Roland Dürre
Friday May 17th, 2019

Owehoweh Huawei!?

Again, the Americans are putting pressure on us. They want to punish all the countries that build up communication networks with Huawei technology.

It is basically about the backdoors the Chinese enterprise Huawei allegedly included in its technologies. These technologies are supposed to be espionage tools. This is a presumption that might be close to the truth, but it is far from proven.

Huawei currently has 180,000 employees and they really own them. Since it is a Chinese world concern, this came as a surprise to me.

Huawei offers a multitude of products in the end device sector, but also industrial products in the 5G-network technology field. They are important for our mobile communication network. It seems that several German telecommunications concerns are already business partners of Huawei.

That is exactly what annoys the USA. Now, the USA threaten their “allies” with sanctions if they use Huawei technology.

But who is the competition of Huawei, where we can buy the 5G technology that is so important for us? I am no longer quite as up-to-date as I used to be because I no longer find technology so interesting.

In Europe, we might be talking enterprises such as Ericsson and Nokia. I am not sure that you can still take them seriously when it comes to technology. Our Korean friends also have Samsung.

Besides other Chinese enterprises, Cisco is probably the most important competition for Huawei. Cisco Systems is an enterprise the software and devices of which have been criticized for their many backdoors during the past decades. But then, they are American and consequently good backdoors.

If you wish to make yourself knowledgeable about backdoors, I would recommend the FEFEBlog for information and links to articles on the topic. Or you might just want to google.

Our world has changed. Siemens used to be the global market leader in communication. Now, our American friends tell us what technology we should use. We in Germany no longer master the technology.

I am sure that Siemens, too, had backdoors in its software. Simply because you need it for maintenance work. However, I find it hard to see the then Siemens company as a data provider for secret services.
Perhaps the reason why Siemens lost the market completely is because they did not help anybody in their espionage work? Perhaps it was not the incompetence of the management? Who knows?

Well, we are monitored all the time anyway. The question is only how and by whom.

Brave new world.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I
wrote this article several days ago and published it today because of current events.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 16th, 2019

Afraid of the Silk Road?

There is a general moaning heard all over Europe:
Help! The Chinese are coming!
And especially our bourgeois parties are making themselves understood extremely well in the chorus of warnings!

The network of ancient silk roads and connecting business routes.(from: Wikipedia)

What is the reason? The Chinese invest in infra structure on a world-wide scale. They buy and maintain infra structure for transport and logistics all over the world. Basically, that is all very useful for business.

So what is so bad about this?

Basically, Europe – and especially Germany – is the big winner of global business. And is there anything that is more useful for business than stable and secure transport routes?

After all, the new silk road is not a one-way road!

And I know no commander who likes to sail home with an empty freighter. The shipping companies do not like it either. Basically, we Germans would have to be more than happy about the Chinese creating all that is necessary for more export of products. One of the reasons is that the once-upon-a-time world police USA has become more and more unpredictable.

I presume we are afraid of the soon to be competition. Well, that fear is justified. Because we have the wrong products and, on average, we decrease more and more. Because we are satiated and do not understand change. And where we do understand it, we refuse to accept it. And we continue with regulations that will kill us, both in the short and long run.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday May 15th, 2019

The Real Problems of this World?!

Between ruins. In South Georgia.

I often read that we need to become agile and digital, because everything is so “vuca“. But is that not a luxury problem?

Don’t we have real worries? As a consequence of developments that might even threaten our lives?

Currently, the climate catastrophe is the centre of our “media-driven” worries. It is about the fact that the warming of our planet is caused and exacerbated by the excessive and still growing emission of carbon dioxide caused by humans and their machines.

In a dialogue with a knowledgeable person, it dawned on me that there are many more critical points than just the change of the world climate caused by the burning of fossil raw materials.

As I see it, the origin for the foreseeable problems are on an intellectual and on a material level. Let me give you a list of factors that tell you which mental concept lies behind it and what consequences they have on our planet. And I will also write down how my own personal behaviour relates to it.

I found two (main) reasons as “systemic” causes of the problem.

  • Consumerism and capitalism
    Human greed, our preference of convenience and our hunt for special adventures seem to be the main reason for the sad development of our planet.
    If I look at my own life, I see a problem. I practiced consumerism for many decades and still continue to do so. I bought far too many things for far too many years. I benefited from the capitalist system, my life was good. I cannot complain, except about how the world now is rather damaged.
  • Fixation on growth
    Even when I was at school, I did not understand why everyone preached growth. I was always the sceptical outsider. As I see it, the concept of continued growth is absolutely short-sighted and stupid, especially on a global scale. The idea that growth might solve problems is the reason why humanity destroys itself.

