The Devil’s Advocate

Devil's Advocate

I’m beginning to truly distrust Merkel. She rightfully controlled the euro-crises to ensure that Germany weathered that storm better that the rest of Europe (that’s what she was duly elected to do), shifting the pain to the lesser well-off economies or Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Germany came out on top, and she got re-elected to continue her role as Germany’s Chancellor. A truly great political win deservant of praise, even if it DOES mean that my fellow citizens are rightly screwed back home.

But as a person who grew up in Soviet East Germany, who knows first-hand the shenanigans and capabilities of the KGB and East Germany’s Stasi, she inexplicably thought it politically temperate to been seen cozying up to a megalomaniacal dictator during the World Cup final in Brazil. All the while she STILL refuses to broaden sanctions against Russia. In my book this is tantamount to aiding and abetting Putin in his murder of innocents and his illegal occupation and war against Ukraine.

It’s time Frau Merkel climbed out of the Kremlin’s pockets and began to walk once again the path towards the political and moral high-ground, even if it DOES impact Europes economic growth a wee bit.

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Ze Germans Are Coming

Fashion for 2014 Winter Olympics German Olympic Team Uniform_2Watch out Vlad, Ze Germans are coming, and they’re wearing a most frightening ensemble that will surely impact children all across Russia….a rainbow coloured uniform.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the German Olympic Team’s new Winter Olympics uniform resembles that most feared flag of all….the LGBT Rainbow Flag. Vlad-The-Terrible must be quaking in his homophobic boots.

But according to the German Olympic Sports Confederation, there is no subversive fashion statement. Rather, they say, the colourful uniforms for its Sochi Winter Olympics team are simply a bold fashion choice and not a subtle rainbow-symbol protest against Russia’s anti-gay policies.

The uniform’s designer, Willy Bogner, says that the inspiration for the look was not political, but simply a nod to “the great atmosphere” of the 1972 Summer Games in Munich. The German Olympic Sports Confederation also stated that the uniforms are “not a protest,” but that isn’t how the design is being interpreted since the unveiling.

Whatever anyone else thinks, I think the German team look “fabulous” 🙂

Parking Pricks – Ze Foreigners

Parking Prick GermansSeems Ze Germans are also no strangers to the “Parking Prick” phenomenon. This guy was spotted this Sunday, and clearly believes that his BMW 1-Series is SOOOOO big that it needs two parking spaces just to fit into the car park.

What’s even more annoying about this idiot, is the fact that the car park he was using is already quite small in a very popular area near the lake. So taking up more space than necessary means that other visitors can’t park their cars. And given that there’s literally no other public car park, it means that they cannot visit the lake, or risk getting a ticket from the “parking offences” obsessed Dutch police.

German Engineering At Its Finest

Beer Bottle Opener Wrench

Ze Germans unparalleled expertise with precision engineering combined with their eagle-eyed attention to detail and a natural desire to engineer solutions to all of lifes little problems has reached a pinnacle, as demonstrated with a new wonderful tool that no home should ever be without!

To see for yourself what those beer loving Germans have invented for the world now, take a look at the video below.

Science Saturday – BionicOpter – Is It A Bird, Is It A Plane?

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BionicOpter

Ze Germans have done it again, and their engineering prowess has pulled off something that Engineering PhD students across the globe have been studying and trying to replicate for decades. A mechanical remote controlled dragonfly.

German tech giant Festo have managed to pull of a machine which mimics the complex flying characteristics of a dragonfly that can be sustained single point hovering and has full authoritative control in multi-directional flight.

The lightweight design, and use of wireless technology onboard which communicates with the other sensor and actuator controls on the BionicOpter means that the complex movements and shape of the wings required to maintain either a single point in space hover or climb, descend and turn in flight can all be done with the various parts talking with each other and enabling the BionicOpter to fly. It’s akin to a mechanical brain doing the unconscious thinking to sustain flight.

Festo of course see the uses of such a device for SAR efforts, particularly in natural disaster recovery efforts, and for use by police forces globally for crowd control and  security.

Sadly however, my money is on it being used by armed forces in a weaponsied version sometime in the not too distant future. Don’t be surprised if you see swarms of these things buzzing through your neighbourhood beaming live video back to a bunker in Quantico and a red dot trained on your forehead!

Take a look at the BionicOpter in action in full flight below.

BionicOpter Mechanics

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European Unity – Hail Ze Germans

Maybe the problem IS those southerners lolling in the Mediterranean sun who overspent and tax-dodged their way to ruin. Or maybe it’s the northerners, rigid beyond reason, so gloomy in their own grey little lives that they’re determined to see the southerners suffer.

Such, at least, are the resentful stereotypes that are increasingly jumping from pub conversation and tabloid pages into the mainstream political discourse.

It’s all a sign that a psychological fissure between northern and southern countries in the European Union is deepening under the strain of the financial crisis. Analysts say the rift threatens Europe’s currency union every bit as much as interest rates and deficits. Maybe it’s just Merkel being extra grumpy given the lousy Summer northern Europe has had to endure.

