Monday, April 29, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
by Sylvia Poggioli, NPR
Tough economic times and growing poverty in much of Europe are reviving a humble tradition that began some one-hundred years ago in the Italian city of Naples. It's called caffè sospeso — "suspended coffee": A customer pays in advance for a person who cannot afford a cup of coffee.
The Neapolitan writer Luciano de Crescenzo used the tradition as the title of one of his books, Caffè sospeso: Saggezza quotidiana in piccoli sorsi ("Suspended coffee: Daily wisdom in small sips").
"It was a beautiful custom," he recalls. "When a person who had a break of good luck entered a cafe and ordered a cup of coffee, he didn't pay just for one, but for two cups, allowing someone less fortunate who entered later to have a cup of coffee for free."
The barista would keep a log, and when someone popped his head in the doorway of the cafe and asked, "Is there anything suspended?" the barista would nod and serve him a cup of coffee ... for free.
It's an elegant way to show generosity: an act of charity in which donors and recipients never meet each other, the donor doesn't show off and the recipient doesn't have to show gratitude.
The writer says the tradition is part of the city's philosophy of life. "In other words, it was a cup of coffee," de Crescenzo says, "offered to the rest of humankind." It was a time, he adds, when there were more customers who were poor than those who were well-off.
It's fitting that the tradition started in Naples, a city that prides itself on having the best coffee in Italy. And in a country where the first coffeehouse in Europe opened in 1683 (in Venice), that is no small claim.
Before the likes of Gaggia and Cimbali started producing the modern commercial espresso machines, Italians made coffee at home on the stovetop with a coffee maker known as a Napoletana.
Naples and coffee are inseparable, but the caffè sospeso tradition waned as Italy entered the boom years of postwar reconstruction and La Dolce Vita. For decades, the custom was confined mainly to the Christmas season.
Now, it's made a comeback. Two years ago, with the eurozone crisis already raging, unemployment rising and small businesses closing on a daily basis, more and more Italians could no longer afford the national beverage — an espresso or a cappuccino. (According to the International Coffee Organization, which represents 44 coffee exporting countries, Italian per capita annual consumption of coffee has dropped to 5.6 kilograms, the lowest level in the past six years.)
Then someone remembered the old Neapolitan custom. So several nongovernmental organizations got together and — with the support of Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris — Dec.10 was formally declared "Suspended Coffee Day."
The practice is now spreading to other crisis-ravaged parts of Europe.
In Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest country, where several desperate people have set themselves on fire in recent months, more than 150 cafes have joined an initiative modeled on the Neapolitan "suspended coffee" tradition.
In crisis-wracked Spain, a young man from Barcelona, Gonzalo Sapina, in a few short weeks started a network called Cafes Pendientes ("pending coffees") and promoted the initiative among numerous coffee shops.
In France, several cafes now carry the logo "cafe en attente" ("waiting coffee").
And there is even a site that lists establishments that have joined the "suspended coffee" initiative — the countries range from the U.K. and Ireland and Hungary to Australia and Canada.
The prepaid cup of coffee has become a symbol of grass-roots social solidarity at a time of mounting poverty in what, until recently, were affluent Western societies.
But now, back to Naples, where coffee is not a luxury but is considered, more or less, a basic human right.
And the variety is vast: You can order an espresso "ristretto" ("tightened," i.e., stronger); or an espresso "macchiato" ("stained," i.e., with a little milk); or an espresso "corretto" ("corrected," i.e., with a shot of grappa, cognac or sambuca).
There's only one iron-clad rule: Cappuccino — which takes its name from the white and beige colors of the Capuchin friars' habits — is exclusively a breakfast beverage, and must never, never be consumed after 11 a.m. (OK, let's say noon).
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The European Parliament has released details of its concerns over the Cyprus bailout, following this morning's grilling of commissioner Olli Rehn. It confirms that MEPs were scathing about the Eurogroup's handing of the issue, and also condemned the decision (later reversed) to impose losses on smaller savers.
Criticism rained down on Rehn from all sides of the spectrum, with accusations of double standards and claims that Germany displayed 'near colonial' behavior.
