Wednesday, 31 August 2011

denkmale, denmäler

Wikipedia for the next month is hosting a photography competition and open call for submissions for pictures of monuments and memorials in Germany and across Europe. The project has garnered a lot of interest and I am sure will add more depth to the catalogue of wonders that Wikipedia has. We have collected a lot of snapshots over the years and I am going through albums to see what I can find to contribute. Oddly enough, there’s one glaring omission in who can take part, since Italy has recognizes no provisions for freedom of panorama (Panoramafreiheit) that allows for taking pictures of works of art on public display and publishing them with no risk of infringement.
I had heard of tourists being bullied for taking pictures in London--for reasons of national security, and of the veiling of Michaelangelo’s and da Vinci’s statues along the promenade of Florenz from casual photography. Such gaps in documentation, should they spread into copy-fight, I’m sure, encourage in a round-about way more people to see such sites in person and patch these holes.
 

ball and chain or pigs in space

Politicians, justice officials and security experts across several German Länder are meeting to explore the possibility of establishing a base of operations in Hessen that will be able to track newly released prisoners from satellites in space, using ankle bracelets (elektronische Fußfessel) and Global Positioning technology. Many places are already doing this, with varying success, and I suppose that many of us, jailbirds or upstanding citizens, are already doing this too--submitting to tracking--voluntarily with our mobile phones, updates and announcements.

These developments reminded me of a story I saw on the superb site Neat-o-Rama (originally via Gizmodo) about an individual in Britain who eluded the authorities by tricking the wardens to attach the tracking device to his prosthetic leg. The proposal does not aim to release dangerous criminals into the population or commute sentences to house-arrest but to monitor individuals that pose a risk as repeat-offenders, recidivists (Rückfälligkeit). This sort of probation does not replace half-way houses or true interaction, since whereabouts are not always telling of what's a-foot. Once they catch and try the culprit, I think the robber who recently held-up a casino in Bad Karma, our fair city, would make a good candidate for this pilot-programme. There has been such a flurry of casino (Spielhalle), depressing and chintzy with slot- and plinko-machines and not glamourous like Monte Carlo, building here lately, it's almost as if one could rob a gambling hall by accident without even realizing it.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

reagent and chemical kinetics

Just as regulatory decisions, with moaning and feet-dragging, possibly apt, and once set for a far, distant future which phase out production of the familiar incandescent light bulb for more, debatably, efficient models, come into effect in Germany, a production facility for organic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) (DE) has been inaugurated in Regensburg (Ratisbon) on the Danube. The process is still being perfected since the discovery of this property in the 1950s, but in application, these electroluminescent membranes can be stretched and spindled across larger surfaces and maintain contrast and visual integrity without a back-light. Manufacture is also less energy intensive, since unlike with current display screens that require a housing be prepared, organic LEDs can be printed onto any suitable surface, flexible or rigid. LEDs bulbs are also among the alternatives touted to old-fashioned light bulbs, whose longevity and durability (and lack of toxic gas wafting off the circuitry when in use) could not previously overcome their high cost, but now, with factory expansion, maybe that price will come down. Technology always outpaces good governmental intent, perhaps making the proclaimed next generation of lighting already obsolete, and the future a less friendly territory for green-washing and impostors.

