Space Nazis

Did the Nazis really build a secret space station on the moon?

"Moon Party" by ViaMoi on Flickr

"Moon Party" by ViaMoi on Flickr

Americans have proved especially adept at kicking up conspiracy theories about the mysterious, widely unexplored frontier of outer space with far-reaching suspicions about the first lunar landing and UFO programs filling up slots on the History channel. It is a Finnish producer, however, that chose to channel one of the more interesting rumors, that of a secret lunar Nazi space station, into a full-length science-fiction comedy. The movie Iron Skies, from the makers of the successful parody series Star Wreck, will be released in April 2012. In the movie, Nazi scientists, at the end of WWII, make a scientific breakthrough that allows them to send spaceships to the dark side of the moon (sent from a secret Nazi base in Antarctica, no less) to build the “Schwarze Sonne,” a military space station. (Here’s a link to a German site with more details about the film)

These rumors of ambitious Nazi space programs and secret super-advanced Nazi aeronautics technology originated, unsurprisingly, during WWII itself. A 1945 issue of Life magazine claimed there had been “plausible schemes” drawn up by the Third Reich to not only build such a space station, but to arm it with a sun gun that would use mirrors to weaponize sunlight by focusing it into a destructive, burning beam. The article did note that the laws of physics suggest such a mirror-sunlight weapon could be impossible to create, but the space-station theory, a more difficult one to disprove, lived on.

"V-2 Rocket" by Kevin H. on Flickr

"V-2 Rocket" by Kevin H. on Flickr

Vladimir Terziski, the Bulgarian president of the American Academy of Dissident Sciences, is a modern believer in the space base. He believes that the Germans landed on the moon as early as in 1942, seventeen years before the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission landed what has been known throughout history as the first human machine on the moon. (Read his article here)

Smithsonian Space History Curator Michael Neufeld believes that the reality is much less exciting, however, saying that the Nazis absolutely did not have any sort of space program—their technological ambitions were for weaponry and warfare. Neufeld said, “This is a typical misunderstanding. People equate a rocket program with a space program, and the German rocket program was about building weapons only. That was the only reason Nazi Germany supported rocketry.”

Although they never developed space shuttles, German rocket engineers played an important role in the National Socialist regime and after its fall. During WWII Germans engineered the V-2 rocket, which, while doing little to help Germany’s war efforts, ended up being a key tool for developing space travel in the Soviet Union and the United States. Many German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, played important roles in Russian and American space programs after the war.

But for anyone who is still intrigued by secret moon stations and space Nazis, here is a trailer for the upcoming movie Iron Skies: Iron Sky Teaser Trailer

Deposit to Stay Alive

Many see the United States as being wasteful, compared to the “green” Germany.  Germans take pride in recycling by separating their trash, bringing their own reusable shopping bags to grocery stores, and using color-coded trash cans to help the recycling system.  Although recycling is not required by law, deposits are.  Since 2002, buyers of soft drinks, milk, juice, or any other container are required by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany to pay “Pfand” (deposit) before buying.

Scenario: You go into a grocery store and pick up a case of water.  You go to the check out counter, and pay for the water, and additionally to that charge, you pay Pfand.

Some may think this is a hassle, but the buyer is able to return these bottles to any grocery store and get their money back.  This not only helps Germany stay “green” but it also helps the homeless survive.


Picture taken by: Dina Imsirevic

While being abroad in Germany this summer, I noticed how many homeless individuals go through trash bins outside of museums, airports, and other various public places.  They did this in order to collect glass or plastic bottles that others threw away.  And why not? By returning bottles that were found, the homeless can feed themselves.

Prices that one pays on deposit varies on the type of bottle or container.

Glass bottles for most beer and beer mixed drinks (usually up to 0.5 litre): € 0.08
Reusable glass and plastic bottles for most soft drinks (usually up to 2 litres): € 0.15
Reusable glass bottles of a special kind and design (usually flip-top bottles for beer): between € 0.15 and € 0.50

Returning a bottle for €0.50 (≈$0.70) can buy a homeless individual a small snack or drink.  And by collecting more bottles, more food and  can be bought.

Recycling helps save families money, keeps our environment green, saves energy, conserves natural recourses, and of course, feeds the homeless.

Color choices of outfits, College Students in America and Germany

“Anni, do you have more than 3 colors on you?”, “Do I?”

