physis kryptesthai philei

Was heisst denn das? Als bekennender Asterix-Fan und nur-Lateiner müsste ich wohl sagen: Weiss ich auch nicht, das ist Griechisch (Die Trabantenstadt, S. 15)! Aber die NZZ hilft uns grosszügig weiter. Solche Bücher müsste man zu lesen die Musse haben!

Eine Variation zum Thema geht aus diesem erstaunlichen Weblog-Eintrag (englisch) hervor.

Freiheitlicher Imperialismus?

In diesem Postscriptum zu seinem im Frühling 2002 in Foreign Affairs erschienenen Artikel verteidigt der Autor Sebastian Mallaby seine Auffassung, dass trotz der kläglichen Leistung der US Administration im Irak die Rolle des wohlwollenden Imperialisten unverändert ihre Berechtigung hat.

Ich kann dem nur beipflichten. Diese Sichtweise passt auch ohne weiteres zur modernen Sicht des Völkerrechts, auf deren Beschreibung ich in diesem Eintrag hingewiesen habe. Warum sollte es nicht einen humanistischen Imperialismus geben? Die brisante Frage nach dem Wer? ist damit aber selbstverständlich nicht beantwortet ... vielleicht könnten auch NGOs von der Statur einer De Klerk Stiftung eine Rolle spielen?


London trip recap

Finally, I have caught up with stuff, so I can actually give you the promised summary! The essence first: I've had a great weekend!

Saturday morning had me evacuated from this earthquake ridden country at an ungodly hour. I was pleasantly surprised that I was actually able to help Joe set up his Mac after arrival. From there, straight to Over-Seas House to get rid of my stuff and on to Birbeck college for the Lunch reception. Great speech by Sir Malcom Rifkind - very entertaining with a serious core. Rhetoric at its best!

The program continued with a flight on London Eye. Fine way to spend half an hour and get some spectacular views of the place. Back to Over-Seas House to get changed and on to Westminster Palace where the evening reception with Dinner in the Churchill Room started at 7pm. Another fine speech by Tam Dalyell, MP, Rector of the University, giving us some anecdotal evidence that he was indeed Father of the House, what with him being in Parliament together with Winston Churchill, whose bust was carefully watching over him. And thus endeth the day - all too soon!

Here are some pictures of that day. And if you wonder about my telegramme style: I've been reading the diaries of Samuel Pepys again, who incidentally discovered the joys of "a Cupp of Tee (a China drink of which I never had drank before)" on the notable day of September 25, 1660.

Anyway, that out of the way, I met up with Joel and Paul on Sunday, two friends from Masson Hall at Edinburgh University. We had fun discussing Joel's plans for early retirement (he turned 31 recently!) and set a date for a Masson Hall reunion in June 2005 - mark the agenda! All that over some pints of Guinness of course.

Later in the evening, I decided to to something cultural and found the Gala Concert on at the Royal Albert Hall. They were just inaugurating the rebuilt organ (with 9999 pipes!) and Boy! was that ever a concert. It felt a bit like a mini version of the last night of the Proms, what with Pomp & Circumstances and the crowd singing Land of Hope & Glory. Very atmospherical! There were other sundry classical All time Greatest Hits, such as Bach's Toccata con Fuga, Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony (did you know that the musical theme from Babe, the Gallant Pig was taken from there?!), Widor's Toccata (enhanced!) and - unmistakably - Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra (aka the theme from 2001). Great fun was had! If it works, I'll also post a little bootlegged video capture on the sidebar for your short enjoyment. Oh, and thanks to Linda for inviting me to an excellent Stalls seat for essentially half the price. Hopefully, they will be able to sort out the low frequency hum which is rather annoying during the more quiet parts - fortunately there weren't many of those! Most intriguing by the way that - evidently - the RAH employs a "Light Jockey" of sorts who modifies the light composition ever so slightly in line with the mood of the music. True professionalism, I suppose ...

On the Monday, I just had a business meeting at Over-Seas House, a bit of shopping, another pleasant pint (and pizza) with Joe and a bit of adrenaline in the traffic jam to Heathrow airport. Surprisingly, I met a business acquaintance from Switzerland at Acton Town's Underground station - what's the chances of that! And we were also on the same plane back home, right on time for the aforementioned earthquake...


This is a numbers orientated post!

First of all, I'd like to thank my loyal readers - it appears that there are quite o few of them out there! The daily average of visits stands at 42 for the current month, and the graph looks like this:

Even though I question the reliability of this statistic frequently (three times this month alone, to be precise), my trustworthy ISP (yep, that's you, Thomas) assures me that it is as reliable as they get. So, thanks!