Monday, 29 August 2011

ready, steady, go or goodnight, irene

In collusion with the media, it seems the US government has learnt to harness not only the power of nightmares but the power of suggestion as well. There's been quite a bit of gentle teasing over the hyperbolic storm and some stewing distrust at being put off by the whole weekend's meteorological terrorizing, but just as it is very difficult to dismiss the tremor of an earthquake for a twitch or bump when all around people are apparently convinced by the science and gossip-stream, it was difficult to ignore the potential frenzy. No one ought to be faulted for erring on the side of caution, provided that that was an honest mistake--something upbuilding and in honour of those victims of past disasters to ensure that no one else need endure preventable catastrophes, but the stern warnings and lurking prognostications did not seem so well-intended. Even if residents of the Atlantic seaboard megapolis are not judged to be weathered veterans of hurricanes, flooding and tornados, preparation--not tempered with fear and unwavering authority--can make for a better exercise than this drill and panic, now more likely to be scoffed in the future and which was costly in terms of resources diverted and lost revenue. It is possible to recover, in terms of image and credibility, from an anti-climax and move forward, but I do have to wonder about this language and enchantment being slathered about. Are there some elements, as others have said, that are yoking insinuations, like with the usual bogeymen, to argue for or against economic policies or security priorities? What sort of arrows does this hurricane season put in the quiver of government factions? Where those hundreds of thousands of residents of Manhattan compelled to evacuate to higher-ground, under threat of legal reprisal, so bugging devices could be installed in their homes? Faced with past incompetency and then over-excited anticipation, people are searching, maybe, for something more sinister rather than accept relief, however manufactured.

geotagging or if you see something, spray something

Der Spiegel (auf englisch) has a enlivening dispatch on a project to encourage dexterity, physical activity and creative expression in a class of senior citizens through street art. Though this particular initiative has run its course, graffiti, both therapeutic and for its own sake, has proven engaging and enduring and sparked similar art projects in other retirement communities.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

märchenhaft or funk to funky

The splendid directory of keen stuff Super Punch brings us the latest project by artist and illustrator Andrew Kolb. Inspired by the mental images that each line evokes, Kolb created a children’s story from the lyrics of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. He shares the whole thing on his website, along with other pretty imaginative works. Modern ballads, it seems, after Bowie, the Beatles and the Stones, do not consistently tell a story, but there are exceptions. Maybe it's too difficult to separate the music video from the music, sometimes.  What songs fill your head with images and a happy end?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

bibliomancy

Bibliomancy is divination from books, opening a book to a random page, like the Sibylline leaves but usually the book was the Bible, and trying to interpret the chance passage as advice for the present or the future. I rediscovered recently the veteran blog BibliOdyssey, which has been finding and sharing antique and vintage prints and illustrations for years. The site covers all disciplines and all ages and one can find amazing artwork just browsing through the archive of entries or find random inspiration, and I am really enjoying the collection of unusual and striking Oriental graphic art, like from this recent post and an earlier one on Japanese toy designs. Not only is it visually stunning and surprising, I also appreciate the ease of navigation and sorting of ideas and styles, as well as the scholarly treatment of each source and the information about the history and setting of each book and canvas.

Friday, 26 August 2011

link round-up: sonnenblume and phases of the moon

Here's a smattering of some of the more interesting items I stumbled upon or was clued on to over the past week:

Although the sunflower was probably domesticated in the New World before maize, it took a Lenten loophole of the prohibition of cooking oil in the Russian Orthodox church to really make the plant commercially recognized. The invention of cholesterol too played a big role in giving farmers a valuable alternative crop for off-seasons, when practicing crop-rotation. The circuitous history of the flower is fascinating.  It is a sight to see driving through the countryside and seeing vast fields of big sunflowers angling their blooms away from the roving sun throughout the day. It made me think about another inspired discovery of a young inventor, who designed a more efficient photovoltaic array after hiking through the wintry woods and noticed how the trees might try to maximize their sun-exposure.
After the Feast of the Assumption (Maria Himmelfahrt) last week, earlier this week was the celebration of the coronation of the Queen of Heaven, which Wikipedia explained brilliantly, and though true to form in scholarship, sweetly, I thought. I am really enamoured with that website and its dedicated band of contributors, and not just for all the new things that one can learn every day, but also how individual entries are galloping towards completion and perfection, and how challenging certain topics and aspects can be to define, like the meticulous and continuous revisions that go into the gloss of Lolita.
And here was a very cool and inventive gallery of photographs of people posing with the Moon. I want to do this next time we're camping.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

