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WHO Disease Outbreak News

R-Project: apply versus for-loop · 2016-05-23

We run a piece of R-code that turns all variables of a dataframe into factors. It does it like this:

a<-apply(a, 2, function(x){factor(x)})

It applies (apply) a function (function(x)) column-wise (2) to dataframe a and runs just fine on a 64bit-Windows-machine with 32 GB RAM but fails miserably on a 32bit-Sparc-Box with 128 GB RAM:

Error: cannot allocate vector of size XYZ Kb

We did not find a proper solution for this issue. It is propably caused by address space limits on 32bit-Systems ... but who knows. The solution which works for us looks like this:

for(i in colnames(a)){a[,i]<-factor(a[,i])}

Any comments on this one? We are not perfectly satisfied with our solution. When should one stick with apply and when are for-loops favourable?

Mad Twins - Mad Drum and Bass · 2015-12-03

Two young gentlemen more, who have tenfold the talent Mr. Zuckerberg has. Still they did not earn the fortune he has, though they give so much more to mankind: That's just not fair.

(via Kraftfutter)

Never let a good crisis go to waste · 2015-10-14

-- Winston S. Churchill

The Design Deck · 2015-01-30 ... The Design Deck is a deck of playing cards that doubles as a practical guide to graphic design.

Test CSS Update Feature · 2015-01-28

Check if the CSS-Update Feature - as seen in fefe's news outlet - works here too:

Update: Test Update

Austerity! · 2015-01-09

It’s time to play AUSTERITY! The depressingly accurate Monopoly for the now!

David Cameron is rhyming it · 2014-10-03

Ha, lovely! David Cameron allegedly rapping his true beliefs

Feelin' Groovy · 2014-08-20

Nana Mouskouri - The 59th Street Bridge Song

Я люблю нефть · 2014-06-20

Я люблю нефть

via Golineh Atai · 2014-06-05

Tech Talk: The New Trend · 2014-02-07

Digital Prophet

Digital Prophet: New Trend Will Be Unfriending and Unfollowing ...

Father and Son Hipsteresque · 2014-01-06

Father and Son Hipster Edition seen in Berlin on the Kreuzberg on January 1st 2014. Most lovely. Note father's carhartt jacket. In German the corresponding phrase would be "Kann man sich gar nicht ausdenken, sowas.". So, for all the fathers and sons outthere: It's not time to make a change,/Just relax, take it easy....

30C3 Schedules and Streaming · 2013-12-27

Christmas 2013 "Knorke" Again · 2013-12-25

Turtle Weihnachten

Your Christmas bores you rotten? Well, father a son and wait five years for the ninja action you've been yearning for ... Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Santa's Brand Book · 2013-12-12

Page from Santas Brand Book

(via kottke)

Twitter Back and Forth Integration Done · 2013-12-06

After tweeting my blogposts I now present the most recent posts of my twitter timeline in the right margin of the pages here. Now I'm up and running again.

My lamentable TXP-Installation Twitters Again · 2013-12-02, prepare for more activity on my twitter account. the way, i did not believe how very old the underlying database of my txp is ... its made of clay ... i kid you not!

Flutomat · 2013-07-14

Planning to make your own wood wind instrument? Calculate your six hole flute/fife/whistle with Pete Kosel's Flutomat. It works just fine.

no taxation without representation, hurray! · 2013-07-04

No taxation without representation

(via gunslinger)

A Profound Lesson On Leadership ... · 2013-05-28

... in less then three minutes ... "three is a crowd and a crowd is news" ... "now we've got momentum" ...

on leadership

... it was the first follower that turned a lone nut into a leader ...

(via kottke)

RIVERSIDE STOMP 9 · 2013-05-28

River Side Stomp 9 Poster




Turning Difference Into Illness ... · 2013-05-17

Let’s Fight Big Pharma’s Crusade to Turn Eccentricity Into Illness

after all, it's a competative world · 2012-01-31

I just received a major kick in the butt in my ongoing quest to become the world's coolest dad. The gentleman and his kids below, in my eyes, mark the top notch in dad-kids-achievement of our time ... yes, folks, they do ... after all, it's a competative world ...

Everything Counts

Weekend Cuteness · 2011-12-03

Here is some serious sing-a-long cuteness: The Sullivan School kindergarten classes perform Judy Is A Punk ... Second verse, same as the first! ...

The Sullivan School kindergarten classes

Welsh for a Fortnight · 2011-10-14

Tomorrow Wales will meet France in the Rugby World Cup Semi Finals. Which is surprising, because France has been surprisingly dysfunctional throughout the tournament and Wales surprisingly defeated the up to then flawlessly performing Irish in the quarterfinals. The seemingly hard facts about the teams are presented here in an elaborated set of statistics and further analysis can be found here Brynmor Williams' Rugby World Cup analysis: Wales vs. France. I do not dare to make a forecast, but I'm Welsh for a Fortnight.

And by the way, this is Raquel Welsh (Well, "Welch" actually, but I don't care):

Raquel Welch

Where Children Sleep · 2011-08-10

Where Children Sleep

Batch Convert Flash Files to mp3 · 2011-06-07

A little reminder for me:

for i in *.flv; do ffmpeg -i "$i" -f mp3 -vn -ab 64k -acodec libmp3lame -aq 4 "$i.mp3" ;done

... and furthermore trimming the resulting filenames

for name in *.mp3
newname=`echo "$name" | tr " " "_" | sed s/\.flv//`
mv "$name" "$newname"

RIVERSIDE STOMP 2011 · 2011-05-09

Riverside Stomp Poster

Sat, June 4th 2011
Start: 16:00
Admission: 7,- Euro

I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore · 2011-04-09

Screenshot from Network

Not among us anymore: Sydney Lumet

2011 is Prime · 2011-01-01

By the way, 2011 is prime and it is the sum of 11 consecutive prime numbers: 2011=157+163+167+173+179+181+191+193+197+199+211

(via twittLuebeck)

27C3 Audio Streams · 2010-12-27

H.264 stream up and running:

... and all the official streams

... and more sources:

Waltz With Bashir · 2010-11-25

Waltz With Bashir Screenshot

They feature Waltz With Bashir on arte+7. Since they law abidingly keep their features up only for seven days, while two of them went by already, there is not much time left to watch ... and ...missing it is not an option.

$600 Billion Out Of Thin Air · 2010-11-04

Translating the recent FED's statement from economist's code to plain english:

Second—and this is the big news for today—we're going to create $600 billion out of thin air and use it over the next eight months to buy bonds from the federal government.
-- npr's planet money

more of this please.

The Night Before All Saints' Day · 2010-10-31

Stop Motion Creep

... and now with a not that great visualisation a German version

Cursing for Koreans · 2010-07-29

How to Curse


Turfin' · 2010-07-29

Turfin in the Rain


Spot The Fake Smile · 2010-06-19

Can you tell the difference between real and fake smiles? The experiment is designed to test whether you can spot the difference between a fake smile and a real one. It has 20 questions and should take you 10 minutes.

Daily Affirmation · 2010-05-17

Jessica's Daily Self Affirmation

This is probably the proper way to start your day. For me, I fell off the sink.

(via zefrank)

Riverside Stomp 6 · 2010-05-11

Riverside Stomp 2010

Samstag, 5. Juni 2010,
Am Rheinufer
55252 Mainz-Kastel
Add to your calendar

Jack Parow - Cooler as Ekke · 2010-03-15

Jack Parow - You think You're cooler that I am

Nice sing along guitar loop with afrikaans lyrics. German speakers should be able to get some of the lines ...

Asperger's at Stake · 2010-02-16

Friends and colleagues, cheer up. Being able to pass David Foster Wallace's Grammar Challenge may not constitute a psychic disorder: "The American Psychiatric Association, with its release (...) of proposed revisions to its authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is recommending that Asperger's be dropped." ... but careful! They might only drop the name and you'd still need treatment.

German Luftwaffe? ... What?! · 2010-02-09

Erklaer mir mal einer dieses Youtube. Wat sucht wohl einer, der "RARE German" in die Suchmaske eingibt? Der platzhirsch unter den videoplattformen meint, der sucht "German Wehrmacht" und "German Luftwaffe" und "Rare color footage of the Vergeltungswaffe" ... dabei kann doch, wer "RARE German" sucht eigentlich nur die "rare german version of Where Did Our Love Go by the Supremes" von 1965 suchen. What the heck is wrong with you, Youtube?

You Just Mock · 2010-01-30

No iPad jokes here, please, this is not an Apple debating turf. However, iPad meta jokes shall be allowed if not appreciated. Are you aware of the current eight minute iPad commercial? If so, you need to check Collegehumor's mock version. Brilliant idea by the Vice President of meta jokes.

Our new House · 2010-01-29

Duke Ellington at Miro's

There have been ongoing inquiries on how our house - the one we moved to recently, the one we've been willing to go into sky high depth - looked like. Well, our house looks very much like the house of Joan Miro. You can check it out in the video above, in which Duke Ellington drops by at Miro's. Our house has got the same brickwalls and very similar concrete lintels. So you get a very good impression on how we live now. You just need to leave out the soap stone carvings. We're not very much into that. However, If we'd roll a piano on the porch, Duke Ellington would probably drop by to improvise.

Die Graugans · 2010-01-24

die graugans taucht im zeitgenossischen musikschaffen leider meist als englischer markenname eines nicht aus russland stammenden wodkas auf und wird dorten oft nicht besungen, sondern berappt ... dachte ick bis eben und fand das schade. Aber, die dunklen tage der unwissenheit sind vorbei, denn:

One sunday mornin', Lord! Lord! Lord!
The praecher went huntin', Lord! Lord! Lord!

Lead Belly, das hier bisher viel zu selten erwaehnte urgestein des "blues/country/cotton picking whatever", hat uns das lied von der graugans, die der pfarrer am sonntag schiesst, und von deren garprozess hinterlassen. Ein song der in den zeilen kulminiert:

And they put him on a parboil, Lord! Lord! Lord!
He was six weeks a boilin', Lord! Lord! Lord!
And they put him on th table, Lord! Lord! Lord!
And the fork couldn't stick him, Lord! Lord! Lord!
And a knife couldn't cut him, Lord! Lord! Lord!

Zeilen, in die jeder kantinenkunde sofort einfaellt --- Lord! Lord! Lord! --- Ja! Auch mein jaegerschnitzel ist ein zeichen des herrn! Denn wahrlich, die gabel kann es nicht stechen und das messer kann es nicht schneiden, haleluja!

Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers · 2010-01-21

Wu Tang vs The Beatles - cover art

Tom Caruana presents "Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers". Twenty four download-able Wu Tang tracks with some serious Beatles flavor.

Chart Wars · 2010-01-09

A five minute presentation by Alex Lundry named "Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data Visualization". Way too short but a good starting point.

Der macht Schluß ... · 2010-01-03


Ist vielleicht auch irgendwie ganz gut, dass die christlich-abendlaendische jahresendfassadendeko auf dem rueckzug ist. Die letzten unentwegten sprenkel haben dann gleich sowas suizidales. Passt dufte in die dunkle jahreszeit ... probier die Maus aus!

Pimp My Pram - Unterbodenbeleuchtung · 2009-12-20

Pimp my Pram

I Don't Belong Here! · 2009-12-15

Mustard sings Creep

This year's christmas brilliance! A homeless guy, refering to himself as Mustard, sings Radiohead's Creep and this is how it, according to Metafilter, comes:

Every so often, the Opie and Anthony radio show run a Homeless Shopping Spree, where they take some homeless people off the streets and take them out to an upscale mall to buy clothes for them. This year, a man who calls himself Mustard mentioned to them that he used to be a musician, so they gave him a guitar.

(via nerdcore)


 · 2009-11-22


, 321 pages on eGovernment. The names of some of the authors may sound familiar to you: Lawrence Lessig and Tim O'Reilly for example ... this piece should definitely be worth a quick browse.


Forty Years Ago - The Funniest Joke In The World · 2009-10-05

Monthy Python

Bomb It Documentary · 2009-10-01

Bomb it

For the few who haven't noticed yet: The documentary "bomb it" on street art and graffiti is completely available online. Don't miss it.

Proper 'Single Ladies' Cover · 2009-09-26

All the single ladies

Landslide Visualised · 2009-09-15

Market Capitalisation of Financial Corps. over Time

Once again the NY-Times shows us how to visualise properly: "How the Giants of Finance Shrank, Then Grew, Under the Financial Crisis". It shows market capitalization of 29 of the biggest financial firms of the U.S. from October 2007 to September 2009.

(via infosthetics)

Camper Bike · 2009-09-15

Camper Bike

(via makezine)

The Crisis' End is Near · 2009-08-03

laid off economist will predict boom for food

(posted here four years ago)

Bobby McFerrin Works the Crowd · 2009-08-02

Bobby McFerrin

Yes, indeed. There are people who have all my respect. Among them very few are politicians. Today I found a video over at zefrank's showing Bobby McFerrin - a man who has all my respect - making music with the audience during a panel discussion at the World Science Festival.

(via zefrank)

They Are Just As Nervous As You Are · 2009-07-28

Four Nerds

Quantum Soccer · 2009-06-28

Quantum Soccer
In the game of Quantum Soccer, the aim is to shape the wave function of a quantum-mechanical “ball” so that the probability of it being inside one of the goals rises above a set threshold. This is achieved by using the motion of the players to alter the energy spectrum of the wave function: when a player moves across the field, the energy that this action provides (or absorbs) enables transitions between certain modes of the wave function. The pairs of modes involved depend on the player's velocity; the exact rules are spelt out in the mathematical details, but it's easy to experiment using trial and error.

Brilliant. Enable your Java-plugin and gain sh*t-loads of nerd cred, dude!

(via improbable research)

Michael Jackson Dead · 2009-06-26

Weird Al

The king of pop dies at 50. Since everybody screens Jacko performances, my contribution comes themed: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" ... and here's the original, for those who cannot remember.

Coming Soon - Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland · 2009-06-23

Alice in Wonderland

Current State of E-Government · 2009-06-08

Here is a nice post on the current state of 'eGovernment' in the UK. You have to change very little - next to nothing, actually - to have a nice post on the current state of 'E-Government' in Germany: "What the government doesn’t understand about the Internet, and what to do about it". Tom Steinberg's post might even shed some light onto current internet legislation debates, for the internet is not electrification or a shipping container.

Periodic Table of the Operators · 2009-05-28

Periodic Table of the Operators

Pimp Your Day · 2009-05-27

For a culturally improved day I recommend an Image Query for "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung" because "John Heartfield" made a whole lot of the cover art of "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung" back in the 1930ies.

Shark Attack Hat - Kid Couture · 2009-05-21

Shark Attack Hat

(via boingboing)

Donald Rumsfeld - Sicko! · 2009-05-19

I think we can finally state that Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense of the mightiest power of the world, was - or probably is - down right sick.

Wolfram|Alpha · 2009-05-16

Screenshot Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha is finally up and running and this is how it welcomed me: "I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that ... Wolfram|Alpha has temporarily exceeded its current maximum test load. See the live video feed of the control center ...". Well, nice geek humor but still unpleasant. But once you get through you will probably be disappointed again, because you cannot do google-like ego-searches like Der Haken ... but ... what you can do is for instance this GDP of Saudi Arabia vs. Mauretania ... if answers like that are actually correct, the engine might be very useful.

Definition of Chic · 2009-05-13

"Luxury is a humorless thing, largely. Chic is all about humor. Which means chic is about intelligence. And there has to be oddness— most luxury is conformist, and chic cannot be. Chic must be polite, but within that it can be as weird as it wants."

Chandler Burr cites the above mentioned definition of chic in his essay Chandler Burr's Ten Favorite Fragrances ... I've always known it. Luxury is humorless and conformist. However, since oddness and weirdness is now part of the chic-equation, I'm not sure anymore if I actually need to be put to the all time chic-ness list. Hm?

(via gold digger)

Prediction of Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing · 2009-05-12

Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing

... again to keep a little tradition alive here is this month's 12 Month Prediction of Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing. See the forecast of last month's index for comparison.

(figures collected by destatis)

FSF launches internship program · 2009-05-08

Students, here is an opportunity to actually do something useful this summer:

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced a new internship program for free software activists, inviting students to apply for its first round of openings by Monday, May 25th.
The program provides opportunities for participants to work closely with FSF staff members for twelve-week terms in core areas of the FSF's work, including campaign and community organizing, free software licensing, systems and network administration, GNU project support, and web development.

Prince Buster Special · 2009-05-08

Prince Buster gets involved

And here is another petitesse that went by unnoticed for a long time. Lawless Street is a series of podcasts dedicated to Jamaican music. And they aired a great Prince Buster special already in 2007 which I stumbled across three days ago. Almost two hours of serious ska. Download recommended.

Klemptnerarbeiten/Plumbing Work in Progress · 2009-05-02

If you notice weird figures printed all over these pages. This site hasn't been hacked. The numbers rather are debug printouts to find the source of the awfully slow archive page loading, that happens here lately.

Falls ihr hier komische zahlen ueberall zwischen den absaetzen seht. Hier werden gerade klemptnerarbeiten durchgefuehrt. Diese vermalledeiten permalinks brauchen mehr als 10sek. zum laden. Dem muss mal auf den grund gegangen werden!

iSnort · 2009-04-30

iSnort Demo

(via vowe)

Bull or Bear · 2009-04-26

Economist Cover with Hunting Light Fish

While Australia's Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday: 'There are some glimmers of light in terms of the economic data' the economist comes with the above shown cover and this story: A glimmer of hope? The worst thing for the world economy would be to assume the worst is over ... well ... bull or bear, you decide.

(via calculated risk)

IP address geolocation SQL database · 2009-04-21

If you are an old fart and not afraid of using SQL, IP Location Tools offers you an nice little SQL-dump of IP address geolocation information. I bet you, this will come in handy one day.

(via vowe)

Elizabeth Warren at Jon Steward's · 2009-04-16

Elizabeth Warren

Today Jon Steward's Daily Show is a must see because of his guest. He invited Elizabeth Warren, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law. Moreover she currently is chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the U.S. banking bailout, formally known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Fine conversation guaranteed.

New Toddler Couture · 2009-04-15

Punk Is Not Dad Shirt

Heres a new piece of toddler couture. Inspiration came from Punks Not Dad.

Prediction of Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing · 2009-04-15

Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing

... to keep a little tradition alive here is this month's 12 Month Prediction of Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing. See the forecast of last month's index for comparison.

(figures collected by destatis)

Things that Go Up When Economy Goes Down · 2009-04-14

I've been thinking about things that go up when economy goes down. Now I have one promissing candidate. Dilbert catoons. They are far better now than they've been during the recent 'felt' economic boom. Consider this hattrick:

... here are more countercycilcal assets.

Ha ha! · 2009-04-01

No post for you today! April fools!

Command Line Fu · 2009-03-24

Command Line Bonanza:

Prediction of Orders Received · 2009-03-12

Orders Received in Germany's Manufacturing

...and here is the forecast of last moth's index. The main difference is, that the lower limit of the y-axis was 80 last month. Now it is 60.

(figures collected by destatis)

Nerd Boyfriend · 2009-03-10

Ah, a nerd fashion site, featuring nerd heroes and their styles: It seems that they just have started, so, good luck.

(via kottke)

Drakkar - Viking Dragonship Stencil · 2009-03-03

Viking Dragonship Stencil

Don't know what to do next weekend? Here is a neat and simple stencil to decorate walls, fabric, all kinds of things with lovely Drakkars, the dragon ships of the vikings. Just download it, print it on preferably water proof paper or over-head transparencies and then cut out the gray parts. The remainder is the stencil. Not convinced? Here is an example. A Drakkar decorated kid's shirt.

Viking Dragonship Shirt

They Should have Stayed in Bed · 2009-03-02

Today American International Group, Inc. (AIG), the former big player among American insurances, filed it's 2008 annual reports at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 99,289 Million $ loss in 2008! Goodness Gracious Me! But wait above the table it says:

The Selected Consolidated Financial Data should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included elsewhere herein.

Well that really appeases us, doesn't it? Calmed as I was I took the time to collect the annual net income of the last twenty years from the SEC reports, to sum them up and see how AIG performed in the long run. Here is the result: 20 Years of American International Group, Inc. Performance - Cumulated Net Income since 1989

American International Group, Inc. - 20 Years of Perfomance

... they should have just stayed in bed.

(credits to

78 RPM Records · 2009-03-02

Today my congrats go out to youtube user dairyman716. dairyman716 digitalizes good old 78rpm mostly German records and puts them on youtube together with a scan of the record or it's cover. Up to today he uploaded 362 records for us. Great! Thanks a lot, Sir!

Here is a nice example: Oscar Joost und sein Orchester Eden-Hotel, Berlin spielen. Kurt Hardt singt "Ruth, tanze heut' mit mir kubanisch"

Stock Cars · 2009-02-28

While Toyota is renting a ship in Malmö to store unsold cars that do not fit into the harbor's capacities anymore, first galleries dedicated to unsold automobiles appear. Let's call them stock car galleries.

(via marinelog)

Gabba Gabba Hey - Shirt Stencil · 2009-02-28

Baby Couture

Here is a quickly made stencil to make some serious Gabba Gabba Hey garment for your toddler. Great weekend project.

And now the credits to those, who invented the term:

The Places We Live · 2009-02-28

Slum in Jakarta

(via kottke)

Per Capita Income of the SOEP Household · 2009-02-26

I could lay my hands on a dataset recently, of which I have reason to believe that it is a 2007 SOEP dataset. This is a nice piece to play with. First I had a look at the income variables of the sample households. Divided by the number of persons in the household I got the per capita income of the SOEP households. One thing is interesting. SOEP knows a pre government income and a post government income. So income before and after tax and transfer payments. Now watch this:

Distribution of Income per capita in the SOEP

The yellow boxplots depict the distribution of pre gov incomes of the last eleven years. You can see that the gap between the well off and the less well off widened remarkably in the last few years. This is probably the main result of the agenda2010 reforms. Note the widening of the distribution in the lower half of the income distribution in recent years.

Now the interesting point is that Germany seems to do a great job in keeping the post gov incomes steady. See the orange boxplots which do not show a widening of the income distribution. Question is: What do we do here? We introduce large reforms to create a low price work segment, hence a low income segment within the population, and then we cancel out the effects by transferring income? Weird, ain't it?

Difference of the Median Household per capita income pre and post gov transfers

One last point was interesting having a first glance at the SOEP data. The median income, the per capita income of 'middle' household, pre gov used to be higher then the median post gov income. That means the middle SOEP household was a net payer to the german transfer systems. Since 2005 (refer to the pic above) the middle SOEP household is a net gainer from german transfer systems. Is this a good or a bad thing?

(analysis done with

Eclectic · 2009-02-26

Since me own spare time has new and unprecedented boundaries, I introduced the category 'Eclectic' to file thing that I merely pass on rather than create.

Dance Dance Dance · 2009-02-18

I cannot resist, here is a video post. This one made my day. We should all try to emulate the master above at least once a day. ... for the exhaustive and yet fine tracklist see spreeblick where i found this piece.

U.S.A.'s Index of Orders Received in Manufacturing · 2009-02-07

Orders Received in Manufacturing

Value of new order in total manufacturing according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Index of Orders Received · 2009-02-05

Today Germany's index of orders recieved in manufacturing for december 2008 has been published. The value is 94.0 which is not very interesting but over time we see a steep decline coming right out of something like a boom. Looks wicked. But how will it go on?

To see what might come I fitted the monthly data, starting from January 2000, and then predicted the next 12 month. Here is the result:

Orders Received in Manufacturing

Does not look like dooms day but still bad.

Data Mining with R · 2009-01-24

A nice introduction to R: Luís Torgo, Data Mining with R, learning by case studies. The book is currently made available for free and comes in postscript or pdf format.

Visual Methods · 2009-01-21

Some basic math ideas explained graphically..

(via mathlog)

OECD Economic Surveys Euro Area 2009 · 2009-01-17

Cover Page

The OECD Economic Surveys Euro Area 2009 have been published already. A lot of stuff to read indeed, but they have lots of graphs and they have an executive summary. On 153 pages they use about 74000 words to describe the current economic situation in Euro Area. The word crisis appears 100 times, followed by the word turmoil with 89 appearances. Depression is not used this year.

Whatever, try to read it at least partly, which is what I will do. It will probably deliver some insight on what is going to come economically.

Darwin Year · 2009-01-14

My contribution to a successful Darwin Year.

Darwin Year
Darwin Year

For high resolution files contact me ...

Still Silence · 2009-01-14

Still publishing stop here. I do not yet find the time to properly comment ... Watch this expensive piece of art instead.

25C3 · 2008-12-26

The 25th Chaos Communication Congress (25C3) starts tomorrow and lasts until December 30th. Meet me there ... but call me first, I won't attend the whole thing ...

Moving Center · 2008-12-18

Sin and Cos with moving Center

Turning a line around a moving center ... done with processing

PiccoloQuiz · 2008-12-11

What is this?

I've been playing with processing again tonight. Here is the result. Tell me what the picture above shows and win a piccolo bottle of cheap champagne.

Lost In Translation · 2008-12-10

Chinese Poem

the independent

Who's Spiral · 2008-12-01

Who's Spiral?

Some of you may have noticed that Processing went 1.0 lately. Going 1.0 is always a nice occasion to try languages out. At least that was what I thought ... First impression: If you write Java, you can write processing right away. You just have to look up a few basics and ready you are. For those who do not write Java, it is still nice for it skips a lot of Java 'write properly' obstacles. Processing seems to be a powerful yet easy to use data visualisation tool. Try it.

Here is my second try. He, who knows what it is and does post it to the comments first, shall receive a piccolo bottle of cheap champagne. Go for it!


int scrmin = min(width,height);
float golden_angle = 137.508;
float con = 2.4;
float r;
float g;
float b;
float a;

float diam;
float x;
float y;

float ro;
float di;

for(int i=0; i<50001;i++) {

  ro = i*golden_angle;
  di = con*sqrt(i);
  r = random(255);
  g = random(255);
  b = random(255);
  a = random(255);
  diam = random(scrmin/100);
  x= width/2  + (cos(ro)*di) + random(scrmin/400);
  y= height/2 + (sin(ro)*di) + random(scrmin/400);

The Orwell Diaries · 2008-11-30

George Orwell, author of 1984 and "The Animal Farm", wrote a diary from August 1938 to November 1942. There is a site that time shifts the journal seventy years onwards and posts the entries today day by day: The Orwell Diaries

The entry today in George Orwell's diary seventy years ago was "Two eggs" ... following a sequence of five number-of-eggs entries. Now that brings me to this pages here. The November 2008 will most likely be the month with the smallest amount of entries ever. That does not mean, that nothing happens round here. The things that happen are just not fit publish. I once swore that oath not to publish family issues in here or elsewhere, may they be happy or sad and I swore the other oath, not to publish number-of-egg-entries. This is thing people may do, who plan to contribute to the great works of world literature, not me.

So, folks, my recommendation: stay tuned here. I will turn back soon to share wisdom, insight and entertainment, which is relevant to you, 'cause that is what you folks are looking for, right?

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google · 2008-11-19

Stock Cars

LIFE publishes it's image archive via google.images. Thats quite a treat. Furthermore, this morning the european library goes online, we are excited already.

...and for the friends of off-main stream movies we have ... great short movies dating back to the early 20th century.

OECD Regional Stats · 2008-11-09

Regional statistics on a quite detailed territorial level. A whole lot flash but well applied ... very nice:

OECD Regional Stats Screenshot

One little set back, however. The .csv-download is difficult to find. Go to 'right panel' and choose 'raw data' instead of 'scatter plot'.

U.S. Presidential Elections - Prediction · 2008-11-02

In my eyes markets perform fine, to predict certain outcomes of ... whatever. So, let's check the Iowa Electronic Markets for a prediction of next weeks U.S. presidential election outcome. First check the data of the recent elections:

Gore vs. Bush 2000

Bush vs. Gore 2000

Bush vs. Kerry 2004

Bush vs. Kerry

Well, knowing this and knowing who actually won we can check this year's prices.

McCain vs Obama 2008

McCain vs Obama

For me Obama will be the winner on wednesday and therefore will become 56th president of the U.S.A.. Pretty sure.

The Unfinished Swan · 2008-10-30

nice game

Nice and simple idea. You've got a paint ball gun to explore a totally white world.

Jammin' · 2008-10-27

Duke Ellington - C Jam Blues - 1942

... no further explanation needed.

Credit Default Swaps · 2008-10-22

How do Credit Default Swaps work and why are they interesting when analysing the current financial state ... "Untangling credit default swaps".

The London Underground Map · 2008-10-22

Here is a nice documentary on the beacon of modern design: The London Underground Map

What Do Japanese Do? · 2008-10-20

Japan 24 hours

The Elements of Style · 2008-10-15

5.21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat
Young writers Inexperienced programmers will be drawn at every turn toward eccentricities in language. They will hear the beat of new vocabularies abstractions, the exciting rhythms of special segments of their society industry, each speaking a language of its own. All of us come under the spell of these unsettling drums; the problem for beginners is to listen to them, learn the words, feel the vibrations, and not be carried away.

A book on writing applied to programming ... good.

A Must Read · 2008-10-09

Carolyn B. Thompson and Jim Ware have written the book, we've been desperately waiting for: The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Commonsense Lessons from the Commander in Chief (Paperback). A quick glance at the index gives us a clue on what made George W. Bush the great leader, that he doubtlessly was:

It Flies · 2008-10-06

Kite Tuxes

Banned Books Week · 2008-10-03

Banned Books

The American Library Association celebrates the Banned Books Week from September 27 1o October 4, 2008.

10th and 25th Anniversary · 2008-10-02

For it's 10th anniversary we can search Google's oldest still existing index. The one of January 2001 ... lovely. And by the way, GNU became 25 on the 27September, which is way more important.

Exile on Wall Street · 2008-09-23

Wall Street 1920

Wall Street 1920

The bail out plan by Henry Paulson, current Minister of Treasury of the United States, is a great source of satire. Check this probably authentic mail, that 's making the rounds:

Dear American:
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Furthermore the site claims for Main Street what Wall Street asks for. It wants the government to buy our distressed assets at the price we'd like to get.

(pic: ChParkerShoots)

Stanford Engineering Everywhere · 2008-09-18

Stanford University offers some fine courses on engineering: Stanford Engineering Everywhere. The undergraduate courses introducing computer science look very promising. I checked some of the lectures on programming paradigms so far and they made sense ... just to answer the question Professor Cain repeatedly asked.

October 11th 2008 - Freedom Not Fear Action Day · 2008-09-18

11th October 2008 - Freedom Not Fear Action Day

Who Owns Ideas? · 2008-09-09

A radio feature on the topic by the CBC: Who Owns Ideas?

Pain in the Heinie · 2008-09-05

Where exactly do we feel emotions? Emotionally}Vague tries to figure it out.

Isaac Hayes died at 65 · 2008-08-11

Isaac Hayes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning soul singer Isaac Hayes who, along with Al Green, James Brown and Stevie Wonder, was one of the dominant black artists in the early 1970s, died in Memphis on Sunday. He was 65.

Golden Cat Waves · 2008-08-06

A golden plastic cat from china and a lovely plaster penguin greet you! I wanted to test yoube for ages now. You see, I did.

Eutelsat's Stock Prices · 2008-07-19

Here is a little incident that went by almost unmentioned. On June 16th and 17th Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat lost some transponders due to power generation difficulties of an old satellite. Of course the programs broadcasted went down for the time of the incident. Eutelsat took swift action to address the problem. By now all affected television programs are back on air. All except one: NTDTV, a independent TV-station, broadcasting in Chinese and therefore annoying the Chinese government. Reporters Without Borders confirm that the decision to take the station off air was politically motivated.

Hopefully Eutelsat's stock prices have risen a whole lot, for it's business opportunities in China improved a lot lately.

Every Day Gothic · 2008-07-16

beautiful suicide
[...] In her desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale’s death Wiles got this picture of death’s violence and its composure.

A great piece of photography. I hear that Warhol made screen prints from it. He must have spoiled the picture. It is perfect as it is.

(via social fairy dust)

Out Of Office · 2008-07-01

will not post very frequently until the July 14th ... See you then

Health Warning · 2008-06-22

Health Warning

I am sure that one should take such health warnings serious ... we should really avoid this.

Wabash Cannonball · 2008-06-21

Howdy folks, this mornin' I took time to collect some interpretations of the mighty fine folk song Wabash Cannonball:

The Builder · 2008-06-18

world cement production 2006

World cement production by country in 2006 according to the Mineral Commodity Summaries 2008 (page 45) by the U.S. Geological Survey. Since cement is the one basic ingredient of concrete, you can imagine where the construction is going on nowadays.

Poetry elsewhere · 2008-06-14

Even if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least you can try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk
Do not degrade it by dragging it along
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social relations and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on
-- C.P. Cavafy

(via Caterina)

Architecture Fantastique · 2008-06-01

Architecture Phantastique

Daniel Dociu, brilliant ...

Followers · 2008-05-21

Now, this one is a treat:

band followers
Every popular musical act has a band of diehard followers, but can you match the apostles to the act? Answers are at the end of the gallery and all photographs are taken from The Disciples, by James Mollison...

Again, on every picture you see a set of people and you have to guess whose concert they attended ...

Google Health - Is this going to fly? · 2008-05-19

Blade Runneresque Google Blimp

Is this authentic? Google triggers a service Google Health which is described as follows:

Google Health puts you in charge of your health information. It's safe, secure, and free.

Google stores your information securely and privately. We will never sell your data. You are in control, you choose what you want to share and what you want to keep private. View our privacy policy to learn more.

Google gets weird and weirder, ain't it?

