Thursday, 12 August 2021

Croatian Author Igor Pavela on Hospitality and His Scientific Book

August 12, 2021 - Croatian author Igor Pavela who wrote the first Croatian scientific book on hospitality, is currently waiting for the book to be translated into English. TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac met up with Pavela to discuss both the book, but also the current situation in the Croatian hospitality sector.

April 2021 saw the release of ''Excellence as a Standard in Hospitality Business'' (Izvrsnost kao standard u ugostiteljskom poslovanju), the first Croatian scientific book on hospitality in which author Igor Pavela explored what it takes to successfully run a business and ensure both an excellent offer and enjoyable atmosphere for the guests.

The book's author, Igor Pavela, has been in the hospitality business for the past 16 years. He has gained invaluable experience in various aspects and from multiple positions. Back in April, he was a manager in one of the largest American cruise ship companies and today works for the Maslina Resort in Stari Grad on Hvar island.

He has closely worked with top managers and CEOs of various big international tourism and hospitality companies in his rich career, and he also found time to train management and other employees with his educational material helping them to increase the quality of their overall standard. The educational materials Pavela has written for his training sessions eventually pushed him to write this book, now reviewed and praised by the academic community both in Croatia and in the wider region.

The book boasts a combination of his personal work experience and extensive scientific research encompassing marketing, communication and even ethics (to name just a few), and how one can go about applying it to hospitality sector success.

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Maslina Resort management team. From left to right: Mario Kolumbic Maitre'D , Chris Edwardes as consultant, Igor Pavela Bar Manager © Maslina Resort

Ground rules in one place

With academic opinion being relevant for knowledge when it comes to scientific literature, Pavela, at the very start of the interview, also said that the first version of the book, which was constructed as his personal business manual, was reviewed by his close friends, colleagues, and ex-partners, all those who have been established in the hospitality business for decades.

''The first information I got as their feedback was that they'd never seen such valuable information presented in a way which is both easy to read and easy to implement. It combined the scientific research that provides the facts and my personal experience which I tried to pass on in the book like a tutor would in order to say what works and what doesn't,'' recalled Pavela.

Pavela pointed out that the hospitality sector encompasses a very broad range of occupations, and there are differences between cruise ships, fine dining restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and other types of hospitality businesses. With that being said, there are also basic ground rules that are the same for every type of function. His colleagues who learned what works in business the usual way, by experimenting and seeing how things work out before changing and adapting things, rated the book in such a positive way, and Pavela looked more than happy with the impression his writing had had on others in his field so far.

With support from University College Aspira that both published and also held a book presentation for their former student, significant developments are happening for the book as it is currently being translated into English. With the global market not really having a scientific book of this kind under its belt yet, the options seem endless once the translation is complete. Ambitious but realistic, Pavela revealed further plans for the book.

''The book just recently came out in April (it could've come out earlier, but we waited for the unprecedented and catastrophic period for hospitality as a result of the pandemic to calm down). The translation will take around a month and a half to be completed by a professional agency that we hired, and after that, it will be reviewed. As the Croatian version was given to three doctors of science to be reviewed, it will also be reviewed by three very well-known and established names before going out onto the European market. They will, upon agreement, get an example of the book to review it and score it objectively,'' explains Pavela.

He continued by explaining that the book is now the subject of negotiations with a very known high-level sponsor in the hospitality sector. While not being able to reveal the name of the sponsor, Pavela says this sponsor plans to open an academy and to educate their staff based on Pavela's book, which is making its way to hospitality-related education in Croatia, from those in high school to those in higher levels of education. In addition, there is a plan to distribute the English version as an electronic book. The plan is to connect with big e-book distributors such as Amazon to make the book accessible globally, for students, professionals, those who want to start their business and those who are just curious readers with a desire to learn more.

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© Maslina Resort

Switzerland is the place for experimental physicists thanks to CERN, Japan is doing wonders in robotics, and American and British scientists are making significant historical contributions to the fields of sociology and anthropology. Maybe this book would position Croatia as a leader in scientific observations of hospitality. When asked about this, Pavela said that it is a wonderful idea, and his greatest desire.

"My first intention when I started writing this book was to collect all global experience, which is different, if not more advanced than what is garnered in Croatia alone. I wanted to bring it home because at the end of the day, this is my home and where my heart belongs. Croatia has natural resources that need to be used more, and that also means not just promoting them, but we should be on the level required to be the high-level destination to attract high-level clients from all over the world.

I think Croatia, unfortunately for years now, hasn't been at the required level, and there has been a sea of negative comments from guests as a result. There were good sides too (tourism has been growing more and more since the Homeland War), but from the side of science, we have to see the negative sides because that's something we need to look at in our analysis and research to see what is wrong and why something is wrong so that we can work on it,'' explained Pavela.

The up-to-date research needed to scientifically and successfully explore what works and doesn't work truly needs to be constant, and the spirit of that mentality is reflected in the fact the book already has references and findings in regard to COVID-19.

Hospitality isn't just business but a purpose, too.

When it comes to things that need to be worked on, Pavela pointed out that many people in Croatia who work in hospitality are students and people who don't really take much interest and aren't really educated in the sector, thus bringing down the level of the country's hospitality services in general.

