Category Archive 'Germany'
11 Jul 2015

Eschenheimer Turm

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Amazing Planet:

Standing right in the middle of downtown Frankfurt, surrounded by modern high-rises, is an early 15th century tower called Eschenheimer Turm. The tower was once part of a massive fortification that consisted of nearly sixty towers and walls that encircled the city. Most were demolished between 1806 and 1812 when the old city walls were torn down. Eschenheimer Turm, along with two other towers, were saved from demolition at the request of French ambassador Count d’Hédouville. Today the tower is one of Frankfurt’s most famous landmarks.

Read the whole thing.

16 Apr 2015

Amusing German newYorker Clothing Line Commercial

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23 Mar 2015

German Hacker Replicated Politician’s Fingerprint From Photograph

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Last December, a member of the Chaos Computer Club claimed to have replicated the fingerprint of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen using photographs of the politician’s thumb.

Wired puts a nice “Justice was done” spin on the story, but gets the identity of the Minister wrong.

A few years ago the German Minister of Justice—kind of like the Attorney General here in the United States—he was pushing very hard for Germans to have biometric data on their national ID cards, and he wanted all Germans to be fingerprinted. And the Germans pushed back, particularly privacy advocates and those in the Chaos Computer Club. And so what they did is when the German Minister of Justice was out at a restaurant, they went ahead and after he left they got the glass that he had left behind, and they were able to lift his fingerprint off of the glass. They then took a photograph, brought it into Photoshop, cleaned it up, and then were able to replicate it on 3D printers, in latex. … [They] included it as a handout in their Chaos Computer Club magazine that went out to 5,000 people, and they encouraged their readers to leave the Justice Minister’s fingerprints at crime scenes all over Germany, which they did.”


The BBC has the correct story.

A member of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hacker network claims to have cloned a thumbprint of a German politician by using commercial software and images taken at a news conference.

Jan Krissler says he replicated the fingerprint of defence minister Ursula von der Leyen using pictures taken with a “standard photo camera”.

Mr Krissler had no physical print from Ms von der Leyen.

Fingerprint biometrics are already considered insecure, experts say.

Mr Krissler, also known as Starbug, was speaking at a convention for members of the CCC, a 31-year-old network that claims to be “Europe’s largest association” of hackers.

He told the audience he had obtained a close-up of a photo of Ms von der Leyen’s thumb and had also used other pictures taken at different angles during a press event that the minister had spoken at in October.

Mr Krissler has suggested that “politicians will presumably wear gloves when talking in public” after hearing about his research.

23 Jan 2015

Archaeological Tyranny & Hype

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Nebra sky disc

The National Post describes, with grossly naive exaggeration and the worst kind of statist prejudice, an interesting, rather pretty Bronze Age artifact with an outrageously offensive history.

The Nebra disc was found in 1999 along with two bronze swords, two hatchets, a chisel, and fragments of spiral bracelets, by Henry Westphal and Mario Renner using a metal detector.

The government of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt claims to own everything in the ground and, as knowledge of the find gradually became known to the public, confiscated all the artifacts found and charged the discoverers with “looting.” Westphal and Renner were convicted and sentenced to prison, as a reward for their discovery, for four months and ten months in 2003. When they appealed, the appeal court raised their sentences to six and twelve months.

Thus, as the National Post reports, the precious artifacts were “saved from the black market” and transferred to the custody of bureaucratic officialdom and the all-knowing administrative state.

The disc has been dated on the basis of the style of the bronze swords buried with it to the mid 2nd millennium BC. Radiocarbon dating of a bit of birchbark found on one of the swords was dated to between 1600 and 1560 BC confirming the former estimate.

The author of the article was scarcely able to breathe while describing the totally astonishing alleged scientific significance of the disc. Why, the Nebra disc represents the earliest human depiction of the cosmos!

Saxony-Anhalt’s house prehistorian & archaeologist Harald Meller (who personally confiscated the horde on behalf of the Leviathan state) has interpreted the disc as a tool used for determining when a thirteenth month – the so-called intercalary month – should be added to a lunar year to keep the lunar calendar in sync with the seasons. When certain prominent constellations, particularly the Pleiades, lined up with the sun and moon as displayed on the disc, every 2-3 years, it would be time to add an extra month in order to bring the lunar and solar calendars into agreement.

Or maybe it was simply made as a piece of decorative art, depicting the most prominent constellations in the night sky.

There is, of course, no real reason, beyond arrogance and brute force, why any state should be entitled to lay claim to ownership of all undiscovered archaeological finds, and there is also no particular reason to believe that immediate state ownership is essential to their preservation. Art objects have been collected and preserved historically most commonly privately since Antiquity. In the modern world, art objects privately owned have a strong tendency to make their way via philanthropy into institutional collections.

These days, we read frequently of absolutely fascinating finds made by hobbyist metal collectors in Britain. In Saxony-Anhalt, I expect we will be reading about fewer of those, since the reward for discovery there is imprisonment for looting.

Wikipedia article

Meller’s theory explained

20 Jan 2015

Clean, Precise, Serene: Porsche 911 Engine Plant, Assembly Line Zuffenhausen

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Those Nibelungs make both wonderful toys and terrific weapons of war.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

18 Jan 2015

The Krauts Have a Word For Them

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Translation: “Lying Press: Shut Your Mouths!”

So notorious is left-wing media bias in Germany, particularly with respect to reporting cases of crime by Muslim immigrants that there have been mass demonstrations, twenty-five thousand people in Dresden for example, against the Lügenpresse, what Rush Limbaugh refers to as “the Drive-By Media.”

