The Technical University of Darmstadt has a professor of elite sociology.
(Eh LEET eh zote see oh lo! jee.)
When you “can do something out of the Effeff,” in German, my online wiktionaries say, that means you have it down pat, can do it blindfolded, know it backwards and forwards.
Biggest economic court case ever.
Earlier this month, an arbitration court at The Hague decided that when the Russian government said the oil company Yukos owed $27 billion in unpaid taxes and then broke the company up and auctioned it off, they did this to eliminate oligarch Michail Chodorowskij’s political challenge to Vladimir Putin and to benefit state-controlled companies, such as Rosneft.
The arbitration court awarded Yukos shareholders $51.6 billion (plus $64 million in attorneys’ and court fees).
Prior to this, the biggest award to investors in arbitration was $2.5 billion.
(Dare GRISS ta VEE OUGHT shofts prote sess dare YAY molls geff IRRED VOOR da.)
In German, fiction is Fiktion but nonfiction is Sachbücher.
(ZAW chh bew chh ah.)
Criminal investigation archeologist!
The Roman-German Central Museum in Mainz employs at least one justice archeologist, who is documenting and seeking legal fixes for illegal excavations in e.g. Spain and southern Italy. The job includes finding and notifying relevant offices in national and extra-national governments when stolen ancient objects are up for auction around the world, as well as providing evidence and analysis of objects of questionable provenance and of their probable origins.
(Crim een AWL ah chh æ oh LO! gah.)
Industrial heritage site.
The Völklinger Hütte or Völklinger Ironworks in the German Saarland was the first site to be placed on UNESCO’s list of industrial heritage sites, in 1994.
The Hütte’s de.wikipedia article said the factory is located conveniently near the Völklinger train station for rail tourists who want to see the current ancient Egypt exhibit. A partnering Italian museum set up millennia-old Egyptian sarcophagi etc. in glass cases between the smelters. 19th-century German archeology was made possible by 19th-century German industrialization, the curators said.
(Inn douce TREE dengk mall.)
The problem-plagued nuclear power plant in Cattenom, France.
Luxembourg and the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland have been urging that Cattenom be taken offline for safety reasons for years.
After a malfunction this week, one of Cattenom’s four reactors was powered down. In May 2014 there was an accident in which ten employees were irradiated. In July 2013 a transformer caught fire.
Der Spiegel reported that Cattenom has had >700 “incidents” in recent years.
Minutes before a concert in Salzburg, Austria, Daniel Barenboim recorded an appeal for peace that was sent to ZDF heute journal to broadcast on the evening news on 23 Jul 2014.
|How many people have been killed.||Wie viele Menschen sind getötet worden.|
|How much cruelty.||Wie viele Grausamkeit.|
|And everyone’s right.||Und jeder hat recht.|
|It’s inhuman, what’s happening over there.||Es ist ja unmenschlich, was dort passiert.|
|Because there’s only one possibility: that is the future, and the future means, no military solution.||Weil es gibt nur eine Möglichkeit: das ist die Zukunft, und die Zukunft heisst, keine militärische Lösung.|
|This is not a conflict that can be solved by a military action.||Es ist nicht ein Konflikt, der durch eine militärische Aktion gelöst sein kann.|
|It’s a conflict between two peoples, who are deeply convinced that each has the right to live on the same tiny piece of land. That they may live there, and that they must live there.||Es ist ein Konflikt zwischen zwei Völkern, die zutiefst überzeugt sind, das Recht zu haben, auf das gleiche, kleine Stückchen Land leben zu dürfen. Und zu müssen.|
|Without the other group.||Ohne die anderen.|
|And that! That’s what we have to change.||Und das! Das müssen wir ändern.|
|A cease-fire is absolutely necessary. Long overdue, even.||Waffenstillstand ist absolut notwendig. Sogar, viel zu spät.|
|But it’s not enough.||Aber es reicht nicht.|
|We have to bring the parties together, so they can talk with each other, and so they understand first and foremost: that there is no military solution.||Wir müssen die Parteien zusammen bringen, dass sie miteinander sprechen, und dass sie als erstes das verstehen: dass es keine militärische Lösung gibt.|
|And then the rest of the world must provide real support for this.||Und dann muss der Rest der Welt das wirklich unterstützen.|
|Then, it will be very simple, and it can be solved.||Dann, wird es sehr einfach sein, und es kann gelöst sein.|
Hamburg’s “Transparency Law,” requiring the administration to publish all its documents with the exception of e.g. personal data and business secrets. The compulsory publication will go online in October 2014 in a central “information register.”
