Category Archives: Culture

ICTs and urban life

In a couple of days, I’ll be attending the Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin. I’m looking forward to this event since it gives an opportunity to pick up a topic again that I had to neglect for a while: urban communication. I’ve just added a question on Quora that sums up my interest in this subject – In what ways do ICTs influence our experience of urban life? Continue reading

Peaceful co-existence – Social networks and niche communities

Last Saturday, I went on a Deutschlandradio Wissen talk show to discuss online communities. The other two speakers were Sarah Krohn, moderator at hungrig-online.de, and Mark Ralea, community and marketing expert. What it came down to was an interesting discussion of large social networks versus smaller niche communities. Continue reading

Metropolis – 83 years later and we’re still afraid of machines

Yesterday, I watched Metropolis, one of the most influential German silent films of all times. To be honest, I had hardly ever heard about it until recently, when an almost original version of the 1927 film was discovered in Argentina. Having seen it now, I can now understand why there’s been so much fuzz about it. With its special effects and high production cost, it must have been the equivalent of today’s Hollywood blockbusters. But more importantly, it’s a historical artifact that reflects an aspect of the modern Zeitgeist that is still with us today – the paradox of technology as progress and technology as enslavement. Continue reading

Privacy and innovation – two parts of the same story

The information society has given birth to a popular new German word – “gläserner Mensch”, meaning a human being made of glass or simply “transparent individual”. It encapsulates Germans’ widespread fears that Google, Facebook, the state and others record every bit of information about them. Unfortunately, this disproportionate emphasis on privacy and data protection threatens to suppress innovation. A call for a more balanced discourse. Continue reading

Extremely Green and Incredibly Remote

I’m back – have been for a while, but settling into a new life with a new job is taking up a lot of time. As promised, I will try to continue this blog. And after one month in Peru and Bolivia there are some stories to tell. One is about our stay with an indigenous community in the Bolivian jungle, where a solar-powered radio was the only link to the outside world. Continue reading

German stereotypes – A beer glass full of precision

My days in London may be over soon, as I’m about to move back to Berlin. Time to sum it all up and take a final look at Germany from the outside, or rather at the foreign opinions and representations of Germany. Luckily, I won’t need to go off on some abstract cultural analysis. Instead, I will lure the reader into clicking on “Keep reading…” by saying that this post is about beer. Now you want to click on Continue reading

The wind of change blowing through my London living room

berlinwall

I was only 5 years old when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. So I have no recollection of that day. I once had to interview my parents about it for a school assignment and they said we spent the night together watching it on TV, not believing (them) or not understanding (me) what we were witnessing. I should see if I can still find that essay somewhere in our attic back home. 20 years later, I’m living in London, following the celebrations through the eyes of the British media. Continue reading