Answers to Various & Previosly Posted Questions
and other miscanellaneous facts of life

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Arts 1: The person depicted in Mona Lisa is possibly Isabella, Duchess of Aragon. If one, however, compares da Vinci's sketch of her with the painting, one finds that the features do not match properly. Interestingly, a comparison with da Vinci's self-portrait suggests that Mona Lisa's facial proportions are actually his. Further reading: Scientific American, April '95 issue.
Arts 2: A comprehensive archive of Austin Osman Spare's (shown is a self-portrait) 'weird' works can be found here.
Biology 1: From Willy Kükenthal's 'poetry book' Zoologisches Praktikum: 'Lips are nothing but muscular folds of skin.'
Biology 2: Many dedicational scientific names from Linnean times are probably patterned after the names of ordinary people (there were not enough scientists to name something after as all known organisms were adapted to Linnean nomenclature). One can well imagine the high-brow scientist eager to raise a peasant who just brought a hitherto undescribed specimen into the then-lofty realm of scientific immortality: 'Brave man, I will name this bird after thee!' - and the peasant just thinks 'oh, what the hell? A silver piece would suit me better'.
Biology 3: There is the notion that most birds are exceptionally stupid, compared to mammalian standards. Influencing this might be the fact that most bird's heads bear shorter, less voluminous plumage than their bodies, creating the illusion that they have a disproportionally small skull (read: brain).
Biology 4: Peat moss is NOT the brother of Kate Moss.
Biology 5: Comprehensive information on the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) can be found here.
Biology 6: The persons who probably know most about the sense of taste of some animals are those who produce pet food.
Biology 7: Lactose intolerance is an example how cultural evolution can become genetic evolution: If milk is not considered food fit for adults in a culture, it is probable that, over time, the lactose-catabolizing mechanisms will disappear, thus ridding the population of biochemical (read: thermodynamical) dead wood.
Biology 8: Comparative gemetics (the 'molecular clock') is a smart idea, but it tells less than it is supposed to: Pauling's assumption that the rate of mutations is constant over a long time span is wrong: The circumstances may prevent mutations to be successful except a few, which will, as the overall frequency of mutations stays about the same (save for recent anthropogenic influence) appear as considerably lower mutation rate: an abortive mutation leaves no trace. A gene may be mutated at an amazing rate in one organism, but it may be conserved in another with different habits and metabolism living in a different environment: The reptilian uricotelic nitrogen cycle has been retained in turtles, whose ancestors formed one of the three groups of proto-reptilians (the second being birds and 'true' reptilians, also having the uricotelic metabolism). Mammals developed a vastly different mechanism (excretion of urea vs. ureic acid), but the three groups separated at about the same time. Only if one considers an ubiquitious proteine that possesses a comparatively small active centre (thus ensuring that most mutations will not affect its function) are somewhat precise phylogenetic statements possible. The recent turn towards use of pseudogenes and intron sequences instead of true coding sequences is also of doubtful use, as long as we are not sure whether these sequences are truly 'nonsense', as it is today claimed (if they were, why were they retained for that long, as their deletion would free considerable biochemical resources?).
Biology 9: The species concept is only applicable to a certain point of time: The early Homo sapiens (pre-Neanderthal) could more probably than not have offspring with H. erectus. Today's H. sapiens most probably could not. Thus, in their early days those creatures that are now classified as H. sapiens were only a subspecies to H. erectus.
Biology 10: The claim that Neanderthal Homo sapiens were uncapable of distinct speech is doubtful, for until we find a conserved specimen, we can only guess at what their speech apparatus was like. Anyway, it seems not very probable that the older-Neanderthal type humans were able to speak clearly, as spoken language did, as far as we can guess, only then develope. About the speech capabilities of the modern Neanderthal humans from the Middle East-North Africa area, we cannot reasonably guess.
Biology 11: One could 'translate' a bee's color perception to ours by, for example, training bees to find food on a sheet of paper that reflects as exclusively as possible in the UV spectrum and then test their response to paper in various colors, with no UV reflection. If bees perceive UV as any color which we perceive, too, one could thus find out which. If not, we know at least that there are colors in the world which we know nothing of, nor probably ever will, for it is the brain that makes the color, not the eyes.
Biology 12: The ancestors of spiders were the first land-living arthropods, insects are the product of a second-wave colonization. Some primitive spiders have book lungs, which resemble book gills in a cavity with only a small opening, indicating that they still require a high humidity to work properly (analogous to land crabs): today's annelids, chelicerates, crustaceans and tracheates did arise independently from a common ancestor, sharing similarities, but adapting to land life independantly.
Biology 13: Reptiles are a polyphyletic group: Actually, birds' closest living relatives are crocodiles, then snakes and lizards. They form one group, the Diapsida, that developed out of proto-reptilians, the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) being the most primitive contemporary diapsid. The second, Synapsida, is today's mammals (which, like birds, would never be classified as reptiles) and the third, Testudinata, turtles. See also Biology 8.
Biology 14: If one considers a shark a fish, one might also view a whale as one: A whale and a herring are more closely related than a herring and a shark, being a good example of how during the development of Osteichthyes and Chondrichthyes, which were always limited to the water, basic similarities were conserved, as the environment, which they ruled virtually unchallenged by other vertebrates, was conserved.
Lampreys, which are commonly considered fishes, are an entirely different case: they qualify as vertebrates, but nothing more.
Biology 15: Photons as carriers of information could work by any protein being a light receptor pigment on a cellular level, the quantity of photons of a defined wavelength (as might be produced by a biochemical reaction), which equals a defined energy, triggering a configuration change in, for example, a regulator proteine and thus activate or deactivate it.
Biology 16: Insectivores except bats did not reach Australia unless transported by humans, although mice did. The reason might be that metabolism of carbohydrates (the main energy source for rodents) has a more favorable energy balance than metabolism of proteins (the main energy source of insectivores). When being drifted across the ocean (the only way to reach Australia for land-living mammals), maintaining a favorable energy balance is crucial.
Biology 17: The attempt to raise crop yields by gengineering is bound to fail in the long run: The fact that horizontal gene transfer occurs naturally (actually, by the same means used in the laboratory, that is, Agrobacterium tumefaciens and viruses as vectors) means that 'weeds' will acquire resistance in a comparatively short time, and although both 'weeds' and crops will have to deal with an increased stress of their energy balance and will persist or perish, it is a vain hope that the crops will additionally yield a considerably large harvest.
Biology 18: As it turned out recently, the embryo comparison plates by German biologist Ernst Haeckel that show similarities between the embryos of various vertebrates to be retained until late in the development, are a fake. Haeckel admitted openly that he had distorted and altered the embryo parts' proportions to suit his theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, the biogenetical law, but obviously, no biologist wanted or dared to question Haeckel's authority, even after most other Haeckelian theories had been dismissed as rubbish. All that would have been necessary was a quick look through the microscope, but nobody seems to have done even that. It remains to hope that we now recognize that ontogeny does NOT recapitulate phylogeny and that Haeckel was no great biologist, but a miserable fraud and a shame for the life sciences.
Biology 19: Marlins (Tetrapturus and Makaira spec.) possess an elongated upper jaw as part of their near-perfect stramlined shape. Swordfishes' upper jaws are more elongated, somewhat spoiling the streamline, but giving an advantage in hunting. This is an exaple for recently split ways of further development of a morphological feature.
Biology 20: Any virus is a possible by-product of its host's metabolism that acqired some half-independent half-life: The means to activate the viral genome are carried by the host, not by the virus.
Biology 21: The white coating on salami peels is the harmless domesticated mold Penicilium nalgiovensis.