So here are the actual consequences and the physical state of affairs:

  • Armament industry and war
    The combination of these two seems to be the greatest of all evils when it comes to damaging our world. What I mean is that we make a maximum effort to destroy ourselves, and the tendency is still growing. Here in Germany, the  armed forces (Bundeswehr) even destroy our environment in times of peace. 
Why do humans not understand that armament and wars are not only cruel and irrational, but also just stupid 
I am convinced that a civilization only deserves the name if the individual and collective abstinence from violence has become a behaviourist value as a matter of course and I also believe that this utopia can be realized. And that the majority of humans also want this and that it is possible. In order to avoid wars, the armament industry must be abolished. Because an analysis of all wars shows that they were always artificially constructed and that the armament industry always played an important role in the process.
    It really annoys me that Bavaria is the state of Germany that has by far the highest weapons exports. 
This is an aspect where I personally failed. As early as when we founded the InterFace Connection and later, along with our employees, we decided that we do not want to do business with the armament industry. Later, when, forced by the market situation, we had to change from being a product manufacturer to becoming a service provider, the transition became much easier by doing business with weapon producing enterprises. The good intensions failed and we supported the building of tanks. 
So I believe that the planet cannot be saved unless we abolish the weapons industry and stop waging wars. In other words: the introduction of global peace must be top priority.
  • Waste pollution of the planet
    I am not sure what is more detrimental for the planet. Is it the radio-active waste we produce, the plastic material we distribute all over the world or the general distribution of the periodic table of elements  into the environment?
My personal contribution to this problem has been made. I started many years ago with mostly buying and eating only food – for instance yoghurt and other dairy products – that does not come in plastic containers or a Tetrapak . Drinks (beer, water, coffee cream) or food that comes in pet bottles or tins are shunned by me as much as the devil shuns holy water. Some of the people around me actually find this quite extravagant in me. 
In my personal experience, it is quite possible to do without most of the plastic wrappings and tins. I still see enough wastefulness as it is. I have always enjoyed eating pickled cucumbers, and whenever I empty a glass with its lid, I find this destruction totally irrational. Even if the glass will be recycled. When I was a child, the preserving jar was a precious resource. And my mother preserved cucumbers every year.
  • So here is the carbon dioxide topic
    By now, everybody agrees that there is a correlation between the warming of the atmosphere and the level of carbon dioxide. There are still some who doubt that we humans have caused the free carbon dioxide. 
My personal contribution is still sub-optimal. The most positive aspect is that I avoid cars at least insofar as I have not driven in a car for many years where I was the only occupant of the car or taxi. This showed me that you can at least avoid cars if you are a single voyager. It means that, as an individual, I only go by bike or use public transportation. And I do not at all feel that this is a disadvantage. On the contrary: I feel well. You can also go shopping quite well with the bike. And my general condition has improved considerably with the removal of a car as my mobility tool, both psychologically and physically. 
I still have other worries. For instance when it comes to flying. In the last few years, I had quite a few long-distance flights. The destinations were always unique and gave me a lot. This is an area where I feel it extremely hard to abstain – as opposed to the car.
  • An end to the richness of species
    For me, the end of the richness of species means something like the beginning of the end of life. Why should humans alone survive if the biology in its diversity can no longer function? That sounds rather illogical.
    My personal contribution is limited by what someone who lives in his small house and has his small garden can do. No poison for the perfect lawn and the right plants for life.
  • Food
    Today, many people cannot imagine any meal without meat. Germany has become one of the biggest meat exporting countries of the world. As I see it, that makes no sense. We produce animal plants in an unappetizing and cruel way as industrial mass ware. With calories from the entire world 
When I was young, in the 1950s, we ate the Sunday Roast on Sundays. On weekdays, we usually had meat-free meals. Then prosperity came along in small steps. On Tuesdays, the Wiener sausages became part of the menu and on Fridays we had herring. Those were still special occasions. Then the mania started. …
  • Soil consumption
    If you look at traffic, housing, firms and energy, you can find that we destroy soil all the time. Some of us have two flats, most of them with an extra office. The flats become bigger all the time. A single person needs at least a two-room flat, a couple needs a four-room flat. Elderly people remain in the big house. The per capita need of living room becomes more each year. 
I am glad that we managed to sell our big huge house and move to a smaller one after most of our children had moved out.
  • Regulation of rivers
    I just read about how the regulation of rivers has a devastating influence on our world. That alone was already a story that gave me pause. 
I used to drive along the river Main many times. Including the part where you have ships. And I have been asking myself why, as I am sitting on the patio of the “Gaststätte Anker” in Sommerhausen, why I see so few ships. Whenever I see one, it is most often a cruise ship. Mind you, we are talking about the Rhein-Main-Donau-Channel that was built as the main ship freight route for all the traffic. Even the Danube was enlarged for the purpose. Similar ideas come when I think of the  Niederfinow ship hoist for the traffic on the rivers Neiße and Oder.
In this respect, my own potential for a personal contribution is probably limited to trying and voicing my opposition against the continued extension of the river Danube.
  • Water
    Water is the basis of all life. Regardless, we destroy and damage our drinking water in huge dimensions. 
I try to save water. Even my grandfather taught me to be careful in this respect. So I try to counteract waste. Whenever I go swimming, I do not take an extra shower at home. I also believe that it is quite enough to clean your body once a day. We have three huge water containers that are filled from collectors on our roof and we use the water from there for watering our garden. Unfortunately, I have not yet managed to change the toilet water system from drinking water to rainwater.

There are many actual threats.

In my personal book, the carbon dioxide is only number three on my list of priorities. But basically, it does not really matter, because unless we change our mind sets in the sense of leaving consumerism, capitalism and the belief in growth behind, there will never be a change. The mental change alone is probable a Herculean task that is next to impossible.