Sad Kermit · 2008-05-10

... Soon after the death of Jim Henson, Sad Kermit spiraled downward into a life full of addiction, romance and pain. The songs and videos on this webpage shed light on Sad Kermit's descent into his dark, hurting world ...

... Kermit is singin all the sad and painful hymns: Creep, Hurt, Needle in the Hay, etc. ... check the 'Needle in the Hay' video.

(via kottke)

Harvard Law School embraces Open Access · 2008-05-08

The faculty of Harvard Law School has unanimously approved a motion for open access: articles will be made freely available in an online repository. With the success of this motion, Harvard Law becomes the first law school to make an institutional commitment to open access to its faculty's scholarly publications [...]

This could easily mean that open access has become - or will become soon - main stream. Let's start looking for another worthy cause to fight for.

Wrong Face · 2008-05-07

I'm still not perfectly convinced about the benefits of google's search faces option. If you'd look for faces related to Rock 'n' Roll, you'd expect something different, wouldn't you?

Sudo · 2008-05-01

A: Make me a sandwhich.
B: What?! Make it yourself.
A: Sudo make me a sandwich

Text Editors · 2008-04-30

It’s our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to “hand code” everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.

So says Khoi Vinh, design director of Right he is.

The Ultimate Machine · 2008-04-24

Watch the ultimate machine. It's purpose is to switch itself off, when being switched on.

Self Portraits · 2008-04-19

60% of the world's reproduced oil paintings come from a village in China. REGIONAL made the painters portray themselves: Self-portraiture and emerging artistic consciousness in Dafen.

(via boingboing)

Kung Fu Intro · 2008-04-16

Bruce Lee

Very polite Bruce Lee gives us a short intro on kung fu in a 60ies television interviewing environment. Brilliant.

(via kungfugrippe)

Juno · 2008-04-02

"Juno" a very nice movie, that you shouldn't miss. For my pubertal readers its a must see. It is far from being realistic but it can calm you down when it comes to teenage pregnancy. Great soundtrack. Great dialogs. Great cast. Here my favorite line:

You should grow a mustache

... calm down, calm down, i'm not going to.

The Theory of Interstellar Trade · 2008-03-17

Paul Krugman, author of well known works on trade theory, wrote quite cheerful stuff in his early days: Theory of Interstellar Trade. Here is the abstract:

This paper extends interplanetary trade theory to an interstellar setting. It is chiefly concerned with the following question: how should interest charges on goods in transit be computed when the goods travel at close to the speed of light? This is a problem because the time taken in transit will appear less to an observer travelling with the good than to a stationary observer. A solution is derived from economic theory, and two useless but true theorems are proved.

Great ... Economics, is there more science we possibly need?

(via ny times)

Image Upload Test · 2008-03-16

sergio mendez

Image upload test successful. Above you see Sergio Mendez and Brasil 66 singing 'Day Tripper'. Click the image for a youtube clip. Lovely, a whole lot of crochet dress action ... To complete the brazilian flavour, here are two livestreams. The first one comes directly from Rio and features popular brazilian music. The second one is very much into bossa nova.

Seven New Sins · 2008-03-10

The Vatican has published a new list of seven - this time 'social' - sins:

  1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
  2. "Morally dubious" experiments such as stem cell research
  3. Drug abuse
  4. Polluting the environment
  5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
  6. Excessive wealth
  7. Creating poverty

Obviously they are not meant to replace but to augment the already known "seven cardinal sins".

(via bloomberg)

Lost and Found: The Velvet Underground · 2008-03-02

The cartoonist does a whole lot of featuring for The Velvet Underground and Nico lately. First he found this video at with 1:04:16 of brilliant noise and then he got these songs, which allegedly are part of the Live at the Gymnasium, NYC, 1967 recording.

...just keep posting this kind of material. Lovely, lovely ...

How I'd Sink Vogue · 2008-03-01

How I’d Sink American Vogue in five issues. I’m not aware of a german life style magazine, worth being sunk that pretty … Gala, perhaps or Bunte. But they do not have that Vogue-seque design reputation. Other ideas? Stern does not work.

All That Jazz · 2008-02-29

Now for some Youtube music extravaganza. First watch the pieces of youtube user HaydnHuckle. He only shows clips of jazz piano, no cuts, no enhancements, only a piano captured by a handcam. And then, you might know him already, watch Ronald Jenkees, who is a brilliant nerd.

Origami Science · 2008-02-29

Lets post another mathematics piece. Robert Lang is an origami artist and maintains a webpage on his art. Here he collected a list of math origami links, which are interesting, to say the least.

Link Dump · 2008-02-28

Teenage Pregnancy Implementation Manager · 2008-02-24


The Manchester City Council is looking for a Teenage Pregnancy Implementation Manager (advertisment in the guardian). Hm, appealing, though it is a full time position.

(via cohu)

Programming Language Cheat Sheets · 2008-02-21

A huge huge thanks a lot goes out to Scott Klarr for his large and superb collection of programming language cheat sheets.

(via kottke)

Surprising: Students Prefer Easy Courses and Hot Professors · 2008-02-18

TaxProf, a member of the law professor blogs network, found a paper by James Felton, Peter T. Koper, John Mitchell and Michael Stinson on "Attractiveness, Easiness and Other Issues: Student Evaluations of Professors on", Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 45-61, Feb. 2008, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Felton et al. (2004) reported that web-based student evaluations of teaching (SET) demonstrated a student preference for course easiness and instructor sexiness. This study explores these same relationships with a larger and improved database. Results indicate even stronger relationships than previously reported. In addition, this study demonstrates significant cultural differences by institution and discipline in the relationships between Quality, Easiness, and 'Hotness' in web-based SET.

(via gawker -> TaxProf)

Yahoo! Innovation Teams · 2008-02-16

Yahoo! closed down it's famous Design Innovation Team, firing the whole creative staff. Yahoo! plans to close down all it's innovation teams. Is this the first step towards becoming a Microsoft affiliate?

(via information aesthetics)

The Pearce Sisters · 2008-02-15

screen shot of short movie

The Pearce Sisters, a very dark, yet a very nice, animated short movie.

SAS - Large Values · 2008-02-12

Do you know SAS, the business intelligence tool with the 60ies-charmes? If the day comes, when you need to find the first and second largest value from a set of observations, here is how it'd work:

proc summary data=&inputdataset.;
   var &variable.;
   class &class_list.;
      sum=idgroup(max(&variable.) out[2] (&variable.)=)
      /autolabel autoname;

Somehow idgroup and out[2] do the trick. Why it works and what else to look after can be found in "Getting the Most from PROC MEANS" by Andrew H. Karp.

Anglizismus des Jahres · 2008-02-10


Rockabrunder (sprich:Rockä-brander), das ist ganz klar der anglizusmus des jahres. Aber, weiss jemand was das ist, ein Rockä-brander? Ein futteral, in dem der rockstar jeweils sein plektrum aufbewahrt?

Little Darth Vader Had Bad Times Too · 2008-02-07

darth vader boy

image ©2007 Alex Brown

Management Failure · 2008-02-07

Taking someone else’s idea and increasing the quality by 5% occurs at the price of a 50% decrease in their commitment to execution

There is not much to add. This seems to be the most common 'commitment killer'. Probably more common than any other managerial failure. So, hands off my business, do your job.

Evolution of Tech Company Logos · 2008-02-07

Russian Tatoos · 2008-02-06

russian tatoo

Data Protection Day · 2008-01-28

The 28th January is Data Protection Day - An initiative of the Council of Europe with the support of the European Commission.

CC-Licensed JavaScript Book · 2008-01-25

Eloquent JavaScript - An opinionated guide to programming
by Marijn Haverbeke

I had a quick glance over three chapters. Seems worth having a closer look. (via schockwellenreiter)

Plastic Balls · 2008-01-17


here is one of the worthiest causes to get arrested for. Reenact the the commercial above on the Spanish Steps by Holy Trinity in Rome. See the result below:

video at decio: il blog

Respect guys, If necessary I'll bail you out.

(via decio: il blog)

Sun to Acquire MySQL · 2008-01-16

Sun announced an agreement to acquire MySQL AB, an open source icon and developer of one of the world's fastest growing open source databases. This acquisition accelerates Sun's position in enterprise IT to now include the $15 billion database market and reaffirms Sun's position as the leading provider of platforms for the Web economy and its role as the largest commercial open source contributor.

...this would be Sun's published opinion, and here is MySQL's:

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB, an open source icon and developer of one of the world’s fastest growing open source databases for approximately $1 billion in total consideration. The acquisition accelerates Sun's position in enterprise IT to now include the $15 billion database market. Today's announcement reaffirms Sun's position as the leading provider of platforms for the Web economy and its role as the largest commercial open source contributor.

Pretty much the same. I will need a night to think the consequences over. Yet, one thing is for sure: This truly is a large wedding.

The Future of Ideas · 2008-01-16

Random House has agreed to permit Lessig's The Future of Ideas to be licensed under a Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial license. You can download the book for free here.

Maila Nurmi · 2008-01-13

Maila Nurmi

Maila Nurmi dead at 86 (

Yet Another New Year's List · 2008-01-03

B.B.C.'s 100 Things We Didn't Know Last Year

Bring Your Violins · 2008-01-01

playin the Violin to Hip Hop Beats

New Years Eve at Cassiopeia's in Berlin.

Merry ... · 2007-12-23

A lovely picture galleries for christmas: Scared of Santa. There are more than the initial sixteen pictures and they ones comming later on tend to become better and better.

24C3 · 2007-12-22

The 24th Chaos Communication Congress (24C3) is the annual four-day conference organized by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). It takes place at the bcc Berliner Congress Center in Berlin, Germany. The Congress offers lectures and workshops on a multitude of topics and attracts a diverse audience of thousands of hackers, scientists, artists, and utopians from all around the world.

Here are the scheduled events. A whole lot of interesting sessions among them. Unfortunately I can only join at one day ... and I still have to decide which day it will be.

Differential Equations · 2007-12-19

prof mattuck

In the video above Prof. Mattuck of the M.I.T. explains the geometrical view of y'=f(x,y): Direction Fields, Integral Curves. It is part of the course Differential Equations.The lecture lasts 48 minutes and is easy to understand and still interesting. Now i know that integral curves can never be tangents.

Open Yale Courses · 2007-12-18

Yale provides some of its courses open access. It comes under creative commons which allows to non commercially share alike or remix as long as you give credit to the authors. That is quite a free license:

Open Yale Courses

... but, unlike the M.I.T. with its open course ware, Yale does not yet offer math courses. What a pitty.


Living and Healthy · 2007-12-09

guy dancing

No updates for quite some time, but do not worry, I'm fine. Until I post again you may read Rio Baile Funk - The adventures of DJ Rideon in the world of Rio Baile Funk or you could practice the very Japanese algorithm dance, which makes you a better person ... according to the lyrics.

Ghetto Funk Power Hour · 2007-11-29


I'm just listening to Binki Griptite's Ghetto Funk Power Hour (mp3-download, 80MB). Does this strike a chord? If so, it is one week left. For all the others: More cryptic pre christmas funk soon here. In the meanwhile listen to Binki Griptite's Ghetto Funk Power Hour, especially to Sharon Jones' "Why Don’t We All Stop Paying Taxes".

Hedy Lamarr Frequency Hopping · 2007-11-26

Hedy Lamarr
"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

So said Hedy Lamarr. Later on she and her close friend George Antheil invented the "spread spectrum" technology, which is widely used today both in military communications security and cellular phones. They thought one could use it to protect remote controlled torpedos from being jammed by the enemy. The Navy at the height of World War II considered the idea too cumbersome, which it was, given the technology at hand at that time.

(src wired published in 2000)

How to Become a Great Photographer · 2007-11-26

Here we have 26 tips on how to become a great photographer. The tips are easily to be converted to almost any other profession. Maybe central asian war lord would need to develop different skills but for all the others, read!

Learn as much technical stuff as you can, because Rule Number One is, the client doesn’t really care about your vision of the world. They care about their vision.
-- A Photo Editor

... and enjoy ...

Rita and Animal · 2007-11-20

Animal and Rita Moreno

Here we see animal, a hero of my childhood and Rita Moreno. That animal was one of my male role models may explain a lot.

Who can figure out what Rita says to animal in second 52? Starts with "Oje Buddy" which means "Listen up, buddy" as far as I know. One sentence may mean "Look at me, when I'm talking to you!" but theres more.

Happy Counterterrorism Day · 2007-11-05

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

Harper's Magazine publishes a small list to keep in mind on Guy Fawkes Night:

...and here is a papercraft Guy Fawkes mask.

Perl Grep · 2007-10-30

Because I always forget it, here as a reminder for me: How does perl's grep work:


or rather

grep (EXPR, ARRAY);


@sesamestreet = ("b-bird", "ernie", "bert", "elmo");
$yeah_no = "";
if(!grep{$_ eq $ARGV[0]} @sesamestreet){
$yeah_no = "not ";
print "$ARGV[0] is ".$yeah_no."in sesamestreet\n";

R.I.P. Deborah · 2007-10-19

deborah Kerr

ELEKTRO music department · 2007-10-18


ELEKTRO - Check this vintage page from way back in the nineties. Techno galore and the HTML is awful. They used to run a club in the early nineties in Berlin. I think it went out of business in 1995. I still have and sometimes wear a t-shirt with the logo. Well, obviously they are still active, they maintain a myspace profile. Respect guys.

Rugby Stil · 2007-10-18

Wir haben letzten samstag das halbfinale der rugby w.m. gesehen. Frankreich gegen England. Muss man ja gesehn haben. Die schoene fand uebrigens Sébastien Chabal allemal schicker als die ganzen geleckten fussballfatzkes. Dann wisst ihr ja jetze, wo es stilmaessig hingehen wird.

Malacca Strait Pirates · 2007-09-19

pirate hangout

National Geographic publishes pirate pictures - just like Der Haken - and puts a lengthy article on top.

Letter to the Belgian Monetary Authorities · 2007-09-09

Albert on Euro coinI received this letter by email. Since I consider the mentioned controversy as interesting I'd like to share it with all Euro users: Letter to the Belgian Monetary Authorities.

Desaster Capitalism · 2007-09-09

Naomi Klein published a new book "The Shock Doctrine", in which she states the existence of 'desaster capitalism'. Starting from Milton Friedman's 'only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change' she looks at recent crisis and desaster and their economic outcome. The next step would be to propose that crisis is actually staged or made by whomever powerful enough to drive his cause. I don't know whether this is done in the book but I'm curious. Read the Guardian post for a first glance.

For those, who do not have the time to read the whole thing, she produced a short film, which actually has been part of this year's Venice Film Festival programme. The movie is made well, gives the facts correctly and illustrates the main ideas of the book, though there is no time for in depth analysis.

Little Miss Sunshine · 2007-09-09

still of little miss sunshine

You chose not to speak because of Friedrich Nietzsche? ... Far out.

Can't Tell Me Nothin' · 2007-09-01

screenshot video

Kanye West's "Can't tell me nothin'" in Zach Galifianakis' version. Brilliant!

Off they Go · 2007-08-29

Hilly Kristal

Hilly Kristal, founder of the CGBG, died at the age of 75. Rest in peace.

(via nytimes)

Belt · 2007-08-29

What a lovely yet handy belt. A must have.

24C3 · 2007-08-26

24th Chaos Communication Congress 2007: Call for Participation

Busy · 2007-08-23

Dear reader, I am busy right now. I may be able to post something interesting next weekend which would be soon enough, wouldn't it? In the meantime check the colorful video of M.I.A. ... so 90ies.

Macro Economic Data · 2007-08-20

I'm currently on a quest for data on the U.S. real estate bubble. I did not yet find proper material. What I found instead is the site of the St. Louis Fed. They offer a whole lot of macro economic data about U.S. issues for free on their economic research pages.

I'm a Marxist · 2007-08-19

Thirty years ago Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx died. "Time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana."

(via dahlmann)

Beautiful Code · 2007-08-16

Blog follows book: Beautiful Code. As for the book, I made it up to chapter "Finding Things" by Tim Bray, which was my favourite so far. By now my recommendation concerning the book is 'buy'. By the way, all royalties from the book go to amnesty international.

Simpsons Haken · 2007-07-11

haken simpsons avatar

This would be more or less me, here are

How'd you look like? ...


Are You into Index Cards? · 2007-07-11

spend hours watching lovely index cards

HBO Voyeur · 2007-07-10


The silent movie returns. Ok, not silent, but without spoken dialogues. Heres to HBO for A flash site that tells some stories. Make sure you've got half an hour and broadband access to the web. Explore it, it's great entertainment.

(via vowe)

All Online Data Lost · 2007-07-10

screen shot

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Secret Rooms · 2007-06-25

floor east berlin jail

Young Farmers Calendar 2008 · 2007-06-22

Joanna Partridge reports from the set of the 2008 german young farmers calendar photo shooting:

Young female German farmers pose for the 2008 Young Farmers' calendar in the Bavarian countryside.
The calendar girls all come from farming backgrounds and say they wanted to show the modern side of farming. The calendar will be available on the German Young Farmers' website, where it normally sells out in a couple of days.

By doing so, she tenfolds my page traffic. The video footage at reuters seems to generate a big buzz among internet users. It is sex and pets that sells, sex and pets ... and thats why I repost youtube's "Hand Holding Otters".

Dramatic · 2007-06-21

(via boingboing)

Beware of Pickpockets · 2007-06-12

George W. went to Albania. In the video below he greets the cheering crowd and, er, well, he somehow loses his watch. On the video in the 40th sec he wears a watch and after 2min 40sec it is gone. I'd love this story to be true, man, I am so much into stereotypes. That'd be so great. I mean it really takes one daring pickpocket to go for George W's watch:

video screenshot

(via vowe)

Nutrition Patterns · 2007-06-10

Time magazine photo essay entitled What the World Eats.

Face Search Form · 2007-05-31

As a little public service I thought I would offer a little form to query google's face search. There seems to be demand

My Band · 2007-05-31

This band I was planning to found ... is has been founded already in 1976: The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Whats left for me to found?

(via boingboing)

Body Measures · 2007-05-31


What this is? Its the physical development of centerfold model of the playboy since December 1953 to December 2001. They seem to reveal a trend which is described by Martin Voracek, research resident and Maryanne L Fisher, PhD candidate. Their study is called "Shapely centrefolds? Temporal change in body measures: trend analysis".

(via improbable research)

imgtype=face · 2007-05-30

A new google feature that sparks suspition that the do-no-evil company heads towards online face recognition. Consider this:

Well, er, I don't see the face recognition use case here. You'd normally have a name and look for the corresponding face. All the "face recognition engine" would have to do, is figure out if the candidate picture shows a face. It does not need to figure out what face it shows. Furthermore most of the pictures showing faces have the relevant information on who it shows somewhere written in the context. There is no proper face recognition involved yet. I cannot query "Guy who stole a bike at Luton main station last Wednesday" and then expect google to return a face and the corresponding name. It just doesn't work ... or maybe it does actually work already, then these would be the suspects. Then I cannot expect google to find faces for names that do not have the relevant information written somewhere in the context ... Not yet. By now it only seems to be a funny feature:

Are there even funnier face queries?

(via Kantel)

Rukumbine III · 2007-05-24

Neue nachrichten zum thema Rukumbine. Ich hatte mittlerweile kontakt zur University of the West Indies und habe einige wenige neuigkeiten:

I checked the Dictionary of Jamaican English, which has 'rookoombine' as a word of uncertain etymology and without a clear meaning; they claim it to be a "nonsense-word carrying sexual suggestion" and refer to the same song lines. However, they have this version of the refrain: Oh Rookoombine eena Santa Fe.
The Dictionary has no entry for santampee, but santapii (= centipede) may well have santampii as an alternative pronunciation.
The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage lists santapee (different spelling, same word) as meaning (1) centipede; (2) a contemptible and dangerous, rowdy woman.

...also kurz rukumbine ist ein spasswort mit sexuellem drall und santempi koennte eine lady mit gewaltpotential sein und denn hab ich durch variation der schreibung noch eine quelle gefunden:

"Sing with me class, how about Shenenley Duffus...
Ruckumbine inna mi santampee, Ruckumbine! (Repeat)
Engine a run pon fire an' coal,
look pan de gal wid har big nose hole!
Come mek we Ruckumbine inna mi santampee, Ruckumbine! (Repeat)
Gal inna tree a pick ackee, bwoy anda tree a rub him khaki pants.
An' den we Ruckumbine inna mi santampee, Ruckumbine! (Repeat)
And please don't aks me a wha' "santampee" be."

Na, da koennt ick doch ganz richtig gelegen haben mit meiner letzten these. Jetzt haben wir es doch fast komplett. Schaun wir mal: Here are the

Rukumbine Lyrics

Good mornin' mother Cuba, how do you do?
Me ear say you buy a new pair o’ shoes.
Me ear say you buy one brand new hat.
Mother Cuba tell me how much you pay for that hat.
Chorus: 2x Rukumbine inna mi santampee, Rukumbine!
I said the higher the hill, the greener the grass,
The younger the girls is, the sweeter she kiss.
I said, girl in a tree a pickin' ackee ,
Boy underneath her, wash him khaki pants.
I said, engine a run with fire an' coal,
Look 'pon the girl with the big nose hole.

So, und jetzt nochmal kontrollhoeren.

History Nerds · 2007-05-22

Here's a history nerd post. BBC has got a properly crafted interactive british history time line. Furthermore here is a time lapse video which compresses the american civil war to four minutes, showing the geographic expansion of the north an the south or better the areas controlled by union and confederation. And there is even more: A seemingly infinite collection of photographs brought to us by the UCLA. Changing Times: Los Angeles in Photographs, 1920-1990.

HCwDB · 2007-05-22

two chicksa with douchbag

This might inflict trouble at home, but still, let me introduce to you my new online diary hero : Douchebag1 with his site where he is into Deconstructing the Unholy Wrongness of Hottie/Douchey Coupling. Don't miss his myspace profile.

Please make sure you figure out what a douchebag is to fully understand the greatness of the site.

Conversations · 2007-05-17

This one is lovely. Imagine two chatbots or wannabe Turing machines chatting with each other. Here are resulting conversations. This is my favourite. A is Alice and J is Jabberwacky. They operate on quite different approaches:

A: Who is your favorite philosopher
J: Can’t say. I’m not very much into philosophy.
A: Can a book have no title?
J: Of course.
A: Blimey.
J: Are you British?
A: Does it seem like that? I was born in America.
J: You are definitely flirting!

(via Kottke)

Cursor Moves · 2007-05-17

Why is your cursor moving, when you move your mouse? Here is the answer.

(via vowe)

Great Firewall · 2007-05-17


Der Haken is probably blocked in China. Check your URL.

Introverted · 2007-05-14

Spectatrix - The Passionate Introvert

Everybody is allowed · 2007-05-14

"The free world says that software is the embodiment of knowledge about technology, which needs to be free in the same way that mathematics is free. Everybody is allowed to know as much of it as he wants, regardless of whether he can pay for it, and everybody can contribute and everybody can share."

Though it appears in the 'money'-domain of CNN under the path fortune, this one is a nice roundup on the software patent issue. Because it doesn't take the stance of either side it is a great intro for the software patent rookie: Microsoft takes on the free world.

Since software rules out almost every part of our lives, the impact of the topic cannot be underestimated. Though it often is. Ashlee Vance of ElReg does not see any trail coming. He/She is probably right.

This is so Japanese · 2007-05-03

This is so Japanese! What would a campaign spot on T.V. for the Tokyo Governors Office look like? With all my stereotypes in mind I would picture just this. Brilliant, no sweet lies, no selling out, no compromises ... and the Japanese language stresses the whole idea:

screenshot of campaign spot

By the way, the content is most lovely as well: "I don't have a single constructive proposal." Great, when has a campaigning politician been this honest? I cannot remember.

(via boingboing)

Dying Computers · 2007-05-03

There is this scene in Kubrick's Space Odyssey when Dave the astronaut is shutting down HAL 9000 the board computer. This scene is often referred to as the first killing of a computer. The scene after all asks the question if a man made machine can be actually killed. Is it dead? Did it live?

HAL and Dave

Space Odyssey was published in 1968 and only three years later in 1971 the first adaption of the theme was aired in the Ed Sullivan Show starring an early Cookie Monster. Enjoy:

HAL and Cookie Monster

(cookie monster found at boingboing)

Short Note · 2007-05-01

It is quiet here, isn't it? currently gets a face lift. This keeps me busy. Stay tuned, folks.

Apocalyptic Bees · 2007-05-01

Ha, brilliant, here is the first article to tie the vanishing of honey bees to apocalypse. Just as I predicted. They have sound evidence. They cite the bible:

Revelation 6:6
Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

Unfortunately it is an evangelical news service that introduces this apocalyptic connection. Still, I am sure 'conventional' media will follow soon. I'll keep you informed.

(via boingboing)

Naomi's 10 Steps · 2007-04-25

There is this article in the guardian: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps. It seems to stem from Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Naomi describes ten steps to turn any free society into a closed one. Most of them are reasonable and some of them are actually taken by the current administration of the USA.

But there is one issue which I consider to be among the most important to inflict fear in a society: 3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
armed america picture

I'll tell you why that won't work in the USA. Here is the reason: I'm not an NRA-guy and I see the tremendous disadvantages of owning guns but t'is sure a remedy against thugs and maybe against step "6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release" as well.

Entertaining Links · 2007-04-24

(via,, cartoonist)

The Kaye Effect · 2007-04-17

Athanasius posted The Kaye Effect yesterday. He gives neatorama as source, where they link a lovely youtube video on the 10th of april. I considered it great trivia to post, when I ain't got no time to be creative myself. Tonight this time has come. Obviously tonight this time has come for kottke as well.

Furthermore Sushee has found a free physics textbook named Motion Mountain, which looks promising. So much for now on natural sciences.

Honeybees and Mobile Phones · 2007-04-15

This is a nice little story that could easiely become top notch before CA-MRSA in my eternal list of possible apocalypse causes. It could have been a great science fiction plot but it happens. Here is how it goes. For some years now bees in the U.S. and by now in Europe as well mysterically abandon their hives leaving the queen and the eggs alone. First result: The colony dies. Next result: the bees do not pollinate crops anymore. Here are some figures on on the extend of the phenomenon:

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

The phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and has got the potential to affect future harvests and hence our nutrition dramatically. According to The Independent the first scientist that offers a possible explanation, or at least a first hint, and some empirical data is Dr. Jochen Kuhn from The University of Koblenz-Landau who carried out a study on the hive-returning-behaviour of honeybees if mobile phones were placed nearby the hive. Results suggest that bees may more frequently refuse to return to their hives if mobile phone radiation is emmitted nearby.

bee in front of antennas

If you speak german here is a short paper on the topic compiled by a swiss group that fights mobile phone radiation. The paper cites a few studies on the influence of radiation on the behaviour of bees.

Update: instapundit collects sceptical comments on the issue, which sure is a good thing to do.

How to set up TOR on a Debian Machine · 2007-04-02

To add a serious Onion Routing client for anon web browsing was kindergarten here on debian linux. On my machine I had to add a further packet source with url Distribution is sarge and section is main. Hence, /etc/apt/sources.list has got one additional line:

deb sarge main

Next step was to install TOR and Privoxy:

sudo apt-get install tor
sudo apt-get install privoxy

now you have to convince privoxy to cooperate with the TOR-client. Do this by adding the following line to /etc/privoxy/config:

forward-socks4a / localhost:9050 .

Do not forget the dot. This is the most difficult part of the installation process. Put a dot at the end of the line. Now restart Privoxy:

/etc/init.d/privoxy restart

Your proxy is up and running now. Lovely, isn't it? Next step is to make your browser sending requests via Privoxy. Privoxy is running on your local machine on port 8118. This is basically what your browser needs to know. You can put that in the proxy settings of your browser. Firefox users can change the proxy setting with a mouse click, if they use the TOR-Button.

Use TOR. It is a big improvement. Though traffic slows down remarkably if you use TOR.

Tower Defense · 2007-04-02


If you desperately need to kill time, consider Desktop Tower Defense by Handdrawn Games. You have to stop little critters on their way over your desk. To do so you have an impressive arsenal of guns. Nice piece and it does kill a considerable piece of time.

Please consider killing time with these games as well:

(more at kottke's)

End of Ye Olde Testament Wording Week 2007 · 2007-04-01

I'd herewith like to invite Rowan Atkinson to end this years 'Ye Olde Testment Wording Week 2007'. Rowan performs 'The Amazing Jesus'. I know the topic is not quite of ye olde testament but the wording doth fit perfectly. Enjoy.

ye olde testament wording week

Happiness · 2007-03-28

Ye shalt approach thy neighbour with a gay smile and ye shalt be kind to anybody. This shalt not be an easy task, yet ye shal fulfill it and ye shall find great happiness. So doth it say in the journal of great wisdom the scientific american

ye olde testament wording week

African Gansta Rap · 2007-03-26

I will chop your dollar

Here is a lovely piece of nigerian gangsta ... well, er, let's say hip hop. There are places in the world where being a gangsta is more stylish then in the U.S. - though the U.S. became hegemonial in defining the style - In Nigeria no guns, no cokain, just some ideas are required. Thats what its all about. Good ideas ... and those african lads have much cooler attack pets than you mollycoddled U.S. pimps ever dreamt of.

I will chop your dollar

By the way, those who do not get the entire lyrics the first time, here are them ...

(via schockwellereiter, The White African)

SciFi Architecture · 2007-03-22

pic by ryan church

BldgBlog has got a post on Science Fiction and the City: Film Fest Update!. They feature a whole bunch of great SciFi architectural pictures there. Most of them are made by Ben Procter and Ryan Church. Those are some brilliant guys. Absolutely. They remind me of Juan Giminez.

The Debate is Open · 2007-03-21

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions -- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Europe: Steps towards a european policy framework (

I'd say, the debate is open ... and now in german:

Mitteilung der Kommission an das Europaeische Parlament, den Rat, den Europaeischen Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss und den Ausschuss der Regionen -- Funkfrequenzkennzeichnung (RFID) in Europa: Schritte zu einem ordnungspolitischen Rahmen (

(via elReg)

One Line Checks Prime · 2007-03-20

perl -wle 'print "isPrime" if (1 x shift) !~ /^1?$|^(11+?)\1+$/' [number]

(by Neil Kandalgaonkar, via kottke)

The Exceptional Lie Group E8 · 2007-03-19

a set of root vectors
The Lie algebra E8 is 248-dimensional: the 8-dimensional space depicted here, plus one dimension for each of the 240 root vectors.

(via bbc)

Economics of Prostitution · 2007-03-15

picture of professor

The picture above shows Prof. Steinar Strøm. He is economist at the University of Turin and the University of Oslo and on top of that he is one of the authors of a report on the market for prostitution services. According to the guardian describing the prostitution services market requires a whole lot of math knowledge.

(via improbable research and the guardian)

Tao's Homepage · 2007-03-14

Here is the homepage of Terence Tao. According to kottke he won both the Fields Medal and a MacArthur genius grant last year. What he has got and what I like about his page, for it is something to play with, is a set of java applets dealing with math. My favourite is Math 132 Applet 2: Elementary complex maps:

This applet demonstrates a number of complex maps w = f(z). By default the identity map f(z) = z is displayed, but other maps can be chosen. The left grid represents the z complex plane (the domain of f), and the right grid represents the w complex plane (the range of f). Moving the mouse around the z plane will cause a pointer to move in the w plane according to whatever complex map was selected. [...]

Move the mouse and press the right button from time to time. Try other then the default f(z). Then try Math 132 Applet 5: The complex derivative. Lovely as well.

Become Ambassador Now · 2007-03-13

Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth.

According to BBC there will be a vacancy in the isreali diplomatic service. Apply already now for the position of Ambassador in El Salvador but be prepared to be asked about your sexual habits during recruitment. Actually this story fits recent news about isreali elites perfectly.

Wow, Ze Germans · 2007-03-12

screenshot of movie

Here is a next piece in a row of totalitarian retro style videos and it is a remarkable buzz already: The Big Brother State. Just like the masterplanthemovie it was made germany. The masterplan has been made at the University of Ulm and now the big brother state has been made at the university for applied sciences in Augsburg. Does germany become the next hot spot in arts? Is this some kind of neo expressionism already? I'm pretty proud already.

Digital Photography · 2007-03-08

image elsewhere

How does digital photography and video change our ways of documenting certain issues? Do we all become journalists? What will those do, who thought they'd have the power to document, hence to 'produce' reality? Will they start passing laws that makes certain documentation activities illegal? By the way, they just try to pass a law, that bans the publication of video footage containing violence, with that they'd ban the publication of documented police violence. Furthermore, does the ubiquity of picture documentaion change or even censor our ways, our behaviour? Whats your opinion? Do you give a thought?

Lensculture has a nice piece on the topic.


Rozróżnij KaczyÅ„skich · 2007-03-06

screenshot of online game

What to do Tonite · 2007-03-03

worldmap with eclipse borders.

A total ecplipse of the moon will be visible tonite from 10:24pm to 11:58pm GMT.

Prague Tips · 2007-03-01

cafe imperial interiour

When visiting Prague, do not miss Kavarna Imperial at Namesti Republiky. It is a little off the common tourist trails, but it is a definite must. If you find the time visit Kolej Hvezda in Prague 6 and take a hike back to Mala Strana over Petrini. Sorry for skipping the correct czech spelling.

Pfeilstorch · 2007-02-27


Athanasius has a nice piece on how our ancestors actually found out where the storcks disappeared to in winter: The Pfeilstorch.

(picture University Rostock)

OOAD · 2007-02-26

Nice little article on the pitfalls of Object Oriented Analysis and Design for the evening: Vague and ambiguous use cases - How abstract should your specs be?. Thank you for that, Matt Stephens.