Biology 22: Maine Coon cats, the world's largest house cats, are very docile animals; if they were as vicious as house cats sometimes tend to be, they would qualify as rather bad pets.
Biology 23: Most comprehensive information on all whale and dolphin species (save one recently discovered Mesoplodon), including the least-known ones, can be found in Anthony A. Martin's book Das große Bestimmungsbuch der Wale und Delphine.
Biology 24: Swarms stretch in 3 dimensions, packs in 2.
Biology 25: The major misconception in restaurative ecology (the attempt to restore a region's potential natural vegetation) is its inability to consider human influence a part of Nature: Restauration ecology condemns the North American prairies as 'produced by human deforestation of the native woodland', but fails to see that, although completely anthropogenic in origin, the prairies have become an ecosystem in their own right and that several species (e.g. the 'buffalo' or the black-footed polecat) have adapted to living in this habitat to such an extent that they cannot thrive in another.
Biology 26: A picture of Phyllobates terribilis, the most poisonous frog of the world. While other species used to poison arrowheads have to be roasted and their skin secretes fermented, P. terribilis is used by rubbing the item to be poisoned over its back while the frog is still alive.
Biology 27: The monkey viruses Herpesvirus ateles and H. saimiri are examples of true symbiotic viruses: While viruses in the lysogenic stage are called 'symbiotic' sometimes, they are parasites, as they provide no constant benefit for their hosts (Viruses that undergo the lytic cycle have sometimes to be called parasitoids as they, unlike normal parasites, kill their host): The Herpesvirus types do provide an advantage to their hosts, spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys, respectively, as they cause exceptionally malign lymphomas in non-host monkey species, offsetting the increased energetical strain of the host by virus production.
Biology 28: Click here or here to hear a recording of the cry of an arctic loon (Gavia immer), here for a recording of a wood lark (Lullula arborea)'s song and here for a recording of the cry of a trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator).
Biology 29: Discovered in 1971, Quetzalcoatlus northropi (Nahuatl-Latin-English: 'Northrop's Feathered Serpent' after the Aztec deity) is the largest pterosaurian and the largest flying animal ever known today, with a wingspan of 11-12 meters and a weight of probably 85-95 kilograms. It is known from Big Bend, Texas', Javelina formation (late Cretacean, c. 68 mio. years BC). View a picture of a reconstruction here and a size comparison here.
Biology 30: The 'Bête de Gévaudan', an infamous creature supposed to be a gigantic wolf, a werewolf, a wolf-dog hybrid, a demon, a punishment from God, a wolverine, hyena or baboon or a previously unknown species, that haunted today's Lozère from Jun., 1764 for 3 years (when it was shot) was identified by zoologist Franz Jullien, who rediscovered its stuffed carcass, as a large striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena).
Biology 31: The Entner-Doudoroff pathway is a way of glucose catabolism alternative to glycolysis. However, it is only found in some bacteria, as though it is possible to feed its products into a clipped glycolysis pathway, the net yield would be 2 NAD(P)H+H+, 1 ATP and 1 H2O at the expense of 1 Pi vs. 2 NADH+H+, 2 ATP and 2 H2O at the expense of 2 Pi in glycolysis for every molecule of glucose decomposed to 2 molecules of pyruvate. The critical step is the employment of Pi which gets to 'secure' an enole bond from flipping in the ketone configuration unitil the Pi is detached, subsequently getting invested with enough energy to form a P~P bond to ADP, yielding ATP. This sidestep in pyruvate production is run by 2 molecules per molecule of glucose employed vs. one in the Entner-Doudoroff pathway, where the other C3 body is turned directly into pyruvate without further investment of Pi. The glycolosis of one molecule of glucose to 2 pyruvates takes 15 steps vs. 10 in the EDP (each step being one reaction of one molecule of educt), however, a miniumum of 10 enzymes is required for both.
Biology 32: The problem with the wildcats in Germany is not that 'their genes get ruined by housecats run wild'. Wildcats, being considerably larger and tougher have a definite advantage except in human care. A much larger problem is that the close season for wildcats lasts the whole year in Germany, whereas most game-keepers are quite painstaking in shooting every roaming housecat for the sake of their small game population. It takes two, maybe three generations of interbreeding until the descendants of house- and wildcats are hard enough to distinguish from the latter to give any huntsman quite a headache whether to shoot or not. Human influence has had a negative effect on the populations of many smaller vertebrates in Central Europe, so that a much higher problem of whatever kind of Felis sylvestris would constitute a major problem anyway.
Biology 33: The social structures of dogs have been modified to a greater extent during domestification than those of cats: a housecat would rarely recognize its owner as 'companion', a wolf kept in captivity would maybe (though it's gonna be a hard time for the owner) recognize its owner as an alpha individual just out of the desire to have one, while a dog includes humans to quite a degree in what it recognizes as 'its kind'.
Biology 34: One might introduce 'swine genetics' (Ger.: 'Schweinegenetik') as a derogatory term amongst geneticists: 'You got the protocols ready?' - 'Since yesterday - do you think we're doing swine genetics here?'
Biology 35: Lion packs provide interesting insight into the mechanisms of intraspecific rivality: male lions attack every other lion, as other males dispute their females and other females dispute their food sources, whereas female lions attack only other females: male lions do not hunt, and if a wandering male comes across a female that is in heat (in absence of the female's pack's male), odds are that they will mate.
Biology 36: If you have an anonymous group of animals that is 'closed' to outsiders, its structure tends to be more complex than in an 'open' anonymous group, as its members have no concept of themselves as individuals, yet share a 'group identity', which is in most cases (the simples way, yet complex enough) mediated by pheromones. In individualized groups, however, the complexity works the other way around: it requires a more complex mechanism to accept new members to a group from 'outside' than to bear in mind a listing of all current group members and repel everyone who is not included.
Biology 37: Intelligence is the factor that applies everywhere where simple sensoric filters cannot manage a sufficient degree of patten recognition.
Biology 38: The problem with applying genetical analyses to determine the degree of relationship is that it fails miserably in microorganisms: their limited genome size and the fact that they are in most cases unicellular means that the 'task load' imposed on their genome requires a very high degree of (genetical) adaptation, subtly altering the properties of their respective polypeptides (which are in most cases common, albeit not identical, in organisms employing the same biochemical pathways). Thus, the metabolism of two closely related species of bacteria may be essentially similar, yet the genome may be vastly different: limited (point etc) mutations render a polypeptide dysfunctional in few cases; however, they tend to vastly alter its operational parameters, such as temperature and pH optimum.
Biology 39: If the placozoans had a slogan, it could run along the lines of: 'Terminal differentiation? Who cares! - What? Organs? That supposed to be a joke?'
Biology 40: If you tell a geneticist about a 'vector field', odds are that s/he wonders why anyone would want to dump a load of adenoviruses or A. tumefaciens on valuable farmland.
Biology 41: It is somewhat disappointing that we still talk about Crick's Dogma (the flow of genetic information is ALWAYS DNA->RNA->polypeptide) as a dogma, as it is well-known and accepted today that retroviral copying of RNA into DNA was since long an essential factor of dispersal of genetic information.
Biology 42: One of the most important factors in the development of higher organisms, even before the advent of cellular compartimentation, was the expression of biochemical gradients, the definition of something like direction ('forward', 'aft', 'top', 'bottom') in the loosest sense.
Biology 43: The most crucial step from amphibians to reptiles was to contain larval development in a hard-shelled egg or in a womb, ridding the larval stage (termed embryo from there on) of the necessity to be an organism that is capable of autonomous function: a fish or amphibian larva is far from developed, yet it has to be fully functional after hatching. Most morphological structures are subject to far-reaching change, but the CNS can't be degraded and rebuilt from scratch. Thus, from reptiles onwards we have the time taken by the transformation of larval to adult structures as additional development time for the CNS, whereas a fish's or amphibian's CNS never can progress much over a larval (yet sufficient) stage. It fits into the picture that neocortical structures, which gave rise to the cerebrum, first appear in reptiles.
