35 facts about Germany

Tuesday 15 May 2007 @ 5:12 pm

The country

  • Germany’s territory covers about 137,850 sqm (slightly bigger than Montana).
  • The biggest city is the capital Berlin with 3.4 mill inhabitants (Hamburg: 1.74 mill, Munich: 1.26 mill).
  • Germany consists of 16 states, 3 of which are city states (Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen).
  • Germany shares borders with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.
  • One of the world’s top exporters, with the main exports being cars, machines and chemical products.
  • 18 is the universal age of consent.
  • There are 9 to 13 holidays (varies from state to state).
  • Employees get 20 to 30 days paid vacation per year.
  • The population growth rate is -0.033 - more of a decline rate.
  • 34% of the population are Protestants and also 34% are Catholics.

Innovations

  • Johannes Gutenberg developed a technique to print with movable type around 1450.
  • Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit developed precise thermometers and the scale still used in the US.
  • Robert Koch discovered the anthrax bacillus (1877) and the tuberculosis bacillus (1882) for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize.
  • Karl Benz built the first automobile in 1886.
  • Emil Berliner’s patent for a gramophone was granted in 1887.
  • Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895 and was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
  • Karl Ferdinand Braun developed the cathode-ray tube in 1897.
  • Rudolf Diesel built the first diesel engine in 1897.
  • Melitta Bentz didn’t enjoy coffee grounds in her cup. So in 1908 she develops the coffee filter.
  • Konrad Zuse invented the first programmable computer (the Z3) in 1941.

Oddities

  • The state Hesse has a death penalty in its constitution, but Federal Law prevents its use.
  • The biggest festival is called Oktoberfest, but starts in September.
  • The price for a liter beer at the Oktoberfest 2007 will be 7.70 to 8.00 Euros.
  • There are about 300 sorts of bread and over 1500 sorts of sausage in Germany - but not one decent barbeque sauce.
  • Everyone who owns a tv has to pay 17.03 Euros per month for public tv.
  • Prices of books are set by the publisher, not the retailer.
  • Germans are the World Heavyweight Champions of recycling.
  • Why heavyweight? Because they have the fattest asses in all of Europe.
  • Germans are known for their “Bratwurst”. But their favorite fast food is the Doener Kebap.
  • During WWII the Germans couldn’t get Coca Cola syrup. So, the threw together everything juicy they could find and called it Fanta.

The Autobahn

(since you’re always asking)

  • Germany has an autobahn network of more than 7600 miles.
  • 65% of the autobahn has no speed limit.
  • Autobahns may only be used by powered vehicles that have a maximum speed exceeding 60 km/h.
  • If you get caught running out of gas on an autobahn, you get fined.
  • No, the Autobahn wasn’t Hitler’s idea.

“To the English I say this: be grateful for the Germans. Were it not for them, you would be the most hated people in Europe.”
(Simon Munnery, Attention Scum)

I just received an email from a reader, who informed me that the “Germans are the fattest Europeans” study has used the wrong data. I read it up and, although my ass backs the story up, it indeed might be wrong.

Revised fact: Germans are one of the fattest nations in Europe. Another title I didn’t win. I feel so inadequate. (Thanks to Johta for the tip ;-))

Popularity: 60% [?]





No Social Media for the troops

Monday 14 May 2007 @ 5:39 pm

A couple of days ago the Pentagon started it’s own YouTube channel. As it says there:

“Multi-National Force - Iraq established this YouTube channel to give viewers around the world a “boots on the ground” perspective of Operation Iraqi Freedom from those who are fighting it.”

“Those who are fighting it” can’t watch it, though. Along with MySpace and other Social Media sites, YouTube is now blocked for the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan “to save bandwidth and network resources”.

They can probably live with the inability to watch

- Combat action
- Interesting, eye-catching footage
- Interaction between Coalition troops and the Iraqi populace.
- Teamwork between Coalition and Iraqi troops in the fight against terror.

But the soldiers have used sites like MySpace to keep in touch with their loved ones at home. With no proper alternative this move doesn’t really make the Pentagon look good.

Let’s hope they find another way to enable the soldiers to keep in contact with their families and friends.

Popularity: 6% [?]





Why bother with Second life, when you’ve got a first one to finish?

Saturday 12 May 2007 @ 12:57 am

Disclaimer: I’ve never “played” Second Life and I don’t intend to do so. Ever. This rant is not born out of dissatisfaction with the product.

No, I’m overcome with extreme annoyance whenever I hear someone mentioning Second Life. Especially if it is referred to as a game.

Second Life is not a game. It’s a giant 3D chat room with some scripting capabilities. Making money of noobs is not a game concept.

And why do I get the impression that the only residents of Second Life are 40-ish perverts who gladly shell out a couple of bucks to dress up their teenage girlie avatar nicely and the people who spend their time making these clothes?

Oh, and then there is the bottom of the marketing barrel. Guys who’ve read that Second Life is the next big thing and who now try to convince everyone to be part of it. And for a small fee they might even help them.

But what do you expect? The noobs start their SL-career to make money. They don’t, they stop, they still turn up as a resident in the statistics.

Do you think the big companies would waste their resources for this marketing frenzy if Linden said “Oh, we’ve got about 200,000 players”?

I don’t think so. But 2,000,000 and rapidly growing? Hey, the others are doing it, so there must be something to it.

So, go on. Be a part of the ugly, buggy online community that is Second Life. And if you get pwned by a bunch of flying penises: It’s not weird - It’s your life now.

Okay, I feel better now. I hope I haven’t insulted you too much. If I have - I didn’t mean to. Don’t take it too seriously. That was just me ranting.

Popularity: 9% [?]





Why do so many people think Americans are stupid?

Tuesday 8 May 2007 @ 9:10 pm

I’ll tell you why: They see videos like this:

Edit: Or this one, apparently from the same show:

Popularity: 11% [?]





10 clear signs that you’re a workaholic

Monday 7 May 2007 @ 11:53 pm

Your company hired a new accountant just to keep track of your expense account.

Five years ago you had a lot of friends in the company. Today you have the same friends, but they are all unemployed.

You’re wife is worried that you’re working too much, but relaxes after you tell her that you just had some java with your colleagues.

You’re on first name base with your boss, but lately your kid calls you Mister.

The management thought about moving your company to China, but didn’t because Chinese workers would not be as cost-efficient as you.

You took two extra jobs to fund your hobbies. Now you’re wealthy but don’t have a hobby anymore.

You are Paris Hilton’s PR agent.

The sign on the dialysis machine that pumps caffeine in your veins says “sleep is for the weak”.

You are sure that you’re married, you just can’t remember to whom.

You are a single working mother of three children.

Popularity: 7% [?]





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