Long short short long, the ship’s horn signal sounded by Bundespräsident Gauck to launch the annual Kieler Woche sailing festival, the world’s largest regatta with >4000 vessels.
It means “Leinen los!”
(Long Kurtz Kurtz Long.)
Long short short long, the ship’s horn signal sounded by Bundespräsident Gauck to launch the annual Kieler Woche sailing festival, the world’s largest regatta with >4000 vessels.
It means “Leinen los!”
(Long Kurtz Kurtz Long.)
Spiegel-Online shared natur magazine’s profile of Lüneburg University’s Sustainable Chemistry and Material Resources professor, who is working on developing versions of drugs that break down into harmless substances rather than accumulate in rivers and lakes. They’ve already managed to create a version of a cancer drug that is both more effective and more biodegradable.
Professor Kümmerer said these criteria could be being taught in drug engineering but aren’t yet. Pharma companies are cautious about supporting the trend because they don’t want to invest more money or invite more licensing requirements to be imposed. Until the new standards and discoveries can be deployed, he said, the filter systems will have to be improved for factory waste water and municipal water treatment plants.
The goal of sustainable pharmacy would be to make drugs that break down into e.g. carbon and water outside the body. Perhaps one way to achieve that could be with coatings: an exterior coating that is broken down only by gastric juices, with the tablet’s core broken down by gaseous oxygen?
(NAH chh halt ig ah fah mah TSEE.)
A train into the greener countryside.
Some wonderful person has carefully filmed, edited and posted online videos of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn light rail routes. These videos take you into the green twice, because the streetcar lines start and end in the city’s green outer periphery; they also document and share other ways of building and living.
In the video for the U2 line, you can hear kids discussing with their father while practicing multiple languages.
(TSOOG ins GROON ah.)
The Gotthard basis tunnel, being built under the famous Gotthard Pass through the Swiss Alps. They’re saying this new double tunnel for trains is the longest in the world, at 57 km. Wonderful ZDF heute journal report on the testing currently underway, showing how Swiss engineers are verifying human/computer interaction to control responses to a variety of simulated emergency situations. It’s not yet known whether the air each train pushes in front of it and pulls behind it will be enough ventilation for all 57 kilometers.
Passenger trains are to travel through the new tunnel at up to 250 km/h. Accelerating inside the tunnel would cost a lot of energy because of the column of air; the F.A.Z. said the trains will “thunder into” the tunnel entrances.
(GOTT haht BOZZ iss TOON ell.)
Water/water heat pump, which can be used e.g. for heating a residential home via groundwater according to one German manufacturer.
The U.K. government announced that to reduce its dependence on natural gas it will incentivize development of carbon-neutral water-based networks that bring heat to multiple buildings. From any body of water, such as rivers or lakes, that is exposed to sunshine the networks will take water, filter it twice, remove the extra heat via heat exchangers, concentrate that heat to 45°C via “reverse refrigeration” and pipe it to nearby buildings.
If the water is taken from a river, the current can be used to generate the electricity running the system.
England’s first such network will serve ~150 homes and a hotel|conference center in South London, said Energy Secretary Ed Davey (LibDem). He has asked the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change to draw up a map of England showing where such water-energy networks can be built.
(VOSS ah VOSS ah VAIR ma POOMP ah.)
“Inductive loading column,” a wireless recharging station for at least one German factory’s fleet of electric cars. You back the car into the column. Then, magnetism! The car’s batteries recharge in about six hours.
(In duked YVES ah LAUD ah zoy lah.)
Since the 22 Sep 2013 Bundestag election, Germany’s second-largest political party, the socialist S.P.D., has had a new boss: Sigmar Gabriel. He managed to get his party to agree to form a grosse Koalition with Chancellor Merkel’s largest political party, the conservative C.D.U. (and its Bavarian state branch, the C.S.U.), even though this effectively eliminated opposition from the Bundestag and usually causes the S.P.D. to lose voters after unethical compromises of its core principles. After delivering the S.P.D., via much talk, singing rousing songs and an up-or-down vote on whether to rule, Mr. Gabriel became the deputy chancellor of Germany and took on two cabinet ministries: Economics and Energy. He announced he would “reform” Germany’s switch to renewable energy sources, the awesome Energiewende, to cap government support of solar and wind power because he wanted to reduce electricity prices for consumers. The reporting indicated Mr. Gabriel has no plans to significantly reduce the C.D.U.’s exemptions, “industry privileges,” granted to high-volume electricity-consuming companies, which goes up by about 1000 companies/year and which the E.U. competition authority has said if not stopped or at least better organized may be reason for that authority to kill the Energiewende entirely. In fact, ZDF heute journal correspondent Stefan Leifert said, the new minister has refused to specify which important industries will get which rebates to their contributions to the Energiewende.