Photograph: VINCENT KESSLER/REUTERS
Monday, April 15, 2013
-ΚΚΕ: Νέα ηγεσία: Η δυαρχία που είναι τρόϊκα
- Η Θάτσερ της ανάστασης και της οργής
- Βενεζουέλα: η Δύση θέλει τον Καπρίλες
- ΗΠΑ: ο προϋπολογισμός του συμβιβασμού και πώς φτώχυνε ο πρόεδρος
- Β.Κορέα: σενάρια, επιπλήξεις και ο τρόμος της «έκπληξης»
- Παλαιστίνη: τα παιχνίδια της δύναμης, εμπόδιο στην ανεξαρτησία
- Σομαλία: 22 χρόνια για μια ασταθή ισορροπία
Και στο δεύτερο μέρος:
- Η Θάτσερ, o Nέλσων και ο Μάγος του Οζ: όλοι στην Πλατεία Τραφάλγκαρ
- Ο Πούτιν σε λίστα καταζητούμενων
- Οι κουτοί δάσκαλοι και το Ολοκαύτωμα
- Ολάντ: ατυχία τώρα και σε …. καμήλες
- Η μεξικάνα Μπάρμπι ( με ασσορτί τσιχουάουα) και σε ποιόν δεν αρέσει
Ακούστε Τα Υπ’ Όψιν με την Έλενα Σπηλιώτη και τον Γιώργο Ζορμπά για ειδήσεις, συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
By Jonathan Skillings, CNET
This year's batch of springtime pranks includes the usual onslaught from Google, along with notable entrants from Nokia, Sony, and others. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights.
• While it waits for its Lumia smartphones to build up a head of steam, Nokia is showing off a touch screen microwave oven, the Nokia 5AM-TH1N6 Constellation, which features a Window Phone-like interface ("which can be operated with oven mitts"). Not to be outdone by Samsung Galaxy S4, this hottie packs its own eye-tracking technology, which Nokia says "stops the food from rotating when you look at it, and it automatically adjusts the temperature depending on how hungry you look."
• Twitter has apparently drawn inspiration from Wheel of Fortune for its April Fools' prank, Twttr, the lower rung on a jokey two-tiered service. With the no-cost Twttr, you get only consonants, plus that shifty letter Y. Want vowels? That'll cost you $5 a month. And for when 140 characters isn't quite enough, you can get one more -- but only one more -- in a Scrabble-like value system: "The price of the extra character is based on a bidding system reflecting the popularity of the character you would like to add."
• With Google on April Fools' Day, where does one begin? Perhaps, as is advisable whenever a possible prank appears, with a smell test -- and that would be a dead giveaway when it comes to Google Nose, all 15M+ scentibytes of it. And what's this? No more YouTube?
Well, if you believed that one, Google's got a pirate treasure map for you. Plus: Emoticons for your photos and home renovations a la Street View.
• Google also got in a playful jab at Microsoft and Windows Blue with its Gmail Blue spoof while Microsoft returned the favor with a Bing zinger.
• The folks at iFixit are known for providing clear-eyed looks at the innards of gadgets from the Apple iPad to theBlackBerry Z10. Claiming that they've been accused of "favoring one fruit over all the rest" , today they pulled apart the other part of the apple vs. orange equation. "Though the Orange's repairability is highly questionable," they wrote, "we do admire its end-of-life design. It is completely recyclable, compostable, and delicious-able."
• The long-rumored iWatch has been a tempting and tasty tech topic of late. While we're waiting for Apple to eventually show us the real thing -- if it really is really real --TechCrunch thought it would be fun to imagine the iWatch as a ... watchband
for the iDevice of your choosing, no matter how large.
• For trendy wearable tech you can wear today, there's Google Glass, of course. The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper put a proprietary bit of, um, English on high-tech eyewear: "The motion-sensitive spectacles, known as Guardian Goggles, incorporate translucent screens in the lenses, overlaying the wearer's view of their surroundings with a real-time stream of specially curated opinions from the paper's reporters, critics and commentators. For example, simply by looking at the outside of a restaurant or cinema and pointing, the user can call up relevant Guardian reviews of the food or current films."
• Who says digital is the only way to go? Even the data-driven crowd at Wolfram Alpha, it seems, has a thing for penmanship, touting the Handwritten Knowledge Engine. "Artisanal answers, if you will," they say. But time may already be running short. "A few of the physicists already have writer's cramp, and the pop culture researchers might be next."
• Netflix reportedly has offered up someunexpected movie categories, from "Epic Nicholas Cage Meltdown" (too-easy punch line: wait, that's every Nicholas Cage movie) to "Surreal Ballets Based on a William Shatner Album" to "When You Watch Netflix, It Watches You."