Somewhat sadder is the fact that over 40% of last month's incoming search traffic has been looking for this particular post. I gather that they must have been quite disappointed by the absence of any graphic material, and I assure you that I will not tailor the content to suit search terms.

Finally, the earthquake. It has been confirmed to have been of a magnitude of 4.0, hence well above my estimate. But its epicenter was in Frick, so it was further away than the last one. I observe that the interval between the shocks is shortening, and their amplitudes are increasing. I am not an expert, not even a layman for that matter, and I do not want to be alarmist, but I don't like this one bit!

Unpleasant welcome ...

Just being home for less than three hours, the trouble starts again: another earthquake, although much lighter this time - being something of an expert now, I would say it was 3.4, but then again, the epicenter might have been further away. We'll see. The shock hit at 0143h. I am just hoping that this accumulation is not significant.


London blogging

So you thought I wouldn't blog from London. Well, think again!

But I will definitely keep it short since I want to go out soon. Yesterday's alumni event at the House of Commons was phantastic. We had Dinner at the Churchill room and Father of the House Tam Dalyell gave us a great speech, even remembering bits of when he was in Parliament with Churchill (he's Father, after all ...) But more on that later, together with some pictures. Oh, and I forgot the even better speech given by Sir Malcom Rifkind at Birbeck College ...

Anyway, what I really wanted to do with this post is to congratulate Rosi and Christof on their grades at the Colour Design exams! What with the bet between Christof and I, it is a pity though that it wasn't quite the other way round, isn't it, Christof?! Enjoy the lots of time that you guys have at hand now. I am looking forward to your putting your newly acquired degrees to a lot of practical usage - if I can be of assistance, that much the better!

Regards from radiant (after yesterday's drizzle) London!


Letzter Eintrag - für den Augenblick!

Morgen früh fliege ich bekanntlich nach London, und dort werde ich vermutlich nicht bloggen können. Montag nacht bin ich aber wieder zurück.

Inzwischen zwei Hinweise auf interessante Lektüre. Hier ist ein Aufsatz des Zürcher Völkerrechtsprofessors Daniel Thürer über die Komplexität modernen Völkerrechts. Darin nimmt er Stellung gegen die jüngste Hypothese von der faktischen Unterordnung des Völkerrechts unter die Interessen des Stärkeren. Differenziert ja, aber ob es ihm gelungen ist, die Hypothese zu widerlegen, überlasse ich jedem Leser.

Etwas unterhaltsamer dürfte dieses Buch über die Entschlüsselung der Matrix sein. Selbstverständlich handelt es sich dabei um die Filmtrilogie, die ich - wenig erstaunlich - hervorragend finde.


The fun in blogging ...

Earlier I said that half the fun in blogging comes from Readers' comments. Well, they start to trickle in, if not publicly via the comments feature (please!), then through the relative privacy of email. Today, I have received a very kind email from their CEO, thanking me for mentioning Menssana Research Inc.. Don't worry, I don't think that Latin names in general and Menssana in particular are presumptuous - some of the firms dearest to me bear Latin names ...


Yesterday, I finally managed to see the Tutanchamun exhibition I mentioned earlier. It is impressive all right, although the circumstances didn't quite live up to my (very high) expectations. One particularly annoying point of criticism concerns the exhibition's website, of all things. Being a Mac user on Safari, the webshop doesn't work at all and only returns some unintelligible error messages. Using Internet Explorer you will get to a very cluttered webshop the sole purpose of which supposedly is to sell tickets. Simple, you think? Not there. One should think that UBS, the event sponsor, can do better than that.

Anyway, the EXHIBITION.

There were two impressions that hit me quite strongly.

First was the realisation how beautiful those objects are. Even though they have been made some five thousand years ago, they still stroke me as almost contemporary in their classical (that's definitely the wrong term, but I don't have a better one) design. Just amazing.

The second impression was a bit more subtle and might easily get lost in the multilingual clutter of guides and visitors. It is the distant whisper of power absolute, which those objects must have represented to their contemporaries. And now, disinterested high school kids are making merry around the Great Pharaoh's sarcophagus ... very much reminds me of Shelley's Ozymandias:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Bilder, die die Schweiz bewegen ...

Dass ich ein Fussballbildchen auf meinem Weblog verewige, wird bestimmt einige Leser wundern, bin ich doch nicht eben für mein fussballerisches Engagement bekannt. Eigentlich geht's mir auch gar nicht um die Fussballerei, die Affäre könnte sich von mir aus auch beim Schwingen oder Hornussen ereignet haben.