Biology 44: Although humankind has a record of extirpations unparalleled by any other known species, Homo sapiens is a species on the survival of which not many other species depend except the ubiquituous parasites. Krill, however, although small and unconspicuous, would cause a major ecological catastrophe in nearly all cool-water marine ecosystems if it suddenly died out. We may be rather destructive, but the overall ecological dependance on humankind is comparatively low.
Biology 45: The HeLa cell line was derived from a cervix carcinoma of one Henrietta Lacks from Baltimore, aged 31, in 1951. H. Lacks died of cancer 8 months later. Her carcinoma cells, first cultured by George and Margaret Gey of John Hopkins University, up to today show no signs of aging, making them a very versatile cytological tool.
Biology 46: The Hershey-Chase experiment of 1952, in which bacteriophages' DNA/RNA had been labelled with radioactive phosphorus and their envelope/capsid proteines were labelled with radioactive sulphur to prove that the envelope/capsid remains outside the host cell during infection (the genetic material thus being shown to be DNA/RNA) would yield inconclusive results with the M13 phage: Its main capsid proteine g8p is taken up into the cell, where it is stored to be utilized later in the capsid of the phage's next generation. Thus, radioactivity of both the nucleic acids and the proteines would seem to occur from within the infected cell.
Biology 47: Nasuti are a specialized 'soldier' caste of Nasutitermes spec. termites. Their defensive properties consist of a median dorsal head rostrum through which the sticky and sometimes poisonous secretions of the frontal gland, which is extremely well-developed in nasuti, are ejected. Their jaws, on the opposite, are small to vestigial.
Biology 48: Foulbrood is a bacterial disease of honey bee larvae. Infection with Streptococcus pluton, S. apis or Bacillus alvei results in European foulbrood, the larva turning yellow with the gut shining white through the skin, as seen here. The died larvae or pupae dry to an irregular, twisted scale. American foulbrood, caused by Bacillus larvae, is much more virulent. Here, infected larvae become a café-au-lait color and turn into a sticky mass that can be drawn out in strings. The dried scales lie outstretched on the bottom of the cell, as seen here.
Biology 49: The claim that 'we have taken over the shaping of human evolution' is not true. Homo sapiens is truly one of the species that has a far-reaching influence on abiotic environmental factors, but we're shaping our evolution not significantly more than any other species is shaping theirs, for we have no knowledge whatsoever of the laws that guide it.
Biology 50: The reason for the irregular, elongated shape of erythrocytes found in acute sickle cell anemia is that sickle cell hemoglobine (HbS) possesses a groove caused by the exchange of glutamate by valine at position 6 of the hemoglobine ß chain. A bulge on the deoxygenated hemoglobine fits into this groove, causing hemoglobine polymer filaments to form which distort the cell's shape and are unable to bind oxygen.
Biology 51: One of the most important step on the way from reptiles to birds was the development of a sophisticated form of acoustical communication.
Biology 52: Vertebrates as a group are interestingly not defined by the possession of vertebrae: Lampreys are vertebrates, but they have no bone at all, only some hardened cartilage to stabilize the suction mouth. What constitutes a vertebrate is the possession of centralized sensory organs (eyes, nose etc) and a general sophistication of their intestines. Both things are not found in other chordates.
Biology 53: The fattest house cat ever was supposedly 'Himmy' from Cairns, Australia, who, at his death at the age of 10 in 1986, weighed 46lbs 15 oz (21.3 kg). Another cat named 'Poppa' came very close to 'Himmy''s record. He was a male tabby from Newport, UK and weighed 44lbs 8 oz (20.19 kg) a year before he died in 1985. 'Tiger' a part-Persian, weighed over 42lbs (over 19 kg). This is Milo, 40 pounds (18.1 kg). I do not know if this cat is one of the above, but it looks pretty fat, too. This unidentified-yet cat supposedly weighs 48lbs, challenging hard 'Himmy''s record.
Biology 54: The probably loudest noises produced by a single specimen of any aminal without help of tools, as compared to the aminal's body mass, are the calls of certain cicada species: The African cicada Brevisana brevipes produces a calling song with a mean sound pressure level of 106.7 decibels at a distance of 50 cm. The North American species Tibicen walkeri and T. resh produce an alarm call with a mean sound pressure level of 105.9 dB(50 cm). B. brevipes' dry weight is only 0.3 grams, resulting in a sound output of 355.667 dB/gram dry weight. The cicada species Pyena semiclara, Diceroprocta apache and Cyclochila australasiae produce calling songs rated at 106.2 (first two) and 105.7 dB, respectively. Tacua speciosa and Pomponia imperatoria, Southeast Asian cicadas, produce sounds which are reported to be deafening. However, their exact noise output has not yet been measured and they have dry weights of about 1.5 and 2.0 g, respectively.
Commercials 1: Sznikörsz - When you're feeling hungary.
Computers 1: There is a bug in all older Intel Pentium CPUs that inevitably crashes the computer when a series of assembler commands are executed that make no sense as such. This is a further reason to dump the Active-X standard that enables your computer to execute programs or machine language commands on Web pages without a possibility for user interference. Then again, all this might be deliberate. At least, it is a golden opportunity for freelance cypherpunks to give a big-time kick butt to the mightiest companies on both today's hardware and software market.
Computers 2: The BHP-Virus, named after the Bayerische Hacker-Post (obviously the 'zine of its creators, a Bavarian hacker group), first appeared on Sept. 10th, 1988. It was the sole C 64 virus. As it was neither hard-reset-proof, nor able to circumvent the (physical) write protection, this boot sector virus' only danger was that it might (rather accidentally) corrupt data.
Computers 3: It is unfortunate that Corel corporation products are that widespread; they are, although capable, a real pain in the ass to work with and the .cdr format is not or may not be accepted by any other program.
Computers 4: Advanced vector-oriented drawing programs or picture editors tend to emulate pixel-oriented ones in certain features, such as drawing circles. Anyone who ever tried drawing concentric circles with both knows why. Internally, however, such programs work with vector algorithms to prevent the annoying alias effect of pixel-oriented ones.
Computers 5: The major problem of translation programs, interestingly mainly the good ones, is that their advanced algorithms choose the most likely meaning of a given word under given circumstances. Irony, sarcasm, puns and other cases of non- or anti-literal word use will make them fail miserably.
Computers 6: It is somewhat annoying to the discerning PC user that Windows 95 and Win98 are stuffed with 'idiot-safe' features that don't work right, blatant commercials, good ideas either gone stale or stolen elsewhere, not to mention a wide range of bugs and security leaks; that, in short, these OS' seem to be written in a major lapse into carelessness or idiocy. However, given the fact that a lot of their users are either blissfully ignorant of what's going on inside their CPU as long as the latest games (office software, sound tools, Internet Explorer plugins) don't crash too often or just too happy if good old Papa Microsoft comes along, takes them by the hand and leads them into the lollypop-colored Computer Wonderland, this just works out fine. One other thing: Who'd honestly pay money for an OS that crashes fatally at its first big-time commercial presentation?
Computer 7: There was a 64er computer magazine 'Games' special issue in the late 80s featuring a floppy disk with 10 semi-professional games. Amongst them was a game where one had to clear colored pads with a colored bouncing ball (similar to Arkanoid type games, but without bat and open frame). Some years later, the same game was sold in a slightly more up-to-date (Amiga?) full-price version made by the Aachen area company Kingsoft. It received a lot of praise for its innovative game idea.