Mr. Gabriel’s hand-picked successor as head of the S.P.D. is a representative of coal workers, from the Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (IG BCE, “industrial union for mining, chemistry, power”).
Because Bavaria has been investing in biofuel systems, the C.S.U. was not 100% behind kneecapping the Energiewende when Mr. Gabriel submitted his reform proposals on 30 Jan 2014. Bavaria’s Economy & Energy minister Ilse Aigner (C.S.U.) explained that biomass electricity generation is a reasonable alternative for times when there are low quantities of sun or wind.
(GROSS ah COAL a lee tsee OWN.)
“Privatizing a troop of engineers,” the ~2800 elite engineers in Britain’s Defence Support Group which is responsible for maintaining and purchasing high-tech weapons systems such as fighter jets, tanks and troop transporters, said Spiegel.de.
Spiegel said London is ignoring the U.S.A.’s request not to sell off the unit. The U.K. military fears the sale would result in loss of institutional knowledge, loss of control over military secrets, exposure to boycott risk and other problems. Spiegel said the Observer said the official call for bids to buy D.S.G. will go out in a few days despite lots of domestic opposition to the plan, which didn’t stop Mr. Cameron’s government from e.g. privatizing the Royal Mail.
The Spiegel.de article said the U.S.A.’s notoriously tight control over military technology it shares with allies was circumvented by Tony Blair in 2007 when he worked out a simplified sharing agreement in the throes of the wars. George W. Bush agreed to share important anti-terrorism military technology using streamlined processes and without requiring export licenses.
(Inn jen YOO er en troop ah pree vot eez EAR en.)
“Shadow science of war,” headline to a Süddeutsche.de article about >$10 million the U.S. military has invested since 2000 in research projects at at least 22 German universities, careful curious institutions where $10 million can buy a lot of study. The Pentagon helped fund investigations into military explosive materials at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich, for example; bulletproof glass [Panzerglas] and warheads [Sprengköpfe, exploding heads] at the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg; at Marburg, mini-drones and “nocturnal visual orientation in flying insects” useful for targeting munitions; at Saarland, $120,000 from the Army Research Laboratory for mathematical studies of linguistic structures, presumably useful in surveillance technology.
Süddeutsche.de and its investigation partner the Norddeutsche Rundfunk criticized the lack of transparency at the German universities and research institutes about having received the funding. Despite having “packs or prides of marketing experts,” the mostly-taxpayer-funded German schools’ reticence about U.S. military sponsorship meant journalists could only find them by going through lists in U.S. documents, including online searches of the database of the Federal Procurement Data System, which S.Z. said publishes all U.S. government purchases >$3000.
“And afterward strained excuses were even voiced, such as, the money was for basic research that surprised everyone when it turned out to have military applications. But the Pentagon would never have opened its cash register for pure love-of-neighbor, nor for scientific curiosity.”
Süddeutsche.de said 14 German universities have added “civil clauses” [Zivilklausel] to their by-laws stating that they will not accept research money from the German military, which also sponsors such projects. The University of Bremen did this, for example, and was then shocked to find its name in the U.S. database, having received $40,000 in 2011 and again in 2012 from the U.S. Air Force to study metal emissions in the upper atmosphere. Even if schools have such so-called civil clauses, the newspaper wrote, it is each individual German academic’s decision whether to accept military money for “dual-use” projects because academic freedom is guaranteed by Art. 5 of the German Constitution, section (3), which can be translated as “Art and science, research and teaching, are free. The freedom of teaching does not release instructors from their constitutional obligations” (to democracy and the human rights mandated elsewhere in the Grundgesetz, GG).
Update on 17 Dec 2013: The Swiss newspaper SontagsZeitung reported that in the past two years the Pentagon has provided “about a dozen” Swiss universities with “over a million dollars” in sponsoring for research projects in aerospace and computers. Schools included E.T.H. Lausanne and the universities of Zurich, Bern and Neuenburg.
