tre Nobel nel corpo insegnanti, finisce al centro di pesanti critiche. “Ormai più famosa per le feste che per le lezioni”. Prestigio a rischio, e il mondo della finanza e le famiglie degli studenti sono in allarme


SAN FRANCISCO – Di primo acchito la si sarebbe potuta definire una tresca tra colleghi. E non fosse per il fatto che si tratta di due docenti della prestigiosa School of Business della Stanford University, la gallina dalle uova d’oro della famosa università californiana, i media l’avrebbero ignorata. Ma ci sono in gioco interessi economici che collegano la scuola ad un network di potere che include i maggiori venture capitalist statunitensi, le principali aziende hi-tech del pianeta, i banchieri di Wall Street e il governo americano. E così la storia della relazione extramatrimoniale tra Garth Saloner, ex-preside della School of Business della Stanford University, e Deborah Gruenfeld, una sua collega, che in condizioni normali si sarebbe risolta in maniera privata, è finita sulle prime pagine dei maggiori media economici statunitensi e sta offrendo ai giornalisti l’occasione per squarciare il velo di omertà che circonda per tradizione la famosa scuola statunitense. Cosa che, oltre a offuscarne il prestigio, serve anche a rinfocolare la polemica sugli eccessi e i privilegi di cui gode il mondo dell’accademia statunitense e spinge molti analisti a domandarsi se la scuola non viva oramai solo di fama mentre la situazione attuale sia ben diversa dalla versione ufficiale, che la presenta come il regno del successo e dell’innovazione.

La sindrome della torre d’avorio.

I genitori degli studenti (la cui retta a fine corso di laurea si aggira sui 250mila dollari) si domandano se il loro investimento abbia un reale valore o se non stiano invece finanziando un sistema di privilegi e abusi. Se lo domandano anche i manager delle società di venture capital che finanziano gran parte delle startup e delle innovazioni che emergono dalla scuola di Palo Alto: temono che il serbatoio dal quale sono emersi tanti degli unicorni della Silicon Valley sia affetto dalla sindrome della torre d’avorio. Negli Stati Uniti non di rado si parla proprio di “ivory tower syndrome” per indicare l’isolamento nel quale operano le università e i loro docenti. Isolamento che per altro implica previlegi, come la cattedra a vita (a meno che non si commettano atti gravissimi) e stipendi che, superando il milione di dollari l’anno, sono inaccessibili ai comuni mortali. Questo scollamento dalla società civile è ancora più evidente nel caso della Stanford University, dove per altro una torre c’è davvero: la Hoover Tower sede dell’omonima fondazione ultraconservatrice e rifugio dorato di professori famosi e politici repubblicani sul viale del tramonto. Non sono solo i venture capitalist a temere, ma anche, appunto, i genitori dei giovani che studiano a Stanford, preoccupati che il loro investimento non produrrà i risultati sperati. Si tratta di promesse di non poco conto. Secondo il periodico Forbes a cinque anni di distanza dalla laurea, un laureato in business della scuola californiana guadagna in media 250mila dollari l’anno – cifra notevolmente superiore a quella garantita dagli Mba di altre scuole di business – mentre quattro su dieci nello stesso periodo accumulano oltre un quarto di milione di dollari in stock option. Non solo. Ma delle 100 startup che hanno ricevuto i maggiori finanziamenti negli ultimi cinque anni ben 31 sono nate alla business school di Stanford. Non è quindi senza apprensione che la Silicon Valley e gli studenti della influente scuola seguono la battaglia che Saloner e Stanford stanno conducendo per zittire il marito della Gruenfeld. Docente anche lui alla School of Business, Jim Phills – questo è il suo nome – recentemente è stato licenziato. Ufficialmente per incompetenza ma molti pensano invece che sia stato per alleviare la pressione dei segugi mediatici che, a partire dall’autore dello scoop, Ethan Baron, reporter di Poets & Quants, organo ufficiale delle scuole di business statunitensi, stanno approfittando dell’occasione per ficcare il naso negli affari della scuola. E distrarre la stampa diventa sempre più difficile.

Relazione extraconiugale, il preside si dimette.