All actual threats (armament, waste pollution, carbon dioxide, richness of species, food, soil consumption,…) are inter-related. I probably even forgot some areas. We have to work on all of them, instead of focussing only on one topic – such as carbon dioxide. Part of the transformation will be that we change our living styles. It is all about a holistic change of attitude in our lives. The question might be: is it still worth fighting – or is it better to just continue dancing on the volcano?

My brain tells me that it is already too late to save the planet.

In the  Anthropocene, we started developments that have now gained their own momentum and that will have consequences which will cause the real catastrophe. They will probably speed up the process of destruction.

My heart tell me that resignation is the wrong way.

That is why there cannot be a “LET US CONTINUE AS BEFORE” and we should at least try the great transformation. If we want this transformation to be a success, then we will have to change EVERYTHING. It can only work globally and will have to start locally.

And I believe we should try it together. And I wonder why politics, business and many socially relevant institutions do not get active at all.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday May 13th, 2019

Wikipedia and the Copyright.

The Logo of the encyclopedia

“It is difficult to predict things! Especially if they are in the future “.
Even our Munich hero Karl Valentin knew that.

Consequently, I am thinking about a method that starts with the past and then ends in the future. It is not a prediction, but more an extrapolation.

Let us look at the past and at the history of the media. This business sector found out quite early that intellectual property (as created in the copyright legislation) is far easier to scale than material products or even services. Consequently, this field has been doing business with particular success ever since the printing press was invented.

Trading with intellectual property makes enormous margins possible.

The media moguls knew that you can do business quite well with knowledge and information, provided the property you create and trade falls under the term “property”. They started very early with the creation and installation of laws that made it possible to buy intellectual property from authors and other generators of said material and then earn a lot of money with it.

Copyright legislation is the “licence to print money”.

And they also saw to it that the deadlines for intellectual property were always duly extended. That is why, in the USA, these laws are called Mickey-Mouse-legislation (Mickey-Mouse-Gesetze). Walt Disney succeeded several times when it came to extending the copyright deadline for Mickey Mouse.
.
What is the state of affairs with knowledge and information?

Following the reasoning that the generation of knowledge needs an effort, it was declared capable of being owned. Consequently, the generator is given the right to the intellectual property, which is supposed to give him the material advantage generated by the intellectual property. Well, I, too, think that scientists should be amply paid. But that does not mean that things an intellectual worker creates are actually their property and belong to them. If you accepted that, you would have to call these people “owners of intellectual property”. However, I do not think that knowledge is a property that should be traded.

“Knowledge is the only thing that grows as you share it“.

Which means you should probably share it, doesn’t it? Yet, if knowledge becomes personal property and belongs to someone, then its volume is artificially reduced. That is beneficial for few but detrimental for many.

So I am opposed to including knowledge, information, rights, natural structures, laws, regulations and similar things in the concept of property legislation. Incidentally, this is also true for data – which becomes more and more fashionable.

The motto seems to be: my data belong to me!

Newspapers and books are goods that have been existing for hundreds of years. The editing is an old business sector that grew exponentially with the printing press. And it gave itself ever more optimal rules.

As in all sectors, following the basic concept of capitalism and logics, competition and mergers caused the rise of huge enterprises.
“Intellectual property“ is easier to scale.

This made publishing companies more powerful and richer. Equalled only by the realty concerns thanks to the special trilogy – ownership of the soil and buildings, cheap money and quick price increase – and by other gamblers who bet on raw materials, bonds or currencies – they managed to get rich and powerful in an extremely short time.

Encyclopedia were particularly good business.

For all publishing companies, the encyclopedias were especially important. It was good business, because encyclopedia were mostly high-price products that also needed updating relatively soon. The leading publishing companies always had at least one enterprise in their empire that produced encyclopedias. And the profit they made over the decades was reliable.

Eventually, these encyclopedia were also electronic books. They were distributed on cheap data carriers for high prices. It was truly a licence for printing money. However, it did not take long before someone put an end to it. The internet appeared. And a group of crazy volunteers founded a free encyclopedia, in 2001. They called it Wikipedia.

”Innovation is creative destruction“.

For many, this was a painful experience. It also hit the publishing companies who had been benefiting from the innovations in printing machines and communication for many years. It meant that there was an end to all the great commercial profit they had made in the encyclopedia business. The publishing houses probably suffered enormous losses. They became victims of the internet or of Wikipedia and had to close enterprises or find a new business purpose. It was probably quite painful for the German media concerns.

They say that the internet never forgets anything. That is not true. I have been looking for many things, for instance the first web-pages of InterFace Connection GmbH – and I never found them. It is not the internet, but the concerns that have the excellent memories. They actually never forget anything. And for them, the sentence “revenge is sweet” is quite true!

Now they are a huge step closer. After many years of patient and diligent lobby work, they now managed to get the copyright reform  bill through the European parliament. Immediately afterwards, the VG-Media sent their first bill to google. I am sure the publishing companies will soon follow suit. They say the German way is going to be to pay instead of using upload filters. Let us wait and see.

So how is Wikipedia doing?

Let us postpone an analysis of the media concern and instead take a look at Wikipedia. At first sight, it is a really beautiful story – a free and independent society of people working on an honorary basis writes down what they know. They finance the entire project totally advert and sponsoring free – exclusively by donations from people who use the system.

