My visited places

This is a Google Map that I have been working for many years now. It contains information of all the places I have been during my travels. I find pins the most honest way to create visited countries maps: feels a bit like cheating going to Moscow and having a visited countries maps with the whole Russia colored. Pins are more precise and they don’t really care about borders. I like that.

Quotes

This is a collection of quotes that I like or that inspired me in some way.
Where available, I will indicate the source of these quotes.
There is no order.

  • Brand is the refuge of the ignorant.” From the book ”Samsung Rising” by one of the interviewed.
  • “Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.” Norman Cousins
  • “It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.” Rollo May
  • “It’s better to make your kids competent, rather than safe.”
  • “Buy experiences, not things.”
  • “In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think that the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” from the movie Juno (2007)

My NIU N-GT runs *basically* for free

Electric, lightweight, 2-wheeled vehicles should be the god-tier of the small to medium mobility. While it is good to talk about electric cars, I wanted to prove that there are literally no reasons to buy a new noisy, stinky petrol scooter in 2020.

NIU N-GT

My electric scooter was probably one of the best purchases I made in the last five years. This is something I do not say lightly. After only 7 months of ownership, math is telling me this was one of the most sound financial decisions I made in my adult life.

Summer is coming and the perfect conditions to try out an EV (electric vehicle) finally hit Sicily: light to no wind, 22-25 °C (72-77 °F).
Lithium batteries are influenced by cold weather. I was getting good mileage this winter with my N-GT, but I wanted to wait for the perfect conditions to make precise range and cost estimates.

This electric scooter has 3 different modes in which energy is supplied to the Bosch engine that moves the main back wheel:

  • E-save: a energy saving mode that caps the maximum speed around 50 km/h (31 mph) and supposedly limits the engine to around 50% of it’s total power. Torque and acceleration are reduced yet it feels ”chilled” more than slow. I would re-name e-save as chill mode. I think it’s more appropriate;
  • Dynamic: a balanced setting that should give you the best of both worlds: lively torque and balanced range. The speed is capped at around 67 km/h (41 mph);
  • Sport: as it says on the tin, supposedly gives you the best torque and acceleration possible without really caring about energy consumption. Speed reaches 85 km/h (53 mph). While is fun to try it out the first few times, I tend to avoid to use it.

In the last 2 days I drove a total of 168 km (104 miles). The first day I used the scooter without a care in the world, using the Dynamic mode. The second day I really wanted to break records and I drove the same length with E-save mode.

Day one, Dynamic mode

I started the day at 100%. I drove 85 km (52 miles). When I got home, the % remaining was 28%. Which means I spent 72% of battery to ride for 85 km.

Doing a simple calculation tells us that the ”fuel” efficiency was around 0,85% per km (1.38% per mile) .
So if with 0,85% I can drive 1 km, with a full charge I can realistically expect to drive for 117 km (72 miles) in Dynamic mode, before battery runs out. That is great mileage.

At my house, I pay around 0.25€ per kW (0,27 USD per kW). The 2 batteries of the N-GT are in total 4,2 kWh. Meaning than fully charging my scooter costs me 1,05€. Let’s consider some energy loss and let’s round it up. Let’s say I spend 1,20€ for a full ”tank” (1,30 USD).

Considering the fuel efficiency that we already calculated, we now learn that the N-GT runs at 0,01€ per km (0,017 USD per mile). And we are using the normal, speedy, mode.

We are talking about a vehicle that brings you to work, to school, to the beach, to the city that emits 0 stinky polluting gas, emits 0 annoying and loud noises and that runs at 0,01€ per km while riding at 65 km/h.

Day two, E-save mode

The results of day one were unbelievable by themselves, but there was another test to be done. The Sunday, chilled riding test, which brought me even more ridiculous results.

I started the day at 100%. I drove 83 km (51 miles). When I got home, the % remaining was 46%. Which means I spent 54% of battery to ride for 83 km.

The ”fuel” efficiency was around 0,65% per km (1.06% per mile) .
So if with 0,65% I can drive 1 km, with a full charge I can realistically expect to drive for 154 km (95 miles) in E-save mode, before battery runs out. That is crazy town mileage.

Considering this, riding a N-GT in E-save costs me 0,007€ (0,013 USD per mile). That figure is so little, we should multiply by 10 to make our brain register the information. Riding 10 km in E-save drains 0,07€ from my wallet (0,13 USD per 10 miles).

