In 2008, Berlin's historic Tempelhof airport was converted into a public park. Now, Stephan von Dassel, mayor of the city's central Mitte district, is proposing the installation of drive-in sex booths where sex workers can service clients in their vehicles. Resembling rows of car ports, they are called verrichtungsboxen and can be found in Bonn (above), Utrecht, Amsterdam, and other European cities. From CNN:
Stephan von Dassel, the mayor who represents the Green party, is attempting to combat prostitution on Kurfürstenstrasse, an upmarket street in Mitte with a history of sex workers.
"Residents and businesses have been calling for a ban on street prostitution for many years," he wrote in a statement. Yet he notes that the Berlin Senate has refused to implement regulatory restrictions "because it fears a deterioration of the overall situation."
He is now proposing a restriction on street prostitution in the district, instead offering sex workers booths in controlled areas in a bid, he says, to improve the lives of "residents and sex workers" alike...
Dassel argues that the current situation for the sex workers on Kurfürstenstrasse is "inhumane," and by refusing to act, the state of Berlin is tolerating "forced prostitution, violence against women and drug addiction."
"Killing in the Name" has never been played quite like this! Thanks to Rockin'1000, a thousand musicians from around the globe gathered at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany to play Rage Against the Machine's 1991 hit song together. In some ways, it's a hot, loud mess. In others, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. Judge for yourself (or not, you don't have to do what I tell you).
Zupagrafika's new book Eastern Blocks (subtitle: "Concrete Landscapes of the Former Eastern Bloc") collects more than 100 beautiful photos of the brutalist towers of ex-Soviet nations, "‘Sleeping districts’ of Moscow, Plattenbauten of East Berlin, modernist estates of Warsaw, Kyiv`s Brezhnevki." Read the rest
As Google has enacted a series of high-handed, opaque changes to how Youtube monetizes, upranks and censors videos, Youtubers have found themselves battered by the changes: they built Youtube into a global multi-billion-dollar success story, but they don't get a say in how it's managed. Now, a group of Youtubers have teamed up with Germany's powerful IG Metall trade union to fight back, using Europe's broad privacy laws and Germany's broad labor laws to force the company to come to the negotiating table and give them a say in how the service is run. You can read more about it on the Fairtube campaign site. Read the rest
Microsoft has a history of attempting to give Microsoft das boot (yes, I know boots in German is stiefel, but work with me here...) Read the rest
After the Snowden revelations, US-based Big Tech companies raced to reassure their non-US customers that the NSA wasn't raiding their cloud-based data, moving servers inside their customers' borders and (theoretically) out of reach of the NSA; then came the Cloud Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act), in which the US government claimed the right to seize data held on overseas servers and the companies began consolidating their servers back in the USA. Read the rest
This video from Bohemian Browser Ballett on Germany's public broadcaster Funk is absolutely genius: a comic dialogue between a literal uniformed Nazi officer outraged that someone had the temerity to call him a Nazi: "Just because someone doesn't share mainstream opinion it doesn't mean he's a Nazi. Maybe I'm a concerned citizen who is afraid of foreign domination!" (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest
Back in 2011, I bought a new countertop made from "Curface," a composite material made from a mix of melted down used coffee cups and coffee grounds; we still have it and it's wearing beautifully -- you can treat it like solid wood, sanding off imperfections and oiling it back up to a shine; or you can treat it like a polymer and treat it with waxes like Turtle Wax for a durable finish. Read the rest
Germany's auto regulator has ordered Daimler to recall 42,000 Mercedes diesels because the company installed illegal software in their engines that gimmicked the engine's thermostat, which would allow the manufacturer to selectively tune its cars' emissions. Read the rest
The Senate of Berlin has approved a five-year, citywide rent freeze in a bid to halt the city's skyrocketing rents, driven by increased demand that has attracted large-scale corporate landlords who have acquired swathes of properties and raised rents on them, pricing tenants out of their own neighborhoods. Next, the bill proceeds to the Berlin Parliament for approval; it is expected to pass, and will go in effect in January, and apply retroactively to June (heading off any last-minute rent-hikes ahead of the freeze). Read the rest
Ahead of this week's EU elections, the popular German Youtuber Rezo published a 55-minute video explaining the missteps of the ruling CDU party and other establishment parties in addressing climate change, inequality, rising militarism, and internet freedom (notably, the German support for the wildly unpopular Copyright Directive), a statement he backed up with hundreds of references. Read the rest
Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer -- a hardliner who has called for cameras at every "hot spot" in Germany -- has announced that he will seek a ban on working cryptography in Germany; he will insist that companies only supply insecure tools that have a backdoor that will allow the German state to decrypt messages and chats on demand. Read the rest
Hans from the Dutch activist group Bits of Freedom writes, "Wednesday May 15, 2019, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for the Netherlands spoke at a round table in the House of Representatives about data and democracy. The Facebook employee reassured members of parliament that Facebook has implemented measures to prevent election manipulation. He stated: 'You can now only advertise political messages in a country, if you’re a resident of that country.' Bits of Freedom then went on to show how easy it was to buy political ads targeting people in Germany from the Netherlands and vice versa." Read the rest
The EU Copyright Directive was voted through the Parliament because a handful of MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong button; this week, it passed through the Council -- representing the national governments of the EU -- and as it did, the German government admitted what opponents had said all along: even though the Directive doesn't mention copyright filters for all human expression (photos, videos, text messages, code, Minecraft skins, etc etc), these filters are inevitable. Read the rest