squirrel, nut, zipper or out of sight, out of mind

Apparently, I am very prone to hide things in drawers-and in a very nomadic and peripatetic sort of way. I know that's not their home and not really where they belong, in the logical scheme of things. So instead of occupying more and more temporary yet concealing real-estate, acquisition growing of junk-drawers with more and more finds, there are probably more creative solutions for the stuff that one collects--or rather, saves.
I saw a quite a few white-washed, Mediterranean-style restaurants and shops in the harbor towns in southern France that were decorated with these larger wine jugs (DE) filled with corks.
That, I thought, was a good way to free up one junk-drawer--for the bottle caps and beer coasters.  Tacked, uncorked, or otherwise assembled, I sure there an adequately presentable way to display most anything.  How would you curate and show off your collection and stockpile?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

visitenkarte

A talented graphic-artist had a vision for a very minimalistic, classy business card (discovered and re-imagined at Boing Boing), which highlights one’s essential modes of contact and communication, like parsing parts of speech or a particularly long German word, with one’s email address.
This is a very basic and clever way to convey a lot. Mine is sort of a fantasy card, since I don’t have my own domain-name—yet, though I am happy with my little niche in the web and those exclusive addresses are probably just like vanity plates, nor am I particularly social or electronically gregarious, I suppose. How would you design a simple and effective calling-card?

 



kwisatz haderach or struldbrugg

Science maven Maggie Koerth-Baker, a few weeks ago, filed some very clever observations on longevity and the need for people to riddle out a formula or pattern for long, healthy lives--prefacing the dispatch with something to the effect, if a supercentenarian, whilst chain-smoking, eating chocolate, not exercizing, drinking red wine and turnip juice, jumped off a bridge from Okinawa to Andorra--would you do it too... No habit or diet is shared for those who reach extreme old age, though science is trying to fit it to a certain paradigm, but neither is it purely locked up in genetic predisposition.

I think maybe the common-quality lies in attitude, though I am sure it is still the exception or the exceptional that makes the rule. Petty anxieties telescoped beyond their power for harm or for good are surely counter-productive. The Big Think, also a few weeks ago, featured a good lecture, Fear is the Mind Killer (an homage to Frank Herbert's Dune-cycle), about this subject, which I thought triangulated well with prevailing healthy attitudes and stride. The lecture addresses the subtler names for different degrees of fear found in Hebrew. It's true how we give it a name and independent existence with our internal-dialogues, mental-vocalization, like "I'm afraid I'll be late," "I'm afraid I won't make a good impression," "What if I get sick," "What if the money runs out." These little-deaths always resolve themselves, but one does tend to weigh them as clear and imminent dangers. It is no mean feat to stop worrying and maybe a little bit naïve dismiss or ignore what's burgeoning, but at least, with the acknowledgement of these little killers, one might also pause to not only name it but also to assess (to mantra-tize it) the damage it could do.

Monday, 22 August 2011

boxcar

After being guided to see such a neat rendition of Anonymous, retribution disguised behind a Guy Fawkes' revolutionary mask, that we had to navigate in the dark the canals of the city to find this again sprayed on a bridge pylon,
I thought that that was surely a sign, an omen that there was to be an imminent and spectacular dispensation of righteous reckoning with promised economic and political consequences for not sharing secrets.
That jolt has not yet materialized and some sore politicking may lead to more delays and hierarchical disputes, but I did think it was a good time to share this image round-up of street art.
These first three were part of a group found in the underpass by the canal dams of Bamberg.
The next was in a small satellite train-station near Leipzig, decorated throughout.
The last grey one is an older picture, from 2005, found in a pedestrian tunnel in Luxembourg.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

