It’s Not Easy Being Optimist-In-Chief

When it comes to dealing with Europe, I mean. Optimism is suspekt (makes suspicious) here. There is always an angle to everything, you see.

Larry Page

For him (Larry Page), the real danger is opposing technological progress and greater efficiency. Such dangers lurk particularly in the Old World: “Especially in Europe, it appears easy to ignore the fundamental physics of a question in order to claim everything is just fine when things here cost twice as much as elsewhere. This attitude worries me greatly, because it hinders the work of entrepreneurs.”

But should not a society also have the right to say “No” to a superior technology? Certainly, agrees Mr. Page. But that’s not particularly clever. “If you make everything twice as expensive, you reduce people’s quality of life.” And do you really want to keep local entrepreneurs from making their contribution to the global economy? Naturally it’s great when citizens have the feeling they can decide. “I’m merely saying that when they make decisions contrary to a global system of capital, then they have to do that consciously and seriously. And I don’t believe anyone is doing that.”

“If I were a young entrepreneur today and I had the choice of starting my Internet firm in Germany or Silicon Valley, it wouldn’t be a hard choice. And regulation will only get worse in Europe. It will be very hard to build a company of global import there.”

Gerade die Europäer neigen in den Augen von Larry Page offenbar zu falscher Nostalgie. “In Europa scheint es leicht, die grundlegende Physik einer Frage zu ignorieren und zu behaupten, es ist schon in Ordnung, wenn Dinge hier doppelt so viel kosten wie anderswo”.

Next Big US-Amerikan Internet Giant Soon To Threaten The German Way Of Life Again

Whatever that is. It’s called Postmates and it’s an on-demand courier service that is sure to ruin everything Germans hold to be hoch und heilig (holy) in the realm of quick and easy albeit expensive pick-up and drop-off service.

Postmates

It’s despicable and it’s nasty and it’s wait a minute… A German invented it. Well, a little German innovation never hurt anybody, right?

Postmates has set itself an ambitious goal — to be the Uber of goods, with a vast network of couriers, linked, like Uber’s drivers, via a sleek app, waiting for users to hit a button on their smartphones and send them forth to pick up anything that money can buy. Like Uber’s drivers, Postmates couriers aren’t employees but “independent contractors.” Anyone with a bike, car, truck, scooter or motorcycle can register and decide exactly when they want to work.

“In Germany, if you have an idea like mine, people think you’re deluded.”

A Green Superpower?

Germany?

Coal

Germany is a superpower when it comes to setting ambitious goals. But it’s even better at burning coal.

Germany aims to generate 80% of its power from renewable sources by 2050 with nuclear being fully phased out by 2021. But given the costs associated with renewables and the challenge of replacing nuclear power efficiently, it is not clear that Germany will succeed in either of these goals…

The Germans have increasingly turned to coal as their power generation source of choice, especially U.S. coal. Today coal power plants are responsible for generating nearly half of Germany’s power, and numerous new plants are scheduled to come online in the next few years.

Overall, the increase in coal is likely to create a significant increase in airborne pollution and potentially stoke tension between Germany and its neighbors. But at the same time, if Germany wants to phase out nuclear power, coal is the only realistic option; a fact which some German politicians are starting to admit.

Border Patrol German-Style

German marines have rescued 200 (now over 400) refugees shortly after launching two ships to scour waters between Africa and Europe.

Border Patrol

The ship “Hessen” evacuated the boat in distress about 250 kilometers south of the Italian island Lampedusa. The refugees were brought to an Italian port, the German army said after discussions with Italian marine rescue officials.

The “Hessen,” along with the “Berlin,” also a Bundeswehr ship, were warned of a refugee distress situation on Monday morning. The ships had begun their search mission on Tuesday, when they sailed from Crete towards the sea area between Libya and Italy.

Our Espionage Doesn’t Stink

On the one hand, we as German spies only do nice spying and would never spy on friends much less on other other nice Germans like ourselves.

BND

But on the other hand, intelligence agencies are working to ensure the public’s safety and the German government will do everything it can to ensure that it can carry out its job.

“And this ability to carry out its duties in the face of international terrorism threats is done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies, and that includes first and foremost the NSA.”

Deutschland regt sich über eine Spionageaffäre auf. Dabei wäscht seit Jahrzehnten unter den westlichen Diensten eine Hand die andere. Wir sollten endlich realistisch mit dem Thema Sicherheit umgehen.

German Intelligence Insults German Intelligence

When the NSA asks for INFO from the BND they get it ASAP. Or at least they used to.

Intelligence

Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases…

Investigators found that the BND had provided information on around 2,000 selectors that were clearly against European and German interests. Not only were European businesses such as the giant aerospace and defense company EADS, best-known as the manufacturer of the Airbus planes, targeted, so were European politicians—including German ones.

I still can’t figure out where the intelligence part comes in here.

Just Out Of Cold War Storage

Demothball: to remove (naval or military equipment) from storage or reserve, usually for active duty; reactivate.

Leopard 2

Germany plans to bring 100 mothballed tanks back into service in what is widely seen as a response to rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Die im Zuge der Neuausrichtung der Bundeswehr festgelegte Obergrenze von 225 Kampfpanzern Leopard 2 soll auf 320 erhöht werden.

Germans Don’t Frack Around

Germany is just about to make German fracking safer. In a country that doesn’t do any fracking in the first place, versteht sich (it’s understood). And they are going to make it safer by banning it altogether. Makes sense to me. When I concentrate really hard and try to think like a German, I mean (can’t do it for very long, though).

Fracking

The new draft law, which now goes to parliament for approval, will impose an outright ban on fracking for shale gas in the next few years and only allow scientific test drilling under strict conditions to assess the risks and environmental impact.

The law could allow commercial shale gas fracking in exceptional cases from 2019 but only after successful test drilling and the approval of a special committee.

Germany’s gas industry has warned restricting fracking could increase the country’s dependence on imported energy at a time when geopolitical concerns, particularly over Ukraine, are growing.

The BDI industry lobby group described the new conditions as “completely over the top”.

Last year, gas imports from Russia accounted for 37 percent of Germany’s supply. Only 12 percent of Germany’s needs were covered by its own reserves, down from almost a fifth a decade earlier.

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