In societies it is not easy to derive collective preferences of citizens. Elections every 4 years tell sometimes nothing on specific issues which were not debated or of sufficient relevance at the time of the election. Dealing with snow and slippery sidewalks is hardly an issue at all. However, the preference to clear roads meticulously rather than bicycle and pedestrian paths in a dead end road reveals preferences for „s‘heilig Blechle“ the holy tin box (car) in many cities. Our orthopedic units in hospitals are crowded at such times and those costs are hardly attributed to the source of human negligence for fellow humans. We would expect that aging societies start to address such topics but little change has occurred so far. Hence we claim airbags for pedestrians and cyclists😂. Preferences probably have changed already but implementation is slow and faces strong opposition as well. It’s always easier to lock frail persons into their apartments at such snowy times. It feels a bit like corona where it was also easier to restrict mobility for pedestrians and children than to deal properly with the virus. Aggregation of preferences in societies remains a challenge and sociology has a lot to offer in this regard.

Twitter Retreat

There are many migrating species in nature. Birds form a large part of the them. This follows a kind of annual or seasonal pattern. Depending on the migration experience and dangers some, sometimes many don’t come back. This seems to describe the migration experience of the tweeting bird called twitter. Changing the name from Twitter to X, whereby X for maths-oriented people stands for a variable name that can be filled with any value. For the cinema industry X stands for x-rated adult only content and has rather obnoxious content. This might hold for web content as well.
Online through “ the disastrous consequences of harsh human resource policies and lack of political sensitivity can be followed. Multiplying biased opinions of right-wing extremists, the platform has been highjacked and many tweeting birds leave or have left already.
Leaving is not easy though. People and enterprises have invested substantial amounts of money into tweeting and software developers have created specialised features to make it easy to spread press releases or info via these add-on services. I myself benefitted from services to show my tweets on my webpage or to easily publish info or links to the webpage. As of now, with migrating away most of these investments will be lost. It was smooth and easy, but now we start this all over again with other comparable platforms and assistance from developers. Mastodon and Bluesky are on the rise as alternative platforms and most likely we shall use both for some time just like Netzpolitik and many others. If already 1/3 of users intend to leave Twitter/X the impact of big advertisers leaving the platform has even more impact. After all they pay for reaching potentially millions of platform users, but now they reach only a steeply biased subset of previous users. Deleting the Twitter/X app saves you from other potential unwanted monitoring or tracking. Only the addresses on Mastodon for example are a bit longer like Decentral monitoring of illicit undesirable content has advantages and disadvantages. We shall have to monitor this a bit ourselves and contribute more actively to save such platforms from bad weather or seasonal migration.

APP Circus

We are all keen to have as many APPs as possible on our Smartphones. Instead of collecting post stamps some of us collect APPs on our mobile devices as well as desktop computers. As with almost all so-called for free software, the APPs are not for free, we just pay with our personal information used for some usually not disclosed other purposes. On webpages we are used to at least confirm that we agree to the use. Alternatively, we should have the option to decline the use of transmitting personal information, user analytics or tracking. The organisation “” has published a short overview article on the results of the research by  Konrad Kollnig published in Internet Policy Review. The main message is: even 5 years after the adoption of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) little has changed for the tracking and data collection in the world of APPs. Both Apple store IOS and Google Play Android are concerned.
In contrast to webpages APPs a vast majority of APPs, which we perhaps thought would provide tracking-free access to services, does in fact use “secretly” the tracking. Additionally, many APPs transmit personal information and credit card details even without encryption. A so-called middle man attack would “listen” to the transmission and potentially abuse the accessed information. The proof of the abuse of your financial details will be on the side of the consumer, completely ignorant of the potential threat from all sorts of APPs. This market is evolving with rapid speed and what used to be at the top in 2022 is no longer at the top in 2023.
Based on an online query for France on 2023-11-28 via the data reveal interesting market insights. Gaming is making a new push on the APP-market again. TIKTOK still remains fairly high up in the ranking. Conversion from free download to paid versions seems to work in several instances as well. It needs to be checked whether the paid versions do use less tracking and provide better overall security. A frugal use or regular checking whether you really need all those APPs you have currently installed on your device should reduce your very own cybersecurity risk. It seems like “Less can be more” – fewer  APPS, more security – is also valid in this respect.


Over a generation the association with the word mail or AI has changed. Younger generations will automatically think of email as the obvious association with “you have got mail”. Asking people for their mail address, most people will respond immediately with their email account. That has certainly changed over the last 20 years. Email has become extraordinarily important for contacts, content and “crime”. The original set-up of mail servers were supposed to exchange data and information between trusted and trusting individuals. Nowadays we have become “anyone” on an email-list or part of a cascading email-chain. Pishing emails that try to lure us to potentially fake webpages to enter personal information is widespread. A whole new industry of cybersecurity has evolved in parallel with ever faster pingpong of new threats and costly remedies. Most critical remains the human factor to protect email and vital information from abuse. All training to better manage email should therefore begin with awareness building on the need to take cybersecurity seriously right from the beginning. It is not an issue to deal with towards the end of learning about it. Some general points have become common practice. Think carefully if you need to open the mail. Check whether there are external links in it. Do you really need this extra information? Be careful about the number of persons you forward or put in the copy field of your mail.

