Tag Archives | Germany

Germany Sets New Solar Record By Meeting Nearly Half of Country’s Weekend Power Demand

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

This story from inhabitat has the sustainable energy movement incredibly excited, and rightly so methinks:

Germany fed a whopping 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour into the national grid last weekend, setting a new record by meeting nearly half of the country’s weekend power demand.

After the Fukushima disaster, Japan opted to shut down all of its nuclear power stations and Germany followed suit after considerable public pressure. This seems to have paved the way for greater investment in solar energy projects. The Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster announced that Saturday’s solar energy generation met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs AND was equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity! …

By meeting a third of its electricity needs on a work day and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed, Germany’s solar power industry has broken all previous records.

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Authorities Define “Violence” As Any Restriction Of Capital Flows

6269542564_1930ee174e_nCritical Legal Thinking on the German government response to Occupy Frankfurt — peaceful protest is now defined as “violent” if the target is financial institutions:

As debate spilled over into a shouting match in the Hessian State Parliament concerning the effective ban of Blockupy protests this 16-19 May in Frankfurt am Main, the administrative decision that effected this ban has come to light. The key finding being that:

The blockade action cannot be assessed as peaceful. To make blockades and hinder traffic with the goal of closing down the entire financial district...has to be defined as violence. The European Central Bank ‘must be functional, especially in times of financial crisis around the clock’. This includes things like ‘the operation of large-value payment system TARGET2′.

So in effect, a civil disobedience directed against the Eurozone’s financial authorities cannot take place because the obligation of the Frankfurt government to support the operation of the Euro-system overrides the right of European protesters to assemble and demonstrate against that very operation.

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Did Germany Launch A Manned Rocket Into Space In 1933?

medium2Could there be any truth to tales of early space travel success in 1930s Germany? Just imagine how different the World War II outcome could have been had it involved Astro-Nazis. Via io9:

On October 29, 1933, the London Sunday Referee published a report from Rugen, an island in the Baltic Sea, just off the coast of Germany. Someone named Otto Fischer had flown inside a 24-foot steel rocket, to an altitude of six miles. Were the Germans really testing out a rocket that could carry people, nearly three decades before Yuri Gagarin?

Reports said that Otto was the brother of the rocket’s designer, Bruno Fischer. The flight had been made in total secrecy because of a fatal attempt at a launch the previous year, combined with the fact that the flight had been made under the auspices of the Reichswehr, the German War Ministry.

“It was a tremendous sensation,” Fischer reported.

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How Germany’s Pirate Party is Hacking Politics (With Liquid Feedback)

Piraten ParteiWould be great if this caught on in the United States. As David Meyer writes on GigaOM:
In the furores over SOPA, CISPA and similar bills, many have suggested that politicians just don’t get technology. That’s not an accusation that can be leveled at the Pirate movement, which is gaining traction in Europe at impressive speed. The Pirates saw their first major electoral success in the European elections of 2009, when voters in the movement’s birthplace of Sweden returned a Pirate to the European Parliament. The Swedes didn’t vote the Pirates into their own legislature, mind you, but now big wins are coming in Germany, the continent’s largest economy and the ideological home of the hacker movement. Why Germany? Because that’s what the Pirates are trying to do: hack politics, in the sense of making-and-tweaking-stuff sense, rather than destroying it. The movement may have begun with a narrow focus on intellectual property, but it has developed into an attempt to make the political process transparent — and of course better suited to the digital age.
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Racial Profiling is Legal in Germany

PolizeiVia the Local:

The young black German whose refusal to show police his ID led to a court ruling that cops could use skin colour as a criteria for spot-checks, says he will fight the case all the way.

Speaking to The Local, the 25-year-old student said he was disappointed by the verdict which has provoked a storm of outrage. One human rights lawyer called for the judge to be dismissed, while his own lawyer says he will take the case to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

“I don’t want to believe it — that my country now supports this, it is terrible,” the student said.

“The police have been told they can do this — no-one is thinking of the person getting hurt. I just wish every kind of racism would stop; it is horrid how people are treated by those who think they are lesser.” The student, who asked not to be identified, said he often took the train from Kassel, where he studies, to visit family in Frankfurt.