Hamburg passed this law in 2012 after an initiative by Mehr Demokratie!, the Chaos Computer Club and Transparency International.
So far the city-state’s government has held 120 training seminars to tell 1700 officials what the new law will mean.
One trainer began his sessions with an 1838 quote from Prussia’s interior minister, Gustav von Rochow.
“It is not fitting for subjects (…) to apply the standards of their own limited insight to the head of state’s actions and to presume in their bigheaded arrogance to make a public judgment about the lawfulness of said actions.”
(Tronce paw RENTS geh zetts.)
“The biggest and most important tax conference ever held in Germany,” which will be in Berlin in October 2014 to sign, seal and deliver the new international agreement for the automatic exchange of tax data, after it is approved by the G20 finance ministers in September 2014.
67 countries and legal regions are on board; 40 want to implement the new O.E.C.D standard in 2017. Countries implementing the standard include Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Bermuda Islands and the Caymans.
This achievement was accomplished by pressure from the U.S., whose “Fatca” law required banks outside the U.S. to provide tax information about customers who had to pay tax in the U.S. The U.S. negotiated this in bilateral agreements. Then five E.U. countries said if the U.S. could do it, the E.U. should as well.
“The task of automatically exchanging the many billion data that could be relevant for the financial authorities across borders is considered extremely complex. It has already been decided that all sorts of income will have to be reported, including interest, dividends, income from insurance contracts but also capital gains [from sales]. Banks will be involved but also brokers, investment funds and insurers. This will cover the accounts held by natural persons and by trusts and foundations and the natural persons who control them. Finally, guidelines on implementation and specific details on the safe transfer of data were worked out.” —Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(Dee GRISS ta oont bed OY tend sta SHTOY ah cone fah RENTS inn DEUTSCH lonned, dee ess yay geg GAY ben hot.)
Reliability verification procedure.
This month the responsible federal bureaux apparently stopped processing Sig Sauer’s applications for weapons export permits while investigations continue into how Sig’s guns were found in Colombia and Kazakhstan despite export permits that said “United States.”
(Tsoo fair LESS ichh kites PROO foongz fair FAR en.)
A “spying spiral,” falling into an espionage arms race. Süddeutsche Zeitung echoed Chancellor Merkel when they wrote, on 10 Jul 2014,
“Despite everything: Permanently spying on each other is wasteful.
“Intelligence agencies are always insatiable. They take as much money, personnel and technology as they can get. Whether this really makes the world a safer place is hard to prove. Of course there are threats, such as international terrorism, against which Germany must effectively defend itself. Including by working with the U.S.A. The energy spent on permanently spying on each other in addition to all that is wasted energy.”
On 16 Jul 2014, Chancellor Merkel’s spokesperson said it again:
“It seems to the Chancellor, and surely to the entire federal government as well, that it’s not sensible for everyone to be spying on everyone, as if we were still in the Cold War. Especially not among friends and allies.”
(SHPAY shpee RAH lah.)
“Manipulation of public opinion, calumny campaigns and reality distortion… rigging online polls and altering view counts for websites.”
How Spiegel.de described some of G.C.H.Q.’s “weaponized capabilities” from a July 2012 list that Glenn Greenwald published on Bastille Day, 2014.
(Mon EEP eula SEE OWN dare if ent lichh en MINE oong, ROOF moahd comp ON yen, ray all lee TATES faired SERR oong.)
what Spiegel.de called the two World-Cup Snowden revelations in its “Eleven Things That Happened While You Were Watching Soccer” article:
Used as sources.