Worum geht's? Offenbar hat ein Stürmer unserer Nationalelf bei der EM einen Spieler der gegnerischen Mannschaft bespuckt, was nicht nur den fundamentalsten Anstandsregeln widerspricht, sondern offenbar auch den UEFA Standards. Er bestreitet das im Einklang mit dem nationalen Fussballverband und wird temporär "freigesprochen", bis das Schweizer Fernsehen (sonst nicht eben berüchtigt für einen aggressiven Journalismus) Bilder (s. oben) veröffentlicht, die eigentlich keinen anderen Schluss zulassen, als dass gelogen worden sei. In der Folge setzt ein peinliches Gerangel jeder gegen jeden (und gegen die dolchbewehrten Medien, natürlich) ein.

Die Angelegenheit könnte mir eigentlich egaler nicht sein. Was aber nur noch peinlich und ärgerlich ist, ist die Tatsache, dass wieder einmal mehr offenbar wichtige Repräsentanten der Schweiz in unglaublich laienhafter Art und Weise Prioritäten setzen und kommunizieren (z.B. im Nachrichtenprogramm 10 vor 10 gestern). Ich hoffe und wünsche, dass in dieser Angelegenheit einige verantwortliche Köpfe rollen werden. Da aber das Fussball-Establishment ein kleiner, geschlossener Club sein dürfte, wird das wohl in gut-schweizerischer Manier nicht passieren.

Zum Glück interessiert mich Fussball nicht.


Global Power Shift in the Making

This is a very short and sweet, yet good analysis of the current strategic changes in the Asia / Pacific region and US options there. The first part is a bit obvious, but the section on Shifting Priorities is great. Foreign Affairs is still worth reading!

Mental Health, again!

What is it with the US obsession with mental health??

I have been going on a bit about the issue, particularly being amused by the fact that there is a mental health month in Denver, but this latest news issued by the British Medical Journal is just too much! Apparently the current administration plans to screen the whole US population for mental illnesses!

This is just too great an opportunity to think of heaps of cheap quips at the expense of our American friends! But I'll let it go for now - feel free to be creative yourself! I am just amazed at the fact that a nation once intent on the war on ... drugs is now preparing for a major move to get a good part of its population hooked on psychoactive substances. What a difference a cash guzzling election campaign makes ...


Tonight at ten past one in the morning there was an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 on the Richter scale. I was just about to go to bed at the time when I heard a low, threatening rumble coming from nowhere and the whole house started to creak. It is a wooden structure on relatively soft ground, which acts as an amplifier of the movement, as I've read somewhere recently. So this was a rather disconcerting experience, especially since the last one happened only in February. Although that one was 5.1, this one felt stronger since it was much closer to home. Mind you, we are not exactly used to this in the same way as people in California or Japan would be - the last major quake happened in 1356 and is still quite prominent in the city annals.

For a virtual shake, try this!


Early adopters

I am considered to be an early adopter by most of my peers, but there are some things that I will never be able to adopt, not even late, however much environmentally minded I may be. Why? I am afraid this thing just looks about as ridiculous as grown up people on scooters. I've been playing with pushcarts when I was five, I think. Granted, they were less technologically savvy, but still. I think you need to be a bit retrogressively biased to play with one of these. Sorry if I am insulting anyone. And then you are not protected against the elements on one of those things, nor do you do anything for your physical fitness.

Happy B'day!!

Es ist wieder mal soweit - Nefferich Tomi wird von seinen Jahresringen eingeholt! Etwa so sieht das dann in der Praxis aus:

Aber sei's drum - Deinen Spunden zeigst Du trotzdem noch, wo der Bartli den Most holt, und bis Du Ländlermusik machst, dauert's wohl auch noch eine Weile. Holladrio! Weiterhin viel Spass beim Sammeln und Jagen und wenig Muskelkater beim face building!

Zur Feier des Tages gibt's in der sidebar ein Stück von seinem neusten Album Kontaminiert zu hören. Er wird's mir hoffentlich nicht übelnehmen - bis er selbst einen Breitband-Zugriff auf's web hat!


Blood Work

Yesterday, I saw said movie which got me thinking - not that it was great or anything, quite on the contrary. It's just one small part of the plot which did that: The apparently unrelated murder of two people turned out to be connected by their sharing the same rare blood type (AB?) and their being organ donors. Guess who discovered the link? Exactly, the cop who survived because he received the heart of a victim. And the coincidences didn't stop there, but that's another matter.

Now this is a rather disturbing variation on the already gruelling organ trade theme, isn't it? Disturbing in so far as donors were expressly targeted for their valuable property which they were voluntarily disposed to done after their natural demise - not. I guess it is a good thing after all that Swisstransplant and the likes (which I support wholeheartedly, in a manner of speaking) do not keep a list of donors ...

