Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The gnome experiment

If you recall the movie Amelie, you probably remember that the girl, just to surprise her father and provoke him the will to go out the house, made travel through the globe a gnome and take picture of it everywhere that it went. Well I guess those physicians have seen the movie and were inspired to ship the gnome in different part of the world and receive a picture of it wherever it goes, but this time for a scientific purpose: the theory of gravity.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simpler.  The gnome who cares about its weigh for science is one of it. The physicians offer a world tour to the gnome in order to be weigh at different point of the globe to demonstrate that, wherever you are, the weigh is different. From Peru to Bombay, from Mexico to Sydney, Kern, the gnome with the blue hat, is taking into picture wherever it is weighed. The money of the project comes from a German manufacturer of … precision scales to promote them but also allow to measure variations of terrestrial gravity that affect the Kern’s mass. For example, Kern shows 307,56 g in Bombay in India when It goes up to 309,82 g in the Antarctic. The physicians say that most of the people do not have any conscience that gravity slightly varies following where we stay in the world. The main reason is the form of our planet. Though It is difficult to believe but It is more of a potato and and your weigh can be 0,5 % more following  where you are going. They thought that their experience is a funny way to prove it. The main stops of Kern are expected in Canada, 2 km under the surface and in Geneva. If you wish to follow Kern, please go visit it on its website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Star Treck

I remember when I was a young boy, the year 2000 was science fiction. I must have grown up because now, It's 12 years ago !

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Nein, Danke !

Berlin wants to close its doors to the tourist. Barcelona is the past. Since 5 years, It is in Berlin that you have to spend your week-ends. The city, which motto is "sexy and poor" sees its prices for rent increasing and small turkish corners turning into sushi bars. The people of Berlin, and not only die Grüne (local green politicals) accuse tourists to jeopardize their plan : work less to earn less but live better. Outside the fact that the first contact with the German language is hard, and won't dethrone the success of the Spanish language with the 20-25 years old people, Berlin offers the best city trip. You can book the flight for 60,- €, rent a room at my place for 30,-€, eat kebabs even less expensive than in Turkey, dance on the worldwide famous known DJ's sets (but queuing hours long for it), take pictures of the late wall and on Sunday with the rest of your money, if any, buy clothes or anything else at the flea market. Berlin became the 3rd most visited city after London and Paris. I heard that 500 000 tourists are welcome everyday. That was the plan with the jubile of the 20 years' fall of the wall and the mayor expect an increase in the next years. But everyone is not all happy with the wave of easyjetters landing in the city. Take for example in Kreuzberg, the turkish quarter, where number of hotels doubled in 5 years. People living there complain about the incidence of tourism on everyday's life, provoking an increase of the rental price and favorising the marketing of the area. Yet the old "Imbiss" (German snack) looks like a gourmet café or a sushi bar. Eventually, we prefered to see the Turkish coming back from the supermarket than Spanish with their whellcase. Inhabitants complain about the behavior of some young tourists, who do not speak a word of Turkish nor German and have nothing to do with the city, drink all night on the bridge making too much noise. It looks like a zoo, some say. The Green party wanted to create a tourist tax but this is not impossible as long as this tourism is one of the main economical ressource of the city. Berlin has no industry and only lives from service. To understand this, you have to look how the city takes care of its urbanism. After the fall of the wall, East Berlin and some popular quarters like Kreuzberg or mine, Friedrichshain, were abandonned because It was social-economically poor and nobody wanted to invest in them. I remember banks never wanted to invest in my flat because of the bad reputation of my neighborhood. So the urbanism was let free to local population. Very low rent and a lot of free space let opened bars more or less legal, concerts places, galeries, second-hand shops. In this dynamic is born the "arm aber sexy" (poor but sexy) that our Mayor loves to sell abroad. In the meantime, Madonna, Brad Pitt and the jet-setters wanted to be part of it. So the old East quarters became of interest for the rich German from the south of the country and the foreign investors. For the time being stays real estate prices very low compared to the average european price. For a 60 sqm in a area soon hype, be ready to pay 100 000 €. But keep in mind that the price increased already to 16% the last 5 years. Still, some people keep believing in work less to live better. But for how long ? In my area, people accuse the investors to provoke this situation because the rich who came from the West are the only one capable of paying the high rent of the renovated flats. So It's easier to accuse the tourist of all the pain. Whatever say the "Grüne", touristification of the city is on and no point of reverse is to be seen, even if they win the election. Sadly, the government of Berlin abandon its role of regulator regarding the increase of the price of the rent and the risk is big that the private interests soon pervert the estate market here, like It is in most of the european cities.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Gemeinsam or Zusammen ?

Sometimes I find German language a bit too much in the details to let me understand it and speak it the way I should. It is not that important because German sometimes themselves can't explain a word, an expression or when to use a preterit, present or future. I give you an example that just happened this afternoon. In front of the 2 elevators, you'll find a button to select the one you need. To go faster where you need to go (for me the exit, It's week-end now), you push one or two. Someone stands next to me, I press one, he presses the other one. So I said "well done, we did it zusammen" (together in German). Once in the (same) elevator, he said to me : "we did it gemeinsam" (together in German). Then I aked him where is the difference ? Well Ladies and Gentlemen, you need to know that German language makes a difference between :
1) the fact that we are together but only one can make an action (press the button to call the elevator). The other one does nothing but is with me. this is zusammen
2) the fact that one can press the button but the other one can also press the button, so in this case you have to use : gemeinsam.
I guess in your language as in mine you use one word : together. 
Why make it simple when you can make it complicated ? It just sometimes only a detail point of view.