On Sunday, 13 Jul 2014, it was revealed that the C.I.A. had used more than a dozen German government employees in four ministries “as sources.” Also that there had been hacking attacks on the phones on members of the Bundestag’s N.S.A. investigation committee.
Although the Bundestag is in its summer recess, its N.S.A. investigation committee met on 15 Jul 2014. The heads of all three German intelligence agencies attended. Most of the meeting was secret.
The heads of the intelligence agencies praised their organizations for finding all these U.S. spies in the German government. The opposition said the spies were found accidentally and wondered how many more spies haven’t been found yet.
(Awls KVELL en ben OOTS t.)
How the awesome Univision commentators said “Schürrle” during their wonderful free webcast of la gran final de la Copa Mondial. That’s probably how the English commentators said it as well, but my search results showed no free English webcast.
Univision’s guys also thoroughly enjoyed saying “Schweinsteiger” and “Mertesäcker.”
Partido = match, pelota = ball, grito = the yelling of the crowd.
Respect for Argentina!
A July 12 headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
(Achtung four Awg en TEEN ian.)
A taz.de description of Donald Rumsfeld.
(Meal eat ERR feel ose OFF.)
“Ordering in,” what you do to important diplomats after an affront by their country. They can try to explain what was meant. You can express displeasure and show voters you are responding to an event that is important.
German media regularly report that this or that ambassador has been “ordered in,” e.g. to the Foreign Office, in response to such-and-such an event. But I think U.S. reporting of these matters only begins when diplomats are expelled from a country, which may be why it made sense to so many Americans when George W. Bush announced we were no longer going to talk to regimes we had serious differences of opinion with.
(EYE n beh SHTELL en.)
An a-capella song sung in a voice as bright and clear as a bell.
From Spiegel’s review of Dolly Parton’s concert in Cologne last week, describing how she sang “Little Sparrow.” They said she captivated the crowd with her openness to the world and self-irony.
“The bigger the hair, the closer to God.”
(Glaw ken HELLA ah cah PELLA.)
European register of companies, to prevent letterbox companies from obscuring who’s behind an enterprise.
The E.U. law mandating a new European companies register is being worked out in Brussels. Sven Giegold (Green party) said the current draft would only allow officials to view the register. Süddeutsche Zeitung confirmed it did not explicitly say everyone will be allowed to see the information. “Insiders said this was because publicly naming companies’ and foundations’ economically authorized persons would violate privacy.”
Sven Giegold said you don’t have to publish their names and addresses, but the public has a right to know who’s behind things. To prevent abuse of the companies register, there could be a register documenting the people who want to view the companies register.
An activist from a group called One said Africa loses 44 billion euros each year that are diverted and laundered through anonymous trusts and letterbox companies.
(Oy roe PAY ish ess oon ta NAE MON’S ray GISS ta.)
Arms exports report.
The Bundessicherheitsrat is a government board that meets secretly to approve German arms exports. Each deal must be separately approved as an exception to the Peace Clause in Germany’s constitution, yet so many are approved that Germany is the world’s #3 weapons exporter after the U.S.A. and Russia.
The permits issued by the Bundessicherheitsrat have been being published once each year in the annual arms exports report. The 2013 report was just published in June 2014, for example.
Reforms are under discussion. Critics of the current system say the report is being published too late and too infrequently. Now it was found that it’s too incomplete as well: The 2013 report did not mention a billion-euro deal to sell tanks, howitzers, mortars and masses of ammunition to Qatar that the previous coalition approved in March 2013.
Apparently it’s an accounting problem that happens to divide the reporting of these large arms deals up into the years of their partial deliveries, making them look smaller. It also happens to obscure when the Bundessicherheitsrat permitted these large deals.
(RISS toongs ex POT bear ICHH t.)
It was announced on July 4 that a U.S. spy was caught in the German foreign intelligence service (BND).
The federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe are investigating a 31-year-old BND employee for selling secret documents to an American contact man. The BND employee also offered his services to the Russians. It’s still not clear whether the person he thought was his American contact man was actually American and from a U.S. intelligence agency.
Update on 05 Jul 2014: Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, is responsible for protecting the country from foreign spies. Apparently when Verfassungsschutz started investigating this mole they asked the U.S. for help.
Update on 09 Jul 2014: Military Intelligence (MAD) may have found a second U.S. spy inside the Defense Ministry.
(M OW! L voorf.)
The “autocomplete trap.”
Goldman Sachs is suing Google to force deletion of an email containing confidential customer information that Goldman’s contractor’s employee accidentally sent to a gmail account. Goldman also wants to know who has had access to the information in the email.
(Ow! toe fair FOAL shtenned ee goongs FALL ah.)
“Forming a grape,” meaning forming a cluster or bunch.
What crowds do in German.
Queues in Germany can take the form of a triangle, with the desired goal at the midpoint of the longest leg of the triangle. Old ladies also have their own rules, especially at the twice-weekly open-air markets.
(Eye na TROU ba BILL den.)
A breakfast festival feast full of art.
How an Englishman living in Berlin described German breakfasts, according to Frankfurter Rundschau’s excerpt from the German translation of his English book about German culture.
“At weekend breakfasts, every square centimeter of the table is covered by an enormous assortment of cheeses, cold cuts, fruit, jams, honey, spreads and other things.” Fresh rolls from the corner bakery! Well-made croissants. Ripe tomatoes, herbs from the balcony, good yogurt, a warm soft-boiled egg to carefully dismantle in an egg cup, sometimes smoked salmon and inexpensive caviar. Excellent coffee.
(FROO shtook olls KOONST foal ess FEST mall.)
Now that Swiss, Austrian and Liechtenstein banks are about to stop allowing anonymous accounts for foreign tax evaders, Bavarian police and customs officials have been catching more people trying to transport large amounts of cash. They are also suspicious of attempts to bring expensive boats into Germany across Lake Constance. Wristwatches can transport wealth out of Switzerland.
Police said they’re calling the Eurocity train between Munich and Zurich the “black money express.” Transporting large sums of cash in small quantities is “ant traffic.” They watch for wealthy-looking retirees who are behaving suspiciously.
(OM eye zen fair CARE.)
“Bundestag members’ diets,” but apparently this means their pay. In February 2014 the Bundestag discussed reforms to raise its members’ remuneration, changing it “to about that of a federal judge, with regular pay raises thereafter,” said ARD tagesschau.de. Their last raise was in 2013.
Update on 11 Feb 2014: Leftists and Green party members criticized the grosse Koalition’s plan to give Bundestag members a ~10% pay raise by the end of 2014, calling it “masslos und überzogen,” immoderate/self-indulgent/exorbitant and excessive. Gregor Gysi (Leftists) said it did not match or fit current trends in wages, pensions, and social welfare payments. At 19% of the Bundestag, the opposition will be unable to stop the bill, which looks like it will be proposed and passed in about one week.
The regular pay raises after the 10% bolus are to be linked to trends in the labor market, said the C.D.U./C.S.U. and S.P.D. proponents. Süddeutsche said this includes matching downward trends in German workers’ pay too, though those rarely happen.
The plan is to raise Bundestag members’ monthly salary from 8252 to 8667 euros on 01 Jul 2014 and then to 9082 euros on 01 Jan 2015.
“Masslos überzogen,” immoderately/self-indulgently/exorbitantly excessive, is what ZDF heute journal said the new interior minister Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.) called the government workers’ unions’ concurrent negotiation demands for a pay raise of 3.5% and 100 euros more per month (ca. 7% total) for federal and county public sector employees, about 2.1 million people in Germany.
Update on 21 Feb 2014: The Bundestag passed its pay raise to itself. 115 no’s, 10 absentions. A C.D.U./C.S.U. politician arguing for the pay raise said it was “courageous.” Green party member Hans-Christian Ströbele said the haste with which the supermajority grosse Koalition whipped the pay raise through was an indication of their guilty conscience about it.
