Ever Had A Windmill Shoved Down Your Throat?

How about thousands of them? And then you’re allowed to subsidize them all?

Windmill

You’d hat them too.

Germany’s Giant Windmills Are Wildly Unpopular – Local politics are a bigger problem for renewable energy growth than competition from fossil fuels.

Despite their surging popularity in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, the Greens did badly in last Sunday’s election in the German state of Thuringia, and the nationalists from the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) did very well. An important reason is that the Greens support wind energy and the AfD militates against wind turbines. The giant windmills have grown so unpopular in neighboring communities that their construction in Germany has all but ground to a halt.

There are nearly 30,000 wind turbines in Germany, more than anywhere else in Europe. Only China and the U.S., both much bigger countries, have more. Germany gets 23.5% of its energy from wind this year; it’s the biggest source of renewable energy for the country. But in the first half of 2019, only 35 wind turbines were added — an 82% drop compared with the first six months of 2018. Last year was bad, too: Just 743 turbines were added, compared with 1,792 in 2017.

German Of The Day: Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung

That’s a beauty, isn’t it? Some prefer using the word Tempolimit instead. To save time. Both mean “speed limit,” however. And no, it can’t happen here.

Speed

A measure to introduce a 130 km/h (roughly 81 mph) speed limit on the network of motorways that has crisscrossed the country since the ‘30s was introduced by the German Green Party was rejected on Thursday by a majority of Bundestag members. Germany is currently the only country in Europe with stretches of unrestricted motorways, with neighboring countries conforming at the very least to the 130 km/h limit similar to the one proposed.

Bundestag lehnt Tempolimit auf Autobahnen ab.

More State Control Of Media In Germany?

Like, than they already have? What could possibly go wrong?

Control

OK, it didn’t quite work out as planned back in the 1930s (or did it?), but today’s enlightened media experts are much more, you know, enlightened and stuff. And it is social media they’re talking about here, after all. So take a chill pill already. They’re from the government and they’re here to help.

A Lesson From 1930s Germany: Beware State Control of Social Media – Regulators should think carefully about the fallout from well-intentioned new rules and avoid the mistakes of the past.

The history of radio, and in particular how it was regulated in interwar Germany, is more relevant than ever: Five years ago, the question was whether we would regulate social media. Now the questions are how and when we will regulate them. As politicians and regulators in places as disparate as Berlin, Singapore, and Washington—even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—consider how best to do so, we should think carefully about the fallout from well-intentioned new rules and avoid the mistakes of the past.

“Our way of taking power and using it would have been inconceivable without the radio and the airplane.”

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.”

Germans Can’t Live Without Facebook

Or at least that’s the impression I get. Otherwise, if they were so terribly worried about what Facebook does with their data, they would simply stop using it. It’s still a “free” service, right? But, of course, nothing is ever for free.

Facebook

Facebook is open about collecting a broad variety of personal information, from facial recognition data to, yes, “likes” on other sites. Privacy-minded people can easily find out what Facebook knows about them and even download the data. So it’s not as if users were deceptively kept in the dark about Facebook’s harvesting of “21st century raw materials.” That, however, is not the Federal Cartel Office’s main concern; it’s that Facebook, as a company dominant in its market, forces users to agree to these harvesting practices: They don’t really have any place else to go for their digital social needs if they feel uncomfortable about how their data are used. If it’s a choice “between accepting ‘the whole Facebook package,’ including an extensive disclosure of personal data, or not using Facebook at all,” as the regulator put it in a December document, and if Facebook is a dominant company, it’s illegal in Germany.

The regulatory attack on personal data harvesting is based on the unproven assumption that the data are valuable.

EU Demands 20% Steaming Crap Quota

Sorry. I meant streaming crap quota, of course. You know, when it comes to what Netflix and Amazon Prime is allowed to offer its customers here in Europe?

Film

That’s right. The European Commission is planning to introduce a quota ensuring that at least 20 percent of the content offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime are European productions. This “identity-building measure” is necessary, the commissioners say, in order to, well, build identity (the European Commission’s identity?) and of course to continue to protect films and series that nobody wants or intends to watch but to keep on subsidizing anyway (“culture” in ze Europe is regulated by unelected state bureaucrats who know better than you and are here to help you whether you want their help or not  and not by yucky old and vulgar supply and demand – just in case you were wondering).

“Wir halten 20 Prozent für sehr maßvoll.”

Free Choice, More Convenience, Lower Prices?

Not in our city, buddy. I mean Airbnb buddy. Not if we from the we’re-from-the-government-and-we’re-here-to-help faction can do anything about it.

Miet-Map

We like things regulated here in Berlin. You know, we like things managed, micro-managed, even nano-managed or nanny-managed, if you prefer. What else do we have this oppressive Bevormundungsstaat (paternalistic state) for?

Looking to rent an apartment on your next vacation to Berlin? Starting Sunday, you can basically forget about it. From May 1, Germany’s capital is banning landlords from renting out apartments to short-term visitors, with only a few exceptions permitted.

The penalty for breaking the law is a substantial €100,000 ($113,000) fine — levied on people renting their homes, never on the guests themselves. There will still be some loopholes that allow a few vacation apartments to persist, but it seems that, in Berlin at least, the astronomical rise of Airbnb and other short-stay rental sites is effectively over.

Das Wohnungsangebot in Berlin bei Airbnb ist kleiner geworden. Mehr als 4000 Objekte wurden laut einem Medienbericht gestrichen. Offizielle Begründung: Sie böten “kein authentisches Reiseerlebnis”.

Europe Must Think Hard About Automobile Control

“At some point we as a  politico-economic union will have to reckon with the fact that this type of violence doesn’t happen in other advanced  politico-economic unions or countries,” one leading European politician said, unnamed for the moment. “It doesn’t happen with this sort of frequency.”

Maniac

The comments came after a maniac driver in Graz, Austria mounted his vehicle on the pavement and aimed it at pedestrians – sending several crashing into the windscreen and flying over the car and killing at least three – before getting out and stabbing bystanders with a knife

“We will also need to think hard about stricter knife control, too,” the politician then added.

“I heard a little hissing sound as it went past at maybe 100kmh.”

Redistribution Is Da Solution (Again)

The next step backwards: Berlin has a new law prohibiting landlords from demanding rents that are more than 10 percent higher than the area average, in an attempt to keep housing affordable in a city that’s attracting 50,000 new residents a year. The rule relies on a disputed index — known as the Mietspiegel — that critics say is a statistical crapshoot.

Rents

“The rent brake is essentially a transfer of wealth from landlords to tenants. Berlin will become less of a destination for international investors because capital doesn’t like to be constrained.”