Liberalismus heute - ein Auslaufmodell?

Die NZZ hat in ihrer Wochenendausgabe den programmatischen, differenziert argumentierenden Artikel eines Historikers über den zeitgenössischen politischen Inhalt des Liberalismus abgedruckt. Im wesentlichen betrachtet der Autor den Liberalismus in seiner politischen (bzw. polemischen?) Qualität als buchstäblich überholt, weil er seine Ziele im wesentlichen erreicht habe.

Meines Erachtens kann man diese Analyse ohne weiteres teilen, insbesondere als freiheitlich orientierter, alteuropäischer Liberaler im Sinne eines F.A. von Hayek oder eines Anthony de Jasay. Meine Konklusion ist aber keinesfalls die gleiche! Die Ziele mögen wohl z.T. erreicht sein, aber es wäre naiv zu übersehen, wie sehr sie in der konkreten Tagespolitik von der reaktionären Erosion sogar durch sicher wohlmeinende FDP-Politiker z.B. vom Schlag eines Kurt Wasserfallen bedroht sind (ich hacke auf ihm herum weil er einer der Exponenten der Kehrtwendung meiner Partei in der Frage der Liberalisierung des Cannabis-Konsums ist). Wachsamkeit, ja sogar Radikalität ist somit umso mehr gefordert!


Religious darwinism

Good news: It would appear from this that fundamentalist religious people are not quite fit to survive in the long range. Thanks Wenda for pointing us to it!!

It's good for you - but not for me, this time round!

I've just come to a dreadful realisation: I've been to London without even having one measly pint of Guinness! It's been all grapes and derivatives (Sauternes even, at the Garrick Club) - surely the world must be coming to an end!

But then, there is hope in the form of my next trip to London in just over a week's time!


Home, sweet home

Ok, I am back home again, and everything went smoothly. The customs people at the airport were eyeing my huge, very new looking bags rather suspiciously, and reminded me quite clearly that I cannot bring in things worth more than CHF 300 without paying tax, but eventually they let me go without making me pay. I really must have a confidence inspiring aura or something.

The taxi driver of course was waiting for me, and, after doing his duty very graceously, got a bit of a tip (too little unfortunately, because I had not enough money on me - next time).


Tiziano Elia

Eben erfahre ich, dass ich seit gestern Nacht frisch gebackener Grossonkel von Tiziano Elia Dreier bin. Hier eine Nahaufnahme des neuen Erdenbürgers:

Herzliche Gratulation an die stolzen Eltern Sarah und Niggi und eine wohlgesonnene Fortuna an Tiziano!!


Journey through time

This afternoon, I had the opportunity of visiting 19 Princelet Street, like I said I would. It worked out as quite the time journey. First I paid a visit to the media giant Bloomberg for a meeting. The place reminded me of the James Bond movie with the mad media mogul - was it Golden Eye? Anyway, very, very 21st century, what with visitor passport pictures taken on the spot and published on Bloomberg right away!

Ten minutes later, I found myself entering an unrestored 18th century listed building in the narrow streets of Spitalfields. The museum is quite stirring and gives you a real sense of the history (and misery) of the different waves of immigration to this great city - with the simplest of means! Do go there if you can - it's very much worth paying a visit! It is still open until Sunday, and the other public openings are usually announced on their website.


Tales of love and loathing

Well, I've been to the concert which I mentioned yesterday, and it was rather interesting in that I loved the Mozart Quartet (which is unusual for me since it was Mozart after all, but I guess it must have something to do with the piece's motto, which is "Dissonance"), I liked the Dvorak (which is ok since he's dead for more than a century now), and I loathed the César Frank Quintet, which to my ears was a heap of organised noise, even though he's dead for more than a century!

The Chilingirian Quartet have excelled with their vivacity and coordination, which makes us forgive the odd slip. Here's a bootlegged picture of their performance. The weird concavity effect is not an optical illusion or a fisheye converter on my cell phone, but rather the concave back of Wigmore Hall.

And Julian Jacobson on the piano was very impressive. I wonder why I haven't been to piano recitals anymore for years now. We'll have to change that.

On a considerably more wordly note: How the descendants of César Frank beat the English 2:1 tonight is beyond me! The streets were empty when I walked down to Wigmore Street (we're talking about Oxford Street here - empty - as in: nobody!), and the mood was enthusiastic afterwards when the score stood at 1:0 for England. But they were hatching their hens a bit too early, or whichever way the saying goes. At any rate, the Scottish friend (no, not Macbeth) I had dinner with (at Carluccio's - quite decent) enjoyed himself immensely, as did the Italian waiter. Here's to Europe!


