Gods, monsters, hybrids

An encounter with automotive in-betweens at the Salon d’Automobile in Paris 2006

"In the past, designers were servants in car companies; today, they are kings," says one of these designers: Patrick Le Quement is head of design at Renault, which was the first car company to create the post of design director. As cars have become better and more similar in quality, aesthetic criteria have become much more important over the last 15 years. Not the functional, but the symbolic-social utility value of a car is the primary incentive to buy today.

In design, however, it is not the unique imaginative power of a designer that manifests itself, but a certain cultural habitus. With Bourdieu, car design can also be seen as a "Social order turned into a body" today. It is a mirror of man’s body dreams. What the cultural scientist Hartmut Bohme writes about the human relationship to animals also applies to the relationship to automobiles in an astonishing way: they are not only useful objects, the human relationship to them also makes them objects of desire "objects of desire, of projection, of exchange and of feelings." The closeness and intensity of the human-animal relationship thus finds its modern counterpart in the human relationship with the car.


The deadliest days of the year

According to an analysis of death certificates in the USA, the risk of death is highest during the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Day – causes unknown

At least in the USA, the Christmas holidays and 1. January the deadliest days of the year. Studies had found that from Christmas to New Year, the number of suicides, murders and accidents increases. This led sociologists at the University of California to take a look at the normal death traps. Since external causes of death, such as those mentioned above, are small compared to natural causes. 93 percent of deaths occur "natural" Causes back.

It is interesting to ask whether during this period, when there is a lot of eating and drinking and when medical care is not optimal because of the holidays, the number of deaths usually increases. Isolated studies had indicated that an increase in fatal heart diseases was observed at Christmas and New Year’s Day.


Ecash and co: these were head births

Rudiger Grimm, e-payment expert at the Technical University of Ilmenau, on the end of digital coins

The "Salt of the Internet" the digital coins should become one day. But after the end of December for the CyberCoins of the CyberCash GmbH, now also the Deutsche Bank 24 has stopped its project eCash, which was started in autumn 1998. Although eCash inventor David Chaum made anonymous online payments possible with his ingenious process, online consumers were conservative.

This is confirmed by the latest survey of the "Internet Shopping Report". According to the survey, four out of five web shoppers prefer traditional payment methods. Three out of ten also pay online by direct debit, 27 percent by credit card. In contrast, only 0.9 percent of all online shoppers wanted to buy electronic money. Paying by cell phone – Paybox lets you dig – was at least able to achieve a respectable success rate of 2 percent (Paying by cell phone).


Must maaben take his slouch hat?

Must maaben take his floppy hat?

Must BfV-president Maaben leave? Image: BfV

Springer newspaper "Die Welt" reports on upcoming removal of the president of the domestic intelligence service

According to a report in the daily "The world" Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has decided to remove the president of the domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maaben. The Springer sheet refers to so far unconfirmed information from coalition circles. Merkel believes that the controversial head of the domestic intelligence agency has interfered too much in federal political debates. He is therefore no longer tenable as head of the agency.


Chinese nuclear power plant for turkey?

chinese nuclear power plant for turkey?

Screenshot from 13.9. The Northeast Passage off the Siberian coast has been clear for a few weeks now. Likewise, the winding path through the Canadian archipelago. The direct Northwest Passage has been blocked this year. The ice has been growing there again since the beginning of September. Picture: Uni Bremen

The energy and climate newsreel: Shrinking ice, severe storms and solar power for Africa’s villages

Summer is coming to an end and on the Arctic Ocean the sea ice will reach its minimum in these days or has already done so. This year it will have the second smallest extent since satellite measurements began, and its condition gives little cause for optimism. Already in the next, if not the next decade, it will disappear seasonally in summer, if the present trend continues.


A closed playground on the internet

A bill now before the U.S. president seeks to establish a controlled domain to provide a safe and clean place for children (and parents)

The world is unsafe, especially for children. In the USA it is not so much violence that is considered dangerous for their innocent souls, but rather sexuality. The US government is fighting the war-ready nation not only with strict laws in real life (dangerous doctor games), but also on the Internet. Now the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved a bill to create a protected zone for children on the Internet, which only needs to be signed by President Buch to become law.

The Communications Decency Act (CDA), which was intended to ban indecency online, was a decisive factor in the politicization of some netizens at a time when the Web was only just being discovered by business and politics (the Communications Decency Act has been repealed). In 1997, however, the CDA failed at the Supreme Court (The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the CDA as unconstitutional). The next step was the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) in 1998 (the comeback of the Communications Decency Act). Already signed by Clinton, it has been rejected again as unconstitutional (CDA II failed). The Supreme Court, however, returned it to an appeals court this year. The matter has not yet been finally decided. In the case of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Supreme Court has yet to ie its final decision (far beyond the capabilities of today’s technology). The ie is whether public libraries can be forced by law to install filters if they want to continue to receive funding from the government.


Why sony failed to offer an ipod-like product

Electronics giant Sony vows improvement – and leaves everything the same

Better late than never, Sony board member Ken Kutaragi must have thought when he told the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo that Sony had been pursuing the wrong business policy for years.

"Because we are involved in the music business, Sony was very reluctant to offer an iPod-like product, but we have learned our lesson," said Kutaragi, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, the Sony subsidiary that developed the Play Station line and made it one of the few remaining cash cows for the Japanese.


It’s here

Ginger, the most famous scooter of the century

Yesterday, American inventor Dean Kamen presented his project Ginger to the public. Ginger, alternatively also simply called IT, was considered for months as the rough mystery of the Hi Tech industry. Now we know: Ginger is an electrically powered scooter.

It looks pretty funny, how a mechanical lawnmower. It’s called Segway and will cost around 3000 dollars. It travels at a speed of about 20 kilometers per hour. It feels like a pair of magic sneakers, says its inventor Dean Kamen. So it actually sounds quite interesting.


Right-wing bush bashers

Conservative election and trench warfare in the USA

Just a few months ago, when the torture images from Iraq were making the rounds and the polls were showing George W. Bush in the lead. Bush were plummeting, some political commentators in the U.S. and Europe were already writing obituaries for the incumbent president. A premature judgment, because Bush is far from out of the race. Latest polls show him neck-and-neck with Democratic challenger John Kerry, and trending upward again. The news spread by interested parties about the political death of the Texas president is, to paraphrase a bon mot by Mark Twain, consequently very dubious, or rather, too much so. greatly exaggerated

right-wing bush-basher

All too brash eulogies to George W. Bush, his neoconservative ideologues and pious allies on the Christian right are therefore missing the political realities in the United States.


Kids with a lot of dough

Consumer electronics in high demand

The Kids Consumer Analysis found that in the year 2000, German kids have more purchasing power than ever before. With a seven percent increase over the previous year, children between the ages of 6 and 17 have DM19.15 billion at their disposal. The focus of buying interest is on high-quality consumer electronics goods.

The investigation was conducted on behalf of the publishing houses Lubbke, Bauer and Axel Springer. To this end, 2206 interviews were conducted with children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 and parents to obtain an up-to-date picture of consumer behavior. The Kids Consumer Analysis has confirmed the established opinion that children are a sought-after advertising target group and that greater importance is attached to the use of PCs and the Internet.