Behold, the glory of the compound noun: Fernweh ("the feeling of wanting to be elsewhere, anywhere but where you are at this moment"); Weltschmerz ("the state of weariness one feels at the state of the world"); Fuchsteufelswild ("a state of unfiltered, primal rage"); and of course, the indispensable Backpfeifengesicht.
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Large German companies are required to give board-seats to representatives from their workers' unions, which makes the companies both more profitable and more equitable, so it's unusual for German workers to go out on strike, but 15,000 members of IG Metall union, the country's largest trade union, are engaged in short-term "warning strikes" against 80 companies for the right to take up to two years' worth of 28-hour working weeks, a kind of "work-life-balance" leave that has evolved out of the country's existing parental leave, but would allow workers to take extra time to care for aging relatives.
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When it collapsed some 30 years ago, the GDR (East Germany) was the most invasive surveillance state ever attempted, employing one out of every 60 people in the country to snitch on the rest, running dirty tricks campaigns against anyone deemed "subversive."
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I don't know what this young fellow is saying in in this shooter game, but one presumes that the war isn't going well for him. (Previously.) Read the rest
Student Deena Herr, 22, has recently become a very unlikely superstar in the East African nation of Uganda.
Reporters and press freedom advocates from around the world have signed on to support Netzpolitik and condemn the German government's outrageous investigation.
The spying controversy stemmed from documents released by Wikileaks about NSA surveillance of German officials.
Graphic designer, Florian Schommer, created a bunch of animated letters of the alphabet! If only I could read German, so I could know more about what he was thinking.
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Jonathan Lethem and Lars Eidinger star in Lars and Jonathan: A Berlin Friendship , a short, paranoid, quirky film made for Transmediale's Snowden-leak-commemorating Magical Secrecy Tour. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
Literally, "grief bacon." A German word meaning weight put on through emotional overeating.
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Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Tschüss! Read the rest
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.
Star Wars retold by someone who hasn't seen it
Giant Star Wars pool toys and kites
Star Wars/A-Team intro mashup
Star Wars burlesque show (yes, even Jabba's in here)
Star Wars galaxy posters
Star Wars cupcakes look a little chewy
Star Wars sneakers by Adidas
Star Wars on Betamax Gadgets Read the rest
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
Creepy "naked scanners" violate child porn laws in UK Boing Boing
TSA lied: naked-scanners can store and transmit images Boing Boing
Schneier: Fix US airport security by making TSA more transparent ...
RyanAir: Airport security is like a strip-search - Boing Boing
TSA responds to The Atlantic's article on airport security ...
Playmobil Airport Security playset - Boing Boing Read the rest
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
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
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.
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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.
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. Read the rest