Tales from the trip

The most astonishing thing on the trip happened on the way to the airport. The taxi driver was quite a suprising character in that he actually appeared more like a personal chauffeur than a cab driver - when I mentioned that I'd be back on Wednesday night at half past eleven, he suggested to pick me up again at the airport, and that I should settle the full fare then. Wow - some confidence!

London is nice & bright, as it is the custom when I am there. Here is a view from the window of my room:

They actually gave me an upgrade to an executive room - and now I am in trouble, because I cannot find the exit, but I should be going. Help! ;-)

Anyway, regards from London!

Nationalbankgold an's Volk!

Eine hervorragende Idee des Freiburger Oekonomen Reiner Eichenberger, geäussert in der heutigen Sonntagszeitung: Lasst uns das peinliche Gezänk um das Nationalbankgold zwischen AHV, Bund und Kantonen ein für allemal beenden, indem das Geld ganz einfach an die Bürger ausbezahlt wird, analog zu den Lenkungsabgaben z.B. via Krankenkasse. Das macht einmalig ca. CHF 5000 pro Person aus. Warum bin ich nicht drauf gekommen?!

Fordern Sie bitte auch die Mitglieder "ihres" Kantons im Nationalrat und im Ständerat auf, diese Initiative aufzunehmen! Die entsprechenden Koordinaten finden Sie hier für den Nationalrat und hier für den Ständerat.


Technology Big Bang

A tech bubble buzz word is being reheated from the grave - with a vengeance: convergence. What's meant by that of course is the coming together of IT, media (content) and communications, as it has been expected a few years ago. But now, it appears to be for real - broadband access is more & more widespread, everybody has harddisks containing Gigabytes of music and the MP3 player of choice (it's got an apple logo on it), and the revenues of the music industry are crumbling. Here is a good BusinessWeek analysis of what's happening, and The Economist is also publishing The Technology Quarterly in its latest issue. Worth buying, I cannot copy everything!

I am really glad I decided about a year ago not to shell out a great deal of money for this ReVox HiFi system because I expected an important shift in technology. This decision is now vindicated with the advent of inexpensive technologies such as Airport Express, which makes available digital media streams everywhere in the house and beyond.

And similar things are happening in communications with Cablecom offering free telephone over its cable network, and British Telecom deciding to switch its traditional POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) over to IP by 2006. It's a pity that I don't have the research report any more which I wrote about telecom operators before Swisscom went public in 1998, predicting that this change was imminent even when BT was still laughing at Voice over IP ...

Concerting at Wigmore Hall

Next time you are in London, make sure to go to a concert at the Wigmore Hall which is situated right next to Oxford Street. It is a wonderful venue with a great programme, too. I am going to this concert tomorrow evening.

Talking about old stuff from Britain, this sort of thing looks rather intriguing!

"Die Konkordanz ist klinisch tot."

Neue Töne, offenbar geäussert von der CVP-Interimspräsidentin Leuthard, mindestens gemäss der Radio-Nachricht, die ich heute nachmittag gehört habe. Wie schon vor einiger Zeit ausgeführt, gebe ich der Konkordanz im heutigen Verteilkampf keine Ueberlebenschance mehr. Sollte es wirklich so sein, dass sogar die CVP das auch schon realisiert? Ich bin gespannt auf den Kontext der Aussage.

An dieser Stelle veröffentliche ich ein Arbeitspapier zur Parteistruktur der FDP, welches ich in's Projekt Avenir Radical gegeben habe. Da ich beträchtlliche Zweifel habe, ob aus dem Projekt etwas "Radikales" wird, gebe ich das Papier in die public domain. Kommentare sind wie immer sehr willkommen!

Notizen vom HSG Alumni Forum 2004

Gestern war ich wie erwähnt am Alumni-Forum in St. Gallen. Hier ein paar (wenige) Notizen von den Präsentationen zum Thema Krisenmanagement im Verwaltungsrat:

Interessant ist die Anzahl der Weihnachtskarten, die verschiedene US-Präsidenten verschickt haben. Ike Eisenhower hat offenbar nur 1'100 Stück verschickt, Bill Clinton bereits 40'000 - aber der aktuelle "so ungelenke Mann im Weissen Haus" (NZZ) schlägt mit seinen 1'100 000 Karten alles! Weihnachtskarten zu verschicken ist ein netter, ein zivilisierter Brauch zur Pflege des sozialen Netzwerks - solange er mit Mass betrieben wird. Der Versand an 0.4% der Landesbevölkerung geht eindeutig über dieses Mass hinaus. (Diese wichtige Nachricht ist gestützt auf das Referat von Klaus Stöhlker, der aber sonst doch noch einiges wichtiges gesagt hat!)

