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.

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German Of The Day: Igelsex

Go figure. It’s pronounced “eagle sex” but it means hedgehog sex.

Igelsex

Germans kept up at night by noisy igelsex (that’s hedgehog coupling) – Police called out to reports of nocturnal disturbances find hedgehogs ‘having fun.’

I don’t buy it, though. I think these Germans were kept up at night, tossing and turning, worrying about the German economy.

“Germany’s economy is highly dependent on exports, and that’s what’s hitting the German economy now. If the trade conflicts persist for many more years, this will hit Germany very hard.”

German Of The Day: Flaschenhals

That means bottleneck.

Flashenhals

Germany is looking for new ways to power its economy as the traditional growth engines of manufacturing and exports falter. But the country’s outdated internet is acting as a bottleneck.

The sorry state of the online network has become a national joke and an economic liability. Germany ranks 33rd in the world in average monthly fixed broadband connection speeds, and 47th for mobile, according to Speedtest Global Index.

“It’s too slow. If you’re really world class in production, having a ranking of, say, [33rd] in working internet does not fit together with that image.”

German Word Of The Day Except That It’s An English One: Mull

That means to study or ruminate, ponder, to think about carefully, consider, again and again, with great care, for an exceedingly long period of time, until the thing you are mulling about has taken care of itself and you are conveniently off the hook. Again.

Gulf

It also means to mess up or make a failure of.

Germany mulls joining European Persian Gulf naval mission – Pressure is growing on the German government to lend its military weight to a potential European naval mission in the Persian Gulf. The UK government floated the idea of a joint European operation last Monday.

“Hardly any other country is as dependent on the freedom of international shipping as export champions Germany.”

German Of The Day: Freier Fall

That means freefall.

Freefall

German manufacturing reports industry ‘in freefall’ – Key survey points to weakest sentiment in nine years.

The Ifo Institute’s manufacturing business climate index slumped to minus 4.3 in July from positive 1.3 the previous month. The reading was the lowest in more than nine years and echoes a separate survey released on Wednesday that pointed to mounting troubles in Europe’s powerhouse economy.

“No improvement is expected in the short term, as businesses are looking ahead to the next six months with more pessimism.”

German Of The Day: Moralkeule

That means moral club. No, not the kind you join. The kind you wack folks with.

Moral Club

“The ugly German doesn’t wear a steel helmet anymore – he gives the world moral instruction. When a German captain goes to court in Italy the German public opinion (the “folk’s soul”) seethes. Even President Steinmeier disregards international law and grabs the moral club.”

To understand many of the odd views that Germans hold you must understand that Germany is a moral superpower, or at least that’s how Germans behave. Like liberals everywhere, German activists are forever calling on a higher legitimization to justify actions that undermine the rule of law – in this case in another country (how convenient). An activist captain who defied the Italian government’s ban and docked at Lampedusa with forty refugees on board has now become a German folk hero (for fifteen minutes at least).

It appears that when you’re a German moral superman, idealism gives you the morally superior superhero right to break the law for the greater good (sounds vaguely familiar). Just what that greater good is you decide yourself.

Oddly, in this particular case, the heroic types in the limelight never get around to suggesting that the refugees in question be shipped directly to Germany instead. Why doesn’t Germany just airlift them directly to Berlin and bypass Italy altogether? Turn your moral clubs into plowshares already, folks.

Wenn eine deutsche Kapitänin in Italien vor Gericht gestellt wird, beginnt die Volksseele zu kochen. Selbst Bundespräsident Steinmeier vergisst dann das Völkerrecht und greift zur Moralkeule.

 

German Of The Day: Bußgeld

No, that doesn’t mean bus money. It means fine or penalty.

Fine

And that’s what the parents of the kids who have been taking part in Joan of Arc’s, I mean, Greta Thunberg’s wackedelic Fridays for Future (FFF) demonstrations will now have to be paying. At least here in Germany.

German school authorities are starting to get tired of all the truancy going on or something and have begun handing out fines starting at 88.50 euros a pop. Jeepers. That might get FFF-freakin’ expensive before too long, folks.

Eltern von Klimaschutzdemonstranten müssen Bußgeld bezahlen – Seit Monaten demonstriert Fridays for Future für besseren Klimaschutz. Weil das auch während der Schulzeit geschieht, wird in Mannheim das Ordnungsamt aktiv.

German Of The Day: Mundtot Machen

That means to make “mouth-dead,” as in to silence someone.

Brain Police

Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking.”

On its third try, Germany’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) will be able to kick controversial anti-Islam author Thilo Sarrazinfrom its ranks, an arbitration court ruled on Thursday. The former Berlin senator intends to appeal the ruling.ConCo

“We will try to take the case to all stages of the state and the federal arbitration court of the SPD and, beyond that, if necessary, all the ordinary civil instances of the district court of Berlin, the Court of Appeals and Federal Supreme Court, then the Federal Constitutional Court,” defense lawyer Andreas Köhler said. “In the meantime Dr. Sarrazin will continue to be an astute and attentive member of the SPD.”

Who are the Brain Police?

German Of The Day: Hinterzimmer

That means backroom.

Backroom

You know, like backroom deals? Like the way EU technocrats decide who runs the show despite what the electorate says? Why even hold European elections in the first place?

Von der Leyen nomination: Germans criticise ‘backroom deal’ – “What was the point of all that?” German critics are asking, after the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister, for the top EU job of Commission president.

There were TV debates. There were election rallies. Germany’s streets were plastered with posters showing the faces of candidates for the EU’s top jobs.

But Mrs von der Leyen’s face did not appear on any posters. Instead her nomination was suddenly announced after weeks of difficult, behind-the-scenes wrangling between EU leaders.

This is European, I mean EU democracy in action, people.