The Sicilian Defense and Other Dark Tales

Darin Kennedy, "The Mussorgsky Riddle"
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Fritzius had written the letter in English and then fed it through Babelfish, an online translation site. He had become obsessed with the fires and started an online Think Tank where people could post information. He also has a website mapping the influenza pandemic. Fritzius told me about an engineer in Palermo who hypothesized that two fault lines crisscross under Canneto.

The bubbles were sulfur, he said, a volcanic gas, which might be evidence of a connection between the chain of volcanoes that make up the Aeolian Islands and Etna. Fritzius also told me to look at a paper in an Italian science magazine published in The Unexplained Files episode even cited it as proof that there was a natural geomagnetic cause, something from the earth responsible for generating charge and zapping Canneto. But after many emails, I finally tracked down the article from the Istituto Geografico Militare. All it said was that there are magnetic and geomagnetic fields in Italy, and that the Italian military had noticed them as early as I spoke to Malcolm Johnston of the U.

Geological Survey to try and understand the science. He explained that although earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions, and volcanic activity can trigger earthquakes, the physics of each phenomenon is different. With a volcano, fires can occur when molten rock, lightning, and fiery ash flows of several thousand degrees move down the exterior surface at very high speeds.

I asked Johnston if earthquakes could produce electrical charge and cause fires. He said it was possible in special circumstances, especially if there was lightning. However, most fires attributed to earthquakes are caused by shorted transformers, ruptured propane tanks, and downed power lines—the effect of humanity being shaken the wrong way—and not the earth itself. In October , the seasons changed and the fires returned.

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Once more the smell of the sea mingled with the smell of burning. One night, Pezzino dragged Giuseppe from the flames. There were more destroyed couches, and now destroyed kitchens.

The Sicilian Defense, with GM Ben Finegold

In addition to the flames, pipes and tubes developed holes and burst, flooding homes with water. The newspapers came right away, and the Pezzinos let them into their home once more. There was another evacuation. It began in October and continued through June This felt like a lifetime. The townspeople thought they had been abandoned and wanted desperately to return home. They slept in the city offices to protest against the Protezione Civile and the regional government for their inaction; Spinnato stayed with them in solidarity.

The investigator, Valenti, posited that the holes confirmed his theory of geomagnetic activity. According to him, the holes, like the fires, were caused by a type of electrical currents burning through the pipes. Pezzino faulted the Protezione Civile investigators for not monitoring the town 24 hours a day, as they were supposed to. Enough, now we are angry! He defended himself by once again referencing the trials of Galileo. In April, the Italian government formed a new research group. Coordinated by Francesco Venerando Mantegna, from the Sicilian Protezione Civile, the new interdisciplinary team included chemists, physicists, geomagnetists, and professors.

The team had the cooperation of the air force, navy, and police, alongside ENEL, the communications ministry, the rail network, and the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. The INGV is taken seriously in Italy: In , when the agency failed to predict an earthquake that killed over people, an Italian court found seven of its scientists guilty of manslaughter, and one of them was sentenced to prison.

Venerando has sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a resigned manner. His team flew military planes over the area, taking pictures of the town and the surrounding landscape with telephoto lenses. They sailed on a research vessel called the Galatea and analyzed the magnetic charge and chemical composition of the sea. Helicopters conducted radar and magnetic surveys on electromagnetic fields and monitored and mapped radio-electric signals and meteorological patterns.

Instead of focusing only on Canneto, the team sought to understand if there were natural or artificial forces affecting the region, including the sea and the airspace above.

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Soon, the team excluded natural causes; nothing in the realm of science proved unique when they compared Canneto with neighboring towns. Nor did they find anything unusual in the technical installations—railway lines, electrical lines, and so on. What they did find were increased levels of spontaneous electromagnetic activity that could not be attributed to natural phenomena.

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They decided that the fires had an artificial cause. Electromagnetic radiation is made up of waves formed by a change in a magnetic field. These waves are found everywhere and operate on a spectrum, encompassing many forms of energy that bounce around in our world, ranging from visible light to invisible radio waves, from radar, X-rays, and satellite communications to microwaves and powerful lasers. In May, Valenti issued a second report, on the possible health risks associated with the fires. This included electrocution and smoke inhalation, but also the damage that electromagnetic radiation can cause in human bodies.

Valenti blamed the government for not adopting his suggestions.

About the author

He faulted the city for letting the people back into their homes. Still, the following month residents were allowed to return to their homes once more. No house fires occurred during their research, but in the mountains outside the town, they found two dense patches of grass that looked like they had been consumed by a fire that had come from underground. Venerando compared the burn marks on the grass with the marks on the power cords from Canneto and found the patterns to be identical: Whatever had caused the fires in the homes had also burned the plants.

Aerial photos showed that Canneto and the plants seemed aligned in a straight path extending from the sea, into town, and up to the mountains, as though a channel of fire had torched all three. Their hypothesis was that the plants had somehow conducted the same bursts of electromagnetic waves as Canneto.

On the coast below the town, hundreds of blue velellas , sea creatures similar to jellyfish, washed up on the beach. All this seemed to suggest that whatever was causing the fires was coming from outside. At other times, the group noticed objects moving around in the sky.

We did not touch them; we did not get inside them. This is problematic. The press reported extensively on these flying objects. In addition to the devil, they now had definitive UFO sightings to fill their pages. After residents complained of pain in their extremities, Venerando recommended medical testing, but this never happened. But all this remained in the realm of the unproven. I reached out to a number of scientists for this story. Some refused to speak with me on the basis that the link between the fires and electromagnetic waves was crazy: One university press representative said she was laughed at when she presented the topic to professors.

Others I spoke to pointed out that electromagnetic energy is everywhere, present in radiation and lasers and harmful things, yes, but also microwaves, radio transmissions, sunlight, and wireless connectivity, making the preliminary results opaque, meaningless. Yet in late June , a message arrived in my inbox. Previously published in various anthologies and magazines, this collection contains chess games that kill, gremlin-infested Ferris wheels, vampires, werewolves, and at least one Clown Monkey.

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The Sicilian Defence: Chopper 8

Ask Question. In response I played [FEN ""] 1. Nxd4 Nxd4 5.

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Nc3 e5 I went on to lose this game, but I feel like this was the deciding factor. Bd2 e5 7. Bxa5 exd4 So, my question is: Is black's best response to 3. Note that White can win a pawn in your second line with 7. However, Nxd4 is a mistake, leaving White with much better development after the trade. Personally I enjoy the Taimanov variation, 4. Mason-Keres Gambit 3. Becker Defense C34 ! Cunningham Def. Nc3 Nf6 5. C41 Richard Taylor liked the ending!