Culture 1: 'The Mousetrap' is the London variant of fake hula dances and other 'native' performances.
Design 1: Father Christmas was depicted as a bishop or a wizardly elf for centuries. In 1863, then-not-yet famous cartoonist Thomas Nast designed a Civil War propaganda cartoon which showed a fat Father Christmas clad in stars-and-stripes bringing gifts to Union troops. Over time, Santa Claus was depicted as big and fat rather than small and thin. His clothing, however, remained a dark wool or fur coat. In 1931, artist Haddon Sundblom devised the red-and-white garb for a Coca Cola ad campaign that was launched to boost the company's winter sales. This image sticks until now.
Drugs 1: A slogan about the late 90s' drugs in Germany: 'Pillen, Pappen, Pep, Pilze, Peace, Poppen, Pizza, Prost!'.
Drugs 2: The common fear attacks under alcohol intoxication, termed 'abstürzen' in German, are rather a kind of 'horror trip'. As alcohol is legal and accepted as a drug, this is not automatically evident.
Drugs 3: Knaster, homegrown hemp containing seeds smoked by the poorer German populace as a tobacco surrogate in the last centuries reputedly tastes a lot like tobacco, courtesy of the burning seeds.
Drugs 4: If someone tells you that he/she has 'thrips' on his/her pot plants, don't bother calling the police or asking if you can get some.
Economy 1: One could well establish the term 'Flocken' (flakes) for 'amount of local currency'.
Economy 2: 'Jizzlobber' is the name of the job that consists of cleaning the ejaculate away in sex video cabins.
Economy 3: Microsoft's last ad campaign in Germany, though looking somewhat kluged together, targets a lucrative group of consumers: one can assume that a company like MS does not invest large sums into a nationwide campaign that it does not expect to pay out.
Economy 4: As some might have thought, Coca Cola's German refreshment window campaign was probalbly the worst intellectual insult in the field of commercials ever. It featured a circualr hole in the bottle's label through which one could see the inside of the other label if the bottle was about two-thirds empty. Written on the other label were droll slogans that tried to suggest the consumption of more Coke, like 'Ihr wollt mehr Erfrischung - einfach austrinken!' ('You want more refreshment - just empty up!'). Those that thought that commercial campaigns could not be any dumber fond themselves disappointed: Coca Cola's follow-up campaing consists of the same 'window' and the additional statements 'World Cup '98' and 'Soccer desirous, soccer hungry, Coca Cola thirsty', the 'hidden' slogan being replaced by a picture titled 'Fan with megaphone' - a fake that obvious and pathetic it makes you cry. Obviously, someone realized that and after some time, this 'fan picture' became part of a Coka Cola raffle where those (supposedly 3) lucky people who found something 'different' than this picture would win a trip to the '98 soccer world cup there to attempt to score goals against a world cup goalie. Due to the fact that the World Cup lasts only some weeks, a new variation was employed afterwards, reverting to the basic 'refreshment window', this time surrounded by an ice cube, and a 'hidden' traffic sign style drawing of a coke bottle with the caption 'Thirsty?'. This time, you'd be able to win not some piffly France trip, but, lo and behold, one of 5 Porsche Boxsters and 50 Porsche mountain bikes.
Food 1: Abate Fetel is a brand of pear.
Food 2: The 'Siberian steppe root Eleutherococcus' in the Puschkin Black Sun drink is Siberian 'ginseng' (Eleutherococcus senticosis), known from herbal medicine. If applied, it reputedly sharpens one's senses and enhances metabolic activity.
Food 3: The gin tonic originates in British colonial officials in India blending their malaria prophylactic quinine water with gin and lemon to make it more British. The word 'tonic' in the drink's name reminds of this: 'tonic' is an old word meaning 'remedy'. Today's gin tonic does not, however, contain enough quinine to be of medical use, even if most strains of Plasmodium hadn't become resistant against quinine treatment by now.
Food 4: A mixture of 1/3 cherry juice poured on 2/3 Batida de Coco may be called 'Blood on the Snow'.
Food 5: The plentitude of Chinese dishes (of all subgroups) combined with the fact that China was a country much plagued by famines for centuries suggest a very pragmatic view on nourishment: 'Food' would be what would be both edible and nutritious, no further questions asked. Thus, the Chinese are probably the culture that has the largest number of foodstuffs that aren't considered food elsewhere.
Food 6: The Bifidobacterium bifidum (formerly Lactobacillus bifidus) contained in some 'probiotic' yoghurts sold in Germany has, if any, an adverse effect on health: It sometimes causes digestion problems and often tooth caries by its metabolism products lactic and acetic acid.
Food 7: If the gut for sausages consists that much feces that it makes up more than 2% of the sausages' weight, German food law demands it to be declared as an ingredient.
Food 8: Coca Cola syrup consists of 7 components: 1) Sugar (or rather corn syrup) 2) Caramel 3) Caffeine 4) Phosphoric acid 5) Coca leaf extract (decocainized) + cola nut extract 6) Flavoring: Oil of orange, lemon, lime, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, neroli (alcoholic solution) 7) Vanilla extract. Anyone trying to sell copied Coca Cola wholesale better have good lawyers, however.
Food 9: The (according to this page's author) best okra curry recipe he found thus far. If you think you've got a better one, feel free to send it (see bottom of the page).
Food 10: Here you find a table of the world's leading 7 producers and grinders of cocoa beans as per '97/'98 estimate.
Food 11: Food like the Flubber ice sold by McDonald's (soft ice with cold, lumpy, sickly green, woodruff-flavored sauce) should be, in case the term junk food is to be retained for fries, burgers etc., termed trash food to express that they are already one step further.
Food 12: Here you'll find a comprehensive listing of Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipes. If you can provide another, mail it to the address at the bottom of this page.
Geography 1: The name of the Rockies section called 'S.H. Mountains' does not stand for 'Short Horn Mountains' but for 'Shithouse Mountains', as the angular peaks reminded the settlers of latrines. The name became abbreviated after a short time, however.
History 1: The Russian Tsars were, strictly speaking, successors to the Western Asian part of Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire.
History 2: Under the reign of Motecuzoma II Xocoyotzin, Aztec nobles were allowed to take as many wives as they liked, the emperor himself reputedly having 2000. According to contemporary sources, this led to the phenomenon that ordinary citizens often could not find wives, because in many regions they were transferred to a noble's court immediately after puberty.
History 3: The resistance of the Russian nobility against Peter the Great's 'beard tax' (an attempt to displace the un-westernish long beards in Russia) was based upon their assumption that God was in fact an old guy with a long beard, and that thus the removal of one's beard would be a symbolic detachment from God.
History 4: The Roman-built sewer systems in then-Roman cities were built and maintained by sewer specialists, which were trained only in Rome and maybe some other big cities in Southern Europe, and then transferred to their respective locations of work. After the fall of the Roman Empire, this system of centralized training was not possible any more and thus, the sewer systems fell into decay.
History 5: Probably one of the worst awards for long-standing Colonial duty in the mid-18th century British Empire was a patch of land in Australia: Your closest European neighbors living roughly 200 miles away makes life rather tough, and if 'your closest European neighbors' are a convict settlement, it doesn't make things any better.
History 6: Considering the fact that the country which has had the most grave internal problems with Jews since WWII is Israel, something seems to have gone horribly wrong.
History 7: Chilianwala (or Chillian Wallah) is a Pakistani village in the Punjab province, 28 miles WNW from Gujrat on the river Jhelum. On Jan 13th, 1849, a fierce battle was fought there between British forces commanded by Lord Gough and Sikhs under Sher Singh in which the British overcame Sher Singh's forces but retreated after losing almost a whole regiment. At the site of the battle, today called Katalgark, an obelisc was erected in commemoration of the event with inscriptions in English, Persian, Urdu and Gurmuthi.
