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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘germany

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the role of supernovas in solar system formation and notes new models for gas giant formation.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a trans model now features on one of the Real Housewives shows.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the surge of immigration into Germany might lead to a shutdown.
  • Savage Minds considers the issue of how, and if, to achieve anthropological fieldnotes.
  • Spacing Toronto notes some cool photographs of early 20th century star Mary Pickford.
  • Torontoist reports on Eaton’s 100th anniversary fashion show in 1968.
  • Towleroad celebrates Yvonne Craig, best known as Batgirl on the vintage 1960s show Batman.
  • Transit Toronto notes that, this weekend, the TTC will be auditioning musicians at the Canadian National Exhibition.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests how Ukraine can win over pro-Russian Donbas and Crimea and argues that the Russian economy won’t recover from the current slump unless there are radical changes.

[URBAN NOTE] “Creative young Brits are quitting London for affordable Berlin”

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The Guardian‘s Johanna Kamradt reports about a new trend in intra-European migration.

The building that houses Agora, tucked away in a small side-street in residential Neukölln, in an old lock-making factory, is easy to ignore.

Outside a handful of people in their late twenties and early thirties are milling about, smoking, working on their MacBook Airs, chatting. On the short walk from the front gate to the front door snippets of three different conversations in English can be heard. Inside is a sea of laptops on desks, with workers fuelled by cortados, flat whites and a daily changing menu, written in English; a woman with a strong German accent orders a coffee in English, because the woman behind the counter doesn’t speak German.

Dani Berg manages Agora’s “food platform” (which includes pop-ups and “performance series”), as well as the cafe. She moved to Berlin just over a year ago, after spending a decade in London.

“The first time I visited Berlin was eight years ago. People told us not to come to the district I now work and live in, Neukölln, as it was considered to be dangerous, and it wasn’t even in the guidebooks or anything. Now it’s filled with tourists and expats.”

Her decision to leave London was mainly a financial one. “I was working seven days a week and paying £800 for a shared flat in Lewisham. We kept moving further and further into south-east London, until I felt I needed to leave entirely. I’m part of a big exodus; I know many people who have moved from east London to south-east London and then to Berlin. The New Cross to Neukölln Express.”

[. . .]

Berliners are noticing how rapidly the city is growing and changing, and how much rents are increasing (despite a recent price cap). Berlin is now the third most visited city in Europe, having surpassed Rome, with only London and Paris ahead of it; many of these visitors are deciding to stay for good. With 45,000 new inhabitants in 2014, Berlin’s population is now more than 3.5 million, marking the 10th year in a row that the city has grown by a similar amount. In 2013 an estimated 10,000 Brits were living in Berlin – this number increased by 35% within a year, rising to just under 13,500 as of November 2014.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 7, 2015 at 10:55 pm

[LINK] “Alarm Bell Rings in Tokyo at Rapid Rise in German Exports to China”

Bloomberg’s Yoshiaki Nohara reports on Germany’s advantage over Japan in China.

As if Japan didn’t have enough economic problems to overcome, officials in Tokyo have identified another worrying trend: lagging export growth to China.

Rapid gains in German shipments to China have caught their attention, with exports from the European powerhouse doubling in value since 2008 and reaching 74.5 billion euros ($82.5 billion) last year.

Japanese sales to China, the nation’s biggest trading partner, crept up by just 3.3 percent over the same period. Japan still holds a solid lead though, with to 13.4 trillion yen ($109 billion) worth of shipments to China in 2014.

To be sure, part of the weakness in these Japanese export figures is because companies from Toyota Motor Corp to air-conditioner maker Daikin Industries Ltd. have been building factories in growing markets like China. While the profits from these plants are brought home, it means less industrial production in Japan.

[. . . T]otal exports account for about 15 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, compared with around 40 percent for Germany, according to a report by the statistics bureau in Tokyo.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO suggests that the Pan Am Games are not turning out to be a disaster.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at innovative designs for fast small space probes.
  • City of Brass celebrates the end of Ramadan.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of Jupiter analogue HIP 11915, and links to a paper arguing that hot Jupiters could evolve into hot Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that there are no more large impact craters expected to be found on Earth.
  • A Fistful of Euros notes the latest on surveillance in Germany.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the gay hints in late 1970s Wonder Woman.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the Yemeni capital of Sanaa is running out of water, looks at the hard time of immigrants on the Canadian job market, and notes Singapore’s public campaigns for manners.
  • Russell Darnely of Maximos62 makes the case for a return of the Elgin Marbles to the Parthenon.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes a new book on the historical Adam.
  • Torontoist reviews the Stratford Festival.
  • Towleroad notes how Scott Walker tried, pathetically, to backtrack from his anti-gay comments on Scouts.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Dagestani discontent with pollution allegedly produced by the Russian navy in the Caspian, looks at the awkward approach of the Russian Orthodox Church to Orthodox churches in South Ossetia, and argues Kazakhstan is a role model for Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the political economy of the BBC.

