First Step to Ignite an EU Project: Secure a Domain Name

domain nameAre you involved in one of the 4315 proposals that were retained for funding under the Horizon 2020 umbrella? Are you on a run to kick-start your project in Europe, no matter how far the grant agreement looks like? If you are gearing up, make sure to invest in you project website. Let’s say you can have a big deal with less than €1,00.

Your project website is an essential tool for dissemination and communication activities, thus you should secure its domain name as soon as possible. Good news: it won’t cost too much. Registrars as, or offer .eu domain registration fees ranging from € 0,99 to €9,00. VAT and other hosting service costs may apply, although most of them can be by-passed via self-hosting solutions.

Speaking of domain name registration, your time will run out even long before the proposal deadline. Indeed, pre-registering your project domain will save you from cybersquatting, which is “the act of registering a domain name for the purpose of either reselling it for a profit or as a means of securing advertising revenue from consumer interest online” as put it.

Anyone can register an .eu domain before you even notice that. Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Survivor took the “registration gold-rush” issue beyond excess:

You patent a drug. You copyright the name. As soon as someone else develops the product they come to us, sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

Take it seriously and try to stick to the following points:

  • check for domain name availability on your project acronym at an early proposal stage and secure it;

  • purchase multiple domain names (.com, .life, .xyz, etc) to plan different project/product exploitation strategies;

  • find your ideal Registrar/Host: centralizing the management of multiple domains will help you to keep track of deadlines and reduce hosting costs.

Verdict Overturned for Italian Geoscientists Convicted of Manslaughter

L'Aquila Eathquake

An appeals court in Italy has overturned the 2012 manslaughter conviction handed down to seven prominent scientists and engineers following a devastating earthquake in 2009. The decision came as a surprise—and a relief—to many of the accused’s colleagues, who worried that pressure from the community, victims’ families, and local press would compel the court to agree with the earlier decision.

The original conviction found the seven men guilty of manslaughter after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed 309 people in the Italian mountain town of L’Aquila. They each received a six-year sentence, two more than the prosecutor had requested, for not properly assessing the seismic risk and informing the public.

The decision was based on what the scientists said, and didn’t say, in the days leading up to the earthquake. For much of the winter and early spring of 2009, L’Aquila was shaking. A phenomenon known as a seismic swarm was delivering thousands of small earthquakes to the region, many of them significant enough to send glasses crashing to kitchen floors. On March 31, the head of the country’s Civil Protection Department (essentially Italy’s FEMA) asked a group of experts to convene a meeting in L’Aquila to assess the situation and speak to local officials about the risk at hand.

Some of the men were part of a group known as the Serious Risks Commission, a group of distinguished scientists that advises the government on matters such as earthquakes, floods, and nuclear hazards. Although the commission usually met behind closed doors, the L’Aquila meeting was also attended by local officials. Both before and after the meeting, some of the scientists spoke to the media, which was also atypical.

Six days later, a major earthquake destroyed much of the city and killed 309 people. Three years later, each of the men received a six-year sentence for manslaughter, in what critics deemed one of the biggest science-on-trial cases in ages.

Today, after a surprisingly swift-by-Italian-standards appeals process, the three-judge panel acquitted six of the men. The seventh, Bernardo De Bernardinis, received a two-year sentence for causing the death of some, but not all, of the 29 victims involved in the trial.

Much of the case, and subsequent appeal, hinged on an especially moronic statement made by De Bernardinis on the day of the now infamous meeting in L’Aquila preceding the quake. At the time, he was the number two official at the Civil Protection Department. In a television interview, De Bernardinis—whose training is in hydrology, not seismology—was asked if the swarm was a sign of worse to come.

“On the contrary,” he said. “The scientific community assures me that the situation is good because of the continuous discharge of energy.”

As a stand-alone comment, it does sound reassuring, but almost all seismologists would say this is rubbish. Worse, the brief clip from that interview was aired after the experts met on the afternoon of March 31, leaving the false impression that it was a summary of their opinions, not a rogue misstatement from an official who should have known better.

But to go from this to causing the deaths of dozens of people was too much of a stretch for the appeals court. For the people of L’Aquila, there is little solace in this decision: Their city is still in shambles and so many loved ones are gone. But for science, and anyone who thinks scientists should be free to advise on matters of public policy and safety without fear of legal repercussions, today is a good day.

Source: Wired

The Four Pillars of Success of Angry Birds

Nick Dorra - Rovio

Seeing someone wearing the typical red Angry Birds hoodie isn’t particularly surprising. Yet this changes dramatically when it is being worn by Nick Dorra, Head of Animation at Rovio. When he addresses the audience of ExpoPixel in Bologna, he goes out of his way to say that this hoodie is his company uniform. This is what Rovio is like. Just one uniform and four pillars: storytelling, smart marketing, cooperation and planning.

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