“Come molti già sanno l’università ed io ci stiamo difendendo Gruenfeld and Salonervigorosamente da una denuncia priva di sostanza, legata al divorzio conflittuale tra due docenti di questa scuola, uno ancora in servizio e l’altro non più”, scriveva Saloner nella lettera di dimissioni. “Mi sono convinto che il crescente interesse di pubblico e mediatico che circonda questa vicenda potrebbe distrarre tutti voi dall’importante lavoro che state facendo e ingiustamente compromettere l’ottima reputazione di questa istituzione”. L’effetto, però, è stato contrario alle aspettative: le dimissioni di Saloner, con l’arrivo dei giornalisti del Wall Street Journal a Stanford, hanno suscitato l’interesse dei media del gotha finanziario mondiale, che hanno cominciato a indagare sulle norme non scritte che regolano i rapporti di potere all’interno della scuola e su peculiarità non ben spiegate della vita quotidiana dei suoi studenti. Ne è emerso un quadro inquietante, ben diverso dalla versione agiografica ufficiale del campus idilliaco dove premi Nobel per l’economia – ben tre – addestrano i futuri leoni della finanza mondiale. Una serie di incidenti che nel corso degli ultimi due anni hanno coinvolto studenti e docenti della scuola – il più grave dei quali si è concluso con la morte di una persona – e storie di violenza sessuale nei dormitori hanno evidenziato una cultura decadentista contraddistinta da arroganza e scarso rispetto delle convenzioni sociali. “E’ una delle solite storie di potere e tracotanza dove un gruppo di persone s’è convinto di essere al di sopra della legge”, commenta un docente della business school che chiede di mantenere l’anonimato. Due sono gli episodi più sintomatici di questo atteggiamento che vale la pena ricordare. Il primo, conclusosi con la morte di un turista portoricano, coinvolge il ventiquattrenne Zachary Katz. Laureatosi ad Harvard con 100 e lode in biochimica, inglese e storia, Katz – dottorando alla business school di Stanford – era destinato a diventare una stella sin dal suo arrivo a Stanford, ma la storia è cambiata in una notte dell’ottobre del 2013, quando, guidando contromano, ubriaco, sull’autostrada 101 che collega San Francisco alla Silicon Valley, ha causato la morte, in uno scontro frontale con un taxi che trasportava un gruppo di turisti portoricani, di uno degli occupanti e il ferimento degli altri passeggeri. Arrestato, ancora ubriaco, Katz si era dichiarato innocente e intervistato dalla stampa, invece di esprimere rimorso, aveva reso noto con indifferenza che si sarebbe laureato a gennnio del 2018. Il secondo episodio riguarda una studentessa della scuola, che ha accusato un suo coetaneo di averla violentata ripetutamente, anche durante uno dei viaggi organizzati dall’ateneo a Las Vegas, gestito da un club studentesco intitolato a un altro ex preside dela facoltà, Aryai Miller, il “Friends of Aryai Miller” (Foam), durante il quale i due studenti avevano assunto uno stripper per una serata a tre nella loro camera d’albergo. Arrestato e condotto in carcere lo studente è stato poi prosciolto dall’accusa in seguito all’intervento dell’ufficio disciplinare di Stanford, che ha derubricato l’accusa da stupro ad un episodio tra fidanzati con predilezione per il sesso violento.

Il club studentesco nel mirino per festini e trasferte.

