Catastrophes 05

Feeling gloomy? Check out Swiss Re's latest Sigma on Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters 2005 - just the thing to make you look at the bright side of life again!


Quantum puppies

This is a fun article about puppies in boxes, salad & steak, and how quantum mechanics with its superposition and collapsing wavefunctions affect them all. It's actually understandable - at least, I'd like to think I did.


Water News

Remember the SwiMP3? It's ages that I bought a seaborne MP3 player for the swimming pool, only to find out that it didn't work properly with the Mac, despite of what the producer said.

Well, it seems that the old adage of time healing everything holds true once again! The new Tiger version of Mac OS X (ten!) and the new SwiMP3 I got in exchange for the old one from Finis during last September's trip to Washington have finally come together. OK, they've come together a while ago already, but for some strange reason, it's only today that I remembered to try it out again, and it works!! Swimming is quite a different experience if you can listen to music while you're at it, and the sound quality of this thing is amazingly good, especially under water. It's definitely an incentive to shorten your breaks.

More water related news: The pool that I used to go to before it was closed for urgent repair will be reopening Monday!


Public pillow fight

Another one of those wonderfully quirky samples of good natured American madness, the public pillow fight! I like those Garageband tunes ...


Religious humour

Oh wow! Until very recently, I firmly held the opinion that religious people were suffering from a sanctimoniousness induced humour deficit. Actually, I still hold that belief, but the Ship of Fools (via NZZ) is the epitome of an exception to the rule! Just look at the forum headings: Heaven - Purgatory - Hell - All Saints as Community discussions. Or check out the Gadgets for God section! The Darwin fish is just invaluable, or the GodPod: Apple saviour Steve Jobs, time to meet another one here.What about Deathware? And they're really serious about all this! OK, they're mostly British, but still ... the world will only get better when we have a Mohammed Ashtray! But until then, which might easily be not before the Last Judgement, we'll have to make do with the Mosque Clock.


Die Gazette on Macintosh

When I recently took out a subscription of the German Quarterly Die Gazette - Das politische Kulturmagazin, the last thing I expected from this very substantive magazine on politics and culture was an article about the culture of Apple - but there you are (p. 101)! In Wie der Apple sauer wurde (how the apple turned sour), Thomas Zaugg gives us an overview of how the "Macian" attitude went from being poor, beautiful and noble to being cool, affluent and stylish. Naturally, the article also mentions and links to a weird online community about Apple's arch nemesis, Bill Gates. Perhaps, we're all just a little bit addicted and nostalgic, we Macians. And just a little mad, too, if I may add.


I just discovered coComment, a webservice keeping track of and aggregating all of my comments (selectively) which I leave around the blogosphere. Pretty useful if you want to keep track of all those loose ends, I'd say! And, would you believe it, it's actually a Swiss firm's innovation, which seems to be connected to Swisscom.


King Arthur

Delightful! That's the only valid attribute for the performance of Henry Purcell's semi staged opera King Arthur, the dress rehearsal of which I am just returning from. The Hochschule für Musik and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis of the Musikakademie Basel are staging this only this weekend (which is an incomprehensible waste of preparation), and unfortunately, all three performances are already completely sold.

Just to get it off my chest before I start: This is a music student performance, so it's not perfect in terms of technique and interpretation. But these occasional deficits are more than made up for by the palpable enthusiasm of everybody involved. Purcell's libretto offers many opportunities for a creative director's setting of imaginative tableaux and Thomas Schneider uses them all. Wonderful how the lascivous mood of act IV is captured in frivolous stills. The grand finale of act V with a slapstick comedy duel between King Arthur and Oswald, both played by the same actor and a victory celebration in the form of a music show entitled A song for England is just the icing on the cake for a great contemporary interpretation of this unabashedly rough 17th century material full of wonderful tunes. There's a definite whiff of the last night of the Proms with waving of the Union Jack in the air in that vivid and comic closing act when the three Earl Greys have their cuppa, complete with strutting little fingers, or when four drunk English football hooligans coarsely crow their Your hay it is mow'd into the audience. Here are the funniest parts, recorded in awful quality on my phone. If you don't have a ticket already - your loss! Otherwise: don't miss it - or hand over that ticket already!



I will not analyse the pharmaceutical giant's annual report here, you'd have to pay far too dearly for that. Nonetheless, I recommend you to go and get your hands on a copy of it, if only for the excellent portrait photography it contains - and I am not talking about the members of the board of directors.


FOWL Radio 4: Switzerland

Just in case you haven't noticed yet: FOWL Radio is on the air, and there are already four episodes to listen to, the latest one dealing with Switzerland. Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes!


Jack's back!

Oh no! There goes my scarcely allotted TV time ... what's worse: there are already six episodes that I have to catch up on! Seriously, this programme requires a warning of the Ministry of Mental Health: Watching it will get you hooked and it will disrupt your time budget effectively. Btw., President Palmer used an iMac just before he was shot...


Lego vs. Playmobil?

The latest geek war to fight! Check out my nephew Tomi's first steps as a skilled animation movie director! If you ask his age - I am not telling. ;) The geeks over at Wired have taken the opposite position though. I wonder who's going to make it!


The Swiss

Here is a very nice & original picture-book fairytale about the Swiss with daily updated episodes ... enjoy!


And back!

My short series of trips is over & work is piling up. Meanwhile, go here to buy a piano. As far as buying is concerned, I largely resisted the temptation of the last few days of sales in London, with the exception of this. Now I know it's not a rearview mirror, but my dying old navigation system has cost me too much time as it is, and this wonderful new toy promises to double as a handsfree kit as well!