Archive for the ‘English Posts’ Category

Making sense of Trump

18. Februar 2017

The past weeks I have been reading a lot about Trump and the US. Many Americans are concerned.

While there have been various funny things said and while Trump gives us heaps of stuff to make fun about him, his work and his various actions, there are some serious concerns. I have selected some articles here, that will sheed very diffrent lights on the phenomena. Some of the views are totall opposed to each other. So please read yourself and try to make up your own mind.

So here is my Reading List:

In the Atlantic Magazinbe David Frum (March 2017 Issue) argues that Trump will not built an authoritarian state. He will just be someone who wants to make a lot of money and thus open a East European style kleptocracy:  „Donald Trump will not set out to build an authoritarian state. His immediate priority seems likely to be to use the presidency to enrich himself. But as he does so, he will need to protect himself from legal risk. Being Trump, he will also inevitably wish to inflict payback on his critics. Construction of an apparatus of impunity and revenge will begin haphazardly and opportunistically. But it will accelerate. It will have to.“ How to built an Autcracy
The Article is really worth reading.

In The Monthly, an Australian Magazine, Robert Manne collects all the konwn connections of Donald Trump to Russia and it’s intelligence services. The article is a rather cool and well written, it provides a comprehensive overview of all allegations in the press about the russian involvement of Trump and his allies so far. From Michal Flynn, WikiLeaks, Steele dossier, 19% share in Rosneft, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and the Republican activist Roger Stone,…: „The Muscovian Candidate? Donald Trump and Russia“

There is an intresting discussion on how planned and competent the Trump administration actually is. Are things like the Muslim Ban the opening shots in a coup d’etat?   Yonatan Zunger claims so in a widely shared piece on medium. He is a google privacy egineer.

Reading the same tea leafs, political scientist Tom Pepinsky, which I met once in Freiburg, comes to a totally diffrent conclusion: „I am equally taken by the argument that everything that Zunger identifies is evidence not of a deliberate planning by an aspiring authoritarian, but of the exact opposite: the weakness and incoherence of administration by a narcissist.“ Trump is simly weak ruler. See also this Post of his blog on the use of Media by narcissts and authoritarians.

Comminb ack to Yonatan Zunger: He explains in another bleak post on medium, what are the three scenarios for the Trump presidency and none of them look good. The Washington Post has an entire section on his „cult of the paranoid medium post“ and why we shoudl never retweet.

Why was the Immigration Ban so badly executed? Malevolence and incompetence or malevolence or incompetence? Was it simply security theatre for the base? Asks in the Washington Post.

An intresting pick on the developments in the US is provided by http://www.electoral-vote.com/ they do not lonly count votes or polls but also give backgroudn news.

 

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Particulates or particulate matter in the Air in Freiburg

27. Januar 2017

This is an english summary of my page about my little air quality sensor.

The story behind it is explained very simply: One day I decided to visit the people of luftdaten.info in Stuttgart and have a look at their project. They have cleverly designes a particular matter sensor for both PM10 and PM2.5 that costs less then 30 Euros.

Because of their small size, particles on the order of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli. Similarly, so called fine PM, (often referred to as PM2.5), tend to penetrate into the gas exchange regions of the lung (alveolus), and very small particles (< 100 nanometers) may pass through the lungs to affect other organs. So these particles are not something you should take lightly. And these particulates are a good indicator for other Air polutants such as NOx. Both are caused by burning stuff, either to heat your house or when you drive around in a car.

The effects of inhaling particulate matter that have been widely studied in humans and animals include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, premature delivery, birth defects, and premature death.

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In Europe PM10 particulates should not exceed 50 µg/m3 on a Daily average for more then 35 days. The worst air in Germany is often found in Stuttgart, but Freiburg beeing in a valley also has problems. Thats why I decided to put upt he first sensor from this citizen science network.

The graphics you see are taken from my sensor outside on my balcony. The grey thing next to my little polar pear houses the sensor. You can build these fairly easy yourself.

These graphics should be refreshed every 15 min. This one shows the measurement over one week. Note 50 µg/m3  are the limit:

To see if the 50 µg/m3 for PM10 has been broken, see this chart:

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ReDesign of Society 2040

25. Mai 2016

On Monday we opend our exhitbiton on ReDesign of Society 2040. Which Utopia do we want? How can we reclaim the future?