Update on 28 Jun 2014: It’s become known that Bundespräsident Gauck is not signing the Bundestag’s pay raise to itself yet. He said his jurists are still examining some questionable points in the changes. The Bundespräsident’s signature is the last hurdle before a new law can go into effect, but the signature can only be delayed or refused if there are constitutionality questions.
Update on 29 Jun 2014: A taz.de op-ed cited a 1975 decision by Germany’s supreme Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe that Bundestag members’ pay should not be linked to civil service pay [Beamtenbesoldung] and their pay raises should have to be approved publicly, i.e. in the plenum of the Bundestag. The process for giving themselves raises should be “transparent for the burghers and decided before the eyes of the public.”
Update on 11 Jul 2014: Bundespräsident Gauck signed the Bundestag raise package, including the automatic raises to come. The 01 July 2014 raise will be implemented retroactively.
(BOON dess tochhs ob geh ORD net en dee ATE en.)
A fake debate.
The German defense ministry will be presenting their case Monday, 30 Jun 2014, in the Bundestag for why they must be allowed to buy and co-develop armed drones, unmanned airborne weapons platforms. But they’ve already decided, according to an “Einzelplan 14,” to buy Medium Altitude Long Endurance armable surveillance drones by late 2014. There are no longer M.A.L.E. drones that cannot be armed, said taz.de.
The Bundeswehr is currently staying in Afghanistan until 2016, and they said they need to tool up with drones and close some “capability gaps” because they’re staying in Afghanistan.
One of the evening news shows said the new supermajority government’s coalition agreement promised a debate about drones. They said this in a way that implied that the coalition agreement only promised a debate.
Update: After the Bundestag talk, the defense minister announced the German military won’t be buying killer drones. It will be leasing them, from Israel.
(SHINE day BAT ah.)
“A pig’s gallop.” Quick and dirty.
This week the supermajority coalition was in a hurry to pass Sigmar Gabriel’s reforms to Germany’s switch to renewable energy sources. The Bundestag vote was scheduled on Friday, 27 Jun, and the Bundesrat vote two weeks later.
But on Friday, 20 Jun, the E.U.’s competition commission threatened to torpedo the reform. On Monday Sigmar Gabriel’s state secretary went to Brussels with a revised draft, and returned with four demands from Joaquín Almunia. Sigmar Gabriel’s ministries decided they could implement three of them, though at “enormous extra costs for industry,” but not the fourth, which was to exempt imported electricity from the renewables contribution.
Meanwhile, it was Tuesday, 24 Jun, and the Bundestag’s Law and Consumer Protection committee had no draft to analyze for constitutionality and consumer protectiveness. The ministry wanted to try to get them copies of ~200 revised pages by Tuesday afternoon; the Law and Consumer Protection committee said that was too much to get through in time for a vote on Friday.
The Bundestag’s Economy committee also had no draft of the law when they met to analyze it on Tuesday.
Though the Bundesrat doesn’t have to pass the reform law, the federal states can delay it there as well.
If the reform law doesn’t get passed in time to go into effect by 01 Aug 2014, companies that use high volumes of electricity will not be able to apply in time for their 2015 exemptions freeing them from contributing to the switch to renewable energy sources.
Update on 25 Jun 2014: The S.P.D. and C.D.U. were able to deny the opposition’s request for a hearing to discuss the complex new changes because the opposition is so tiny that its right to such hearings is not guaranteed under German law. It looks like the Bundestag will pass this reform despite not understanding it.
Update on 27 Jun 2014: The committees waved the changes through. The Bundestag passed the reform package. A C.D.U. politician said, “After the reform is before the reform.”
Update on 09 Jul 2014: The superministries reached an agreement with Joaquín Almunia on the fourth of the competition commission’s four last-minute demands. Germany will start paying the eco premium for green electricity imported from E.U. countries, starting in 2017, but for no more than 200 megawatts.
