Contact lens vending-machine

Spotted today in Berlin's Tegel airport, on my way to Re:publica. Read the rest

Anti-vaxxer ordered to pay EUR100K to winner of "measles aren't real" bet

Stefan Lanka, a "vaccination skeptic" who claims that measles are a psychosomatic condition brought on by "traumatic separations," publicly challenged people to prove that measles was caused by a virus. Read the rest

Piketty on the pointless cruelty of European austerity

The economist says that the US's post-crisis job creation record and the EU's lagging record demonstrates that austerity cripples recoveries. Read the rest

Martin Luther playset is the best-selling toy of all time

Playmobil's German "Little Luther" toy sold 34,000 pieces in 72 hours. Read the rest

Ecstatic NSA spooks delight in spying on spies who are spying on spies

A tranche of fresh Snowden leaks published in Der Spiegel by Laura Poitras, Jacob Appelbaum and others detail the NSA's infiltration of other countries' intelligence services, detailing the bizarre, fractal practices of "fourth-party collection" and "fifth-party collection." Read the rest

Livestreams from the Chaos Communications Congress

The 31st Chaos Communications Congress is underway in Hamburg, where some of the most important, entertaining, mind-blowing, and earth-shaking information about computer security and politics will be revealed. Here's the livestream. (via Hacker News) Read the rest

Macedonia helped CIA kidnap and torture a German they mistook for a terrorist

Macedonia kidnapped a German citizen called Khalid al-Masri (previously, previously) and sent him to the CIA, mistaking him for a similarly named terror suspect; the CIA tortured him in Afghanistan and held him even after they realized they had the wrong name. Read the rest

Hand-illuminated edition of The Silmarillion

Benjamin Harff produced a hand-illuminated edition of Tolkien's The Silmarillion (a famously dense set of myths and background for Middle Earth) as a final project at art school; in this interview, he explains his motivation and his process. Read the rest

CCC website censored in the UK

The Great Firewall of Cameron is supposed to block "extremist" websites, and somehow, the website of the respected, excellent Chaos Computer Club, one of Germany's foremost centers for technology research and political analysis, has been blocked. Read the rest

Angela Merkel calls for end to net neutrality

The German Chancellor -- whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector -- says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for. Read the rest

Fidget ring that's also a city-specific sundial

Glashütte's Nomos rings are clever little fidget-rings that act as sundials: you adjust the little sliding rings to the correct date, turn it to the sun, and the shadow cast by the little ring tells you the time. Read the rest

Pastafarian services advertised at German town limits

A reader writes, "In Germany, churches promote the times of their masses on signs at the town entrances. Now, for the first time, the 'Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster' in Templin/Germany was allowed to put sign there as well: 'Fridays, 10am: Noodle mass'." Read the rest

Expat activists and journalists leave USA for Berlin's safety

From Laura Poitras to Jacob Appelbaum to Sarah Harrison, Berlin has become a haven for American journalists, activists and whistleblowers who fear America's unlimited appetite for surveillance and put their trust in Germany's memory of the terror of the Stasi. Read the rest

Photos from Stasiland

Stasi -- Secret Rooms is a 10-year project by Daniel and Geo Fuchs, who took beautiful, striking photos of the stark interiors of the spaces used by the Stasi, the terrifying secret police from the former East Germany. Read the rest

A prison visit with The Pirate Bay's Peter "brokep" Sunde

Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, was allowed to visit Sunde in a Swedish prison, and came away with a sad and important report on his tenure there, and his views on the future of the Internet and copyright. Read the rest

Anti-NSA messages projected on US embassy in Berlin

Oliver Bienkowski, a guerrilla "light-graffiti" artist, splashed a projection of a caricature of Barack Obama's face on the side of the US embassy in Berlin, along with the phrase, "NSA IN DA HOUSE." Read the rest

Second German suspected of spying for NSA

The German government believes that one of its military personnel has been spying on the German state for the NSA. Read the rest

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