Information Theory 1: Considering physical dimensions, paper as a carrier of information is two-dimension (length and width), while a tape is one-dimensional (time).
Information Theory 2: The Turing test is no applicable way to determine the 'sentinence' of a supposed AI: First, it only measures human-style intelligence (but such would be demanded by AI developers anyway), second, the principle by which it works is faulty: According to Turing, a 'machine' would be intelligent if a human could not tell it from a human in a blind test (both the 'machine' and the comparison human linked to the tester via computer terminal). Whichever seems more 'human' to the tester in a 'conversation' would be the 'human', but if both were indistinguishable, the 'machine' would display human-like intelligence. In reality, this test does not work as the channels of communication between test subject and tester are degraded (reduced to the exchange of written information) to such an extent that no objective measurement of any human-like intelligence save in this single field not ruled out by the circumstances (exchange of written information) can be performed.
Information Theory 3: Language as a mean of transmitting information has to be conservative: information can only be transported reliably by it if neither an abrupt change of meaning or an abrupt change of the word as such in a limited, yet nonetheless sizable area of usage does occur often.
Information Theory 4: The major advantage of printed books compared to online media is that they are configurable freely and by every reader anew, that its '(hyper)links' are not fixed when a document is publicized in this form.
Internet 1: The '# appears as <NAME>' message frequently encountered in IRC is the joining message of a MS Comic Chat user that informs the Comic Chat of other users of the newcomer's imagery.
Internet 2: It is interesting to note that the common Euro-US Web page style focuses much more on 'infotainment' than the Japanese
Law 1: Did you know that it is perfectly legal for bouncers in Germany to expel 'foreign-ish' looking and disabled persons from clubs and discotheques?
Law 2: Having to bathe once per day in old, slightly fermenting bong water for ten years would be a punishment for a weedhead that at least comes close to torture.
Law 3: The verdicts of the Nazi legal system been declared injustice in Germany as late as Jun 19th, 1998.
Linguistics 1: The Latin Alphabet is sorted in that particular order because the old Semitic Alphabets, from which the order of letters stems, were pictograms sorted per topic.
Linguistics 2: The German word 'Standbild' is actually the translated form of 'Statue', which itself is Germanized from the Latin 'statua'.
Linguistics 3: 'Moderately disturbing' would be a nice understatement to describe things like the fallout after a global thermonuclear war; the fallout after a limited thermonuclear war would then be called 'slightly disturbing'.
Linguistics 4: The term 'shooting star', considered in Germany to mean 'promising newcomer', does actually imply failure: a shooting star is something with a rather short lifespan.
Linguistics 5: 'Koitalgynoid' would be an applicable German scientific term for 'inflatable sex doll'.
Linguistics 6: The German 'Steckenpferd' and the English 'hobby' mean the same, and it is commonly believed that the German word is older (at least in German use) and that the two arose independently. However, 'hobby' is derived from a sentence in a novel 'every man has his hobby horse', the German translation of which was, true to the word, 'jeder Mann hat sein Steckenpferd'. Thus, 'hobby' (as abbreviation of 'hobby horse') and 'Steckenpferd' arose from exactly the same origin (the word for a kid's toy) that underwent the same change of meaning at roughly the same time.
Linguistics 7: It might pay to introduce the neologism 'iebel!' as analogous to the German exclamation 'übel!', but with added emphasis.
Linguistics 8: Attention! Attention! This is No-Bullshit Department speaking! is a good phrase if you think that what you want to say is an important and grave matter.
Linguistics 9: 'Whiscous' (German: 'whiskös') describes something (e.g. food) which is in some respects like cat food.
Linguistics 10: New adjectives describe aspects of a noun that were not covered previously.
Linguistics 11: 'to fire somebody' derives from the pre-anglo-saxon habit of burning the home of a banished person so that there was no reason for that individual to stay.
Linguistics 12: The Southern German/Austrian expression fesch (stylish) is derived from fashionable.
Linguistics 13: If you have a rather unusual and complicated family name, you can get an overview on latin letter phonetic transcriptions of several foreign languages if you can divulge the nationalities of phone operators of food taxi services and consider the way your name is misspelt on the tab.
Linguistics 14: 'Psychotropic' is quite an appropriate word to describe any mind-altering quality.
Linguistics 15: The term 'fan' is an abbreviation of '(sports) fanatic'.
Linguistics 16: One could claim that, for example, the Third Reich's attempts to gain intelligence by parapsychological means, was true espionage (or rather ESP-ionage).
Linguistics 17: Gene technics is the applied science, gene technology the theoretical one.
Linguistics 18: The German verb verballhornen (to bowdlerize) is dervied from the name of one Johan Balhorn or Ballhorn (1528-1603), a book printer from Lubeck, wo tried, in the late 16th century, to improve the style of one of his re-editions by reworking it, but, in this process, distorted the meaning.
Linguistics 19: English is not only the language in which one can truly claim that somebody 'found his peace in his trousers', but as well the language in which the same sentence can mean 'you can use it for smoking a hash pipe' and 'you can use it to give yourself a blow job'.
Literature 1: The spaceship Nostromo in Alien derived its name from the title of a novel by Joseph Conrad.
Literature 2: Jaroslav Hašek was a bohemian author, true to every sense of the word.
Literature 3: Die Feuerzangenbowle (shown is a scene from the 1944 movie) is a school-set variant of student association novels.
Literature 4: Steven W. Rimmer's novel The Order deals with the Order of the Knight Templars, aka 'The Order' (their medieval nickname). One should be aware to get the author's name right; there's another novel with the same name by a different author, which is possibly the most infamous Nazi apologetic novel set in the US.
Literature 5: The authors of Bruce Alberts et al's Molecular Biology of the Cell present themselves on this picture from their book, crossing Abbey Road, in the vicinity of which the book was written, on their way to lunch in an imitation of the famous Beatles Abbey Road LP cover, accurate to the point that biology professor Martin Raff (third from left) of London University college wears no shoes, just as Paul McCartney (second from left) did before.
Mathematics 1: The smallest number greater 0 is 1 divided by 0.99999999.... minus 1.
Medicine 1: A large number af persons suffering from mental disorders were subject to organ removal, especially castration, in the 1920s, as mental disorders were then explained as the result of infections, somatic dysfunctions or 'hormonal instabilities'.
Medicine 2: Dr. Antonio de Egas Moniz, who invented lobotomy surgery, refrained from practicing it after seeing the results and was shocked to see it adapted as a means of therapy.This did not prevent his rather untimely death by getting slain by a former patient of him.
Medicine 3: Leprosy does not directly cause rot of body parts. It does, however, kill off sensory neurons, prohibiting the experience of pain when tissue is destroyed, thus providing a fertile soil for microorganisms that cause gangrena etc.
Medicine 4: An alternative to resistance-causing antibiotica, of which we have currently not enough to combat a major outbreak of a multiple-resistant-bacterial disease, one could tailor antibodies that disable toxic metabolical products of pathogenous bacteria (which, in most instances, are alone responsible for the disease) and leave the job of mopping up the bacteria to the immune system, which has been tailored to outsmart bacterial defenses since tens of thousands of years. This method would, however, not work with virus diseases, because a virus rigs your metabolical pathways to replicate itself instead of poisoning your system.
Medicine 5: Click here to view a picture of a trichobezoar.
Medicine 6: It is a good thing that, traditionally, women name ships. Imagine the former President of the USA trying to name CVN-76 after himself and having forgotten his own name - a sight that most of us probably would choose rather not to see.