This is how Wikipedia, a few years after it was initiated in 2001, destroyed all its competition. Wikipedia has a monopoly and is now the only remaining encyclopedia. That is what makes it so important – but it also makes it extremely fragile. Its only competition is probably the internet itself, which is also threatened.

Shadows loom over the internet and Wikipedia.

As before, knowledge grows exponentially. But the work force at Wikipedia does not. On the contrary: as I see it, Wikipedia has become the club of old white men. Here, too, we pay the price as time goes by.

Young and female people are few and far between at Wikipedia. We are talking the typical next-generation problems we also see for chess clubs, the voluntary fire-fighters and now even the powerful DFG. This is how I and my friends at Wikipedia see it. All statistical data I found are usually ten years old and totally untrustworthy. Mind you, Wikipedia was founded in 2001, which, as of now, was only 18 years ago!

Who among the young generation likes to do the dry work of an encyclopedist, who has to play by strict rules? Especially if the way the old white men treat the next generation is rather unfriendly?

Wikipedia is an infra structure of knowledge.

The knowledge grows, the technology ages. And there are fewer and fewer people who do the maintenance work on the infra structure.

In the extreme model, the work force at Wikipedia will die out.

What will happen then? A knowledge infra structure without maintenance? Even as it is, the quality of the articles gets worse. And there are other problems, such as technological ageing, poor coordination, too little clarity in content and structure, organizational problems. There is a lot that needs to be done at Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is probably the largest user of foreign copyright world-wide.
They felt that they needed to be careful about copyright legislation and demonstrated their concern by turning off their servers.

Those who are in favour of the copyright reform try a placatory approach:
Wikipedia is, after all, for the common good and consequently not part of the reform!

But is Wikipedia really for the common good? As you see above, I wrote: Wikipedia lives from the donations of its users. I, too, only give money to Wikipedia because I want to keep using the service. Wikipedia is more or less blackmailing me:

Pay something and make sure that you will still get your service!

Perhaps the enterprise Wikipedia is not really a common-good-oriented one in the sense of tax-relevant definitions? All those who donate money expect (and get) something in return for the money they pay. Their payment only seems to be voluntary. They depend on Wikipedia and give money because they fear that otherwise there might be an end to what they get in return.

Huge concerns are very patient and think in long-term concepts.

Now the media groups have taken up the scent. The copyright reform showed them that it pays to do lobbyist work. They certainly know that Wikipedia would be an exciting object.

After all, the lobbyists are currently practicing how you can deprive NGOs of their title “common-good”. With such a measure, you could further weaken Wikipedia, or even take away the basis of its existence. And later, you could re-introduce it to the Reich as a common enterprise that belongs to several enterprises. In the sense of a re-unification. I already hear the message:

Lobbyists, let us go and visit the ministry of finance. We will get Wikipedia.

Here are the good news 
At least Wikipedia would survive – even if full of adverts and interest-motivated articles. But on the whole, this would be a good fit for our modern internet world.

Brave new world!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday May 9th, 2019

Ultra posse nemo obligatur ?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday April 28th, 2019

The Holes in Your Trousers

It feels best to be in the nude.

Summer is nice.

Mostly, you do not have to wear too many clothes in summer. In spring, autumn and winter, however, it is important to wear clothes if you live in our regions. Because otherwise you can easily fall ill.
And since we live in luxury, most of the people in this country have far too much hanging in their wardrobes.

I find it hard to throw anything away.

There are several reasons for this… firstly, I am sorry to throw something out that is still intact. You never know if there might not be a chance to wear exactly this one piece, even though I have not worn it in many years. Also, I am economical and do not wish to just destroy things that are ok. Also, some clothes are linked to memories. That is also true for towels, bed-linen and other textiles.

It is evil to run around wearing sloppy clothes.

When I was a child, my mother was quite strict about teaching me that you do not run around wearing sloppy clothes. I often had to throw away a pair of trousers just because one knee had a hole in it. And mended trousers were also sloppy. Besides, they were a symbol of poverty. In those days, you wanted anything, but you did not want to be poor.

The upbringing worked.

Later, I was very careful to never wear clothes with holes. I bought many suits and ties. I always wanted to look chic. Shorts were the exception to the rule and only worn when I was at leisure. Well, in business, they were unimaginable.

That changed. Today, I only wait for warm weather and then I wear shorts. If my short jeans look worn and have a few holes, then this makes me proud. After all, it shows that I no longer throw away clothes. I also like wearing washed-out pullovers and t-shirts.

Someone is still complaining if I run around like this. It reminds me of my childhood, except it is now no longer my mother who gives me the warning. Because she is already dead.

In my case, ranting does not help these days.

I am still happy with it. And even during holidays I take a detour whenever I see at-shirt sales outlet.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Those were the days – we were still paying with Deutsche Mark. Coal is nice.

In former times, people lived frugally in order to save money for their old age. Even as a young child, you had your bank account. Today, it is not so easy to open your bank account.

However, this is not bad news, because in times of zero interest, it makes no sense to save money. You save and save and eventually nothing is left. Because the money you saved lost all its value. Because we have a high inflation rate and zero interest – both thanks to the EZB money politics.

Today, more and more people have to save money.

Not for their old age – but in order to make ends meet. And because, as the end of the month comes, nothing is left on the bank account. Because life has become expensive. Or, to be more precise: the rents have become really expensive, at least in some cities.