Ed è proprio il Foam ad essere indicato come il maggior veicolo di corruzione del corpo studentesco dell’istituto californiano. Già verso la fine del 2013 in un articolo pubblicato da Business Week meno di un mese prima della vicenda di Katz, Jeffrey Pfeffer – uno dei principali docenti della business school di Stanford – criticava la cultura edonistica, tra alcol, macchine sportive e super ville, promossa dal Foam. “La scuola di business è diventata più un ritrovo per feste che un posto dove si studia. Cosa ne è stato delle lezioni, delle prestazioni accademiche, dell’imparare qualcosa?”, scriveva Pfeffer. “Il prestigio dovrebbe arrivare dai successi accademici e professionali, non da chi può tracannare più liquore o organizzare la festa migliore. Prima torniamo alle origini e prima passeremo dal discutere di ubriacature, macchine e case, a discutere di idee”. Un j’accuse condiviso dagli stessi studenti. “Di mercoledì sono sempre esausto e non riesco a concentrarmi alla lezione di Lab Foam 2Leadership”, scriveva di recente uno studente nel blog di Stanford concludendo, “colpa delle feste organizzate ogni martedì da Foam”. A queste si aggiungono poi le “liquidity preference function” organizzate ogni venerdi dalle varie associazioni studentesche sulla town square – il piazzale principale – dell’università, destinate ufficialmente ad incoraggiare la fraternizzazione tra gli studenti per scambiarsi idee più liberamente. Se non bastasse, alcuni studenti hanno pensato che durante i mercoledì del semestre invernale sarebbe stato carino andare a Las Vegas e così è nato Vegas Foam. Da questo poi c’è voluto poco per passare alle escursioni obbligatorie al Sundance Film Festival, ai week-end a Lake Tahoe, al festival musicale Burning Man e ai balli di beneficienza. L’inizativa più controversa è il viaggio annuale in Colombia. Lanciato diversi anni fa, con le sue feste sulla spiaggia, le nottate in discoteca e le escursioni turistiche, coinvolge la quasi totalità delle nuove matricole che vi partecipano addirittura prima di iniziare il corso. Nel 2015 durò nove giorni e vi parteciparono ben 260 degli studenti immatricolati per il programma di Mba, e richiese mesi di preparazione. L’anno scorso, dopo che Business Week dedicò all’evento uno speciale, Bill Taylor fondatore di FastCompany – seguitissimo periodico finanziario di tendenza statunitense – twittava: “Come si fa lo spelling di Stanford MBA? Y*U*C*K (che schifo) Mi spiace, ma fa proprio schifo, non c’è da sorprendersi che nel pubblico ci sia così poca fiducia nel mondo degli affari”. “Si fanno così tante feste che non si riesce a tenerne più il conto”, aggiunge Pfeffer.

Sotto accusa il maschilismo dei vertici.

Mentre gli studenti fanno baldoria il corpo accademico è diviso da battaglie interne. Già nel 2014 quaranta tra docenti e personale amministrativo avevano scritto una lettera al rettore denunciando il clima di tensione creato da Saloner nel dipartimento e il dilagante maschilismo che si registra tra i suoi leader, notando che dal 2010 la stragrande maggioranza delle persone licenziate erano donne o persone al di sopra dei 40. La lettera si concludeva chiedendo le dimissioni di Saloner. Arrivate poi verso la fine dell’anno scorso, anche se Saloner è rientrato “dalla finestra” come direttore del corso di studio sugli effetti dei network sull’e-commerce. I dirigenti dell’ateneo insistono che il problema ora è risolto e che non c’è alcuna conseguenza sulla qualità dell’insegnamento e che il prestigio della scuola è intatto. Ma l’impressione che ci sia qualcosa che non va permane. Stanford ha trascinato Apple in tribunale accusandola di aver ottenuto materiali di sua proprietà da Phills in violazione del suo contratto, e comincia anche a farsi largo l’idea che la crescente influenza della scuola californiana stia danneggiando lo sviluppo della ricerca in campo economico, con impatti negativi sulla diversità etnica e culturale dei talenti che escono dalle scuole di business statunitensi. Phills, che prima di essere licenziato insegnava già saltuariamente alla Apple University, allontanato da Stanford è passato a tempo pieno con l’azienda di Cupertino, dove il suo salario annuale è di oltre un milione di dollari. Da qui la denuncia di Stanford, secondo la quale, l’ex docente starebbe usando materiale didattico che aveva sviluppato mentre insegnava a Stanford.

Donazioni miliardarie, ma piovono critiche.