Daniel Vischer, seines Zeichens grüner Gewerkschafter für den Luftverkehr, hat eine erstaunliche Aussage getätigt, die nicht unerwähnt bleiben soll: Die Swiss ist eh' schon weg. Der Sturzflug der Swissair sei reibungslos übergegangen in jenen der Swiss, etc. p.p.

Das wären meine für die Allgemeinheit interessanten Notizen gewesen. Natürlich gab's noch viel mehr spannendes, aber das auszuformulieren würde jetzt zu weit führen, 'tschuldigung!

Wise cows

As you will have guessed by the absence of posts recently, my interesting month of June is in full swing already. I am posting this from St. Gallen (on a ludicrously overpriced wireless LAN value card (not quite) from Swisscom) where I have been attending a rather good alumni event. The funny thing though was hearing cow bells ringing in the background when you're sitting in a room discussing corporate governance and crisis management in the board. Really Swiss, I guess ... but I have to run now - there's a lot to do!

And, dear Philemon, a Cow of course! I shall consider to conceive an Ode to the Swiss heraldic animal, the Cow shortly. Until then, dig this:



This is likely to be the final post for today, seeing that the pool is waiting for me. But there are some interesting items to note.

In the current edition of The Economist, there is an extensive summary of the Copenhagen Consensus which I have talked about earlier. Important stuff, like I said - it's only about solutions to the world's problems.

The second story of note in the same journal reports a rather disturbing analysis of the statistical accuracy (or rather: lack thereof) of scientific work in journals no less renown than Nature and the British Medical Journal. Hopefully it's only a question of time until such work is done for the humanities (under which heading I surmise everything from economics to sociology), and I am sure that the picture there will be even less pretty!

And finally, here is an amusing column in Latin from the Swiss weekly Weltwoche, which I am growing more fond of with every issue. The less than mainstream choice of language may be explained by the fact that its nominal addressee is the Holy Father, who has been visiting Switzerland very recently. And the text even makes sense! Fear ye not, a translation (into German) is provided.

19 Princelet Street to open shortly!

Exciting news: the extraordinary London Museum for refugees and migrants 19 Princelet Street, which is located in an 18th century unrestored Huguenot mansion, will have one of its rare public openings while I am in London - I'll be there!

Mental Health revisited

Since we are well into June by now, you won't argue with me that the mental health month of May is well and truly part of the past, so it's time to move on.

Essentially, I am a friendly person, so I want my invectives to be as precisely to the point as possible. The list of the main types of personality disorders in the current issue of Esquire may prove to be quite helpful with this regard:
  • paranoid: high levels of suspicion, others are out to get you; major problems with intimacy and lasting relationships

  • schizoid: loners who shy away from close relationships and who rarely display any emotions

  • schizotypal: Eccentric, socially anxious types with little interest in clothing and a penchant for magic and the supernatural

  • histrionic: emotionally shallow, but overly emotional and dramatic people who rely on flirtation to draw attention to themselves

  • narcissistic: highly self-important and admiration craving people with a tendency to exploit others and an unrealistic sense of their talents, which will tend to cause anger if disillusioned

  • avoidant: people fearful of criticism and rejection, shying away from situations that might cause just that

  • dependent: strong fear of being alone or of displeasing people, which leads to submissive behaviour and fairly stable relationships (!)

  • obsessive-compulsive: highly preoccupied with perfection, setting inflexible personal rules, keeping order and maintaining control

  • Seen yourself in more than one of those categories? That's good - so have I!

    Anyway, remember that these are medical terms, to be used only in consultation with a pharmacist or physician.



    Dieser Artikel ist einer jener, die allein für sich ein Abonnement der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung rechtfertigen! Er handelt vom klassischen Bild des Königsmörders - wie z.B. von Friedrich Stapps, dem 18-jährigen Kaufmann, der Napoleon erschiessen wollte, aber nicht zu ihm durchkam und darauf den ihm angebotenen Pardon ablehnte, worauf er füsiliert wurde - und dessen Veränderung in der Epoche der Bilder. Eine grossartige Analyse!

    The demise of the current administration

    This is the bit of news that encourages me to go public with my expectation that the Bush administration will not survive this year's election - they simply lack the winner's effortless superiority, and they know it.