Food has become cheap – I think it has never been quite as cheap as now.

I know people who pay 1,200 € each month for their cold flat in Munich – and they often find this quite cheap. Regardless, it is more than half of what they earn after taxes. If you have a flat to live in, all you need is some clothes and food.

Most of us have far too many clothes.

We pile them on top of each other in our wardrobes. But visible signs of having worn them (after all, you want to look presentable) and the fashion (you want to be chic) make us buy more and more all the time. Regardless of the fact that there are many things we really no longer need. That is purest consumerism. And the wardrobes keep getting fuller and fuller.

Let us look at food.

In Germany, it is cheaper than in most other countries. I took a close look at the prices of basic food in discount shops:


Flour, milk and eggs

If you buy milk, you pay 1.05 € if you choose fresh full milk with 3.8 % fat, if you take the H-milk with 3.5% fat, it is even less: 0.70 €. That comes as a surprise to me. Compared to a litre of Diesel fuel (1.30 €) or petrol (1.45 €), it is really cheap, isn’t it? Especially since there is always also a tetra package that comes with it. And if you drive a car, one litre of fuel is quickly gone.

Looking at flour really gives me pause. At Aldi Süd, you get one kilogram of Mühlengold Weizenmehl for 0.39. Now I understand why some people heat their ovens with grain.

If I want to bake a cake, I will also need eggs. There are three different 10-egg-packages: from hens that were kept on the ground, they cost 1.19 €, from hens that were running free, they cost 1.59 €, and from ecological hens, they cost 2.69 €. If I want the eggs boiled or coloured, I get 10 of them for 1.89 €. That sounds really nice, doesn’t it?

I will also need oil.

Here is what I see: the pure vegetable oil made of rapeseed costs 0.99, the same is true for the pure sun flower oil. As you see, oil, too, is less expensive than petrol or Diesel fuel. I wonder if I can pour it into my car. Well, maybe not, because, as we all know, I no longer drive a car, let alone a Diesel engine car.

Coffee must not be missing from my list.

I find “Bio Caffè Crema, ganze Bohne“ for 9.49 € and, even better, “Tizio Caffe, ganze Bohne, sortiert“, an entire kilogram for 7.49 €. Since these prices do not only contain the added value tax, but also the roasting tax, this is really remarkable. According to Wikipedia, in Germany the coffee tax per kilogram for bean coffee is 2.19 Euro. For instant coffee, it is even 4,78 Euro per kilogram.

Those who love alcohol also need not worry.

The least expensive schnapps is the Doppelweizenkorn Kornmeister. You get a 0.7 for 5.29 and for three litres of Gold Beer KARLSKRONE (as a six-pack, 6x 0,5), you pay 1.79 €. A total of 7.08 € should easily settle you for a soccer evening at home in front of your TV set.

If you do not like beer, I recommend red wine.

The discounter offers a bottle of “Mazedonischer Rotwein“ for 1.49 €. So what more do you need?

If you need snacks to go with the liquor, this is also quite cheap. You get Chips SUN SNACKS, 200 g for 0.79 €. Two packages in your trolley and the entire TV evening with six half-litres of beer, one bottle of schnapps and two packages of chips is still only 8,68 €. If you drink some wine after the match, you have a total of not much more than 10.00 €.

As I see it, the absolute hit when it comes to cheap is: apple-sauce.
You get SWEET VALLEY, 710 g for 0.59 € in the Tetra pack. Who can produce this at such a price?

As you see: if you are prepared to eat cheap, you can really live quite well in Germany. To be sure, I have no idea how these prices are possible. I am afraid there must be some exploitation of labourers, producers or suppliers.


So why do I write about this?

Because I think the proportionality got lost.

Something is wrong and something is rotten in this state. In Munich, I pay a sort of rent for one room that would buy me huge mountains of food and t-shirts and leave me enough to drink myself to death.
What will happen if, as a consequence of the climate crisis and the destruction of the soil, we can no longer produce enough grain?

I mean the wheat that currently is so cheap that we only pay 0.39 Euros for an entire kilogram (neatly packed). If I paid the money that is paid for rent (1.200 €), I would actually get three tons of wheat for it. That is more than 700 kilograms each week, i.e. 100 kilograms each day. What will happen when wheat becomes rare?

What will happen if suddenly things turn around totally? Somehow or other, this seems threatening to me and I worry about a future crisis.
And I think of what I consume. What do I need for living except a place to stay and food?

Well – I want to travel.

A short time ago, when I was sitting in the regional train going home to Neubiberg from Winterhausen, two young ladies sat with us at the table. Naturally, they talked about a few other young ladies who had booked a week in Mallorca for 250 Euro. After all, you could get three days on Malle for 146 €: ”How can anybody be such a big spender?“ – was their opinion. Welcome to Ballermann.

Mobility is very important for people, that is also true for me.

It helps if you understand that you can also be quite mobile without a car. If you combine your bike with public transportation, you are doing even better. However, many people believe they absolutely need a car for their mobile freedom. Consequently, they have to spend whatever remains of the income after they have paid their rent on their cars. And then there is not much left except buying food at the discount shop.

But I now understand: if I have a flat, it is quite easy to live with very little money. I am not sure who gets to pay the price for it.
Most of us have more than enough clothes.

