News Snippets - May 2023

From a new 3-day music festival in Castiglion Fiorentino to the ominous threat posed by artifical intelligence...

Flash Festival Tuscany, a 3-day music festival held in Castiglion Fiorentino from May 18th to May 20th and now in its third year, seems to have created quite a following among the younger revelers. Despite the rain (and mud), the event was packed with 100's of young festival goers. The 9-day Cortona Comic event also seems to have been popular, spoilt only by the weather which caused devastating flooding in Emilia Romania... 
Flash Festival Tuscany Returns to Castiglion FIorentino
Source Arezzo Notizie – Flash Festival Tuscany website
Described as “a boutique music festival for those seeking boundless freedom and simple pleasures”, Flash Festival Tuscany, held just outside of Castiglion Fiorentino at Podere Sant'Apollonia - from May 18 to May 20 - is apparently an annual event to attend; for the younger generation!
First conceived by Benedetta Venturini and Karl Schussig in 2017, it has been created, “to introduce a small group of revellers from all over the world to the true, authentic Tuscan experience…sharing the same love of good music, exceptional food and good wine without the pretentiousness, extravagance or ostentation that is often served as a side dish”.
Apparently, many popular musicians performed at this year’s 3-day event which was packed with an international crowd of young festival-goers.  The event itself would seem very well organised: Food is provided by local chefs with a selection of bars, pizzerias, spaghetti houses and osterias to choose from (all open from breakfast to lunch, from aperitivo time to dinner, to late-night snacks). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options also appearing on the menus. 
Various morning workshops are also on offer – from traditional pasta making to wine-tasting to well-being workouts. Shuttle buses to and from Castiglion Fiorentino town centre are provided, as are various camping and glamping options. Food and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed inside the campsite but not inside the event.  Alcohol is not allowed in either the campsite or the event!
Entry fee is E.60 per day (or discounted for all 3 days)
DIY camping at E.20 p/p to Glamping for 6 at E.135 p/p
Shuttle bus from C.F. - E.10 p/p for 3 days
Car parking pass - E.10 p/p x 3 days.
Over 23,000 people still without a home after northern Italy floods
Source The Local 23.05.23
More than 23,000 people (more recently estimated at 27,000) in Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region were displaced, almost a week after heavy rains caused devastating flooding that killed 14 people. Six months of rain apparently fell in just 36 hours, causing almost two dozen rivers to burst their banks, transforming streets into rivers and submerging huge tracts of farmland.
Aside from the loss of life, as yet unquantifiable damage has been caused to one of Italy's wealthiest regions. Agricultural lobby Confagricoltura said at least 10 million fruit trees will have to be uprooted, and possibly as many as 40 million.  It is estimated that more than 620 million euros will be needed to rebuild the road and transport network.
Several private groups have pledged money to help Emilia Romagna back on its feet, including Italian-French car giant Stellantis, which promised one million euros, as did Formula 1 and luxury carmaker Ferrari. France's LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, which includes Italian brands such as Bulgari and Fendi, and Kering, home to Gucci, have also made unspecified donations.
The president of Emilia Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, has drawn up a list of proposed requests for the government, from compensation for flood damage to help for temporary agriculture workers and the suspension of tax and mortgage payments. In the long term, he said, the region needs a comprehensive plan "for the reconstruction, maintenance and safety of the territory" to address flood risks
Cortona Comics
Source Arezzo Notizie 23.05.2023
Cortona Comics, a new and what is hoped to be annual event, was introduced to the town last month. Largely dedicated to young people and fans of comics, it was held over 9 days, from 27 May to 4 June.  Cortona hosted illustrators, authors and aspiring cartoonists from all over Italy as well as some Italian-born Americans. The event also celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Benito Jacovitti's birth, a famous Italian cartoonist with an inimitable anti-conformist style. In his memory, the “Jac d'Oro” prize was awarded to Giorgio Cavazzano, guest of honor at the event, together with other prizes awarded to young aspiring cartoonists. Cortona Comics was created together with two mascots ‘Cittino’ and ‘Piuma’, created for the occasion by Umberto Sacchelli, another popular cartoonist.  If the BIG buzz in town was due to the event’s success which included debates, presentations, workshops and a wide range of guests, we can hope to expect its return next year.
A.I.’s existential threat to humanity
Source The New York Time’s online daily briefing, 31.03.2023.
‘Executives from top artificial intelligence companies have warned that the technology they are building should be considered a societal risk on a par with “pandemics and nuclear wars.”’, stated the New York times in large bold letters in its daily briefing, in reference to a 22-word statement issued by the Center for AI Safety that was signed by more than 350 executives, researchers and engineers. 
Whether or not this is actually news is debatable. Sci-fi films and literature have predicted just this scenario since before the first computer was even built! The fact that an official document has now been signed – by some of the same people who have been developing the technology – is possibly an important step forward in limiting its availability to whosoever might abuse its powers. Although, how new regulations might be effectively enforced (or adhered to) is anyone’s guess. Hey ho, off we go….again!!
Team, 01/06/2023 17:53:54

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