Within twenty minutes of interviewing Pavela, it became clear that he talks about hospitality with the kind of passion that isn't unusual to see among journalists or maybe even lawyers and doctors for their fields, professions who are generally quite romanticised in pop culture and where workers in the field don't view it as a job to put food on the table, but rather a call to contribute to better future. However, it is very unusual to recognise such passion for hospitality among people. How does one find such a spark in an field most people only view as a side job to achieve some higher goal? I asked.

''In one specific moment, I saw hospitality from a completely different level. I was still involved in the operational part of the industry, the back of the counter, serving and having conversations with hundreds of people every day. At one point, I had this click in my mind where I realised that just as food and water are a necessity for the body, these places of socialising are food for the soul that will not disappear even as the world changes with all this technology,'' Pavela said, recalling how he first fell deeply in love with hospitality.

He looked around the beach bar where we sat with delight, which, if more people could recognise it, would no doubt make your morning coffee in a cafe be taken in with a completely different view.

In recognising the energy which takes place when socialising after a hard day at work or school, he saw all members of the hospitality sector, from the highest decision-making managers to the waiters, as actors all involved in the collective task of making socialising as good as it can be.

''Hospitality isn't just an economic transaction of buying a product, here we offer so much more. Our service can make someone's day,'' said Pavela proudly, reminding me of how business deals, relationships, friendship and so much more is formed in a great atmosphere of hospitality service, thus really making a difference to the world.
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Maslina Resort's Mediterranean John Dory © Nikola Radovani

As you read through the book, Pavela stays true to his words, pointing out good examples but also bad ones from which other employees and owners can learn what to avoid. Despite positioning some of the aforementioned negative practices to his hometown of Split and the wider Dalmatia area, Pavela at no point mentioned a specific name or a venue that fitted any negative practices. Pavela is sure this doesn't damage scientific data and gathered knowledge, and his scientific objectives are evident in him not name dropping people or places that have good practices either. In this way, he avoided the potential accusations that his book is either paid trash talk or a paid word of praise for some business, which would put a serious strain on Pavela both as a scientific observer and as a hospitality professional.

''When you're writing something like this, it's a very sensitive thing. The purpose of the book isn't to call anyone out for doing bad things, and I don't think that should be in the book. If somebody does something bad and it ends up in the news or with them being sued, then there are other ways to learn about that. The book is about focusing on changing bad practices to positive ones, and even though I had specific places and names in my head, I didn't want to bring them out and sound unprofessional,'' explained Pavela.

''What I want is for those people behind positive and negative examples to recognise themselves,'' he said.

Solidarity should trump competition when building a destination.

In the end, this book of science and practice has an aim of helping others improve their own business. That wouldn't be weird if Pavela had already retired from the business, but with his active employment for Maslina Resort, an outsider's point of view might leave you thinking whether or not it is wise to ''spill the beans'' and all the tricks of the trade as direct competitors could out beat the master as the students of his findings and knowledge. That's a very logical question from outside, but Pavela only smiled with confidence as he assured me that this book's release would neither sabotage himself nor his colleagues.

''The beautiful thing about hospitality is there is something for everyone. The more types of hospitality we have present in our destinations, the better, because opening a new bar doesn't mean stealing guests from another bar. It means offering something different. Everyone can find something for themselves. Somebody will want to hit a brew bar. Someone will want a clubbing experience, and so on. Passing on knowledge is not damaging any of the places. The point is that we all grow together in terms of quality and the commitment to what we do,'' elaborated Pavela, revealing solidarity in hospitality which is hard to deduce from the guest's point of view.

As his book clearly elaborates on, it is wrong for a hospitality owner to try to catch everything and everyone with his offer. Specialising and targeting a particular audience (e.g. those who love quality food and wine, leaving out those who want cocktail bars as you focus on improving your gastronomic offer), along with investing in quality ingredients and keeping your workers happy are the key to success, as Pavela mentioned himself. These are just a few of the points you can find in the book, but in the end, it's best you read it for yourself here. Either in Croatian or you can wait a little longer for the English version.

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Maslina Resort's Chocolate Cherry Sphere © Nikola Radovani 

It's worth remembering that science never sleeps, and with Pavela himself warning of this - the situation is changing constantly. Today's top formula for happy guests may be completely outdated tomorrow. Researching and learning are always welcome in order to show all those involved in this industry the way to providing the best service possible.

Learn more about Stari Grad on Hvar on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 6 August 2021

Croatia on G20 Summit: First Quantum Communication with Italy and Slovenia

August 6, 2021 - What the country lacks in terms of economy, it makes up for in science. This was proven during the Croatia on G20 Summit. Along with their counterparts from Slovenia and Italy, Croatia's Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) scientists conducted the first quantum communication, presenting new and safe communication technology.

Unfortunately for the Croatian economy, the country is far from being a member of G20, let alone the prestigious G7, but with the European Union being a member of G20, it's a bit like Croatia is also on the team, too.