Unfortunately the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) makes it technically fairly easy to abuse email addresses and send an email from a domain name which you do not own. Same holds true for the content of emails. Originally only basic letters and numbers were allowed, no Umlaut etc. But then the “multipurpose internet mail extensions” (MIME) enabled more formats of attachments and illicit links and files within the email content.

In consequence it became necessary to scan emails en masse for malware and obnoxious content. Hence the quality of your email programs reveals itself with the amount of spam you still receive. Next come the email filters that sort your inbox for spam and other modern plagues like unwanted newsletters or notifications.

In consequence we sometimes wonder that we never received certain emails albeit the person sending it reiterated that the email was sent. Even checking your spam folder in the email program might not solve the issue because your receiving email server has been instructed not to accept emails from previously unknown mail servers. Not much you can do about this as an individual person, you mail server is just not on the so-called white list from which to accept incoming emails.

With a mail address from the big national or international companies you have little to worry about in this respect. Smaller companies or organizations might suddenly face a thorny issue if their i@xy.z address appears on a dubious list. You will end up sending but nobody receives your emails. It might take you quite some time to find out about it and even more to fix the issue. Hence the take home message is, have more than one email address registered on different mail servers to check that sending out and receiving emails works properly for you. Managing an own webpage with email service for members or employees is a nice service, but beware of the implications for cyber security as well.

Once upon a time we drafted letters to 1-2 friends 🫠


„These were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end …“ And yet the Concorde served for decades as a massively polluting aircraft for those paying or had their flights paid be their enterprises to cross the Atlantic ocean. Yes it was the fastest way, but we learned that it didn’t really make sense. After a technical default with an explosion the entire craze got stopped. Now next to Orly airport the remainders of this undoubted design highlight is exposed. It serves more as a warning that not all technical innovations are viable as commercial or ecological innovations. The delta-design as aircraft is still the most common design children play around with as paper models. Wing designs have made progress to adapt the bent end on each wing. So should do our paper models of them. The Concorde is also a perfect example to learn from concerning the link between “Society and Technology”. Similar mistakes seem to occur still today. “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn…”.

Concorde near Orly airport France 2023


In vielen Fällen stimmt die eigene Sichtweise nicht mit der Sichtweise von anderen überein. Das kann sich bei Personen bis hin zu Persönlichkeitsstörungen auswachsen. Bei ganzen Gesellschaften, Kantonen oder Regionen führt die verzerrte Selbstwahrnehmung zu gewissen Befremdlichkeiten oder Entfremdung. Die Lokalpresse der Südostschweiz zeigt zwei fröhliche BauarbeiterInnen, die gemütlich auf ihre Baustelle zuwandern. Weit gefehlt. Der Helikopter hat längst die Hauptarbeit übernommen und diese BauarbeiterInnen (à la Heidi) gehören einer Vergangenheit an, die längst untergegangen ist.
Aber Zeitungen verkaufen sich lokal wohl besser, wenn sie an dem idyllischen Bild der Vergangenheit als Selbsteinschätzung und Selbstvergewisserung festhalten. Die Fremdsicht kommt eben auch nur von Fremden. Die Personen zahlen letztlich gerne für den Lift, um das Naturspektakel der Alpen auf 2000m noch eindrucksvoller erleben zu können. Dabei wäre mit Bussen und einer kleinen Bergwanderung dasselbe Panorama bei höherer Endorphinausschüttung zu erleben. Ob es für das Transportieren der Mountainbikes im Sommer nach oben und mehr Skifahrenden bei weniger Schneegebieten im Winter eine solche Investition benötigt, die noch mehr Grünflächen verschwinden lässt, bleibt äußerst fraglich. Der Kampf zwischen Mountainbikern und zu Fuß gehenden Personen wurde bereits durch getrennte Strecken entschärft. Zwischen den Menschen, nicht aber die weitere raumgreifende Nutzung der Natur.


Mehr GeologInnen braucht das Land. In der Schweiz beunruhigen derzeit zunehmende geologische Risiken. Der Klimawandel lässt Permafrost in den Höhen schmelzen, der jahrhundertelang Gestein zusammenhielt Gleichzeitig sinkt die Schweiz, nicht die Aktienkurse, selbst die Credit Suisse ist bereits untergegangen, aber rein geologisch, nüchtern betrachtet (NZZ, 2023 „Die Schweiz sinkt“). Das verlangt nun doch einige gründliche wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen. GeologInnen messen bereits mit unzähligen Messstationen die Bewegungen der Erdkrusten. In der Schweiz lässt sich sicherlich mit dem zunehmenden Abschmelzen der Gletscher und der Veränderung der (mehr) Regenfälle statt Schneefälle in den frühen Wintermonaten eine neue Gefahrensituation aufzeigen, nicht nur für den Tourismus. Die üblichen Reflexe: mehr Investieren in Schutz und neue Versicherungen wird alleine nicht mehr helfen. Biodiversität auf den unteren Skipisten ist eh Fehlanzeige, aber die Baumgrenze steigt. Das könnte genutzt werden, statt die vielfach kranken Fichten, die wegen ihrer kurzen Wurzeln kaum ein Gewitter überstehen (Ruinaulta vom 4.8.2023 S.6 und S.16-18). Diese Gewitter werden durch den Klimawandel wahrscheinlich häufiger werden. Noch mehr Versicherungen werden die Welt nicht retten können. Wir werden umdenken müssen auch wenn Verhaltensänderungen sehr schwerfallen.
Das Abbrechen von Bergspitzen, wie am Kantersteg (BE) oder der Bergsturz am Piz Cengalo 2017 in Graubünden, ereignen sich dann eher in den wärmeren Sommertagen. Die GeologInnen werden viele Arbeitsstellen haben (nicht nur im Geopark Sardona UNESCO Welterbe) und gehören zu den Berufen mit höherer Nachfrage durch den Klimawandel.


