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Brussels against coal subsidies

The Energy and Climate Weekly: Of dearly held coal subsidies, Chinese emissions and dependencies, organic solar cells and African wind farms

Somehow it is a bit strange with the coal mining industry. Only around 33.000 people find their livelihood in the Ruhr and Saar collieries. And yet everyone seems to be hanging on, at least in the two federal states concerned, the small Saarland and the rough North Rhine-Westphalia: the CDU, the traditional wing of the Left Party, the SPD, the Social Democrats, and the Social Democrats. Depending on party-political tastes, mining somehow seems to be the epitome of proletarian culture or the soul of an entire region.

Of course, this is nothing artificial, but has to do with social inertia. The politicians are merely picking up on a basic sentiment among the population, whose everyday culture has been shaped for generations by mining and the steel industry, and with the decline of these former pillars of German capitalism it is clear that this influence will continue to have an impact for a long time to come.

Megacities – megarisks

Munchener Ruck worries about insurance coverage of cities with millions of inhabitants

The scale of the tsunami disaster in South Asia has exceeded even the worst fears and pessimistic forecasts. This applies first and foremost to the countless human tragedies, but also to the material damage, the astronomical size of which poses unprecedented challenges for the affected countries and the global community. Insurance companies in many places also face these. According to the world’s largest reinsurer, Munchener Ruck, 2004 was the worst year on record "the most expensive natural catastrophe year in insurance history to date". Even before the Asian seaquake, insured losses topped $40 billion, with more than $35 billion caused by hurricanes and typhoons.

Megacities - megarisks

Satellite image of Tokyo. Image: Japan Aerospace EXploration Agency

“We should assume an asymmetric war lasting three years!”

Former CIA agent Robert Baer on the failed war on terror and why Europe could be easy prey for terrorism

Former CIA agent Robert Baer’s books regularly cause a rude stir in the U.S. Baer’s works "See No Evil" and "Sleeping with the Devil" provided the template for the film Syriana completed in 2005. The person of the film character Bob Barnes – played by George Clooney – was modeled on Robert Baer.

Who owns the prinzhorn collection?

There is still no memorial for the euthanasia victims of the Nazi era – a Berlin initiative wants to change that

For decades, the cellar vaults of the Heidelberg University Hospital held a special kind of art treasure: the so-called Prinzhorn Collection. It is named after the physician Hans Prinzhorn, who collected around 6,000 works of art from inmates in the Heidelberg hospital between 1919 and 1921. In the twenties, the collection caused a worldwide sensation. Famous artists such as Paul Klee, Picasso and Dali were inspired by the Prinzhorn collection in their work.

The Nazis exhibited some works of art from the collection in their notorious exhibition of degenerate art. There, they wanted to place the entire modernism under general suspicion. Of course, pictures of psychiatric patients were ideal for this purpose. A number of artists became victims of the euthanasia murders under the Nazis, while many more disappeared in the 1930s. During this period, the Heidelberg University Hospital, under the famous neurologist Carl Schneider, became the driving force behind euthanasia, the murder program of the so-called handicapped.

Detection, recording and transmission of submarine buoy signals

The technology of the future tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean

The buoys planned for future tsunami detection in the Indian Ocean will be deployed up to 6000 meters deep in the ocean, where they will have to function for a year without further intervention. In the event of an alarm, however, the measurement data will not take a year to reach the surface, but only a few seconds.

After the devastating tsunami of 26. In December 2004 in Asia, the Indonesian government signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany for the rapid establishment of an early warning system. Currently, an experimental system is being prepared as part of the first stage of the tsunami early warning system. Automatic measuring stations will be installed at two locations on the seabed of the Sunda Trench off Indonesia’s western coast. These will each consist of a buoy and an ocean bottom unit ("OBU").

Volvo in crisis

High fuel prices are causing sales of Volvo’s rough cars to plummet in Sweden, too

Volvo has long stood for "safety with Swedish steel" in Germany, but this concept is no longer particularly contemporary. Rising fuel prices and the environmental discourse are causing noticeable sales problems for the voluminous Volvo sleds today. In the homeland Sweden one speaks of a Volvo crisis.

Volvo means "I roll," but that doesn’t apply to the SUV monster XC90, which remains on the showroom floor in the primary sales country, the U.S., and elsewhere. And just a few years ago, the XC models (XC stands for Cross Country) were Sweden’s biggest single export in the USA.

Pence or pelosi?
Pence or pelosi?

In 1801, the House of Representatives had to choose between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in a contingent election. Images: Public domain

What U.S. constitutional law provides in the event of an inconclusive election

Three days after the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump’s lawyers have filed complaints in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. The courts had to hear these appeals by 8 a.m. at the latest. December have decided. That’s the day states must name the electors they will send to the electoral college, which will meet on 14. December is to elect the president.

Sdmi more headless than ever

Initiative head Chiariglione resigns after hackers reveal internal details about SDMI technology

Richard Chiariglione, executive director of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), announced his resignation yesterday. Shortly before, two French hackers had started to document their successful attacks on SDMI technologies on the web .

Chiarglione used this year’s first meeting of the initiative in Los Angeles to officially announce his resignation. He announced that he would be stepping down from his post in the next few months and then returning to his real job at Telecom Italia’s research department. The SDMI consortium has not yet been able to provide any information about possible successors.

Nuclear millennium?

A report warns of possible Y2K consequences for nuclear weapons systems

In this country, the excitement about the possible consequences of the Y2K problem is not too great. In the USA, on the other hand, panic is already spreading and the computer bug is mingling with apocalyptic fears of the end of the world. The problem is known to stem from the fact that previously only two digits were used for the internal clock of computers and chips to represent the date, which can lead to misinterpretation and thus disruption of programs that use dates when the year 2000 comes around.

Pessimists believe that the entire infrastructure of a country, based on computer systems, could be paralyzed: Airplanes fall from the sky, water and electricity supplies are interrupted, electronic banking systems fail, and many machines and devices with embedded chips no longer function. And then, of course, could be accidentally launched atomic bombs that devastated the world. Nuclear weapons rely on many computer systems and millions of embedded chips that must operate accurately. Particularly because they are always on alert and a routine begins when the launch of an enemy nuclear bomb is registered, launching a counter-strike before impact, nuclear weapons systems are especially at risk.