You can spend an extremely long time without buying anything new. I practice this – and it works. I am quite happy with it. No more suits, white shirts and ties. And in summer, always the old shorts. Along with all those many free t-shirts. Great.

I try to buy regional products, for instance at the weekly market or the good Supremo coffee. The prices differ fundamentally from those at the discount shop. For coffee, I pay 2.5 times what I would pay there. I am well off and I can afford to do this. I do it because I want to make sure that others, too, can survive and that ruthless exploitation is reduced. But I am probably not succeeding?

Here is a mental experiment:

What happens if I know someone who does not have enough money and I give him, for instance, 10,000 €? I fear he will immediately buy a car or perhaps fly to “paradise”. So his carbon dioxide footprint will immediately increase drastically. That is not what I want.

Perhaps the best solution would be for me to burn my money. I do not mean at the stock market, because that would again mean that someone else gets it. I mean it in the true sense of the word.

Except that this will also not do any good. Because a one-sided DZB will quickly create new money (we used to say “print”). Because they need to trigger the economy and stop the collapse of nations who suffer under the Euro.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the prices from the website Discounter-Preisvergleich of April, 24th. Barbara told me that several products (for instance one litre of fresh milk) are considerably less expensive than I wrote.

 

Let me invite you most warmly to the following event!

 

“My life after digitalization and InterFace“.

On May, 6th, you can hear me as an invited speaker at the monthly event of the regional group Munich of GI and GChACM at the Hotel Eden-Wolff.

Here is the Link. The presentation will start at 7.30 p.m.. Food and drinks will be served earlier.

This will be the third time for me as a speaker at this event. There was one time when we did a wonderful sketch on our adventures with banks as entrepreneurial founders. Along with my entrepreneurial friend Norbert Weinberger and my very much appreciated banker Alois Wolferstetter, I played ”true stories from the life of an entrepreneur“. It was truly hilarious, we all laughed a lot.

My last presentation at the Hotel Eden-Wolff was on April, 6th, 2009 for the Gesellschaft für Informartik and German Chapter of the ACM. That is now more than ten years ago. At the time, the topic was a little more serious.
Life, knowledge, computer science and ethics.
You can find a short synopsis in the IF blog if you click here.

Now I am happy to see that the main topic of the last Informatik-Spektrum (that is the official GI regular magazine) was “computer science and ethics”. It only took them ten years.

If I remember correctly, then my presentation at the time was a pleasure both for the audience and for myself. I want it to be the same this time.

Here is the official pre-view:


Turn of an Era: The End of the Digital World?

On the post-digital society

Synopsis:

The presentation around digitalization will inspire you, give impulses and motivate contemplation:

What exactly is digitalization and transformation? Where exactly do we benefit? Who owns the internet? What influence does digitalization have on our lives? What will happen when the digital era is over? What are the consequences of digitalization in our work-life and our society? What is AI (artificial intelligence)? Where is Bavaria (Germany, Europe) in the process? Who will rule the world in the future?

Speaker:
Roland M. Dürre (ex-programmer, IT entrepreneur, blogger, business angel)
Born: June, 20th, 1950 (married, father and grandfather)


I will try and make the presentation very open and interactive. Perhaps we will manage to answer a question or two together. Besides, my goal, as always, is to inspire people, to give impulses and to motivate contemplation. And, of course, I also want to provoke people a little bit.

It would make me happy to see many of you. There is no admission, you need not register. If the lecture hall is full, the hotel will have enough extra chairs.

I very much look forward to seeing all and any of you.

RMD

Roland Dürre
Sunday April 21st, 2019

Theatre and Mobility

Many years ago, I discovered a wonderful theatre. I remained loyal to them and will continue to do so:

It is the Sommerhausen  Torturmtheater. It was originally founded by Veit Relin, who unfortunately died several years ago. His widow, Angelika Relin, is now in charge and arranges a set of four very special pieces each year. Mostly, the works are by contemporary authors who complement each other excellently. And mostly I see all the four pieces each year, at least once.

Currently, (until May, 25th, 2019) they play:
PICTURES OF A GREAT LOVE
by Wolfgang Herrndorf.

The protagonist is Isa, a fourteen-year-old girl who seems to be a hero from heaven. The role is played in a unique way by Isabel Kott. She makes you laugh and cry.

The following pictures show Isabel Kott in her solo role. The author of this piece is Wolfgang Herrndorf. He is dead and also wrote the best-seller TSCHICK, which not only adolescents like to read.

For me, the Torturmtheater has only one disadvantage. Sommerhausen is close to Würzburg and consequently almost 300 kilometres away from Munich. That is a considerable distance to go – just to see one theatre performance in a nice old tower.

For me, the trip to the theatre is a routine, because I have made it quite often. However, now we want to save the planet and change our behaviour and our society with respect to mobility.

For me, this is a reason relate my current practice using the example of a trip from Neubiberg close to Munich to the Torturmtheater at Sommerhausen. I also want to describe how this could be done in the future.

So: how can Barbara and yours truly get to Sommerhausen and back in the evening? After all, the performance starts at 8 p.m. and always last about an hour. In other words, for us, as pleasure lovers, this means staying overnight in Sommerhausen, including the nice dinner with the good local wine.