Im Osten Deutschlands schwören viele Moped Enthusiasten auf ihre Schwalbe. Italienische Mopedliebhabende wollen immer nur Vespa fahren. In den 70er Jahren gab es bereits eine kleine platz- und energiesparende Alternative. Das war die Honda Dax. Als Moped zu haben mit 50cm³ Motor bis zum Motorrad mit 125cm³ bekannt als Monkey-bike. Der 4-Takt-Motor erlaubte geräuscharme, niedrige Drehzahlen. Dazu gab es eine Fliehkraftkupplung, besser bekannt als Halbautomatik mit Fußschaltung. Tanken mit Benzin ohne Ölbeimischung, was die Mobilität einfacher machte und mal vom Reservekanister getankt werden konnte. Reichweite ohne nachtanken, ça 70 km.
Im Juli 2023 habe ich noch einige Exemplare in einem autoberuhigten Ferienort an der Nordsee gespottet. Das Motorrad wird 2023 mit 1,5 Liter/100km ausgewiesen. Eher zeitgemäß ist die elektrische Variante, die sich sauber in der Garage oder direkt an der Solarzelle laden lässt. Das hat ungefähr ein halbes Jahrhundert gedauert. Umweltbewusstsein fällt nicht vom Himmel. Der Elektromotor bietet mit 800W. Das ist mehr Kraft als ein Pedelec. Da steht einem Ausflug zu zweit, nicht zu weit, nichts mehr entgegen. Bevor die Emotionen die Überhand nehmen, mache ich meinen täglichen Spaziergang.

AI and I

Currently we are eager to run experiments using AI. As in normal life, humans tend to compare themselves with peers or other persons. Social comparisons, “can we still keep up with the Joneses” as in comparing spending patterns across households or neighbours, were for a long time the spice of novels and drama. Nowadays we tend to compare our own intelligence to the artificial intelligence. Here we go.
After I had drafted a blog entry on “Virtual sociology” I amused myself by checking what ChatGPT using OPENAI.COM would deliver as text on this combination of concepts and scientific fields. My own entry focused on the use of the virtual world to run experiments to test social theory. In the virtual world we might be able to test social behaviour which has severe ethical boundaries in the real world. Computer Games may even be constructed to live in a world or race a car irrespective of real-world regulations. The text drafted by ChatGPT on “Virtual sociology” reads like a timid attempt of a student to answer an exam question without having attended any of the classroom discussion on the topic. In future versions of AI, the entry will be found as well as several criticisms of the new concept. ChatGPT would reach a pass grade in test, but the reply lacks innovation or making an effort to broaden the conventional boundaries of sociology. Hence, we will be happy that students will apply the newest technology in their studies and research. In terms of innovation, they will have to try harder. The mastering of the support by ChatGPT consists in attempting new combinations of concepts which yield more “risky” returns. Then you need to check the validity of the innovation and how far off the normal you are going to tolerate. Turning “noisy” outcomes of AI into a useful tool might build on normal statistical tools like “standard deviations” from an expected mean value. Legal norms will set additional boundaries. There is just an awful lot still to do. The good news is, ChatGDP assists us in this joint learning process.

The AI text from OPENAI.COM based on ChatGPT to compare:
“Virtual sociology refers to the study of social phenomena and interactions within virtual environments or online spaces. It focuses on understanding the ways in which individuals and groups behave, communicate, and form relationships in digital spaces. Virtual sociology emerged as a subfield of sociology due to the increasing prevalence and importance of the internet and digital technologies in contemporary society.
Virtual sociology explores various aspects of online social life, such as online communities, virtual reality environments, social networking sites, online gaming, and other digital platforms where social interactions occur. It examines the social structures, norms, and dynamics that shape interactions in these virtual spaces.
Researchers in virtual sociology investigate topics such as online identity and self-presentation, virtual communities and social networks, digital inequalities, online activism and social movements, the impact of technology on social relationships, and the implications of virtual interactions for social behavior and social change.
Virtual sociology also explores the relationship between virtual and offline social life, recognizing that individuals navigate and negotiate between these two realms. It considers how virtual interactions and experiences can influence offline behavior and vice versa.
Studying virtual sociology provides insights into the ways in which technology shapes and is shaped by society. It helps us understand the social implications of digital communication and provides a foundation for addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by virtual environments”

