A Walk Down Memory Lane

Or Stalinallee, if your prefer.

Egon Krenz

Inexplicably, East Germany’s last communist boss thinks that the night the Berlin Wall came down (almost thirty years ago) “was the worst night of my life.

Happily for him, it is also something that he “wouldn’t want to experience ever again” because, well, he won’t.

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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

Berlin’s Extinction Rebellion Already Extinct After About Forty Minutes

They were just dying to die-in, I guess.

Extinction

Literally dozens of members of the interplanetary environmentalist movement Extinction Rebellion beamed down to Berlin today to “swarm public squares only to collapse to the ground, symbolizing the death humanity faces if politicians don’t act against climate change” before being beamed back up to the mother ship again (or moth-er ship for that guy up there, maybe). Their message: If nobody “fixes” the climate pronto-like like yesterday already we may come back again before we all die anyway. And you don’t want that.

We’re showing that it’s not just about schoolchildren taking to the streets,” said Jojo, 29, a climate activist who ditched work to attend today’s rally.

Government Spending In Action

This time city governemnt.

A completely indebted city government that privatized the same properties for €405 million back in 2004 will now be buying them back for more than double the price. This will “keep the rents in Berlin stable.”

The horror never ends. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Terror In Da House!

We don’t rap against Israel. We just rap for military action against Tel Aviv.

Terror

And for the destruction of Israel. But that’s different than rapping against Israel. Ain’t no big deal. Performances like these take place all the time in Paris, London and Washington, right? Go, Berlin. Go, Germany.

Controversial Palestinian rappers to perform at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate – Known for their anti-Israel lyrics, Palestinian rappers Shadi Al-Bourini and Shadi Al-Najjar will headline a so-called “solidarity rally” held by Palestinian groups that the Israeli ambassador to Germany wants banned.

Palestinian rappers Shadi Al-Bourini and Shadi Al-Najjar are at the center of the controversy, with Berlin daily newspaper, the Tagespiegel, reporting that the duo released the song “Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv” in 2014 during the Israel–Gaza conflict in which “they fantasize about bombing the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, razing it to the ground and ‘crushing’ Jews.” The rappers have also attracted attention for their use of anti-Semitic symbolism.

Strike a blow at Tel Aviv. Strike a blow at Tel Aviv. Strike a blow at Tel Aviv and frighten the Zionists. The more you build it the more we will destroy it.”

It Can’t Happen Here

Or at least we’ll pretend that it can’t.

Russia

Russia was behind the murder last month of a former Chechen rebel in Germany, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, rekindling concerns that Moscow is ramping up an assassination campaign against the country’s perceived enemies abroad…

The absence of a German government reaction to Mr. Khangoshvili’s murder has sparked criticism from opposition parties that Berlin is eager to avoid a confrontation with Russia. A spokesman for the German government declined to comment and said the investigation was continuing.

“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for this assassination.”

King Kong Was Already Taken

King and Kong were, I mean.

Hong Kong

Berlin throws shade at China by voting to name panda cubs ‘Hong’ and ‘Kong’ – One of Berlin’s leading papers, Der Tagesspiegel, asked its readers to come up with name suggestions for the cubs, born Aug. 31 at the Berlin Zoo.

The cubs and their parents, Meng Meng, 6, and Jiao Qing, 9, belong to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a Chinese research center. The Berlin Zoo pays $1 million a year to house the popular bears.

Others in the newspaper poll also suggested naming the cubs “Joshua Wong Chi-fung” and “Agnes Chow Ting” after two prominent Hong Kong democracy activists.

Sheesh. Berlin residents certainly give Hong Kong more consideration than their government leaders do. But, then again, Berliners know how important it is to show solidarity “with a city fighting for survival.”

“Treacherous Manslaughter?”

Getting shot in the head twice with a silenced Glock 29 by an electric bicycle-riding man in a Berlin park in broad daylight?

Russians

Except for the broad daylight part I’d say yeah, that’s pretty treacherous (“treacherous manslaughter” is what the suspected killer is being charged with).

The killing of a former Chechen separatist commander in central Berlin has raised concerns that Russia may have deployed an agent to a European nation to target a Kremlin opponent, a tactic it has been accused of using many times in the past.

The victim, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who fought against Russian troops in the second Chechen war 20 years ago, was on his way to Friday prayers last week when he was shot in the head twice by a bicycle-riding man using a handgun with a silencer, according to witness accounts cited in the German news media.

The Russian government in 2006 legalized the killings abroad of people who were judged to pose terrorist threats, resuming a Soviet-era practice.

Russischer Geheimdienst womöglich in Mord an Exil-Georgier verwickelt.

Berlin’s First Driverless Bus Hits The Street…

Killing five.

Bus

Just kidding.

Berlin is already teeming with last-mile mobility options like shared bikes and e-scooters.

Now the city’s public transport company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is set to add driverless buses to the mix, testing its first autonomous shuttles on a public road this month.

The BVG has been testing the self-driving bus, developed by French company EasyMile, in the confines of a campus for the past year. This month it will face real-world traffic conditions on a 600 metre stretch from an underground station in the north-western part of the capital.

OK, folks. The key term here is BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe), the city’s public transport company. The joke around town is that BVG actually stands for Bin Vorsichtshalber Gelaufen or “decided to walk, just in case.” They’re not terribly reliable here, you see.

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture”

Comparing Germany’s entrepreneurial business world to Silicon Valley’s? This post will be even shorter than usual.

Silicon

One reason why California continues to draw talent out of Germany is the contrast between Germany’s crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure.

This compares unfavorably with California’s inspiring can-do optimism and fail early, fail often, keep trying until you succeed” mantra. Additional reasons are the much higher salaries paid to engineers and programmer in California, the sunnier, warmer weather and California’s huge head start in building a startup-friendly business ecosystem.

“We need to build critical mass in one city, and that city is Berlin. It’s built a global reputation as a cool, hip, affordable city with a lively startup scene. We should double down on that.”