(SHOTTEN vissen shoften dess CREE gess.)
“Dust sucking.” Starting September 2014, no household appliances can be sold in the E.U. that use >1600 W. In September 2017 that limit will be lowered to 900 W.
This is aimed at vacuum cleaners.
Effective Sept. 1, 2014, household appliances will also have to be labeled with simple symbols showing their power consumption, ranging from a green A for low electricity use to a red G for egregious.
The “Ecodesign Regulation” created exceptions for the following types of industrial-type vacuum cleaners, which sound funnier in German than in English:
“Nasssauger, Saugroboter, akkubetriebene Staubsauger, Industriestaubsauger und Bohnermaschinen.”
“Wet suckers, sucking robots, battery-driven dust suckers, industrial dust suckers and Bohner machines.”
E.U. officials said vacuum cleaner manufacturers were consulted in advance, most models >1600 W have been sorted out already, and it’s not the size of their Watts, it’s how well they suck dust that counts.
(Sht OW! bzz OW! g en.)
“Well, okay then.” Actually, this is yet another thrilled German headline about the warming of diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S.A. The wonderful détente is very exciting. Hopefully, now, we can all get rich together, a wish expressed by my Iranian kitchenmates at German university ten years ago.
A recently published “history of Iran for beginners” said the country had ~38 auto manufacturing companies, presumably in response to international sanctions. Perhaps innovators like Google or Tesla could work out deals with some of these groups to supply novel parts for renewable-energy car projects. There could now be excellent internationally sponsored engineering programs at Iranian universities, and training exchanges around the world.
“Cleaned by physics vs. cleaned by chemistry.” In the late 1990’s, to this tourist, it appeared that U.S. appliances were designed so that ever-more-sophisticated soaps and/or soap marketing would get laundry clean, while German appliances were designed to use physics to get laundry clean. The latter had gotten so good at it that for years they’d been competing by promising not cleaner clothes but to reduce the electricity and especially water required to do a load of wash.
The fabrics in clothing sold in 1990’s Germany were much higher quality than the kleenex clothes sold in the U.S.A.: thicker, stronger, less likely to wrinkle. At the time I thought this was because German consumers complained before purchases more, both to each other and to the stores*, but perhaps it was also due to post-purchase complaining after clothes designed to be worn twice and soap-laundered dissatisfied chatty consumers rather egregiously when worn four times and agitation-laundered.
In both countries, water in rural creeks and rivers formed persistent foam that did look like soap bubbles, originally white but turning yellow with dust as it was carried downstream. But friends said this was caused not by household soaps but by artificial fertilizers in runoff from farmers’ fields.
(Fizz EEK geh ZOY bat vair seuss chhem EE geh ZOY bat.)
* “Are you trying to verarsch me with that see-through, pilly, short-fiber cotton?”
“Gross not nett,” what rural U.S. landowners should try to take their ~12.5% royalty from if signing an agreement to let oil and gas companies frack their land. Previously, landowners had to worry about drillers’ resistance to the ethical challenges arising from the fact that it’s the driller who measures and reports the yields produced. Technology is also presenting drillers with ethical challenges: it’s now possible to drill sideways underground much farther than you’d think, for example.
Now ProPublica.org has reported drillers and/or pipeline owners have been using “creative accounting” in the office to reduce how much they say they owe farmers and other rural people whose land they are fracking, from Pennsylvania to North Dakota.
For example, “But some companies deduct expenses for transporting and processing natural gas, even when leases contain clauses explicitly prohibiting such deductions. In other cases, according to court files and documents obtained by ProPublica, they withhold money without explanation for other, unauthorized expenses, and without telling landowners that the money is being withheld. … In Oklahoma, Chesapeake deducted marketing fees from payments to a landowner – a joint owner in the well – even though the fees went to its own subsidiary[.]” The companies have also sold the product to subsidiaries at artificially low prices on which they paid farmers’ royalties, then resold at the higher market value.