A friend of mine who has spent several years in Austria told me that Americans dress differently than Germans or Austrians. They pay extreme attention to color match. If they wear red, the accessories such as a bracelet or errings would also be the same color or at least match the color. It’s hardly possible to imagine that a German wears more than 3 colors on him or her. I was wondering if this is true, so I asked my German friend Anni. She was so nervous and checked her clothes to make sure she is OK.

The most common look of our Mizzou students is Mizzou T-shirt+ shorts or jeans. It’s easy and they don’t need to spend too much time on picking clothes.

© Laurie Skrivan

When I was doing research on the German students’ outfit, I felt everyone has a different style and they do spend some time on picking clothes.

© digital cat ’s @ Flicker

A big difference I found between American and German students on color matching is, if a German student chooses a bold color such as red as the main color for his or her outfit, he or she would not wear another bold color such as orange. They won’t have two main colors at the same time. However, the color choices of American students seems to be more free. They can have a yellow T-Shirt + jeans + pink socks or whatever they like. They don’t care about color matching, or in other words they have a totally different philosophy on color matching.

Arsenal tries to save its season with an injection of international talent


Courtesy of Flickr

After an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United in the third week of a young EPL season, reporters went as far as asking longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger if he was set to retire.

Rather than retiring and returning to his home country of France to party with Jay-Z in Saint-Tropez, he got busy adding players to a team in desperate need of a lift. Before the transfer window closed on Wednesday, Arsenal purchased:

  • German center back Per Mertesacker (from Werder Bremen)
  • Brazilian left back Andres Santos (from Fenerbahce)
  • South Korean striker Park Chu-young (from Monaco)
  • Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta (from Everton)

Also, Chelsea agreed to loan Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun to the North London club until the end of the season.

After so many additions, Gunners fans, playfully known as the “Gooners” for their die hard loyalty, won’t put up with anything other than a top 4 finish in the league.

The culture of Arsenal fans might not be to expect big name signings, but rather they expect to keep the young talent they’ve developed. They haven’t liked the losses of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. Maybe these recent signings will give the Arsenal faithful new hope.

Additional sources: Grantland.com, http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/football-league-blog

From Italy With Love

As the home of famous lovers Romeo and Juliet and the birthplace of the word Romance (Roma is the stem of the word romance) it would seem quite obvious that Italy began many of our modern day love and wedding traditions.

Every woman wants a big beautiful rock on her taken finger.  Each morning she can wake up, look at the ring and know that her man loves her.  But, how did we ever decide that a diamond ring should symbolize marriage or engagement?  Well, diamond engagement rings have actually been popular in Italy since the 1400’s.  Traditionally, Italians believed that diamonds are formed by the flames of love.

Since there are no diamonds in Italy, Italians had to import them.  The diamond industry has been known to be brutal and at times, dangerous, like with blood diamonds in Africa.

Italian women used to gather their furniture, clothes and other odds and ends to offer as a dowry.  This tradition evolved over time into the modern day wedding shower.  The couple is now offered gifts that will help them to start their lives together and lessen the financial burden of the wedding in both Italy and America.

The tradition of having a lavish wedding where guests thoroughly enjoy the food, music and people has long been practiced in Italy; however, there are many traditions that did not make it to the United States from abroad.  Like this one, the groom in an Italian wedding may carry a piece of iron which symbolizes strength and will ward off evil spirits.  Also, the bride wears a veil to hide her face from the evil spirits and after the ceremony, when the party starts, it is good luck to tear the veil.

Perhaps the most different and I say disappointing tradition for Italian weddings would be this: the bride doesn’t get her solo moment.  After spending oodles of time picking out the perfect wedding gown, the bride does not get the entry where every person has their eyes on her, instead, the bride and groom enter together, which does make the entry more about the couple.  Despite their entry difference, I think Italians left everyone a pretty amazing set of traditions that make weddings and being in love incredibly special; however, it is important to remember that traditions vary by region, religion and family in the United States and in Italy.  So, while many of these traditions are well known, they are not practiced by everyone; however here is a video of the highlights of an Italian wedding.


The couple after having a traditional Italian wedding.

(Shades of) Grün –1

German Grün VS. American Green


“Which do you like better, the U.S. or Germany?” my Dad asked me after my first year at MU. Though I had been to both countries and had a taste of both cultures, I didn’t find it an easy question to answer. There are just so many aspects of each of them. But as a traveler, one thing that I am sure of is that disposable plastic cups in express hotels in the U.S. don’t win my favor. In Germany, instead, reusable cups are always found in hotels and inns.