L’ondata di critiche che ha investito la business school di Stanford arriva poco dopo l’annuncio di Phil Knight, cofondatore di Nike, che ha deciso di donare 450 milioni di dollari alla scuola per addestrare i futuri leader mondiali del business.”Si tratta di un altro esempio di questa corsa pazzesca agli armamenti in corso tra le maggiori scuole di business del paese, che non ha nessun fondamento nella realtà”, ha immediatamente tuonato Malcolm Gladwell, autore del best seller The Tipping Point e commentatore seguitissimo del New Yorker. “Se Stanford desse la metà delle donazioni che riceve ad altre scuole di business il mondo diventerebbe sicuramente un posto migliore”. “Non è senza ironia”, ha aggiunto Poets and Quants, “che il programma di leadership sia stato dedicato proprio a John Hennessy – ex presidente dell’università – sotto la cui guida la scuola è diventata preda degli scandali e che ha inoltre permesso anche a Saloner di completare l’anno accademico prima di doversi dimettere”. Saloner rimarrà saldamente in sella fino alla fine dell’anno, in tempo per l’assegnazione dei fondi del programma per la leadership, che dovrebbe sfiorare i 700 milioni di dollari, e decidere come si svilupperà il nuovo istituto. Se la fama della business school come macchina che produce milionari è oramai cresciuto a dismisura – le statistiche confermano che Stanford ha superato anche Harvard in questo senso – e docenti come Phills e Gruenfeld ricevono stipendi milionari e anticipi della stessa entità dalle case editrici per le quali si apprestano a pubblicare libri (come Gruenfeld che ha da poco ricevuto un milione di dollari per un libro di prossima pubblicazione sui rapporti di potere a livello aziendale), Stanford non riesce a scrollarsi di dosso l’immagine di una scuola sull’orlo del caos, che non riesce a convincere i suoi uomini – studenti, docenti o amministratori – a tenere le mani a posto. L’ultimo in ordine di tempo ad essere stato denunciato per abusi sessuali è stato Tad Taube, miliardario conservatore, filantropo e uomo di punta della Hoover Institution – quella della torre di Stanford – accusato da varie impiegate dell’ateneo.

Posted in Glocanomica | Leave a comment

Ask Google to Feature World Down Syndrome Day on Google Doodle on 3/21

World syndrome day 2016The Silicon Valley Down Syndrome Network has launched a campaign to ask Google to feature World Down Syndrome Day on Google Doodle to promote awareness about this condition on 3/21. Below the letter I have been privileged to mail as the Chair of the Silicon Valley Down Syndrome Network. If you agree please make a copy of it and email it toSvdsn:

Thank you for your support.


Dear Google Doodle,

Down Syndrome is a common genetic condition that affects health and development throughout life. It is one of the most common causes of learning disability. There are approximately 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States. Worldwide, approximately 220,000 babies are born every year with Down syndrome. Many more people are living today with Down syndrome than ever before. The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year, and invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome.

Featuring World Down Syndrome Day on Google Doodle will show Google’s support for the diversity of our world, including individuals with Down syndrome, and help raise public awareness of Down syndrome. Community support and public awareness will promote adequate access to health care, inclusive education, and medical research, all of which are vital to the growth and development of individuals with Down syndrome, enabling them to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.

Posted in Glocanomica | Leave a comment

Monteforte’s “THAT’S OPERA!’ Italian Fine Art Returns to San Francisco’s Civic Center

Monteforte’s “THAT’S OPERA!’ Italian Fine Art Returns to San Francisco’s Civic Center

Monteforte at the Opera

The last time some Italian fine art moved through San Francisco’s Civic Center–the city’s center of political and cultural power–was in 1999 whenGottardo Piazzoni’smurals about early California life and landscape were removed from the walls of the central staircase of the SF Public Library, soon–at the time–to become the Asian Art Museum. The Piazzoni’s resurged in 2005 in an obscure corner-room of the then newly minted De Young Museum, but Italian fine art–which had beautified for about 50 years one of the most frequented public buildings in San Francisco–disappeared for good from the city’s landscape. To add offense to injury in 1996 several sculptures by Beniamino Bufano–another giant of Italian-American art–including the famed 38 feet tall “Peace” had been removed from public place such as the San Francisco International Airport, where it had welcomed travelers to the City for about 50 years. It was therefore with great satisfaction that this week we were invited to the unveiling of Versiliese’s Domenico Monteforte’s mural “That’s Opera”, depicting the giants of opera who have performed–or have been performed–at the San Francisco Opera. All in all 60 of Opera’s major talents including Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, Shubert, Pavarotti, Caruso, Domingo, Carrera and many more.

Six meters by three, “THAT’S OPERA!”” is a monumental opera–‘My most important one so far, the work of a lifetime”, according to Monteforte himself–the Murales was unveiled at the dedication of the $25 million renewed “Diane B. Wilsey Center for the Opera” located in the Veteran Building just adjacent to the Opera House.