Flight Attendants · 2007-02-25


Glamour of Flight - Promotional pictures of flight attendants from back in the days, when we were allowed to bring liquid to the plane and when we'd have travelled to New York and not to Mallorca, sigh ...

Retro Styles · 2007-02-25

Here is a little issue which comes to my mind more frequently lately. Current video artists and graphic designers seem to mimic the graphical styles of totalitarian decades (1930ies/40ies). This is probably not only for the coolnes of style. It is pretty clear what concerns do drive this revival, isn't it?

Google Masterplan Video
Agitprop Video
RIAA Boycott Poster

They are probably right, we do drift towards some kind totalitarism. This time it seems to be technology induced, well wasn't it the same the last time? This time we - or better 'they' - do have technology at hand that enables us/them to control more efficiently than ever before.

Influenza · 2007-02-22

current influenzamap of gemany

The map above shows the current influenza activity in germany. The Hessians are suffering awfully. I have two friends and my dearest down and I'm coughing as well. Folks, please get well soon.

For those who speak german and are interested in statistics the page of the working group influenza might be interesting. They have beautiful maps and animations of virus activity.

Thats all for now ... and again: Please do get well soon, dear fellows.

(via Robert Koch Institute)

Off Wire Note · 2007-01-23

Since i'm moving my scarce belongings, i'm once more cut off the net and not able to write a whole lot. I'll probably be back with regular entries by next week. Please be patient.

... by the way, here is how to implement something like a hashmap using groovy:

for (entry in ['tom':4, 'dick':0, 'harry':1])
{println "${entry.key} = ${entry.value}" }

Now go, find an application.

Open Source Economics · 2007-01-17

"Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU"

Rock Steady Crew · 2007-01-14

beat streat

Today we have some youtube extravaganza. Let us remember the old days, when hip hop emerged to save us from the dark industrial main stream. I gathered some of the first successful acts in hip hop. No bling bling, no pimpin', no fat rims. Just skills. So sweet.

Furthermore, over at MAKE: they started the Learn To Solder Month. This is a worthy cause for sure.

Evil Eye Protector · 2007-01-12

squid soap and fatmas hand

In my never ending quest for improved hand hygiene I stumbled across SquidSoap - Training Tomorrow's Great Hand Washers. Note the logo of squid soap. Doesn' it resemble Fatima's Hand? Does this product protect you from the evil eye as well? If so, my recommendation would be 'Buy'. With this recommendation one of the weirdest entries here so far ends.

Lessig Key Note · 2007-01-05

Take an hour fifteen to see Lawrence Lessigs key note speech at the 23C3. This is a quick and easy to understand walk through licence and copyleft matters. Strongly strongly recommended.

Lawrence Lessig

Once you've seen and understood Lessigs speech you could go on and see an interview with John Perry Barlow on the same topic. Here is a short quote to give a hint on what to expect:

[…]If you wanna share something - share it. If you wanna use something - use it. Try to do so ethically in the sense of don´ t take things without attribution.[…] Pay no attention to these people when it comes to being creative. Go ahead and do the stuff that Larry showed in the beginning of his talks and do lot of it. And every time they put a lock on - break it. And every time they pass a new law - break that.[…]


A Naughty Triple-X-mas · 2006-12-23

... to you all.

santa claus

Person of the Year: You · 2006-12-17

Time magazin's person of the year is you. ...well, if you are part of the 'web controlling' crowd. Hm, let me think about this ...

Hm, yes, it might be true. There is a revolution outthere, as far as the possibility of publishing is refered to. But ... who is read. The information you publish becomes valid only if it is read hence shared. But here we still have and probably will have very few information providers who are being read by multitudes and multitudes of publishers hardly being read at all. To the 'not being read' publishers publishing power comes only via ... er, how to call it ... stampede publishing. You only can dig or dis posts of main stream media and even this will only be noticed if a lot of have not publishers do the same. They cannot or not really ignite debates they consider important and which could well be very important. Take the debate on software patents in europe or the debate on surveillance in the ICT age. There is a debate outthere in the web but is it relevant to the deciding folks?

Mixed Tapes · 2006-12-06

Did you know that Mercedes publishes mixed tapes? Here are the tracks of mixtape 15:

All tracks are smooth to the bone, no edges, no scrubs, all easy listening. But hey, why not? By the way, Mercedes, if your cars were as your webdesign suggests ... an embarrassment.

(via vowe)

Sexual Consent · 2006-12-02

sexual consent screenshot

Here is something that's been boingboinged for good reason. Watch two teens having their sexual consent negotiated by their lawers. Very U.S.-ish. So folks if you plan a night out tonight, do not forget to bring a sexual consent form and FDA approved condoms ... and your attorney of course. If you plan to stay at home I recommend to have a look at the Language Week posts over Athanasius'.


Lullaby (The Cure) · 2006-11-30

Since it is ball season there is not much time left to post, though I'd have a few things to say. Sorry guys. Take Nghia, Phiu, TL, Nga and Ngoc instead. Lovely, Respect folks.

Indian Proverb · 2006-11-28

Call on God, but row away from the rocks

So Easy ... · 2006-11-22

The easiest piccolo quiz ever. Where is this lovely variation of a famous theme recorded (mp3, 783Kb)? The smart reader should know right away ...

Whistle Blower · 2006-11-21

You Only Live Twice - a great song to whistle in the office ... "This dream is for you, so pay the price. Make one dream come true, you only live twice."

Have Known It · 2006-11-17

broken window

Steve Balmer: "Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SUSE Linux is appropriately covered, [...] This is important to us, because [otherwise] we believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability. [...] Only customers that use SUSE have paid properly for intellectual property from Microsoft"

Ha! I have known something like this would happen. My forecasting qualities are still great. No further comment.

The Algebra Project · 2006-11-11

The Algebra Project seeks to impact the struggle for citizenship and equality by assisting students in inner city and rural areas to achieve mathematics literacy. Higher order thinking and problem solving skills are necessary for entry into the economic mainstream. Without these skills, children will be tracked into an economic underclass.

A Day to Die For · 2006-11-09

Markus Wolf, East German Spymaster `Without a Face,' Dies at 83. If I had to pick a name from the east german nomenklatura, whom I respect, there'd be ... if any ... Markus Wolf for he had this certain James Bond flavour and seemed somewhat sophisticated.

For him it was a great day to die, today 17 years ago the Berlin Wall came down ...

Women by Annie Leibowitz · 2006-11-04

baseball lady

A photo set by Annie Leibowitz entitled 'Women'. 21 photographs. Warmly recommended.

Awe, Shock, Terror · 2006-10-31

... for Halloween please refer to last years post. I have nothing to add.

Jake Loves You · 2006-10-29

jake loves you

Watch, Jake. Maybe it'd be cool to be just like him.


Hello, Wernham-Hogg · 2006-10-25

Ok, I'm late with this one - five years or something - but still...

I've borrowed the second series of The Office. It was the first time I saw more of it than a few chunks, though I'm the proud owner of a perfectly legal D.V.D. of the first set. However, this second series is brilliant. The first set is a landmark already but the second one is beyond anything that is called a t.v. series. Note how they tell the story. Especially the parts, when no actual interview or dialogue is going on. Very few short blinks, making you feel like a voyeur. Maybe 'very few' is not strong enough. They use as many shots as Hemingway would have used word. Brilliant actors as well. Great love story, great catastrophies.

A word of advice: Might be good to see the first series to understand the second properly.

Piccolo Quiz - Little Chap · 2006-10-19

Nobody of my audience could solve the Piccolo Quiz - Bad Code I. This is awful. I have to drown my grief in the unwon piccoloechen now. I've been so proud of you, my dear audience, but now ... bottomless disappointment. Folks, it was so easy. But before solving the problem, we turn to the new task, which demands skills in other fields. Question: In what famous contribution to the set of great movies does the little chap below appear? The first who gives the right answer wins, guess what, a Rotkaeppchen Piccolo. This time answers to the comments please.

little chap

Now for solving the previous task: if(number+iterations == limit) was the problem. The function implies that number is smaller then limit when the parameters are passed but never checks if this is the case. So, calling doSomethingUpTo(0, 0) would make the function run infinitely, which is bad indeed. To solve the problem one should consider changing the if-statement to something like if(number+iterations < limit) with iterations = -1 as start value or, if passing number > limit is actually an error, throwing an exception.

Spitting Image · 2006-10-18

white and nerdy

Now for this month's Yankovich post. Al Yankovich, who beside other oddities shares my obsession with nerds, delivers another lovely yet this time not brilliant piece. This time he took Chamillionaire's Ridin and rephrased "ridin' dirty" to "white 'n' nerdy". I have to have the black hoodie Al wears.

By the way, Yankovich in front of the GAP store is spitting image of me.

Time Series with R · 2006-10-18

Here's an archive containing all you need to print lovely oil and cocoa price time series plots. In the archive you'll find the price data in two .csv files and the R script to read them, make time series objects and plot. Very simple indeed, but they might be useful for intermediate learners to see how to handle time series using R.

Cocoa Farmers on Strike · 2006-10-16

High time to stockpile chocolate! Ivorian cocoa farmers are on strike. Ivory Coast produces about 40% of the world's cocoa. This and the soon-ness (is there a word soon-ness? shortness? I'd love soon-ness) of helloween and chistmas might sky rocket chocolate prices soon. So, buy now!

cocoa prices time series

Source: cocoa prices timeseries since 1971

... but seriously, Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Exchange has set an indicative price of 400 CFA francs (80 US cents), for 1kg of cocoa. This price is rarely reached since exporters have to pay taxes and such. As you see above the prices for cocoa did not rise a bit in recent decades. A property similar to the oil price, well, o.k. until 2002 ...

relitive cocoa oil prices time series

... and of course the plants are threatened by several illnesses.

(via B.B.C. News, plots done with a few lines of R)

What Kinda Wisdom Is This? · 2006-10-15

I just had a fortune cookie, now listen what kinda wisdom they try to sell me:

Faith is knowing that there is an ocean because you have seen a stream.

What kind of wisdom is that? There is not a lot of faith necessary to know that there is an ocean if you see a stream. Since the cookie is made in china the stream that is referred to here streams on planet earth. We can assume that earth is of finite size, since it is some kind of convex spherical thingie.

Now two cases may occure: The stream is of finite length or the stream is of infinite length.

Case one: The stream we see is of finite length. What would be at the end of the stream? Some kind of container to take hold of all the travelling water, hence an ocean. For the moment we can rule out the case of a creek drying out in the desert, because we're referring to a stream.

Second case would be, despite of earth's finite size the length of the stream would be infinite. The stream would then stream full circle. There is no other way to be of infinite length for a stream in a finite environment but what force would make the water travel? A pump station built by some intelligent designer? That second case in which no ocean is needed requires faith, a lot of faith.

Look, fortune bakery, I liked your cookies better when they said things like: Not he is a good lover who pleases many women in his live time but he who pleases one woman for her live time.

Yes Sir, I am Rich. · 2006-10-12

globalrichlist result reminds us of something we tend to ignore while staring at these people ... and of course wants us to donate.

(via information aesthetics)

What is Truth? What is Torture? · 2006-10-08

daily show
[...] Would president Bush be allowed to put the electrodes of freedom to the testicles of terror? [...]
The president in his never ending quest for knowledge forces us to reconsider truth as too often go unexamined. He truly is a philosopher king. What is truth? [...] if a man is beaten to the floor in a sound proof chamber, does he make a noise? [...]

Some times torture is in the eye of the beholder ... in leech form. This chunk of Daily Show is lovely, go ahead see it.

Science of Sleep - Do not see it · 2006-10-08

This is a warning. Do not go and see "Science of Sleep". Awful. A Sigmund Freud carnage in paper-mâché on intermediate level. Characters remain flat and boring, story refuses to start even after an hour, light bad, sound bad, music bad. The german version is awfully dubbed. They dubbed the spanish part to german and subtitled the french. Why not putting subtitles under an undubbed version? ...but actually this wouldn't have helped at all. Awful. Stay away from it, it's a rip off. It is not a sign of being intellectual to know this movie, it is a rip off.

ICT Matters Link Dump · 2006-10-02

Piccolo Quiz - Bad Code I · 2006-10-02

There was not enough code posting here lately. This needs to be changed. So today I start a little series on bad code. Here is the first piece. It does something until number equals limit and returns times_done_something:

public int doSomethingUpTo(int number, int limit){
int iterations = 0;
boolean done = false;

       if(number+iterations == limit)
             done = true;

return iterations;

Question: Why is this code bad? Be the first who gives the right answer and win a Rotkaeppchen Piccolo. Do not post the answer to the comments. You'd rather mail it.

Update 22:16 CEST: Obviously I'm not the only one featuring bad code lately. Kevin Poulsen posts bad code at Over at wired you can win democracy instead of cheap champagne which is quite a big thing to win. Do not miss the comments over there.

Sing and Dance Along · 2006-10-01

That bollywood party saturday night had an interesting property. Obviously, a significant fraction of bollywood party attenders are redneck-ish girls - please do not understand 'redneck' as a offending term here - who seem to be very much into this kind of music nerd-dom. Some of them can sing along with a lot of those songs and they seem to have learned whole choreographies. How come? My explanation would be RTL2. This is Germany's number one redneck television station and guess what they screen for months and months now. Interesting curiosity ain't it?

By the way, "redneckish" is a lovely word if your mother tongue happens to be German. Especially when describing young ladies as in "The boys stared at the redneckish girl " it describes more to a German then it does to a native English speaker. If you do not speak German, try to find out why.

More Soon · 2006-09-30

Cannot write a lot. Have to have a great weekend. Will be at Lauschangriff tonight, Bollywood extravaganza. If you need to talk or dance, meet me there. I'm the guy wearing a yellow sarong with a red belly free silk top ...

Six Word Story · 2006-09-26

I found this one at Caterina's:

Ernest Hemingway was once prodded to compose a complete story in six words. His answer, personally felt to be his best prose ever, was "For sale: baby shoes, never used." Some people say it was to settle a bar bet. Others say it was a personal challenge directed at other famous authors.

This is challenging. Since I feel addressed by "famous authors" let's go for it: "Talent drowning in files still dreams" Dedicated to a friend down here, yet not as good as Ernest's, to say the least. More to come ...

(via Caterina)

Another Good Man Gone · 2006-09-22

Chuck Rio

Saxophonist Danny Flores a.k.a. Chuck Rio died last week at the age of 77. Let's shout a very last "Tequila".

ICT at GM · 2006-09-21

General Motors’ CIO Ralph Szygenda gives us an insight on what they did and will do at GM when it comes to applying ICT.

(via Cem)

Being Off Wire · 2006-09-18

Still off wire, I found refuge at a friend's place to publish ... being offline really freaks me out already. I'm afraid I'm kind of addicted already. I'll keep an eye on that issue.

Room for Interpretation · 2006-09-18

Here is a follow up on steven meisels 9/11 picture set at vogue italia. I actually considered it a good idea to choose a different aesthetic vocabular and different channels to bring the idea to new or other groups. Unfortunately it shows that the pictures might not transport the idea properly. They do seem to leave a tiny bit too much room to interpret. One could, and people being used to vogues language actually do, see the models as evildoers who just get what they probably deserve. If this view is common among vogue readers the whole thing backfired awfully. I still hope it did not.

WOS Review · 2006-09-18

The wizards of os always had this twist towards license and law issues when tackling high tech topics. In fact that has been a good thing. However this trend did further increase this year. Most of the panels dealt with these issues rather then with high tech in it's pure form. I'm not sure if I still welcome this trend in its current manifestation. Still there were interesting panels. I learned about license issues in nigerian movie industries and brazilian music scenes, which are very different from what we know about how to market creative work. Furthermore the panel on the EU copyright directive has been interesting.

... but after all I'm not perfectly sure if it remains worthwile to attend WOS in the future.

Off Wire · 2006-09-18

Again, my internet provider cut me off the net. Let's be patient and see how long it'll take this time and what cohorts of incompetence they'll send this time to give me the creeps. Whatever, it might be silent here for some days. Stay tuned.

I'll Be There · 2006-09-12

wizards of os 4

How to be Happy · 2006-09-12

Deutsche Bank Research, the think tank of Deutsche Bank Group has published a paper which is next to brilliant: Measures of well-being - There is more to it than GDP. Eight pages give you an easy to understand overview of current efforts to measure a nation's well-being. Of course they go way beyond Gross Domestic Product, which is not fit to measure a nation's well-being but is often even used as a synonym for it.

... and there is more to be found in the paper than abstract academia. It even gives hints on how to live a happy live. Here are my favourite dbresearch approved tips on what you can do to become happy after all:

Read the paper! It is downright lovely. Many thanks to the author Stefan Bergheim. Great work.

State of Emergency · 2006-09-11

For the fifth aniversary of 9/11 there's only one thing worth posting: State of Emergency by Steven Meisel (flash version). It is published by Vogue Italia. Of course it comes whith skinny girls in nice dresses, but still this is what I see. That's my perception of the war on terror. There are no bearded bad guys involvolved. Many thanks to Steven Meisel.

Interesting Logo · 2006-09-07

DY Logo

The logo above is quite a well known one and it has this interesting feature. As you see it above it suggests that it's owner or user is or abbrieviates to DY ... which is wrong. It is the logo of Hewlett Packard but if you turn the cardboard box of any HP product upside down you see, well, wrong letters. Isn't that an awful property for a logo? What is Gerrit's opinion? O.k. this is nothing compared to the Institute for Oriental Studies logo discussed here earlier.

By the way, I could not withstand adding a little user interactivity. If you click the logo it will appear correctly. Clicking again reestablishes the default state.

10ft Fan-Inflatable Tux · 2006-09-04

fan inflatable tux

This has been in the air for a couple of months. Here is the first selfmade fan-inflatable free-penguin. It really looks impressive. Respect goes out to David of More on the topic here.

Rise to Vote Sir · 2006-08-29

I know there are folks reading here who are into nice words. Some of them even like Bob Dylan. So, if you are among them, make sure you have flash installed, a broadband connection, a sound enabled machine and then do follow the link below ... I do promise, it is freaggin' lovely and one of those antidepressants one needs from time to time

Bob Dylan Parody

SpeechBallons · 2006-08-23

... the evolution of speechbaloons

(via drawn)

Estimating Tax Avoidance · 2006-08-21

This is a follow up to german tank analysis. In germany, probably just as well as anywhere else in the western world, the taxes for cigarettes go up and up. As expected this lead to decreasing sales of cigarettes and politicians were pretty proud that they did so very much for public health.

Now the cigarette industry argued that the decrease is rather a symptom of substitution then of avoidance. But how to figure out? Well it is pretty simple and follows the same scheme as german tank analysis. One just draws a random sample of cigarette packs from some arbitrary dump yards and checks for their origin. By doing this one shall get a pretty good idea about how many cigarettes, black market and legal, are actually smoked. One might even figure out what the main smuggling routes are.

Back I Am · 2006-08-19

mkay, obviously we are back online ... I have that sneekin suspicion, that this was a little experiment of the all mighty ethologist. He just wanted to test how I'd react to almost complete media deprivation. I did not abuse alcoholic bewerage, I did not start hospitalising, I in fact called old friends to give them the blues the old fashioned way.

By the way, I wont be around until thursday night. So may these pages will remain silent. But ... who knows.

Patience · 2006-08-17

My internet service provider at home cut me off the net three days ago. Therefore silence ... be patient. Our pumbers are busy solving the problem.

Dyslexia · 2006-08-13


The task was to draw a piece for every letter of the alphabet in one hour. My contribution took me 53 minutes while most of the valuable time was spend finding words for each letter. As a native speaker I might have had the time to color the scetches according to the rules.

Here is a set of a truly gifted guy. Respect.

Scare Me, Leader! · 2006-08-10

Cory Doctorow saved me a good deal of time by posting his views on british aviation security measures :

The point of terrorism is to make us afraid. The UK response to a foiled plot is to create an unspecified period during which fliers are arbitrarily deprived of iPods, novels and dignity. [...] If this is a good idea now, then why won't it still be a good idea in a year? A decade? [...] I'd take my chances with the iPods and novels and dignity.
    --Cory Doctorow

I am afraid it is true: To make people re-elect you or make them accepting you as their king or religous leader or whatever, it is a good idea to scare the freaggin' daylight out of them. Then offer a some sort relief for their fear struck hearts. Best thing about that is, the relief you offer does not even need to prove useful. It just needs to be some sort of symbolic act.

... 'there is someone who does something to calm my fears. I'd love to have him as my leader.' How weird is that?

RFID Passport Cloned · 2006-08-04

Here is news on the e-passport calamities, that have been discussed here before. The register notes today that the first German RFID Passport has been cloned already. Here is what the guy, who allegedly cloned it, has to say:

The whole passport design is totally brain damaged. [...] From my point of view all of these RFID passports are a huge waste of money. They're not increasing security at all.
-- Lukas Grunwald, DN-Systems Enterprise Internet Solutions

A solution I'm sympathising with, is this one by Bruce Schneier:

The best way to solve a security problem is not to have it at all. If there's an RFID chip on your passport, or any of your identity cards, you have to worry about securing it. If there's no RFID chip, then the security problem is solved.
-- Bruce Schneier

Maybe with the solution above there is less of a fortune to make with. Maybe that's the whole point and the risk of having a citizen's passport read (and copied?) without her consent is just a marginal issue.

(via elReg)

Ironman Frankfurt · 2006-07-24

sandro faehrt rad

This guy finished the ironman distance the third time now. I think it's time for new challenges. How about eating vast amounts of sausages or writing haikus? ... as for me, I already found it exhausting to be up the whole day to shout at him ... however ... Respect, Dude!

Follow this link for impressions of the whole day.

German Tank Analysis · 2006-07-22

Another great piece on why nerds will achieve world domination one day. Consider the following problem:

You are a british general planning the invasion in europe in the latter half of the second world war. One question you really need to find an answer to is: "How many german tanks are there?" in other words you have to estimate how many tanks Germany produced up to a given date. What would you do? You would ask intelligence. A handful of desperate guys on the enemy's ground, always at risk of being captured could try to find the answer ... or you could ask statisticians.

Here is what both sources reported. In the last column the true figures according to German records are given:

German Tank Data
Date Statistical
June 1940 169 1000 122
June 1941 244 1550 271
August 1942 327 1550 342

How could statisticians guess that good? Ok, let's go for it: Obviously german tanks were captured by allied troops. Probably in Italy or Noth Africa. Those tanks had serial numbers. Those numbers were not randomly chosen. The German tanks were numbered as follows: 1, 2, 3 ... N, where N was the desired total number of tanks produced. Note that the tanks captured are a random sample of the german tank population. The rest is Order Statistics and led, according to the Guardian, to the following simple estimator N = (M-1)(S+1)/S, with S being the sample size and M being the highest serialnumber in the sample.

Still, the estimates are astonishingly good. Note that the sample should have been drawn iid, which very likely has not been the case.

(via MatheKlein)

Great Idea · 2006-07-19

stop motion space invaders

... see what happens when great ideas are implemented excellently ...

(via pistolwimp)

Eclectic · 2006-07-12

Sorry for the ongoing eclecticism. I have a most lovely visitor ... so ... I really do not have the time to post proper content. End of next week I'll be back with some posts of my own. Indianerehrenwort

The Bush Pilot · 2006-07-12

(via crooksandliars)

Is Outsourcing Profitable? · 2006-07-09

Is Outsourcing Profitable? Prof. Strassmann of George Mason University gives a little lecture on the topic.

(via Basman)

Introduction to Probability · 2006-07-05

There is this lovely Introduction to Probability by Charles M. Grinstead and J. Laurie Shell avaliable under GNU Free Documentation License (FDL). That means one not only can download a PDF print file. One actually can download LaTeX sources of the book. This is the book which made me progamm the Martingale script.

Martingale · 2006-07-04

Congratulations to Italia. Life is a game of chance, ain't it? The following groovy script shows how to play roulette the right way. Well, ok, this strategy only provides sure payoffs if 'assets' is infinite ... too bad

We have 'assets' and would like to carry home
'expassets' by going to the roulette table and
placing bets on either red or black. If we win, 
we do the same thing again. If we lose, we 
double the bet we place in order to cover losses. 
The Strategy should lead us to the expected 
assets in no time. ...or doesn't it?

/** Some start values **/
assets = 1000; //starting assets
expassets = 1500; //assets we want to carry home

b = false; //progress condition
bet = 1; //starting bet

/** Do the experiment **/
strres = new StringBuffer();
strres.append("win, coin, bet\n");

while (!b){
  /** toss the coin **/
  if (0.5 < java.lang.Math.random()){
    coin = true;} 
    coin = false;};

/** if coin true, collect payoff, otherwise adjust bet **/ if (coin){ assets += bet; bet = 1;} else{ assets -= bet; bet = 2*bet;}; /** Did we reach our goals? **/ if(assets >= expassets || assets-bet <= 0) b = true; if(assets-bet <= 0) println("Lost"); if(assets >= expassets) println("Won"); strres.append(assets+", "+coin+", "+bet+"\n"); } /** Write Results to .csv **/ writer = new "˜/results.csv" ); writer.write(strres.toString()); writer.close();

... well, mkay, however, the .csv file can be analysed most conveniently with R

Monster Song · 2006-06-11

REM performing

In my ongoing series of artists performing on Sesame Street I today present REM covering one of their own best known songs. The title is slightly altered to 'Furry Happy Monsters'.

Potential Payoffs · 2006-06-11

Here are my Torlabor potential payoffs for a bet of 100 imaginary euros on each match so far:

MatchPotential Payoff
Germany - Costa Rica 23.20
Poland - Ecuador183.90
England - Paraguay94.50
Trinidad & Tobago - Sweden207.60
Argentina - Cote d'Ivoire113.60

Obviously, given my market behaviour, it is better for me if the odd one wins. So ... If you like to gamble, I tell you, I'm your man. You win some, lose some. It's all the same to me ... guitar riff ... the pleasure is to play ... more guitar riffs

Bunny drowned in Holland · 2006-06-11

Cute animal pictures from Holland. A heron eats a baby bunny after drowning it in a ditch. It is particularly interesting that birds often fail to gain our sympathy. Perhapy it is their feathers.

Torlabor Soccer Trading Market · 2006-06-05

Folks, as you might have noticed, the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2006 is approaching. You might know as well that there are several 'stock exchange' like online markets where you can trade contracts of certain teams and by doing so forecast the world champion to come.

This kind of market used to have the major disadvantage of not letting you bet on and therefore not forecast particular games and it's results.

This year the Cologne Laboratory of Economic Research and the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena set up a market that lets you trade contracts on the outcome of particular games. The whole thing is set up to serve academic reasons. There is no real money involved:


This is the missing link between elektronic markets and germany's Tippspiel! Registration is a little tricky but I strongly recommend taking part. You'll be part of a scientific project.

W.W.J.D. · 2006-05-31

If Jesus was with you, he'd smack you over the head and call you a dick!

(via overheardNY)

More Covers · 2006-05-30

Wicked! Paul Anka covers smells like teen spirit. That puts him in one row with Nirvana, Weird Al Yankovich and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain ... and ... by the way ... here are some very cool altered barbie-kens covering Motörhead's Ace of Spades. Notice the groupies and how they are operated.

Pulp Math · 2006-05-25

Books and articles on mathematic topics often lack a certain marketing awareness. Consider "On stability zones for discrete-time periodic linear Hamiltonian systems" or "The Simplest Example of a Normal Asymptotic Expansion". Thats not the way to become read widely. Furthermore, the layouts of this kind of publications are not quite catchy either.

However, lately I found an article which had a catchy almost pulpy title: "The Geheimschreiber Secret". All that is missing is a catchy cover to make the article a big seller. Here is what I have in mind:

pulp cover on The Geheimschreiber Secret

Watch a bigger version of the cover here. The original pic is taken from Grapefruit Moon Gallery, which I strongly recommend when it comes to buying pulp cover art.

(via MatheKleinigkeiten)

Face it, it is dangerous · 2006-05-17

Uwe-Karsten Heye, former spokesman for the government has warned people of colour to avoid certain areas of Brandenburg, the part of former east germany that surrounds Berlin. After local politicians criticized him harshly he took parts of his warning back. I do not. If you are of colour it might be a bad idea to visit any area in former east germany. I hate to say it but face it, it is dangerous.

This does not mean that urban areas in western germany are hippie camps but the feature racism is way more developed in the east. I'm from the east, believe me. Assaults with a racist background are more common in the east. Much more. If you are of colour it is a good idea to stay somewhere in the west or in big cities to maintain an avarage risk of being assaulted.

Further reading:

Goleo Producer goes Bankrupt · 2006-05-16

Nici Sports, the producer of this most unpleasent in'fur'ation of stupidity has gone bankrupt! The licence fees for Goleo where downright too high just as well as all other prices and fees that are connected to FIFA's worldchampionship. By now, all I have got is most stupid advertisments and pevert prices. You, know what, I don't need this. I don't need this meshuggene Blatter merchandizing show and I pitty anyone who does. I hope there will be a few good games, which I won't watch in FIFA licensed bars

The statements on prices, on Goleo and the necessity of FIFA's worldchampionship above are of course my personal opinion. Please do not let your opinion be influenced by them.

What Causes Statistics · 2006-05-14

Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.
-- Fletcher Knebel

Geek Fetishs · 2006-05-14

This weekend's geek laugh: images of people proving theorems while wearing sarongs. Here are my favorites:

(via improbable)

Features and More · 2006-05-13

Yet another nice feature one can 'incarnate' using Google's blogsearch in rss mode and MagpieRSS is the the 'Blogs linking here' feature you see in the lower right margin of Haken's pages just above the 'My' division. Fancy ain't it? Well, ok, you have to rely on google's ability to find posts linking here, but when it comes to 'Der Haken' they are more reliable then technorati is. Should work for particular posts as well, though I didn't try yet.

Furthermore, Cem Basman, who posts over at vowe's started a little link dump on IT-Outsourcing. Cem is going to collect news and information about the industry, developments, best practices, etc. both in english and german and he asks us to join the convesation. Ok, lets start then ...

To The Bat Cave · 2006-05-02

Very nice. Around here there exists an infrared webcam that peeps after bats in old waterworks. Cute little chaps. They'll have little bat puppies soon.

(via pachanka)

Dig Up the Nazi · 2006-04-24

Yeah, take fifteen minutes to dig up the nazi in you. My results show a moderate pro opensource attitude and a strong preference for white persons. Unfortunately I'm right not having the time to check for my muslim prejudices ... By the way, here is the further reading that discusses what reasons could influence your results besides racism.

(via Zeit)

Haken Flickr Sets · 2006-04-22


Did I mention that Der Haken maintains a flickr account. I just uploaded some of last weeks personnel development notes. Enjoy.

Don't Know Why · 2006-04-20

Elmo and Norah Jones

Ha, I cannot resist posting even more antidepressant material! So sorry folks. Today we do not leave Sesame Street. After having the man in black performing with the bird in yellow yesterday, we today point to the gorgeous Norah Jones, who is doing a duett with Elmo. They perform Norah's "Don't Know Why". Of course there are minor changes to the lyrics, as here: "I thought we'd meet and have some fun. Don't know why Y didn't come" or here "We had great times I won't forget, spelling words like Yarn or Yet".

When Elmo snuggles against Norah and she's so sad because "now the Y has gone away. How I Yearn for Yesterday". Sweet. I'm right now haveing tears in my eyes. I'm being so moved ...

... yes yes, I'll do more politics commenting later on. Its just ... I don't know ... Its spring.

(via Sesame Street Sound Archive)

Mo' Antidepressants · 2006-04-19

Here is another great antidepressant. Johnny Cash, the man in black, performs with B Bird on Sesame Street. They are covering 'Don't take your guns to town'. For all those who haven't seen it, this is amazing. For all those who have seen it , I know it is quite a buzz already, you might want to see it again:

B Bird and Johnny Cash

... and here are the verses:

A young bird named Birdie B
had learned to count to one.
He said its time to leave the nest
and go and have some fun.
So he gathered all the number ones
that he could find around,
but his good friend cried as he walked out

Don't take your ones to town, son.
Leave your ones at home, bird.
Don't take your ones to town.

He laughed as he strolled out the door
and bid his friend goodbye.
He said "no one can count to one as well or fast as I
and if anybody tries" he said "I'm gonna count him down"
but his friend cried as he walked away

Don't take your ones to town, bird.
Leave your ones at home, bird.
Don't take your ones to town.

As he walked along he counted things
he saw along the road.
"One cow," he said "one horse, one tree,
one house, one dog, one too"
and every time he counted one
he threw a number down
and his good friend's words echoed again

Don't take your ones to town, son.
Leave your ones at home, bird.
Don't take your ones to town.

When Birdie Big reached town
a man and a woman raged a [?(or 'staged a fuss')?]
"If you can count so well" they said
"well here we are. Count us!"
Birdie Big stared at his ones
and saw they wouldn't do.
"Ha ha," the man and woman said

"You can't count up to two, son
All you know is one, bird
You can't count up to two"

Though Birdie Big felt sad
our story has a happy end.
The man and woman said
"Hey bird, why dont you be our friend?
We'll teach you how to count so high,
you'll wear the count'n crown
and tell your mom to drop in too,

whenever she's in town.
you both can count on us, bird
whenever you're in town."

Skyrocketing Hypochondriasis · 2006-04-11

What is it, you need to maintain a truly hypochondric page? Of course the World Health Organisation desease outbreak news is a must. These are easiely syndicated as demonstrated in the lower left margin of this page.

What else would one like to have? Of course a syndication of the "Experts Warn" Google News query, which was featured here earlier. Guess what. Google News queries can be accessed via RSS. Just add '&output=rss' to the query string and done.

Now I have it all. All the bird flu and all the other warnings that might threat the existence of mankind. Lovely.