CURRENT PROCEDURE:

There are several ways to get from Neubiberg to Sommerhausen. Currently, the most favoured means of transportation are the car, the train and the airplane.

By car:

You can take two alternative routes. The easiest way would be for Barbara and me to take a car. One of us drives. If you calculate a (rather) optimistic average speed of 80 km/h plus break, we would spend four hours on the road, two of them behind a wheel. Both ways. That is almost 600 km. If you say one kilometre costs 40 Cents, then this adds up to 240 €. We would have to start early, leave the car in front of our hotel and drive home on the following day.

That is not what we want. And 240 Euros make the theatre rather expensive (the entrance fee is less than 20 €).

We could hire a driver who takes us there in a comfortable luxury limousine. In other words, we could pretend we are a member of the Bavarian State Government. Except, as opposed to our politicians, we would ask the chauffeur to drive slowly and softly. In order not to go faster than the recommended speed. The chauffeur would probably not like this. And he would also need a room for the night. Well, this is beyond what we call economical. Except if we were to tell him to drive us home as fast as possible in the middle of the night. Because we would like to sleep before midnight. So we decide in favour of the German Rail.

By public transport:

Let us not consider the Flix-bus connection. That is not really enough comfort for us. But it seems like you can get a connection from Munich to Würzburg. You can choose between seven connections every day for 11.99 €. The long-distance bus test winner with enough space for your legs. Easy to book and WLAN included. Guaranteed seating and environment friendly. That sounds quite a bargain.

No, we prefer to go by train. That is a good idea if you know that you do not want to look for connections to Sommerhausen but instead to Winterhausen. Because between Sommerhausen and Winterhausen, you only have the river Main. And not far from the Winterhausen railway station, you can cross the Main bridge to Sommerhausen. It is a walking distance of one kilometre to the Torturm.

After all, the BayernTicket is valid for all of Bavaria. For two people, it costs 32 € (25 basic price + 7 € for every extra person – you can bring up to four travelling companions). Actually, there is quite a good connection between Munich Central Station and Winterhausen by the Bayerischen Regionalbahn (DB). First, you go from Munich via Nuremberg or Augsburg to Treuchtlingen. Then you change trains to Würzburg via Ansbach. The connection does not leave you very much time, but we always managed to catch the connecting train, because the second train will wait in Treuchtlingen if the first train is late.

If we choose this option, we also have to spend the night. Which means we need two BayernTickets (one for the way out and one for the return on the next day). That will be 64 € plus the stay overnight.
If we are in a hurry, we can take the ICE to Würzburg. If you have a BahnCard25, you will pay 56.25 EUR for the one-way ticket per person. Times four (two people, return ticket), you get: 225 €.

That does not include the price for the bus transfer from Würzburg to Sommerhausen. There are special offers, but you have no flexibility if you buy them – and if you take the least expensive “Supersparpreis”, you have no Munich City Ticket …

Which is another almost three Euros per person for the single trip, i.e. 12 Euros total. Depending on the connection, you save between a half and a full hour if you take the ICE, which does not really sound like much.

So we take the DB-Regio and bring our folding bikes – which makes us very flexible as soon as we arrive (and which also is a lot of fun).

Alternatives?

I know people who take the plane from Munich to Nuremberg (or Stuttgart). Especially among politicians, this is quite common. They often use the VIP Federal Flight Service and will then be picked up directly from the airport with a state limousine.

Well, I am not a politician and consequently try to avoid all intra-continental flights. One of the reasons is that the change between the systems flight, train and public transport or taxi is too expensive. So, for me, the irrational alternative ”flight“ is not an option.

We also already went all the way by bike. It was an ideal combination of bike tour and theatre visit. However, it is something you cannot always do, regardless of what a nice bike state Franconia and Bavaria is.

THE FUTURE:

What will the future bring? It is quite exciting, because now we need to decide how to change our behaviour. After all, we want to save the planet by how we act. The first measure might be:

ABSTINENCE?

No matter how nice the Sommerhausen theatre is and what great pieces they play, an ethical balancing of values might show that abstinence is probably a good idea. But that would really hurt.

So let us assume that we do not wish to abstain. Does the change to Flixbus make sense (allegedly, the bus is the most environment friendly of all means of transportation, it even beats the train). If the train services were terminated due to environmental issues, then I would go by bus.

Well, I do not really see a solution for me in the future. I give up. I cannot predict the future.

But then came the solution:
Today, I am one of the few strange persons who take the train to Winterhausen and then cross the Main on the bridge from Winterhausen to Sommerhausen walking or by bike. In the small village of Sommerhausen, I see a lot of car tin with licence plates from all over Germany. That is normal. At the motel we stay, I have difficulties as I try to navigate between the hordes of parking SUVs with my small Brompton. I fear that I might produce the occasional scratch on the expensive tin and consequently I act extremely cautiously.

How to turn it around? 
Following the suggestion: let us have trains that are fuller and let us have fewer SUVs. After all: the SUV drivers and also all the other gentlemen with their big limousines could easily take the train. Because there are still many vacant seats in the trains. And that would also make Sommerhausen look nicer and free it of all that tin.

