German Of The Day: Wrack

That means wreck. No, not a wreck like the SPD. One like the battleship SMS Scharnhorst.

Scharnhorst

The wreckage of a World War I German armoured battlecruiser has been discovered off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

The SMS Scharnhorst, the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron, was sunk on 8 December 1914 during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War.

The discovery is a major breakthrough in the quest to locate all of the German squadron’s ships lost during the battle.

“Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.”

No Difference Between China And The USA

Right? Not in Germany there isn’t.

China

To understand any German position on any international theme or issue you must understand that US-Amerika is somehow, in some way, in some form, a, if not the, negative factor in it. Once you understand and accept this, everything German politicians and diplomats say starts making sense. Take China and 5G for instance. Please.

The US ambassador to Berlin has sharply criticised German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier for suggesting a parallel between Chinese and US spying.

The row flared up over Germany’s decision not to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from participation in the German 5G mobile phone network…

Meanwhile, a new opinion poll suggests a wide gap between the views of Americans and Germans on US-German relations.

Three-quarters of Americans surveyed were positive. But nearly two-thirds of Germans felt relations were bad, the Pew Research Center/Körber-Stiftung poll found.

“There is no moral equivalency between China and the United States and anyone suggesting it ignores history.”

“The Police Were Only Five Minutes Too Late”

But aren’t they always five minutes too late?

Dresden

What do you expect from a country like Germany? Anybody can walk in over the border as they please. Now you can even walk out of a highly secure German museum with stolen jewelry and nobody cares either.

Thieves in the German city of Dresden have broken into one of Europe’s largest collections of art treasures, making off with three sets of 18th-century jewellery of “immeasurable worth” in what German media has described as the biggest such theft since the second world war.

The dramatic heist took place at dawn on Monday, after a fire broke out at an electrical distribution point nearby, deactivating the museum’s alarm and plunging the area into darkness.

Polizei nur fünf Minuten zu spät.

Speaking Of The German Automobile Industry

And German industry in general. They couldn’t laugh off Tesla. Now the punches are coming in hot and heavy.

DaimlerAuto

German Industrial Job Losses Top 80,000 With Daimler Cuts – Germany’s economy may have narrowly avoided a recession, but the pressure on the country’s industry shows no sign of abating.

Daimler AG said this week it will shed 10% of management positions at its Mercedes unit, lifting the tally of job cuts announced this year across Germany’s manufacturing sector to more than 80,000, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Companies from Volkswagen AG to Siemens AG are letting workers go as Germany’s powerful automotive industry struggles with a shift toward electrification and self-driving cars, and makers of machinery and robots are hit by slower exports and trade disputes. Makers of well-known German products such as Meissen porcelain and WMF kitchenware are also trimming their workforce.

Tesla Must Fail

Right? At least that’s what I’ve been reading in the German media for many years now.

Musk

But some things you just can’t ignore away. And times change, or something. Looks to me like the German automobile industry just ain’t what she used to be.

Elon Musk’s German Factory Started With Love Letter From Berlin – Musk is taking his fight for the future of transport into the heartland of the combustion engine, where the established players long laughed off Tesla as an upstart on feeble financial footing that couldn’t compete with their rich engineering heritage. But Musk has captured the imagination of the think-different consumer, putting pressure on the Germans to respond.

“We definitely need to move faster than the airport.”

German Of The Day: Hubraum

That means engine displacement or capacity. Or horsepower, if you prefer. You know, like Fridays for Horsepower?

Hubraum

The German Motorists Who Oppose Greta Thunberg – Motorists in Germany are banding together to oppose climate activists’ calls to limit the use of cars. Politicians are taking them seriously because, unlike the Fridays for Future movement and its leader Greta Thunberg, most members of the Fridays for Horsepower group can vote.

“Fridays for Horsepower is a logical and reasonable reaction to the ideological madness of the environmental activists.”