Croatian businesses may still face issues, but Croatian science saves the nation's reputation, particularly the Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB). As they reported in their press release, Croatia participated in the first public demonstration of quantum communication, along with Italy and Slovenia on the fifth of August. This transmission took place between Trieste, Ljubljana and the Croatian city of Rijeka, and thanks to their scientific expertise, attention was given to Croatia during the summit of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

Dr. Mario Stipčević (head of the IRB's photonics and quantum optics laboratory) and Dr. Martin Lončarić from the IRB handled the transmission from the Croatian side with the support of his colleagues from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences from Zagreb University and in collaboration with the OIV company which is enrolled in digital signals and networks.

''The quantum connection between Trieste (Italy) and Croatia's Rijeka-Zagreb knot is 100.5 kilometres long and is expanded from Rijeka to the capital of Zagreb via quantum induced communication. The first demonstration of its kind has been made possible with the cooperation of the Croatian academic community and industry,'' said Dr. Stipčević.

According to the website of PicoQuant, a German company dedicated to research and product development, quantum communication is a field of applied quantum physics closely related to quantum information processing and quantum teleportation.

''Its most interesting application is protecting information channels against eavesdropping by means of quantum cryptography,'' says PicoQuant.

The IRB explains that quantum communication satisfies the need for safe communication, which is a priority of every government worldwide.

''This technology achieves maximum security thanks to the quantum encryption that works on the photon exchange, which allows for the instant detection of hacking attempts,'' they pointed out from the IRB.

''Today, we're part of the cornerstone of the new European quantum infrastructure“, said Tommaso Calarco, the president of the European Quantum Community Network (QCN). He added this is the crown of the first phase of the Quantum Flagship programme which offers European Union citizens such privacy protection infrastructure.

Croatia, by all accounts being involved in the shaping of The European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) Initiative, shows the country will not lack behind its other European partners.

''With the success in realising this demonstration, our scientists and experts broke the ice and paved the way to the realisation of quantum infrastructure in the Republic of Croatia,'' concluded Dr. Stipčević.

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Roma in the Homeland War: More Research on Defending Croatia Needed

August 5, 2021 - When talking about the fight for Croatian independence, the public often tends to forget about the contributions of minorities such as Roma in the Homeland War. TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac reminds us of a 2019 book that researched Roma participation in defending Croatia, which is a great starting point for further research today.   

Croatia is marking the 26th Anniversary of Operation Storm, a military action that, on August 5, 1995, marked the liberation of occupied territory (apart from Eastern Slavonia, which was returned to Croatia later on during peaceful reintegration).

Victory Day is filled with pride, but for some, there is a shade of bitterness as a result of the questionable treatment of civilians and prisoners of war that to this day continues to divide the opinion of the Croatian public and remains a topic of numerous historical debates.

As noticed by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), things changed significantly in 2020. This came as a result of moves made by Croatian politicians, not only with words but also by their honouring of Serbian civilian victims in Varivode and Gruber.

''Last year's anniversary was marked by changes in the official policy towards Operation Storm (Oluja), known in Croatia as Victory Day (Dan Pobjede) and Homeland Thanksgiving Day (Dan Domovinske Zahvalnosti). August 2020 saw the public space filled with messages about reconciliation, dialogue, the importance of facts, condolences for war crime victims, and appeals for a conversation about different views on Operation Storm in both Croatia and Serbia,'' said YIHR.

With 2020 evoking feelings of sympathy for all victims of the Homeland War, a significant step was also made back in 2019 to recognise that not only ethnic Croats fought for the freedom and independence of their country. 

We defended Croatia Too: Roma People in the Homeland War“, is a monography by Borna Marinić which was presented in 2019. It was the first publication to gather info on the contribution made in the war by the often discriminated against and socially isolated minority in Croatia. The presentation was held in the "Zvonimir Home" of the Croatian military in Zagreb. The publication was the first to really delve into the contribution of Roma in the Homeland War.

The promotion gathered many VIP attendees of political and military Croatian authorities at the time. Marinić, a historian and the editor of the website ''Dogodilo se na Današnji Dan'' (It Happened on This Day), pointed out that not a lot is known about the actions of the Roma in the Homeland War, and this lack of documentation was the biggest problem he had to tackle when it came to verbal storytelling from witnesses.

''I visited Roma veterans and their commanders as well as other relevant people across Croatia, recording their statements and testimonies about the Homeland War,'' said Marinić. His research saw more than 50 people interviewed, but the total count of Roma people who participated in the war still remains unknown.

Dr. Martin Previšić pointed out while reviewing the book that it doesn't provide readers with a linear story of the war's history, but rather an authentic view on the hell of wartime and the solidarity which trumped very many differences. 

''Vukovar, Baranja, Pakrac, Novska, and Karlovac were places in which Croatia was defended, but they were also places where Roma people gave their tribute to that same defense,'' said Previšić.

Veljko Kajtazi, a member of the Croatian Parliament, elected as a representative of the Roma community, attended the representation, delighted to see that this important but unexplored subject was finally being tackled by a researcher in the first-ever book published on the topic. He pointed out, however, that this book cannot be viewed as an encyclopedia as it didn't record the experiences of all Roma people, nor does it have all of the information from all fronts, but it is a terrific base for further research.

''I'm grateful to my fellow Roma people who shared their stories and whose faith is the cornerstone of this book. I felt the obligation for Roma people to come forward and present themselves in a different light. Roma people, in large numbers, defended Croatia and gave their contribution to the defense in key moments,'' concluded Kajtazi.