legendary creatures or there be dragons here

I was reading about the discovery of a new dinosaur fossil that will take its scientific nomenclature from the legends of tormenting dragons that primative finds possibly inspired in the first place. The mythological beast, the Cyclopes, was also probably inspired by discoveries of the skulls of mammoths by ancient Europeans who did not know how to interpret an elephant relative’s remains. I was reminded of my own find while climbing the arid sands of the Great Wandering Dune of Pyla. I thought it was the bleached skull of a little dragon, but upon discovering more, I later realized it was probably the vertebrae of some real animal instead. I still like my little dragon skull, and behind it there is a white holey stone called an Adder stone (oder ein Hühnergott), a rock worn down by time and tide, and which was a talisman or charm for ancient people. 
I always kind of felt sorry for the dragon that Saint George slew. One sees the saint vanquishing the beast depicted quite a lot on the arms of villages, counties and countries (so one gets the opportunity to reflect on such things all the time), but I think that this popular mascot was just a bully. The dragon was probably a gentle and misunderstood beast, maybe a scapegoat--and the last of its kind. Though I am sure a lot of national heralds were displeased to find their patron delisted, I thought it was kind of appropriate that Pope John Paul II, however respecting traditions, desanctified St. George for being as mythical as the monster he killed.

Friday, 19 August 2011

rhein-main-donau

 Driving to visit my parents after work, I finally took the time to stop along the way and investigate the imposing cloister complex at Markt Ebrach, formerly belonging to the Order of the Cistercians (or Trappists) Monks. I only walked around inside the glorious church, having before only seen it in passing, which was just surpassingly beautiful and unexpected with art, colour and ornament.
The village boasted a wealth of other things to see, like sculpted gardens, a curiously fortified winter garden and brewery in addition to courtyards of the cloister. The Cistercian Order took vows of silence and removed themselves from the everyday world: these enduring buildings owing to their need to be self-sufficient. I will have to return for the complete tour when I can bring H along and can devote a few hours to the spectacle.
From the main street, just passing through and dodging traffic, the church and raised abbey garden are certainly eye-catching but I did not expect so much more on closer inspection. This entire stretch of road is beautiful but quaint and without ostentation or being sequestered--also, I was noticing, that a lot of towns and villages seemed to invoke matters bovine in their names, a lot with either the prefix Vieh- or the suffix -auroch. Vieh (cattle) gives us the English word fee, as livestock is a commodity. I might not have been right with -Auroch, though, recalling the primordial and now extinct European wild cow, the Aurochs (Auerochse oder Ur auf Deutsch).
The Coat of Arms of Mecklenburg
features an Aurochs
Rather the Auroch is a tributary of the Regnitz river, which flows into the Main, then the Rhein and onto the North Sea, but I suppose the river could refer ultimately to the ancient, undomesticated bull.

manifest destiny

 In an unrequited display of nostalgia for fading imperial muscle, the US Internal Revenue Service is poised to unleash a slew of regulations and reporting requirements that will make foreign banks and businesses unwilling agents of tax-collection. This cannot end well--given that--following the example in the article, a foreign bank with American holdings, investments, bonds, treasuries, has to expend caution, time and resources on the citizenship of each and every depositor-- and the money-lenders and underwriters may well avoid doing business with Americans altogether. Bankers and economists all over are deriding this parasitic hubris, not wanting to take the responsibility for doing a job that the US government cannot manage itself. America's tax regime, for individuals at least, is overly-ambitious and unique in that in seeks its share of earnings, regardless of where they were earned and where one lives--and this they demand outside of the arrangement of any standing tax treaty.
Shirking one's obligations harms others, especially when one expects to be afforded the protections and support of one's country--however, I think this whole proposal is vindictive and misguided and won't repatriate revenue, the IRS already cannot handle its regular caseload though it expects to shift through the wisps of international banking, and also given that the US government might try to shake down, strong-arm and intimidate individuals for loose-change yet demand no taxes from its huge corporations, whose continued profits through tax-payer funded bailouts (Rettungspakets) have neither translated to creation of new jobs nor market stability.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