The cup situation probably could suggest the different fashions of  “Going Green” of the two countries, as “Going Green” has become a global trend. Americans have environmental activists, such as the No Impact Man. And they are the people who push the movement forward. In Germany, it is more than a No Impact Man; sustainability penetrates the culture. It is more than a group of activists demonstrating in front of the White House, being green has become a tag of the nation.

I read that in Germany, the share of renewable energy has crossed 20 percent mark based on the report by German Association of Energy and Water Industries released on August 29, 2011. The increase could not be possible without its widespread “Green Culture”, no matter it is the ambition of the government administration, the effort of the Green Party in politics or the consciousness of the people. Meanwhile, in the U.S. the Obama administration just gave up its plan on stricter ozone pollution standards. The USA Erklärt blog compared the energy consumption of the U.S. and Germany.

A well-developed recycling system is integrated into Germans' mundane life. Source: Sarah Bush

The policies cannot do it all. I remember visiting a German couple in Osnabrück in Germany. In their house, they have bins in different rooms to collect different kinds of trash or recyclables. They also introduce these classification rules to their guests and ask them to follow. They grow vegetables in their garden and air dry their laundry in their backyard. The husband is now retired and is involved in local conservation groups. I’ve been looking forward to visiting them again and studying from them.

Komödie vs. Comedy – Understanding German Humor

© Cinetext

Germany is experiencing the end of an era with the recent August 22nd death of Bernhard Victor Christoph Carl von Bülow, pseudonym “Loriot.”  For decades, Loriot has characterized and personified German humor, as well as confused and confounded American and British comedians.

It would be a decently safe assumption to say that Loriot lead and directed German humor.  His influence is massive and lives on even after his death.  Dieter Wedel, one of Germany’s most famous television directors (known for shows like Tatort and Schwarz Rot Gold) once said, “The Germans don’t have any sense of humor — the Germans have Loriot!” However, such a broad, sweeping statement also asks the question, what is German humor and why is it so widely misunderstood?

Loriot is known for his live action sketches, but even more so, for his cartoons.  His work reflects the mindset and pervasive “German” perspective on life and human interactions.  Most of his humor stems from problems with communication between individuals during every day life, the comedy therein coming from the staunchly formal nature of the German language.  Loriot was, as per usual with all typically German writers, a stickler for grammar.  In this sense, Americans attempting to understand German humor often deal with the problem of the fundamental humor being, so to say, “lost in translation.”

Many German jokes are based on double meanings, coming from German’s favoritism towards taking many words, ideas and concepts and crashing them into one (sometimes absurdly) long compound word.  The German language has very strict grammatical structure and often relies more on humorous ideas opposed to English’s reliance on wordplay.  Loriot brought a sort of inanity to his work with the juxtaposition of his character’s dignified behavior against the exaggeration of their features.  This is typified in his short sketch Herren im Bad.

For the original version (auf Deutsch) click below

Herren im Bad (Men in the Bathtub)

Seriousness combined a focus on banal flaws is a stereotypical theme in German humor.  This is also seen in the way that Germans observe and perceive the world and people around them.  I mean, there is no serious data to prove this and I’m being entirely subjective, but in my experience, Germans do not focus on personality flaws as something you can easily change, but instead as something that is a basic part of a person’s being.  You aren’t dumb because you don’t study, you’re just dumb because you are.  They’re not going to shun you for being a bit socially inept, they’re just going to accept that you’re kinda weird and run with it.  Needless to say, Americans generally DO NOT get this.

The problem with German humor, is that you need to understand German to get it.  You can’t explain or clarify the nuances of German diction or the play of grammar in English.  Comedy doesn’t translate.  Loriot’s genius comes from the fact that he was exactly as meticulous with his words as he was with his physical comedy.  He made fun of the narrow-mindedness of and excessive formality of German while maintaining respect for the language’s tone and essence.

In response to Loriot’s death, Germany’s president of parliament, Norbert Lammert, captured von Bülow’s lasting effect on German humor and culture stating, “Vicco von Bülow put his stamp on cultural life in Germany for decades and, as Loriot, helped Germans to gain a more relaxed view of their mentality and habits.”

Stefan Kuzmany, a correspondant from Der Spiegel(Germany’s top newsmagazine) summed it up nicely: “Abschließend bleibt zu sagen, dass Loriots Tod absolut nicht nötig gewesen wäre. Unsterblich war er längst. Er wird es bleiben.”  (“Loriot’s death was absolutely unnecessary.  He had long since become immortal. And will remain it.”)