Kajtazi talked about the need for Roma people to begin presenting themselves in a different light and stated that there are definitely numerous issues caused by stereotypes that Roma people are involved in crime and as such can't be trusted. 

As TCN previously wrote, The Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview report by Human Rights House Zagreb noticed how Roma people in Croatia still face very many obstacles in achieving their rights, which include employment, access to services, and adequate living standards, and there is still segregation in the Croatian education system too.

Additionally, the global issue of COVID-19 brought new problems for Roma people in regard to vaccination against COVID-19, a topic both Kajtazi and the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) spoke about for TCN.

Roma people helped Croatia during the darkest of its days as a new and young country. Respecting and working on actively including Roma people in our society as equals is the very least Croatia can do in return.

Learn more about Croatian politics and history from the 1990s on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Salty Adriatic Sea: New Research Raises Concerns

Aug 5, 2021 -The salty Adriatic Sea became saltier in 2017, and even in 2021, the salinity levels are the highest ever recorded, warns the Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB).

With known salty areas such as Pag, you would expect the Adriatic sea to be very salty, and it is. However, over the years, it has become even saltier, as the Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) stated.

As the IRB wrote in a press release, a Croatian scientific team collaborating with their Italian colleagues published a study that shows so far unrecorded levels of salinity in the Adriatic. Their work was published in the prestigious Frontiers in Marine Science Magazine titled ''Observation, Preconditioning, and Recurrence of Exceptionally High Salinities in the Adriatic Sea“.

As the IRB explained, it was in 2017 around Palagruža where the Adriatic sea's salinity reached a record of 39.1 per mille.

''In addition, with minor oscillations, the high salinity in the first 200 metres of depth was kept within the central part of the southern Adriatic, and it has remained the case until today. For example, at this moment, the salinity levels in the central part of the southern Adriatic is over 38.8 per mille in the whole water gauge, and 39.15 per mille by the surface,'' added the IRB.

This measurement was the lead for the scientists to conduct further research that incorporated various available data acquired via multiparameter probes, autonomous ARGO buoys, remote-controlled submarines, and satellites that measure sea level's surface. The data from an oceanographic model of the Mediterranean sea (which combines satellite and other measures, thus giving the most quality 3D view of the oceanographic field) was also used.

Sure enough, the salinity rise has been explained. On one hand, the enhanced flow from the Middle East and the Ionian sea are to blame, but on the other, there are changes in the Adriatic sea itself.

''The processes (in the Adriatic sea) occur on a scale of several days to a decade, and have four key elements,'' they explained from IRB.

The first one concerns Adriatic-Ionian bi-modal oscillation affecting physical and biogeochemical conditions in the Adriatic through a period of 5-10 years, which, in the last decade, has caused a serious influx of salt and oligotrophic waters (waters which are too low in nutrients to support life).

The second process concerns low river flows due to the low amount of rainfall, while the third process concerns the enhanced amount of solar energy on the sea's surface during summer and early autumn. Finally, with the weather warmer than average and with very little wind, the water gauge is divided into the hotter surface level and colder central and bottom levels. This leads to the fourth process that includes vaporising and the loss of water from the sea surface.

''Three out of four of the aforementioned processes have already been documented in the Mediterranean as a consequence of climate change that in the future will bring warmer, drier summers and as a consequence, more heat and the higher salinity of the sea surface,'' they warned from IRB. They added that this is a threat to marine life which depends on the temperature, the level of salinity, and other factors that will be sabotaged with these changes.

With the Adriatic sea and its marine life being one of the treasures Croatia has, the global response to climate change must start giving results as fast as possible, and Croatia cannot afford to miss out on contributing for the sake of the country and the world in general.

Learn more about beaches in Croatia on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Honoring Ivo Banac: Almanac By His Colleagues and Friends Published

July 29, 2021 - In honor of Ivo Banac, an almanac by his friends and associates was recently published to reflect on this famous yet controversial academic and showcase the research Banac inspired in others. 

The first anniversary of Croatian academic Ivo Banac's death coincides with publishing an almanac of scientific work in his honor.

As the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute reported on its website, the motivation for the book is not Banac's death, but rather the 70th birthday Dr. Banac celebrated in 2017, when the honoring symposium was arranged for him. Ivo Banac sadly died on June 30, 2020.

The almanac titled "Liber Amicorum" (which is Latin for Book of Friends) gathered rogether authors who were friends, colleagues, and students of Ivo Banac. Their work showcased in this book consists of opinions and takes on various aspects of the life and career of Ivo Banac, as well as pieces of research, texts, and work encouraged and inspired by Banac himself, whom the authors wanted to share first and foremost with him.

The Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, the Croatian Catholic University, and Hrvatska Sveučilišna Naklada (Croatian University Edition) are the publishers of the book.

"The Gruž Symposium was a happy and joyful event after which many had the need to say much more is expected from Ivo. Only three years after cheerful toasts, we faced the professor's sudden, fast and unquestionable departure. One of the ways we tried to deal with this loss is working on this book“, said Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute at the event that was organized in 2017 in honor of Ivo Banac.