Going electric is more expensive that getting an ICE vehicle, for now, and really just slightly. But you NEED to consider the long term saving and the running costs. The running costs alone should really make you think. Also put things in prospective. Scooters do not have the same gap cars have. We are not talking about choosing between a cheap shitty plastic FIAT Tipo that costs 14000€ and a 48500€ Tesla Model 3, three and a half times more.
We are talking 2-wheeled scooters. The gap between a 125cc petrol scooter and my electric scooter with government incentives is 1.5x, worst case scenario (considering the Kymco Like 125i). Some petrol scooters are even more expensive that my N-GT, like the Vespa Primavera 125cc.
This is crazy. There are literally zero excuses to not choose electric if you are in the market for a medium size scooter. The Vespas, the Kymcos, the Yamaha, those polluting noisy expensive scooters have to evolve.

IMDb Top movies for each European country

I love maps and I love movies.

I am a bit ashamed to say how many hours this little post took me, but I am satisfied on how it turned out nonetheless.

I collected the data on IMDb Advanced Search by ”hand”. I got the list of countries from Wikipedia. I then created an Excel to collect all the infos regarding the films, the year of production, rating, number of rating and links to these films.

I tried to have reasonable criterias, yet in some cases I was forced to go around it or I had to make exceptions.

However, these were the criterias:

  1. Only features films allowed. No TV Movies, no Documentaries, no Movies of a musical recorded in a theater;
  2. An animated movie is acceptable in some circumstances;
  3. Minimum 60 minutes runtime;
  4. Minimum 200 ratings;
  5. Country of production had to be at most the 2nd country of production in the list E.g.:
    ✔️ Production country: France | Monaco
    ❌ Production country: Germany | Austria | Monaco
  6. The same movie can’t be assigned to two different countries.

The maps of the results:

Some things I learned along the way:

  • Turkey is the winner, with the highest rated movie at 9.3. The movie is called Hababam Sinifi and it’s from 1975. Friends who live in Turkey confirmed this is a classic. It is available on YouTube, restored in full HD and with english subtitles;
  • Unsurprisingly the Vatican City has never made any movie. Yet, I was a bit surprised to discover the same about San Marino;
  • Andorra has few movies that could not qualify because of rule 5 and it’s the only country that has a sub-6 movie;
  • In general, all the small states of Europe had to be allowed some exeptions or wiggle room since the movie scene is in general tiny or non-existing. Liechtenstein best movie is called “Paris I love you”. I said enough.
  • Selecting the russian movie was extremely difficult because of the Soviet Union. There were a lot of supposedly acceptable russian movies in russian language done before the end of the Soviet Union but they were mostly movies made nowadays Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, etc. For a russian movie I needed it to be made in russian soil. Eventually, I found the one that is on the list;
  • I had a similar problem with Croatia. The croatian movie of the list was made in Yugoslavia, a country that does not exists anymore. Yet, it was made on croatian soil and it’s in croatian language. For me, it qualified.
  • Moldova’s best movie was also difficult for the similarities this country shares with Romania, in culture and language. In theory, the no 1 movie was some flick filmed in Bucharest with romanian actors in what it seemed proper romanian language. It did not felt right. I found the same exact difficulties with Albania and Kosovo, for the same exact reasons.
  • Scandinavia had some overlapping issues. The Icelandic movie technically qualified also for Finland, since it was an Icelandic/Finnish production. Yet the movie is in Icelandic and a movie can not be double on this list (rule 6). Eventually, I had to go back to 1955 to find a Finnish movie made in Finland with finnish actors in finnish language;
  • The Norwegian best movie is an animated movie from 1975. At first glance, it seems some B-rated animation (jeg beklager Norge), yet it has a ton of ratings, it’s in norwegian language, it’s made by a Norwegian director born in Norway (even if his name could seriously mislead you). It qualifies;
  • Spain was kinda tricky as well. Loads of Mexican movies and Argentinian movies at the first spots. I used common sense and as usual removed movies filmed in these locations by mexican or argentinian directors. The winner that came out is actually a great movie I suggest to everyone.
  • Extremely hard to navigate around the United Kingdom results. Suprisingly, putting as criteria UK as a country and English as a language gives you a lot of results. The fist 15-ish movies were american movies with american directors, american actors, filmed in the USA. I had to scroll down to 1917 to find a movie that qualified: british actors, playing british people, filmed in britain, with a british director. Bullseye;
  • Switzerland has an almost non-existing movie scene, which is weird considering it’s population and size.