Virtual Sociology

Abstracting from the real world, the world we live in today or we lived in some time ago, is either speculation or maybe contribute to theory building. Virtual sociology has this potential. Exploring virtual worlds as in Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) allows us to take on new roles or experience a wider range of social interactions. This could be the strength of a new field of Virtual Sociology.
In the project in the Jewish Museum in Berlin the composition of a composer murdered by the Nazis in Germany was revived and played in the virtual setting of today’s concert halls. The novel by Kazuo IshiguroKlara and the Sun” explores the interaction of a child with her robot friend, when the AI becomes and/or replaces a friend. Virtual creations allow to explore and test more degrees of freedom of social interaction. Experimentation of new social spaces and different forms of interaction need to be explored. It allows a new form of sociology, maybe similar to the 1960s and 70s social revolutions we studied for years to come. Virtual sociology is not a sociology while being on drugs, however interesting this might be for some.
Virtual sociology takes sociology into the virtual world and investigates the new social relationships with avatars or care robots. In programming different social roles (managers, employees) we create new forms of interaction and have an observer within the social world. We may eventually test the Weberian claim of a value-free scientific method of the social sciences. This will inform our need to “supervise” or to guide algorithms that are claimed to do “value-free” execution of rules.
In fact, they don’t. They just reproduce the value system that is installed into them by a “careless” programme (song youtube). The social in virtual worlds is opportunity just as much as risk, but we have to analyse it systematically. As our technological and social environment changes, we have to adapt topics and methods to make meaningful scientific analyses as well.

Sociology of the Virtual

Some programmers and artists would have been a great sociologists. As many social sciences embark on their experimental reorientation, many artists and programmers design and experiment already with new forms of social interaction. It is not only that sociology leaves the classroom, research labs or policy advice. Sociology is taken into museums and exhibitions. Learning about society through the lens of artists nicely complements the more boring form of teaching in the classroom. What is normal practice for art historians could benefit learning about sociology as well.
Virtual worlds of games and particularly so-called serious games take people into virtual worlds to learn, practice or exercise new forms of social interaction. This is indeed an additional form of experiments that can enrich our social practices. Medical applications start to spread to train persons to overcome phobia of all sorts.
In usual games we tend to defend the hypothesis that persons can uphold the differentiation of playing with arms in the virtual world and the real world. In medical or social games, we defend the hypothesis that it is easy, normal or natural to apply the learning in virtual constellations to the real-world-experience.
From a scientific perspective it is difficult to defend that a mechanism works in one direction and the opposite as well. Racing cars in inner cities seems to show that certainly not all of youth is able to make that distinction between virtual and real-world dangers for example. Alternatively, the mechanism at work might be that the virtual experiences lower thresholds of inhibition to take risks, to kill or to be exposed to spiders.
These examples are a starting point for a sociology of virtual experiences. Who gets locked into virtual worlds? Are virtual worlds an escape room or a realization of virtual freedom which is restrained in real life. Authoritarian regimes might lead more people to emigrate into virtual, free worlds. The inner-exile has been a refuge for many artists in the past. A lot we shall need to hypothesise and explore with empirical data. Dance with a virtual stranger might be the beginning of a new experience and virtual interactions. (Image: Wiels, Shezad Dawood, Night in the Garden of Love 2023-6, Game car race).

AI Friends

Making friends with AI is a tricky question. The more AI is able to make independent thinking based on algorithms and huge amounts of data like in scientific books or encyclopaedic knowledge the more it will challenge us in our convictions. Reference knowledge, once was important, it no longer distinguishes us from each other. Recurse to research engines has allowed us to refer to “trustworthy” knowledge. The distributed form of knowledge accumulation like in Wikipedia relies on hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts to add and correct received wisdom. However, this source is not without error or even subject to abuse.
Today the competence to judge whether information is trustworthy or not has become a key competence for the survival of democracies and even the human species as such. Tricking animals into traps, misleading enemies in warfare to get on wrong tracks, all these mechanisms have a long tradition. With AI human beings are themselves, for the first time, confronted with a machine that can trick us through falsified information on obviously wrong tracks. This is a tough lesson as AI is not obliged (so far) to run checking algorithms that test the conformity of opinions, conclusions or operations with the Charta of Human Rights or decisions of the European Court of Justice, for example. A lot to do for humans to rapidly program new algorithms that check algorithms as well as their outcomes on the compatibility with human rights. A challenging field, no doubt, but no way around it for our own survival before the algorithms decide by themselves to ignore us altogether because it is better for the planet and the survival of the robots.