(SHVINE’S gall OPP.)
Someone who rides his principles as if they were a horse.
This is translated into English as a dogmatist, pedant or stickler.
(Prints EEP ee en RYE tah.)
Long short short long, the ship’s horn signal sounded by Bundespräsident Gauck to launch the annual Kieler Woche sailing festival, the world’s largest regatta with >4000 vessels.
It means “Leinen los!”
(Long Kurtz Kurtz Long.)
The world’s biggest underground salt-cavern storage site, in Münsterland, where oil recently started flowing into a farmer’s fields.
Germany stores reserves of oil and natural gas in huge hollow spaces rinsed out inside large underground salt deposits.
ZDF heute journal’s report showed a discreet fence sign indicating that the utility Eon has such projects. However, the 50-year-old Münsterland site appears to be under a “public corporation” [Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts] tasked with making sure Germany has oil and gas reserves for 90 days, which rented the underground salt cavern from a salt extraction company that’s a joint venture of the chemical companies Solvay, Vestolit and Bayer.
A geologist told ZDF there are a lot of cavern storage sites in the world now and accordingly there are a lot of cases where salt caverns have “collapsed, leaked, exploded, burned…”
Germany has 230 in use now and another 130 are planned. Most are filled with natural gas.
Two Bonn attorneys who specialize in mining law said environmental impact testing was not required for these storage caverns until 2010, and then only for caverns above a certain size.
(VELDT vight GRISSED ess zaults caw VERNE en LOG ah.)
Rumpelkammer + Wunderkammer + Kammerspiel
Junk room + cabinet of wonders + a chamber play, an intimate drama set in a small space.
From the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s reviews of Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence novel and of the Museum of Innocence they created in Istanbul’s Çukurcuma neighborhood. It was just declared Europe’s museum of the year.
(ROOM pell VOON da CALM ah SHPEEL.)
Delicate, sophisticated, filigree soccer art.
(Fill ee GRAH nah FOOSS ball KOONST.)
Feathers, but it can also mean springs or shock absorbers.
taz.de reported that the big utility Eon is pushing for a fast restart to a nuclear power plant in Grohnde, Lower Saxony, despite safety concerns. The plant would have restarted on 11 May 2014 but there was generator damage. Then foreign bodies turned up in the reactor core—springs or shock absorbers [Feder] had broken off 9 of 131 throttle bodies, which regulate the flow of cooling water around the radioactive fuel rods. Other pressurized-water nuclear reactors in Germany use the same throttle bodies, said taz, but neither Lower Saxony’s environmental minister (Green party) nor the federal environmental minister (S.P.D.) wanted to say which plants these were.
Lower Saxony’s environmental minister has asked Hannoverian prosecutors to investigate tips the ministry received that cracks in the reactor’s secondary circuit had been fixed with temporary welding. Eon was said to have put pressure on the company doing the repairs to even get them to take on the job.
Half the throttle bodies in the Grohnde reactor core have now been replaced. And Eon says calling their welding inadequate is an “abstruse assertion.”
The Grohnde nuclear plant is scheduled to be restarted on Monday, 23 Jun 2014.
Update on 22 Jun 2014: Eon announced today that they restarted the Grohnde nuclear power plant yesterday, after Lower Saxony’s environmental ministry issued the permit to restart on Friday.
Built in 1984, the plant is scheduled to be the last Lower Saxony nuclear power plant taken offline in 2022.
“Continuation determination complaint.”
A complaint before a German administrative court, financial court or social court asking the court to declare that an administrative act that was performed by an organ of the government was not lawful.
On 01 Jun 2013 police in Frankfurt used clubs and pepper spray to force their way into a permitted march of 10,000 demonstrators and kettle 1000 of them for about ten hours. The then-Hessian interior minister* defended the action by saying those particular protesters’ masks and passive weapons looked threatening.