The table of all the data I collected is here:

Country Title Rating Year N of ratings
Albania Velikiy voin Albanii Skanderbeg 8.0 1953 582
Andorra Amor Idiota 5.1 2004 423
Austria Downfall 8.2 2004 320000
Belarus Fortress of War 7.5 2010 8500
Belgium The Blue Villa 8.4 1994 335
B&H The Perfect Circle 8.1 1997 1888
Bulgaria Yesterday 9.1 1988 3071
Croatia For good old times 8.4 2018 1341
Cyprus The Insult 7.7 2017 13450
Czechia Cosy Dens 8.2 1999 4590
Denmark The Hunt 8.3 2012 253000
Estonia Truth and Justice 8.6 2019 2267
Finland Tuntematon sotilas 8.0 1955 6871
France You Go to my head 9.0 2017 514
Georgia Ekvtime 9.0 2018 2643
Germany Das kletze Mahl 8.8 2018 418
Greece World Gone Mad 8.8 1963 2061
Hungary The Witness 8.8 1969 5905
Iceland Let Me Fall 8.0 2018 647
Ireland In the name of the father 8.1 1993 150000
Italy The Good The Bad The Ugly 8.8 1966 662000
Kosovo Zana 9.1 2019 4109
Latvia The Foundation of Criminal Excellence 8.2 2018 1113
Liechtenstein Paris, je t’aime 7.2 2006 69000
Lithuania Riesutu Douna 8.4 1977 613
Luxembourg Gutland 6.1 2017 910
Malta Qlub Imwegggha 8.2 2014 279
Moldova Bed of Procust 7.4 2002 315
Monaco Bay of angels 7.4 1963 2621
Montenegro The Books of Knjige: Cases of Justice 7.4 2017 579
Netherlands Simon 7.9 2004 7870
North Macedonia Across the lake 8.5 1997 386
Norway The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix 8.5 1975 12164
Poland A Short Film About Love 8.2 1988 18000
Portugal The Tyrannical Father 7.9 1941 649
Romania Morometii 8.9 1987 3571
Russia Dzhentlmeny udach 8.5 1971 10000
San Marino NA      
Serbia When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo 8.4 2004 9200
Slovakia The Garden 7.8 1995 1777
Slovenia The Outsider 8.0 1997 1000
Spain The Invisible Guest 8.1 2016 117000
Sweden Scenes from a Marriage 8.5 1974 3215
Switzerland Gripsholm 6.0 2000 359
Turkey The Chaos Class 9.3 1975 35000
Ukraine My Thoughts Are Silent 8.5 2019 1000
United Kingdom 1917 8.3 2019 312000
Vatican city NA      

Readlist

A list of books that I plan to read. And past ones.

Economics/Personal Finance:

Tech related:

Adventure:

Science:

  • What if? a book that poses absurd scientific questions that are answered by the author, which is an engineer.

Bios:

The sources of these books are multiple: friends, podcasts, reddit, etc.
Here is a list of entities that for sure contributed to this list in some way: InCassaforte Podcast, Digitalia.fm,

Finished books since I opened this blog

Current reads

Rich Dad Poor Dad

This book supposedly will teach us to think different about money and how the handle and invest them. I already read few chapters and it seems really interesting. Mostly because it does not gives you a solution on a silver plate, rather teach you concepts and invite you to use your brain to digest them. Good read.

Useful links:
– Get it in English or Italian;
– RDPD on Goodreads.

The Girl with Seven Names

My life-long passion for Korea drove me to this book. I have been very interested to the Korean peninsula situation from the very first moment I visited Korea the first time back in 2012. As I wait and hope for this DMZ to finally chease to exists, hopefully in my lifetime, I put my hands on any NK-related book I can find. North Korea is definitely on my travel wishlist.

Uselful links:
– Get it in English or Italian;
– TGWSN on Goodreads.

The Umbrella Academy

Can you really consider a comic a book? Not really, but it’s a read nonetheless. I have never consumed many comics, none to be precise but I always liked the idea behind it. Upon watching The Umbrella Academy TV Show by Netflix, I got really curious about the original work behind that story so here we are.
This comic book has few volumes:

  • Volume 1: Apocalypse Suite ✔️
  • Volume 2: Dallas ✔️
  • Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion

Uselful links:
– Get Volume 1 in ENG or ITA;
– Get Volume 2 in ENG or ITA;
– Get Volume 3 in ENG or ITA;
– The Umbrella Academy TV Show on IMDb and trakt.tv;
– Watch The Umbrella Academy on Netflix.

History’s important pictures

In this page I will collect pictures from around the world that I personally think everybody should see or at the very least know the context of.
These pictures will be ordered by date.

Tank Man of Tianmen Square
June 5th, 1989

This man is worldwide famous to have stood in front of Chinese Tanks leaving Tianmen Square right after the Chinese Military suppressed with violence the protests of that day. The fate or identity of the man is unknown. KNOW MORE.