The left has responded by trying to link the uncomplimentary term to earlier examples of its use against Allied newspapers during WWI and by the Nazis against their Communist rivals’ newspapers. The ultimate counter-attack has taken the form of a Sprachkritischen Aktion [Speech Critical Action] “jury,” consisting of four academics and two journalists, convening to declare Lügenpresse the Unwort des Jahres [the non-word of the year].

Previous un-word “award” winners have included the terms sozialtourismus (“social tourism”), referring to immigrants who come to Germany to indulge in socialist state benefits, and Döner-Morde (Gyro murder), which uses the name of a popular Turkish take-out dish to dismissively refer to murders of Turkish immigrants.

Atlantic story

05 Jan 2015

How to Prevent WWII

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Haynes King, Jealousy and Flirtation, 1874, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Every once in a blue moon, Quora has an amusing and informative answer to a question.

Asked for a small act which might prevent WWII, Jon Davis responds:

I’d give a flower to a very particular young lady at a very particular moment in time.

This would have to be a very particular young lady, of course. Given the consequences of the choice, it had better also be a very particular flower. But either way, I would give a flower to a lady.

This young woman would a be very important girl in history, because at the time I would meet her, she should rightly be meeting someone else. If I were to succeed in gaining her attention, the attention of one girl history only remembers as a footnote, and even that for only a few short minutes, history would never have been the same.

As I said, this girl must be special, so special that there is no other girl like her in the world. She must be the Duke of Cleveland’s daughter. The time would have to be around 1837.

Read the whole thing.

14 Dec 2014

An Interesting Woman, 1910

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From Jugend 1910 in the Heidelburg University Collection: A. Weinberger, Munich, “An Interesting Woman”
I have ruined two barons, three officers, and a bank director! Now I conclude with a tenor and then I write my memoirs!

Hat tip to Beautiful Century via Karen L. Myers.

11 Oct 2014

Kirk & Spock in a German Volkswagen Commercial

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

04 Dec 2012

Ladies Playing Alphorns

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Alphorn playing used to be a male tradition, but today the ladies of the Werdenfelser Alphornblaeserinnen perform on the lengthy instruments touring across Southern Bavaria. NBC news.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

02 Oct 2012

European Relationship Problems

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17 Sep 2012

WWII German Military Relics Discovered in Russia and the Med

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Probably found were examples of the 7.5 cm leichtes GebirgsInfantereiGeschütz 18 Mountain howitzer, which could be disassembled into six to ten packloads weighing 74.9 kg. or under.

RIA Novosti reports that some German WWII artillery pieces were found recently intact and in good working order.

Police in a mountainous region of southern Russia have found five German World War II-era artillery guns along with ammunition for them.

The guns – 76-millimeter cannon – are in good condition, according to police in Kalbardino-Balkaria Republic, the location of Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe.

“If they fell into the wrong hands, they could be used as intended,” Elbrus police chief Muslim Bottayev said, adding that military engineers would soon remove the weapons and ammunition to a safe location.

The guns were discovered near the Donguz-Orun pass at an elevation of 9,184 feet by officers from the Elbrus District Police Department jointly with members of the Memorial Elbrus society.

The find included eight 76-mm artillery shells, four hand grenades, three mines and 500 small-arms rounds abandoned when the Wehrmacht withdrew from the area.

Complete story.


Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported recently on an even more interesting find on the Western front.

The wreck of a huge Luftwaffe transport plane that was shot down by a British fighter in the Second World War has been found off the coast of Sardinia, according to a team of Italian researchers.

It is believed to be the only surviving example of the Messerschmitt 323 “Giant”, a massive aircraft that was designed to carry tanks, half-tracks and artillery into battle.

The Germans initially intended to use the plane in the planned invasion of Britain, Operation Sea Lion, but it was cancelled and the aircraft instead saw action in other theatres such as North Africa and the Mediterranean.

The Me-323 was on its way from a German base in Sardinia to the city of Pistoia in Tuscany when it was shot down by a Bristol Beaufighter long-range fighter plane on July 26, 1943.

It crashed into the sea off the Maddalena islands, an idyllic archipelago of low islands and sandy beaches that is popular with sailors and holidaymakers.

A small team led by Cristina Freghieri, a diver and amateur historian, claims to have discovered the wreck at a depth of 200ft.

Messerschmidt Me 323 Gigant

31 Aug 2012

American 550lb. Bomb Detonated in Munich

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A bomb disposal team has detonated an American bomb left over from World War II found in the German city of Munich.

The detonation happened shortly before 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in the Schwabing district and was heard across the city, local media report.

There are reports that sparks from the explosion caused the roofs of some neighbouring buildings to catch fire.

The bomb was discovered on Monday night by building workers at the site of an old bar that was being demolished.

Overnight, 2,500 residents were evacuated from the area closest to the bomb, with others living further away being told to stay in their homes.

Experts decided it was not possible to make the device safe because of its unusual fuse, which operated by means of a chemical reaction rather than the mechanical device that many Allied World War II bombs used.

The bomb was described as a highly explosive, a 550lb (250kg) device dropped by the Americans.

It is not unusual for big, unexploded bombs to be discovered in Germany, the BBC’s Stephen Evans reports.

About 600 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are discovered in Germany every year.


Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

17 Jun 2012

Karl Marx on a Mastercard

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The German Savings Bank (Sparkasse) of Chemnitz in Saxony held a contest allowing customers to vote for an image to be used on its Mastercard.

Chemnitz used to be in the German Democratic Republic (aka East Germany), and the Communist regime renamed the city Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1953. The original name was restored when Communism fell in 1990.

Nostalgic Ostis evidently cast their votes for Karl Marx, proving ironically once again that Capitalism offers choices, even to those who don’t appreciate it.

NPR story

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