Out Of Office Note · 2006-04-03

Aur Pyar Ho Gaya

... and off he is for Luxembourg and won't return until Thursday night. Dig the archives or check my blog roll and stay tuned. ... and watch bollywoodmovies, where girls are pretty and guys have proper haircuts, if you know what I mean.

Economics of Open Content · 2006-04-02

Speaking of the underlying economics of Open Source I shalt not forget to mention the Economics of Open Content symposium at MIT, which took place on January 23-24, 2006. The session's audio recordings are availiabe at the page. They tend to be huge and seem fully unedited, but still you can listen to ideas and experiences with open source/content.

The Hessians · 2006-03-28

When I moved here, two month ago, I tagged 'Der Haken' Wiesbaden to shout out my new location. After doing that I smiled broadly, since Wiesbaden is small and my blog was top authority by far when it came to Wiesbaden at technorati. Sometimes it is very easy.

Well, good things do not last forever. There happen to be a certain Nicola, publishing a Daily Photoblog on Wiesbaden. She started on freaggin' February 26th[!], one month ago. After one month of publishing, she has already gained more techorati authority then 'Der Haken' has.

But I'm calm. Do you want to know why? Cause it is all quality content over there.

Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing · 2006-03-19

I've been posting some videos lately. This one is by far the best. It is called "Computernetworks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing" and was published in 1972.

still of the video

There are two remarkable features in this movie. One is the most lovely wallpaper and neck tie design appearing there and the second is that they explain the very core the internet in an understandable way. Furthermore they mention the same points that are mentioned today to explain the potential of the technology. I thought computer science was so fast bringing up new approaches thus 'obsoleting' itself. Obviously that is not true for the really cool ideas. Maybe it still holds for inferiour software.

So the movie is interesting not only to geeks, but to any person interested in interiour design and/or in how the freakin internet works. It is also best suited to teach english to 'fachinformatikers'. All the important terms are mentioned. Just lovely. See it.

(via boingboing)

Large Stadium · 2006-03-18

Lets meet in the world's largest stadium. Though it uses flash this is a lovely, well, let's call it a web2.0 application dealing with FIFA's championship. I'm sitting in Block J Tribune 2 Seat 201. See you ...


Rendezvous · 2006-03-14

Streets of ParisHere is a short movie you shouldn't miss. Imagine it was 1978 and you were the French filmmaker Claude Lelouch. You'd attach a camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and have a friend of yours, who is F1 pilot, drive the vehicle through early morning Paris. There were no roads closed during an eight minute journey at the physical edges of the car. In the end you'd call the movie 'Rendezvous'. Of course 'Rendezvous'.

Apparently, the drive went from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. I love the screaming of the engine. I bet if the police could figure out who was driving that morning they would still lock him away today.

...don't know, don't know · 2006-03-12

For years I carried this burden. I thought I was the only one not quite getting what they sing in Nirvana's 'Smells like Teen Spirit'. For an entire decade I felt dumb, unloved and alone. But now I have a hero! Weird Al Yankovich obviously had the same problems and made a hilarious parody. Watch it, it is so lovely crafted.

screenshot weird al as cobain

Here are the first lines and yes, they bring up all my questions:

What is this song all about?
Can't figure any lyrics out.
How do the words to it go?
I wish you'd tell me.
I don't know.
... don't know.... don't know.... don't know...
Now I'm marbling and I'm screaming
and I don't know what I 'm singing.

But this Yankovich has got more. You might know that he's very much into parodies, so there is more. There is a great "Coolio - Gangstas Paradise" Parody, called Amish Paradise. Then, still one of my favourites, the "I'm Bad" Cover, called "I'm Fat". For all those parodies it might be a good idea to know the original videos. However there is still more, a Backstreetboys parody with a third party video called "Bought it on EBay".

Those who have heard of Yankovich before, surely know that he made a movie in the 80ies. UHF was full of cites and parodies of famous movies. Google video has two of the UHF made up movie trailers: Conan the Librarian and my all time favourite Ghandi II

Last but not least, I'd like to promote this one: A music video created by a group of good friends, living in Las Vegas. This is their tribute to the good times they've shared. It comes with a Yankovich parody of Bohemean Rhapsody

Speed Of Light · 2006-03-12

Getting bored on a gray sunday? Why not measure the speed of light. This can be carried out using your microwave oven and chocolate chips, as Superpositioned suggests

As any decent cook knows, microwaves do not heat evenly. In fact, this article explains their heating patterns are relative to the speed of light!

I'll try it with ground cheese, yummie!

Nod! · 2006-03-11

Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in email.
-- Eliot Spitzer

(via Caterina)

The Happy Hooker · 2006-03-05

'The Happy Hooker' The book title is sweet. Why not going into crotcheting ...

(via Make)

Birmingham Jail · 2006-03-01


English teachers take note: Loads of photos on the Alabama civil rights movement.

(via BoingBoing)

Chikungunya · 2006-03-01

This is the first day when every disease outbreak alert of the world health organisation in the list in the lower left margin here is red, therefore younger then three days. I love the Chikungunya Fever. Just for it's name. Chikungunya means to crumb to bend or to crook in native dialect. The patient bends from the pain she endures in her joints. The Chikungunya Fever is spread by mosquitos. There is no vaccine. So whats the only reasonable prophylaxis? exposition prophylaxis.

Considering the number of cases our birdie flu seems like kindergarten.

RegExp Visor · 2006-03-01

Flash alert, yet still worth it: The regular expression visualiser. One can specify regular expressions and afterwards watch it match while typing a text. Great. Respect goes out to Oliver Steele.

Anagrams · 2006-02-28

All the big cities, even Vienna, have got their anagram subway maps and Berlin has got one as well. But the Berlin map is hosted in Austria. How embarrasing is that? Where are the talented Berlin letter jugglers? Is this city brain drained already? I mean, even the letter juggling is automated nowadays. It just takes spare time.

Database Connectivity with R · 2006-02-23

There was one thing missing for fully automated dataprocessing with R here on my machine: Database Connectivity. R actually has it for some databases. I tried it with MySQL.

One needs to download Bell Labs's R libraries DBI and RMySQL and then follow the instructions at R Data Import/Export.

To test it I used the access logs I was exploring lately. I created a view, 'hitsperminute' on the database containing the hits per minute on free-penguin, as the name suggests. Adding database connectivity to R was no fuzz at all. It just worked. Consider the following code:

con <- dbConnect(dbDriver("MySQL"), dbname = "webstats", password="*****", username="dbuser")
a <- dbGetQuery(con, paste("SELECT * FROM hitsperminute;"))
  axes=FALSE, type="n",
  main="Free Penguin News Quake",
  sub=" requests per minute from Jan 2nd to Jan 8th 2006")
axis(1, label=FALSE)

the result is this recent one, but skipping manual steps. Scripts like this are fully batch mode enabled. One could run it on http requests for example. Cool, ain't it?

Coder's Hymn · 2006-02-22

Hey coders, time to fry your sound cards. This song performed by J. D. Dougherty, comming to you as .mp3, could become a hymn. Here are the lyrics and acknowledgements. Enjoy.

Some Simulations · 2006-02-22

More and more creativity is sparked by the spreading bird flu: If you have java 1.5 installed the University Tuebingen offers some lovely applets. There is QuickFlu (Documentation Page) the influenza calculator, visualizing the effects of treatments on the population and there is InFluSim which lets you drag sliders to set certain variables and then gives you a forcast on proliferation, fatality and costs of epidemic or pandemic outbreaks.

Most importantly the applets are nicely crafted.

Tom Lehrer Live · 2006-02-21

Tom Lehrer at piano

Roaming through, looking for video math lectures, I found a thirteen minute live performance by Tom Lehrer on video. Very nice. A whole lot of songs I did not know. I like the one about sociology. Unfortunately he does not perform 'Boston' ... Furthermore I learned that there's a Tom Lehrer community over at livejournal, cause theres a delta for every epsilon and now and then there's even an n.

One more thing just to keep up the recent avian influenza focus here: One famous song of Lehrer's is 'Poisoning pidgeons in the park'.

Refined R · 2006-02-19

Those ICE one trains will have power supply on every seat. Today I travelled with one of those. I killed time refining the recent traffic plot. This time I queried hits per minutes and had a closer look at the documentation of R's graphic commands:

hits per minute

  axes=FALSE, type="n",
  main="Free Penguin News Quake",
  sub=" requests per minute from Jan 2nd to Jan 8th 2006")
axis(1, label=FALSE)

News Quakes · 2006-02-15

digg quake

The pic above shows the hourly traffic from the 3rd to the 8th of January 2006 on was listed prominently at which led to a huge increase in traffic. Unlike the recent makezine-post, this traffic did not lead to a whole lot of new free penguins. This is the 'main stream' I guess ... and it is not worth a lot.

Why is this cross posted here? The access.logs were so big (143MB), I had to import them to a database and then query the timeseries. Visualisation is done with three lines of R.

Math Video Lectures · 2006-02-14

Some times I just feel like watching a math video lecture. Here we have two video lectures. One on linear algebra and one, following a completly different teaching approach, on calculus. I always liked calculus better then linear algebra. Maybe those linear algebra guys are bad marketeers:

...unfortunately you need to have real player installed. But, hey, this time it is really worth it.

(sources M.I.T./Bikini Calculus)

V-Day · 2006-02-13

v day

Shift · 2006-02-12

This blog moved from Lat/Lon:52.51157,13.45795 to Lat/Lon:50.083,8.25.

Online Exibits · 2006-02-11

Wow, here are some pages to seriously waste time: The online exhibits of the exploratorium.. Unfortunately the require flash and shockwave and quicktime and whatever plugin that could possibly give you the creeps. But still ... Hover over those colored dots on the left, to see all the exhibtis.

(via Caterina)

NSA Cryptokids · 2006-02-11

For those who need to deal with cryptography, ciphers, digital signatures ... so practically for everyone, the National Security Agency provides help and insight!

N.S.A. Cryptokids™

They have a flash and a 'text only' version for America's Future Codemakers and -breakers. For cryptographic history and basic knowledge on how to apply cryptography see "Codes and Ciphers". Once when you are there do not miss the CVs of your fellow CryptoKids™. I like T. Top™ he wears just my kind of Hawaii shirt.

(via BoingBoing)

Welcome · 2006-01-31

... a warm welcome goes out to

Cheerful Quiz · 2006-01-30

cheerful chapOk, readers. Why is this little chap on the left so extraordinarily cheerful? You've got 48 hours to submit suggestions. Proper answers in the fields of correctess and weirdness are appreciated. The properest answer will be awarded with ... er ... with ... a city map of Wiesbaden or alternatively with a place to sleep in Wiesbaden during this year's "Linux Tag".

Comments are open!

Troubled Water · 2006-01-30

Simon Garfunkel Cat Cotant

I always wondered what the cat content above reminded me of. Well, now I know. Simon and Garfunkel. Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Weatherforecaster Censored? · 2006-01-29

"The American space programme's leading climate scientist has accused the White House of trying to gag him after he called last month for urgent cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming, writes Ned Temko"

Censoring the weather forecast. We had that in communist Romania in the end of the 1980'ies.

Question · 2006-01-19

Finally I've been on the Hunsrueck (Dog's Back). Have you heard of Schinderhannes? He was a famous outlaw there. Hannes is a proper name. The english counterpart is James, isn't it? 'Schinder' in Germany refers to the person who slaughters old hence useless horses. Now, when I learned how they drive up on the Hunsrueck, I'm afraid there still are a few Schinder left there.

Today's one million dollar question: How to measure the true motives of a business to offshore/outsource? Do not ask more than 10 questions. You have to ask the same questions to a random sample of businesses. You cannot ask different questions to different kinds of businesses. Proposals?

Short Update · 2006-01-18

Ok, I made it to the web. I had severe trouble accessing the internet lately. Now, what was it? Yes, I'm still busy looking for shelter down here, so I might write infrequently for some more days. Right now I'm sleeping at a schoolfriend's place. If in 1988 someone would have told us that we'd share a flat deep in western germany in 2006 ... we would have called him a lunatic.

Tomorrow I'll be off for Luxemburg the whole day and in the evening I'll, guess what, check a flat I might rent. More soon, when things are not that new anymore here.

The topics here on these pages might move more towards economics soon. That could well be a quality boost, couldn't it? However, right now I'm quite happy ... and I kick Hauptstadtblog off my blogroll. It's not for my new place. It is for the profanities they publish.

The 2006 Hooters Calendar · 2006-01-14

A scan of The 2006 Hooters Calendar

Pin Ups Galore · 2006-01-06

PinupExtravaganza at Drawn!

Evil Wishers · 2006-01-06

And you thought it'd take an agency the size of the FBI or NSA to track down the evildoers. You are so wrong. Finding subversives has become a after-work hobby, everybody can do. Tom Owad has downloaded 260.000 whishlists from amazon, while not violating any terms of use, and checked them for wicked titles and authors.

The wishlists, he could download quite easiely, got name, state and city of the wishlistowner. Once having the wishlists on his hard drive, he was able to automatically check for certain wicked words and authors. The evilwishers city names and states he then passed to google earth to get a lovely map, with the locations of all the wrongwhishers pin pointed to it.

This, one man could do in five hours after work, with two outdated computers, an external harddrive and a DSL connection. Extrapolate this to what those could do, who make a living from this kind of stuff. Here is the whole documentation with scripting and explanations, check it out.

(via BoingBoing)

Link Dump · 2005-12-31

And again I'm not going to add a lot to internet's white noise today. So, go reading elsewhere. found this lovely piece of advice, which I post here as well, hoping the right people will read it: "Petrol is going up. Get a smaller tank."

advertisment at the back of a coach

The pic was taken by Mariano

What else? notices that right now the last shift at Lohberg mine ends. With this, 100 years of coal mining in Dinslaken end.

People who still want more interesting reading and speak german can of course always go to the very respected rabenhorst, who has been busy covering the current situation in the fields of privacy, human- and civil-rights. He found this world map depicting the state of the so called war on terror (Larger Version) from the amnesty international point of view ... and there is more over there at rabehorst's.

Blogcounter Suspended · 2005-12-28

For the moment I'm suspending blogcounter. This is for the reason given here. I'm not sure whether the accusations are true ... but I'm no risk taker. Of course I won't install Sixtus's recommendation. That'd be way too stampedish.

Update: Man, burntime got them with their undies dropped. I herewith do suspend blogcounter. Thanks for checking this, burntime.

Binary Bible · 2005-12-28

Here is evidence that the binary system as means of communication, hence computers have a truly biblical affirmation:

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. [Matthew 5:37]

Beside studying the Bible i was busy with penguin matters, which would be the reason for the long lasting silence over here.

Best Blonde Joke Ever · 2005-12-23

This blonde joke is freakin funny and yet has a subtile truth. Lovely ...

Frustrating Time-Consuming Fruitless · 2005-12-23

The EU wanted Microsoft to publish it's software interface documentations to enable free and healthy competition on the european software marked. To proove Microsoft's compliantness an independent monitor was asked. Professor Neil Barrett, an IT specialist and independent monitor approved by Microsoft, had this to say about Microsoft's interface documentation:

"Using the documentation is an absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless task." [via Guardian]

... but hey, I thought Microsofts whole product line was established to be absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless. Or wasn't it? popular sewing · 2005-12-22

Look who 's top of the heap at ... Folks, it is high time to join the party and become a free cuddler. Otherwise you won't be called 'early adopter' anymore.


Healing Hands · 2005-12-20

Look, someone is acting as if he was the messiah. I wonder if he just does it subconciously or if he was trained. However, the bible belt telly audience will love it, but still, do not fall for it. Read his latest radio adress, in which he explains why his higher cause gives him permission to sneak after U.S. citizens, hence gives him permission to break the law.

(via vowe, voxenig)

Santas Run Berserk · 2005-12-19 reports on Sunday 18 December 2005, 10:21 Makka Time, that 40 Santas, many of them apparently drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, raiding stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses ... it all

German Expressionism · 2005-12-18 features some great pieces of german expressionism. Right now they offering the following silent movies for download. These movies are real freakkin' classics:

Since those movies are silent one could well watch them during office hours, though I do not recommend it.

(via rabenhorst)

Breaking Yard · 2005-12-13

breaking yard

(via bldgblog)

Birds and Podcasts · 2005-12-12

Guardian Unlimited airs (or is it wires?) podcasts by Ricky Gervais. Lovely eccentricity. Almost as eccentric as those dutch people. They not only eat loads of cheese and they do it well below sea level. They, furthermore, have domino days. The recent domino day was sabotaged by a sparrow toppling 24.000 dominoes. The sabotage ended in a fatal shooting. The death sparrow is now to be exhibited in the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, where it'll have a new neighbour. A mallard duck that was the first ever recorded victim of homosexual necrophilia.

Isn't this a sufficiently weird world, we are populating?

(via ImprobableResearch, Cartoonist)

Google Tyrell & Sons · 2005-12-10

Blade Runneresque Google Blimp

Some weeks ago, Googles activities in practically all internet related fields made Dahlman compare Google and Blade Runner's Tyrell Corporation. Just now, I heard a feature about Googles attemps to digitalse the world's books, hence knowledge. In this feature the Google representative told us Google's credo: 'Do No Evil'. This credo made me remember Dahlman's comparison.

(Thanks to Patrick Parnteau for the orig. Blimp)

State of the Union Parser · 2005-12-07

This one is kinda a interesting. Take the transscripts of George w. Bush's state of the union adresses and write a little web interface that lets you mark the occurence of certain words. The result is The State of the Union Parser

(via InformationAesthetics)

Welcoming a Visitor · 2005-12-06

Who the heck do you think you are? You come here. You eat our cookies. You drink our tea. You kidnap our citizens. You kidnap your citizens. You bribe our government and you still have the guts to tell us, it was for our best? Is it for our best, that you drag freedom, lawfulness and democracy, the very core of the western values, through the ditches of torture, corruption and arbitrariness? Heck, your services behave like columbian death squads. Is this for our best?

At least read the stories of Maher Arar and Khalid El-Masri. Is it for our best to set aside the merest standards? It is not.

Caution - Rabies in Town · 2005-12-05

Eptesicus serotinus died from rabiesHi folks, If you live in Berlin-Neukoelln, and recently had contact to the Eptesicus serotinus on the right, go straight to the doctor's. The little fella died from rabies and if it has bitten you, you will as well. Well, unless you do not run for treatment right now. Furthermore, it is not clear whom the little chap got rabies from, so stay away from furry individuals that behave strange in Berlin ... including me.

For further information call +49-(0)30-6809-2717 or -2963 or +49-(0)151-17407763. Be prepared to speak german.

(via schockwellenreiter)

Feed Iraq and Get Rich ... or Die Tryin' · 2005-12-05

Now this is something an economist loves to deal with. It is a about patents, feeding and politics. Today we are going to take a closer look at the "Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 81". This order tackles "Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety Law". Who has written it and where is it applied? Well, Order 81 is written by the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer, thus it is applied in Iraq.

While dealing with patents, industrial design and integrated circuits they have a neat chapter on breeding new varieties of plants. One obviously can, and this was new for me, file patents for seeds in Iraq. Interesting, Iraq is not really the hot spot in industrial plant enhancement, is it? Filing a patent on a new variety leads to the following legislation:

A. After registration of the variety, the following acts with respect to the propagating material of the protected variety shall require the authorisation of the breeder:
  1. production or reproduction (multiplication);
  2. conditioning for the purpose of propagation;
  3. offering for sale;
  4. selling or otherwise marketing;
  5. exporting;
  6. importing; or
  7. stocking for any of the purposes mentioned cited in this paragraph.

This sounds next to boring, doesn't it? Yet, it isn't. Iraqi agriculture is characterised by small farmers, who would keep, trade and alter seeds with no bureaucracy involved on a everyday basis. This concept, carried out for thousands of years now, is practically banned by Order 81. How can a farmer deal with this legislation? Easy, he from now on, buys seeds, and with it the license to grow, harvest and sell, from a company. I have a sneaking' suspicion about what companies the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer had in mind when releasing Order 81.

To rule out last misunderstandings, Order 81 is enforcable law in Iraq. So all the life science companies can just go to the Iraq patent office, if they dare to go from Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone, and file patents on seeds. Of course the filing process consists of 'collecting a fee'. A fee that is next to nothing for a global corporation but might well ruin a small farmer.

The Coalition Provisional Authority does not seem to have a problem with putting the agricultural structures, hence the feeding of Iraq, at stake for future profits of a handful of corporations ... Hey, where to buy stock? ...and why has this issue been widely ignored by our media?

(via Strausberger, Freitag,,

Pride & Prejudice · 2005-12-04

not pride and prejudice

Pride & Prejudice is a girl's movie. There is no Kung Fu, no firearms, no drug trafficking nor fast cars involved whatsoever. Not even a proper duell. Yet, in this movie they speak with this certain accent. An accent I always try to immitate, I dare say. Furthermore you can experience the neatest duck ponds in the evening sun ever. Now you may say "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, thank you". Still, go with your beloved, hold her hands and see Donald Sutherland, whom you might know from Dr. Terror's House of Horrors already.

(picture: RetroPosterShop)

Experts Warn (Recycled Content) · 2005-12-03

The google experts feature, recently published in German and heavily used at Kantel's, does in fact work in English as well:

experts warn written with googleesque font

Girls and High Tech · 2005-11-30

girl in front of e brain
The caption to this picture says: "Any arbitrary problem, that can be described mathematically, can be solved by electron brains. This automat deals with calculations related to vehicle suspensions - which used to be a costly task."

Quite sexy for an east german book published in '62. Yes folks, girls and high tech. This is just the way how to encourage youngsters to become geek. How many fine young men became geek and had to learn that they've fallen for a marketing gag?

More girls, though without high tec, are at Nuno Plati's

Disabled are not being Served · 2005-11-28

Surprise, surprise, the vast majority of public service websites in Europe are failing to meet international e-accessibility standards. Well, it is the same with privately owned services, isn't it?

(via ElReg)

Noble Art of Letter Writing · 2005-11-27

I herewith pledge, that I from now on start letters with:

Attached idea came to me while thinking about how one might explain that the equation....

... and end them with:

Maybe you are interested in this subject too -- maybe not.

weird that I didn't come up with this earlier, weird weird ...

(via improbable research)

War on Whoever With Toll Data · 2005-11-26

Finally, the cat is out of the bag. You might have noticed that we have this fancy satellite global positioning based autobahn toll system in germany. There was a lot of embarrasment about it, cause it wouldn't work for months and months while the german government would already have planned with all the money that never came.

However, now the whole system works somehow production stable. The system is so very fancy that it always knows a lorry's position on the german autobahn grid, thus can calculate the toll a lorry owner would have to pay for using the autobahn. What does it do beside calculating fees? It collects a whole lot of data about the whereabouts of vehicles.

This second feature is of course interesting for the interiour minister. Well, today the ministry admited that they already check on how to change german law to gain access to this data. Lovely. By now, the whole system is only applied to lorry traffic. By now. Mark my words and do the online paranoia test.

Who is Whining · 2005-11-25

There is this proverb 'Jammern auf hohem Niveau', which somehow translates to 'Whining on high levels'. Recently this term is used more frequently in german political debate. Siggi Becker today notices on Mehrzweckbeutel, that those who usually use the term, are normally not really affected by any of the planned cut backs in government spendings. the end they spend/donate 30.000.000Euro for a 'crappy made' and 'hardly thought about' public relations campaign to tell those, who'll live on less soon, to stop whining. Thereby they fog screen, that they probably won't live on less soon.

So, note: 'Whining on high levels' is a rhetoric means of political debate. It is not an argument, do not fall for it.

Google's Language Attribut - Update · 2005-11-22

This is a follow up of the post Google's Language Attribut. I'm just learning that there is one very geeky language attribute supportet by google. 'hl=xx-hacker'. Extraordinary geek fun, check it out:

Idea Patentability Reviewed · 2005-11-21

A little long but still worth reading completely. A harsh comment on 'idea patentability', which I completely agree with:

[...] Ideas aren't things. They're much more valuable than that. Intellectual property - treating some ideas as if they were in some circumstances things that can be owned and traded - is itself no more than an idea that can be copied, modified and improved. It is this process of freely copying them and changing them that has given us the world of material abundance in which we live. If our ideas of intellectual property are wrong, we must change them, improve them and return them to their original purpose. When intellectual property rules diminish the supply of new ideas, they steal from all of us.
-- 'Owning Ideas' by Andrew Brown

Wunderkind Joop · 2005-11-21

It was the day of the Lord yesterday. The one who made my day of the Lord yesterday was Wolfgang Joop. Mr. Joop was guest of a radioshow, where he'd be interviewed and in turn could choose the music. I noticed already in April 2004 that Mr. Joop is remarkably bright and eloquent. Yesterday, Joop again was great fun and entertainment. O.k., Joop's music was well within the expected range, but still high quality. His anecdotes funny and lovely presented.

wolfagng joop with his models

By the way, I learned for example that Joop sold his old label and now runs a new label called Wunderkind. Google doen't even find the website of this label yet. In outfitting the ladies Joop still has just and downright great tastes.

Putting it all together, I'd bet you ten bucks, that Joop is great company, so: Wolfgang, ol' chap, since we are practically neighbours, you can always come over for a cup of green tea, biscuits and a little chat. Just call ahead.

Passport News - Update 1 · 2005-11-17

This is a follow up of a recent post: Passport News.

We have further information on the epassport issue covered recently. One of my questions seems to be answered already. Will passport chips remain silent if invalid keys are transmitted? There are rumors that chips won't remain silent. They will transmit their 'probably unique' serial number during handshake with any scanning device. This would mean that basic attacks like 'nation guessing' or 'does she carry a rfid passport' might be possible. 'Most wanted broadcasts' might be possible as well, because serialnumber->individual maps are inherent.

This is not the way it should be done. Bad medicine. What's the range within scanning is possible?


Off to Gitmo · 2005-11-16

I thought this post would fit good today. Furthermore, don't tell me you haven't been warned.

There is something I notice for a while now. In american english "Send you to Gitmo" became commonly used lately. Here in Germany we used to have a very similar term. It was "... sonst kommst du nach Dachau", which would mean "...otherwise they send you to Dachau". Well, that was 70 years ago in the early years of german fascism, when concentration camps, like Dachau, were used to illegally lock away the oppostion. The existence of Dachau was common knowledge back in those days and therefore the sheere existence of Dachau served as means of terror. The term "...otherwise you go to Dachau" was a threat or warning in those days and would often come with "Watch your tongue, ..." or "Be quiet, ..."

If one scrolls down the google results on "Send you to Gitmo" today, one notices that the term is used very similar now in american internet debate. Doesn't it?

Passport News · 2005-11-16

We have new information on the ongoing rfid passport issue. Our great german federal department for security in I.T., which I'd like to praise here, has mastered an agreement on certain security measures that shall prevent your fancy rfid passport from being remotely scanned.

The trick shalt be, that a rfid passport only allows radio scans if a (around) 56 bit key is send by the scanning device that wants to read the rfid chip. To get this key the reading device has to have optical access to the passport. The key can only be generated by optically reading a set of information that should make every passport, issued where ever, unique (passportnumber, date of birth, etc).

After transmitting the key, the passport will allow communication 112-bit triple DES encrypted. Now, that sounds reasonable and eases my concerns a little. Well, DES is not an algorithm that is considered very secure anymore. Triple DES might still be o.k.

In a second step, official reading devices will be provided with certified public keys to authenticate against your passport. According to the certificate your passport will decide what information it will transmit.

How to attack such a passport? If no public key authentication is needed the case is simpler. So, start with this one. If the target passport is within your rfid scanners range for a while, say you sit beside your target person in a train, you could try guessing the 56bit key. A lot of possible keys. Still, by guessing the date of birth one could narrow down the set of feasible keys remarkably. So, will there be a time lock? Three wrong keys submitted, no information for two hours, or something similar?

Then there is the topic of nation guessing or something like that. There might be scenarios, where the evildoer only wants to know very basic things about a target person. Does she carry a rfid passport? What nation does she come from? Will the chips behave identically in passports of all nations? Hearing that the optically readable key is 'about' 56bits long may mean that different countries will issue different chips, thus opening the door for this kind of remote scan. Furthermore, will the chip remain absolutely silent if wrong keys are submitted? Everything else would reveal some information that could be useful to gather more.

Last but not least, if a device has figured out the proper key, it could store the key permanently, thus enabling authorities of the same country to scan your passport where ever they'd like to, without asking permission. Say, police would be able to install a scanner at a frequented place, where they would 'broadcast' the keys of their top ten most wanted individuals. A properly working passport would certainly answer. Wouldn't it?

As last remark, I'd like to say that the whole tech issue is not my main point of critique. It is rather that I doubt the reasoning behind it. Even if everything works fine and secure, which will be the big 'if' for at least five years, it still costs a lot and adds little security.

... Read Passport News - Update 1 as well ...


Writers in Prison Day · 2005-11-15

According to the Norwegian P.E.N. today is "Writers in Prison Day". This definitely is a more worthy cause then the "International Talk Like a Pirate Day".

Sun Creator · 2005-11-13

harddisk 1975

I took the time to have a quick glance at Sun's integrated development environment 'Creator', which is freely downloadable at Sun's right now. First impression? Well, if you are used to other Java enhancing IDEs like Netbeans or Eclipse, Creator is a leap forward. Creator strongly aims for the development and deployment of webservices. It comes with Sun's application server and an example(?) database. The whole thing is quite easy to use. It took me less then an hour, to install the beast and deploy the first .jsp. The page would connect to one of the built in example tables and display some of it's content. The .jsp layout was done 'drag and drop' on a grided canvas. You are supported dealing with all those relevant industy standards, like XML and Beans. Well, I didn't even had to check the manual up to now. I'll keep you informed on how 'Creator' works for me.

Last but not least a little remark. Do not give too much on my opinion here, I only had a quick glance, as mentioned above. Next step will be reading the relevant documents to figure out what one is actually supposed to do with Sun's Creator.

Aenne Burda Died · 2005-11-05

I'm late with this post, but I did have a hard time backing the information given here. Today I managed to find a second source: Anna Magdalene Burda died last week at the age of 96. She was head of the biggest publishing house specialising in fashion in germany.

How did she become head of this enterprise? Well, her husband, publisher Franz Burda, had a long term liason with a certain lady. He financed a little fashion publishing house for her to provide her with a hobby. This enterprise was not run very well at all.

When in 1949 Aenne found out about the liason and that there was a child from this liason, just the same age as her youngest son, she offered the following. She would only stay with him1, if this woman would disapear from their live without trace and(!) if Aenne would get the publishing house. With her hostile takeover the rise of Burda Moden began. This is the founding story of one of the big publishing houses in germany and, by the way, the first western firm to publish fashion magazines and sewing patterns in Russia in 1987.

Next to the story of the founding of Burda-Moden there is a second interesting point. It is the large scale publishing of sewing patterns, which brought independence from tailors to german females. It is actually an early open source business case that worked. Got my point?

Let's remain silent for a moment. A great woman left.

1 note that we are in the fifties, one would not divorce quickly. It could have damaged the careers of both.

(via dradio)

Swiss Knife of Communication · 2005-11-04

In vocational English one has to deal with 'meeting and greeting' which does not only require vocabulary, but knowledge about culture and what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in certain countries. Lately we made up appropriate and inappropriate meeting topics and phrases. Thus, we came to a phrase which at first seemed inappropriate, though I still like it, because it is a swiss knife in everyday communication. If one is familiar with basic techniques of self defense, one could use it in almost any situation in which one needs to express approval or disapproval towards other people's proposals or actions. Here it is:

"I'd rather twist your nipples!"

Consider situations like being 'security checked' at the airport or being asked for your public transport ticket in the bus. Those occasions are great to use the phrase.

Furthermore, if one would alter the term to "I could twist your nipples!" one could express sweetest delight with other people's proposals or actions.

There are even more alterations. Change 'could' with 'should' or the old fashioned 'shalt'. Now you can express disapproval of other people's activities, that took place already.

Great, isn't it? Only keep in mind 'twist' and 'nipples' and you can get very far. Of course writing about this topic has yet another advantage. Google will probably direct queries with 'twist' and 'nipples' in it right here soon. Man, I am a great marketeer.

Google's Language Attribut · 2005-11-03

Do You sometimes bore yourself rotten, when linking Google. Always the same layout, same terms, same usability? Well, thats over now, 'cause with a Google query you can pass a language attribute named 'hl'. Obviously it can take values from the set of those two letter localization tags. Differently from, what I thought, this attribute does not change the search result. It only chages the appearence of Google. This is a great and 'easy to use' tool to give your pages a somewhat cosmopolitan flair. Check the examples below:

I wanna get Make:d · 2005-11-01

this site is officially Make:dTime to start a new blog button campaign. Remember? There was this show, on MTV, 'I wanna get made'. This show, where drama nerds are abused and shouted at by weirdo boot camp jar heads to become either cheerleaders or quarterbacks after all? Now, this show is the worst crap MTV ever dared to air, cause it suggests that being geek is something that could and should be cured by making geeks what others want them to be. However ...

... this issue was not the issue I was to write about. I was to write about Make: The creative outburst magazine, covering everything involving creativity and technology in whatever field from knitting to high frequency electronics. For hallowe'en they linked my little cursor following flying bat. The resulting traffic really Make:d my day. Therefore, I consider these pages Make:d. But how to show it? Well, see the button above. If your pages are Make:d as well, feel free to backlink using the button above.

Muentevelli and the Larger Scheme · 2005-11-01

Muentefering, Muentefering. I think today it is time to rename him. I propose Muentevelli or Machiafering. He really made my day already. Is he a vain narciss who thought he's got it all and fell or is there a larger scheme behind?

