German Of The Day: Zwangsbeitrag

That means “compulsory contribution” and refers here to the TV fees every German household has to pay for Öffentlich-Rechtliche or public-sector (or state) TV. You have to pay this here, you see, whether you watch these channels or not. You have to pay this here whether you even own a TV or not. Germany has the most expensive public-sector TV channels in the world, by the way.

ARD

Sounds reasonable, right? Hardy, har har. Well, now German “scientists” have suddenly figured out that Germany no longer needs these expensive public-sector channels and that they can be, pardon my French, “privatized.” German scientists are notoriously thorough, you know, and that’s why it takes them a little longer than other folks to figure this kind of stuff out.

Other Germans will not want to hear this, however. This is because, well… It’s hard to say why this is. It would mean getting rid of Tatort, for one thing. This would be earth-shattering or something. And in the end, Germans also want to have an official opinion maker, I suppose, someone they can always go to when they need an official opinion of their own, so-to-speak – and Der Spiegel isn’t handy at that moment.

The more things change the more they stay the same. So don’t even THINK about changing channels. “That’s right, folks. Don’t touch that dial!

Wissenschaftler stellen bei der Betrachtung von ARD und ZDF fest: Deutschland braucht nicht länger den teuersten öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk der Welt.

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Good German Scientists Helping Bad US Government Develop Killing Machines

Which is bad. Every dolt knows that German universities only do research for things having to do with goodness and niceness so these absent-minded professors clearly must have been tricked or something.

Pentagon

Word is that 22 German universities and research institutions have received more than $10 million from the US Defense Department’s budget since 2000. And this just has to be a bad thing. Doesn’t it?

Maybe the UN or Star Fleet Command could pass a resolution ensuring that science only be used for goodness and niceness in the future, the world over, just like it is here in Germany. Except sometimes when folks get tricked.

Yet once something is researched and published, it is available to anyone for any use. This gives rise to what researchers call a dual-use dilemma. Rockets that transport satellites into space, for example, could also be used to carry nuclear weapons. Knowledge about pathogens can be used to develop new medicines or biological weapons. Nuclear technology can harvest energy or build atomic bombs.

Germans Concerned Global Warming Stagnation Stagnating Too Fast

SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, Germany has recently seen major flooding. Is global warming the culprit?

Storch: I’m not aware of any studies showing that floods happen more often today than in the past. I also just attended a hydrologists’ conference in Koblenz, and none of the scientists there described such a finding.

Stagnation

SPIEGEL: Would you say that people no longer reflexively attribute every severe weather event to global warming as much as they once did?

Storch: Yes, my impression is that there is less hysteria over the climate. There are certainly still people who almost ritualistically cry, “Stop thief! Climate change is at fault!” over any natural disaster. But people are now talking much more about the likely causes of flooding, such as land being paved over or the disappearance of natural flood zones — and that’s a good thing.

SPIEGEL: Will the greenhouse effect be an issue in the upcoming German parliamentary elections? Singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen is leading a celebrity initiative calling for the addition of climate protection as a national policy objective in the German constitution.

Storch: It’s a strange idea. What state of the Earth’s atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? Are we going to declare war on China if the country emits too much CO2 into the air and thereby violates our constitution?

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn’t mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

The Spiegel Says: US-Amerika One Big Debtor’s Prison

More and more Americans are being punished for their poverty: Above all in rural areas judges have been putting delinquent debtors in prison as of late. This medieval practice is illegal, unconstitutional – and widespread.

“Diese Unsitte verbindet man mehr mit der Zeit von Charles Dickens als mit dem modernen Amerika.”

PS: Speaking of deplorable customs and disturbing developments – and good fiction – when are these deplorable refutations of sacrosanct scientific certainties ever going to stop?! I mean, what ever happened to the ozone hole? It’s not there anymore or something.

Ozone

Well it’s One drink of wine, two drinks of gin… and I’m lost in the ozone again.