aurora, not a palindrome

A team of Italian, Swedish, Russian and German astrophysicists, shifting through volumes of data, have discovered that there is a faint, disperse ring of anti-matter particles around the Earth. These particles, whose existence to me raises many questions by its confirmation, like: were they trapped by the strong magnetic fields whose lines of influence extend many thousands of kilometers beyond the atmosphere, are some cosmological readings, anomalies really the ghostly scintillations of anti-matter and normal matter meeting (e.g., the dark matter and dark energy conundrum or the Doppler shift or a hatful of universal constants), or even should it be more risky to attempt to break free of the mundane sphere than it seems to be, are apparently suspended within the van Allen radiation belts, which by virtue of scale make an ideal trap to keep at least some of the anti-particles from interacting with their everyday nemesi.  How neat and exciting!  On the practical side, researchers are now hailing the magnetosphere as a potential source of fuel for the next generation of space craft, carefully harvesting this volatile Bizarro substance, although the boundary between space and sky has always been known as an explosive and rich source of potential energy with cosmic rays in constant volley, if we were only smart enough to tap into it.

debenture or sweet lorraine

German and French senior leadership have been holding a series of coy summits in order bring some resolution to the sovereign debt crisis across the Eurozone, whose uncertainty has strained the economy globally--coupled with America's insolvency. One crisis is always serviceable to distract from the other, but I suppose that Germany was incited to action by reports out of Wiesbaden (Das Hauptsitz des Statistische Bundesamt) that the Wirtschaftswunder driving the markets of Europe had stagnated of late. Proposals of introducing Eurobonds, shares in public debt that have an equalizing effect on the interest-rates that states would incur for issuing more debt--Germany and France and other fiscally sound countries would share the same burden as Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, were roundly rejected, though some say it is a quick and effective fix for the euro, because Germany and France argue that such an institution is not conducive to economic integration at the onset but rather during the culmination. Level-growth for Germany and Europe is not as reassuring as unbridled progress, however, sustainment is nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, the level of confidence of Germany's customers, trade-partners determine who's buying what and makes up at least half the indicators of an exporters' financial health. Debt management certainly cannot go unaddressed, but no radical changes are being touted: rather than a "collective government," they are espousing a shared-governance under the established European Union legislative and executive frameworks with more time devoted to consensus building on tax-collection, trade- and market-regulation, and management of pensions. Maintaining a common-currency that does not impose common economic policies is a challenge--essential for allowing individual state to keep their national character.
What is rumoured to be a significant topic of discussion, however, is the proposed financial transaction tax. How this will develop is complete speculation but it is not double-taxation or something to impede free-trade, rather, if it does glean something off the top from the frenetic activity of stock-brokers, it might prove to be a positive thing. For those who buy and sell but never hold a commodity for longer than a few seconds, maybe a market-tax might induce some stability and thinking beyond the horizon. Trades have been relinquished to computer algorithms that cause these wild variations from one minute to the next, especially on the US market--some brokerages are using computer-routines that spurs volume ever faster by considering the limits of the speed-of-light down a wire and adjust to make the way shorter. Taxing the blatant opportunists is not sour-grapes, but perhaps a way to tame markets and closer align stock-exchanges with the real economy.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

you'll get no potato juice or coffee perpetuum

Over the weekend, we were treated to another demonstration of my parents' very clever vintage balance siphon coffee maker, which I have decided violates the laws of thermodynamics. It's quite a brilliant and entertaining performance, like an ornate fountain or Glockenspiel to toll the hour: a spirit lamp heats up water in the metal chamber and once it reaches a critical temperature, siphons through and infuses the coffee grounds in the glass carafe (bell jar).
Voided of water, the metal piston rises and extinguishes the fire, and as it's cooled, the pressure imbalance forces the brewed coffee back into the canister. It is a heuristic perpetual motion machine, a challenge to find the right grade of ground, right ratio of water to coffee, and the coffee tastes very pure. The whole process is engrossing, having never seen such a configuration or knew a kitchen contraption to operate on such principles, and very steam-punk--much more heroic than the usual delivery method.