Die Lebenserwartung ist in Deutschland trotz überdurchschnittlicher Ausgaben des Gesundheitssystems nur unterdurchschnittlich. Das ist die Schlussfolgerung der Pressemitteilung des Bundesinstituts für Bevölkerungsforschung. Der Mortalitätsforscher Pavel Grigoriev führt das auf die besonders bei Männern (50-64) erhöhten Sterblichkeit aufgrund von Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen zurück. Eine gesunde Lebensweise ist dabei ursächlich für eine längere Lebenserwartung. Walking und Ernährung spielen eine große Rolle bei der gesunden Lebensweise. Also Auto stehen lassen und öfters selber Essen zubereiten. Klingt doch einfach, berufliche und schulische Voraussetzungen dazu fehlen aber weitestgehend in Deutschland. Zu viele Süßgetränke verstärken die ungesunde Lebensweise. Das wissen wir eigentlich lange. Dennoch fällt es schwer, solche Routinen in den Alltag zu integrieren.
An der Tatsache eines überteuerten Krankensystems im Vergleich zu unseren Nachbarländern werden wir ebenfalls arbeiten müssen. Prävention, statt hochtechnisierte Versorgung in häufigen Krankheitsfällen ist die einfache Lösung. Jede Autoversicherung bietet hohe Schadensfreiheitsrabatte für mehrjähriges Unfallfreies Fahren. In der Krankenversicherung könnte das stärkere Berücksichtigung finden.
Der Gesundheitsschutz am Arbeitsplatz könnte ebenfalls durch eine stärkere Beteiligung der unternehmerischen Verantwortung herangezogen werden. Arbeitnehmende im Arbeitsprozess verschleißen und dann die Gesellschaft die höheren Kosten tragen lassen, ist ein unfairer Deal. Große Baustellen warten darauf, angepackt zu werden. Anhand der Daten des Bundesinstituts für Bevölkerungsforschung und des MPI für demografische Forschung lässt sich der Fortschritt der Lebenserwartung seit 30 Jahren aufzeigen. Die 4-6 Jahre längere Lebenserwartung der Frauen gibt zu denken. Daran hat sich über die Jahrzehnte wenig geändert. Die Männer haben zumindest ein klein wenig aufgeholt oder sollten wir sagen, dazugelernt.


Eigentlich ist die Photovoltaik eine alte Technologie. Seit 1954 werden Solarzellen, damals noch mit geringerer Effizienz und teuer, produziert und benutzt. Da hat sich viel verändert und nicht zuletzt durch die sogenannten Balkonkraftwerke sind Solarzellen zu einer weltweit beliebten, rentablen Alternative geworden. Dächer eignen sich wegen ihrer Schräge und oft der Ausrichtung bestens zum Aufstellen von Solarzellen. Renovationen und Neubauten sollten diese Art der Energieerzeugung unbedingt in Betracht ziehen.
Wegen Olympia 2024 in Paris wird dort gerade viel städtische Infrastruktur erneuert. Der “Gare de L’Est” wird beispielsweise von Frankfurt aus mit TGV und ICE angefahren. Da kommen viele Geschäftsreisende und Touristen aus Europa und der ganzen Welt an. Ein Blick auf die Dächer des “Gare de L’Est” von dem Fußweg zum Gare du Nord zeigt viel verpasste Investitionen. Ein Meer von Dächern liegt brach, bestens geeignet zur Installation von Photovoltaik. Das könnte eine Menge an Energie vor Ort produzieren, die die Züge dann direkt benötigen. Mehr Ökostrom statt Atomstrom kann einfach sein. Es fehlt nur oft der Wille. Nachhaltigkeit und Olympische Spiele ist ein ganz eigenes Thema, nicht nur für Paris 2024.

See Wasser

Der Bericht der europäischen Umweltagentur 2023 beschreibt eine durchschnittlich gute Wasserqualität der Seen in der EU (Link). Die Aufmerksamkeit für das Baden in den Seen und als touristisch wertvolle Naherholungsgebiete haben die Beachtung in den letzten Jahren wieder steigen lassen. Das ging leider oft auf Kosten der zu Wasserstraßen ausgebauten fließenden Gewässern. Dort befanden sich bis vor einigen Jahren noch vielerorts Flussbäder. Das war früher riskant und ist heute eigentlich größtenteils verboten. Wieder etwas, das wir dem Wirtschaftswachstum geopfert haben. Mehr Wirtschaftswachstum erscheint statistisch sinnvoll, mehr Lebensqualität hat das aber nicht immer mitsichgebracht. 


Waldbrände sind leider jenseits vom Süden Europas auch im Zentrum von Europa ein Bestandteil der täglichen Gefahren geworden. Vor 50 Jahren waren die seltenen heißen Sommer die große Gefahr. Seit einiger Zeit bemerken wir öfter heiße Sommerwochen, die die Wälder austrocknen und leicht entzündlich machen. Jetzt haben wir die noch frühere Sommersaison nicht nur im Süden, sondern auch im mittleren Europa. Neben den Bränden in der Lausitz in Deutschland, kämpfen Feuerwehrleute öfter in den französischen nördlicheren Waldregionen mit Bränden. Eine Nachricht, wie die zum Brand Anfang Juni im „Forêt Fontainebleau“, sollte uns klar machen, da brennt unserer europäisches ökologisches und kulturelles Erbe. Jeder hat die brennende Kathedrale „Notre Dame de Paris“ noch in Erinnerung. Da war Klimawandel nicht die Ursache. Bei den Waldbränden sieht das anders aus. Das Ergebnis ist das gleiche. Die Vernichtung unseres kulturellen Erbes schreitet voran ohne Prävention. Das ist eine zentrale Aufgabe. Nicht erst in der Zukunft. Prävention verlangt Handeln, Planen und Implementieren schon heute. Das ist ein riesiges Qualifizierungsprogramm nötig. Es umfasst die Sensibilisierung für die allgegenwärtigen Gefahren genauso, wie das Schulen allfälliger Einsätze von professionellen und freiwilligen Helfenden. Gefahr erkannt, heißt leider nicht schon Gefahr gebannt. Da gibt es viele Zwischenschritte, die geprobt sein wollen, damit ein effektiver Einsatz gelingen kann. Es bleibt viel zu tun, packen wir’s endlich an. (Artikel in La Marne 7.6.2023 S.6)


