Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wolves in Germany

For decades, wolves were thought to be completely extinct in Germany. Some people were happy about that, others were not. Now the wolves are back.

Over the last couple of years, the wolves have come back to Germany from Eastern Europe, mostly Poland and the Czech Republic. Therefore, the eastern areas of Germany have been the first where the wolves took residence. Currently, there’s a couple of packs and with every new generation of wolves born, the borders are pushed further west. Young wolves leave the pack they were born in behind and try to find (or found) a new one, a little away.

Biologists and green activists are very happy about this (I am, too, I like the idea of wolves back in the woods), because it shows nature is slowly regenerating and things are going back to ‘normal’. Hunters are not, because the number of deer they’re allowed to shoot is decreasing when wolves, too, hunt the herds. In Germany, the main reason for hunting is not just ‘killing animals’, it’s protecting the woods and balancing nature. Wolves are a natural balance, keeping the deer populations (and that of various other animals) at bay. That’s good for the forest, because deer feast on young trees, stumping their growth and even destroying them.

Over the last couple of years, as the wolves came back, especially one German tabloid (Bild-Zeitung) has done everything possible to raise the fear of those creatures. Every time one wolf is doing anything noticeable (like, for instance, kill one sheep), the tabloid is on to it, talking about the danger, showing aggressive wolves (sometimes even photoshopped, with green eyes, for example) and basically saying ‘humans will be next’.

That’s stupid for various reasons. First of all, humans are not exactly normal prey for wolves. They fear our scent and they are not really seeing us as something yummy to eat. (Besides, compared to a sheep or a deer, humans are poor sustenance.) In addition, there’s not all that many wolves around and they mostly hunt at night. They’re not coming into the cities right now (unlike foxes or wild boars), so the chances of actually meeting a wolf is next to non-existent (there’s always a slight one, of course). (And even if you should meet one, it’ll probably run away…)

While quite some hunters see the wolves as something positive (balancing deer much better, because they only go for the weak ones), others would prefer to do all the killing themselves and thus would really like to kill the wolves, too. But as wolves are on the list of rare and protected animals, that’s not allowed. You can, probably, imagine the discussions going on.

Wolves are back in Germany and that’s great news. We have at least some predators back in our woods (lynx and wild cat, too). Maybe even bears will one day be back (not just one, but a small population). Things are looking up for nature in Germany.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Useless Turning

One of the most useless things that happen regularly in Germany is daylight saving time.

In the night to the last Sunday of March, all clocks in Germany are turned forward an hour. That was this night. In the night to the last Sunday in October we’re ‘getting the hour back’ … in a way.

Supposedly that’s saving daylight, but I don’t really believe that. Okay, there’s one more hour of daylight in the afternoon, but there’s one hour less daylight in the morning. The number of daylight hours doesn’t change because of the change of the clock.

As a lot more people have to rise early these days (because we have a lot more commuters than twenty or so years ago), they don’t save any energy because of daylight saving time.

On the negative side, the whole system wreaks havoc with people’s biorhythm twice a year. It takes me about a week every time until my body has settled back into a normal rhythm. Other people don’t fare better.

“Daylight saving time” is a great idea in theory, but doesn’t really work in reality. I just wish politicians would realize this and stop this nonsense.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Update

Let me check for a moment … yes, it’s Saturday again and the weekend has begun. This means it’s time for the weekend update. This weekend’s occupations include:

  • DVD to watch: “Dexter” season one, if I get to it
  • Book to read: “World of Darkness” source book
  • Game to play: “Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations” for DS

I might also write some stuff and do a lot of other things – including helping my mom to get rid of her garden waste.

Friday, March 26, 2010


For a long time, I got my parcels from amazon two days after I had ordered anything (if it was in store). The last time I ordered something, it took a lot longer, despite everything being in store. This time, it took a lot less time.

I was very surprised this morning when the doorbell rang around 8 o’clock. I had ordered something (not only for me) the day before and had expected it to be delivered not before Saturday (2-days-rule) or even later. Instead, I got it today.

Not that I’m mad about it, the earlier, the better. But I’m really surprised, that must have been the fasted delivery from amazon ever.

Well, that gives me something to do over the weekend, at last. And it makes me wonder how long the next delivery takes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update on my crusades

The fact alone that I have kept quiet for quite a while does not mean I did not follow my two crusades: “Killerspiele” and “Size 0”.

In Germany, the discussion about “Killerspiele” has died down quite a bit lately. We’re not close to any important election and there have been no big amok runs lately (and that’s very good). So there’s no initial reason for politicians or the media to pull the “Killerspiele” back into the limelight.

Still, we are missing a balanced discussion about computer games in Germany. Most people who are not playing themselves know next to nothing about them. Luckily, though, the number of people playing computer games has risen with the growing area of the casual games (which I, personally, like as much as I like ‘real’ computer games for seasoned gamers). There has never really been a documentary or infotainment program that would cover the whole of computer games (except for a special on MTV which only very few people above the age of forty or so would have seen).

So I still want the politicians to realize that a) computer games are not inherent evil and b) the age restriction labels could be twice as big and still wouldn’t work as long as the people at the shops don’t take them seriously.

There has been a lot of talk about “Size 0” last year, when a couple of models died because of their super-thin bodies. Every glossy magazine suddenly claimed to make sure the model on the front page was not unnaturally thin. Every fashion designer suddenly claimed their models were naturally that thin. Of course, that wasn’t the truth.

So far, though, only very few magazines and fashion weeks have really put a stop to the “Size 0”- and “Size 00”-trend. Spain is the only country I know of which currently bans models below a certain BMI from fashion shows and front pages. “Brigitte”, a well known German women’s magazine, has taken to put ‘average’ women on the cover and also avoids the super-thin models.

But if you take a look at the fashion shows, you will still see models that look far too thin (even on screen when you’re supposed to look fatter than you are) to be normal.

Once upon a time a model was supposed to show women of average build what a dress would look like on them. These days a model shows women of average build what they should look like … possibly a few hours before they die.