Archive: June, 2006

Germany’s economic woes

Every time I come to Germany I become increasingly disgruntled at the economic incompetence of its leaders. Mind you, many of my criticisms apply not only to Germany, but to most of Western Europe excluding the UK. Of particular concern to me at the moment is a series of reforms of the German health system […]

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The future of peer review

Nature recently launched a trial of a new peer reviewing system for manuscripts, where pre-prints are made available on the web and anyone, including the authors, can post comments in an open forum in a blog-like fashion. I think this is an excellent idea and developments like this are long overdue. I’ve always been a […]

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China, the next world superpower?

In recent years, since China began its unprecedented economic boom and its transition to a market-style economy, there has been absolutely momentous admiration for the Chinese economic miracle and countries have been all but jumping over the moon to embrace China politically and economically. Everyone has been rushing to sign trade agreements with China and […]

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And I thought patriotism in Germany was dead…

Nothing that a good game of soccer won’t fix. The streets of Erlangen following the 2:0 World Cup win against Sweden.

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My favourite Nature paper

Some of my colleagues at work today drew my attention to what is now my all-time favourite Nature paper (and yes, I mean that in the most cynical possible way). In the article “Athletics: Momentous sprint at the 2156 Olympics?” [Nature 431, 525 (2004)], the authors plot both male and female 100m Olympic sprint times […]

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Oh so tolerant Catholics

Our good Catholic friend, Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, is at it once again and publicly declaring that “Islam is more warlike than Christianity” and that “the Koran is riddled with invocations to violence”. To put things into context, today I have undertaken the “5 minute challenge”, where I search the Bible for 5 […]

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The paranoid society

From the Sydney Morning Herald, apparently a school eisteddfod in Australia recently banned all photography and filming, for fear that the photos could be misused by paedophiles. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me. It seems that year by year society becomes progressively more paranoid about paedophiles, to increasingly more disproportionate extents. I agree that paedophilia is […]

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Erlangen Bergkirchweih

Last night I attended the famous Erlangen Bergkirchweih with my colleagues from the Max-Planck-Institute. This is a 10 day annual festival dating back about 250 years, and attracts about 1 megapeople every year, which, for a town of 100 kilopeople is quite impressive. There’s some long historical and cultural story about the origins and significance […]

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Erlangen to Bamberg with three gears

Yesterday some of my colleagues at the Institute invited to come along for a bike tour from Erlangen to Bamberg, a nearby city. I don’t have my own bike with me. Instead I’m borrowing a fairly primitive 3-speed (no that’s not a typo – that’s three- not thirty-speed) old-school bike. These things are designed with […]

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Erlangen, Germany

Following the conference in Minsk, I’ve now arrived in Erlangen, Germany, near Nuremburg, where I’ll be working with Christine Silberhorn’s research group at the local Max-Planck Institute for the next 3 months. I’ve arrived just in time for the local beer festival, apparently the next biggest thing after Munich’s famous Oktoberfest. This, in conjunction with […]

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