Natural gas is apparently priced by volume, yet in pipelines it can be compressed and subjected to other processes the drillers and transporters call “proprietary” and won’t describe. Ownership of pipelines is not only becoming obscure, it’s a new field for innovative financial trading: Transport pipelines are being sold off to multiple third parties. Fracking rights purchased from farmers are being divided up and sold off to other companies in dribs, drabs and perhaps even tranches. One of the more “cutthroat” drillers has also been found to consistently report getting lower sale prices for its harvested gas on the market than e.g. the Norwegian partner firm Statoil selling similar products in the same markets at the same time.
A fierce debate is raging in Germany about whether to allow fracking to harvest its “Schiefergas,” shale gas or slate gas.
(BRUTE oh nichh t NET oh.)
Parbuckling sans pareil, the clever, steady project to recover the Costa Concordia cruise ship from the rocks before the coast of the Italian island of Giglio.
(By shpeel LOZE eh BERG oongs octs yo n.)
Independently avoid, autonomously avoid.
The airspace regulation problem cited for why the European Aviation Safety Agency and the U.S.A.’s Federal Aviation Administration refused to allow the at-one-time largest remotely operated drone, the U.S./German Euro Hawk, to fly over U.S. and European airspace was the agencies’ requirement for “sense-and-avoid” technology ensuring drones avoid collisions with other aircraft as well as a human pilot would do. Wouldn’t guaranteed collision avoidance be impossible without first implementing Isaac Asimov-like laws of robotics to the extent that the drone would “want” to survive and protect just as much as a human pilot? Even Asimov’s laws of robotics might not fix drones’ vulnerability to remote hacking that could deliberately crash them, armed or unarmed. Supplementary to the air traffic rules preventing collisions with other aircraft, what regulations might help keep hacked or broken drones from colliding with objects on the ground or in orbit?
The situation may be evolving and toward deregulation of anticollision requirements in the U.S.A.: an FAA.gov press release dated 26 Jul 2013 announced a “giant leap” and “milestone” had been achieved because the Federal Aviation Administration was for the first time “type-certifying” unmanned aircraft for flight: the Scan Eagle X200 from Insitu and the PUMA from AeroVironment, each weighing ca. 55 pounds with ~3-meter wingspans. “A falcon flying blind,” that cannot “see” without its ground stations, the Euro Hawk was said to weigh 15 metric tons and be 40 meters wide. Its delivery flight was supposed to be at 20,000 meters altitude.
Germany’s Euro Hawk surveillance drone program was canceled in May 2013—and the sudden course correction may only have been caused by a concerned whistleblower who informed Bundestag member Hans-Peter Bartels (S.P.D.) in whose district they were going to base the crash-prone drones. Since then, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.) was caught lying about when he knew the Euro Hawk was a bust yet didn’t report this and continued paying for the program. If the German defense ministry under Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.), Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (C.S.U.), Franz Josef Jung (C.D.U.) and Peter Struck (S.P.D.) ignored internal warnings for years saying this seemingly-unsolvable safety problem was unsolvable under the planned budget and schedule, then people in government appear to have been several hundred million euros certain they could eliminate the air traffic regulations rather than fix the engineering issue.
The Euro Hawk prototype delivered from California to Germany in 2011 twice lost contact with its operators, according to FAZ.net, for about ten minutes each time. When found again it had deviated from course and “even lost altitude.”
German voters already experience a frisson of angst if they see or hear military jets in the air because it reminds them of when hundreds of spectators were sliced and burned in the firey crash of fighter jets flying in formation at an air show over Ramstein air base. The notorious industrial band took the name Ramstein after the disaster as an act of provocation.
(ZELL bst shten dick OW! ss vye chhen, EYE geh n shten dick OW! ss vye chhen.)
“Miniature Wonderland,” a flabbergastingly extensive, ambitious, complex, technically impressive and beautiful model train exhibit in Hamburg. They recreated the Swiss Alps, the Frankfurt Airport, a floating Scandinavian cruise ship, Las Vegas and Florida. There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of tiny jokes to hunt for. The sun rises and sets every fifteen minutes, with lights coming on in all the little villages. Visitors can watch the Wunderland artist-engineers at work in their glass cubicles, while they can watch you enjoying the show.
(Min ee ah TOUR VOON da lond.)
