Cute Knut receives death threats!

April 20, 2007 at 12:15 am | Posted in Global Warming | 8 Comments
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Knut the polar bear, the survivor of a set of twin polar bears born on 5 December 2006 in Berlin has received a death threat! It’s quite incredible how the birth of a polar bear can trigger off such as media frenzy – I didn’t even know that it was rare that polar bears were born in zoos (and actually, I am not even sure that this is true – but at least it would explain the phenomenon). “Ihr Scheiss Deitschen mit eichen dreckigen Eisbärn” my boyfriend complains;-)

But hey, the whole world except Austria and Switzerland joins in! Just watch this video on Youtube – I doubt it was a German who created and uploaded it:-)

Mr. Dörflein must be the happiest zoo keeper in the whole wide world!

*) Austrian for “You damn Germans with your dirty polar bear!”

Hay fever alarm!

April 14, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Global Warming | 2 Comments
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I don’t know how you other hay fever people are feeling out there, but I am currently stricken with the earlierst hay fever attack ever. Blimey! It’s only grass that I am allergic too, and the earliest that I ever had to deal with symptoms was towards the end of May. I still haven’t cured the flu I had properly, but the sneeze that’s going on today is certainly no flu. Oh no! Another warm hug from global warning warming.*


*) The second time today that I sneak in this pun first found on Lenina’s blog. I think I need to use the delete function more often. It’s like making conscious use of Freudian slips. Nice:-)

Pull the plug – to protect the environment

February 1, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Global Warming, Globalization | 2 Comments

A colleague sent this mail to “staff@” today – I’m not particularly fond of bulk email from colleagues, as at best 25% of the staff are really concerned. And this is the kind of mail I like least – an inspirational email. I think that’s just a waste of bandwith and doesn’t belong in corporate communication.

Even though, I thought this mail was interesting – its concern is futile nonetheless. They’re asking people to pull the plug on all their electric appliances for the time between 19:55 and 20:00 tonight, on the occasion of the publication of the United Nation’s current report on climate. In other words: Spend five minutes in darkness and contemplate about the climate change.

Stecker raus

The winter of 2006/2007 is definitely going to be the one that will stay on my mind as the first winter that wasn’t one – and not only here, but the winter in which the icebergs began to melt and the polar bears died because ice floes crumbled beneath their feet. The frightening thing about global warming is that there is no escape – the joke of the 1980s that we cannot throw this world away when it’s wasted because we only have one, has became the scary truth.

Snow at last!

January 25, 2007 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Alps, Austria, Global Warming | 3 Comments

The snow that we’ve been waiting for so long now has finally decided to fall, gracing the roofs and fields with its soft blankets… and the streets and gutters with slush. No, this winter is never ever going to come into full swing, the winter sales have already started, I’ll never learn skiing (thank God 😛 but hopefully we are having a mild spring coming up as well. Even the clouds of global warming have a silver stripe!





This looks pretty neat – but is a few kilometres away from where I live already (sorry, just a webcam pic!)


Visit Heligoland while it lasts!

January 8, 2007 at 8:49 pm | Posted in German, Global Warming | 6 Comments
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This thought came to my mind today when walking home and once more pondering the issue of global warming. Heligoland is an island in the North Sea. In the ancient days, it was controlled by Frisian, Danish, and British rulers until in 1890, Britain traded it with Germany for Zanzibar. The German name for the island is Helgoland, but the vernacular language spoken is Halunder, which is a kind of Frisian. Today, Heligoland’s highest point rises 61m above sealevel – if the sealevels rose, I suppose quite a big chunk would be torn out of the island’s flesh. It consists of the main island, Helgoland, and the uninhabitaed Düne (dune).

Heligoland is two sailing hours away from the German mainland. It enjoys tax-exempt status, which is the reason why Heligoland is also a popular destination of the so-called Butterfahrten (German, literally: butter trip). A Butterfahrt is a trip with a ship to buy duty-free goods. As soon as such a Butterschiff (butter boat; boat used for such a trip) reaches the duty-free zone, the sale may begin. On the ship. Butterfahrt tourists do not usually disembark the ship at their destination.

Over the centuries, the inhabitable area of Heligoland has been severly reduced, partly due to the hunger of the sea and partly due to the hunger of war:

There was a large allied air raid on the island on 15 October 1944, destroying many of the buildings of the Unterland; then, on 18 April 1945 over a thousand Allied bombers attacked the islands leaving nothing standing.[…] The islands were evacuated the following night.

From 1945 to 1952 the uninhabited islands were used as a bombing range. On 18 April 1947, the Royal Navy detonated 6,800 tonnes of explosives in a concerted attempt to destroy the island (“Big Bang” or “British Bang”); while aiming at the fortifications, the island’s total destruction would have been accepted. The blow shook the main island several miles down to its base, changing its shape: the Mittelland was created.

In 1952 the islands were restored to the German authorities, who had to clear a huge amount of undetonated ammunition, landscape the main island, and rebuild the houses before it could be reinhabited. Wikipedia

Btw, the 18th of April, which has twice been an unholy day for Helgoland, is also the date of my birthday.

Surprisingly, Google Earth hasn’t put Heligoland on the map yet, literally. They are retrieving the data from the sightseeing attractions’ database correctly – but no picture of the island itself is attainable:


This is truly a pity, as Heligoland is probably one of the most scenic natural landscapes of Europe. Have a look at some of the pictures a stefanlb (via Panoramio) took from the Island:


And before I forget: One of my favourite authors from my childhood days was born on Helgoland: James Krüss. And the one book which I’ve probably read a half dozen of times is set on the island: Mein Urgroßvater und ich (My greatgrandfather and me). It’s the story of a boy and a greatgrandfather who spend their days writing poems and stories on the back of the raw planks that are supposed to be made into a boat. Here is an excerpt from the book. Do you notice anything special about this poem?

Zanthens Yacht Xanthippe
war völlig unberechenbar,
trieb stets regelwidrig quer,
prosperierte oft nicht mehr,
landete kreuz-jammerbar
im Haitihafen gar,
fuhr entgegenkreuzend dann
Cubas Blumenküste an.

The next time I go home to my mother’s I should probably take the book with me to read it another time.
P.S.: If you’re clueless, read the comments!

No Snow in the Alps

January 3, 2007 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Alps, Global Warming | 4 Comments
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EDIT (Jan 14): Skiing is now possible in the higher regions, but what you won’t get is a snowy winter wonderland wherever you go. Here is a link to a current snow report for Vorarlberg (West of Austria, on the border to Switzerland and Germany).

Vorarlberg in Austria

Although living in the alleged winter wonderland of Austria, there is hardly any snow around this year. Looking out of the window of my office, I can see some on the highest mountain tops, but those are already in Switzerland. Admittedly, you’d have to go a bit further up the province to find the ski resorts Vorarlberg is famous for.

I cannot ski, never have been able to, nor do I want to really, so I cannot be bothered. Snowmaking machines are an incredible waste of energy, but the only way to satisfy those nasty tourists excessive expectations at the moment. Only 30 centimeters of snow even in the higher skiable regions at the moment! Imagine global warming becoming worse over the next years (which it undoubtedly will). Let’s just hope people are sensible enought to stop the nonsense of creating artificial snowscapes in time. Of course they won’t be. The link people have established between the terms ‘snowscape’ and ‘Austria’ is just all too pervasive.

Here are a few pics my brother has sent me. He lives in the Northern most part of Hesse (Hessen in Germany) which is sometimes dubbed Hessian Siberia. Siberia or not: no snow this year.

N.B.: These pictures show a part of Germany, not of Austria




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