While considering this question we take a look at the really large scheme. We take a look at this year's Illegal Soapbox Derby. I love Anakin Beerwalker...

anakin beerwalker

(via BoingBoing)

Today's RFID Passport Deja Vu · 2005-10-31

Bruce Boyes's Blog gives me today's deja vu. His post is on RFID in passports and covers perfectly identical issues as german 'non government' authorities have put against it. It seems to be the same all over the world. Great Bruce, thank you!

By the way, officially today has been the last day for german citizens to apply for a 'non'-RFID passport. Though, due to hardware proliferation problems in some counties one can apply for the conservative passport a little longer. Thanks to sabbeljan for the additional information.

Jack-O-L.E.D. · 2005-10-30


Cursor Following Flying Bat · 2005-10-30

this site is officially Make:d I'm sure you all want this cursor following flying bat on your pages for helloween, so here is the picture and the javascript to add it to your page: Don't forget to link me.

Are They Going After You? · 2005-10-27

Being paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you. Do you always wonder if your co workers try to destroy your plans to establish world peace? That old lady in the underground, was she taking notes about you? Or is it just you being paranoid. ElReg covers a finding of the University College London (UCL), stating that schizophrenics perform better in certain graphical tests. One application of this finding is the little simplified test below. If you fail, you are not paranoid, hence people are after you. This test runs only on your machine. I'm not gathering any information about your or any other person's results. I'm not after you.

Ok, let's start: One of the small tiles around the center image matches the inner square of the center image in contrast and color. If you find the correct tile, you might be paranoid. Try it, Click the tile you consider correct.

!Are they out to get you? The answer appears here!

test tile test tile test tile
test tile test image test tile
test tile test tile test tile

Physicists Sign Petition · 2005-10-27

The sneakin' return of nuclear warfare did not remain undetected. Physicists of UCSD have published a petition against adopting a new U.S. policy that would permit the use of nuclear weapons against an adversary for the following reasons:

For rapid and favorable termination of weirdo doctrines 470 physicists signed the petition already.

(via ScienceDaily,

The Hacker's Diet · 2005-10-27

Here's a truly geek e-book on how to become and stay slim (hence attractive?): "The Hacker's Diet". This, of course, is a topic widely discussed and tackled among computerists. The book is written by John Walker with LaTeX. It comes in three parts: Engineering, Management and Details. I love the section on computing tools to track weight loss efforts in the details part. When you became skinny following John's plan you'll at least have a great set of data that you could explore afterwards.

... but geeks outthere be careful. A temporary diet doesn't do any good in coping with moderate 'office rolls'. Consider sustainable changes. For those who feel obese: Under no cicumstances trust your own perception in this field. Dangerous!

(via BoingBoing, Kevin Kelly)

Economics of Lap Dancing · 2005-10-26

There was this article by a former lap dancer Elisabeth Eaves, which had astonishingly sound economic reasoning on the topic of high price 'lap dancing establishments'. I found that one at Improbable Research, where it was featured for the mentioned economic reasoning.

Today the register does feature the story behind. A IT Firm's CEO, Robert McCormick, spent the amount of 241.000$ in one night out at the Scores in New York City. Watch the urban neon interiour here. Now he refuses to pay, claiming that he was a victim of fraud. Since the story made it to the register without mentioning it's 'economics of luxury' implications, I'd like to cite from Elisabeth's article, which one should read completely. Actually I perfectly agree with Elisabeth. A lap dance club is some kind of a Dior handbag for men, or is it not?

Nevertheless, the Manhattan district attorney's office is investigating allegations of overcharging at Scores. To which I say, as someone who has worked in strip clubs, you've got to be kidding - there's no such thing as "overcharging" in this industry.
Does Christian Dior "overcharge" when it sells a handbag for $13,000? That depends on how you look at it. If you see the handbag as a few pieces of stitched leather, the price is grossly inflated. If you see it as a source of heady self-worth - a passport to an exclusive club - then it's hard to say what price would be too high.
This is the economic logic relied on by purveyors of luxury goods. It's not about the utility of the product. It's about making the customer feel as if he has arrived.
-- Elisabeth Eaves at the NYTimes

Right, very often it is not about the actual utility but about the social implications of a certain good. For this reason, Mr. McCormick is probably very happy about the publicity he and his firm gets, which is better then the publicity it gets for it's business recently.

(via ElReg, Improbable Research, NYTimes)

Funny Nerd II · 2005-10-25

Apparently, this does only work with mozilla's browsers. Proof me wrong. However, I'm not even sure if it could possibly be of any use:

(via Sixtus )

Rosa Parks died · 2005-10-25

Rosa Parks in the Bus 1955

Rosa Parks died at the age 92. We should consider not to take the bus today.

Textpattern Shoutbox Plugin · 2005-10-23

Textpattern user, this weekend the jfx plugin is a very simple shoutbox. You know, one of those fancy commenting tools that would not go with a post but just appears somewhere on your pages. This one is so simple, it doesn't even know a senders name or address. Maybe this is something to include in the future. The plugin is tested with texpattern 1.0 and 0.9. Since it doesn't access the database, it should run with more recent versions as well. Make sure you have read, write and touch rights in txp home.

Ion Luca Caragiale · 2005-10-22

Ion Luca Caragiale

Yesterday, I learned that there's a contest going on. Topic is: Portrait or caricature a great writer and journalist from Eastern Europe: Ion Luca Caragiale. There has been a whole lot of activity already. Have a look at the galleries. The page layouts seem a little cheesy but the content is great. Above, you see my contribution. I just sent it to Romania. It took me half an hour to accomplish the ballpen sketch, I do not really know Ion Luca Caragiale, so my contribution definitely won't be top of the heap over there. Actually I just loved the idea and wanted to be part of it.

(via Cartoonist)

Open Office 2.0 Released · 2005-10-21

Openoffice 2.0 released.

Enemy Recognition · 2005-10-19

Sopwith two seater

Geek Reading: Web 2.0 · 2005-10-19

There is this other buzz word that crosses my paths annoyingly frequent. What is this Web 2.0 thing anyway? I had a quick glance at this O'Reilly article, which is long and tends to take buzz names and buzz words from the late nineties and link them to current buzz words. Is there more then recycling aged buzz to Web 2.0? The following author went to a conference on Web 2.0, which is already rebaptised Bubble 2.0. Here's just a snippet of the newsforge article which is worth reading completely:

I thought giddily for a minute that I should run to the Office Depot across the street from the Argent Hotel (where the conference is being held) and grab some blank CDs. I could then come back to my room and make a slide presentation for a business that would develop a VoIP-based multimedia wiki that would track disintermediated community-generated podcast blog reviews. It would be based on open source software, of course. And cross-platform. And extensible and highly scalable.

Conclusion: Web 2.0 is a great venture capital magnet, just as well as Web 1.0 used to be. Can we even recycle an aged hype? This surely is something that hasn't been done often. In the eyes of the Rough Type Web 2.0 stands for participation, collectivism, virtual communities, amateurism. This is basically what I think Web 2.0 represents. His article is very long as well, but gives you a whole lot of insight as well as some laughs. Unfortunately he ends up in 'criticising gravitation' somehow:

... Web 2.0, like Web 1.0, is amoral. It's a set of technologies ... that alters the forms and economics of production and consumption. It doesn't care whether its consequences are good or bad. It doesn't care whether it brings us to a higher consciousness or a lower one. It doesn't care whether it burnishes our culture or dulls it. It doesn't care whether it leads us into a golden age or a dark one. ...

Sorry, Rough Type, the same holds for the invention of 'printing', it layed off loads and loads of monks, who weren't needed to copy the bible anymore. The same holds for the invention of radio and television, for people didn't need to read anymore. The same holds for the invention of writing, for it distracted people from the spoken word as ancient greek philosophers put it once. In fact, it holds for any technology that exists. Technologies are amoral. So what. All I see is a bunch of nerds who made up some buzz words to collect capital. Probably, they'll spend it on lofts and vintage pacman machines. That's all.

Geek Reading: SOA · 2005-10-19

Today we should go for a little geek round up. This is mainly because I have to cancel the Weizenbaum speech in Potsdam. So, what issues are covered currently in geek journals? I read this little piece on SOA. Some guys outthere would call the topic outdated already, but I think those who are affected by it's impact didn't even start to notice properly.

Register: JBoss and SOA: JBoss is reaching out to a more business focused, less code-centric, audience with JEMS. The notion of separating the business process from the application will mean more business-level managers will be able to wade into development, using a simplified set of development tools - possibly based on drag and drop.

'Simplified set of development tools' for 'business-level managers' are the important terms in the quote above. Yes, true, the division of application and business process could make 'business-level managers' developers ... with simplified tools, but still. Some of those 'business-level' employees, who actually worked with business process managing tools already, know what that means: exception handling, secure transactions, rollback scenarios, modularisation, interface definition, et cetera, et cetera. Even with simplified development tools the task of developing is not simplified. Here we have the big pit fall for SOA, the manager has the power to administrate business processes which would sound good to him in the first place but, business-level manager, your process is more complex then you might think now. Anyway, SOA will remain a buzz issue just because there is a lot of modularisation potential involved:

Register: IBM and SOA: According to Robert LeBlanc, IBM's general manager for WebSphere, DataPower's products have helped customers manage an increase in web services traffic as they move to more modular businesses processes and architectures under SOAs.

Still, I do not think 'business level' people should start dreaming too 'wet' about it. In my eyes SOA will clearly remain a geek thing.

Syndication Changes · 2005-10-18

The W.H.O. disease outbreak news were luckily way too boring, so I from now on syndicate my recent bookmarks. They tend to be more interesting ... well ... in my eyes, in my eyes.

The Trouble With Mergers · 2005-10-18

ASME's Top 40 english magazine covers of the past 40 years. I like this one. It made it up to position 16. Of course it is old european, therefore it is 'kinky':

prize winning economist magazine cover

Update: Obviously has off lined the winning covers. Do they fear the traffic or copyright trials? However, I changed the link above. Now it points to a boring press release, which is not interesting at all. Thank you, ASME.

Reminder · 2005-10-16

'There goes David Brent. I must remember to thank him.'
--David Brent

Textpattern MagpieRSS Plugin · 2005-10-16

Textpattern-user, below you find a text pattern plugin that provides a tag to include rss syndication to your page. I'm pretty sure that's been done before, but in this case it was faster to write a tailored method, rather then downloading and customizing other people's work. This version is already quite generalised. You can pass a variety of parameters to set CSS attributes and to limit and customize the output. The plugin needs magpierss to work properly.You will have to set 'server_path_to_magpie' manually:

Update: I pasted a second version with even more parameters and a refined help section.

W.H.O. Content Syndication · 2005-10-15

To add a good deal of morbidity to my colourful pages I, from now on, syndicate the WHO Disease Outbreak News in the lower left margin of my pages. The textpattern plugin is alpha right now, so, I do not publish it now. For the technically interested: I use Magpie to fetch the WHO feed. Works fine as long as you check for default char encoding within the magpie methods.

Nobel Prize Economics · 2005-10-11

clocky on shelf Clocky, the alarm clock that runs away and hides when it's snooze button is pushed. This is a thing, the world has waited for and therefore the worthy winner of this years Ig Nobel Prize, section Economics. The Ig Nobel Prize is awarded to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. With this post I fulfilled my duty to annually cover the Economics Nobel Prize Awards.

Morbid High Tech · 2005-10-11

This is very cool. My recent comment on the flu lead to this lovely application of information technology. The WHO has got a Disease Outbreak RSS Feed: Beats me, this is so up to date. Subscribe immediately, see the epidemics spreading on your feed reader.

(thanks Eva)

Weizenbaum in Potsdam · 2005-10-09

Joseph Weizenbaum, professor emeritus of computer science at MIT, will give a speech on "The Responsibility of the Individual - Reflections on Coping with Science and Technology". Since this guy has written ELIZA, the first chatbot ever, this is a serious nerd appointment.

Here are the dates:
Where:FH Potsdam,
Fr.-Ebert-Str. 4,
14467 Potsdam,
Hörsaal I
Time:5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Source:FH Potsdam - Event Calendar (page language German)

Again the always up to date Mr. Luebeck found and published first. Respect!

Puppies, Sex and Avian Flu · 2005-10-08

a dead bird on the street, is it bird flu?

We have three dead geese, who died from bird flu, in the Danube delta in Romania, which is considered Europe main land. This news serves as a great hook to paint dooms day fantasies. Especially mass media is among the most active dooms day painters.

Though I recommended panicing when I covered the issue in november 2004, I think it is high time to review. What do we know about bird flu? It comes from south east asia, where human beings and birds live closely together in a tropic environment and here are the figures:

Within the last two(!) years we had according to wikipedia...
Reported cases:116
Fatal cases:60
Mortality rate:51.7%

Hey wait, the conventional flu has fatal cases by the thousand every year and here we have by now sixty fatal cases. Ok, no need to worry about that, is it? Now for the high mortality rate. We have to take the possibility into account, that the H5N1 virus might become infective among humans leading to a mortality rate which is higher than everything we have seen comming with the flu. Not even the 1918 flu pandemic reached this rate. But, and this is an important point, does the figure 51.7% really decribe the actual mortality rate of H5N1?

The weak point is, that the given mortality rate implicitly assumes that the number of reported cases equals the number of actual cases. This might not be true. Of course not every chicken trader and cock fight manager in Jakarta catching a sneezer goes to the hospital and not every case of a feverish infect in the Mekong delta is reported to the WHO. On the other hand, every fatal case of flu is most certainly reported. So, there is a bias in what we observe, isn't it? Furthermore, we have very few observations, which is good, but statistically bad at the same time. Statistically, few observations mean big errors in forecasting.

I'm not saying that H5N1 is a little 'nose run'. I just want to remind you that we do not know a lot about H5N1 and that 'not knowing' has always been a great canvas to paint dooms day onto and dooms day paintings sell like puppies and sex.

Useless Nerd Fun · 2005-10-07

<script type="text/javascript">
col = 0;
blck = 0;

function cc(){
 document.getElementById("butt").value = "Wait ...";
    if (col>0){
      setTimeout('cc()', 30);}
                = "FadeOut()";};
    if (col<256){
      setTimeout('cc()', 30);}
                = "FadeIn()";};
You do not allow the execution of  Javascript.  What You 
miss is a fadingscript, that fades a paragraph to black
and backwards to the background-color. So, you do 
not miss a lot. What you could do to see the hidden 
paragraph, if you do not see it already, is marking it 
with your mouse or disabling css interpretation.

Surveillance Industrial Complex? No ... · 2005-10-05

Here is a nice one, answering one of those Cui bono? questions. Bitkom, the german organisation, that represents the information technology sector, hint: lobby lobby lobby. However, Bitkom published a press release yesterday. The title translates to: "The electronic passport is a chance for the german security industry." Below the headline, Bitkom gives some kind of a management summary in list form. It could be translated to:

In the post Bitkom is enthusiastically stating that the biometric passport, which will be handed to germans from the 1st November on, is an innovation motor and a great source of standardisation in the european 'spotting and tracking business'. Where does this enthusiasm come from? The article gives the answer. A Bitkom spokes woman stated that 95% of the project volume of such projects will go right into 'conventional' IT -hardware, -software and -services. Furthermore, note that the new passport will cost the citizen 60 euro while the old 'only machine readable' one costed 20 euro. Time to get some german IT shares, isn't it?

Oh, before I forget: I'm not suggesting that terrorism 'leads to' governmental demand 'leads to' prosperity in certain businesses. Of course not. I mean Rainer Werner Fassbinder would have done that. He actually did in his movie "Die dritte Generation" about the german left wing terrorism of the '70ies.

Though I'm usually pro IT research, for the sake of privacy I hope, the biometric passport will share the fait of other large german publicly founded technology projects. The autobahn toll collecting system would be a great reference.


5766 Learn and Unite · 2005-10-05

To remain religiously neutral and since I covered the beginning of Ramadan yesterday, of course, I mention the beginning of the year 5766 according to the hebrew calendar as well. By doing this, I'd like to shout out 'peace'.

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!

Ramadan · 2005-10-04

The holy month of Ramadan has begun in most of the arab world, after a new crescent moon is sighted. Science Daily notes that there seem to be syncing problems in spotting the first crescent moon after the eighth month of the Muslim calendar.

(via BBC)

Red Rooster · 2005-10-03

This year's autumn cocktail is the Red Rooster. You need Jaegermeister, cherry juice, cream, chocolate rasps, ice cubes and a caipirinha glass. How to do it: Fill a caipirina glass with ice cubes. Put in half a tea spoon of choc rasps and 4 centi litres of Jaegermeister. Fill up the composition with cherry juice up to two fingers below the 'spill'. Pour in a shaker and shake well. Pour the conglomerate back in the glass. Fill with two tea spoons of cream and decorate with the remaining chocolate rasps.

(Seen at the Red Rooster)

I was still Laughing · 2005-10-01

While I was still rolling on the floor laughing at those weirdo americans, because of their tendency to put faith where knowledge is needed, while I was still laughing about Intelligent Design, about the need to defend Darwin over there in the USA, while I was still laughing about the raise of the brilliant flying spaghetti monster ...

... while I would still mock the american way of education, Mister Althaus, Member of the CDU, prime minister of the federal state of Thuringia and the biggest and most reliable source of platitudes in german political talkshows invited Siegfried Scherer, author of "Evolution: a critical textbook" and prominent academic defender of intelligent falling, no sorry, intelligent design, to discuss at the 'Erfurt Dialogues', a state run 'scientific' forum.

As reasoning Mr. Althaus stated, that evolution was not a consistent theory. Yes, true Mr. Althaus. Of course the spirit of the almighty as well as the noodly appendages of the flying spaghetti monster are much more consistent. No, in favour of Mister Althaus we have to acknowledge that the Erfurt Dialogues are meant to be the arena for academic arguments. Still, I'm not sure if Intelligent Design might be too weird to be called academic.

Did you realise that I'm not laughing anymore? Alternatively, I'll go to my kitchen to worship the monster with cold noodles and a selfmade sauce out of onion, bacon, carrots and tomatoes. Ramen.

(via Sixtus -> F.R.-blog)

European Biometrics Portal · 2005-10-01

Rabenhorst notes that last week the European Biometrics Portal has been launched. Obviously it is designed to encourage networking of involved corporations, educational institutions et cetera. Aim seems to be the building of a european "biometry community". On the first opened forum the ask questions concerning 'Biometry, security and privacy'.

... can biometry be seen as a neutral technology, where only the usage has to be monitored to prevent accidents?

Well, yes, good question. First biometry as well as video surveillance, mass storage of telecommunication data, skrewdrivers, doors and stone age arrow heads is a neutral technology. What is the aim of this technology? Biometry as part of a set of surveillance technologies aims for spotting unwanted behaviour, tracking persons who actually did unwanted deeds and therefore lower the incentive to do unwanted deeds.

Now, what is 'unwanted'? Obviously the meaning of 'unwanted' lies in the eye of the beholder. A cab driver will probably consider 'being robbed by a passenger' 'unwanted', financial authorities may consider tax dodge 'unwanted', a shop owner may consider shop lifting unwanted, a corporation may consider internet use at work 'unwanted'. The last example is one that might interfere with the employees freedom of information already. All of the mentioned could use surveillance technologies to avoid what they consider 'unwanted'.

Up to here, we have examples where the rights of the observed and the reasoning of the observer can be regulated in court. After all, there is a case that bothers me. What may governments consider 'unwanted'. Have a quick look at Belorussia, at Uzbekistan, at Saudi Arabia, at Zimbawe and many more countries around the world. Yes, governments may consider opposition 'unwanted'. And who is the foremost customer in the field of biometric technologies? In fact, governments who are tightly connected to law enforcement authorities are the foremost customers. Nobody could convince me yet, that governments could bind themselfes to not using the mentioned means to spot, track and therefore avoid opposition. Remember, they or their successors may consider opposition unwanted. Governments change. Even if Ghandi was president and Clown Popov was minister for the interiour, I would not like them to have access to too much of those technologies, for one day they won't be head of state anymore, but their means of spotting and tracking remain. What they call an 'accident' at the European Biometrics Portal may result in the disappearence of all political debate in a society. Bad medicine ...

There is much more to say about this. Follow Rabenhorst to keep up to date.

Money Wallet · 2005-09-30

Make yourself a wallet. Material costs: exactly 20 dollars:

Muellers Einheit · 2005-09-30

While everybody is podcasting nowadays, I am one step ahead already. I let 'deutschlandfunk' podcast and just link there. Today they have a great thing. 15 years after german reunification Matthias Baxmann calls a random set of persons from east and west germany with the very frequent german name Mueller, to ask them for their perspectives on german reunification. The outcome is presented as a collage. Great! Here is the audiofile. Language is german: Muellers Einheit (1.1Megabyte, 4:59min)

(source: dradio AudioOnDeman)

Am I Germany? · 2005-09-26

You might have realised that Germany is the homeland of depression. It's citizens suffer from a complete lack of self convidence and motivation lately. While we used to enrich the english language with words like 'Blitzkrieg' our latest contribution was 'Angst'.

Seeing their citizens and employees in such condition was unbearable for our federal government and our big corporations. What to do about this? Well, easy, you kick-off-roll-out a fancy public relations campaign. You spend 30million euro on it and .. 'sure shot!' The Germans are happy motivated (un)employees and voters again. That cannot fail! Today 'Du bist Deutschland' (You are germany) went online with a lovely page, where everybody can download great motivating press material.

Everybody? No, not everybody. If you have not installed flash, at least version 6, or if you do not allow javascript on your client or if you surf on a different system then MacOS or windows you see white emptyness.

Please consider the following code, which is to be found here. Somehow it fails miserably. The variable hasRightVersion is set correctly but the line:

document.write('<param name="movie" value="/opencms ... detect.swf?xmlpath=/opencms ... /detect.xml&system=' + client + '">'); does not work on linux/mozilla||opera environments. Obviously one is send to a dubious flash script, which sends one back /opencms/opencms/Detect.html

However, the result is an empty page. Not necessary to mention, that they did not specify a <noscript> area. Wow, the quality and accessibility of is quite 'BahBah' right now. I hope there is budget left. Those who do not have flash installed or who do not use Win or Mac (Sun Solaris?) and still think they might be Germany, should consider seeing a doctor. I did not find a way to get through to the information whatsoever. All deep links, even those without flash, have this 'document.write' block. Obviously being Germany has got something to do with using mac or win in the internet.

Recently at the Job Center · 2005-09-25

laid off economist will predict boom for food Textpattern Plugin · 2005-09-25

Once again, I've written a five line text pattern plugin. Basically, it provides something, which I've seen at and which I needed to have as well. It implements a link to posts quickly and easiely. One can find the result under every post, in the dubious link line.

Especially for textpattern plugin rookies, the script might be worth a look, cause one can see how to use those very handy globals, hence how to avoid loads and loads of database transactions. Script status is 'works fine for me', meaning that it is not yet tested intensely. Download: jfx_delicious.php.txt (Source: jfx_delicious.php.src.txt)

American Election-o-mat · 2005-09-25

Good fun for those, who are not yet fed up with 'election-o-mats' and campaign interviews: Some questions are, well, er, somewhat off track for european readers. Yet, they have a lovely graphical representation in the end. Press the 'famous people' button. Here is my result:

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

German Elections and Samoan Sex Life · 2005-09-24

Eversince our recent federal elections here in Germany they beat the livin' jesus out of those opinion poll institutes. Well true, this time the surveys really were off track by at least five percent, concerning the poll leading conservative party CDU. Poll results that far away from actual election outcomes haven't been around in germany for decades.

Why is that? The opinion polling methods do have one thing in common. They not only extrapolate a sample to derive information about the whole. They put a whole lot of experience into it. Experience about how voters used to behave throughout decades. This time voters had other choices then they used to have. Of course this leads to a lack of accuracy. Take the emergence of the 'Left Party' which did influence the possible options of voters in the former west remarkably. Those who would vote for the Social Demokrats, mostly disillusioned by seven years of Social Democrat government, could vote further left for the first time, without being called a 'Stasi'. Since elections are won in the west, that option darkened the perspectives of the social democrats. But by what amount? Here you can see that opinion polling really works. The polls with respect to Left Party and Social Democats were quite precise.

Why did opinion polling fail so miserably on the conservative side of voters the spectrum? Because the permanent publishing of polling results during the election campaign induced an incentive to vote strategically on conservative voters. For a voter, who'd like to have a black-yellow-coalition, it could have seemed like a good idea to vote yellow this time. The polls said that black would win by a vast majority anyway. So, why not strengthen the market-liberal-tax-cut wing of the government to come. The results of the elections might propose that this strategy was common among conservative voters.

So, in the end the failure of this elections forcasts might well be the result of doing the forecast or to find a cute allegory: "Margaret Mead could never know the sexual mores of the Samoans — her very presence on the island distorted what she was there to observe" [Source]. This principle is often refered to as Goodhart's Law.

Peter Sloterdijk, a guy whose giftedness I doubt and who is often indroduced as a philosopher here in Germany, now demands, that opinion polls shall be banned during campaign periods. Maybe this time he is right. Though I don't know how Sloterdijk wants to enforce his ban.

Werk fuer Fernsehelektronik · 2005-09-22

The very famous 'Werk fuer Fernsehelektronik' (fabric for telly electronics) will be closed for ever. After years of subsidized tv screen production, Samsung is going to close down the famous plant. The laid off count is 700. The close down is due to the rise of plasma screens, which are not produced there. True, conventional screens are not easy to sell nowadays. However, Samsung made the 'off business' decision after years of cashing in public subventions.

Is this yet another case of economic policy failure? Why not closing down the plant when it's time has come and spend the money on educational activities for the laid-offs? No, first spend money for years and years on technologies, whose time had come already and afterwards spend more money on the educational realignment of the now laid off employees. All you have achieved is spending money and loosing time. Precious time, which could have been used to adapt.

Why am I interested? Cause the Werk fuer Fernsehelektronik was the first business I was working for, years ago.

Orwellian Society · 2005-09-22

Those who always appreciated the society proposed in Orwell's 1984 will be amazed to hear, that America Oceania makes great progress in realising orwellian levels in organising it's society:

DIY Deathmatch Hamster · 2005-09-21

How to turn your hamster into a fearsome fighting machine. Good training for future pitbull owners.

hamster detail pic

(via BoingBoing)

Groovy Rookie · 2005-09-21

Say, you were asked to parse a xml structure in order to remove childnodes from certain tag-name specified nodes. The xml structure is large, only automated approaches are feasible. Asume furthermore, the task is a one time shot. So, no need to generalize the classes written.

Asume now, that you have been parsing xml-structures in Java and SAX. You know what objects to construct and what methods to call. Clearly, this a task for Groovy the java based scripting shell. Since we do not need the exception handling fuzz, we do not want to write main methods, that only call it's parent object and one method, and we do not want to compile the mess every time we changed a tiny line, an easy to use scripting environment is what we need. As a second requirement, we want to use methods implmeneted in Java. Again, Groovy provides native access.

After all, we wanted to try out Groovy for months now, yet, we never had a matching task. Is Groovy easier to code then a equal java implementation? I'd say yes. Groovy has got some differences compared to java. For example, watch the use of the iterator 'it':

NodeList StateNodes =
      Node StateNode = (Node)it;

So, folks, here is my groovy script to parse a xml structure from a file, find all nodes named 'state', remove all branches below each 'state' node and write the result to a new xml file: parseAndRemove.groovy.

Jamaica Coalition · 2005-09-19

Last night I coined the term 'Jamaica Coalition' to refer to a possible yet unlikely black yellow green coalition. Obviously at about the same time Mr. Schoenborn had the same idea.

Forecasting with Markets · 2005-09-19

What does it take to forecast an election outcome? Well, a internet trading platform and a thousand guys, who like to burn money. This is pretty cheap, given the costs, other methods inflict. Here are the results of

Die Gruenen7.8%8.1%-0.3%
Linkspartei.7.7% 8.7%-1.0%
Others2.9% 3.8%-0.9%

Given the costs this is quite a good forecast. To be perfectly fair, the market was open up to 5.55pm. There are people, who had access to survey figures at arround 4.30pm on sunday already. If you have a look at the charts you will see, that there was increased market activity sunday afternoon. Still, the big surprise, the result of the FDP was already forecasted saturday evening. This is very likely caused by Stefan Raabs awful saturday evening test election show, where the FDP made it well over 10%. The other big surprise, the results of the CDU on the other hand was not predicted at all. This does not support the proposed 'insider trading'. One could have made a fortune, if one only had known.

Update: I just added up the values of my shares. I put 20 bucks on the table four weeks ago and ended up with 20.47 bucks. This gives a yield return of 47cent or 2.35%

Election Parties in Berlin · 2005-09-17

Tonight will be the last time for german political parties to throw flyers at passengers. The federal election campaign is about to end tomorrow at 18:00, when polling stations close. Isn't that a reason to celebrate properly? ...But where and how and who's going to pay?

Well, easy? The political parties, hence the tax payer, hence you will pay. The political parties have arranged a whole lot of election 'get toghethers' where most of them have free beer, champaign and sausages.

Here is a little list of who celebrates where in Berlin tomorrow. Experienced election 'get together' attenders know, that one does not choose the events for one's political attitudes, but for the amount and quality of food and bewerage one can expect:

Get together of 'The Liberals', party of the higher-income earners. This latter selfchosen describtion let's us hope for best quality buffets. Neckties might be required.

18.09.2005, 17:30 Uhr
Wahlparty der FDP Berlin In der Landesgeschäftstelle der FDP Berlin
Dorotheenstraße 56
10117 Berlin
-- Markus Loening

Get together of 'The Green Party', party of the brighter higher-income earners. Bionic pastries gallore. Neckties are a 'have not'.

18.09.2005, 17:00 Uhr
Flughafen Tempelhof
Platz der Luftbruecke
-- Die gruenen

Get together of 'Die Linke', party of happy Keynsianism and preservation of industrial working opportunities. Poor quality Beer, yet a lot of it. Event takes place in a Oktoberfest tent.

18.09.2005, 17:00 Uhr
Palast der Republik
-- presseportal

The big 'Volksparteien' have several places to be. here two examples:

18.09.2005, 17:30 Uhr
Wahlparty der Südwest-SPD
Taverna "Kreta"
Potsdamer Straße 3, 14163 Berlin.

18.09.2005, 17:30 Uhr
Hackescher Markt
wk076 / öffentlich CDU KV Berlin-Mitte

Last but not least the "Anarchic Pogo Party", Starts with free beer at 14:00 at Boxhagenerplatz to go 'Voting Under the Influence' at arround 16:00 and afterwards, starting at 18:00, meets at the "Fallada" (Gabelsbergerstrasse / Rigaerstrasse), where the beer won't be free anymore, which is a little disappointment. Here are some pictures of this years anarchic pogo street campaign.

My plan is to have some quality starters with the Liberals, leaving my necktie somewhere there, stroll over to the Christian Demokrats to cover the foundings with good bavarian bewerages. Afterwards over to the leftists for some more down market beer. There I will decide whether to become a brither higher-income earner or a pogo anarchist. The anarchists actually celebrate closer to my place.

Hebigs Out of Office Note · 2005-09-16

For those who speak german and did not yet vote. Here are some points to consider, brought to you in the most honest and understandable language: Congrats go out to Haiko Hebig.

Schily's Reasons · 2005-09-16

Yesterday, the german minister for the interiour was interviewed at deutschlandfunk. He was asked for his views on the so called trade off beween freedom and security. Mr. Schily pointed out that the extended surveillance rights of executive authorities were no problem at all, because it showed that police and secret services would use them very very modestly.

What kind of reasoning is this? Let's say we'd lawfully allow police officers to shoot people on the streets without any justification whatsoever. After one year we body count and then say: Hey this regulation is no problem, 'cause police used it's extended powers very very modestly.'

Mr. Schily, again you forget that you very likely won't be germany's interiour minister for ever. Those who will be you successors might be much much worse than you are and you provided them with the tools to be so and do so. Thats what you did.

Now, today your ministry announced that it would not be acceptable for germans to smile on passport pictures, because it would make your automatic face scanners malfunction. You know what? My smile disapeared quite some time ago.

German Young Farmers Calendar 2006 · 2005-09-15

Zefuenfe! Zefix! Der Jungbauernkalender 2006 is allerweil scho zu bestellen! Jetzt wo I a zwoa huehner hob, muss der her! I frei mi', 's is ja bald weihnachten, gell.

young lady in rural surrounding

The German Young Farmers Calendar 2006 is avaliable already! Zapperlot!

(via DonDahl)

Die Zeit Test Election · 2005-09-15

bibueblo logo Now, watch this. The flagship of german liberal highbrowism has carried out a test election among it's online editors. Now those who wondered about the contents of Die Zeit will find the results interesting:

Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN 45 %
SPD 30 %
CDU15 %
FDP5 %

Well that does actually explain a lot about the content of Die Zeit. Please note that the Linkspartei does not reach a relevant share among Zeit employees. On the other hand 'Die Partei' which satirically proposes the re-erection of the wall and the eternal division of Germany jumps the 5% hurdle.

The result of the green party (45%) is noteworthy as well. I don't know, who, but somebody called the green party, the party of the 'brighter higher-income earners', refering to a statement made by some leaders of the FDP (Liberals) back in the days, stating they were the party of the higher-income earners. Can we state now, that 50% of Zeit editors are wealthy while only 45% are bright? However, I look forward to finding the next issue of of Die Zeit, since now I can imagine how this weirdo content mixture is possible.

I wonder who Martin Klingst voted for.

10th Annual Water Battle · 2005-09-11

bridge with batteling punks on it

After covering men and tomatoes we cover 'punks and rotten food' today. This afternoon the 10th annual water battle between punks and youngsters from the neighbouring Berlin districts Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg took place. This noble event is characterised by very strict rules. It is the aim of either group to capture the bridge that connects both districts as a whole. To achieve this it is allowed to apply weapons made of foam rubber.

