Let us do a little quiz game. The initials of the line you will find below represent six political protagonists (Protagonisten). We are talking five men and one woman. They all live in the American-European parts of the world. Three of them have German as their native language, two are French and Italian, and one of them lives on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. One of them is dead, another has no political office, and the others are perhaps in the middle of or before the zenith of their careers.
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Roland Dürre
Sunday February 27th, 2011

A Potpourri by Ulf Posé!

Here is a little reading material suitable as a small Sunday ethical fireworks.
Or “Mail from Ulf Posé“.

You will find four sequels of the ethical compass by Ulf, written in the form of his most current columns at managerSeminare.

He reports four moral misunderstandings.

Using four very short articles that are really worth reading:

Do we need camaraderie or friendship?
Wir müssen alle Freunde sein! (1311)

If all that mattered on the way to a career were competence, many more women would have to sit on the really “important” positions?
Auf's Können kommt es an! (1478)

If you only stick literally by a rule without asking its meaning, you will eventually end up with the opposite of what was originally intended?
Eine Regel ist eine Regel! (1598)

On the three rules by Anatol Rapoport

  1. „Always start out cooperating“
  2. „Always react to cooperation by cooperating“
  3. „Always answer non-cooperation with non-cooperation”.

(Tit for Tat)?
Der Klügere gibt nach! (1523)

You will also find the links on our documents page (Dokumente). And there are many more interesting titles for downloading and reading, apart from those written by Ulf.

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Roland Dürre
Friday February 25th, 2011

IT Progress

A short time ago, a young person wrote to me that the progress we have made in IT is nowhere near as spectacular as everybody keeps insisting. It is all perfectly normal. That really gave me pause.
Five years ago, solutions which are used as a matter of course today, were still absolutely utopian. Much of what looks and works so easily has an unbelievable functional background. Here are some examples:

Language Translation

Let us assume I am somewhere in this world in a country the local language of which I do not speak. I want something and meet a person with whom I cannot talk in any language we are both familiar with. A new app makes it possible for me to ask a question in my language from the i-phone. A short time later, the i-.phone will ask the same question of the person I addressed in his own language. Said person replies in his own language and a short time later I can read and listen to the translation in my language.

A new app which allegedly works quite well can do it. A short time ago, this sort of thing was only imaginable in a bad science fiction soap…

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Klaus Hnilica
Thursday February 24th, 2011

Why Would Anybody Exercise?

Carl and Gerlinde (IV)

„Now, Carl, do not let the corners of your mouth droop so much. You are not our Federal Chancellor”, said Gerlinde for the third time on this Sunday morning. After all, at long last it was again a sunny day and she had taken such pains with preparing a nice breakfast …

But, regardless of all the sunshine, Carl was in a miserable mood! One look at the Sunday paper had been enough. The fuss they were making about the Olympic Games of 2018 in Garmisch was just ever so sad! How dilapidated can a country be? This entire “To hell with…” mentality not only made Carl let the corners of his mouth droop. It also took away all his own motivation to exercise.
What was the point of doing anything physical in this society, anyway? Is there anybody who can give a good reason? Wasn’t it better to put an extra layer of chocolate spread onto his breakfast toast? And yet another one on the bottom side of the toast! It might not be very healthy, but it is certainly deliciously comforting…
„What do you mean no longer any motivation to exercise…?” Gerlinde asks pointedly while doing a mole-like reading session through the regional news, “it has been a long time since you last gave your body anything like physical exercise. You never even manage to go down to the letter box and get the newspaper in the morning…“
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Here are my tweets of last week (this is my personal jubilee – it is the 50ieth week!) on

Blogging and Twitter, Wisdoms and Rules:

110317 Big mouth and no substance – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110318 Big words, small work – also true for twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110319 It is hard to throw a huge stone far – also true beyond the world of twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110320 Showing off is no huge achievement – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110321 Haste makes waste – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110322 Nothing succeeds like success – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110323 A job well done is its own praise – also true fot twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See Twitter and “follow” RolandDuerre!