A former house of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art–it had hosted shows by founders figures of the international muralist movement such as Diego Rivera, and surrealists such as Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo–the center had been languishing for many years as a law library. After the great quake of 1988 it had been in disrepair waiting for somebody willing to retrofit it. Enter San Francisco Opera’s Artistic Director David Gockley , and donors the likes of Diane B. Wilsey–who donated 5 million to the endeavor–and Dianna and Tad Taube, Leslie and George Hume, and Susan Anderson-Norby and Doug Norby and the goal was presto reached.

Poly-functional, the center besides a art gallery hosts also the costume studio of the Opera, an educational center, a theater built in Palladian style and equipped with an ultra-futuristic Constellation Acoustic System by Meyer Sound, and sports walls that can be turned into digital mega-screens.

Monteforte, Gockley and Luisotti (in link from Covent Garden)




Posted in Glocanomica | Leave a comment

New ahead of Newest. Consumer Electronics before Christmas and the CES

The most dreaded moment in the life of a technology writer? It is toward the end of the year, around the Christmas holidays. The conundrum is: how do you produce a write up for Christmas/end of the year without burning whatever new will come out of CES just a couple of week after? How do you stay cutting edge for the holidays and at the same time leave room in your coverage to surprise your readers with novel products and innovations? As always PepCom and some satellite pre-holidays events provide a good mix of what was just used to be a novelty and some tasteful morsels of what’s to come at the Consumer Electronic Show.

JBL’s Everest Elite 700 and Series

Everest_Elite_700_Black_LifestyleLets start with JBLS’ extraordinary Everest series a line of fivewireless headphones –including the flagship Elite 700–with new active noise cancellation which strives to give music lovers an unparalleled blend of topflight audio technology and ergonomic design. All models within the JBL Everest wireless headphones series–including around-ear, on-ear and in-ear styles–connect wirelessly to any smart device to allow listeners to immerse themselves freely in their favorite song and in a world of hi-fi sounds while moving around without wires Not only that, but the ergonomics–developed through extensive research–were conceived to provide contoured ear cushions and earpiece shapes for all listeners. Crown jewel of the serie is the JBL Everest ELITE 700–which JBLS’ publicity alerts me will not be on sale in Italy (but they don’t know to what extent Italians can go when they have to get their techn iology fix) offers one the most innovative and inclusive set of features currently found into wireless headphones. Bluetooth 4.1 provides listeners the ease of wireless connectivity, while the new NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling Technology pairs the immersive experience of noise-cancelling with the ability to control the amount of outside noise let in, creating each user’s ideal balance of ambient sound and music. The  Pro Audio sound technology’s cushions  provide users with an unmatched fit around the ears. Maximizing the lifespan of the batteries the ELITE 700 wireless headphone’s provides consumers with 15 hours of iuninterrupted playtime, while the headphones’ TruNote technology adjusts the sound based on the fit around the ears, personalizing the user’s experience. The free, downloadable My JBL Headphones App allows users to customize headphone settings and features to their liking. Fro more

Canary, too fool any home intruder

Canary 2“Having a home security system with video is essential because it will alert you if there’s an intrusion or problem in your home, and give you detailed information about what’s happening,” says Ira Weiss, a retired New York Police Department detective. “A security system is not only a strong deterrent to thieves, but if you’re unfortunate enough to experience a burglary, it can provide excellent evidence after the fact.” and in terms of system that are unobtrusive, functional, easy to install and to manageCanary’s all in one security system set a new bar. It lets you see and hear what’s happening using wide-angle HD video monitoring, high-quality audio, motion detection, and temperature, humidity, and air quality readings. With Canary, you have all the information you need to choose the right response, whether it’s calling the authorities or sounding the alarm. For more information

The Muse of Meditation to keep you on the Happiness Path

muse - black & white3Ever wondered what happens to your brain while meditating and how thta contributes to you being happier? Studies show meditation can make the brain more resistant to distractions. According to psychologists at Harvard University, people spend 47% of their day thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing. That distraction can have a negative impact on our overall happiness. Muse Take the guess work out of meditation and makes meditation easy. Muse. the brain sensing headband (as the headband maker defines it) It’s easy to use: 3 minutes a day, anywhere, anytime and you are set. Muse is the first tool of its kind that can give you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain while meditating. It has been compared to a personal meditation trainer providing challenges to keep you motivated, and rewards that encourage you to build a regular practice. For more information go to