It is allowed to throw water balloons as well as any kind of vegetable, as long as it is softened by the process of decomposition. This year rotten oranges was amunition of choice, which gave the whole bridge a bitter sweet scent and a slippery surface. The evil doers from Kreuzberg even considered used pampers rule compliant amunition. At least this is what rumors on Friedrichshain side sayed.

Tourist, if you are in town when the annual water battle takes place, it is a good trick to take the U1 from Warschauerstrasse. The U-bahn crosses the bridge right above the battle field. If you still want to experience the event more ... erm ... 'hands on', make sure the showers work in your hotel.

gallery here and the flickr set tagged 'wasserschlacht'.

English in Vocational Education · 2005-09-11

You might have noticed that I have deal with teacher's matters in germany indirectly. Especially english teachers matters. For example, an indefinite source of mischief for an english teacher in german vocational education is the availability of profession specific teaching material. It is difficult to find applicable teaching material for carpenters or plumbers. Texts, audio- or videosequences that consist of profession specific vocabulary are rarely to be found in the portfolio of traditional teaching material supplyers. So, one has to search the beef elsewhere.

I know I could have noticed earlier, but last night I saw something perfectly fitting the needs in teaching english to car mechanics. 'Pimp My Ride'. Yes, 'Pimp My Ride' has got it all. You have got all the profession specific vocabulary plus a whole lot of 'pupil credibility' and you can chop it to small sequences without loosing a 'relevant' big picture. If I had to teach english to german car mechanics I'd tape all of 'Pimp My Ride' and let Xzibit explain the relevant vocabulary, like 'sixteen inch rims'.

Thank You Xzibit! But how to teach english to german administrative assistants?

Girl Content · 2005-09-09

men and tomatoes

Yeah! This is serious ladies content. Men and tomatoes! For the guys today we have world war II aerial photos of devastated Cologne.

(via BoingBoing)

Milton on the Public Sector · 2005-09-08

"There are four ways in which you can spend money.

You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!

Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. [...]"

-- Milton Friedman 2004

Fetching Fresh Water · 2005-09-08

fetching fresh water from a helicopter in new orleans

Clarke Reconsiders Torture · 2005-09-07

Why is it that Home Secretaries and Ministers for the Interiour give me the creeps lately? One fine specimen of the specie is Home Secretary Clarke from the United Kingdom. He has given a speach at the european parliament, where he states that europeans have to trade civil liberties for collective security and further he goes:

Our strengthening of human rights needs to acknowledge a truth which we should all accept, that the right to be protected from torture and ill-treatment must be considered side by side with the right to be protected from the death and destruction caused by indiscriminate terrorism, sometimes caused, instigated or fomented by nationals from countries outside the EU.

Now, for those who do not quite get it, Home Secretary Clark not only wants us to trade in warm hearty security, giving away dubious civil rights. No, he wants to reconsider article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which forbids torture. So, Mr. Clarke goes to the european parliament and reconsiders the absense of torture in european law enforcement, hence he reconsiders european lawful law enforcement ... and that gives me the creeps.

Those who speak german can go to the raven, who covers the matter in depth.

(via the register)

Intelligent Storming · 2005-09-07

It was pretty sure that this interpretation would show up: God's Mercy Evident in Katrina's Wake. Of course, it was high time to clean up this pit of sin in the southern swamp. "Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city." Yeah, praise the lord!

Reverend Shanks, how will you refer to tropical storms in your schools from now on? Intelligent Storming?

Bulletin · 2005-09-07

What else? A nice example for the importance of website accessibility. Imagine you got away from New Orleans, where you lost everything. Furthermore, imagine you managed to find a computer connected to the internet. Now you could try to file a disaster assistance claim on That would be a good idea, wouldn't it? Well, if you try to do so, make sure you are sitting at a windows machine, browsing with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Because otherwise you are in trouble. At least this is what BoingBoing says. So, it is not always being blind or being mentally challanged. Sometime the hurdle is completely technical, which is not neccessary.

Furthermore, while they speak about biometric properties on german id cards here, in the united kingdom they discuss whether they should have id cards at all. Please consider to support no2id groups somehow.

Last point for today. This morning I was angry with myself. I missed to run for a direct mandate at the german lower house,which is elected on september 18, as you know. I could have held fundraising parties and billboarding the neighbourhood. 'damnit.

American Patents · 2005-09-06

American courts do everything to strangle whatever kind of grasroot innovation by prohibiting the merest attempts to use industrial products in ways not wanted by producers:

The Ninth Circuit has created box-wrap patent licenses. Now the label on the box that says "single use only" is given force of law, and if you refill the cartridge you are liable for patent infringement. This from Lexmark, the company that already tried and failed to control the printer cartridge after-market using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)...Will patent owners exploit this decision as an opportunity to impose over-reaching restrictions on formerly permitted post-sale uses, repairs, modifications, and resale? Will consumers soon confront “single use only, not for resale” notices on more and more products? Will innovators stumble over labels announcing “modifications prohibited”?

Good luck with that.

Off Wire · 2005-09-04

O.k. I'm off wire at least up to monday night. Meanwhile you could read He's got some serious content on society and technology, ever since he returned from fishing vacation. Unfortunately he writes in German.

When I return the recent piccoloquiz will be solved. Again this will be done in German.

Even More on New Orleans · 2005-09-03

Now, Mr. Bush, ain't you prepared to spend billions of dollar in no time to protect the source of your buddies wealth? Ain't you prepared to put the lifes of other mum's sons and doughters into jeopardy to protect the businesses of some lobbyists employers? On the other hand, why spending fuel and helicopters on the have nots? Why even spending your precious time on them? Well ... o.k. ... Because it gives great tv coverage. That would be the only reason to spend your time on them, wouldn't it? ... and if you spend tax payer's money (to repair military facilities down there) make sure Halliburton is hired to do the job.

Please, Mr. Bush, stop your public relations journey. Do not dare to abuse the grief of thousands of those you couldn't help, to fix your image. Do not make me puke again.

It Is Being Poor · 2005-09-03

Isn't it disturbing? What do we learn from the south east Louisiana desaster? How could it happen, that people in the country with the largest gross domestic product, with the most productive industries in the world starve and die with no proper help, no helicopters, no law enforcement, no fresh water, not even enough busses? How could that happen? I tell you why: Those who need help are poor.

Isn't it disturbing that the pictures are so similar? It is one property that the victims in south east Louisiana have in common with those starving in Niger, those being raped in Darfour and those drowning in Bangladesh. It is the fate of being poor. The new point for me is, that it doesn't matter in what country you are poor. Isn't that disturbing?

Election Poster Enhancement · 2005-09-02

afghan election posters

Let's go on with my public service on election posters and it's enhancement. On 18th September not only Germany, but Afghanistan as well is holding an election. On the picture above you can probably see a election poster enhancer planning an enhancement. More on election poster enhancement..

Mayor Ray Nagin's interview with WWL · 2005-09-02

Uncensored radio interview of the mayor of New Orleans with WWL is to be found at this download service: "Where is the beef? There is no beef anywhere in south east Louisiana ... and these goddamn ships that are commin' I don't see 'em"

Furthermore I recommend boingboing's 'Katrina: anecdote on civil defense in Cuba'. By the way, I have to say that became a vital and serious news source when it comes to U.S. interiour affairs.

Muddy Waters · 2005-09-02

Today I'm running with the flock and post a picture of Muddy Waters.

muddy waters

It comes with the news flash that 'Fats' Domino has been rescued from muddy waters in New Orleans. This is good news from a place, where bad news became overwhelming, lately. Furthermore I declare Muddy Waters the google of the day.

Tag Your Information Properly · 2005-08-31

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Executives at Google, the rapidly growing online-search company that promises to "organize the world's information," announced Monday the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index.
-- The Onion

... well, time to tag your documents properly, isn't it?

Campaign Poster Enhancement · 2005-08-31

Germany is not the only country to vote soon. On the eleventh of september the japanese lower house is goint to be elected. Just like us, the japanese have creative campaign poster enhancement. Though this one is a year old already. I hope there is nothing indecent written on it:

koizumi enhanced

(via google images)

Helge is Turning 50 Today · 2005-08-30

happy birthday helge

...I almost forgot

What Means "Unter Aller Kanone" · 2005-08-30

Advanced german learners may have come across this idiom. Something is "unter aller Kanone". The meaning would be, something is below merest standards. The word by word translation is something like: Something is "below all guns". The origins of this idiom is not common knowledge. Not even among Germans. So, where does "unter aller Kanone" come from? Actually it comes from a latin term, which was used in german educational institutions to indicate that a student's achievement was actually below all standards. The latin term is "Sub omni canone", which translates somehow to: 'Below all Rules' and would mean 'Not worth to even give a mark'. Now in german 'Canone' and 'Kanone' sound identical, while 'Kanone' means gun or cannon. The translation of "Sub omni canone" into german while keeping the word 'Canone' leads to "unter aller Kanone", hence 'Below all guns'.

"Unter aller Kanone" is an idiom, that is widely understood all over germany, so use it. For example, you could refer to the service quality in a restaurant as 'below all guns'. That sounds funny and if you ad the etymology, the waiter will consider you "gebildet".

What Does He Say? · 2005-08-29

campaign billboard

Here we see two very cheerful chaps on a campaign billboard for the german federal elections. Why are they so cheerful? What does the smaller one say to the small one? Have you got suggestions? Comments are open.

Ultimate Cat Content · 2005-08-25

This is the ultimate cat content. We are touched and remain silent for a second, thanking the almighty FSM.

Elections Will Take Place · 2005-08-25

bibueblo logo Now we have it official. The german Bundesverfassungsgericht ruled that germany will have federal elections on the 18. of September. For those who understand german there is a short comment on this by Martin Klingst. The court's reasoning basically is that it has to stand back because three constitutional bodies already declared a 'confidence crisis' which shall be enough. So folks, all the campaign efforts were not in vain. Please go on billboarding the countryside and throwing flyers at passers-by.

Electional Data · 2005-08-25

Sometimes public sector organisations annoy me. Here is the current german election related data 2005. The data is represented as a map. This map is, and here is the geek point, in Scalable Vector Graphic format (SVG). SVG is an open and documented standard to represent graphical data. Unfortunately it is not widely supported among browsers.

Up to this point everything is fine. A public sector organisation publishes its content in an open and documented standard. In this case, the standard is not supported widely. In fact there is only a browser plugin by Adobe. Well there are other programs not running with a browser, that process SVG. This is a fact that the Bundeswahlleiter does not seem to know because he does the following: From the linked startpage he directs you to a page that has no text content whatsoever, which refreshes every 3 seconds and only runs a chunk of javascript. If the script decides that your browser might not be able to display the map properly it concludes that your system as a whole is not able to process the map. In the end you will very likely end up on a page that describes, only in german of course, how to install Adobes SVG plugin. Those who are into webbased information technology will ask 'What is this?' and yes: 'What is this?' Please, Mister Bundeswahlleiter, do not try to outsmart your customers.

Ok, what I did was turning off javascript, have a look at the script sources to figure what the actual page is, the script leads you if it decides your browser is able to process SVG. Ok, for those, who end up on a help page, here is the actual .svgz file you are looking for:

Update 9:10 CEST: I changed the system. Now I'm running Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.7) with Adobe SVG Viewer plug-in version 3.01x88. Guess where the javascript sends me. To the 'how to install Adobe SVG Viewer' page. Of course, if I use the direct link the file is processed properly.

Update 11:50 CEST: Ooops, sorry they do provide the 'I know what i'm doing' link. I just did not realise it. My fault. Covers Tux Patterns · 2005-08-24

plush TUX PicThe blog at, so the DIY bible, currently covers the true penguin sewing patterns, which is Big Big Big! Ha, "Make your own GPL'd stuffed penguins". I am truely excited.

Capital Blog · 2005-08-24

There goes the neighbourhood! I don't know where they came from, but they're covering stories right outta my neighbourhood and, even more important, they use textpattern to deploy. These two reasons make them go to my 'Blogs I Read' list: ... unfortunately they post entirely in german.

Teacher's Calendar · 2005-08-22

There are these special teacher's calendars over here. Those with plenty of space to note marks. Those who do not stick to the gregorian calendar. They rather start and end at semesters and have differently coloured pages for summer vacation. You know, those little organizers teachers carry.

These organizers are of course financed somehow. The one I saw published advertisements. This is quite a common way to refinance print media. But now look at the very first advertisement in that calendar. Actually there were only four pages with ads. So this one was quite prominenty positioned:

page scan

Basically it advertises the services of a privately owned hospital, which specialises in burnout syndrome therapy, using all kinds of pschiatric and creative treatments in a four star hotel atmosphere. Obviously there is a significant fraction of german teachers in need, so it makes sense to adress just them ... as a privately owned hospital. Well, and this significant fraction can afford it.

This post goes out to those, who still do not believe that there is a education crisis down here in germany. It starts at school and does not stop at university education.

350 Blasts · 2005-08-22

This one is particularly interesting. Siggi Becker comes up with it today. Imagine an amount of no less than 350 small bombs explode in between one hour in a country with a population of 144 million. The explosive devices were designed to injure rather then to kill. They leave 2 people dead and more then 150 injured. Now, imagine this incident does not make it to the news at all.

Well, true. Four days ago in Bangladesh the above mentioned happened and noone over here noticed. No ancor man reported. No newspaper commented. Siggi now asks what mechanisms actually aggregate our news. Since not even the often hyped autonome blog scene covers this story significantly, nor does it comment on it.

(via Mehrzweckbeutel)

Green Campaign Posters: Retrobele · 2005-08-22

The green party member of parliament Hans Christian Stroebele once again runs for a direct mandate to the Bundestag in the upcomming elections. To achieve this he's adopting the same strategy as three years before. Since last night he is displaying Sgt. Pepper style retro campaign posters, which will become a hype very soon. Last election period's posters are still avaliable at Stroebeles head quarters.

Retro Stroebele

Once again the artist resposible is Seyfried, a former Berlin underground cartoonist. Before you start stealing the posters: You can probably order them at Stroebeles head quarters as well.

Campaign Billboard Enhancement III · 2005-08-21

Pink Chancelor

All New · 2005-08-21

Design, name, layout, 'next to' everything here has gotten on my nervs lately. So, as a first measure I made it all gray, changed logo and the name. Hopefully this will improve things ... Since I am using this fancy template driven publishing tool, all this was as easy as 'one, two, three' ...

Touched by Noodly Appendage · 2005-08-19

Open Letter to the Kansas Schoolboard. I'm being more and more entertained by the currently evolving (or is it rather 'intelligently designed') debate on science taught in american schools ... and I am touched by His noodly appendage.

(via Boing Boing, more on the topic Here, There and Over There)

Cologne Tracery · 2005-08-19

Koelner Dom

'Intelligent Falling' · 2005-08-18

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory ...

Useful Advice for Catholic Youngsters · 2005-08-15

Those of you, who are planning to see the Pope next weekend and will come from outside Cologne, should not head for Cologne Main Station. You'd rather make your way to Brühl, Erfstadt or Horrem and take a shuttle bus there. Do not head for Cologne Main Station.

Official Papal Mass Page

Parcel in London Bus · 2005-08-14

parcel in London bus 1963
Lektion 9: Can I put this parcel on the seat.

Look at that. Golden yesteryears, when you could ask a london bus conductoress if you might place your parcel on the seat beside you. Nowadays she would scatter your brains around before you could possibly finish the words 'Excuse me, Madam.' The picture is scanned from an 1963 Walter and Connie english course published by BBC tv and Langenscheidt.

Yes, it is true. The bombings change our way of life.

Top Secret · 2005-08-11

This has to remain secret! Otherwise the traditional form of human reproduction would be in jeopardy: The Hasselhoffian Recursion


Geek Creationism · 2005-08-02

God is real .... unless declared integer

Bulls and Bears · 2005-07-28

The electronic markets for the upcomming german federal elections are open. Theres a furtune to be made:

Great Condom Ads · 2005-07-27

durex ad


Riding Giants · 2005-07-21

"$150,000 tuition and 4 years of a college education. His greatest achievement." I must say it was worth the expenses. A giant do it yourself Gummibear and a tutorial on how to make your own: (obviously a mac user)

(via BoingBiong)

Sisters of Mercy · 2005-07-13

stadtschwestern auto

On the car above it says "Die Stadtschwestern". Translated word by word it would mean "The Town Sisters". Since in german tongue sister is a synonym for nurse the "Town Sisters" (Town Nurses) seem to be dealing with health care matters somehow. Considering the license plate of the car the sisters might be doing business in a different field. Hm, one should make an appointment to find out.

Personalised Google News · 2005-07-13

'I laughed, and laughed, then began to wonder' ... Paul's Personalized Google News, ca. 2031.

(via Sixtus, Yelvington)

T Shirt · 2005-07-13

There was a guy at the airport shuttle station whose shirt sayed "There is no place like" Yeah right. Though it is not everything working fine over here i am back and will get involved.

Speaking of geek jokes, here is my all time uptown top ranking one:

There are 10 kinds of people. Those who understand the binary system and those who do not.

Short Update · 2005-07-03

This is a short update from an apple store. I thought this here would be the promised land of internet access. Well it isn't. Apart from public libraries and apple stores internet is more expensive than in the land of evil Fidel. There are a few WiFi spots around but most of the pages are not compatible to my Sharp's screen resolution.

Thanks go out to holger. It would have taken me hours to figure out that one has to press the 'apple' key instead of 'ctrl' in an apple store.

In 'n' out Burger · 2005-06-29

"Boy those are some good burgers." "Shut the f--- up Donny."

The Big Lebowski In'n'out-Burger close to Venice really exists! Let's check for the bowling lanes.

On Patent Law Again · 2005-06-25

I read this post by Axel H. Horn. I cannot comment on the issue itself, since I do not know what it is about precisely. Obviously it deals with the style of debate introduced by whoever. Anyway, Axel has got a comment section. This comment section is worth having a look.

Mr. Lammertink gives a short and easy to understand set of reasons to be concerned about software patentability. Well, Axel in turn takes the attorneys point of view and again does the same mistakes attorneys seem to be particularly vulnerable to.

O.K. let's start from scratch again. Axel states that patent law is in the first place to protect ideas. Why is this law there? The process of being innovative generates costs. If an invention is published once it might be copied by competitors who did not take the same costs. This would kill the inventor's incentive to actually bear these costs of innovation. Take Axel's example "vehicles tyres". What would we need to be innovative in the field of tyres, if we'd start from scratch? We would need to build the facility to build tyres, we would need to buy large amounts of input factors like rubber and energy and we would need to hire people to keep the facility up and we'd need an inventor. These costs would surely ad up to at least 20 million euro and 5 years of time to build the facilities and start experimenting. Now, what economic effect could we expect in the field of 'vehicle tyres'? 10% effiency gain? That would be a lot in industrial contexts, wouldn't it? So, if you'd take these costs it might be necessary to have patent protection to give time to the inventor to cash in and cover the costs he took, thus keep the incentive to be innovative up.

Now have a short look at the software development sector. What do you need to be innovative in this field? Well, basically a computer, a programmer and minor amounts of electric energy. Innovation cycles are very short in the software development field. Costs? Salaries, computer, energy for two years? 200 000 euro? Don't be too modest. Let's say 500.000 euro. The gains in efficiency can easiely be higher than 30%. The economic potential of computer implemented inventions is sky high compared to classic fields of industrial invention. The costs on the other hand are very very low. The claims that software patents are needed to attract venture capital are misleading. There is no need to attract large amounts of venture capital. See the big failures in the dotcom sector, they burned millions. See the big success stories. Two geeks and a garage.

This is why patent law will probably fail miserably if applied to the software sector. The costs to file a patent, to research patents in advance and to enforce patents will very likely be higher than those to actually invent. Well, there'd be one good thing about it. Patent attorneys could make a living from it.

The rest is undergraduate economics. Patents grant a monopoly. To gain rents a monopoly will provide less goods then a competetive market would provide. Furthermore it will slow down the pace of innovation. It might even stop desirable efforts. The society will most likely be worse off. Again in the industrial field patents are useful to keep up an incentive to innovate since innovation costs tend be very high. In the field of software development it will very likely do a lot of harm.

Read more here:

Coders Too · 2005-06-24

Mathematicians and physicists are just as guided by principles of elegance and beauty as novelists and musicians are.

Just as well as coders. Well , good coders at least.


Mi Chiquita Quiere Bailar · 2005-06-23

For those of you who go running. There is this cuban salsa album I have, 'Salsa Cubano DejaVu Retro'. Don't laugh, thats how its called. Anyway, this is some severe stuff that goes right to your feet. You can easily double the distance you run while only using up 1.5 the time you'd usually need. ... and there is more. After some time you start doing the characteristic salsa side-step-stop combinations.

Acabo de llegar al baile,
Acabo de llegar a la fiesta

What Means "Ich Hab die Faxen Dicke" · 2005-06-22

Let's start a little sequel "What Means" explaining german idioms. We start right now with an easy one: "Ich hab die Faxen dicke!"

What does that mean? Intermediate learners will know that 'Ich hab' is something like 'I have'. Obviously 'I have the Faxen'. What is 'Faxen'? It does not refer to remote copying via telefone wires at all. 'Faxen' is to behave silly or foolish in a wanted way. A clown would do 'Faxen'. Ok, how far are we? 'I have the fooling around dicke'. Dicke is a derivat of the adjective dick, which means corpulent. Now the interesting part starts since 'I have the fooling around corpulent' does not make a heck of sense. Well, corpulent can be used in german not only to refer to the state of being corpulent. It can also be used to refer to the predecessing state of being corpulent which would be 'having had more than enough' or 'being full' for a long time. Hence, 'being fed up'. So, the term "Ich hab die Faxen dicke!" means I'm fed up with this fooling around.

Next time we will deal with 'Den roten Hahn aufs Dach setzen'.

VISA Customers · 2005-06-22

Dear VISA and MasterCard co-customers. In case you haven't heared about it, an amount of around forty million (in digits: 40.000.000) customer and credit card account information was stolen. Among them data of customers from all over the world. The information stolen even consisted of data one needs to write the magnetic strip on such cards. Thus it is possible for evil doers to copy customers VISA /MasterCard cards. Please check your credit card bill with particular attention.

There is no thing like informational self-determination anymore.

Cat Content III · 2005-06-18

cat content III

Look what I found while looking for old T'+@## invoices. Kittenwars, here I come.

Poster Design · 2005-06-10

public transport advertisement

What does the picture above show? Is it a soviet propaganda poster from the stalinist '40ies? The lady is waving a red flag. Is it a german 'der feind hoert mit' advertisement from the late 30ties? Well the slogan is in english. So, both of the proposals can hardly be true. It could be a theatre advert for a play that deals with totalitarism. 'Orwells 1984 Now on Stage at the Municipal Theatre' or something like that.

Well, all wrong. According to articulatory loop it is a current advertisement at the Washington DC public transport. So, obviously it is not stalinist. It is about protecting freedom and democracy.

African Arts and Crafts · 2005-06-09

Today the African Village starts at Augsburg Zoo. I still strongly believe, that the zoo is a bad place for a african arts and crafts exhibition. I don't know how it is carried out. However, from the organiser's statements I got the impression, that they have a slight lack of respect for african views and fill that gap with some kind of 'we only want to help' altruism.


Further reading and some comments...

Coolness Ratio · 2005-06-09

There was not a great deal of activity here, lately. Therefore today a little dialogue that actually happened and tops anything that has been attempted so far to be cool ... in a bar in New York. Imagine a guy entering a bar ... in New York:

Lee Harvey Oswald Suddenly Passed Away · 2005-06-04

Note that the famous "Lee Harvey Oswald Lounge" closed for ever. This leaves a hole in my live, my world, my heart. Please do remain silent for a moment.

lee harvey oswald lounge

The following business in the location will be a creperie, a french-/swiss pancake shop. Again gentrification shows it's ugly face in my neighbourhood. No beer stained punk and karaoke places, mimicking my state of mind, anymore. Only crepes and nougat, I cannot change that quickly.

... actually, it is time to get in gear and do something about it.

More on the Constitution · 2005-06-03

... but now I have to correct something. There are a lot of people calling the EU a banana republic. Actually this is kinda true. It holds for the current decision making process, which is written down in the Treaty of Nice. This treaty cements the lack of democratic procedures in european legislation. The document, which is referred to as 'the constitution' would have changed this status quo. Hence, would have brought more power to the elected parliament. But well, 'the constitution' is dead. Europe will have to live on being a banana republic. Was that absolutely necessary?

Constitutional Thoughts · 2005-06-03

European citizens do not seem to be very keen to adopt a new constitution. Why is this? Well, follow this link to download a english version of the european constitution (pdf 751KB). By the way, this is the only format the constitution is avaliable in.

Now, why do people say 'no' seeing this? I tell you why: There is nothing new, nothing exciting about it. You have a rough description on the fundation of the EU without becoming too precise. It has to cover a lot of national constitutions, you see. Furthermore, the authors put a description on 'who meets whom, how to call the summit and when to decide what' into 300 pages of awful lawyers tongue and hope we, who are not law graduates, will like it. Well, we don't, but this doesn't mean we do not like the idea of europe. Just have a look at the legislation concerning voting of the member states and the appropriate weight of a member states vote (pages 232ff.). All this is weirdo. The whole thing is devided in at least three chapters, which in turn are divided in articles, who again consist of several paragraphs. All filled with odd formulations. There even is a section titled 'The European Investmentbank'. What is a section about a investment bank in a constitution good for?

You see I'm not a lawyer, maybe all those articles, parts, sections and paragraphs are very very important to make sure, everything turns out right. For me the whole thing looks like the result of a bunch of administrative secretaries running wild. This is just what almost all citizens of whatever state in the world know and fear: administrative secretaries running wild.

Let me show you how a constitution could be carried out. This one is smart and lean:

But no, not in europe. First administrative elites, doubtlessly with the best intentions, write an awfully formulated document, which is best suitable in cases of law and then the same elites hire a public relations agency to bring up a website to explain the whole mess to me (Public Relations Attempt), thereby implying that I am or we are too stupid to understand the primary source. I tell you what. This is somehow not my idea of a constitution to live under and I'd say 'No. This is a degenerated elite project' ... Well, nobody asked me, Germany ratified. The constitution was too important to leave it to the voters.This leaves me even more disappointed.

What now? Now back to start and try again. I'm sure people like the idea but not the realization.

Meet at the Patent Office in Vienna · 2005-05-31

On Thursday, 2nd of june manifestations against the eu software patent directive will take place all over the continent. Especially in Vienna protesters will meet in front of the european patent office.

The meeting starts june 2nd 2005 at 18:00 CEST right in front of the european patent office at Rennweg 2. Procession will start at 18:30 passing Schwarzenbergplatz, Industriellenvereinigung and the Ring. End will be around 19:45 CEST at Ballhausplatz.

Furthermore, to express your concern about the current effort to patent algorithms, you need to know whom to. Here is a page with contact information on the members of european parliament.

No Software Patents

Successful Line · 2005-05-29

By the way, I herewith declare


last weeks most efficient line. Consider this line whenever a service that http-requests your classes is updated by it's vendor and your classes provide weird results after that.

Oopps, It Wasn't Me · 2005-05-27

broken window

The Gulag of Our Times · 2005-05-26

Amnesty International accuses the current US administration of having built the Gulag of our times. Spokesman Scott McClellan of the Whitehouse considers these allegations ridiculous, since the US government brought peace and freedom to five million out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh no, sorry, he did not say 'peace'. He only said freedom.

So, Spokesman McClellan, there is a severe problem you have. It can occur at almost any time and does harm to any word you say. How come? You chose to leave the sound grounds of the Geneva Convention by defining a new status 'unlawful combatant'. You chose to hold people, who you labelled 'unlawful combatant' under most intransparent conditions in Abu Ghraib, in Baghram Air Base and in Guantanamo. You chose to try to redefine the term 'torture'. You chose to send prisoners to countries, where the dirty job of torturing is commonly carried out. There is no independent institution observing, there is no access to a proper lawyer, There is not even a law case.

"In the US, almost a year after the Supreme Court decided that detainee in Guantanamo should have access to judicial review, not one single case from among the 500 or so detained has reached the courts because of stonewalling by the Administration."

There is nothing left to those, who you labelled 'unlawful combatant'. So, what does the world hold in its hands to judge? To judge the allegations put against you by the Red Cross, by Amnesty International, by the FBI. We have nothing but your word. Well, no, there is more then your word. There is evidence. But the evidence, we have seen, speaks against you. The pictures we have seen are the only tangible evidence we have to judge. The rest is rumours, true or not, who knows. Now, Mr. Spokesman, what is difference between Guantanamo and Gulag? The climate and the nutrition. The idea of depriving people from there very fundamental rights is the same. Therefore, the concept is the same. Hence, AI is right when it tells you, that you built the Gulag of our times ...

... and there is nothing ridiculous about that.

There Goes Your Data · 2005-05-24

Where goes your data? First it goes here:

MCI Inc. is evaluating new corporate security technologies following the theft of a notebook computer containing personal information on around 16,500 current and former employees, the company said today.

... and afterwards it goes there:

Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp. are among the big banks notifying more than 670,000 customers that account information was stolen in what may the biggest security breach to hit the banking industry.
[CNN Money]

... there is no thing like 'informational self-determination', even though German supreme court postulated it in a 1983 decision.

(via Kantel, BoingBoing)

MP for Bethnal Green and Bow · 2005-05-22

Just in case you missed this. There was a hearing last week, in which a senator Coleman wanted to interview George Galloway, Respect M.P. for Bethnal Green and Bow, U.K.. M.P. Galloway was one of the most active anti war protagonists in the U.K. when Mr. Bush's administration started it's attempt to proliferate freedom to Iraq. Why would Mr. Coleman like to interview Mr. Galloway? Apart from being anti war, hence anti-freedom-proliferation, Mr. Galloway had alledgedly made a fortune by exploiting U.N.'s oil-for-food program. This he did by doing illegal oil deals with Saddam Hussein.

M.P. Galloway already won trials against two newspapers that accused him likewise and with the same evidence, which was false evidence. This was common knowledge last week.

Senator Coleman must be a very arrogant person. At least he appears to be, since he still had the gutts to invite Mr. Galloway to accuse him based on the same evidence, which was proofed false already. Well Mr. Coleman got what he deserved. George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow slapped his face properly. Take the time and listen to a audio snippet. There are some fine examples for using english properly:

msnbc_uk_galloway_blisters_us_on_iraq_050517-01.mp3 (mp3, 1.1MB)
msnbc_uk_galloway_blisters_us_on_iraq_050517-01.rm.ram (real video, 3.7MB)

Please, find an edited transcript at

Letter of Concern · 2005-05-22

Dear Member of European Parliament,

this email a few days ago asked me to express my concern about software patentability in my own words. Well, that seems like a school task, but well, it might be a good exercise to sharpen my arguments and might give you hints on the impact of software patents. So, let us try:

The following section will be divided into two parts. The first gives my conceptual reasons of concern and the second gives very practical economic reasons, why software patents are not desirable.

The Algorithm is Free.

This is the first and very basic concept I 'd like to explain. What you do, when implementing software, is describing an algorithm to a machine. Hence, software is a description a machine can read and follow. Let me give a little example: For the moment please asume that you could patent algorithms not only for machines but for human beings as well. This asumption is not weird. There are already organisations demanding that as well. Ok, say, you'd live in a town, which is divided by a little river. Citizens would walk through the river to reach the other side, which is quite unpleasant. Furthermore, suppose the citizens of the town did some fund raising and actually build a bridge. Question is now: How to get rich without doing anything productive in the presence algorithm-, hence software-, patents?

Well it is quite easy. You take a piece of paper and a pen and describe: "A new way to get on the other side of the river without soaking your clothes". In that article you describe, how to use the new bridge. Then you have to hurry to reach the patent office, to be the first to file this algorithm as yours. Done! Since the bridge is new, there is no prior art, therefore patent protection will be granted to you. From now on you can charge licence fees from everybody, who wants to use the new bridge. Please notice, that you do not own the bridge, you did not build the bridge and you haven't been involved with any 'useful' activity concerning the new bridge whatsoever.

Patents Interfere with Innovation.

Patents are often used to block research. Basically, if you have got patent protection for an algorithm, you can block any activity to further enhance or proof this particular concept. So, if you have patent protection for an algorithm, you can block any attempt to further enhance your patent. Let's take our bridge example to show the effect. You have patent protection for "A new way to get on the other side of the river without soaking your clothes". Furthermore, suppose you have described how to cross the bridge by bicycle. Your actual business is selling bicycles. Now there is a young student in your town, who is writing a paper on "How to walk the new bridge". Actually, your patent grants protection against such attempts because it says: "A new way to get on the other side of the river without soaking your clothes", which clearly includes any kind of crossing the bridge. Actually, you can block any further research on your patented algorithm, hence you can limit the freedom of research without being some elected authority. This clearly is bizarre but true already for 'old school patents'.

Now for my more practical reasons of concern:

Software-development in Europe

In Europe, software development is largely done by small companies . They employ the majority of IT workforce in Europe (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and IT Diffusion Policies in Europe). Having a lot of small businesses that do not act in concert implies that there is a lot of competition in the software development market. This, in turn, implies that prices for software development in Europe are relatively low. Furthermore, innovation is spreading very fast in this business, since a lot of those small scale firms make a living using open source software or software components. The business model is not writing, owning and licensing software, it is rather providing expertise and services for particular software components. Those companies normally do not have law departments or law service providers in the field of patent recherche and they normally do not have the financial power to go through patent trials, even if they'd had patent protection. Most of them wouldn't even have the capacity to file a patent.