Angie Huawei On Life Again

The one thing German leaders always swear they never want to do is the so-called Alleingang (going it alone – making important decisions that could affect partners and allies without having discussed these matters with these partners and allies first). Angela Merkel is no exception here. Only she goes it alone on a regular basis and then just calls it something else (see her infamous Migration Madness Move). And take Huawei, for instance. Please.

Angie

Germany will allow Huawei access to its 5G networks despite a U.S. pressure campaign, spearheaded by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, to block the Chinese tech giant from interacting with allies’ data networks.

“Essentially our approach is as follows: We are not taking a pre-emptive decision to ban any actor, or any company,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference Monday, as Germany’s Federal Network Agency plans to release an in-depth “security catalogue” on compliance criteria for 5G networks in the coming days…

Merkel’s office, in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, also removed a clause from a 5G government policy paper that suggested only “trusted suppliers” should be given access to the network…

Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and other U.S. allies have already moved to block Huawei from accessing their networks, while the U.K. has had a political debate over the inclusion of the company in the wake of the rollout of 5G technology.

BMW: Bring Me West

German engineering at its best.

Talk about a mother of invention…

In 1963, a man named Klaus-Günter Jacobi decided to help his best friend escape East Berlin and before being forced to report for duty in the East German army. To do so, he decided to modify his BMW Isetta to be able to hide a body.

Now, if you’re not especially familiar with the Isetta, it’s a tiny bubble car with a motorcycle engine at the back and barely enough room for two people to sit in the bench seat behind the front opening door. Space is at a premium, but Jacobi — who had trained as a mechanic — found that there was a dead space behind his seat and next to the Isetta’s tiny engine that could be used to smuggle a person.

The Small Escape

It’s Called Paranoia

Why is Germany a blank spot on Google’s Street View? See above.

Paranoia

There are good historical reasons why Germans are suspicious of surveillance — but is Google as bad as Gestapo or Stasi?

It’s to do with Germans’ curious sense of privacy: they’d rather flaunt their private parts than their personal data…

While public nudity is a big no-no in the United States for example, Germany has a long tradition with what is known as FKK – short for Freikörperkultur, or “Free Body Culture.” Certain beaches and areas of city parks are dedicated to nude sunbathing, and even Nacktwanderung (“nude rambling”) is a thing.

On the other hand, Germans are extremely possessive of their personal data — and are shocked by the readiness with which Americans (and others) share their names, addresses, friends’ lists, and purchase histories online.

According to research presented in the Harvard Business Review, the average German is willing to pay as much as $184 to protect their personal health data. For the average Brit, the privacy of that information is only worth $59. For Americans and Chinese, that value declines to single-digit figures.

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture” Part II

As reported earlier, Germans themselves will be the first to admit that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, they have a “crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure,” but it is what it is and they are what they are.

Cars

There’s even a saying/joke here that goes “anything in Germany that is not expressly permitted is forbidden.” Take electric cars, for example. Their production may not be expressly forbidden but the German automobile industry is doing its damnedest to pretend like they don’t exist. One could say this has more to do with “never touch a running system” (this industry still makes piles of money) but it really gets down to being crotchety again. They’re missing the boat and they know it.

Concern is rising in Europe’s automobile heartland about the economic impact of the industry’s move to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered cars.

Officials and executives in Germany fear the country’s big car companies and rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers are insufficiently prepared for the transition, and that their leadership may not be assured in an electric-car world, threatening jobs, tax revenue and even growth.

Assembling electric cars isn’t as complex or labor intensive as making traditional vehicles and relies partly on imported technology. At the same time, China has made rapid forays in electrification and is shaping up as a potentially formidable competitor in the field.

The trepidation is particularly acute in the city of Stuttgart, hub to one of the country’s biggest automotive clusters at the heart of the nation’s dynamic south. It comes as Europe’s largest economy is showing signs of weakness amid a chill in global trade.

“The greatest catastrophe would be if the industry fell asleep at the wheel. It is crucial for jobs that companies like Daimler make a massive push into this technology and build locally.”