The Germans have a word for all your hard-to-process Trump emotions

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. Read the rest

German steelworkers demand the right to take two years' worth of "work-life balance" 28-hour work weeks to look after children or aging parents

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. Read the rest

German government giving up on digital reassembly of shredded Stasi files, resorting to manual puzzlings

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." Read the rest

German gamer angry

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

In Uganda, a white German aid worker becomes an unlikely local pop star

Student Deena Herr, 22, has recently become a very unlikely superstar in the East African nation of Uganda.

Journalists around the world voice support for Netzpolitik after outrageous 'treason' investigation

Reporters and press freedom advocates from around the world have signed on to support Netzpolitik and condemn the German government's outrageous investigation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's rep to meet with U.S. ambassador over NSA spying charges

The spying controversy stemmed from documents released by Wikileaks about NSA surveillance of German officials.

Stare at the letters of the GIF alphabet. Forever.

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's claustrophobic, Snowden-commemorating short film

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

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. Read the rest

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! Read the rest

Useful vocabulary for the holidays


Literally, "grief bacon." A German word meaning weight put on through emotional overeating.

(via Reddit) Read the rest

Then we take Berlin

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

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.

Previously: 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

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

Previously: 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

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.

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Space Patrol tribute poster by Michæl Paukner

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