    The usual caveats apply, namely that this is a trend forecast, assuming that the current trend that has been set in motion by an underlying, strongly negative dynamism will not be broken by a bold initiative of the administration (very unlikely, since it would have to be bold) or a serious blunder on the opponent's part. Other low key, but important tidbits reinforcing that trend are: dwindling support by the media (f.i. NYT), the story about Hussein's pistol, Tenet etc.

    Finally, here is an interesting and comfortingly contrarian piece opposing the very topical hijacking of Operation Overlord by current politicians and monument builders.

    Doth art become IT?

    While the concept of embellishing one's usually klutzy IT equipment (especially non-Apple!) strikes us as rather compelling, having snakes and furry tails growing out of it appears to be somewhat disturbing!

    Sidebar additions

    Have a look to your left - there have been quite a few noteable modifications to the sidebar, triggered by Todd Dominey's publication of additional template titles to Scribe - here they are. Todd has even implemented some of my suggestions - I am feeling honoured, thank you, Todd! On the occasion, I noticed that Todd maintains his own very nice blog, WhatdoIknow - a great deal about graphics & design, obviously! But do check out the Anti-Bush game!

    I've also formalised the links section to other people's blogs, and there is one very important addition there: The Batcave, my nephew Tomi's first steps into online publishing. He intends to publish his own stories and music there. Have fun, Tomi!

    In the Resources section, you will find the most entertaining additions of all: you can have the whole site translated from tolerable English into something strangely reminiscent of German, and vice versa. Enjoy!



    Es ist soweit: Ich verkaufe meine treue Spiegelreflex-Kamera im Set! Angebote können hier abgegeben werden! Meine nächste Spiegelreflex wird diese sein.

    Und da wir gerade vom Handeln sprechen: Die bestellte CD-Schablone ist heute eingetroffen und die ersten Erfahrungen sind durchaus positiv - Prädikat empfehlenswert! Hier das Versuchsobjekt:


    Cockney Duckish?

    The productive whimsicality of British university life is just amazing - see this story about different accents in the quacks between east London and Cornwall ducks! I wonder what the outcome had been if the researchers would have talked to the ducks in St. James's Park - Queen's duckish, I presume.

    At any rate, I prefer my duck well braided and finished in whisky, thank you very much! (The recipe may be published here shortly.)

    Wenn Schweine fliegen könnten ...

    ... wärst Du immer noch meine Lieblingsschwester!!

    Rosi, ich wünsche Dir herzlich alles Gute zum Geburtstag, und geniesse Deinen Aufenthalt im Hotel in Froschenland!

    Wer Rosis website noch nicht kennt und ihr ein kleines (sehr kleines!) Geburtstagsgeschenk machen will, klickt hier!


    Fish Mac?

    Somehow, I doubt that he's read my earlier posts about Scottish memories and the Big Mac index, but my nephew Raffi (no, it's not a Fish Mac he's devouring there!) just sent me this little cartoon which I'd like to share with you:

    Thanks, Raffi! Possibly I should take this as a hint to get my hair cut here next time I'm in London, which incidentally will be in a bit over a week's time?

    P.S. I just found out that this joke actually only works in German! A Fish Mac is the anglicised German term for a Filet-O-Fish from that famous fast food joint with the double arches - just like "Handy" is German for a mobile or cellular telephone.

    But enough of that fishy business now!


    Radio 4 barbiturate

    Don't get me wrong, I love BBC Radio 4 dearly!

    But listening to this just puts me to sleep like a charm, especially the after midnight version which is preceded by Sailing By and followed by the National Anthem just before shutting down. Kind of reminds me of the time I've spent in Scotland. Corny, isn't it? I don't care. Try it, I am sure it works!

    You'll be requiring the RealOne Player to listen to that.

    Red tape mountains

    The German capital Berlin is really flat, right? The only elevations being rubble heaps from WWII measuring some tens of meters, what the heck would they need a law on cable cars for? This (German) article tells a funny story about an EU directive requiring member states to pass harmonised legislation on cable car security, and what with Germany being a federal state which requires constitutional powers to pass such legislation centrally (which it doesn't have), each Bundesland has to pass such a law, or pay a fine of EUR 791'000. So that's what Berlin did ...

    Mind you, I am not being sarcastic about EU legislation / centralisation in general, which is very much the fashion among sceptics (which I am - complicated, what?). But this is a very nice case of nonsensical regulation which is just plain wrong and which could have been prevented by applying some simple common sense on the part of regulators.

    Dieser Artikel aus der NZZ ist selbsterklärend und unterhaltsam, wenn er nicht so traurig wäre.


    The Economist

    Today is the bloggiest day ever, it seems! But I discovered that my blog comes in really handy for me, too - it's much easier to search it for stuff than in a written journal!