Pitchfork takes on Paris

Mes chères hipsters français,

Save up your money and start hydrating now – Pitchfork Music Festival is coming to Paris. The über-indie gathering of flannel-wearing artists will be transplanting itself from its usual stomping grounds in Chicago to Sarkozy’s backyard (not literally) 28-29 October, and it’s sure to be a musical playground for all the cool kids in town.

The festival, created by the music-blog powerhouse Pitchfork, has a reputation for its lineups de la mode and ticket prices cheap enough that you can still afford your cigarettes (€79,90 is much lower than the average fest). Even though the complete artist roster has not yet been announced, headliners already include Bon Iver, Cut Copy, Wild Beasts, Aphex Twin, Jens Lekman and Pantha du Prince. Chills down your spine? Yup, me too.

Alright, you can go back to being apathetic now.

Pitchfork, who teamed with French music agency SUPER! to put on the festival, secured La Grande Hall de la Villette for the two days. So, being that it’s inside, you will not have to worry about the weather as you shimmy into the wee hours of the morning with 5,000 of your closest friends who will be there too.

And while this may be Pitchfork’s first time taking on a major European event solo, they’ve had some practice; they teamed with the UK’s All Tomorrow’s Parties this year and Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival last. They know how it’s done, they won’t let you down. Already, they’ve promised a club night with DJs playing until 5 a.m. – sure to be spinning only samples that no one knows – and a special guest on Saturday.

The rest of the artists will be announced in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, mark your calendars and learn your lyrics. For those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, we will be raging with jealousy sending our most positive vibes your way.

Cut Copy Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago, 2011

Let’s Break Some Dishes & Head to the Pub

A wedding cake frosted with the German flag colors.  This image was taken from Google.

Move over, Kim Kardashian.  You may have had an extravagant wedding that will air on E! in October, but your wedding did not last three days.  In Germany, the traditional wedding celebration typically lasts several days.  However, this differs depending on the region of Germany.

On the first day, the couple must have a civil ceremony in the center of town that only friends and family attend.  For the second day, guests must be ready to bring some dishes they don’t want back in one piece.  The couple throws a huge party with more family and friends to celebrate the marriage that’s about to take place.  During the party, dishes are broken and then cleaned up to symbolize the fact that nothing will ever be broken again in the household.  (This could refer to the marriage itself, or something physical in the house).  After that, the best man takes the bride out to a pub until the husband can find her.  The husband then has to pay for all the alcohol the two have consumed.  That tradition is called Polterabend.

Finally, on the third day, the actual wedding ceremony takes place.  German brides will only have flower girls as traditional (for Americans) wedding attendants, which means there aren’t any competitions to see who will have the task of being the bride’s maid.  During the vows, the couple kneels down and the groom will often rest his knee on the bride’s wedding dress.  By doing this, he shows the bride that he will wear the pants in the relationship.  However, if the bride decides to step on the groom’s foot, that means that she will have all of the control and he will limp out of the church.  A religious service can follow the wedding reception, seeing as not everyone does that nowadays.

http://www.worldweddingtraditions.com/locations/west_europe_traditions/german_traditions.html

http://www.transparent.com/german/polterabend/

Street Foods in Europe

When I go to different countries, the thing I am most excited about is… food! The food that you can only taste in that country, the food that you’ve never tasted before! Especially when you are a backpacker in a foreign country, you will meet more delicious but cheap authentic foods on the street. Here I present three street foods in Europe that you can hardly find in the United States as street foods.

1. Fried Muikku from Finland

A Finnish man eating Muikku image from travelbyfood.com

In Finland, one of the most popular street food is baked Muikku. The English name of this fish is vendace. Unlike in the United States, in Finland, it’s not uncommon to see seafood on the street. Besides Muikku, you will see many other seafoods such as fried calamaries, smoked salmon and shrimp. According to travelfood.com, this fried fish costs around 5 euros, which is around 7 dollars. If you are interested in knowing other Finnish street foods, you can go this blog and explore more about Finnish street foods: http://www.travelbyfood.com/streetfoodfinland1.php

2. Patat Oorlong from the Netherlands

Patat Oorlog image from simplyjacy.com

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fries? Many of you, including me, might think of ketchup. Of course the only french fries’ best friend is ketchup, right? Well, in the Netherlands, you can meet other accompaniments to French fries. They are mayonnaise and peanut sauce. The combination of the ingredients might sound strange to some of you, but maybe that’s because you’ve never tried patatje oorlog in the Netherlands. You can also add onions on the top of patatje oorlog if you want. The cone-shaped holder seems to make patatje oorlog more interesting. For those of you who like to know more about patatje oorlog, here’s a link: http://streetcuisine.blogspot.com/2011/01/patat-oorlog-dutch-street-fusion.html