[LINK] “Putin is a Mussolini Not a Hitler, Inozemtsev Says”

Window on Eurasia summarizes the arguments of another Russian analyst, one Vladislav Inozemtsev, who makes what I think is the correct argument that the contemporary Russian regime bears quite a few similarities to that of 1930s fascist Italy.

The Kremlin regime has met “in practice all” of the characteristics of fascism: a leader cult, a desire for revenge for supposed defeats in the past and attacks now, and an ideological portrayal of these events as the work of others rather than the Russians themselves.

The Kremlin routinely touts Russia as something pure standing against rotting Europe, “masculinity has become a cult, which to a large extent comes from the president himself.” In addition, “a corporate state has been completely constructed: the oligarchs are subordinate to the will of the state, the bureaucracy controls a large part of economic activity, and ‘the corruption vertical’ is more effective than ‘the vertical of power.’”

But what Putin wants makes him look more like Mussolini than the more grandiose Hitler. “In Moscow they want as a maximum the rebirth of the Soviet Union; as a minimum, certain territorial corrections” that would satisfy “the crowd that routinely votes” for the state and its leaders.”

“Crimea,” Inozemtsev suggests, “is Abyssina of 1935, not Austria or the Sudetenland of 1938.” When Mussolini seized Abysinnia, he declared “Italy has an empire.” He wasn’t interested in going further. And Putin isn’t either: he will never invade the Baltic countries or attack NATO, and for the same reason Mussolini didn’t – a fear of attacking major powers.

What Putin has succeeded in doing is creating “a populist fascist regime, one that is “moderately aggressive [like that of] Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal.”

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm

[LINK] “Germany set to recognize genocide in colonial Namibia”

Al Jazeera reports on the noteworthy impending recognition by Germany of the campaign waged againdt the Herero of then-German Southwest Africa as genocide.

German authorities are set to officially recognize as “genocide” the colonial-era crackdown in Namibia by German troops more than a century ago in which over 65,000 ethnic Hereros were killed.

Talks with Namibia on a joint declaration about the events of the early 20th century are ongoing, and it isn’t clear when they will be concluded, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Friday.

The basis for the German government’s approach is a parliamentary motion signed three years ago by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stating that “the war of destruction in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 was a war crime and genocide,” Schaefer said. Steinmeier was an opposition leader at the time, and the motion didn’t pass.

German Gen. Lothar von Trotha — who was sent to what was then South West Africa to put down an uprising by the Hereros against their German rulers in 1904 — instructed his troops to wipe out the entire tribe in what is widely seen as the 20th century’s first genocide, historians say.

On Oct. 2, 1904, Trotha issued a proclamation: “Within the German boundaries, every Herero, whether found armed or unarmed, with or without cattle will be shot. I shall not accept more women and children. … I shall order shots to be fired at them.”

Rounded up in prison camps, captured Hereros and as well as members of the Nama tribe died from malnutrition and severe weather. Dozens were beheaded after their deaths and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for “scientific” experiments.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

[ISL] Bloomberg on the archipelago of Heligoland, Germany

In “The Tiny Islands at the Heart of Germany’s Offshore Wind Boom”, Nicholas Brautlecht and Tino Andresen suggest that wind power has given Germany’s Heligoland, located in the North Sea, a second chance after the decline of tourism.

An industrial revolution is sweeping over Heligoland, a tiny German North Sea archipelago once annexed by the British, and a haven for bird watchers until the wind farmers moved in two years ago.

Units of Blackstone Group LP, EON SE and RWE AG have opened offices and warehouses at the main island’s southern port, taking 25-year leases as they start feeding electricity from three new farms into Germany’s growing reservoir of renewable energy.

“Offshore is a blessing for our island,” said Peter Singer, the 51-year-old head of Heligoland’s port project company. “Commercial tax revenue has risen by 50 percent in the last two years.”

Singer, whose roots on the island go back to the 19th century, led a team that spent a year clearing the harbor of 1,300 bombs, grenades and bullets, remnants of two world wars. That has helped transform Heligoland, dependent on daytrippers seeking tax-free liquor and tobacco, into an offshore service hub for the wind turbines that now pepper the horizon.

About 100 wind farmers have joined the 1,400 population, recognizable in their bright red overalls. Managers in business attire, once as rare as the black-browed albatross that sporadically visits its distinctive red cliffs, have also become a regular feature.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm


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