Military 1: It happened in Austria that a soldier went to bed stone drunk and awoke rather sober after a night of heavy sleep, only to discover that his companions had, apparently drunk, too, considered it a good joke to deploy a quite large number of thumbtacks in his bed the evening before.
Military 2: Immediately after the invasion of Poland, Hitler ordered Reichsluftwaffe training units to be repainted in camouflage colors and to be flown all over Germany to give the populace the impression of a much larger air force than it acually was.
Military 3: The roundel of the Finnish Air Force (SIL) was until the end of WWII in Europe, a blue-swastika-on-white (hakaristi), as seen on this V. L. Myrsky. It was introduced because it was the personal emblem, lucky charm and reminder of Oriental expeditions of the family of the Swedish Count Erik von Rosen, who founded the SIL on Mar 6th, 1918 with his donation of a Thulin (Morane-Saulnier L) Parasol aircraft to Finnish Civil War White forces. This aircraft wore the hakaristi on and under both wings painted on white linen, which was subsequently adopted as the SIL's roundel. After WWII, bearing a swastika emblem was definitely no symbol of political reason or just good taste, so the roundel was changed into the white-blue-white version worn today, as seen on this F/A-18C.
Movies 1: When Captain Mancuso says 'Central Intelligence Agency, now there's a contradiction in terms.' in Hunt for Red October, it refers to the abbreviation of the linguistic term for 'Contradiction in terms', contradictio in adiecto, which is, of course, CIA.
Movies 2: The Finnish taxidriver from Night on Earth is played by Matti Pellonpää, who appeared, amongst others, in Child in the Photograph (Wolken ziehen vorüber) and in the Leningrad Cowboys... movies. His customers are played by Kari Väänänen, also appearing in Leningrad Cowboys..., Sakari Kuosmanen who appeared in Leningrad Cowboys go America and Tomi Salmela.
Movies 3: John Scott did the movie scores to, amongst others, The Hostage Tower and The Final Countdown, both 1980 action movies.
Movies 4: The text of the fake GDR national anthem in Top Secret goes 'Hail, Hail, East Germany/Land of wine and grape/Land where you'll regret/Any try to escape/No matter if you tunnel under/Or take a running jump at the wall/Forget it, the guards will kill you/If the electrified fence doesn't first.' It is a parody of the Shorewood (Wisconsin) High School Hymn.
Movies 5: The helicopter scene in the Rambo parody in UHF depicts George's mental image of his drive to the Channel 8 HQ: the helicopter sports the same rear view mirror with the same lucky charms like George's car.
Movies 6: The restaurant-style music in the first sequence in Amazon Women on the Moon features clanging of cutlery.
Movies 7: If James Bond's opponents had acted like humans established with a minimum amount of cerebral capability, Bond would have been killed after the fifth movie, if not earlier, but at least we would have been spared George Lazenby's so-called 'play-acting'.
Movies 8: The day on which 'everything has been tried' (Strange Days) will be preceded by the day on which there will be a brand-new brand of chocolate bars 'New! With delicious cat feces taste!'. People will, however, love it - as any other innovative taste would be worse.
Movies 9: UHF was never perceived on a large scale as having a 'political' message or implication, partly because 'Weird Al' Yankovich's image was one of being a complete nerd.
Movies 10: Acción Mutante might be called 'a no-questions-asked movie'. Not that you could expect answers, anyway.
Movies 11: A provisional script of Hynkel's speech in The Great Dictator.
Movies 12: Two persons sit around and talk about branding, scarring, piercing etc. Suddenly, one jumps up and screams in horror: 'The Insect Men are coming! The Insect Men are coming!'. Says the other: 'You think that's the next stage of body mods?' - 'No... that was just a spontaneous outbreak of B-movie.'
Movies 13: The full name of Biggus Dickus' wife in Life of Brian is 'Incontinentia Buttocks' (Ger.: 'Incontinentia Podex').
Movies 14: The book that Vincent Vega reads while sitting on the tiolet in the Honey Bunny scene in Pulp Fiction is 'Modesty Blaise' by Peter O'Donnell.
Movies 15: Mirindas asesinas, done in 1991, is the first (short and b/w) movie by Alejandro 'Alex' de la Iglesia. It goes about a guy who comes into a bar in which there´s only one other customer and asks the bartender to serve him a Mirinda orangeade, but refuses to pay for it, arguing that the bartender had never warned him that he would have to; when the bartender insists, the man takes out a rifle and kills him. Then he asks the other customer to keep serving him more Mirindas, and thus the other man sees himself forced to replace the bartender, for fear of what the killer will do to him if he doesn´t.
Movies 15: Now that all the technical gadgets that were sorely missed by the special effects crew for the TV series are available, a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie is scheduled for production, to be due in 2000. Written by Douglas Adams himself and directed by M. Jay Roach, it will be a Roger Birnbaum production for Caravan Pictures. Distribution will be done by Hollywood Pictures. Stay tuned for further developments.
Movies 16: The first screening of Alex de la Iglesia's third (full-blown) movie, Perdita Durango, in Germany took place on Aug 14th, 1998, in Cologne's Residenz cinema as part of the annual Fantasy Filmfest.
Movies 17: The start and end credits music in Acción Mutante as well as the end credits music and the Satannica concert in El Día de la Bestia, both Alex de la Iglesia movies, are done by the Spanish band Def Con Dos. Click here for the lyrics of 'Acción Mutante' and here for the lyrics of 'El Día De La Bestia'.
Music 1: Reggae veteran talk: ''74 in Kingston? Man, that's when they had just gotten the first eight track audio mixers there!'
Music 2: Ich mach' dich tot by the German band Richthofen is a typical example of a 3rd-rate attempt to jump on the Rammstein bandwagon.
Music 3: A decantate would best be performed by a choir micturating on stage.
Music 4: Lee 'Scratch' Perry blew resinuous marihuana smoke over his master tapes while recording to improve the sound quality.
Music 5: The probably dumbest fans of music with a 'political' claim are the U.S. punks: They allowed that the White Supremacy skinheads stole their battle-cry: 'Oi!'.
Music 6: U2 did not name themselves directly after the U.S. spy plane, they merely liked the sound of its type code.
Music 7: The B-52s, however, choose their name as a reference to the 'bomber' hairdos of the female band members.
Music 8: Bravo magazine featured a photo story about two Israeli pop metal singers (fakes, initially, but later a miserable excuse for a band was created for them, Gil eventually embarking on a solo career). Unfortunately, Bravo would not have featured them if an article on the boys would have read: 'These two sweet boys are Gil and Tal. They play in the yiddish folk band Morgenroethe...'.
Music 9: The 'hemp parameters' in 'Legalize it' by Peter Tosh are: 1) NAMES tamjee, the weed, marijuana, ganja. 2) CONSUMERS: singers, players of instrument, doctors, nurses, judges, lawyers. 3) MEDICAL PROPERTIES (GOOD AGAINST): the flu, asthma, tuberculosis, numara thrombosis. 4) HEMP LOVERS: birds eat it, ants love it, fowls eat it, cooks love to bake with it.
Music 10: About his rantings against 'police and niggers', 'immigrants and faggots' as well as 'radicals and racists' in 'One in a Million', Axl Rose has to say: 'I went back and forth from Indiana eight times my first year in Hollywood. I wrote [this song] about being dropped off at the bus station and everything that was going on... the black guys trying to sell you drugs is where the line 'Police and niggers, get out of my way' comes from. I've seen these huge black dudes pull bowie-knives on people for their boom boxes and shit. It's ugly... When I say 'I'm just a small town white boy' I'm just saying I'm no better than anyone else I've described. I'm just trying to get through life, that's all.'. Furthermore, at their L.A. show on Oct 18th, '89, where he was criticized by Living Color singer Vernon Reid, he addressed the audience as follows: '...If you got a problem and you think I'm a racist, shove your head up your FUCKIN' ass!'