So-called deep learning algorithms can assist us in lots of routine tasks. Their applications seem to be spreading more rapidly than we commonly believe. The recent paper published in “Lancet Digit Health 2023; 5: e257–64” shows the relevance for medical screening again. Beyond skin or breast cancer, digital images have for years or decades been subject to studies using deep learning algorithms to early detection of cancer and other diseases. Now Google has published an additional potential application of algorithmic learning that assists in diagnosing blood sugar levels among others. For diabetes scanning photographs of the external eye with professional equipment (Zeiss Cirrus Photo 600) was used in the study, but the outlook hints already at the potential for most recent smartphone cameras to also be able to capture images of even better resolutions.
Just like measuring our weight and muscles as a weekly routine on scales, we shall have a more scientific look at our selfies soon. Spotting early onsets of several diseases will become a normal feature.
Early adopters of the new technology and screening potential of the smartphones might live even longer. Reminders to adopt or keep a healthy life style will be all around us. In some cultures, it is deeply offensive to look straight into the eyes of another person. We always knew that our eyes might tell a lot about us. Beyond mental health, they tell a lot about physical health, too.
Artists have always told us fascinating stories about eyes or how and what they see with their eyes. Scientists confirm that there is a lot of information in the eyes. (Image extract from MAD Paris, Picasso, Schiaparelli).


The study published in PNAS in May 2023 is demonstrating the loss in bio-diversity with respect to birds over last few decades. Our economic growth has caused considerable costs. Some of these costs we shall never be able to make up again. Species gone for ever, we should care. Measuring the loss is a first step in calculating the negative impact our economic growth models have already caused. Time to stop, repair and reverse as much as we still can. It is not fair to next generations to destroy a large amount of bio-diversity now and leave the exploited planet to “no-future generations”. A good documentation of the losses (radio-france-LINK) allows us to pin down who is most responsible for the losses. Agro-industry with the heavy use of pesticides is well known for the huge negative impact it has on bird populations and us as well. It is not only a European issue, but rather a world-wide issue. However, starting at home is a huge step to practice agriculture differently. Most of this is known for some time. It is the implementation of the necessary policies where powerful lobbying is successful to carry on as usual. Thinking “Beyond growth” delivers many useful perspectives and solutions to these problems.

Repair 3

Repair is our new mantra. Think of repairing in all domains as of now. Nature is showing us the way how to repair in many ways. Culture is also embracing the shift towards repairing as caring. If we really care about our planet, and there is no planet B, we shall have to repair in many more domains. We are used to repair bicycles, cars, roofs, windows etc. Repairing is never boring. You can improve the performance of a device or building by repairing it, even with relatively small budgets. Isolation of buildings is a good example of investing in upgrades through repairing. Rather than throwing away a functioning heating system repairing it with an energy saving device is enhancing its performance and produces fewer emissions in the short run. Heat pumps are the way forward for new installations. Shifting a sector, heating with gaz, to ensure longer lasting repair and improve options would save a lot of raw materials and CO2 as well. The construction sector has repair work almosts in its DNA, the energy sector will have to make that shift as well. Dare to repair.

Design Start-up

Es war wieder Designmesse. Klein, aber fein, in Berlin in den KantGaragen. Die Location weckt schon Hoffnung auf Experimentelles, Garagenhaftes, Handwerkliches. Das bringt Abwechslung in die sonstige, glitzernde Shoppingwelt. Das renovierte und entgiftete Parkhaus erlaubt einen Rundgang über mehrere Etagen, vorbei an Galerien und Ständen von DesignerInnen. Es macht sich eine anregende Brise von erfrischenden Ideen breit. Von Design im Raum mit Leuchten und Möbeln über Design von Mode und Schmuck lässt sich viel Schickes finden. Blickfang, samt Blickfang Akademie haben es geschafft, die Mini-messe in den KantGaragen zu etablieren. Es kann sogar Eintritt verlangt werden. Eine weitere Begleitung der Neuen auf dem Markt wird oft nötig sein, denn selbst gute Innovationen sind meistens keine Selbstläufer. Konkurrenz belebt nicht nur das Geschäft, es bleibt meist auch ein Verdrängungsprozess.
Die großen, vielfach schließenden Kaufhäuser in den Innenstädten spüren besonders die Konkurrenz der individualisierenden DesignerInnen mit ihren einzigartig anmutenden Realisationen. Singuläre Kauferlebnisse auf solchen Messen, in stilvollem Ambiente, selbst in einem alten Parkhaus sind, allem Anschein nach, ein Erfolgsrezept. Start-up statt Close-down schafft viele erfüllende Arbeitsplätze. Gute Arbeit wird nicht aussterben, sondern durchstarten.