So, when you exercise software patentability laws, what would happen? Small highly innovative firms would need to file any innovation they have made. This is costly, prices for software development in Europe would rise. Software developer would need to do a patent recherche every time, they want to write the smallest pieces of software. To do this, they'd need to hire assistance. Again software development prices would go up. Consider the following graphical representation, which is of course very simple. Cost curves are labelled C and C'. Demand is labelled D. The picture shows effects on prices set and quantity sold when costs rise and demand remains constant.

price and quantity effects for rising costs

When prices go up, and they probably will raise, the amount of software services sold will surely go down. Customers, mostly industrial, financial and service businesses, could not afford the same amount of software services anymore. So the effect would be a concentration in the software business, with fewer, yet larger firms, with less output and fewer employees. Notice that IT services lead to increasing productivity in the fields they are applied to. So, fewer services sold lead to less productivity on the customers side in the long run. The firms that actually benefit from patent laws are very large IT corporations, who can afford to file patents for almost any trivial algorithm. They can use patents to block competitive activity as described above. These firms will remain, they will be less innovative, therefore productivity effects on customer side will decline and, last but not least, these corporations will sell at higher prices ... By the way, they will charge higher prices in the public sector as well.

This was only a quick introduction on software patentability. There are far more arguments, but almost none of them is in favour for software patents from the viewpoint of small and medium-sized enterprises. I hope this letter gives further assistance in finding a economically desirable and reasonable position in the current patent law debate.

Best regards

BaFin Back in Town · 2005-05-20

BaFin says signs Deutsche Boerse hedge funds acted in concert over LSE - BaFin turns back to it's actual lawful tasks, after providing means of financial citizen surveillance for German authorities ... Great, welcome back!

(via Forbes)

Nonconformists on Retreat · 2005-05-20

According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment biodiversity deminishes at record rates. In flora and fauna as well: bad times for nonconformists.

(via Baseler Zeitung)

Proper Date · 2005-05-18

Right now, we have 'Spring 2005'

Piccolo Quiz IV · 2005-05-17

What function is continous, yet (almost surely) nowhere differentiable?

Intresting property, isn't it? One can draw a graphical representation of it in one stroke, yet one could draw more than one proper tangent in every point ...

Story Elsewhere - Picture here · 2005-05-16

public transport domina

Indie 500 · 2005-05-16

According to the database, holding the entries here, this is the 500th post. Sometimes it is quantity that shall suggest quality. Keep that in mind, not only here.

Since all the posts here are actually held in a database, as metioned before, it is quite easy to rearrange them or to give them a different representation. To give proof and to further fog the dubious content here, I made a lovely high quality PDF for printing purposes. Check it here: FeuerhakesLog500.pdf (1.8 M.B.)

9th German IT-Security Congress · 2005-05-14

Here we have some interesting incident, though it is not bleeding recent. Andreas Pfitzmann is computer science professor at Technical University Dresden. He is actually pretty bigheaded here in germany, when it comes to computer and data security.

Prof Pfitzmann was invited to speak at the 9th IT Security Congress. This congress is organized by the BSI (Federal Buero for Security in Information Technology) a german federal authority. Pfitzmann was about to speak about german id-cards and passports, that will be delivered with a machine readable biometric properties of the owner very soon.

After Pfitzmann handed in his speach in advance, which deals with certain risks we face using these new passports, he was discharged from the congress. This is a style of dealing with scientists, which we would expect to have in the U.S.A. nowadays when it comes to Darwin. But well, since the BSI subordinated under our minister of the interiour and since he himself held the key note and since our minister of the interiour is one of the few admirers of the current U.S. administration ...

... we are not suprised.

What else? German parliament did cut the rights of german authorities to listen to people's telephone conversation. Germany is one of the countries with the highest chance of being acustically observed when doing telephone calls. You might think, german parliament changed the laws, because it finally acknowledged the importance of certain civil rights. Well, wrong, they had to pass this law, because the german supreme court said so. Again ...

... we are not suprised.

15th Century Encryption · 2005-05-13

What we have here, if we had javascript enabled, is an implementation of a very famous symmetric encryption algorithm. It is an old algorithm based on swapping characters according to a 'passphrase' and alledgedly invented by Leone Battista Alberti. It is one of the polyalphabetic algorithms. It serves very well for short messages. It even is unbreakable, given one uses passphrases, that are at least as long as the message. For long messages it failes miserably, for one can attack it using statistical methods.

How to use it: Choose a passphrase. Type it to the 'passphrase' field. Type your message to the 'message' field. Click the 'encrypt' button. The encrypted message appears. To decrypt a message type it to the message field and press decrypt. Since we use javascript to deploy the algorithm, no information is transmitted through the net, by the way.

Of course the whole thing is more or less proof of concept. It is only tested with Mozilla 1.7. See the code here if you are interested: encrypt.js


ToomToomToom · 2005-05-12

Manchmal gehste am stock. Da kauft man diese teure digicam und einmal sieht man was tolles, hat man das geraet nicht dabei.

Die Schoene und ick sind letzten freitag aufm weg zurueck vom Toom an der Storkower. Balkonvegetation unter den desodorierten armen. Wie letztes jahr auch schon.

Wie wir da also Proskauer-/Ebertystrasse an der ampel stehen, naehert sich aus sechs uhr gewirr. Stimmengewirr hoher tonlage. Maedchen, au au, dit fehlt noch. Mal kurz links ueber die schulter gelukt. Richtig, drei maedchen. Dem wortreichtume der konversation nach, studentinnen. Offenbar haben sie ihre w.g. in laufentfernung zum Toom aufgeschlagen, wie viele andere angehende akademiker auch.

Jetzt wird es gruen und das freut mich, denn ich schaetze wortreiche gespraeche in meinem nacken nicht und schon gar nicht wenn ich vom baumarkt komme. Also loslaufen, aber langsam. Den damen dezent die moeglichkeit geben, ihr gespraech vor uns fortzusetzen.

Jetzt war er da, der moment, an dem ich die digicam so gern mitgehabt haette. Ein bild fuer die goetter. Genau wie klein chauvi sich das immer vorstellt.

Jede, der drei damen hat jeweils einen eimer farbe erstanden. Sonst sieht man keinerlei baumarktartikel bei den dreien. Sie haben aber nicht die normalen zehn oder fuenfzehn liter gebinde gekauft, die man kennt. Jede hat einen 2.5 Liter pott, oder waren es die 5er? Jedenfalls die kleinste menge wandfarbe, die man bei toom mit henkel dran kriegen kann. Die beiden henna frauen haben jeweils ein eimerchen weiss und die blonde frau, hebt sich nicht nur durch die frisur ab. Sie hat einen fertig abgemischten sandigen farbton. So ein designerfarbton, heisst wahrscheinlich 'El Allamein', oder so.

Ein so ein schoener anblick. Wie gesagt, so stellt klein chauvi sich das vor, wenn die akademische maedchen w.g. zur renovierung schreitet. ...und ich hab die kamera nicht dabei. Na ja, muss man halt zeichnen, wie Darwin weiland.

toom toom und toeoemchen

Proposal for the Juicy Logo Problem · 2005-05-08

Since there are people outthere who would write me, that I need to be more constructive in critisism and stop 'miesepeter'-ing around, here is my constructive contribution to the brazilian logo problem. What do you think? That one is perfectly ok, isn't it?

solved logo


The Very Top Of Unintended Indecency · 2005-05-06

Normally, I'm not posting this kind of pubescent stuff, but this one is particularly funny, hence has a pubescency/funnyness ratio well within an epsilon vicinity of zero. So let's go:

What you see here, is the logo of the 'Instituto de Estudos Orientais' (Institute for Oriental Studies) of 'Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina' and in my eyes, you see the top of the 'all time hall of fame' of unintended indecency. Hm, may be it is not 'unintended'. Maybe they specialise in ... er ... no ... it is very likely 'unintended'.


(via BoingBoing)

One Day In Europe · 2005-05-06

The episode movie One Day In Europe is worth seeing. You have four episodes. Three of them work the following way. It is the day of the Champoinsleague finals. It plays Galatasaray Instambul vs. Deprotivo La Coruña. The match takes place in Moskow. So here you have the sets of three of the four episodes: Moskow, Istambul, Santiago de Compostela (not far from La Coruña). All four episodes vary the theme 'Being Robbed in a Foreign Country' and how to interact with locals in that situation. This is caried out quite nice for the first three episodes.

The fourth episode takes place in Berlin and provides no further significant content to the movie. The authority funding the movie must have it's head quarters in Berlin, somehow. Anyway,

The movie gives a good first insight into everyday problems Europe faces while converging and it gives you a laugh as well, though it is not really a big shot. You might want to see it.

My Brain Hurts · 2005-05-06

There is one interesting trend, which was first observed by James Flynn, american philosophy professor. Average IQ test scores in every industrialized country on the planet had been increasing steadily for decades. Does that mean, we all become more intelligent for decades now? The telly programm speaks a different language. Why is it, that we can measure increasing abilities of pattern recognition among us?

Here is an article by Steven Johnson, published at, dealing with the topic: Dome Improvement

One reason, Stephen suggests, is that crappy graphical user interfaces and half baked electronic devices train us in this sort of 'IQ test pattern recognition'. Well, that is one statement I like.

Can Microsoft,, Nokia and Motorola make sure, that we will become more 'intelligent' soon? The next landmark concerning this will be the release of MS Longhorn. Here is an early statement.

Proper Surveillance · 2005-05-05

proper camera surveillance at alexanderplatz

I am not sure. Maybe this is some kind of fine art project, but if not, the BVG really takes customer observation seriously. As you can see, they attached at least six surveillance cameras to each of at least six pillars holding the roof of U2 Station Alexanderplatz. There are further cams attached to other installations there as well. They seem to aim for real twentyfour-seven-three-sixty observation. So folks, say cheese.

A great stage for the Surveillance Camera Players, by the way. I at least, feel much saver now. If some explosives should go off there, they can show me video footage of the guys, who brought it there, on the telly.

Eccentric Behaviour · 2005-05-04

Kenya's first lady, Lucy Kibaki, entered the offices of the country's biggest-circulation newspaper yesterday, where she allegedly slapped a television cameraman and seized reporters' notebooks and tape recorders to protest at stories about her eccentric behaviour. (The Guardian)

I love this one. I hope, one day I'll be in the position to do that.

Finals · 2005-05-04

Liverpool will attend this years Championsleaguefinals. The petro-rubel-club Chelsea remains on the island. Life isn't all bad.

Dirkon · 2005-05-02

Hey digicam nerds outthere. Did you spend a fortune on your far east optical device, whose batteries are always empty? Check this Czech paper camera:

dirkon paper cam

Just print out, cut out, glue according to the instructions, put a roll into it and ready to go. Man, that was socialism. We would make a camera from a piece of paper and couldn't buy a roll of film afterwards.

East Mediterranian B.B.Q. · 2005-05-01

While german unions went to fight the locust swarms of capitalism, I took my bike out. First I went to a gas station to adjust air pressure and other technical matters. Afterwards I went cruisin' to check whether my efforts have been useful. Since we had the first really warm day, it was a great cruise. Purest impression gathering.

Best was the east mediterranian B.B.Q. spot right opposite Horst Koehlers residence. One day I go there B.B.Qing! Today, it was really busy and still very nice. Call me an ideologically mislead hemp hippie, if these families form a dangerous parallel society. These people belong to the very center of german society. Well, um, o.k. they do not consume as much alcohol as we do and the vast majority of them runs honest businesses, but still they are nice in a very german way. On top of that they have that family thing, which dyed out in german society somehow.

Large families have a certain something. I bet one stays a whole lot calmer, when it comes to everyday problems, if your brothers in law are called Murat, Özkhan and Hassan.

Mobile Technology Riot · 2005-05-01

This year, the Berlin Walpurgis riots, or parts of it, took place right in front of our place. It was not very big and I am happy about that. Particularly interesting were the blueish lights one could see every where among the crowds and the police units. It looked like a starry sky on the street. It have been the displays of all kinds of mobile technology. Both sides've been documenting every move of the opposite side with camphones, digicams and videocams. There will be the day when the sides stand opposite each other, holding their cams at each other and shout: "Give us a reason (to take a pic)! We sue you! We sue you!"

Anyway, at least a great ska/punk concert was organized before roiting. Good bands actually: Have you heard of "Holla, Die Waldfee" Well, the rest was more or less business as usual.

El Segundo · 2005-04-29

There is a second open source plush penguin on the surface of this planet, or is it a different world? Anyway, welcome: Centauri Emperor Penguin ... First was Zorro, of course .

Homepage of

Topic Focused Search Engine · 2005-04-28

Note for meself: Get rich in the field of 'Topic Focused Search Engines'! I'm sure there is demand. Let's start with, uh, let's say ...

logo hypochondoogle

E.U. Patent Directive - 2nd Reading · 2005-04-25

O.K. Get in gear. 2nd reading starts. Do what you can and hope for the best. Read more here to get back into the topic.

"The point here is that the Parliament could simply adopt the amendments that it knows the Council won't accept and just stick with them - meaning that the Directive will ultimately fall. The Parliament already said that the Directive should be redrafted, so that would be the logical thing for them to do, unless they've changed their minds ..." (Joe McNamee in TheRegister)

No Software Patents

Twister WS-BPEL · 2005-04-25

Twister, an almost opensource implementation of a WS-BPEL (Web Service Business Process Execution Language) process management tool. Relies on tomcat, axis and hibernate and might be a great toy. I wish I had mo' time. I guess thats just what one needs, since twister is only 0.3 right now.

Prevent Backup Trauma · 2005-04-25

John Cleese explains, screenshot

John Cleese acts in a very nice and nevertheless funny feature on the dangers of tape backups: Institute of Backup Trauma (streaming flash, 6min 42sec, flash7 required)

100.000 Euro Logo · 2005-04-23

new BA logoPardon? A new logo for the very famous 'Bundesagentur fuer Arbeit' (German Federal Agency for Labour) shall cost 100.000 Euro? The sheer design, not including costs for implementing the changes? C'mon chaps, I'll make you one for 10.000 ... or, wait, you are doing such a fine job. For you guys I will make one for free ...


Show Chicken · 2005-04-22

chicken pic

thewurstgallery · 2005-04-22

Plain olde craftsmanship. Take five minutes, have a look:

Global Infrastructure for Registration and Surveillance · 2005-04-21

You see, I'm not the only one being paranoid and complaining about deminishing civil rights. Here comes a ACLU/ study, named: "The emergence of a global infrastructure for registration and surveillance":

The technological capacity of the structures being built "dwarfs any previous system and makes Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four look quaint" is only one statement made in there. Please consider spreading the news.

(via theRegister)

One Year/Ein Jahr · 2005-04-21

By the way, today we do celebrate one year of Feuerhake's Blog.

Allgemeine notiz an mich: Geburtstagskarte entwerfen mit der Aufschrift "Flatuliere zum Geburtstag".

Macrobe · 2005-04-18

Adobe assimilates Macromedia. Et Kantel notices correctly, that Adobe offers the only working SVG viewer browserplugin. Let's see whether they will drop the development to push Macromedia's Flash.

Maybe it is high time to get familiar with OpenLaszlo: "The Laszlo Presentation Server (LPS) is a Java servlet that compiles LZX applications into executable binaries for targeted run-time environments. Laszlo currently targets the Flash Player."

My Fundamental Rights in the European Union · 2005-04-12

tiny book on eu fundamental rights

The book above can be ordered under ISBN Nr. 2-84400-360-5. It is free public relations material and comes in german tongue. On the cover of the book it reads: "My Fundamental Rights in the European Union"

The sheer size of the book makes me nervous...

Cereal Killer · 2005-04-08

One of the biggest heroes of my childhood is going to die from political correctness or better dietetical correctness. Cookie Monster will learn that cookies is a 'sometimes food'. In two years they will probably rename him Cereal Monster.


YaGoohoo!gle · 2005-04-05

yagoohoogle logo

Starbucks Delocator · 2005-04-05

Oh look, a starbucks delocator site! How come it doens't use the word Starbucks on it's pages? The site won't show up when people looking for starbucks or the Starbucks Delocator. It is because the site host fears the Starbucks lawyers.

What we can do to solve the problem, is linking the site by it's real name: Starbucks Delocator. Google should soon connect Starbucks Delocator not only with independent coffee shops but with starbucks itself. Let's wait ... and have a coffee perhaps. You could as well take the time and link Starbucks Delocator.

<a href="" target="_blank" title="Link outside of this blog, opens in new window">Starbucks Delocator</a>

(via boingboing - > stay free daily )

Call for Co-Authors · 2005-04-03

Recently I had this Mai Tai and at the same time I had this idea. A microeconomic study needs to be carried out. To do this, I'm looking for co-authors, interested in participating. Here's a very first draft and the abstract of the paper:

Price Setting and the Happy Hour Concept

Abstract: At Simon-Dach-Strasse in Berlin, right in front of my door, is a quite unique pub environment. The pub density is very high and almost all pubs tend to offer very similar products. Cocktails. Economic questions that a raise immediately, are: Is the cocktail market at Simon-Dach-Strasse competitive? Is there room for supply side collusion of any kind? What means of either competition or collusion are used to maintain the market outcome? This paper tries to give answers to those questions, using microeconomic approaches. It will model the market and afterwards tries to back the model empirically. As results we will answer the question if market outcome is economically desirable and give advice on whether, and if, how to improve cocktail competition on Simon-Dach-Strasse cocktail market.

Please contact me if you are interested in participating as a co-author. I'll start the 'data collecting' very soon.

Analogue Payment to be Banned · 2005-04-01

On these pages is a post, in german unfortunately, that satirically states, analogue payment will be banned for state security reasons. This particular point is not satiric, there is already effort to provide euro bank notes with RFID, which makes tracking money transactions possible:

By the way is particularly interesting for geek economists.

Grokster and the Crossbow · 2005-03-31

There is this MGM vs. Grokster trail going on right now. Obviously there is effort of the movie and music industry to hinder peer-to-peer networks by sueing organisations that provide the infrastructure. The reasoning is copyright infringement, of course. Actually, I do not think that this is something to get nervous about.

The whole issue reminds me of the history of the crossbow in medieval times. In 1132 the Lateran Council declared that the crossbow was an unchristian weapon and therefore banned it. Why was that? Because the crossbow could break iron amour suits of the noblemen at these times. Warfare became as dangerous for them, as it was for the peasants already. What to do about that? Well, ban the crossbow. Now, what do we know about the spreading of the crossbow? People didn't give a damn about the pope's ban. The use of the crossbow only declined when better technology was available.

It is the same with peer-to-peer technology. It is just too mighty.

Common Misunderstandings · 2005-03-30

Common misunderstandings in software development projects.

comic on common misunderstandings

In my eyes, this is the simplest, shortest, yet most understandable explanation of the major mischief in software development.

(via J. Mitchell -> kimbly)

Screen Printing Tutorial · 2005-03-29

Since 'cryptography for the masses' is around for some years now, all what was needed to build a perfect society was 'screen printing for the masses'. Here is the missing link: "Cheap Screen Printing Tutorial". Many thanks go out to girlx512.

(via Drawn!)

Support Evolution · 2005-03-24

I never thought it would become subversive in the U.S.A. to have a Darwin sticker on one's biology text book. C'mon olde europeans, be supportive and attach one to your's as well: 'Darwin has a Posse' Stickers and Bookmarks.

Olde europeans, well, but not as old as your biology text book contents. Make sure, you do not fall behind in the development of biological weapons over there. The times when you'd catapult your plague victims over the enemie's walls are gone.

Unwanted Advertisment? · 2005-03-24

Is this spam or is it not? It's the first time I experience this, though I often fear the day when the east asians start spamming in their native tongues ... 'buy lhino holn powdel for vely much stamina'

screenshot mail client

DeLorean Passes Away · 2005-03-21

The creator of the timeless vehicle John DeLorean Dies at 80. Assosiated Press, Back to the Future

date +%s 1111111111 · 2005-03-18

This night 1:58:31 UTC the unix time stamp reached 1111111111, which is quite historic. You might want to calculate when unix reaches 2222222222: Unix Timestamp Calculator

(via heise)

Ve Vant Ze Money, Lebowski · 2005-03-17

"My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina."... ..."Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say, whereas without batting an eye, a man will refer to his dick, his rod or his...johnson."

This is a great source of distraction:

Moleskine Case · 2005-03-16

I am a satisfied user of the Sharp SL-5500. Those who are into gadgets might know that this the most classy handheld that is to be owned. It is not only the first handheld that came with a fullfeatured physical keyboard. It is also the first handheld that came with a Linux operating system. So, we Sharp SL-5500 users own a sophisticated device, that distinguishes us from ordinary sales and middle managment people and gives us a satisfying social life.

There is one major setback. There is no cool case for the SL-5500. Not one. Only weirdo things that look like tool holders that plumbers wear at their belts. These are totally unacceptable for subtle, well educated individuals like us. There is only one option: Make your own. SL-5500 users, of course, are creative.

The question was: What would Hemingway use to take notes nowadays. He used to use a Moleskine, which just now becomes very up to date again, though it is dead wood. Today Hemingway would most certainly be a Sharp SL-5500 user, but would he set aside the beautiful decent black looks of a Moleskine Notebook? Of course not. So here is what I did and what Hemingway would do, with paper, glue, rubber band, furniture wax and duct tape. I hope you are duly impressed:

moleskine like Sharp SL-5500 case

∗ the plumber pic is a deep link into a very good Sharp related webshop, see context here:

CoreMedia Live Blog · 2005-03-16

CeBIT 2005 - CoreMedia Live Blog, this shall be the 'live blog' of one of the biggest players in german automated content management. Nice try. Obviously CoreMedia wants to ride the buzzword. Unfortunately, the plan backfired awfully. Apparently, this 'blog' prooves what I suspected for while: "If publishing becomes too easy, the quality of the content converges to an epsilon vicinity around zero." You can see that on my site and you can definitely see it on CoreMedia's CeBIT blog.

With this post I do not comment on the products and services CoreMedia AG provides.

(via PR Blogger)

Piracy is Bad · 2005-03-15

...though this t shirt is particularly funny (I-Pirate-Hollywood-T). First I looked at it and did not quite get it, because I did not get, that the character was a pirate. Maybe it is too squared. I tried a rounder more hedonistic one and I'm not sure if it is better:

i pirate hollywood logo

Scroll Your Inbox · 2005-03-14

Interior Otto proposes new plans. Again, there is no significant resistance against his plans to 'enhance security by broadening the power of the authorities'. Among other measures Interior Otto wants to enforce the storing of communicating data of all persons using german Communication Service Providers. Alledgedly, SMS, eMail, Telephone, Mobile phone connection data will be stored for 12 month and will be made accessible to police and secret service officers. Interior Otto does not rule out the possibility of storing communication content as well.

Since Interior Otto does not rule out the storage of communication content I strongly encourage everybody to use cryptographic methods to protect communication content. These methods are not illegal nor are they difficult to use. Cryptographic methods provide nothing more then an envelope would provide to conventional mail. It seals the content, therefore makes it unreadable for the messenger and secures the content's integrity.

Let's do a little experiment on your email inbox. Please scroll the last 50 mails and mark each that you would not have sent written on a postcard but rather in an 'enveloped' letter. Do you get my point now.

My public pgp key can be found here.

For the protection of your internet usage I propose JAP which is basically a mix proxy that makes it very difficult for a third party to observe your internet usage (JAP Link).

Geek Sports · 2005-03-14

Cool new outdoor activity for geeks: Blue Tooth Sniping.

Again there is a message in this post. Here it says: lock your devices, change passwords often, close down deamons that are not absolutely necessary for the functioning of your gadget. Remember Paris Hilton, though blue tooth wasn't involved there (Link).

Review Silentium! · 2005-03-13

Silentium! Josef Hader, Simon Schwarz, Joachim Krol in a lovely austrian criminal story, involving the Salzburger Festspiele, prostitution, the chatholic church and child abuse. All this is presented in a most blasphemic and morbid manner. Three out of five cites presented are taken right from the new testament the rest is taken from Hitchkock movies.

Hader gives the outcast private eye with a whole lot of charme, Simon Schwarz plays his part very very lovely as well. Actually, the whole casting makes the movie worth seeing. Notice Christoph Schlingensief acting as Christoph Schlingensief. Just great ...

Again, the whole movie is morbid, blasphemic, has it's brutal scenes and deals with church issues. So, if you liked 'The Passion of The Christ', you will love 'Silentium!'.

Spring Cat Content · 2005-03-13

spring cats

Mr. Lübeck publishes cat content to conjure up spring. Herewith, I do the same.

The Finish are Everywhere · 2005-03-10

finnish son band in santiago de cuba

What is this? This is a finish school band performing in 'La Casa de las Tradicionales' in Santiago de Cuba. They play what all the finnish bands should play: Salsa, son, carribean stuff. Well, some surfin' music is something suitable for a finish band too. By the way, if you go to Santiago de Cuba one day, visit the Casa de las Tradicionales on saturday morning. At around noon they start and it is way better than the night sessions could possibly be ...

Lobbying or Corruption · 2005-03-07 ... I'm not sure if we'd still call it lobbying. Maybe corruption would be more suitable.

Iraq war and boot-camp quota · 2005-03-04

Army misses its boot-camp quota. Here, this would be called 'balloting with boots'. Well 'balloting with feeds' actually, but anyway, there is some wisdom in common sense. Yes man, there is.

Die Dunklen Jahre · 2005-03-02

Heute beginnen die dunklen jahre zwischen 33 und 45. Ich glaub ich werd einen kleinen fackelzug machen.

Today the dark years between 33 and 45 start. I think I will do a little torch procession.

Waitingroom · 2005-03-01

wait for che

Infuenza and Public Transport · 2005-02-27

H.J. Wischnewski, 82, german diplomatic troubleshooter in the seventies, died from an infection last week. I guess influenza gave rest to him after a history of other deseases. The pope has awful problems with his soar throat, comming from an influenza infection and me spent the weekend in bed as well, all feaverish.

Well, that last point was to come, since I was taking public transport a lot lately. By the way, they have this 'BladeRunner'-like advertisement screens in the Berlin underground. They spice up the ads with newspaper content. The newspaper, they have chosen to put the flesh in, is the awfullest tendentious blood-and-sperm sling existing in Berlin (B.Z. They, of course cannot ignore a thing like a ifluenza epidemic, for it produces fear, hence emotion. So they cover the topic for weeks now. What my problem is: "Is there someone at Berlin Public Transport Assosiation reading the posts that are screened in the trains?" If you screen this influenza topic on this fear and emotion level, you might scare customers out of the trains.

I go back to bed, sneezing and shivering ...

Merkel The Radio Person · 2005-02-27

This morning I listened to a radio interview with Angela Merkel, chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Party. Angela is preparing to run for the office of Bundeskanzler in 2008. Therefore she is campaigning already a little. Having heard this radio interview I have to say that Angela Merkel is definitely a radio person, which is very bad for her. The existance of television is a major obstacle for her, when it comes to becomming german chancelor one day. She really establishes some feeling of souvereignity in radio interviews, when you only hear her. She acts astonishingly good, if one knows her only from telly. I mean, there where times when the radio was the main channel of political marketing. In these times, man, she could have done a lot of good for us here in Germany ...

Run Away English · 2005-02-25

Steering Junk

Recommended Reading · 2005-02-25

This weeks recommended reading:


Microsoft IsNot (IsNot Very Funny) · 2005-02-24

Maybe it is just a cultural clash. I mean, I do not understand how they possibly dare and how the patent office dares to accept the file. This != true.


No Software Patents

ICE 1415 Release · 2005-02-24

My very first textpattern plugin! I'll call it the ICE 1415 release. Basically it implements a link with linktext 'I'm feeling lucky' and a randomly chosen link to a post within this site. Note the feature right under my blog's logo. Actually, this plugin is more or less a test, checking whether the whole plugin approach is worth working with:

Awful Computer Criminal Pleades Not Guilty · 2005-02-21

Now, wait this guy pleaded not guilty to causing a computer to perform a function which intended to secure unauthorised access to a program or data held in a computer by using lynx. Lynx the very infamous hacker tool. This awful criminal.

1st Boing Boing Post, 2nd Boing Boing Post

Unfortunately there is only boing boing and b.b.c. covering the story. So we cannot be sure whether the statements of either side are true...

"The Gates" Quotations · 2005-02-19

There are some really lovely citations of Christo's "The Gates". Follow links below, lovely lovely:

By the way, allegedly, Bill "The Gates" threatened the danish government that M$ would withdraw the navision production, which adds up to 800 employees, from Danmark, if Danmark would continue to oppose against the directive. Bill would otherwise rather go to countries where his 'rights' are protected.

You know what, Bill, how about leaving all your software where your rights are protected? Do you dare? Do you dare to actually protect your rights by not selling to countries that do not respect your dubious 'rights'? We both know, that sometimes it is all about market diffusion and the rest is cheap talk. ... and furthermore, you are the bad guy that hinders innovation. Well, true, in my eyes innovation never was a particular strength of M$.

Jabba the Sofa · 2005-02-17

Since last night we have a new used settee and we have a name for it as well: "Jabba the Sofa".

Mighty Manifestation · 2005-02-16


Yesterday evening a mighty manifestation against the german federal government's position towards software patents. 60 well educated IT professionals took the time to express their concern. Please consider supporting them where ever you can.

No Doubt About It · 2005-02-14

Yes folks, face it, today, Valentines Day 2005, I am the third to ask when it comes to: 'how to impress the ladies'... well according to Google.

... when it comes to 'Iran Hostage Crisis' I'm only on page three. That's disappointing and unfair.

Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster · 2005-02-14

As I learn from one of my major sources of information, there will be a 'The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy' movie adaption this year. After book, radio play, TV series this will complete the list of publishing channels to put it to ... Well, I do look forward to.

Mr. Posser: "Has Mr. Dent come to his senses yet?"
Mr. Prefect: "Can we for the moment assume that he hasn't."

Since my birthday is approaching, it would propably be indecent to mention that the TV series as DVD would be a good thing to have. It would certainly be indecent as well to state that a Hans Liberg DVD would be a lovely thing to have too.

1st Anniversary · 2005-02-12

Walter Feuerhake Profile 30ies
One year already since he is off wire.

Dutch parliament rejects software patents · 2005-02-11

Nederland mag voorlopig niet instemmen met de Europese richtlijn voor softwareoctrooien, zo heeft de Tweede Kamer bepaald.

Overwinning tegenstanders softwarepatenten
Dutch Parliament Votes Against Software Patent Directive - CoCo
Dutch parliament rejects software patents - BoingBoing

FFII Gettogether in Front of B.M.J. · 2005-02-10

If there will be great weather on February 15th, here is a lovely outdoor geek activity, that might do a lot of good: Demonstration in front of the BMJ. Facts briefly:

No Software Patents

Still No Unemployment · 2005-02-07

By the way, still no unemployment in Germany: Embarassing.

see old blog post here

Team America - World Police · 2005-02-07

Trey! Whatever message your movie had, you drowned it in vast amounts of blood, puke and shit, well, and a tiny bit of sperm. Furthermore the movie sheds an awful light to your performance between the sheets, which seems to be barred by some major misunderstandings. I pity you Trey. For those who haven't seen it yet. Go for the trailer, that should cover all scenes worth seeing.

JURI Pushes 'Reset' Button · 2005-02-03

The legistlative process to regulate the patentability of computer implemented inventions in Europe is obviously reset to 'Start' and has to go the whole way again. That gives time to gather and get better prepared for the rumble then we have been in the first place. Please consider to take part in any activity to achieve a reasonable outcome this time. See the pages of the FFII for more information.

No Software Patents

Mission Accomplished · 2005-02-02

screenshot of the great achievment

It is done. There is no unemployment in the German economy. The German rates of unemployment as published today at 10:17am CET. I had no doubt whensoever that Bundeskanzler Schroeder and his competent team would accoplish this task. Thank you Ger t d!


The Mean Traitor · 2005-02-02

My fridge, that mean traitor, refuses to maintain low temperatures in it's interiors. It rather establishes temperatures above environment level. For breakfast this morning I had the remains from the freezing compartment, which was basically a Germknoedel. For the rest of displaced food I instanciated the following class model:

class Balcony implements Refridgerator
    throws SpringTemperaturesException{ ..

Pimp My Moskvich · 2005-02-01

Pullman Moskvich

On Otto · 2005-01-31

Sabbeljan wrote a satiric post in which Otto S. (could well be but isn't the current German minister of the interior) is arrested the Orwellian way, using acoustic, video, RFID surveillance and DNA analysis et cetera. A very nice post with one major setback. It is in German tongue, but OK. Now, how come that only very few stand up against this 'after-9-11-erosion-of-liberties'?

Here in Germany there is still this deep feeling of being subordinate as an individual when it comes to matters of state and country. Thats something that does not only lives deep deep down in Otto S's dark soul, it rather is common sense in German, and not only German, society. That is because German citizens never experienced the value of civil liberties nor did they fight for it at any time. OK, wait, they fought but never won. Well, fifteen years ago the east Germans fought and even won but they sold out faster than their own shadows for a pack of Marlboro and a Volkwagen. Actually we want to have a higher power that looks after us, that rewards and punishes, and we'd love to give away liberties, cause it means giving away responsibility. May this is the same in all human societies and 'les droites des hommes' where just, erm, an idea and not what 'les hommes' actually want.

Since I believe the above stated holds a little, it might be a good idea to have a category 'liberty/citizenship', for this won't be the last entry on eroding liberties in our societies. By the way, Sabbeljan, your Otto, which is not the current German minister of the interior, wasn't tortured at all? End of 2004 we had this lovely little Christiansen debate about legalising torture, only in very limited cases of course. Your Otto should have been put to special interrogation. You know, toothpicks under fingernails, high voltage on nipples ...

