Schrattenkalk in Kairo

After the Fusion and Roskilde (I will maybe post some photos later, but Gregor who made much better pictures already posted lots on Spreeblick) I went to Berlin and from there to a village south of the beautiful Bautzen by the name of Kirschau. We went there to visit the ObPhon festival becuase Mary and Alex participated with their Max & Moritz 2.0 installation. (I hope now I have done enough for my link karma for the rest of the year.) That’s also where Christoph shaved my beard. Anyway… enough talk. Below you can see some pictures I took on the exhibition grounds.

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I just got back from the Fusion and tomorrow morning I am off to the Roskilde as part of the Spreeblick team. Check out what we are doing and tell us what you think.


This seems like a good moment to read Krugman’s ingenious paper on interstellar travel once again. More enlightening to my peers in Nuffield, might be why he actually wrote it.



This time I have more updates than anything else. But let’s see how it goes. TED, a quite amazing conference series, now has an online archive of their talks, free for all. There is many talks on art, architecture and technology. A very good talk by Lawrence Lessig covers the issue of how copyright law is not suitable for the Web 2.0 modernity. Besides copyright and Web 2.0 I have been continuously blabbering about Web 2.0 and science. Others do as well. The National Endowment for the Humanities (US) has even opened a special office for this, the Office of Digital Humanities. Technology has been very relevant for another of my favorites topics, the political situation in Egypt. Not only did Twitter take part in saving a man from custody, blogs are also relevant for organising a potential second strike. Was the last strike after all only the alpha version, or does Mubarak hang on, whatever might happen. No matter of the point of view, the problems are due to the inflation and the low salaries, even for educated jobs like doctors. Another relevant issue in Egypt of course is the gender question. Be it because women are fighting for the right to wear a veil or for the right not to be considered as sex symbols, it still is central. Getting back to inflation and salaries however, one main problem is the rising global food prices. This effects also the rest of Africa. The inflation in Zimbabwe however, which hit onehundredsixtyfivethousand per cent recently, is not due to global markets. The question is however, how bad is Mugabe really, compared to other dictators in Africa? The same could be asked about the Chinese. Are the evil, as our media tries to portray them, or is this a simplification. Sometimes news in media can not be just considered in the dichotomy of true and wrong, especially on April the First. But instead of analysing text in such a way, one could simply try to visualise it in a graphic. Or of course one might try to make a concrete wall display it. Or you could leave your message on your computer. Someone who really needs no words to communicate is Gregory Colbert, whose pictures are surreal and sometimes even ethereal. Surreal is also the sand David Horvitz offers to send you in an envelop, given you sponsor him with an equally surreal 1642 US$.

Below my attempt to visualise the state of the Egyptian state.


Most sausages you can get in Cairo taste boring. They usually do not really taste like sausages at all. My theory used to be, that you can not make good sausages with halal meat. However on rare occasions even halal sausages taste reasonable. Nevertheless I still wonder what they want to say with that label.

sausages sl

sausages makro


“The trouble with censors is that they worry if a girl has cleavage. They ought to worry if she hasn’t any.”

Marilyn Monroe


Censorship is an interesting phenomenon. Especially in modern times, when most countries are not able to censor anything but the official market for physical media. Recently the Egyptian government decided to censor the SPIEGEL SPECIAL edition on Islam. The decision was taken, because, as the government points out. the magazine is insulting to the prophet Muhammad. While censorship in case of the SPIEGEL magazine has become a lot more subtle in recent years, this is a stark reminder that it is still in place. Articles in the normal magazine covering Egypt or Islam are not anymore removed from the magazine, as they used to be five years ago and even naked women, when not printed too large, seem to be acceptable these days in a foreign language magazine.

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There has been comprehensive “discussions” on the relay of the Olympic torch in the recent days. Some people argue that it is a mere show of Chinese propaganda. I encountered the connection between fire and Chinese propaganda in a completely different field recently. When buying cigarettes at my local kiosk I also got a lighter. Most lighters available in Egypt are made in China. Nevertheless I was rather surprised about the motive chosen for the decoration of the lighter. A similar version, which I lost however, shows a soldier in the same pose, as the lighter depicted below.

kibrit front

kibrit side


Sometimes blogging is really difficult – and if you are American even more so. My current problem is rather how to post updates to older articles, when I find interesting comments or news on issues I wrote about. Remember my article about copyright, my comment about the necessity to build a network of repositories, my discussion about Wuala? The German Bundestag seems as worried as I am about the heritage of movies (German). The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft also thinks it is necessary to connect various repositories (yes, you guessed right, German as well). And Jeff Price really argues my point that distribution technology can be culturally relevant a lot better than I did. But hey, I am new to the medium. I will find a better to post these updates way at some point. Not as new as me, but generally still underdeveloped is the German blogosphere. Buch PR gives an interesting overview of the local development (German). In the states however blogging might as mentioned be sometimes difficult, but that is partially an effect of the success of the medium. One major problem of blogs and other online media is that most people expect free access. As O’Reilly points out, this can be difficult. Generally there seems to be a new debate about “free”. While Chris Anderson of Wired discusses the “Future of Free”, Kevin Kelly believes in “Better than Free”. Definitely not free however is interstellar travel. But that is not the major problem. The problem is the consequences of general relativity for economic models, as Paul Krugman points out in his ingenious study (PDF), a paper he wrote to cheer himself up, as he recalls (via DF). Another study, so to say, but in this case a graphic character study, was done by Pixeloo (via Wuala). And again, the last step in my Assoziationskette, was a bit of a stretch.

Image by Pixeloo.


If you can call a kitchen cleaner “Mr. Muscle”, why not take the analogy to its possible maximum and call toilet tabs…




The Green party said good bye to realism at their last party meeting by deciding that they would not support the German Afghanistan mission anymore. A mission which they themselves implemented in the first place. A good time to read the memoirs by the former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. When the memoirs came out the media mainly focused on the beating he gave his own party in the book. But looking at that only does not do the book justice.

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