(Translated by EG)

P.S. I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

A friend of mine let me have it for a short time: a DVD of the cinema film with the harmless title “We Feed The World”.

I watched the film. The entire sequence. And afterwards, I slept very poorly.

It was not a horror film. On the contrary: all the film shows is how we produce our food – and how we waste the surplus. It is a very unadorned documentary with simple pictures and easily understandable interviews. It is a film that gives you an extremely bad conscience. It shows how grotesque we have become and how horribly we treat nature’s riches – which, incidentally, are the basis for our very existence.

Now I found out you can watch this important film on Youtube for free. Here is the link!

Do take a look! Take at least a little bit of time for parts of it. Here is my cynical advice: produce roast chicken in Austria…

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 22nd, 2011

Bi-Weekly News #26 – IF-Forum and “up and away”!

Dear IF-Blog readers,

Firstly, I want to inform you about the next IF Forum presentation:

On March, 1st, Stefan Gillessen will talk about

“How the Big Bang Sounded” at the IF Forum
(Link or http://bit.ly/gMkGZA).

There are still a few vacancies – so I would look forward to welcoming a few additional “latecomers”. Besides, we are, again, broadcasting live via u-stream, so people can watch from remote places, as well. I can promise you it will be a really exceptional presentation: exciting and even with sensational first-hand news.

Evelyn (EG), our translator, is off duty for a few weeks. She moves into her new house and currently has no internet access. Consequently, there will be no English versions to any of my articles during the next few weeks – which is a pity, especially for our many English-speaking readers inside and outside Germany. But after her vacation, she wants to be back on full drive.

And in a little more than one week, I will be away, because I want to see the other side of the world. Starting on March, 4th, I will be gone for a little more than three weeks. My arrival back in Munich is planned for March, 29th. But I am quite determined to keep writing in the IF blog, be it via satellite or by whichever method. Hopefully, I will be able to report all my impressions abroad.

I wonder how it will all turn out.

But I wish all those who stay behind that they can soon enjoy the first sunny and warm spring days. After all, it cannot be long now, can it?

(Translated by EG)

Hardly more than three days have gone by, and already the Hamburg elections are a thing the media and people’s brains are no longer interested in.

Yet there is a number and a trend that should really give us pause:
According to Wikipedia, Hamburg had the lowest turnout of voters since 1946 at the  2008 elections – that was 63.5 per cent. In 2011, the (preliminary) turnout of voters was even way lower than that of 2008: it was 57 per cent.

Well, there is nothing left to say for me, is there…

(Translated EG)

Roland Dürre


By now, the planning stage for our traditional series of presentations “IF Forum” is more or less finished. As every year, we will again offer three presentations at our IF Forum in 2011. Again, we chose a special motto:

Humans & Science

The presentations in 2011 will be about the universe and the evolution. They will inform you what basic research today actually means.

Dr. Stefan Gillessen of the Max-Planck-Institute for extra-terrestrial physics (MPE) at Garching near Munich will be our first speaker on Tuesday, March, 1st, 2011:

“How the Big Bang Sounded”

For a long time, cosmology was held to be a little on the shady side among the sciences. There were too few cosmological parameters that could actually be measured, too much speculation was possible. This changed drastically during the last few years: satellites are investigating the light echo of the big bang, thus giving the scientists very precise insights about what happens in the young cosmos.

For instance, the mixture of ingredients for the universe contains only little normal material. To make up for it, however, there is plenty of dark material, and a dark form of energy penetrates the cosmos. As opposed to this, the geometry of the universe seems to be rather simple, namely flat. These results fit rather neatly into the concepts cosmologists have been working out for many decades.

The presentation will introduce the modern big bang theory and will explain in detail what the Nobel-prize winning measuring results of the satellites COBE and WMAP mean for the universe: by now, the big bang is an empirically recognizable concept which has been well tested.

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