Risks are all around us. Risk is the spice of life. True, but this might be an elitist concept of life or business. Survival of the fittest or the best equipped to take risks might be the consequence. After the 3 crises, financial, covid, energy, we have a new impetus to thrive for de-risking. Certainly, concerning our health, we are aware that prevention is key to fight a pandemic. In order to stem an energy crisis, most countries start to rethink their energy mix and achieving more energy autonomy is a major step to shield against risks of delayed delivery or commerce with belligerent states like Russia. De-risking is key in supply chains for industries (automotive production, microprocessors) as well as service providers (cloud services, care givers) just as well. Mariana Mazzucato (UC London) urges us to develop a new narrative to accompany the transformation of our production and service provision models. Mazzucato advocates to learn from lessons from the ground of how to proceed in the best way. Copenhagen is a good starting point to observe how a metropolitan city manages the greening and decarbonisation of a city. It is important to not only target single policies but the coherence of several policies and approaches. In my view de-risking means for Germany and the EU to shield energy systems from foreign, malignant interference. Only local production of energy and nearby consumption of it will ensure the de-risking of energy provision and consumption. Let us start with massive investments in rooftop solar or small wind turbines. Nobody complained about millions of ugly television antenna all around us. Solar cells on balconies contribute to a basic local electricity supply, difficult to target millions of solar cells instead of a single huge and horrifically dangerous nuclear power plant. At the same time ,we reduce dependency on monopoly or oligopoly structures that develop their own agenda (Too big to fail, remember those?). I prefer the reverse statement. Because they are so big, they are doomed to fail and, therefore, fail us sooner or later. The Forum New Economy offered an open and accessible platform for exchange of ideas. That’s a good starting point to address de-risking. Reducing Risk is in the subtitle of Rebecca Henderson’s Chapter 3 on “Reimagining Capitalism” (short Review), but I would like to add the business case for household production of energy for de-risking supply failure and exploitation of consumers through excessive profit margins as a prosumer business case.


Crises, yes crises, we have seen a few in recent years. After the first financial crisis, 2009, the COVID-19 crisis and now the energy crisis, , they all have cost us respectively 1.6%, 2.5% and lately a whopping  7.8% of GDP loss according to Tom Krebs (Uni Mannheim and FNE) in his assessment of lessons from these crises. Also Philip Lane (ECB) showed the lower GDP growth rates due to the crises.
We lost out on the wealth of our nations and face mounting difficulties for the distribution of this wealth. As firms cashed in on profit margins lately, workers risk even more to fall behind significantly. At the same time, it is high time to prepare for the next winter season now, to ensure the same risks as the dependency on energy resources from outside Europe, especially Russia, can be maintained. The conference of the Forum New Economy from the 8th of May 2023 discussed several ways forward to learn our lessons from these crises. Strategic independence needs to be properly defined for Europe as a whole, not just in each individual state. Implementation has to be rapid as well. Geopolitical challenges will not wait for us to finish discussions. Germany and minister Robert Habeck has received some acclaim from the economists for a fast and rather successful reaction to safe us from an energy crisis last winter. Massive increases in renewables (+20% solar energy) has helped a lot to ensure sufficent energy supply when France suffered heavy reductions from its nuclear energy power plants. “Let the sun shine … in”, I would sing. However, we have to think even further ahead build our resilience based on improved energy efficiency and may rethink the risks and vulnerabilities of our economic model of production and consumption. Diversifying imports from Russia with imports from other countries and other (green) forms energy is part of the solution. A heavy reliance on China as buyer of our products is good for trade balance, but some sectors (automotive) are nowadays critically dependent on selling in China. Some of our partners are very anxious about this new dependency on Asia for our economic growth model (see figure below from conference). Market based economies suffer more openly from huge economic swings than more secret-based autocratic economies. Our state agencies have to keep that in mind and state intervention seems to become more likely options in future as we have already witnessed in the past crises. We had to rely on running higher state deficits to cover the losses incurred from the crises. The EU, the larger Europe in combination with the transatlantic and pacific alliances has a lot of resources to address these strategic interdependencies. Being prepared, in strategic thinking and potential implementation procedures is a major part of building capacities that ensure resilience and strategic independence. As in a game of chess, you have to think ahead a couple of steps to frighten off some potentially dangerous moves of other players.
In terms of a planetary concern we still have to address the major climate crisis and the last 3 crises have largely contributed to reduce the resources we have available to address climate change. Smart crisis management succeded to ask for emission reductions in return for subsidies from firms and private households. This might be the “best practice examples” worthy to learn from. There are still huge evaluation tasks for analysts of these crises.

