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The BBC discovers the Texas Germans — and a dying dialect

My great-grandmother, Hedwig Nietzsche Koerth, never spoke English. My Grandpa Gustav didn't learn the language until he entered first grade. But, by the time I was in grade school — and was going through a brief fling of learning German — Grandpa no longer remembered much of what had once been his first language. Today, nobody in my immediate family speaks any German, much less the dying dialect of Texas German that my great-grandmother spoke. The BBC has an interesting story about the history and linguistics of Texas German, which will probably die out in the next couple generations — largely because the German Germans started a couple world wars in a row and changed the idea of what was and wasn't socially acceptable speech in America. Maggie

War on General Purpose Computing auf Deutsch

Christian Wöhrl has produced a German translation of my 28C3 talk, The Coming War on General Purpose Computing. Thanks, Christian! Cory

Useful vocabulary for the holidays

Kummerspeck Literally, "grief bacon." A German word meaning weight put on through emotional overeating. (via Reddit) Cory

Then we take Berlin

Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Tschüss! Cory

Girl appears on TV show to identify Star Wars figurines with her mouth

This kleige maidel* appeared on a German TV show where she demonstrated her remarkable talent for identifying Star Wars minifigs by putting them in her mouth. The blindfold is what makes this. And the minifigs. Oh, and the waistcoat.

Kinderwette Star Wars (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

*Not actually German. Almost Yiddish.

Naked airport scanner catches cellphone, misses bomb components

Check out this German TV clip highlighting the failure of the new, privacy-violating full-nude scanners going in at an airport near you. As Bruce Schneier notes, "The scanner caught a subject's cell phone and Swiss Army knife -- and the microphone he was wearing -- but missed all the components to make a bomb that he hid on his body... Full-body scanners: they're not just a dumb idea, they don't actually work."

German TV on the Failure of Full-Body Scanners

Germany pays to fix Microsoft users' computers

The German government has allocated a secret budget to fund call-centers to help Windows users whose PCs are infected with malware. Microsoft's support costs are thus being borne at taxpayer expense.

I can understand why a government would want to create anti-malware programs. After all, malware's costs could easily exceed the cost of this program (think of the social cost of identity theft).

But the state could intervene in other ways. For example, it could establish penalties for software vendors whose users have their identities stolen, where those vendors don't offer this kind of service, forcing companies to internalize the cost of the security vulnerabilities they're responsible for.

Yes, it's not clean-cut (who's responsible for the recent SSL bug -- the OS vendors? The free software project?) and how it would apply to a free software project like GNU/Linux is unclear. But surely there's a more equitable solution than simply offloading the expense of cleaning up software vendors' messes on the taxpayer.

This approach raises a number of concerns. First, it leaves the software manufacturers out of the equation. Therefore, there will be little incentive to write secure code, as the cost of additional support will be passed (at least partly) to the government. Second, it also discourages the users from switching to more secure products. Both aspects can be interpreted as a direct subsidy for Microsoft. The timing of the initiative could also not be better: last week Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the attack vector number one, lost its leadership in Germany to rival Firefox. Additionally, the plan establishes questionable practices for IT security. Malware infections are seen as something inevitable, which is definitely not the case.
Microsoft to Get Malware Bailout in Germany (via /.)

(Image: Screenshot Test, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from yahnyinlondon's photostream)

Space Patrol tribute poster by Michæl Paukner

spacepatrol.jpg

Illustrator Michæl Paukner, whose poster art I've blogged a few times now, has started a terrific series of images paying tribute to the über-kitschy German science fiction television show Space Patrol (Raumpatrouille). Shown here, the Orion 7 craft. If you're unfamiliar with the show, this fan-site is a great place to start. Video clips and links to past appreciations of the TV series on Boing Boing after the jump.

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