    Here's the most interesting material from the latest edition of the Economist. There is a very knowledgeable analysis of the current strategic weight and vulnerability that Saudi oil production capacity has. About the only thing reassuring is the fact that the Economist's track record on oil has been less than stellar in the recent past ... let's hope it stays that way!

    This here is the current status of the valuation of foreign exchange rates to the USD as measured by the Big Mac purchasing power parity. What's very astonishing, and what will be guiding me in my personal investment, is the fact that the Swiss Franc is the most overvalued currency by far of all countries (well, at least of the relevant ones)! I guess this might be the time to buy some PLN denominated bonds.

    Freimaurer werden transparenter

    Hier kann man sich eine interessante Radioreportage von DRS 2 über die Freimaurerei anhören - in Deutsch natürlich. Unglücklicherweise konnte ich keinen direkten Link zum Programm setzen, weil es sich dabei um ein Javascript handelt.

    The above link points to an interesting radio program on Freemasonry, which is becoming a bit less secretive these days. The program is in German, though.

    Tempting update

    I am so sorry - I just couldn't resist the temptation to post this picture of Richard and Jen, his fiancée:

    And since we're in the mood already, I've also changed the sidebar tune to something less austere than Bach ...

    Winkt das Schicksal mit dem Zaunpfahl?

    Ist es doch jetzt schon an der Zeit, mein Blog in Deutsch zu verfassen? Es scheint, dass die Umlaute jetzt tatsächlich auch korrekt wiedergegeben werden, was ein grosses Hindernis aus dem Weg räumt! Zudem muss ich meine Aussage von gestern Nacht bereits revidieren, dass ich kein einziges Schweizer Polit-Blog kenne - dieses hier hat Potential dafür!

    Und noch mehr Deutsches: Der Artikel von David Bodmer und mir über Finanzausbildung und den CFA Charter in der Schweiz wurde heute in meinem Leib- und Magenblatt NZZ publiziert! Hier ist er! Und als Test lege ich hier noch einen direkten Link zum Artikel, um zu prüfen, wie lange diese Links tatsächlich leben.

    Wieder etwas weniger ernstes gibt's aus der BaZ zu vermelden: In Südafrika kriegt man günstige Oldtimer! Ein Rolls für ein paar Franken?? Ich muss da wieder hin - bald!

    Here's a reason to switch over to English for a paragraph: I've just received word that my Irish friend Richard Kingston has gotten engaged recently! Congratulations to Dublin!! For when is the Stag Night scheduled?? ;-)

    Since we're talking of romance: Here is an entertaining (yet nonetheless truthful) comparison between Microsoft and Apple ...

    Why do Swiss cows wear bells?

    So you can tell them from the natives! At least, that's what Oscar Wilde said, according to this nice piece about the raving logjam in Swiss politics.

    I fully share the view that the currently more aggressive tone in Swiss politics is not effectively an indication of some real debates taking place, but it is rather a series of rhetoric skirmishes inside the political milieu, the bigger part of which (my party included) unfortunately has still not recognised that "Konkordanz" (German for some inexplicably Swiss system of government with a permanent grand coalition) is dead! All the recent invocations of Konkordanz are nothing but a confirmation of that fact and hence a waste of time and energy.

    For Mr. Heusser is absolutely right: "Die entscheidende Konfliktlinie der Gegenwart verläuft zwischen den Anhängern einer liberaldemokratischen, wettbewerbsfähigen Gesellschaft und ihren Feinden, den Nationalisten und Protektionisten aller Lager. Ob diese Feinde ihre antiliberale Botschaft mit linken oder rechten Argumentarien behängen, spielt keine Rolle." (The relevant conflict of today is between the supporters of a liberal-democratic, competitive society and its enemies, the nationalists and protectionists of all camps - it does not matter whether the anti-liberal message comes with left- or right-wing arguments. - Now, that sounds awfully familiar, right? The name is Sir Charles Popper, The Open Society & its Enemies, 1942).

    The worn out pattern of political behaviour needs to be replaced by a system of governance which enables us to conduct a controversy which ought to be concluded within a reasonable time span and which invariably will create losers! If you are not familiar with Swiss politics, then let me tell you: this is novelty!!

    Maybe it will be an indication that we are approaching serious debate when (if) there will be a scene of blogs discussing Swiss politics - currently I am not aware of any! Once again, the US seems to be lightyears ahead, according to this. But then, I will be writing in German, I promise!

    If you want to know more about my political inclinations (perish the thought!), check this, to be found in the Web Unique section of my website.