Productivity?

What’s that? I live in Berlin.

Productivity

Asked which region in Europe has been the absolute worst at realizing its economic potential, most people probably wouldn’t name Berlin. The German capital isn’t just nice to live in, it’s throbbing with excitement; a startup is reportedly created here every 20 minutes, and if you leave for a night out, you risk not coming back for a week. But according to a study of the economic performance of European regions, Berlin is indeed the worst.

What is more important: productivity or a city’s peculiar, esoteric feel? Berlin is one of the places where this question is especially poignant.

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German Of The Day: Litfaßsäule

That means advertising column.

Pillar

Take a good look. They won’t be around much longer. They’re going to a better place – the same place the LPs, dial phones, typewriters and carrier pigeons went.

They have been an integral part of the city’s furniture for so long, Berliners admit to taking them for granted.

But concrete advertising pillars, known as Litfaßsäule – or Litfaß columns – after the man who invented them, around 3,000 of which dot the German capital, are under threat. A low-key, grassroots protest has sprung up in an effort to save them from destruction and sparked a trend involving writing messages on the pillars, as well as poems and heart felt tributes.

It takes two or three people to group hug a Litfaßsäule, and that has also become another way of highlighting the reluctance to let them go.

“I’m certainly still more drawn to a catchy poster on the Litfaßsäule, than I am to something that flashes up on my mobile phone which I’m likely to swipe away in annoyance.”

Colombia

Beautiful German weapons sale of the week.

Guns

OK, in this case beautiful German judicial deal of the week.

Because somebody has to admire them.

Three former executives at German gun-maker Sig Sauer, including one who became CEO of a sister company in the United States, reached a deal with prosecutors over allegations they illegally exported arms to Colombia and likely won’t go to prison, a court official in Germany said Wednesday.

Whatever Is Not Expressly Allowed

Is verboten. In Germany. If you’re Facebook, Google, Amazon, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Co., that is.

Facebook

Recognize a pattern here? They’re all American companies and they’re all “free” to use. The Germans, of all people, surely must have figured out by now that nothing is ever for free. But they haven’t.

GERMAN REGULATORS JUST OUTLAWED FACEBOOK’S WHOLE AD BUSINESS – FACEBOOK’S MASSIVELY LUCRATIVE advertising model relies on tracking its one billion users—as well as the billions on WhatsApp and Instagram—across the web and smartphone apps, collecting data on which sites and apps they visit, where they shop, what they like, and combining all that information into comprehensive user profiles. Facebook has maintained that collecting all this data allows the company to serve ads that are more relevant to users’ interests. Privacy advocates have argued that the company isn’t transparent enough about what data it has and what it does with it. As a result, most people don’t understand the massive trade-off they are making with their information when they sign up for the “free” site.

“We disagree with their conclusions and intend to appeal so that people in Germany continue to benefit fully from all our services.”

United Kingdom

Beautiful German weapon sale of the week – only it’s actually more like a purchase this time.

BAE

Because somebody has to admire them.

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same Germans who tell us that Brexit is going to be the end of the world as we know it?

Brexit boost as Germans invest £30million in UK tank maker – A GERMAN defence giant yesterday defied Brexit doomsayers by pumping £30million into a British armoured vehicle business.

If You Want Fast Internet Speed Go To Poland

This is Germany. Things are more complicated here. Einfach kompliziert (simply complicated). If things weren’t simply complicated this would be another country.

Germany

That’s what makes things like the German government’s recent announcement to invest a few peanuts in artificial intelligence so humorous. They can’t even create the conditions for fast Internet speeds here and they think they will be able to compete with the likes of US-Amerika and China? And just in case you haven’t noticed, their data security defenses aren’t exactly world class, either. It’s complicated here, like I said. Simply complicated.

Germany is Europe’s largest economy, but business leaders warn it is in danger of losing its edge because of sluggish Internet connections. While other countries are thinking about whether to upgrade their cellphone systems to 5G, Germany is still grappling with 3G.

A report by Germany’s Federal Network Agency last year showed that 29 percent of German Internet users reported Internet speeds of less than half of what was promised by service providers.

“In Germany, you will find almost everywhere copper cable that’s not capable to go faster than 250 megabits per second. “The average reality is about 50 megabits per second. That’s quite poor.”

“Alarming… But Not Surprising”

Massive cyber attacks affect the German Bundestag and other government agencies on a regular basis here. Nobody cares. Just have the press officer read his prepared statement about how nothing important was stolen and ab ins Wochenende (off to the weekend)!

hackers

Personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures have been published online, in what appears one of the most far-reaching cyber attacks in a country that has become a target of choice for hackers.

It was unclear if the breach, which triggered an emergency meeting of the national cyber defense agency, was the result of a hack or a leak, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was affected, but an initial analysis showed no sensitive material from her office was released, said a government spokeswoman.

If the data release does stem from a hack, it would be the latest in a number of hi-tech assaults on political institutions and key individuals in Germany.

Last year, lawmakers said a powerful cyber attack breached the foreign ministry’s computer network.

“Whoever is responsible, wants to intimidate politicians. That will not succeed.”

Artificially Intelligent, Maybe

But is it smart?

Technical progress by decree?

AI

Germany is often criticized for sluggish levels of digital investment, particularly in AI. The government wants to invest €3 billion before 2025 to try and close the knowledge gap with world leaders in the field.

Germans are smart, of course, but they can’t even spell AI properly. They call it KI. Ridiculous. And when you look at the amount being invested, well, maybe they’re not all that good at math anymore, either.

“This amount is much less than companies, such as Microsoft or Google, invest in AI in a single year. So people should not think that Germany will suddenly become a world leader in the field, able to compete with the US and China.”

Your Tax Euros In Action

You know the drill. These studies are routinely published (in this case by the German Federation of Taxpayers) demonstrating how tax money is burned by the government.

U-Boot

There were some real beauties in this report, too. But my personal favorite is the Case of the Squandered Submarines. The German navy has these six way cool new fuel cell driven submarines that set the German taxpayer back three billion euros. The only problem here is that none of them are currently operational and have spent most of their time dry-docked. Additionally, there are only three submarine commanders available to command these vessels. One of these subs has only been deployed once – in thirteen years. Wow. With a navy like this who needs an enemy?

And I’m sure the next tax increase is already in the works.

Die sechs U-Boote der deutschen Marine mit Brennstoffzellenantrieb gehören zum Modernsten, was die Nato in diesem Bereich zu bieten hat. Drei Milliarden Euro kosteten sie. Das Problem: Laut Schwarzbuch ist keines dieser U-Boote derzeit tatsächlich einsatzbereit.

To Rival Silicon Valley?

Good luck with that. Honest. It’s great that big industry finally wants to pump some money into Berlin again but keep your pants on already, Siemens.

Siemensstadt

The German engineering giant has unveiled plans to build a huge innovation campus in Berlin, harking back to its early days in the German capital and aiming to rival Silicon Valley in the United States.

Investment in a new campus to be called Siemensstadt 2.0 (Siemens City 2.0) will come in at €600 million ($680 million) on offices and residential accommodation, as well as laboratories and production plants, according to an agreement signed by Berlin Mayor Michael Müller and Siemens executive member Cedrik Neike on Wednesday.

The plan is to transform the historic Siemens site in Berlin-Spandau into a location for research and startup centers by 2030.

Der Weltkonzern baut in Berlin für 600 Millionen Euro seinen Zukunfts-Campus. Mit 2000 Wohnungen, Forschungslabors, Geschäften, Schulen und eigenem S-Bahn-Anschluss