Persons 1 : 'Typhoid Mary' was Mary Mallon (b. Ireland, 1870(?), d. Nov. 11th, 1938, NYC) who, as a cook, infected 51 people with typhoid during her lifetime, 3 of which died. She was herself immune to typhoid; health authorities tried, most of the time unsuccessfully, to place her under quarantine, which was imposed on her more harshly than usual or necessary.
Persons 2: Image files of King Kalakaua, King Kamehameha I the Great, Queen Lili'oukalani and Governor Sanford Dole of Hawai'i.
Persons 3: 'John Doe #XXX' is the name given to unidentified male corpses by U.S. forensics.
Persons 4: King Carlos II of Spain was the last of the Spanish Habsburgs. Due to the fact that inbreeding was a rather frequent habit with his precedessors, he probably was the most terminal case in world's royalty. Read more about him here and view a picture (described by contemporaries as 'very palliative') of him here.
Persons 5: It has recently been proved by mtDNA analysis that virtually without doubt Martin Bormann, missing presumed dead Nazi second-in-command, died around midnight, May 2nd, 1945. His skeleton, remains of a cyanide ampul still stuck between the teeth, was found in late 1972 during earthworks in Berlin.
Persons 6: Philip Glass admires Glenn Gould as someone who was 'an innovator in terms of both interpretation and recording technique'.
Physics 1: 'In a jiffy' refers to an old English unit: 1 jiffy = 1/100 second. One moment, however, likewise being an old English unit, equalled 90 seconds.
Physics 2: A physicist stands with his or her beloved at the edge of a wood, overlooking a meadow, the sun is setting, crickets chirping in the grass. It would be a good physicist if (s)he is able to notice if the crickets chirp redundantly, and an even better one if (s)he is able to make a remark about that which will not spoil the moment for any of them.
Physics 3: In today's physics, the applied science is the servant and moneymaker of the theoretical one: Since the turn of the century, the effort put into a physical theory was that vast that other physicists were required to prove or disprove it. Over time, theoretical physics gained the upper hand, as applied physics had run somewhat dry after some thousand years of work and as it was faster to develope new theories than to veri- or falsify them. Today, physical theories sometimes include no possibility for proof or disproof under today's technical possibilities, while applied physics does not much more than frantically trying to keep up with the theories, to develope new experimental methods and spinning off enough money for both to carry on.
Physics 4: A major problem with today's attempts to create nanotechnology is that, lacking knowledge like the GUT that would make us able to link microscopic causes with macroscopic effects, there is no real solution to the problem that a nanomachine has, in most cases, to be constructed along different lines that a normal one: for example, combustion engines in nanotechnology are a bad idea as the usually negligible oxydation of the material can prove destructive if your engine casing is only several molecules thick.
Physics 5: The concept of 'absolute' height of a tone as it is used in music sciences even today is to no degree based upon fact: There is neither a sound that is composed out of pure, unmodulated sine waves, nor is there absolute, aperiodic noise. One should rather state that the more irregular and the faster the absolute heigth of any tone is modulated, the stronger is the noise character of that particular tone.
Physics 6: The main problem with the GUT is that in a complex or even fractal universe the most inconspicuous (for us as observers) law of nature may have far-reaching consequences. Physicists believe that we have found all fundamental laws of nature (els they wouldn't attempt to establish the GUT), but their lack of success in putting together macro- and microcosmos to a unity seems to indicate that they have missed something more significant than an Einsteinian sign error.
Politics 1: Did you know that Roberto Blanco, black singer, is a member of Bavaria's right-wing CSU party?
Politics 2: The head of the governmental investigation committee on neo-Nazi activities in the German army is CSU extremist Kurt Rossmanith, who, by court decision, may be termed 'Nazi fan' and calls Nazi colonel general Eduard Dietl a 'democrat' and an 'example for the Federal German army'.
Politics 3: It is an often-forgotten fact that the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther, is a member of a extreme right student's association.
Politics 4: Under the (stricter) old bugging laws, 6428 telephones were bugged in Germany in 1996, compared to short of 1200 in the USA in the same time.
Politics 5: The right to become a German citizen is regulated by the ius sanguinis, the 'law of the Blood', which states that in order to be a German citizen one has to be of German ancestry and cultural heritage. No matter how much the German state owes to a foreign resident, that person will not be granted citizen rights until he or she proves to be completely Germanized.
Politics 6: The only sociological group who was under all circumstances protected from bugging under the new German bugging law as proposed at first were politicians, that is, those that ultimately decide under which circumstances bugging is instituted. It should also be noted that the new law is to be applied in case of suspicion (that is, in case of any evidence, fake, hearsay or true, if the authorities in charge deem it sufficient) and that the catalog of crimes on which it may be applied is expandable by a 50% majority in the Bundestag.
Politics 7: Manfred Kanther (see Politics 3) opposes the construction of a German memorial for holocaust victims.
Politics 8: The head of the Bavarian dairy product company Müller is not, as some assume, a member of the extremist Republikaner party, but of the CSU, where he has high-ranking connections, which might explain why he was only forced to comply with sewage treatment laws after his factory caused several major-scale fish die-offs.
Politics 9: Bielefeld University, constructed in the early 70s, is designed in such a way that a police force would be able to clear every building in 10 minutes or less if it is occupied by protesters.
Politics 10: The decision whether a former-Eastern-Bloc citizen whose ancestors were Germans may acquire German citizenship is based on whether the candidate possesses 'consciousness to be ethnic German' (volksdeutsches Bewußtsein), the criterion being a remnant of Nazi Germany where it was used to determine which inhabitants of occupied Eastern Europe were liable for citizenship and which for slavery.
Politics 11: On Jul 25th, 1978, a bomb detonated at the wall of Celle prison. This was blamed on the Rote Armee Fraktion left-wing terrorist group which supposedly wanted to liberate a member inmate. In late Apr, 86, however, it turned out that the bombing was ordered by the Lower Saxony CDU premier Ernst Albrecht, supported by the FRG government and executed by experts of the German anti-terror squad GSG-9 jointly with the Lower Saxony Secret Service (Verfassungsschutz) to gain support for the ongoing anti-terrorist campaign. In this light, the RAF's denial of responsibility for several '70s bombings in German rail stations, claiming that 'the RAF's bombs are not directed against the people' seem somewhat believable at least. In mid-1998, the Celle blast site ('Celler Loch') was removed due to reconstruction works, restored and erected as a memorial 'to take heed of lawlessness committed by the state' at the prison's perimeter fence. Here's a cartoon drawing of Ernst Albrecht, bearing a bomb button and carrying the Verfassungsschutz rat on his shoulder.
Psychology 1: 'Umbilicus universi' is a nice way to describe utter megalomania.
Psychology 2: Imagine you're sitting in the subway, hearing the traffic controller's intercom messages: '(static) 83 to 9, current position? (static)' and suddenly it goes '(static) Symphony to Leader Echo Forces: Operation Bright Lightning will commence in 10 seconds. 9. 8. 7...'
Psychology 3: If you have an actor that plays an important rôle that s/he h/erself considers 'fitting' for a whole season or more and analyze the play-acting, discarding those elements that are constantly improvised anew as well as those that are preset by the script you'll get a somewhat fuzzy image of the depicted person as seen by the actor.
