Thoughts of the Day 12

  1. If you have doubts about humanity, listen to this podcast about a hospital in Israel treating wounded and sick Syrians.
  2. I wouldn’t have thought that many people read articles as long as the one about my decision to return to Europe, but the number of comments surprised me. Thank you all!
  3. More than a hundred years after the Armenian genocide, new evidence is still being uncovered.
  4. One thing to consider when choosing a university for your PhD: in Finland, you receive a sword upon graduation. phd-degree-with-distinction-in-molecular-plant-pathology-biotechnology-e28093-the-ultimate-key-to-yeshitilas-succes
  5. On the other hand, I can imagine that wearing a top hat and carrying a sword on the bus or at McDonald’s may lead to even more resentment against the elites.
  6. Wild boars killed three ISIS fighters in Iraq.
  7. The fifth season of The Americans is rather lame and uneventful, which is disappointing after the previous seasons.
  8. So if you want to know more about the KGB “illegals” living in the US during the Cold War, you may do better by reading the book of one of these ex-spies, who coincidentally was from Germany.
  9. A small part of the higher numbers for asylum applications in Germany may be due to Germans pretending to be Syrian refugees and applying for asylum, like in the case of this German military officer.
  10. Let’s hope that in most other cases, this is only done to collect some extra money, not to plot terrorist attacks.
  11. War Dogs, based on the true story of some youngsters who supply weapons to the US military, was actually not that bad. Only the depiction of Albania was unfair.

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Posted in Albania, Cold War, Education, Films, Health, History, Israel, Military, Syria, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

AllExperts is dead

Quite a number of readers have come to this blog through AllExperts, where I have been answering questions on German law for a decade. With more than a thousand thoroughly answered questions, my profile there was a great source of information on all aspects of German law.

But it ain’t no more.

Why? I don’t know. All I got was this e-mail with a few days’ advance warning that the site would be shut down.

AllExperts

No explanation was provided, even when I asked for it. Stupidly and annoyingly, AllExperts even made all previous answers inaccessible, proving my point that one should never rely on a free service like Facebook or Google for business communication. At the whim of a madman, everything can be taken offline. Come to think of it, maybe I should stop blogging and only write books from now on.

For those who still have questions, I point you to my ever-expanding list of FAQ:

If there is anything else of particular interest to you, legal or otherwise, please let me know in the comment section below. If I notice a lot of demand for one particular subject, I will prioritize it, so get your friends to weigh in, too.

Posted in Family Law, German Law, Germany, Immigration Law, Law, Technology, Travel | Tagged , | 4 Comments

My house in Colombia

Bogotá is actually quite green for a large city, but I wanted only nature, without the city. So I rented a little house north of Colombia’s capital, which I reached on smaller and smaller roads, shared with a surprising number of cyclists, past gentle hills and meadows with cows. The last kilometer went straight uphill, like to a mountain hut.

Haus1Haus2

It is situated between Tenjo and Chía, both towns 6 km away, or, as the owner said “one hour and twenty minutes on foot”. And you better don’t come home too late, for there is no light in the whole valley after 6 p.m.

Also, at an altitude of more than 2700 m, it may get cold at night.

But inside the house, it’s quite cozy.

Schlafzimmer

When I spotted the literary corner, I was even more excited.

Bücherecke

And what an impressive selection awaits me in this remote cabin: Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, Hermann Hesse, William Shakespeare, Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert Musil, Viktor Frankl, Mahatma Gandhi and of course the Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Most of the books are beautifully bound editions from the 1930s to the 1950s. There must have been an intellectual hiding in the mountains at that time.

Bücher.JPG

There is even a comprehensive history about the Gestapo,

Gestapo1

bookmarked between pages 368 and 369 by the ticket for a bullfight on 3 February 1968.

Gestapo2

Somewhat more unsettling was the Spanish translation of Joseph Goebbels’ diary,

Goebbels1

the reading of which was however already aborted on page 46, judging by the bookmark.

Goebbels2

The bookmarks are receipts issued by Remington Rand, one of the first computer manufacturers, and dated 1955. What was going on in the Colombian mountains back then? Very mysterious.

On my desk, please note the sufficient stock of cigars on the right. When cigars cost only 0.17 dollars a piece, you don’t need to hold back.

SchreibtischZigarren

“What about the pistol next to the computer?” you are wondering. That came with the house, too. The ammo is stored under the staircase.

Munition.JPG

But the first evening came to a peaceful end, overlooking the valley whose green colors had been intensified by recent rainfall and were glistening in the setting sun.

erster Abend

(You can rent this house on AirBnB. If you register for AirBnB via this link, you will receive a discount of 35 euros, of course not only in Colombia. – Zur deutschen Fassung.)

Posted in Books, Colombia, Photography, Travel | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Is university worth it?

The Freakonomics podcast “Is college worth it?” was sadly centered on the economic returns of studying and on US colleges, but one student of economics and philosophy had this universally applicable answer:

If a bunch of people from the community sat in a park every day for three months straight and just exchanged books and had lectures, we’d learn much more than we had in three years here.

That’s a very good answer. Of course it depends on the university, the specific degree, the professor, but this student has a valid point.

Sure, you will know more after studying for three or four years than you knew before, but the real question is if you learned more than you would have learned on your own – or by other means – in the same time. I dare to say that most universities probably fail that test.

Posted in Economics, Education | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Patriotic Reforestation

“If the forest grows, the motherland will prosper” or something similar is written on this sign in Transnistria.

Hirsche

Posted in Environment, Language, Photography, Transnistria, Travel | Tagged | 4 Comments

Burglar-Friendly Facade

Breaking into this house does not even require the skills of John Robie aka “The Cat” in the Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief.

facade burglary

(Spotted in Trani, Apulia, Italy. The exact address will be shared for a stake in the loot.)

Posted in Apulia, Films, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tagged | Leave a comment

Earning 1,000,000 dollars

I don’t really need a million dollars. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, so used to my thrifty lifestyle have I gotten.

But if I ever need to earn $ 1,000,000, I will do it exactly like this:

Posted in Economics, Education | Tagged , | 2 Comments