Interviews with the ladies from the “polygamist” ranch

April 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Posted in Lifestyle | 3 Comments
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Are they for real? Is that a stunt from a comedy show? They’re like puppets!

Definition of an identifiable person

April 29, 2008 at 10:12 am | Posted in privacy | Leave a comment
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Just a snippet from the PRISE conference I am attending right now:

dentifiable Person – means a natural person that is or can be identified, directly or indirectly, as a particular person by reference to an identification number or to one or more aspects of the person’s physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity. Identifiable Persons may include any employee, applicant, former employee, or retiree of Datalogic, its operating divisions, or subsidiaries in the EU.

Personal Data – is any information about an Identifiable Person that

* is within the scope of the EU Directive,
* is received by Datalogic in the U.S. from the EU,
* is recorded in any form and
* is about, or pertains to, a specific individual; and
* can be linked to that individual.

Personal Data does not include information that is encoded or anonymized, or publicly available information that has not been combined with non-public Personal Data.

Processing – means any online, offline or manual processing and includes such activities as copying, filing, and inputting Personal Data into a database.

Sensitive Data – is data that pertains to medical or health conditions, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation or any other data that is identified as “sensitive” by the Identifiable Person.


Waterboarding, wtf?

April 28, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Politics | 2 Comments
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I’ve just heard about the practice of waterboarding used by the CIA as an an “interrogation technique”:

Water-boarding involves a prisoner being stretched on his back or hung upside down, having a cloth pushed into his mouth and/or plastic film placed over his face and having water poured onto his face. He gags almost immediately.

Apparently, another attempt to ban it just failed; already in March, President Bush vetoed the ban. This is disgusting! Goddamit, USA, you really need some change! What happened to the home country of the citizens’ movement?

Read on BBC: What is Waterboarding

What to do with such a crime?

April 28, 2008 at 6:32 am | Posted in police | Leave a comment
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Am completely horrified by this atrocious crime that went on and on and on for 24 years in Lower Austria. I’ll post a link to an English story:

AMSTETTEN, Austria (CNN) — Austrian police believe a 73-year-old man held his daughter captive in his cellar for the past two decades and fathered at least six children with her, according to police and state-run news reports Sunday.

The woman, identified as 42-year-old Elisabeth F., has been missing since 1984 when she was 18 years old, police said at a news conference.

Read more on CNN

This makes me so angry!!! I might later regret to have ever said (written) this in public – but this crime makes me think that the pillory isn’t such a bad idea at all. This guy destroyed the lives of eight people: first of all his daughter’s who was abused since she was 11, locked up at 18 and raped and raped and raped again for 24 years – never saw the sunlight! And the child she gave birth to which died, because it wouldn’t have needed care that cannot be found in a dungeon… and the other SIX children she gave birth to, three of which grew up WITHOUT EVER SEEING THE SUN. If this where the middle-ages, and if the pillory existed still, I’d be the first to go there and spit into the face of this monster that is Josef. F. The monster is 73 years old – if one wanted to lock him up just for the amount of year’s he held his daughter captive, once couldn’t because he is probably going to die.

How ironic that this atrocity only ever came to late because the oldest daughter is ILL with a HEREDITARY DISEASE which is the result of the incest, and of which she is probably going to die now (still hospitalized).

UPDATE: A surname is mentioned on the ORF website – an “accidental” leak? I am watching the press conference right now, but they don’t mention his surname.

Wer ist Josef Fritzl, der seine Tochter in einem Kellerverlies gefangen gehalten, sexuell missbraucht und sechsmal geschwängert haben soll? Der 73-Jährige dürfte ein raffiniertes und glaubwürdiges Doppelleben geführt haben. [Source]

Monster Josef F.

USA: 751 in 100,000 people in jail – Germany: 88 in 100,000

April 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Culture | 1 Comment
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The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. …

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London. China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China’s extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.) …
The United States comes in first, too, on a more meaningful list from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. It has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.)

The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63.

Read the full NY Times article here

Michael Moore Speaks out: My vote for Obama

April 21, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Politics | 5 Comments
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I have been watching the Clinton/Obama web war and the whole issue that was set up around Jeremia Wright with a mix of fascination and disgust – and read Michael Moore’s latest (actually: the first one during the primaries) intervention with some sense of relief. I hope America will be able to rid itself from Republican rule, and I couldn’t agree more:

I know some of you will say, ‘Mike, what have the Democrats done to deserve our vote?’ That’s a damn good question. In November of ’06, the country loudly sent a message that we wanted the war to end. Yet the Democrats have done nothing. So why should we be so eager to line up happily behind them?

I’ll tell you why. Because I can’t stand one more friggin’ minute of this administration and the permanent, irreversible damage it has done to our people and to this world. I’m almost at the point where I don’t care if the Democrats don’t have a backbone or a kneebone or a thought in their dizzy little heads. Just as long as their name ain’t “Bush” and the word “Republican” is not beside theirs on the ballot, then that’s good enough for me.

I, like the majority of Americans, have been pummeled senseless for 8 long years. That’s why I will join millions of citizens and stagger into the voting booth come November, like a boxer in the 12th round, all bloodied and bruised with one eye swollen shut, looking for the only thing that matters — that big “D” on the ballot.

I hope the majority will go for the D on the ballot (but I am also afraid the elections might be rigged, and that the majority might not count in the end – is the UN thinking of sending some observers?).