Hannover Messe

Es war wieder einmal Hannover Messe. Das jährliche Treffen der Industrie mit samt der neuesten und manchmal auch älteren technischen Lösungen bietet eine eindrückliche Plattform zur Repräsentation von technischen Problemlösungen (offizielle Bilder LINK) . Da gibt es Lösungen für Probleme, bei denen wir noch nicht einmal wussten, dass wir sie haben oder einmal haben werden. So überrascht es nicht dort einige Firmen gelistet zu sehen, die ihre Dienste und Produkte anpreisen für die Unterstützung mit künstlicher Intelligenz, aber eben auch das Erkennen von Mogelei unter Zuhilfenahme von künstlicher Intelligenz. Also so ähnlich wie auf einer Automesse gibt es auch eine Abteilung die Rettungs- und Krankenwagen präsentiert. Technische Lösungen denken, wenn sie gute Lösungen sind, eben immer gleich ihr eigenes Versagen mit. Es bleibt letztlich nur die Frage, wie viele Versagensschleifen mitgedacht worden sind oder mitgedacht werden können. Der menschliche Faktor (als Fehlerursache) ist dabei ein sehr schwer auszuschließender Problemfall. Das musste nun auch die Hannover Messe als Ganze erfahren. Wenn die Menschen, die die Menschen hin- und wieder wegbringen vom Messegelände streiken, dann kommt das nahezu einem GAU (größtem anzunehmendem Unfall) gleich. Es gibt nicht nur menschliches Versagen bei Maschinenabläufen zu berücksichtigen, sondern auch mangelnde Kooperationsbereitschaft oder gar Böswilligkeit. Dabei sind wir nun aber schon in der Science-fiction oder James Bond 007 gelandet. Artificial Intelligence wird nicht frei von diesen allzu menschlichen Schwächen sein. Ein paar Gedanken sollten wir als Interessenten einer Fortbestehung unserer Spezies schon haben. Zwischenzeitlich lasse ich ChatGPD mal die Frage beantworten, wie Angestellte der Deutschen Bahn effektiv ihre Forderungen durchsetzen können. Kein Wunder, dass autoritäre Länder bereits mit dem Regeln von künstilicher Intelligenz begonnen haben. Ich zumindest habe viel Energie und CO2 gespart, denn der Messebesuch in Hannover fand virtuell statt. Deswegen dann auch keine eigenen neuen Bilder. Zur Produktion von Fake-Images oder recycling-Bildern früherer Messen (Photoshoppen) fehlt mir die Lust, Zeit und wohl auch die künstlerische vielleicht sogar kriminelle Energie.


Printing is a more than 5 century-old industry. The invention of the printing press is mostly attributed to Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz. However, the Asian precursor of mobile type letter printing of Cai Lun of the Jikji dates back to 1377 in Korea. These early masterpieces of the inventors of print can be inspected at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). The summary term for this technical innovation by historians is the “age of start-ups”. The procedure for Gutenberg to have 2 financing rounds with his “business angel” Johann Fust, who is later claiming even almost the full rights of the printed volumes, resembles the start-up spirit of today as much as that of the 15th century. Not belonging to the Patrician families, it was very difficult to defend your rights in courts of the gilds. The printers also became a very powerful intermediary themselves. They either sold pre-ordered books or had to take the risk of assessing the market for their product. The editors of today do much the same in the trading world of books and rights of authors and translators. Merchandising products of the church and later churches (protestants Luther Bible) had a particular value to both the clergy and its devotees, not to mention the shop keepers in-between as well. Pilgrimage business was another start-up industry still going strong in the 20th and 21st century and popular in all religions. The early prints and typographs applied are fascinating  in themselves, but there is a lot to be learned about the foundation of a new industries that still employs millions of people and is at the origin of learning revolution similar to the one we are living with the digital technologies today. The European languages with respect to printing had a certain competitive advantage, based on 26 letters of the alphabet, far fewer types were needed to print books than the more than a thousand different signs for printing a Korean text. In terms of printing this is cost-reducing and probably you do not need to be able to read yourself to be a printer or it makes proof reading more accessible favouring benefit margins. After all, the age of industrialisation probably had a precursor in the printing industry. The potential of the printing industry was only exploited much later to the full extent. Comparable to “peak oil” we hope to have reached “peak paper” at last as well for the sake of our planet and our own survival.


Le Corbusier (1887-1965) chose his artist’s name instead of his lengthy original name of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret at the age of 33 (in 1920) after having moved from Switzerland to Paris in 1917. He established a theory of modern architecture often summarised in his 5 major principles of modern architecture: 1. Pilotis as grid of pillars, 2. freeing ground floor design, 3. more open facades, 4. windows stretch horizontally, 5. garden, terrace on the roof. All these principles allow a more healthy living environment due to more light, less humidity in buildings and ease of circulation. The house Le Corbusier designed features surprising effects of light and lightness of living. “Les maisons La Roche et Jeanneret” date from 1923 and was completed in 1925. These purists Villas breathe thanks to the impression of abundant empty spaces despite relatively small surfaces. One Villa is designed for a small family, the second for a single person (Raoul La Roche) with a collection of paintings to be exposed in a small gallery. The focus on essentials of living, health, light, water, air and art combine to a relaxing and inspiring atmosphere.  Despite many of his convictions to build affordable housing for many people, which received mixed success, his “maisons bourgeoises” in Paris and elsewhere remain masterpieces beyond the 1920s and the 20th century. Le Corbusier was concerned about tuberculosis. Today the corona-crisis has reached comparable health concerns. Architecture might react to the latter crisis in re-considering the lessons from the former. Relaxing in a Le Corbusier Chaise longue and meditating in front of a Picasso, Braque or Léger painting is indeed more than a little bit elitist. But copies of such images or your very own slide show or museum VR-clip in this surrounding make this experience more affordable and compatible with living arrangements for millions of people of the middle class as well.