Born on March 1, 1947, in Dubrovnik, Ivo Banac began his educational journey in Catholic institutions in New York (his father was a sailor, and the family moved to the USA). He finished Jesuits Gymnasium and received a BA at Fordham University, and then moved to Standford for his MA (1971) and Ph.D. (1975). He was an academic, historian, politician (founder of the Liberal Party in 1997), and a writer (among nine books, he had a column in the Jutarnji List daily newspaper). He was a regular professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, and was also a professor at Yale in the US and Budapest, Hungary. His most famous book was „National Question in Yugoslavia“ (published in 1984). He was a member of the Croatian Helsinki Committee (2007), and for a brief time in 2003, a minister in the government lead by a social democrat prime minister Ivica Račan.

Biografije.hr pointed out Banac's controversy for being one of the most known converters in modern Croatian history. From being a member of the New left organization Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), to a liberal, then right-wing. Nevertheless, his political turmoils, his friends, and colleagues remember him for being a great scientist and intellectual.

''This book reflects a plethora of interests that characterized Banac's work, but also the interests and efforts of his students, the new generation to whom Banac was their mentor and had high hopes for,'' concluded the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Learn more about Croatian politics and history from the 1990s on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

How Far Can Zagreb Grič Cannon Fire? Ideal Conditions View of the Fire Range

July 21, 2021 - Ever wondered about the Zagreb Grič Cannon fire? TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac played with Google maps to provide an answer in ideal conditions.

While Zagreb Grič Cannon did not shoot at the time of writing this article, it is still one of the key symbols of Zagreb, and memories of its bang during midday is a vital part of the living in Zagreb experience.

As TCN previously wrote, the Grič Cannon was first introduced on January 1, 1877, and was located at the State's Meteorology department, back in the times when Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It wasn't until 1927 that it was moved to Lotršćak, where it is situated to this day. In addition, the current cannon serving this purpose is actually the fifth to do the job and was donated to Zagreb by the Yugoslavian National Army (JNA), during Universiade.

Apart from signaling noon, the old legend says the Grič Cannon also served a defensive purpose. As TCN previously wrote, legend has it that the Ottoman commander Hasan Pasha (Hasan Paša) settled his army along the coast of the Sava river, in today's area of Novi Zagreb. He was preparing to cross the river and invade the city, but before that, he was about to have lunch, and Zagreb fired a cannon in the Ottomans' direction, close to Hasan, blasting a chicken he wanted to eat. The shot scared the hell out of the Ottomans, and they retreated, leaving Zagreb totally intact.

The legend itself is part of a book titled ''The Grič Cannon legend'' in which writer Dubravko Horvatić has gathered 20 Croatian legends, and the book is a mandatory book report title for Croatian pupils in the third year of elementary school.

ptc_pixsell.jpgPreparing the cannon, screenshot / PIXSELL

Legend vs facts

With the story taking place way back in the 16th century, it's obvious the tale is just a legend as the cannon wasn't introduced until the 19th century. Still, it's a cool story, and a bit of a twisted mind can't but help think: what's the range you could actually shoot with the Grič Cannon?

As the Wikipedia page says, and as a member of the Zagreb Tourist Board in Lotrščak tower confirmed to this sleuth reporter, the current cannon's range is 7,929 metres (almost eight kilometres), and the sound of the blast has a solid 140 dB.

Legend says Hasan Paša was on the coast of the Sava river, which means he was in southern Zagreb, and sure enough, the Grič cannon is facing south from Lotrščak. The cannon floor also has windows looking in each direction, meaning you could move the cannon to north, west, or east.  

When playing with Google maps distance measuring tools, you can see that the smallest distance between the Sava river and Lotrščak is, give or take, about 3,1 kilometres. So, the current cannon, under the right angle, could easily make that shot.

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The distance between Fort Lotrščak and Sava river, screenshot / Google Maps

Apart from the possibilities of buildings and hills messing up the shot, there are other things that need to be taken into consideration. As the Department of the Army U.S. Marine Corps identified back in 1996, in their manual, there are many factors that affect artillery fire.

Muzzle velocity, projectile weight, range wind, air temperature, air density, even the rotation of the Earth, not to mention the overall condition of the barrel, all of which are challenges that could limit the cannon's full potential. And yes, Google maps isn't really the most precise tool on the planet, but let's take a shot in the dark and see how far the Grič cannon could actually fire (keep in mind these projections are made solely based on the maximum range, and the factors aren't taken in account but are mentioned for the sake of trivia knowledge).

South! Aim! Fire!

Let's start from the cannon's current position. Assuming no buildings, hills, or anything else gets in the way, and you're a physics genius that managed to isolate yourself in Lotrščak with live ammo and achieve a clear straight shot, your cannonball makes an impact all the way in line with Donji Čehi (but a bit away to the east from that place). Donji Čehi, along with Gornji Čehi, used to be independent villages but are today part of the City of Zagreb. With only 1,72 km2 of length, the place is inhabited by 232 residents, based on a 2011 census.