Vincent Forest, a London-based economist with the Economist Intelligence Unit was quoted as say “National resentments in Europe are rising to dramatic levels. By taking so much time in solving the economic crisis, the Europeans are creating a political and social crisis.”

The 17 countries that use the euro have been struggling for the past three years with the problem of debt: Countries, such as Greece, Portugal, and my own beloved Ireland can’t cope, ans Spain is still pretending that they’re not in crisis mode. While other countries, namely the Netherlands, Germany, Finland and to some extent France, have plenty of demands about how best to manage it. Economies across the region face deepening recessions. Spain and Italy, the two chief trouble spots, are threatened with a financial collapse that could tear the 13-year-old currency union apart and rock the global economy.

Fears are mounting that Spain may be the next to seek a bailout, following Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus. Italy faces the daunting task of keeping a handle on its huge debt load while fighting a recession, which is glorious news for Berlusconi, who fancies his chances of a triumphant return to Italian and European politics as the hero du jour and shining example of Italian capitalism and industrial might at its best.

In Greece, which has been in recession for five years, Germany is seen as the unbending force that has insisted on a diet of ever-increasing budget cuts that have thrown more and more Greeks out of work. Politicians and journalists have even alluded to the Third Reich, fuelling public anger against the Germans. One wonders if it’s all simply a ploy for ze Germans to get their hands on prime waterfront real estate at bargain basement prices, thus avoiding their need to get up at 5am before everyone else so they can lay claim to the sunbeds.

In Italy, cartoonists have made German Chancellor Angela Merkel the subject of vulgar humor. And on Monday, the respected La Stampa newspaper ran an article that used a derogatory term for Germans. The article cited an adage that says that Germans love Italians but don’t admire them, while Italians admire Germans but don’t love them.

Of all the euro countries, ze Germans have been the most insistent on enforcing austerity, warning of the “moral hazard” of bailing out countries that have not suffered enough for their sins, and therefore may be tempted to lapse again. It seems that Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has never heard of “Quantitive Easing” or “Supply Side Economics”. Or maybe it was just that his wheelchair didn’t fit down those particular aisles in his local library when he was studying economics

German condescension toward southern culture however is not limited to the economy.

In January, the influential German weekly Der Spiegel ran a commentary on the capsized Concordia cruise liner, whose Italian captain is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship while passengers were still aboard.

“Does it surprise you that the captain was Italian?” the columnist wrote, asking readers if they could imagine a German or British captain abandoning ship.

No surprise then that the column sparked outrage in Italy.

German attitudes toward European unity have a special historical significance. The prime motive for working towards a united Europe was a desire to contain Germany after the two world wars. A generation ago, West Germans were great champions of unity because it gave them a sense of respectability (the ability to say “We are Europeans”) that had been squandered.

But now it is primarily Germany that is blocking the idea of the eurozone pooling resources to issue joint debt, or so-called “Eurobonds”, which would deepen European integration while easing the crisis.

German citizens opposed to more help for Greece are quick to jump on the fact that the government fudged its budget figures, playing on stereotypes of Mediterranean dishonesty.

Putting up more money would, in the minds of most Germans, be the biggest mistake Germany could make. The fact that the Greeks ran up deficits and debts upon debts, made a complete mess, and then lied about it, cooked the books should warrant their being kicked out of the euro altogether.

Spain will shortly begin to receive a bailout loan of up to €100 billion from the other countries in the eurozone for its banking sector. The loan has come with strict government spending and tax conditions. And ze Germans are seen as the main author of these conditions. Already posters across Spain are calling for a boycott of all German goods. Moustachioed Merkel is seen as punishing Spain unfairly and tightening the screws.

But there ARE people in Europe trying to act as conciliators.

French President Francois Hollande, whose country stretches from the English Channel to the Mediterranean, is pressing for some relaxation of the austerity being forced on countries receiving bailout loans.

And Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers warned Monday in an interview on German TV of the dangers of the current tone of conversation.

“That means what was history, and what we thought we had definitely buried, it resurges fast,” he said. “European integration remains a highly fragile undertaking. One has to deal carefully with European sentiments and not think history is history. No, no, history is present and we have to treat each other carefully.”

The real question for me though, is what are ze Germans REALLY up to? A collapse of the euro is not in their vested interests, because it means their ever growing order books and exports will suddenly dry up as the euro becomes worthless. And companies who, unlike their European neighbours, CAN actually get their hands on liquidity and loans will suddenly feel their coffers squeezed tighter than a pair of nun knickers bringing to a halt any ideas they had about expansion or investment, or worse, resulting in lay-offs.

The tactic of not playing nice will back-fire. So ze Germans better hurry up and learn how to play nice in the sandbox.

 

Angela On Dutch TV

Seems like German chancellor Angela Merkel is morphing into the Reich leader everywhere you turn these days. She was shown on the 6 o’clock news on Dutch channel NOS last Sunday with a ‘Hitler’ moustache – thanks to the set design 🙂

The moustache was caused by part of the news programme’s updated set decorations which crossed Merkel’s face with a black line.

‘It was an unfortunate coincidence,’ editor in chief Marcel Gelauff said using the microblogging service Twitter after the show.