There are two exhibits in which I participated: The republic of knowledge and Finnland as a Utopia. I will post later information to the republic of knowledge our proposal to a new more democratic form of schooling. Which I designed with two other students from Aalto university: Soujanyaa Boruah, Jami Sarnikorpi.

I had the following idea: Often people travel to Finland and report from it. And these reports are often used as a projecton space to highlight things you want for your own country. Very explicit was this in the reports in Germany about the Finish Education System:

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Finnland the education utopia?

 

In 2000 the results of the PISA study on student achievements were published. Germany was rated dismal and Finnland best. The German media invented a new term „Pisaschock“. (literally schocked by Pisa results) German  scientists, politicians, teachers, students and journalists flew to Finland and tried to find out why it was so good. Everyone who traveled found design decisiosn that suited his ideology or preconceptions:
Some concluded it was the one school for all, others that it was the good social status of the teachers, others progressive or conservative teaching methods, the lutheran tradition of literacy, free school food or even the cold weather where children stay at home and read instead of playing outside. Less utopian aspects were never highlichted.
Indeed after some years of study most scientists concluded it was a range of factors and they could not easily point it down.
But indeed everyone could project onto Finland what he oer she liked…

So why does Finland function so well as an utopia?

And with some thinking you may find other examples of this in present day media.
Finnland ist distant and close at the same time. Distant in the sense that you have to fly for more then two hours from Frankfurt or take a boat for about 20 hours to travel from Germany to it.
It’s language is very distant from German, although it has numerous German loan-words (teigi – Teig, Kaffeepaussi – Kaffepause,  kivääri – Gewehr, …).

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It is a country where very few Germans go on holiday unlike Sweden, Italy or Spain and it is fairly small. For most of its history it was also not important as a trading partner or source of raw materials for Germany.
And it is a rather dull and peaceful place with no conflict or burning political issue to report on. If German media have a correspondent the person is in Stockholm and covers all of Scandinavia and maybe even the Baltics.
All this makes it easy for the occasional traveling reporter, scientist or political entrepneur to pass through and pass  back information about the wonders of this great society and country. Some examples you find here.
And indeed there are many wonderous things to report, but often they are simplified and have not one particular source: the baby box is not the sole reason for low child mortality, the well repsrected teacher not the sole source for good PISA results and so on…

The most controversial of the four sides on the Finland as an utopia pillar is the „Nazi Utopia“ side. I do not claim that Finland ever was a Nazi utopia. But I claim that at some point in the past it was marketed to Germans as such.

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The exhibtion is open until 5th of June and it its in the ground floor of Kluvi Shoping centre:

Vappu

2. Mai 2016

Somewhere from the swedish Valborg and the German Walburgis, the Finnish have created their own form of carneval: Vappu. Like the German it has to do a lot with celebrating and drinking. My first Vappu expierience was in Helsinki on the 30th when I had just arrived by plane form Germany and then took the train to Turku but in betweent I had some 3 hours and decided to visit a friend.

Well said friend recieved me on the stairs of Helsinki cathedral where he and the other students from his student organization waited and drank and celebrated. Apparently he had at one point worn his student overall to the carneval in Cologne and fit in really well.

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But its not only for students, in Helsinki I saw plenty of old people wearing student hats and celebrating. And as we all know, celebrating in Finnland means also drinking a lot. Besides that the celebrations are really peacefull. We had good luck and sunny warm weather (warm in Finnland means around 15°C)

#Vappu in #Turku

A post shared by Sebastian (@sbamueller) on

But in Turku the other part of the 1st of May tradition is a live as well. There were events from the Left Party and from the Greens. Maybe even from the SDP, but I didn’t see them.

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The hidden swastikas of Finland

27. November 2015
Finland is a great country. Well not because hundreds of millions of people live there or because its sunny all the time, no because of its people. And these people are much more relaxed about certain things. For example they are much more relaxed about swastikas. The swastika was a symbol adopted by the Nazis as to symbol their movement. It existed before and if you go to Bali you see it – with a totally different meaning – on temples and even on clothing.
So there are a couple of swastikas around in Finland. For example on this  school building in Helsinki:
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Even better: The official Flag of the Finnish air Force academy:
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And in 2013 the Swedes noticed that Finland beloved christmas pastry was a swastika too!