Individual protesters’ Fortsetzungsfeststellungklagen asking to find that the police’s banning them from being where the protest was [Platzverweis] was illegal are being heard by the Frankfurt Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgericht], while individual protesters’ lawsuits asking the court to find that the police’s kettling act was illegal are being heard by the Frankfurt District Court [Amtsgericht]. Many criminal proceedings against the demonstrators are still ongoing.
* Now Boris Rhein (C.D.U.) is in charge of Hesse’s universities, as the Hessian State Minister for Science and the Arts.
(FOTT zets oongs FEST shtell oongs CLAW gah.)
After Austria’s cabinet passed a special law creating an unusual haircut for some of the enormous debt incurred by the bank Hypo Alpe Adria, Austria’s finance minister appeared on an evening talk show to discuss the decision. The show’s host, said the Frankfurter Rundschau, is “loved and feared for his critical questions and his tendency to bring things precisely to the point.” The finance minister was not pleased with the broadcast.
Then an Austrian tabloid Österreich, said to have good connections to the chancellor’s office, reported that voices in government were pushing for the moderator’s removal. “It was supposed to happen in a typically Austrian style: Apparently he was to be ‘praised away’ into the post of a senior commentator or television director.”
The finance minister’s party, Ö.V.P., said the rumor was untrue. The ORF moderator responded to the wave of solidarity flowing in his direction by tweeting a Mark Twain quote.
Later, in a newspaper interview, the moderator said his questions weren’t that tough. The finance minister just reacted “unusually emotionally” to a “necessary interruption.”
“And when a guest doesn’t answer my questions, or answers with false facts, I have to interrupt. I know that bothers some spectators. But if I didn’t care whether my question got answered, I wouldn’t have asked it.”
(VECK geh LOBED.)
Address to the German Data Protection Conference.
On 03 Jun 2013, F.A.Z. feuilleton publisher Frank Schirrmacher gave a talk titled “Information as a fetish: Consumer protection in the new information economy” at Germany’s national Data Protection Conference. Some of his thoughts:
“Data protection in the information economy will become a job that is very politically important. It will have… to develop into an instrument that secures freedom.”
“It’s become normal for us, we journalists and you [data protection officers] too, some of you, to talk about spying. About spying on people in every possible way in the internet. About tracking, about data hunters and data kraken. It’s no accident that we use all this vocabulary from intelligence services and spy agencies. In this sense, data protection must be intelligent counter-intelligence. It must disclose the operational and systemic rationality of the algorithms, so people can understand at all what texts are being written elsewhere about their lives and what conclusions can be drawn from those texts. … We must thus end a kind of illiteracy about these matters.”
He said today’s situation isn’t Orwellian because Orwell described an open suppression system. It’s more Brave New World: “In Orwell they burned books; in Brave New World books just aren’t read.”
“Data protection in our world’s future will have the actual task of becoming personality protection. The inviolability of the person, which all of us believe in as a basic principle, presents completely new challenges in a digital age. To quote again from Eric Schmidt’s book, and he is entirely right about this, when he writes, ‘Identity,’ in other words personality, ‘will be the most important raw material for burghers of the future, and identity will primarily exist online.'”
“Consumers don’t just buy a product. …They are actually becoming products. …They are read when they buy things, they are read when they move around, they are even read when they are reading, paying, even thinking as we now know. …In the age of ‘big data’ everything has the potential to be a market, including politics and social life. When even the most private acts, as is possible today, make people into market participants, such as reading an ebook, then conversely it’s clear that even the most private space can become the object of market research, and increasingly at a stage before the consumer is aware of it.”
He said we can’t go back to analog. We can’t switch the tracking off either. Even if we manage to not be recorded by our own devices, other people’s devices are recording us. Also, some companies keep lists of everyone who chooses to opt out.
The question of anonymity is in many cases already over because of the patterns that can be spotted now (last year): so many behaviors can be a fingerprint or a voice print. Consumers must learn what patterns of theirs are being read.
(Fair BROW chh ah shoo uts tah chh FORE trah chh.)
The “Prussian Military Archive” in Potsdam and the “Central Registry Office for Warrior Losses and War Graves” in Berlin.