So you would have to make our method the standard. And travelling with motorized individual transport the well-thought-through exception.
But what should we do if the SUV drivers do not want to do that? After all, it is totally irrational to not use the motorways?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
In Munich, I also visit the theatre quite frequently. Currently, my favourite places are the Volkstheater and the Metropol. But the Resi and theKammer-Spiele with their sub-branches, too, offer things worthy of attention. 
In Munich, the mobility problem is easy to solve: 
If you have a ticket for the state and city theatres, then the MVV ticket is included – the same is true for the opera. The private theatres – for instance the Metropol – can also be easily reached using the MVV. You have to pay for the MVV, but this is money well invested if you go to the Metropol.
If you want to save the travelling costs, you can take the bike. All theatres of the “big village” can easily be reached by bike.

Roland Dürre
Friday April 19th, 2019

The True Face of Or Politicians.

Another reason why I am so fed up with politics.

The colours of capitalist feudalism …

Everybody knows that going by plane is particularly detrimental to the environment and that it is a huge driver for the climate catastrophe.
(Consequently,) the German Armed Forces have a  service for government  (Flugbereitschaft). The army planes used to transport soldiers and material.
Today the planes bring politicians (and I presume also army command and generals) to places where they think they absolutely need to go.

About most of the technological Armed Forces sectors, you hear that they, too, are in miserable condition. We read of failures and almost-accidents all the time. A short time ago, a Global 5.000 (by Bombardier) had become unstable shortly before  departure and had to turn around for an emergency landing. At least, both wings touched the ground.

Interestingly, it was exactly this plane that was supposed to take our Federal President  (Bundespräsident) from Berlin to Stuttgart, where he was to open the BuGa at Heilbronn on April, 17th.

Now you can ask: how important is the BuGa and does our Federal President really need to talk at its opening. After all, there are quite a few more important tasks where he might use his energy to promote things. Besides, if the BuGa calls him, you can ask if he really needs to have a special jet to get there.

I found five hours and 47 minutes as the shortest train connection between Berlin and Heilbronn. That is not at all bad. It might be interesting to find out how long the state plane takes. Including changes, etc.

However, if you take the train, you will need to expect that the train will most likely not be on time. But then, maybe the DB can manage to be on schedule if an important state representative, such as the Federal President, is on board? It probably does not happen very often.

… which, by now, controls all of Europe.

If you take the direct route, then the distance between Berlin and Heilbronn is 478 kilometres. In China (or even in France), a train will do this distance in 2-3 hours.

We have not yet reached that stage. If you take an ICE from Munich to Hamburg (781 kilometres), you will need five hours and 35 minutes. The TGV from Paris to Marseille (765 kilometres) only takes three hours and eleven minutes ( source: Spiegel).

That is a difference of more than two hours for a little more than 750 km. Looking at this fact, it might be appropriate to send a question to the German Ministry of Transportation and ask them how something like this could happen. Allegedly, the situation is no better on motorways – although they have a general speed limit in France.

Regardless, one might get the idea to travel long distance in Germany by train, rather than by plane. And if the train connection is so bad that it is really not acceptable, then you might get the idea to take a regular plane that flies “anyway”, instead of a special one.

Mind you, Frank-Walter Steinmeier is basically considered a halfway decent politician. Even if, for me, the secret agreements they seem to have come to during his election was irritating. And besides, his party is the SPD. But perhaps he became Federal President because he needed to be pushed aside by the SPD.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a politician who has been voted into an important position were to also think about the future of this planet? And maybe he could give a symbolic statement by not going places where it is unnecessary or by not taking a separate plane where regular planes fly? That would be a good way to prove his integrity.

I would also like to see a change of paradigm at the German Air Force Flugbereitschaft. When confronted with criticism, the responsible people say that all problems are solved because they already ordered three new planes from Airbus.

The plane that almost crashed was less than ten years old. I read that, for a plane, this is extremely young. Because your average plane lives a lot longer than that. This means that the German Air Force Flugbereitschaft invests now because they assume they will have to fly politicians and generals for quite a few more decades. I wonder what the children who protest for the planet on Fridays would have to say about this.

For me (and probably also for future young voters), it gets harder and harder to vote.

I only want to give my vote to people who do not use government planes as a matter of course and look childishly happy if they board a state limousine (even in front of cameras) as soon as they have become important. Because at long last they have reached their goal and are rewarded for their decades of hard work as party soldiers.

I would prefer to give my vote to people who, regardless of their feudalist position, still use public transport and/or their bikes when travelling.

Mind you, in my perception, most politicians consider it beyond their human dignity to use public transportation. Just as it is against all common sense to have a speed limit on motorways. People with this definition of human dignity and common sense will definitely not be elected by me.

In a nutshell:

I would wish for the first representative of the state that he shows how he takes the problems of the people seriously by acting responsible and by setting a positive example. Instead of going on business trips in a separate plane. If he absolutely has to fly because the place where he absolutely needs to go is on a different continent, then he is welcome to travel business class on a regular flight. But why does he need his own plane? That sounds like Führersonderzugs?

And in my personal life, I really want to continue to improve my own flying habits. It has been a long time since I last travelled in Germany by plane. In the past, I had too many long-distance flights. I will reduce them considerably in 2019. And I will try to establish a tendency that points towards zero. And whenever I go by bike, I will limit my routes to Bavaria, Germany and the neighbouring countries. Basically, this means I will go places that I can reach by train. Which means: no such things as Cuba.

RMD
(Translated by EG)