Monday, 15 August 2011

nom de guerre or incite-a-riot

Some European politicians are making well-intentioned calls, with the massacre in Norway and street riots in England fresh on the public conscious, that networking sites and commentary refuse made-up names or (pseudo) anonymous contributions in order to prevent circulation of hate-speech or organizing chaos. Some instigators have always cowered behind anonymity when disseminating destructive suggestion to avoid catching any of the blame when things end badly, and though most faceless pontiffs only go so far, speech and expression are protected, for one, to keep tyranny in check. The paradigms of the Arab Spring do not owe their existence solely to tweets and spasms but the democracy movement certainly would have managed a different pace without networking tools and the privacy that the internet can afford. Mobilization of thuggery, as characterized by some, is a frightening thing but internet crowd-sourcing and crowd-control has not completely managed to transform the population into lemmings.
Those motivated for a cause can discern between leadership and cowardly advocates. Meanwhile, this Orwellian crack-down has already come to pass, autonomously--without discussion or policy-debate, locally enacted without a higher-mandate, which is illustrative of the mindset of some people, over the weekend on the platforms of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in and around San Francisco, California. In response to the killing of two passengers by BART officers--which is another disturbing insight into the mindset of some, when a bus driver is licensed to kill--supposedly a protest rally had been organized. Though the planned rally did not take place, wireless services were disabled to prevent further, real-time coordination by the unruly mob. These broad powers to take a group or individuals offline because they might incite a riot is disturbing. No one wants authority figures to decide what is seemly and warranted--and I suspect that most listened when their mothers admonished, "if all your friends jumped off a bridge..."--but it certainly seems even more dangerous to let a protest escalate into a violent confrontation with multiple bystanders with no way to call for help.

for the rain it raineth every day

Again this year, we have not seen much of a summer over large swaths of Germany. I feel especially sorry for children and their families as school summer holidays come to an end and people grow rabid about getting out from under this cloud--August is inflexible and not everyone can afford to escape to clearer climes, though weather is sometimes too big to get away from. With the incessant drip and spatter, I was thinking about precipitation and I wonder if before deforestation, farming and urban-sprawl, when there were more trees, was there also less water in circulation. Catastrophic floods have complex origins, as does the climate, but I wonder if the weather wasn't fairer with more of the stuff driving the weather sequestered in living things.

Von sommerlichen Wetter schlecht angenommen wurden auch dieses Jahr wieder über weiter teil Deutschlands. Vor allem bedauere ich es, dass Kindern und ihren Familien haben kein Sommerschulferien: Urlaubskalendar sind jedoch starr, und nicht jeder kann es sich leisten, andere Länder zu bereisen. Während dieser Regentage frage ich mich, wie die Niederschlagsmuster veränderte hat: ehemals habe man (vor Entwaldung, Landwirtschaft und Zersiedelung) weniger Regen und Schnee aufgrund weniger Wasser im Umlauf. Der Klimawandel und die Naturkatastrophe hat komplexen Ursachen, aber frage ich mich, ob es hatte schönes Wetter wenn mehr Wetterkraftstoff im Holz gebundene war.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

mimicry

Ambitious counterfeiters (flatterers, really I suppose) have moved beyond mere knock-off goods, Austrian villages and amusement parks and have managed to emulate entire retail franchises. Authorities have closed down no less than 22 fake Apple retail outlets in the country (EN/DE) that were made to appear to be the genuine article. A few months back, there were reports that someone had managed to create an entire unsanctioned furniture store, based off the Swedish model.