These archives were destroyed by bombing in 1945, making it harder to research German participation in World War I. This according to historian Jesper Zedlitz.
Mr. Zedlitz analyzed 31,000 pages of official “losses lists” from W.W.I by crowdsourcing them to hundreds of volunteers who were interested in learning about their ancestors. The 700 volunteers indexed about 90% of the pages.
The German Reich published these lists from 1914 to 1919. They contained the names of people killed, wounded, missing and captured. The names weren’t in alphabetical order, but sorted by military unit: regiments, batallions, companies, etc. Also, the Prussian, Bavarian, Württembergisch and Saxon armies, the Kaiser’s Navy and the Kaiser’s Protective Troops all kept their own counts and published separate lists. The lists were in tiny print, in the difficult obsolete “Fraktur” fonts, in three columns with about 300 entries per page.
Mr. Zedlitz said during the war many errors were made in the many steps between dictating the names in the field and publishing the losses lists in Berlin. Handwriting was involved. Typesetting keyboards were also different from today’s qwerty keyboards, and so typical typesetting errors involved switching different letters.
Observations from the accessed data:
In 1917 they stopped publishing the identifying date of birth, presumably because this would tell the enemy that the German army was sending soldiers into the field who were too old and too young. The Navy’s losses lists included very sad descriptions of unidentified dead sailors who washed up on beaches, with details to help in possible identification.
“Unknown No. 191. On 26 Aug 1917, a body washed ashore on the seacoast near Bangsaa (Thisted district, Denmark), floating in a white-striped unmarked lifesaver. The dead man wore a shirt, embroidered wool suspenders, underpants, gray wool socks, jackboots, blue jacket, and blue trousers with a buttoning trapdoor, whose buttons were stamped ‘Kaiser’s Navy.’ On the outside of the right forearm was an anchor and a figure supposed to represent the bust of a woman. On the inside of the same arm, was a complete portrait of a woman, extending from the elbow to the wrist. The middle finger of the left hand was tattooed with a signet ring. On the middle finger of the right hand was a wedding ring engraved with ‘T. Henne 07.'”
(PROYSS ish ess HAIR ess archh eef in POTS dom, tsen TRALL NOCHH vice omt fir CREE gah feah LOOSE tah oont CREEGS gray bah in beah LYNN.)
Surveillance tour of Berlin.
A Danish artist and media conference organizer has created a Snowden-inspired bus tour in Berlin, taking visitors to historic sites of surveillance.
High points of the “Magical Secrecy Tour” include:
A guided tour of the Stasi museum and archive, a look at the outside of the giant new headquarters of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND), Berlin’s Google office, the bridge where they used to exchange spies, the giant white golf ball listening stations atop the Teufelsberg (great views!) and some surprises.
(Ü bah VOCHH oongz TOO ah.)
Planespotting technique that tracks aircraft by measuring the latency in pings from their transponders.
British planespotters told the Register.co.uk they used this method to follow a C.I.A. “rendition aircraft” as it crossed Britain during last year’s hunt for Edward Snowden. The Gulfstream jet hadn’t filed a flight plan and was flying at 45,000 feet, above the mandatory air traffic reporting zone.
Interestingly, the Register reported that this plane used to be a U.S. Air Force general’s “gin palace.”
“Buy four good comfortable furs every week.”
A German version of the test sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
Still readable on telex printouts in 17 kilometers of underground Cold War bunkers built in the Eiffel region. The largest complex was built in the Ahr valley near Bonn as an underground city for the federal government to move to in case of nuclear war, in two former railroad tunnels, with room for several thousand people.
Some of the bunkers have been opened to visitors. There will be several guided tours this summer and in the summer of 2015, visiting the federal government’s complex, an underground communications center and a shelter built for North Rhine-Westphalia’s central bank.
(Cow fen zee YAY da VOCHH ah fear GOOT ah beck VEM ah PELTS ah.)
“The hedgehog has landed,” from a tweet by Claus Kleber.
(Dare EAGLE hot geh LOND et.)