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Grič Cannon maximum range to the south, screenshot / Google Maps

 West! Aim! Fire

Continue clockwise and set your cannon to take a shot towards the west, with a range of little under eight kilometres. You can score all the way to Krnska street in Gajnice. Krn is both a name of a mountain and a peak (2244) in neighbouring Slovenia. The mountain is a part of the Triglav National Park in Slovenia (and if this side note makes your attention turn to Slovenia, be sure to check our friends at Total Slovenia News). Gajnice is a neighbourhood in Zagreb that is inhabited by around 10,000 residents. The neighbourhood is notorious for its pretty lousy connection with the rest of the Zagreb, and local residents often complain about infrequent buses that connect them to Črnomerec from where they can travel to the city centre. Well, at least, the centre doesn't aim at them with a cannon. 

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Grič Cannon maximum range to the west, screenshot / Google Maps

 North! Aim! Fire!

The new target, or perhaps better to say lucky shot, lies towards the north. Don't worry about Medvednica mountain getting in the way of a clear shot towards Zagorje, as the range isn't long enough. The shot will hit Medvednica mountain, more precisely, to the close proximity of Tusti Vrh. This location is 648 metres above sea level and serves as a stand for a communication station with some antenna polls. But, there's no need to shoot the place up and destroy a lovely piece of nature, which also serves as an important social role in regards to telecommunication. Instead, you can visit the place as the Gračani trail leads there.

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Grič Cannon maximum range to the north, screenshot / Google Maps

 East! Aim! Fire!

Finally, it's time to ruin someone's day in east Zagreb (fortunately, no person was hurt during these simulations in reality). Specifically, this applies to whoever lives in Retkovec III near Bruma Interijeri d.o.o., a company specialised in woodwork.

Petkovic is a neighbourhood that is part of the Dubrava district. It's mostly a residential place, like much of eastern neighbourhoods considered to be a bit of a rough area to live in. Still, things aren't as bad as they were as before.

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Grič Cannon maximum range to the east, screenshot / Google Maps

 

Shooting blanks

Again, it's worth noting these projections aren't accurate science and imply conditions which are perfect. Of course, in an ideal world we wouldn't need firearms and everyone would be living in peace. In reality, where these ideal conditions don't apply, residents of the aforementioned areas, but also citizens in general, can be relaxed, as the ranges are irrelevant.

shot_fired.jpgShots fired aftermath, screenshot / PIXSELL

''It's worth noting the cannon is modified, and it can't fire live ammo,'' warned the Zagreb TB official, who was a bit puzzled as to why I would even ask her for the potential range of a weapon overlooking the Croatian capital from Fort Lotrščak. But, as I'm sure any researcher will confirm, scientific curiosity often calls for asking controversial questions.

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

For more about history in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Croatian Scientists Researched Radicalism: Results Presented at Prestigious ISPP Conference

July 19, 2021 - With many options for scientific research, Croatian scientists researched radicalism and presented their findings at the conference hosted by the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP).

Croatian scientists continue to make a global impact with their research. As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informed on its website, Ph.D. candidate Tomislav Pavlović participated in the 44th annual International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) conference that occurs from July 11-13.

As listed by the official website of the Society, ISPP is an interdisciplinary organization representing all fields of inquiry concerned with exploring the relationships between political and psychological processes. Nonprofit, scientific, educational, and non-partisan.

„Members include psychologists, political scientists, psychiatrists, historians, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, as well as journalists, government officials, and others. The Society is international, with members from all regions of the world: the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa“, says ISPP.

Pavlović participated in two panels of this year's online conference.

„Within excellently moderated and visit panel “The Process of Radicalization II“, Tomislav Pavlović presented findings of research regarding roles of dark personalities character traits and inequality in predicting radicalized intentions“, stated Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

The research, Pavlović co-authored with a senior scientific adviser at the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Renata Franc is published as part of the EU Horizon DARE project.

DARE stands for Dialogue About Radicalisation and Equality and its goal is to „significantly increase understanding of why and how young people become radicalised and our capacity to effectively counter-radicalisation“. The project started on May 1 2017 and it will be concluded this October.

„Despite multiple studies providing evidence of subjective inequality and dark personality traits as predictors of extremism, their interactive effect on extremism has not been studied. As such interactions are implied in multiple models of radicalization, this research was focused on testing them. While Study 1 (N = 279), based on a convenient student sample, established the interaction between perceived group relative socio-political deprivation and Dark Triad traits in the prediction of support for political violence, Study 2 (N = 461), based on a quota sample, specified it in the context of radicalized intentions: emotional component of group deprivation (anger, contempt, and disgust) interacts with the Dark Tetrad in the prediction of radicalized but not activist intentions, even after correcting for social desirability bias. Their combined explanatory power (up to 25% of explained variance) robustly confirms the role of individual dispositions and (responses to the perception of) contextual factors, as well as their interactions, in radicalization“, says the abstract of Pavlović's and Franc's research.

„Additionally, as part of „Authoritarianism, Ethnocentrism, and Social Dominance“ panel, Tomislav Pavlović presented findings of psychometric, intercultural check of the relatively new orientation scale for social dominance (SDO-7) (Factor structure of the short form of Social dominance orientation questionnaire (SDO7) on youth samples from multiple countries; examined by dana gathered by questionnaires of pupils from nine countries as part of the CHIEF project (Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe’s Future)“, added Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Along with other researches conducted within the CHIEF project, Pavlović's participation in the conference is one more beautiful instance of Croatian scientific excellence. This shows Croatian scientists are stepping out as equals with their international colleagues presenting findings which, when it comes to social sciences, may not only help solve problems Croatia is facing but the world in general.