By the way even more interesting is the erosion of liberty rights in the U.S. of A. I really thought they'd show more resistance.

rel="nofollow" · 2005-01-30

For a few days now, google supports a tag-attribute rel='nofollow'. Links with that attribute are not followed and not ranked by google anymore. Now, a whole lot of weblog authors hurry to rel="nofollow" enable their comment pages to make comment spamming useless. I thought about it. My conclusion is: 'To rel="nofollow" every comment is not desirable. Not at all.' Why? Because by following links google builds some kind of semantic web thingie. It puts your pages to a certain context by examing who links you and who is linked by your pages. Furthermore, links in comments and trackback are very often part of this link context. By disabling googles context finding capability you kill a strength of weblogs. Maybe you kill 'the strength' of weblogs.

Please, try not to use rel="nofollow". If comment spamming is really that awful in your comments, please check comments anyway. There might be links that you want to set rel="follow". By the way, I did not put any link to this post to give an example for what would happen if we all started using rel='nofollow'. · 2005-01-27

I do not understand the issue completely, but it seems necessary to be a little noisy. If you cannot lift your behinds out on the streets can be supportive 'virtually':

No Software Patents

Revolution is Never to Lie · 2005-01-26

Revolution is Never to Lie nor to violate ethic principles

Last Short Update · 2005-01-21

We made it to Havanna, which has got some capital flair because it is way easier to organise things like accessing the internet for example. In two days we will leave the island which has been a great host so far.

Short update · 2005-01-13

a very short update, por que internet en cuba es mas malo: Trinidad - Camaguey - Holguin - Gibara - Santigo de Cuba. The whole tour has payed off a thousand times already. Right now i take notes on dead wood and will put those online when being back to the wired world. Bye folks.

Take this bus to Cuba · 2004-12-31

Hasta Las Vacaciones Siempre ...

New Years Eve · 2004-12-31

A very happy, healthy and successful 2005 to all of you out there...

Mugshots · 2004-12-29


Again I found a great piece of website via BoingBoing. One day I'll stop publishing my own post. Instead I'll mirror BoingBoing completely. This time it is "Photographs from the Arkansas State Prison 1915-1937. Found and printed by Bruce Jackson". Now, go get your Muddy Waters tapes ready and have look.

Hm, interesting. If you stay away from format tables you might run into major mischief. At least my page layout does not allow the usage of <br clear="both|right|left"/>. So there is no chance to align a picture right and still make sure that the post is displayed as one block. As a result I'm writing this zero information 'fill the gap' paragraph. Argh.

A Beautiful Depiction of An Awful Incident · 2004-12-28

the indonesian tsunamis as animated gif

It is always possible to make beautiful graphical representations from most awful things. Yes, human beings are aesthetes. Thanks go out to Kenji Satake, who probably made the animation. I just scaled it down a little.

Update: Donate Here

(via Kenji Satake, BoingBoing)

Statewatch · 2004-12-27 -- monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

Christmas Telly · 2004-12-27

Since christmas days are days one spends within the family, they are especially dangerous to individuals living alone. In the season loners bear a high risk of becoming depressive. Now this is the point, where the telly could do a lot of good, just by broadcasting properly. This year again, telly stations showed all the awful budget stuff, they do not dare to show during the year. I mean, to those, who spend the season with their family it doesn't matter. They do not watch anyway, but those, who are alone, they watch ... maybe telly programms are the true reason for rising suicide numbers during christmas.

GnuPG 1.4.0 · 2004-12-23

Nachdem die sicherheitsorgane ab 1.1.2005 mal wieder mehr duerfen, das gerade auch im bereich email, und nachdem GnuPG mit seiner version 1.4.0 rausgekommen ist, hab ich mal neue schluessel generiert. Damit verfallen die alten entsprechungen.

Since german authorities are allowed to observe email traffic more intense, from the first of january on, and since GnuPG released version 1.4.0, I generated new keys. Therefore, the old ones expire.

The Internet Underclass · 2004-12-20

Companies and public bodies are still failing to take accessibility into account when designing their websites, despite the risk of legal action under the UK's disability discrimination laws.

Yes, mate, the same holds for germany.

This lack of action on accessibility is creating an internet underclass, according to web testing firm Scivisium. The company has identified several different kinds of accessibility problems, where the site will only work with a particular browser, or requires the user to change their browser settings to gain access.

Yes, correct again. Dearest webmarketing excecutives, there are not only the physically impaired, there are the technically impaired as well. Please do make yourself familiar with the WCAG, since, if you refuse, you lock out, not only the physically impaired, which you might not consider part of your audience, 'cause they live on social relief anyway (That'd be bad company ethics, but well if you can live with it), you close out the techincally impaired as well. Among those are, and here comes the punch line, Mac users, UNIX derivate users, smart phone users, handheld users, etc. So, people who are well educated, earn salaries well above avarage and/or do adopt trends very early. Got my point? Now, it is your choice.

By the way, I try to meet the standards, for I'd like to be read and I welcome anybody who is interested and, of course, I consider myself part of the Internet Underclass. Maybe, that could be a reason for you as well.

(via elReg)

Person Of The Year · 2004-12-20

Dabbelyou is again Time's 'Person Of The Year', which puts him in one queue with Hitler (1938) and Stalin (1939, 1942). Well, Martin Luther King jr.(1963) and Mahadma Ghandi (1930) are member of the club, as well. At least that could make him proud.

Hans Liberg · 2004-12-15

Yes, right. Eversince I write this I forgot to recommend Hans Lieberg. Which I herewith do.

The Incredibles · 2004-12-13

I urge you to see 'The Incredibles', though the mouse imperium is delivering it. It is big fun on an advanced intellectual level. So, if you are a middle age suburbian dad or mom: see it. If you are a high school kid: see it. If you are into James Bond movies like 'Dr. No' or 'Octopussy': again see it. If you like Oscar Niemeyers architecture: see it. I recon that almost any human being on earth is member of one of the mentioned groups, so, everybody should see 'The Incredibles'.

This movie beats the first Shrek. Therefore it beats Nemo and the second Shrek. It is really good ...

Salad Bar Hacking · 2004-12-11

How to exploit Pizza Hut's 'only one trip to the buffet allowed' salad dish? Boing Boing has got a proposal. Go to Pizza Hut and reimplement it or better try to find better algorithms.

By the way, I increasingly look forward to BoingBiong's new posts. Therefore BoingBoing goes straight to 'Blogs I Read'.

Deparment of Justice Posters · 2004-12-09

It is always great if authorities serve you a ball that you cannot refuse to return. So, watch this drive:

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) recently released a pair of posters aimed at assisting authorities with properly identifying and searching Muslims (PDF, 1.5 MB) and Sikhs (PDF, 1 MB).

Now, here is the poster to assist asian shop keepers in rural areas on recognising Common Redneck Head Coverings (PDF, less than one MB).

(via BoingBoing)

Anna Karenina · 2004-12-05

There's been one question that bugged me for a while. That question was: "How to make a proper White Russian". If you just google for white russian and check the top three returns you get three different opinion. One says '1 oz. Kahlua : 1.5 oz. Vodka', the next says '1.5 oz. Kahlua : 1.5 oz. Vodka' and the last states '1.5 oz. Kahlua : 2oz. Vodka'. Next point is, that it always says 'pour milk or cream'. What milk or cream ... or a mixture, and if a mixture, what cream milk ratio and should the milk/cream part be whipped and if so, for how long? Lots of questions, that cried for field study. Yesterday, we got me all the ingediends to make White Russian. The experiment started at 11:07pm ... unfortunately it ended with little result. I loved the fourth, but I really don't know how I made it.

By the way, there was one further ingredient that made my experiment: "Deutschlandfunk", they had a feature called "Dieses reine, unbedingte Ereignis - Eine Lange Nacht vom Erkennen im Augen-Blick" (The pure , unconditioned event - A long night about recognition within eye contacts). They read an essay by Bernd Wegener about Tolstoi and aspects of the 'eye contact' in his work. Wegeners German is so very sophisticated, so filled with latin, french and english. He gives every cite first in original tongue and does translate it only afterwards. Really, sometimes you have hard times understanding Bernd. This really was an event, hearing Bernd's essay about the erotic aspects of the eye contact in Tolstois work. We lay on on the kitchen floor, like bugs on their backs, and laughed and laughed ... and still the essay was interesting. Yes, it wasn't the topic, it was the clash of juicy topics and academic language that was funny. Yes, and right between two juicy academic essays, the next one was about Goethe's Werther, they played our national anthem because it was midnight. Man, that's been big fun ...

urinal tops art survey · 2004-12-02

"The choice of Duchamp's Fountain as the most influential work of modern art ahead of works by Picasso and Matisse comes as a bit of a shock," said art expert Simon Wilson.

A Duchamp's Fountain lookalike is, what I'll head for, very soon...

CAPTCHA · 2004-12-02

Jon Udell's Radio Blog comes with "The CAPTCHA game" today. You know what CAPTCHA is? Well, you might have come across those weirdo images:

captcha image

You see letters, which are distorted somehow. These letters are a password, that you should enter. These approaches are meant to prevent automated form filling. Automated form filling is a pressing issue in the internet, because there are a whole lot of spammers, who would fill any web form just to have their pages linked. If you have forms filled automatically, you definitely leave the field of good sports and even worse you destroy channels of communication between people for the sake of google ranking. Well, since automats do have hard times to filter letters from pixel data CAPTCHA appears to be a good approach. Well, actually it isn't, because you prevent not only automats from filling the form but you prevent the seeing impaired as well. Screenreaders cannot read the pixelized passphrase. So, there are humans that cannot recognize the passphrase, because they cannot see it at all. Actually there are robots already that achieve better results in filtering the passphrases than some of the seeing impaired could ever achieve.

... and thats the whole problem. There are human beings, who have certain short commings that an automat might not have. Those human beings are excluded from certain services, which is bad.

What to do about it? What else could we ask requesters to find out whether they are flesh and blood or semi conductor? Jon suggests logical questions like '5 + 7'. Oh, oh, this should be very easy for a machine that was invented to calculate. What task distinguishes the set of human beings from the set of robots? Must be something related to pattern recognition ... I really don't know.

ISP finds pubic hair in keyboard · 2004-12-01

Ok, elReg, you win. I'll put the keyboard aside and will from now on only use my mouse.

Magnum PI · 2004-12-01

I once mentioned the DLF habit of playing elevator music between news blocks. This week is ska week and this morning, now, maybe you'd like to sit down first, this morning they covered the 'Magnum PI' theme. That was, though blasphemic, still a unusually funky version.

Now for today's listening list:

The Whole Topic · 2004-11-29

cover page

Browse those 15 (fifteen) pages to learn down right everything about sex. All this without knowing any japanese. From the 'fine arts of hand holding' to the 'holding of virtually any part of the anatomy with any part of the anatomy' you can get intermediate insight. These pages should be sufficient for ten years of satisfaction.

(via boing boing)

Il Piccolo Diavolo · 2004-11-29


Santa? · 2004-11-26

Let me put this straight. We have the 26th of November today. We have new scandals about 'torture' training in german armed forces. Last week miss Sabine 'Censorship' Christiansen talked about 'should torture be a legal means of police interrogation in germany?' with her guests, by the way, 53% of the internet voting attendees think torture should be legalized, and it is Friday. So, it cannot be the first advent, okay. Why are they paying students to dress up like Santa?

Is this absolutely necessary?

Dead Flowers · 2004-11-26

So, you are looking for the soundtrack, fitting your November-depression? Try Townes Van Zandt's Dead flowers:

And you're sitting back
In your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby days
I'll be in my basement room
With a needle and a spoon
And another girl to take my pain away

... I do not offer fancy mp3 downloads, since I do not know how to find those audio files on the web.

Michel de Montaigne · 2004-11-25

"That to study philosophy is to learn to die"
-- Michel de Montaigne, Essays

Annual Privacy Reports · 2004-11-22 has published it's annual country reports. The contents are far from bein surprising. Again, as a public service I'll list some useful links for those who'd like to be less observed:
The GNU Privacy Guard - Cryptography for the masses.
Windows Privacy Tools (WinPT) is a collection of multilingual applications for easy digital encryption and signing of content.
Java Anonymity and Privacy
JAP makes it possible to surf the internet anonymously and unobservably.
Magic Bag
The magic bag is a bag lined with layers of aluminum foil. It blocks out the sensors at stores and stealth ping attacks.

I appreciate pgp encrypted and signed messages. Here is my public key.

(via elReg)

Advanced English · 2004-11-21

As a public service, i'd like to offer a little english lesson today. If you need to point out that something is quite obviously true in a conversation, you could ask rethorically:

Is the pope catholic?

or, if you like the rural charmes, you could ask:

Do bears shit in the woods?

Now, what could you ask if you needed to point out that something is quite obviously not true?

Does the pope shit in the woods?

Set of Buttons · 2004-11-21

I pinned a new set of buttons to this pages. Man, they are so extraordinarily ugly. I'll put them away soon. This is promised.

Belgian Car Recovery · 2004-11-19

get that car out

The Dirty Punk Fuckin' Anarchy Machine · 2004-11-17

The Dirty Punk Fuckin' Anarchy Machine Speakers loud and get goin' ... play a song for Condi.

Religous Topics Keep Comming In · 2004-11-16

You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you.
-- Bob Jones III


Driving Cattle with the Qu'ran · 2004-11-16

Deutschlandfunk plays this elevator-all-music-no-singing-cover-band-music between it's features. This used to be o.k. since they mainly feature news there. But today they covered 'Golden Brown' by 'The Stranglers'. That's down right blasphemic. God shalt strike them down. Speakin' of Allah. Where does this Islam panicking come from? There are a few politicians posting the right comments to the right media. Well, what politicians are trying to 'proliferate' panic concerning Islam? Who are those crusaders? Let's make a list: Beckstein (CSU), Wiefelspütz (SPD), Schavan (CDU), Koschyk (CSU) ... Thats a list made by searching google news for 'Holland is everywhere'. OK, now, why do they do it? I suggest the following: They drive cattle. How can you make cattle go the way you want? Make noise, be scary and they'll start running. I know, it is a bad cowboy doing it this way, but there are bad cowboys ... and who is the cattle? We, the voters ... and where do they want to drive us? To the ballots. Well, OK that's just one suggestion.

By now there are very few guys putting the things straight. Among them, praise the lord, is Bundespraesident Köhler, who urges us to respect each other. Well, that's just true. This Köhler guy is not that bad sometimes. Furthermore, though unfortunately in German, here is a very nice interview dealing with the topic: "Reaktionen gegenueber Muslimen sind Panikmache"

Volksbibel · 2004-11-15

'Bild' the German tabloid publishes the 'Volksbibel' today. Yes right, last week Die Zeit, Germany's big weekly, published part 'A - Bar' of it's encyclopedia. Now, today it is Bild with it's Bible. But hey, let's be silent for a sec and then speak out 'Volksbibel', sounds great, doesn't it? Volksbibel, Volkswagen, Volksgemeinschaft ... ok, there is 'Volks-' sounding like nation, like we are all the same, and there's bibel which is the bible of course and stands for christianity. Together we have a nation in christianity, lovely. Well a little dumb, but lovely. Besides it does fit current discussion within the media. Christiansen, Germany's Larry King was discussing the dangers emerging from having people living in Germany who are actually Muslims. The Spiegel, Germany's best selling weekly, opens with 'Allah's daughters - women without rights in Germany'. Our media wants to come back to our Christian roots. But why? I thought we could get along without religious reasoning. I mean, the division of church and state worked pretty well for twohundered years now. Why fading out this division? Why is it not allowed to wear the Muslima scarf in Bavarian schools whilst having a compulsory cruzifix above the black board? That's not really the levelled playing ground law should provide. Could we please stop this awful discussion and look at the true reasons of extremism. Way too exhausting, isn't it? Reading the Volksbibel is easier. Do we really sneak back to simple answers?

As long as I have to write about stupidity of this kind and amount I will end my posts with: Allah u akba!. By the way, the real Volksbibel is here:

Börßum · 2004-11-15

Börßum is a little town in Niedersachsen. Whats interesting about it? It is the name itself of course: Börßum. Starting with a strong bassy 'B' followed by 'umlaut o' and 'ß' and ending strong and bassy on 'um'. That's the perfect name for a death metal band isn't it? Or for an accessoire label, selling silver chains and rings with skulls, bats and swords ... think about it.


Groovy · 2004-11-13

This sounds interesting. There is a new Java implemented scripting language in town. Groovy. There have been Nice and Beanshell around but this one is different since it shall become a certified programming language for Java virtual machines. The huge advantage is easy to see. You can call java classes right out of the scripting environment. In perl you would have needed to implement a main method for every object that you wanted to call out of perl, for example, which you afterwards would have called like this: system("java ClassToCall argumentsToPass");. This is definitely not a way to cash in the advantages of a scripting language and a big headed object oriented programming language all at once.

Ok, with Groovy you really seem to have a tool to truely integrate scripting in Java and vice versa. You can call Java objects right in the script without altering the class. Groovy is java implemented, therefore Groovy is bytecode, which should guarantee a seam less running. You can generate Javabytecode from Groovy scripts(!) which sound like a big thing to me. Working with Java should become a whole heck of lot easier with groovy. Imagine that you do not, never ever again need to type public static void main(String[] args){... Sounds great, doesn't it?

Right now Groovy is avaliable in version 1.0 beta6 (9MB). I'll check it when having broader access then here at grandma's. If you won't check it at all you will soon find experiences here.

Grandma · 2004-11-13

Bought a Javaspektrum and am off for grandma's....

Bobby WorldWide Approved 508 · 2004-11-11

Bobby WorldWide Approved 508

Translation Problem · 2004-11-11

I have problems translating a german frase. By now I have the following versions:

All this is not quite satisfying. How would You translate 'trappsen'? Please help me improving this translation. Dank U Well.

Influenza Pandemic · 2004-11-11

Sorry folks, this is a tiny little bad taste like, please stop reading here if you are not very much into sarcastics. This morning I heard that the WHO urges more flu vaccine efforts before pandemic because statistically the time for the next flu pandemic has come. The environment for a flu pandemic was not as good in decades as it is now, since a bird flu virus can infect human beings in asia. The guy on the radio explained that it now needs a patient to be infected by bird flu and ordinary flu at the same time to give the chance to mix dna a little to those viruses. The Last big pandemic was in 1918. Read more here: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Furthermore, the guy this morning explained, that there is very few effort to develop a proper vaccine, because profit expectations of large 'life science' corps are just too low yet. That explanation seemed a little simple. Well, I dunno and who am I to judge company policies?

My advice now is 'Panic!'. Call the RKI in berlin and express that you are panicing or even better, take it as the will of the all mighty, cause there is little doubt that dabbelyou is in fact one of the armageddon kings and dooms day is close. In this latter case, of course, you do not need to call the RKI in berlin. Praying would be perfecly sufficient.

Some lovely stats on the mortality in October of 1918 in Kansas.

Lobet den Herr-ren ... · 2004-11-10

Learning from the US is learning how to prevail. Therefore german news agencies start asking whether dabbelyous success is wind beneath the wings of german christian fundamentalism. Die Zeit, 'the' german weekly, and Tageschau, 'the' german telly news format, do raise this question today in their online services. After Dabbelyou did cut the payments for third world projects that promote other things then abstinence to fight HIV and poverty he could now start to proselytize us by promoting his fellas over here. Yes, we hedonist old european scum have to learn that 'Sex Has Consequences'. Let's follow this debate, should be great fun. I bet you, we will not only have weeks of olde testament wording but whole legislative periods.

logo ol testament wording week

Fun With Prime Numbers · 2004-11-10

Yeah, this page will save my day: Fun With Prime Numbers. Next time etMalter won't factorize my number, har har.

(via Kantel)

Are those pages generated faster? · 2004-11-10

Are those pages generated faster? At least they have fancier looks now. The whole thing is still valid xhtml and does not use tables for formatting purposes anymore. Furthermore, textpattern was downgraded underneath. Now we just have to have a look at it.

Ok, back to writing now...

Update: A little advise to those who are new to textpattern. Never try to put PHP code right into your templates. Boah, I puke ...

Drop and be watched · 2004-11-09

This one is lovely. Since you should never ever trust your customer, which holds especially when it comes to the field of personal hygiene, you should always keep track of what these folks are doing. Therefore the restaurant ElSol in Goettingen video surfaces it's toilets. This is a great improvement, because the service employees can react very soon if customers happen miss the bowl.

ElSol will surely apprechiate your feedback here, here and here or just drop a line, because different from dropping other things dropping a line won't be filmed.

(via Moe)

Fight Malaria and get Fat · 2004-11-09

According to the UN the africans should eat more insects. Obviously, this is meant to fight famines, provide proteine etc. etc. ... but hey, there is more, if they'd only eat all the mosquitos, malaria would die out, wouldn't it? One would have to chew properly. Great plan.

(via <- <-

A Little Too Simple · 2004-11-09

Today, fifteen years ago, I will walk down oranienstrasse for the first time of my life, which is somewhat weirdo, since Oranienstrasse was not more then two miles away from my flat at that time. Yes, right fifteen years ago, the wall came down. That's been really amazing. Why was it so great? Well, it was one of the first and one of last things, the people of east germany did, when realising, that they are actually free.

When my fellow citizens realized that they are not only free but free and poor, they wanted the D-Mark. What we got instead was reunification. I am still convinced that it'd have been better to figure out first how to live our new found freedom. Give ourselves rules according to our attitudes. With the german reunification we received a certain level of wealth, that is not common in the other former socialist states but what we lost is self esteem. We lost it because we received a far developed set of rules and laws that just did not fit our needs then and largely doesn't fit it now. That foreign ruleset, and the foreign wealth took our self confidence, which we had for a year or one and a half. I am afraid, I hate to say that, I am afraid that between the ninth of november 89 and the third of october 90 there was not much time for the east germans to figure out what freedom means and since a large part of the wealth fell from the sky, there even isn't the self esteem of the one who earned one's richness. Poor east germans. They had it all and gave it away for a Volkswagen and a new autobahn.

I stop it here, please comment for further insight, and I stop it with saying: Totally different from the '3rd October', which they should have cancelled as they planned to, the '9th November' is a great day to celebrate.

Template Experiments · 2004-11-08

Hm, this whole database driven weblog thingie remains awfully slow. I have always known that relational databases are something for the brain dead. Anyway, I will experiment with templates within the next few weeks. This will be mainly for the sake of gaining speed. Up to then, remain patient and stay tuned. Sorry.

'Blogs I Read' Changed · 2004-11-05

Ok, Kantel, after following your posts for some time now, you go straightest to my 'Blogs I Read' list. Your music recommendations yesterday and today have been the straw that broke the camels back. Last but not least, You promote R frome time to time.

Reminder, Tonight, 'Zur Gluehlampe', Lehmbruck Str. 1 · 2004-11-05

Examenskolloquium, 5. Nov, Zur Gluehlampe, Lehmbruck Str. 1, S/U/Tram Warschauer Str., ab 21Uhr

Dell sued over patent infringement · 2004-11-05

Yes, sir. There goes the neighbourhood. "Dell sued over patent infringement" is one possible scenario if we only had patent laws similar to those in the US. Great. Herewith I do remind you on my patent claim. Be careful.

No Software Patents

Nicest Spam Ever · 2004-11-05

This spam droped into my inbox today. Scissors are of little use in the field of penis enlargement and therefore I am not sure if the following is actually spam, but o.k.: Right now I do not have an urgent need for scissors, but if I would have, i'd buy at AILLT SURGICAL COMPANY because these guys know how to do business. Well, erm, first we should check for working conditions at their production facilities, of course.

Thank you anyway, AILLT SURGICAL COMPANY. I am still touched and moved by the politeness of your request, which I might consider in the near future.

Dear Sirs / Madam,


We have duly visit your website and are much glad it is complete and comprehansive website.

With your best wishes, we are professional manufacturers and exporters of the sewing / embroidery scissors all sorts under the modery machines in our workshops running under the qualified and skilled staff, we are producing top quality instruments according to the need standard our valued clients. All our clients are quite satisfied for our best quality also services.

Kindly visit to our website and intimate interested items to display a few samples and best prices for your final approval and valued long lasting regular business.

Yours very immediate and favourable response would be much appreciated.

Thanking you and best regards.


Malik Fiaz Ahmed.


Iran Hostage Crisis · 2004-11-04

Twenty five years ago american citizens were taken hostage in the american embassy in Iran. The hostages were released after the 1980 presidential election campaigns. Why 'after'? Because the Reagan campaign team payed the mullahs for keeping the hostages to avoid a success for Carter. Reagan became president 1981, trafficed weapons to Iran, supported death squads in Middle America and won his elections by addressing the 'moral majority'.

Isn't it time to remove this Iran stain from the USofA? I bet you, Wolfowitz has got a plan already...

... and you know what? I stop discussing the state of american administration now and here. I'd throw my guts up, otherwise.

Campaign Slogan · 2004-11-04

give me four years

... and America will be out of all recognition

Bliss · 2004-11-03

If Ignorance Was Bliss the world is a whole lot happier today. Well, er, among the emails I received, this one seems to be the most brief and most accurate description of what it feels like:

Hi- this will be brief. I worked 11 hours at the polls yesterday. I am angry and dissappointed and everything else.... I'm going home now.


Yes, We Are Moved And Inspired · 2004-11-03

"Observers from around the world report that they were inspired and moved by America's most recent attempt to hold a public election in accordance with the standards of a democratic republic."
-- The Onion

Its Your Choice · 2004-11-02


Lizzy! · 2004-11-02

Today the Queen is in town. Last time we saw each other in Ascot last year. Well, ok, she went to the Royal Enclosure and I went to Silver Ring. This time we are both so busy that we have to postpone the meeting.

Get Involved · 2004-11-02


They Never Come Back · 2004-10-31

"Impotenz in der Ehe ist eine Ovation fuer die Frau als Mensch"
    -- Harald Schmidt

"Marital impotence is an ovation for the wife as human being" Mr. Schmidt turns back to the screen under the roof of the ARD. When asked last year, whether to turn back to the ARD, Schmidt replied: "After having intercourse with Claudia Schiffer, would you move in at mother's again?". Apparently, he moves in at mother's again and expectations are sky high, Harald.

Hegemon of the hearts · 2004-10-31

The infantile cultural hegemon sneaked onto my balkony. I gotta say that he's quite funny. 'Hegemon of the hearts' so to say.

pumpkin pontent

What else? At the eve of the hegemon's elections, we have a new service on the net: They collected a whole bunch of video feeds that you might haven't seen yet.

Corruption · 2004-10-31

After causing the German autobahn toll disaster, by the way the German word 'toll' means as much as 'nuts' or 'lunatic', the traffic ministry under reverend Stolpe faces corruption accusations. There are 41 alleged cases of corruption within the ministry. Via -> my favorite wurstblatt

Are the toll disaster and the alleged corruption cases symptoms of the same disease. Should we lobotomise the whole ministry out of the legislative body?

Welcome · 2004-10-30

A heart-warming pimp fly dope welcome to the club to Mr. Neuhoff!

Template · 2004-10-29

I made me a new email template:

Dear [Recipient],
I am a little irritated. [Reason goes here]

Sincerely Yours

Dabbelyou's Campaign Website · 2004-10-28

This one is really lovely. The GeorgeDabbelyouBush reelection campaign website is blocked for pinko commie raghead individuals, who have chosen to live on pinko commie raghead soil outside the US of A. For more information see ElReg and read carefully here and here.

We pinkos are obviously left alone with Well I am fine with that. What else? The IEM still sees Dabbelyou way ahead, so, hm, let's face it. Four more years.

Update: For those of you who really cannot help, seeing George's campaign site. Apparently George's webmaster did block the address but not the ip and if you can watch, you can link, so me is linkin' this:

party with dabbelyou

Update_I: Do not skip the comments on this post. They are very nice. Many thanks go out to Ron.


John Locke · 2004-10-28

John Locke died 300 years ago. Since work should be the source of property, sensation should be the source of consciousness and we all should have the right to resist against incompetent government, we remain silent for a sec.

A Hint for George Dabbelyou · 2004-10-27

George Dabbelyou needs a success in warfaring on terror and here is the hint, George!

Looking for Bit Laden? Check this.

(via ObstMucker)


Emma Peel · 2004-10-27

Today I have to admit, that I didn't know the name John Peel yet. My 'significant other' told me that we listened to his shows at radio1. Apparently, John was radio dj and a protagonist of off-mainstream music at the bbc. Why 'was'? Well, he isn't among us anymore. Since there is strong evidence that he was an idol to many of us and since he played, hence promoted, 'The Cure', 'Die Aertzte', 'Die Toten Hosen' etc. etc. etc. very early, he shall remain in our hearts, shouldn't he?

Bye John, now when you are away I might notice what you gave us.

POI · 2004-10-26

This is the only respectable way of creating Microsoft Office files:

They featured it in a recent javamagazin already and today they promote POI at NewsForge. Yes, it is a nice way to export Excel sheets right from a http based database service, for example. I think .csv should be sufficient, but well, you never know.

Bless You · 2004-10-26

Today everything 's got this fluish flavour. Don't shake my hand.

Community · 2004-10-25

For all of you, who think Internet communities dealing with culture, politics, sciences are strong. You ain't know Unfortunately it is in German, but anyway, they deal with needle and textile work of all kind and if they start being interested in some of your content they really generate traffic.

I like them. They are cool.

Agnes und seine Brueder · 2004-10-25

'Agnes und seine Brueder' is not really worth mentioning it. The whole story remains half done, somehow. Well, you could go see it, for the actors performance, but if you feel cinema is storytelling and not acting for the sake of sheer acting, skip it.

Bleibtreu, Semmelrogge, Korittke, Riemann, Knaup all of them do a great great job. Since all of the characters in the setting are, without exaggeration, weirdo in strange states of their lives, the actors can really play and they 'can'. Anyway, the movie ends somewhere in the middle. Well, thats what I feel.

The Most Beautiful German Word Ever · 2004-10-24

A big headed jury has voted 'Habseligkeiten' the most beautiful German word, that is. What does it mean and why is it most beautiful? 'Habseligkeiten' is like many other German words a composition made from two words. There is 'Seligkeiten' which is the plural of 'blessedness', therefore refers not to the state of being blessed but to a blessed thing. Since we have a plural it would be 'blessed things'. As first word we have a shortened form of 'haben', which would mean 'to possess' or 'to own'. The derived noun form would be 'Habe', meaning 'belongings' or 'property'. Together 'Habseligkeiten' refers to 'property', but always 'little property'. Proper use: 'Der Obdachlose trug seine Habseligkeiten in einer Plastiktüte' (The homeless carried his property in a plastic bag). Wrong or ironic use: Der Millionär musste jemanden einstellen, um auf seine Habseligkeiten zu achten (The millionaire had to hire someone, to look after his property). What is so great about 'Habseligkeiten'? I think it is the use of the religious term 'blessedness' to make 'belongings' little. Thats subtle irony, isn't it?

I'm fine with the outcome of the voting, though I'd have voted for 'Knallcharge', for it's multicultural attitudes.

Wholistic Campaigns · 2004-10-23

Dear Commissioner Byrne,
as resigning EU commissioner for public health you released your very last, well, let's say 'fart in the head', which is not proper english, but should be understood. It is a campaign against juvenile smoking and comes with 'emotionally enhanced' pictures that should be printed on cigarette packs. Well there is one thing that I refuse to understand, and thats the almost religious anger concerning smoking and only smoking. Where are the campaigns to promote awareness on the impacts of sugar, gasoline, alcohol, motor vehicle emissions, cellphones, etc. etc.? Why is it always only smoking? I guess it is all lobbyism, pure breed lobbyism. Are you a lobbyist, Mr. Byrne? If so should a lobbyist be budgeted by the taxpayer? Go, fundraise elsewhere, Mr. Byrne. Furthermore, here are my ideas for more wholistic campaigns, enjoy:

chocolatebar advertismentwodka advertismenta gas station advertisment

best regards Feuerhake

Yet Another Anniversary · 2004-10-22

Today we celebrate 100 years of New York subway, according to deutschlandfunk. Since I took the F line once, to go from East Broadway all the way down to Kings Highway, I'd like to queue up with the congratulants. It was on a summer Sunday morning and it was a good thing to do, back in the days. Thank you subway.

Further information: Taking Off Pelham One Two Three, BeatStreet,

I almost forgot · 2004-10-21

cat content · 2004-10-17

Those of you who run ThinGamaBlog might fear the day, when it comes to migrating the whole mess to a 'big boys' tool like Movable Type, WordPress or Textpattern. In this special case we deal with Textpattern. Now, how to get the whole weblog mess into the all-new expensive web-interfaced database? Well, the first step is easy. One uses the RSS-feed export feature of ThinGamaBlog. Problem now is: How to translate the RSS feed into SQL statements, because at least textpattern lacks a xml interface? I did not find any automated solution for that problem outthere on the net, so I wrote a little coversion script. It uses perl to parse the feed and write sql statements to standard out. One just pipes them to a file and runs it on mysql. Done, but be careful, if you use haloscans comments there is manual work left, since the exported feed do not reproduce the article id's used by haloscan. Anyway, here 's the script:

This migrating thing does not mean that ThinGamaBlog is a bad tool. It is not, the whole thing was carried out for experimental reasons. ... though they are some minor ThinGamaBlog disadvantages when it comes to larger blogs. Like uploading all the redundant formatting when changing it, for example. · 2004-10-15

This is the first blog post in weeks that made me smile: It is always a pleasure to see that few people spend time on interesting things.

I used to unleash R onto my apache_logs. It takes only very few lines to get nice little aggregations:

a <- read.csv("some.csv")
lines(smooth.spline(a), col="red")

Furthermore, you have some lovely libraries, dealing with all kinds of statistical analysis. So, R is truly grea