“Overflow areas,” deliberately designed flood zones along a river, in wilderness or agricultural regions outside towns. Post-Enlightenment romantic poetry’s rivers of plashing brooks, bosky dapple, und so weiter, were dredged and dug in the nineteenth century into straight deep channels that could be used for peacetime and wartime shipping. In the late twentieth century, amid concerns about global climate change and drowning poor Holland, they started rewilding sections of German rivers by bulldozer into broad serpentine environments with polders that are intended to flood after heavy rains and will hold more water than the old Wilhelmine channels. The ecological results should be interesting, as species move through the new riparian habitat amid lands that have been Feld-Wald-und-Wiesen, fields forests and meadows, for a very long time, possibly centuries in some places.
Jerome K. Jerome’s pre-WWI descriptions of the channelization might be based on actual observation:
“Your German is not averse even to wild scenery, provided it be not too wild. But if he consider it too savage, he sets to work to tame it. I remember, in the neighbourhood of Dresden, discovering a picturesque and narrow valley leading down towards the Elbe. The winding roadway ran beside a mountain torrent, which for a mile or so fretted and foamed over rocks and boulders between wood-covered banks. I followed it enchanted until, turning a corner, I suddenly came across a gang of eighty or a hundred workmen. They were busy tidying up that valley, and making that stream respectable. All the stones that were impeding the course of the water they were carefully picking out and carting away. The bank on either side they were bricking up and cementing. The overhanging trees and bushes, the tangled vines and creepers they were rooting up and trimming down. A little further I came upon the finished work—the mountain valley as it ought to be, according to German ideas. The water, now a broad, sluggish stream, flowed over a level, gravelly bed, between two walls crowned with stone coping. At every hundred yards it gently descended down three shallow wooden platforms. For a space on either side the ground had been cleared, and at regular intervals young poplars planted. Each sapling was protected by a shield of wickerwork and bossed by an iron rod. In the course of a couple of years it is the hope of the local council to have “finished” that valley throughout its entire length, and made it fit for a tidy-minded lover of German nature to walk in. There will be a seat every fifty yards, a police notice every hundred, and a restaurant every half-mile.
“They are doing the same from the Memel to the Rhine. They are just tidying up the country. I remember well the Wehrthal. It was once the most romantic ravine to be found in the Black Forest. The last time I walked down it some hundreds of Italian workmen were encamped there hard at work, training the wild little Wehr the way it should go, bricking the banks for it here, blasting the rocks for it there, making cement steps for it down which it can travel soberly and without fuss.” —From Three Men on the Bummel (1900)
(Ü bah FLEW toongs flechh hen.)
“Goal line technology.” After considering options such as attaching magnetic chips and/or accelerometers to game balls, FIFA has decided to test the use of 14 HD cameras in the July 2013 Confederations Cup to verify ref calls on whether soccer balls have crossed the line into the goal box. When the technological request for proposals was issued, FIFA estimated the new equipment would cost about EUR 200,000 per stadium, whatever they ended up using.
(TOOOOOR lean ian TECHH nick.)
“Brunsbüttel lock rails.” The world’s busiest artificial canal is said to be the Kiel Canal from Brünsbuttel to Kiel that allows ships to bypass Denmark. The canal was first built from 1887 to 1895, though many of the key components still in use were completed later, just in time for WWI. Brunsbüttel’s hundred-year-old lock gates urgently need repair, probably rapid replacement in fact, but this is difficult due to heavy traffic on the canal, the scale of the project and the fact that the work has had to be done underwater by divers at visibility of 1–2 cm. The locks’ sliding gates (Schleusentore) are hung from steel rails (Stahlschienen) and driven by toothed gears and chains on concrete and steel grooves installed on the ocean floor. These rails and grooves urgently need to be fixed and don’t always work well anyway as ship propellors and other excrescences can knock the gates out of place. The Brunsbüttel locks were closed, drained and fixed for a week this winter, forcing ships to take the 800 km-longer route around Denmark from the North Sea to the Baltic, but much more needs to be done. The canal has two locks at either end, and a fifth lock is planned to be built in Brunsbüttel to keep the canal open during repairs.
(BROONZ en bütt ellll scheh SHLOYZ en sheen en.)
“Egg-laying wool milk sow,” a product that can do everything.
(EYE er laig end eh VOLL milchh zow!.)
To slosh, swash. Topic of a recent Ig-Nobel Fluid Dynamics prize for a paper entitled “Walking With Coffee: Why Does It Spill?”