When it comes to youth, learn more about what Croatia can offer to kids and families on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 9 July 2021

REPLACE Project Presented at JOINT SECAP Workshop in Rijeka

July 9, 2021 - The REPLACE Project was presented at the JOINT SECAP workshop in Rijeka on June 23. There is no better way to end a year and a half-long Interreg project for Croatia, which was one more ecosystem-concerned cooperation between Italy and Croatia.

When it comes to energy efficiency in Croatia, there is no doubt anybody cares about it more than the scientific community working and associating with Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP).

Not only is the EIHP building on its way to becoming the first nearly zero energy building in the whole of the country, but EIHP's expertise also plays a big role in REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe. As TCN previously covered, the project aims to make Primorje Gorski Kotar County energy-renewable territory, and the ongoing meetings about the project (in collaboration with the University of Rijeka) see slow but steady progress in those respects.

As EIHP reports on its website, June 23 saw REPLACE Project presented in the congress hall of Rijeka's Jadran Hotel as part of the final workshop of the JOINT SECAP project.

„On behalf of EIHP, Antonia Tomas Stanković presented REPLACE in the second half of the event. The goal is to support European energetic, climate, environmental, economic, and social goals by 2030 and 2050 by encouraging the gradual replacement of inefficient and outdated cooling and heating systems with new, energy-efficient systems based on renewable energy sources“, informed EIHP.

JOINT SECAP, part of Interreg Italy-Croatia strategic program (much like the CASCADE Project TCN previously wrote about) aims to improve the climate change monitoring and planning of adaptation measures tackling specific effects in the cooperation area.

„The project idea reflects the necessity to operate at a wider district level and better define strategies and actions for climate change adaptation, especially for those weather and climate changes and hydrogeological risks affecting coastal areas. The first phase is developed to build the common methodology for Joint Actions definition and implementation and to share the basic knowledge about issues concerning climate change adaptation strategies and energy efficiency measures. The second phase starts upon the analysis uploaded in the web platform, acting as a useful tool for the development of scenarios for the Joint Actions to be implemented in the Joint SECAP plans, those last constituting the main project deliverable“, explained JOINT SECAP on its website. The workshop in Rijeka was the conclusion of the project as JOINT SECAP ended on June 30 after it began on January 1, 2012, with a budget of € 2,094,857.

The workshop in Rijeka, writes the EIHP website, was organized by Primorje Gorski Kotar County Office for Regional Development Infrastructure and Project Management and by Kvarner Regional Energetic Agency. Representatives of local authorities of Primorsko-Goranska county that were enrolled in creating an Energetic and Climate Sustainable Development Action Plan. These local authorities include towns such as Opatija and Kastav and the districts of Čavle, Matulji, and Viškovo.

„Joint SECAP analyzed energy spending for the included towns and districts, their risks and vulnerability regarding climate change, yearly emissions of CO2 in sectors of building construction industry, public lighting, and traffic. Concrete measures with the goal of adjusting to the effects of climate change and CO2 emissions down to at least 55% by 2030 were suggested“, stated EIHP.

With measures identified, the race with time begins as these measures should be in place as fast as possible to tackle one of the biggest challenges humanity is facing, and Croatia isn't able to be isolated from the threat.

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Zagreb Grič Cannon: Explosive Noon Reminder

July 9, 2021 - Zagreb Grič Cannon - a reminder of noon, and a reason to avoid the centre if you aren't a fan of loud sounds. Get your noise-canceling headphones and read about the cannon's history, courtesy of TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

If you find yourself walking around a wider Zagreb centre (such as Savska Cesta or Marin Držić Avenue) around noon, and you focus on the sounds of the city, you may notice a weird sound in between traffic and people passing. An unusual sound, as if someone dropped a heavy box. But, if around noon, you find yourself at Ban Jelačić square or upper town, you will hear a clear and loud BANG! Fear not, as this is not a terrorist attack, and you weren't lied to when your tourist agency swore to god Zagreb is safe from such horrors. The heart-stopping bang is a signifier of noon. If you hear a boom at 11:59 or 12:01, your watch is behind a minute. The cannon states that clear and very, very loud.

Loudest time checker you could think of

Grič cannon first started signaling noon on January 1, 1877, and was located at the State's Meteorology department, back in times when Croatia was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. It wasn't until 1927 that it was moved to Fort Lotršćak where it is situated today.

According to the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery's official website, Fort Lotrščak was named after a bell and comes from campana latrunculorum, which is Latin for „Bell of Thieves“ that rang before closing city gates. Historians aren't exactly sure what the Fort looked like in medieval times, although it is speculated based on old sketches that it had only two floors. It wasn't until 1857 that romanticistic architecture gave the fortress today's four floors and an additional tower at the very top (from which you have a breath-taking view of Zagreb today).

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Fort Lotrščak © Ivor Kruljac / Total Croatia News

In the 17th century, the Fort served as trading storage and had various other ways to adapt to the need of Zagreb and Zagreb's citizens at different times. At one point, when the City was out of money to restore and repair the Fort, it gave Lotrščak to citizens for rent. Citizens who wanted the Fort also had the obligation of maintaining it, and in case of enemy assault, it was to be returned back to the City for defense purposes.  