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The Terrible Truth About Germany

Lt. Col. Max Klaar (left)  Bundeswehr (retired) embraces Merrit P. Drucker, retired US army major at a ceremony in Washington marking Drucker's apology for atrocities against German prisoners in US camps. Photo: Monica Frim.

Lt. Col. Max Klaar (left) Bundeswehr (retired) embraces Merrit P. Drucker, retired US Army major at a ceremony in Washington. Photo: Monica Frim.

World War Two stopped in 1945, but it did not end.

The death rate among soldiers and civilians in Germany increased. No peace treaty was signed between Germany and its former opponents. And according to many Germans, there is still no real peace either, because the country is occupied and lacks a treaty.

It is identified by the United Nations as a “Hostile State;” the propaganda which helped to start the war still goes on against Germany; the conquerors have never been called to account for the atrocities they inflicted on their German prisoners of war, or for the deaths by forced starvation of millions of German civilians. Thuggish fascists still threaten freedom of speech. Thousands of political prisoners have been sentenced to jail in Germany for expressing opinions tolerated among the conquerors.… Read the rest

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German Government Spyware Transforms Citizen’s Computers Into ‘Big Brother’-Type Surveillance Devices

CCCDiscovered by the Chaos Computer Club, reports GlobalPost:

The use of so-called “Trojan horse” software by authorities in a number of German states came to light after the Computer Chaos Club, a hacker group, published details of their examination of spyware planted on a laptop in Bavaria.

It found that the software — developed by a private company called DigiTask for the Bavarian police — was capable of much more than just monitoring internet phone calls. It could take screenshots, remotely add files and control a computer’s microphone or webcam to monitor the person’s home. However, the authorities insist that they did not deploy these functions. Investigations are ongoing.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with British computer security firm Sophos, which also analyzed the software, said that the spyware could “automatically update itself over the internet, so new functionality can be added. It can be used to install new software onto the computer, so people could actually alter the contents of a suspect’s hard drive.”

The scandal has led politicians and security experts to look at whether the country’s already stringent privacy laws need firming up.

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City Introduces “Sex Tax Meters” For Prostitutes

800px-10.3010_Torino-nightlife.v2Inspectors may be pulling prostitutes off the streets in Germany. Not because they’re trying to lower crime rate, but because they haven’t been paying their income taxes. Via Reuters:

Prostitutes in the German city of Bonn must carry a ticket purchased from a new parking meter-like machine while working the streets or face hefty fines from tax authorities in a scheme launched on Monday night.

In Germany, ladies of the night pay income tax — the level of which varies from region to region — but compliance is difficult to enforce with women seeking business on the street.

Germany’s first “sex tax meters,” from which prostitutes can purchase a ticket for 6 euros ($8.72) per night, will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented, a city spokeswoman said.

“Inspectors will monitor compliance — not every evening but frequently,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

[Continues at Reuters]

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Hundreds Of Mystery Underground Tunnels Below Germany

image-239154-galleryV9-wqggWhy were vast networks of carefully constructed “goblin tunnels” built below Bavaria during the Middle Ages? Why is there not a single written word about their purpose or construction? Der Spiegel delves into the darkness:

There are more than 700 curious tunnel networks in Bavaria, but their purpose remains a mystery. Were they built as graves for the souls of the dead, as ritual spaces or as hideaways from marauding bandits?

At least 700 of these chambers have been found in Bavaria alone, along with about 500 in Austria. In the local vernacular, they have fanciful names such as “Schrazelloch” (“goblin hole”) or “Alraunenhöhle” (“mandrake cave”). They were supposedly built by elves, and legend has it that gnomes lived inside. According to some sagas, they were parts of long escape tunnels from castles. Similar small underground labyrinths have been found across Europe, from Hungary to Spain, but no one knows why they were built.

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German Insurer Munich Re Rewards Salesmen With Prostitutes

Munich ReBBC News reports:
One of the biggest insurance companies in the world held a party for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of prostitutes. Munich Re is the world's biggest re-insurer — in other words, the company acts as an insurance company for other insurance companies. One of its divisions, Ergo, told the BBC that the party had taken place to reward salesmen in 2007. A spokesman said the people who organised it had since left. The gathering was held at a thermal baths in the Hungarian capital Budapest as a reward to particularly successful salesmen.
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