But the question I keep hearing is… ‘can he win? Can he win in November?’ In the distance we hear the siren of the death train called the Straight Talk Express. We know it’s possible to hear the words “President McCain” on January 20th. We know there are still many Americans who will never vote for a black man. Hillary knows it, too. She’s counting on it.

Pennsylvania, the state that gave birth to this great country, has a chance to set things right. It has not had a moment to shine like this since 1787 when our Constitution was written there. In that Constitution, they wrote that a black man or woman was only “three fifths” human. On Tuesday, the good people of Pennsylvania have a chance for redemption.

Read Michael Moore’s full article here!

I’ve launched yet another blog!

April 19, 2008 at 9:06 am | Posted in Blogging | Leave a comment

It’s in German and set up in support of my PhD thesis. It’s called: digiom (as in Digitale Online Medien). Read it here.

Singing in whistle register?

April 17, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Posted in music | Leave a comment

Have you ever heard about the whistle register (Pfeifregister)? Mariah Carey is apparently using it – now I am not very familiar with her music, but this demonstration make it immediately apparent what it means. Myself, I can only produce one (and always the same) note in whistle register – and then it’s so loud it makes people turn around and leaves them baffled….

Jam-packed trains in Japan, thanks to the Oshiya

April 15, 2008 at 11:30 am | Posted in Culture, Globalization | 1 Comment
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Incredible! I am so glad I don’t have to commute in Japan. In Japan, railway companies hire people for the position of the oshiya, i.e. the pusher who pushes people into the train. Seeing this, I wonder how many people have already died in Japanese commuter trains? Shudder

April 29 is Kelsey Briggs Day (in Oklahoma, but it would be a good thing to have such a day in every country)

April 13, 2008 at 12:21 am | Posted in Politics | 12 Comments
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Sniff. I got this video from someone on Facebook, and received it with a warning: “This is a tear jerker”. It is, but should be watched anyway.

As a reminder that one should not look away when one notices signs of abuse (bruises, malnutrition, fractures) in a child (and one must hope that the youth council in charge is not as hesitant as the Youth Council in Bad Herself that I once called – to _absolutely_ no avail; the people there first announced to the family in question that they’d be paying them a visit soon (instead of making an announced visit immediately), and when they still found bruises on the child the left without taking action, feeling satisfied with the explanation that the kid ‘took a tumble’ – just thinking about it makes me so angry all over again…)

I am afraid people are going to die during the Football World Cup in South Africa

April 12, 2008 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Having spent about 20 months of my life in South Africa, I have lately become very concerned about the Football World Cup going there – yes, it’s a great opportunity for the rainbow nation to show its spirit and beauty to the world, but how are they going to manage to keep crime and violence under covers during those weeks? And the latest statement of South Africa’s deputy security minister doesn’t sound like police is trained and prepared for deescalation, rather the opposite:

South Africa’s deputy security minister has told police how to tackle rampant crime in their cities: “kill the bastards”, and do not worry about regulations.

“You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community,” Susan Shabangu, told a local police forum in Pretoria.

“I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and women that they have permission to kill these criminals.

“You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect,” she added.

“I won’t tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them. I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot.”

Read more here (Telegraph UK) and here Mail & Guardian, South Africa.

Word of the Day: Shenanigan

April 9, 2008 at 7:13 am | Posted in Language | 1 Comment

A beautiful word which seems to be used in American English rather than in British English; or at least the Cambridge dictionary doesn’t mention it, but Merriam-Webster does:

Main Entry: she·nan·i·gan
Pronunciation: \shə-ˈna-ni-gən\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1855

1: a devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose2 a: tricky or questionable practices or conduct —usually used in plural b: high-spirited or mischievous activity —usually used in plural

It seems it can also be applied to people:

If Perez Hilton plays nice, he could name his price
By Andrew Wallenstein
April 9, 2008
The Oprah comparison certainly smacks of delusional grandeur, and yet it’s not so easy to dismiss, either. As for overcoming his original sleazy incarnation, it’s worth noting that Winfrey didn’t exactly start out as squeaky clean as she currently is, trafficking in the same kind of talk-show shenanigans as Jerry Springer earlier in her own career. suggests Schwindel, Streich – maybe Mogelpackung would also work.

Related articles

How the Logo of the Beijing 2008 Olympics was born

April 7, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Globalization | 6 Comments
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Kinda evil – but probably truer than we would like to be true. How do you feel about the situation of Tibet and the Olympics taking place in Beijing this year? With all due respect for the importance of the games for the athletes and for putting China on the map of international sports – my gut feeling tells me that it would be more than justified if the Olympics were boycotted. Actually, if I had a free wish, that would be what I would wish for: that all countries would stand united and boycott the games. How can you just close your eyes and pretend politics and sports have got nothing to do together?

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Overseeing an IT project is like herding cats

April 6, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in Language | Leave a comment
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…is they key message of this video. The bit of language wisdom to be learned by speakers of German: The prase Herding cats is pretty much the equivalent of “Das ist wie einen Sack Flöhe hüten!” (for speakers of English: herding a bag a fleas).

Finally I confess: This is a Tumblelog

April 6, 2008 at 10:32 am | Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment
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It’s been in the air for a while, but now I confess: This blog has now become a tumblelog – I just don’t have the time to write anything substantial anymore. But I don’t want to let it die either, so I’ll just keep posting bits and pieces of what caught my attention on the web. A place for commented bookmarks really.

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