Warning shot 

Speaking of defense purposes, an old legend says how this cannon managed to save Zagreb with a single shot from the Ottoman conquerors. Legend has it that the Ottoman commander Hasan Pasha (Hasan Paša) settled his army at the coast of the Sava river, in today's area of Novi Zagreb. He was preparing to cross the river and invade the city. But before that, he was about to have lunch one day, and Zagreb fired from the cannon in the Ottoman's direction, close to Hasan and blasting a chicken he wanted to eat. The shot scared the hell out of the Ottomans and they retreated, leaving Zagreb intact.

Changing arsenal

Over the course of time, there were five different Grič cannons that served the purpose of signaling noon. The current canon was given during Zagreb's Univerzijada in 1987, courtesy of the Yugoslavian National Army (JNA) as Croatia at the time was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ).

As for the first three, you can find them today in the collection of the Zagreb City Museum. The first cannon originated in 1876 and was replaced by the second cannon in the unidentified year at the end of the 19th century. The third cannon you can see in Zagreb City Museum, and the first that was situated on Lotrščak fort, was introduced in 1928, and it was made by restoring a Polish cannon from 1912.

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Three cannons showcased at Zagreb City Museum  © Ivor Kruljac / Total Croatia News   

So finding yourself in front of Fort Lotrščak (whose entrance is located right next to the Upper town funicular station) is not recognizable if you are not a fan of loud noise as it can give you a sound fright even down below at Jelačić square and the surrounding area. But, for the brave ones, the Grič cannon can provide a unique souvenir from Zagreb. It doesn't use live ammo (the cannon is modified so it can't), but it does fire several pieces of thick cardboard that then flies down to the area underneath Lotrščak's entrance and smelling like gunpowder.

Ceased fire

Despite being a regular background sound for the experience of living in Zagreb, Grič cannon went through periods when it ceased fire and stopped making statements. The first such instance was World War I and then followed by the war in the nineties. Most recently, the cannon was silenced after the Zagreb earthquake on March 22, 2020, but it re-fired hot and heavy sometimes in May 2020. However, followed by the December 29th Petrinja earthquake, which was also felt heavy in Zagreb, the cannon is silent even today.

„We are not quite sure when it will re-fire“, briefly commented the Zagreb Tourist Board member that welcomed me in Fort Lotrščak, one of the locations where Zagreb TB has a regular stand. Still, despite the cannon being silenced, you can climb and sightsee Lotrščak, the famous cannon as well as the watchtower on top of the Fort, for the prize of 20 kunas.

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One of the exhibitions at Lotrščak © Kula Lotrščak

The Lotrščak Fort address is Tomićeva 9, and the Fort occasionally also hosts various exhibitions at times too. But, the cannon is a regular feature, and there are lots of info on the history of the cannon and the Fort itself there too on the walls- both in English and Croatian.    

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

For more about history in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Ruđer Bošković Institute Scientists: New Findings Regarding Isomers in Stereochemistry

July 8, 2021 - Ruđer Bošković Institute scientists made progress in stereochemistry that focuses on describing the order of atoms in three-dimensional space and compounds of equal molecular formulas.

While Ivo Andrić's Nobel Prize in literature is debatable whether it serves the national pride of Croatia, Serbia, or Bosnia and Herzegovina, the two Nobel prizes that are unquestionably for Croatians to brag about come from chemistry.

Croatian chemist Vladimir Prelog won the Nobel Prize in 1975 for his work in organic stereochemistry.

As the Ruđer Bošković Institute reported this week, Ph.D. candidate Natalija Pantalon Juraj and dr. Srećko Kirin provided new descriptions of isomers (focused on metal complexes), and their work is published in a prestigious Coordination Chemistry Reviews [IF2020: 22.3] journal, titled „Inorganic stereochemistry: Geometric isomerism in bis-tridentate ligand complexes“.

„The basis of the research was the analysis of structure from crystallographic database“, added IRB.

IRB explained in a press release that stereochemistry is focused on describing the order of atoms in three-dimensional space and compounds of equal molecular formulas, but that differ in the spatial order of atom placements are called isomers.

Prelog took an interest in organic stereochemistry (organic, being interested in compounds with carbon), and while organic stereochemistry has good ways of synthesizing the preferred isomers, the same isn't the case for inorganic (non-carbon compounds) chemistry.

While it is unclear if this work will be awarded and recognized among the international scientific community as much as Prelog's contribution, Pantalon Juraj and Kirin made some progress in advancing inorganic stereochemistry.

„Analysis of data presented in this paper shows trends in coordination properties of various ligands (ligand being an ion or molecule 'functional group' that binds to a central atom to form a coordination complex), thus answering the question of which ligand to choose and design a system to get a wanted isomer“, says IRB regarding the relevance of the research.

The detailed analysis also revealed stereochemical preferences that vary on various factors, and these findings are important for developing new functional coordinating complexes and also new selective catalizators to speed up the reactions.

This research was funded thanks to the Croatian Science Foundation as part of the project „Minimal Artificial Ensims“ (IP-2014-09-1461 and DOK-2015-10-2072), and "CAT Pharma" (KK.01.1.1.04.0013).

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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