Religion 1: Some words by the Catholic cardinal Meisner (Cologne), a high-ranking official of the Ecclesitas: 'The Church views the soldier as a last opportunity to banish and bind the Evil in Man, lest it breaks out and brings grief and death into the world.' (Jan. 21st, 1993) 'To a soldier that praises God may the responsibility for another person's life and death passed with a good conscience, for they are guaranteed as if it were by God's Holiness.' (Jan. 30th, 1996) 'Who could think of discriminating soldiers that are also Worshippers as murderers. No, in a Worshipper's hands are arms secure from misuse.' (Jan. 30th, 1996)
Religion 2: The Christian belief is a philosophy that is directly responsible for more murder, torture, suppression, censorship and genocide than all other single religions, philosophies and beliefs, according to today's data.
Religion 3: The Pontiff is the only messenger between God and Man in Catholicism, yet from the Script alone (yet not from the Ecclesitas), everyone might fulfill this rôle, Thus, the Pontiff may determine at whim the interpretation of God's words, simply because no-one chooses to verify it. Thus, one can state that in Catholicism, the Pontiff terrorizes God.
Religion 4: In the 5th form Protestant school book Kursbuch Religion, there is a discussion task: A teacher gives the task to draw an image of God and a boy refuses, referring to the Second Commandment. The subject of the discussion is to be whether the boy is right and the implied outcome is that he isn't - another way to strengthen dependance on an educational authority.
Religion 5: It seems probable that the number of the beast in fact refers to Emperor Nero, as is is also said to be 616 instead of 666: Depending on whether you take the words 'Emperor Nero' in Greek or in Latin before numbering the respective alphabet's letters and calculate the words' numbers, you'll end up with either 666 or 616.
Rhetoric 1: A good way to confuse one's opponent would be to reply in a way that is completely logical considering alone what was last said by him or her, but as illogical as possible considering the context of the whole conversation, thus forcing a change in the subject of the conversation without apparent reason.
Role-Playing Games 1: The start and end credits' background music in Strange Days is that kind of music that exec kids in Shadowrun dance to when going 'slummin''.
Science 1: Logology would be the analogous word to the -logy sciences that refers to a new science that analyzes scientific methods and ways of scientific thinking in different cultures and ages ('the philosophy of science' and then some).
Science 2: Wilhelm Reich's theory of light as carrier of information in humans was badly devised: He imagined photons carrying information to the brain analogous to electric impulses being carried by the CNS, which was, from a biochemical point of view, a clever idea, but from a physical one something that could easily be disproved.
Science 3: It may well be that biology will, over time, not split into a theoretical and an applied science as physics did: In physics, we have the 'roof' of mathematics that joins all the science's areas (hence the run for the GUT), in biology, it maybe is more likely that we will have a large number of interconnected specialists on one gene or proteine family, one cell type, one batch of species etc.
Sexuality 1: 'Gender identity disorder of childhood' is sometimes, even today, used as a justification to 'cure' homosexuality in an adolescent.
Sexuality 2: If there were Werewolves of the kind that first transform at the onset of puberty during full moon, there might be an interesting sexual neurosis: A werewolf growing up in a WASP-style society where it is teached that masturbation will cause hairy palms and general 'devolution', accidentally first masturbating during full moon and being, catalyzed by the emotional and hormonal upheaval, subsequently transformed into wolf form, may well develope very strange sexual habits centered on the lunar cycle.
Sexuality 3: Quite an exotic paraphilia would be to teach your parrot how to humiliate you, SS officer style, while you crouch before it and masturbate.
Sexuality 4: Click here to view a comprehensive listing of the gay 'flag' (handkerchief-in-trouser backpocket) code.
Sexuality 5: Dental dams or 'female condoms' for women's HIV protection may be bought ready-to use, or can, following these instructions, simply be made from standard condoms. As their material is the same as in condoms (albeit you'd rather not want to take extra-thin ones), the sensual effect is not as bad as you might think.
Sociology 1: The word 'subculture' is actually in no way derogatory, as it means 'cultural group within a cultural group'.
Sociology 2: A way to determine the sexual role model in an old-ages society would be, given that it had a religion with several anthropomorphic gods, to sum up which roles and ideas are embodied by goddesses and which by male gods.
Sociology 3: In a society where there is the habit of sacrificing virgins, having sex as early as possible will become a positive factor in social evolution.
Sociology 4: It is interesting to observe that persons who don't know each other greet each other (commonly with a nod, as if to acknowledge the other's presence) when meeting during a walk in the woods or the like, but not in suroundings where a large number of people is around.
Sociology 5: In the so-called lower middle class in Germany, Internet access is a status symbol.
Sociology 6: The reason why the sons of British nobility are in most cases circumcised is that in Victorian times there was a 'colonial-style' craze in Britain (cf. Food 3). As members of the British Army serving in the Colonies were circumcised as a measure of hygienics, it became fashionable in Britain itself to circumcise male offspring. British nobility retain this tradition until now.
Sociology 7: If you walk along a deserted city road at night and suddenly two police cars shoot past you at hellish speed, sirens blaring, lights flashing, you are in most instances heavily tempted to think something along the lines of 'Good boys, protecting us innocent citizens' or 'Well, there you go. Happy crime-hunting.' or 'Piss off, dirty slaves of Capital! Stop pestering us innocent citizens!', while it might as well be that two bored police car crews just try to ease up a tiresome night patrol by having a little obstacle race.
Sociology 8: A hierarchy is a nifty tool of protection for the moral principles out of which it arose: the chain of responsibility runs the same direction as the chain of command, making it more difficult for anyone to actively oppose the ethics behind it, as the person(s) ultimately responsible for devising the legislature (in the loosest sense) out of the ethics is/are commonly found in a position rather high up in the hierarchy, which provides a wide range of measures to deal with any questioning of personal or official ethics.
Sociology 9: Instead of 'people', one could use the term 'ethnocultural entity', which is not near as much sullied by political theory.
Sociology 10: It is somewhat astounding that political correctness is a mechanism more often than not employed by persons or institutions that consider themselves 'left-wing'. As p.c. is a means of censorship for thoughts or mental images, it may well be applied by everyone who sees it as fitting. Cf. the p.c. term Afro-American, which, due to some U.S. White Supremacy groups, states that 'niggers' belong to Africa, though it was not originally intended to express such a thing.
Sociology 11: The major problem of social science is unpredictability: Behavior can seem nothing but absurd as long as (if you put it the physical way) the overall entropy increases or (if you put it the biological way) as long as the species as a whole has a net benefit. Thus, to every behavior a 'maximum-use rule-out' applies.
Technics 1: Machine telegraphs must have been invented by people who were at least indifferent to if not actually favoring the stupid ringing sound the telegraphs make - they could have let them sound differently, after all!
Technics 2: It is a general misconception that the Swedish traffic security test failed miserably by Mercedes-Benz A class is called moose test. There is a moose test in Sweden, which involves crashing a car into a suspended bundle of cables, simulating the impact of a moose's body, as the high-legged mooses will not, unlike a deer or roe, smash your car's hood in a crash, but come through the windshield and crush you under its bulk. Fatal crashes with mooses are common in Sweden, thus every Swedish-manufactured car will have to pass the moose test (that's why Saabs have such a long hood). The test failed by the A class is called child test in sweden, as it simulates a driver's violent evasion attempt when a kid runs suddenly into the car's path.
Television 1: The Star Trek (Classic) sequel Patterns of Force was never screened in German television as part of the series. Its 'Nazi planet' content was deemed unsuitable for German TV and this sequel was excluded from the package when the German TV rights for ST:C were acquired. It is, however, available on video in a dubbed German version, yet as all other sequels were dubbed en bloc, you'll notice that all the characters in the German version of PoF have other voices than in any other sequel.
Television 2: 'Captain, we've got a time loop behind this door.' Beaten-up Riker to Captain Picard.

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