Friday, 12 August 2011

presque vu or deppenapostroph

 While visiting the País d'Òc recently, we saw nothing of the native language of the region, and there was a conspicuous absence of anything other than French. We discussed how statutes mandate all signage and advertisements should be exclusively in the official language and without creeping impurities, portmanteaux (mot-valises, Kofferworter) and English nonce words. I also found it interesting that publicity laws have been interpreted in France to also impose a ban, in print and television, on inviting customers to friend, like or follow their business or organization on specific, named social networking sites: one may advise clients to look them up on the internet or promote their own website but to be more exact unfairly endorses one (garbled and probably multi-lingually threatening) service over others.
These signs are not shifting between German and English and the onus is not on the local businesses to wonder how their names might sound to an inter-national audience, but I suspect that the French would probably be even less unapologetic about what others might snicker about.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

minced oath or london bridge

Although maybe the Cycle of Democracy is not genuinely attributable to Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee--Scottish writer, historian, lawyer, and educator of the late 18th century, and rather to an editor from the Daily Oklahoman newspaper, Elmer T. Peterson in 1951--the statement still contains some truth: "Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation: 'A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.'"
Or rather, from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage. Alexis de Toqueville, who planted the seeds of the idea of American exception, even echoed himself that America's growing population would be better managed by a monarch and that democracy could only be so elastic. I wonder where the world might be in this cycle, with hysterics over the market and unrest and estrangement in the streets--on the rise or fall? Hysteria, detached and writhing like a Water-Wiggle, could be used to justify cuts to social services, just as pointing to rioters, destroying what infrastructure and opportunities for employment might remain in their neighbourhoods, might either be an expression of frustration or more justification to dismantle social-safety nets. Greed is nothing to aspire to, but neither is playing into the characterization of an angry and an idle mob nor the complacency of leaders and role-models. What's the face of it elsewhere, and might this happen anywhere?

series of tubes

These concrete drainage tubes converted into individual hotel rooms are certainly more comfy and less treacherous than the pipes that the Mario Brothers have to navigate. This installation in a city park in Bottrop certainly has the same arcade-feel, and booked-solid, operates on a small environmental footprint principle under a pay-as-you-wish scheme. This would be a fun twist on camping with a bit more space (2 meters in diameter and 2.6 meters long) and a few more amenities.
Diese Beton-kanalrohre wurde als Hotel Zimmern eingerichtet, und sie sind gewiss weitaus bequemer und weniger gefährlich als die Abenteuer des Super Mario. Die Anlage stehen im Park im Bottrop mit dem ähnlichen Videospiel-Stimmung ausgebucht ist. Das Park Hotel funktioniert nach dem geringstem Umwelteinfluss-Prinzip und sind Pay as You Wish. Nächtigen im Inneren des Rohr ist Camping mit einem industriell Twist.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

built this city on rock-and-roll

Some clever software engineers several months back produced a faithful three-dimensional model, extruded with a homemade 3-D printer, of the Coliseum in Rome from an aggregate of holiday snap-shots found on a photo-sharing site from all sides and all angles. The computer processed and analyzed all this data autonomously, and I thought about this feat during our recent trip to Dresden. This tidy and automated routine can no way compare, however, to the rebuilding of the city's landmark Frauenkirche essentially from collective memories. Although putting the church back together again was not completed until 2006, it was symbolic and important for many as a gesture of reconciliation for divided Germany, like the peaceful rallies, Montagsdemonstrationen, at the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig.
The church was not actually hit by a bomb, experts surmise, but rather imploded during the ensuing firestorm that heated the porous sandstone building material to a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. Only the darker stones on the Frauenkirche are original, puzzled together from a pile of rubble that sat in place in the square for some six decades--the lighter-coloured material is new restoration.
Making whole all the baroque indulgences of Dresden, the Semper Opera House included, was a labour of love, remembering and piecing back together.  We passed by a memorial (Communist-style sculpture) to the Trümmerfrauen, teams that dug through the debris of war, salvaging what could be saved and unriddling remnants of a city that's once again glorious. I thought that this one had built this city on rock-and-roll.