Roominate, connected toys for kids seeking to play house

Roominate Amusement Park -  OOPRoominate™ is an award-winning and customizable line of wired building systems that inspire open-ended,hands-on play through the use ofcircuits, modular pieces and universal joints. Kids (the maker addresses it to girls but evidently they have missed something of the debate on sex and gender in the US) can build and create their own unique and originalstructures or vehicles that can bejoined together or taken apart and remade into something completely new and different. According to its maker Roominate’smission is to inspire the next generation of kids (and what about the cuurent?) to have fun with STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and to help developspatial and fine motor skills, engage hands-on problem solving skills, boost self-confidence and teach basic circuitry. This year, the Roominate line expands with kits that feature more building pieces, vehicles and new accessories. For more information go to

Beddit, tracking your sleep patterns with no wearable sensors

Package with iPhone Watch AppAre you familiar with this new trend of keeping a tab on ones’ own sleeping habits? Beddit another solution sensor free. According to the makers-tried personally it works–Beddit makes any bed a smart bed. In syntesi the invention connects an ultra-thin sensor placed under the bed sheet with Android, iOS and Watch OS devices over Bluetooth. There is nothing to wear and nothing to do but go to sleep. Sleep tracking begins automatically at bedtime, tracking heart rate, respiration, movement, snoring and sleep cycles. In the morning a personalized SleepScor–a trademarked binomial invented by the maker of the innivators– indicates overall sleep quality and delivers tailored coaching for better sleep in the future.

At night, Beddit Smart automatically logs and compiles sleep data. To ensure a better start to the day, the smart alarm monitors sleep patterns and awakens the person when they have achieved the optimum duration of sleep and are in a light stage of sleep.

In the morning, an intuitive SleepScore is instantly available on Apple Watch and iPhone or Android device.

During the day, do more with the Beddit app and Apple Watch. Track a nap for a well-timed rejuvenation. Using Apple Watch, set the duration of the nap and choose how to be awakened. Now it’s easy to catch up on any sleep deficiency with a short nap and see the benefit reflected in the SleepScore. For more information:

BacTrac, for a safe and alcoholic holiday season

Mobile_PDP_BacTrack 04_1024x1024Nothing better than a pocketable breathalyzer during the Christmas holiday, so you can make sure–before the police does–that your blood alcohol levels are within norm. “Our goal is to shed light on alcohol consumption habits so consumers can make smarter decisions when drinking,” said Keith Nothacker, President of BACtrack. Last yearBACtrack’s  published a Consumption Report comprised of the answers of nearly 300, 000 anonymous BAC users. December through March is the peak drinking season in the United States. Nearly 75 percent the respondents during this time of the year had an average BAC above 0.06%, which is higher than any other time of the year. Additionally, the days with the highest average BACs include December 6th and 7th (0.087% and 0.088%); New Year’s Eve (0.094%). The full results, including interactive data, can be viewed here.With holiday festivities, many people celebrate more than usual and those celebrations often include alcohol. The full results, including interactive data, can be viewed here For more information:

Ring Video door bell: you’ll never miss another visitor: wanted or unwanted.

RingNever worry about missing a visitor again thanks to the Ring™ Video Doorbell. The device streams live audio and video of a home’s front doorstep directly to a smartphone or tablet, allowing homeowners to stay connected to their homes whether in the kitchen or across town. The Ring Video Doorbell installs in No need to wonder if something is going on outside your home, see for yourself. No need to wonder if something is going on outside your home, see it for yourself. Built-in motion sensors detect activity on your property and trigger instant mobile alerts. Fior more information:

Martians! Not only in the theater but soon on the wrist next to you.

product_alpha_imageMartian Watches, a California-baseddeveloper of award-winning analog smartwatches that sport classic watch designs, bring the best of two very distinct worlds, fashion and technology, and putsthem together in a smart, singular, timepiece.Martian Watches debuts two new models inthe Martian Electra series of smartwatches designed with a feminine touch in mind.Martian Electra is part of the recently announced Martian Active Collection, itsnewest contemporary, classic and retro inspired designs based on award-winning Analog-design, Voice Command and Smart Notifications smartwatches which debuted worldwide at Bloomingdale’s on September 12th. The Active Collection features theMartian Envoy, Martian Aviator, Martian Alphaand Martian Electra series smartwatches.

images (1)

Posted in Glocanomica | Leave a comment