3. Arancini from Italy

Arancini image from italian-food-lovers.com

Arancini is fried rice ball in Italy. Arancini is originally from Sicili, and now you can also meet this food on all the streets in Italy. Before being fried, the rice was actually risotto that we all are familiar with. Inside the freshly-fried risotto, there is gourmet mozarella cheese. It must be good because it’s made in Italy.For those who want to taste this Italian street food without going to Italy, here’s the link to an arancini recipe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKGB6-W0I_Q

Elle Me Dit (She Tells Me)

The energetic British music artist, Mika, plans to release his new album, “L’Origine d’Amour” in 2012. What’s different about this album is that most of the songs are in French. Mika’s two previous albums were in English despite the fact that he grew up in Paris. This album is also more sophisticated but also encompasses Mika’s happy, upbeat melody. The twelve songs on this album are all about love. The single for this album, “Elle Me Dit,” was released in July. Here’s the music video!

The video kind of surprised me. I thought there would be more dancing considering the chorus of the song is, “Elle me dit danse,” which means “she tells me to dance.” I love the song and the energy that it possesses. Even if you don’t speak French, it’s fun to dance to. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of Mika’s new album.

Mika’s previous album, “The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” was released in English, but Mika performed a French version of his song “Grace Kelly” while performing in Paris. I think that it’s really great, maybe even better than the English version. You can watch his live performance in Paris of the French version below.

The date for the release of the album has not been determined yet but it will be sometime in 2012. “Elle Me Dit” is still not available in U.S. iTunes stores. If you would like to download the song, you can find it here: Elle Me Dit – Mika

A History of Winning, But What About the Future?

Manchester United’s reign over the English Premier League for the last 25 years, ever since Sir Alex Ferguson took control of the club, has been unmatched throughout history. In the last 25 years they have won over 37 major honors, including several league titles, and seeing as the club has been around since 1878 and has won a total of 61 major honors, it’s safe to say they are only getting better.

That being said, they hold the current record for the most league championships won.  Now the question is whether or not they can continue this incredible run.

Image taken from Google.

I think that if they keep pulling in the major endorsements and major fan bases, they will continue to have  proper funding in order to maintain their world-class team. After all soccer is the same as any other major sport anywhere in the world, the team with the most money, gets the best players.  Most people think this is the wrong way for teams to gain players, but in reality who doesn’t like getting paid obscene amounts of money to play a game they absolutely love? But the thing is, the better the team, the more fans, the more money to buy better players, the better the players, the better the team. I agree that it is an unfair advantage over the smaller, not as good teams. Its always been that way, But in the world these days it’s a dog-eat-dog world and only the best survive, and at the rate they’re going Manchester United will be around for a very long time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_united

http://therepublikofmancunia.com/

Only Time Will Tell

While there are nearly hundreds of watch blogs and a huge community of international watch lovers, the cultural significance of watches has slowly begun to decline in America. Here the youth culture is taught early on to rely on technology and instant gratification, specifically with the attachment to smart phones and computers. Yet, nearly 3000 miles away, in Europe, watches are recognized as a symbol of status and class.

photo courtesy of http://www.authenticluxurywatches.com/

In Europe, not only are watches appreciated but they are held to represent so much more than simply a time piece. In most cases, especially in the 21st century, owning a watch denounces wealth–the ability to own something even though in our society it is no longer a necessity with growing reliance on smart phones, computers and other technological devices.

Every spring, for 8 days, the Baselworld Fair is held in Basel, Switzerland where hundreds of watch and jewelry companies from all over the world (some historically recognized as some of the world’s most premiere watch makers) come out to evaluate the industry and more important, to get a feel for the market.

This past year, the most interesting trend was that of women of high culture who have over time developed an affinity for timepieces.

What I’ve observed in America is that aside from special occasions, watches are not standard accessories for the American (man or woman). And while there is a small market of watches being produced in or for the US, the big sales take place overseas in countries like Switzerland and Germany where being punctual and on time are apart of  mass culture.

I’ve also noticed that aside from high culture, Americans don’t tend to see the need for a watch; the high class Americans wear them for that exact reason–I can, therefore I will. And with hip hop culture and reality TV taking Americans on a wild ride through loose morals and tacky dresses, the actual symbolism seems to be worth more than the function of the device. With diamonds dripping from top to bottom, who needs the time anyway?

http://www.neurope.eu/article/time-luxury

http://www.baselworld.com/en-US.aspx

Modified Molly (potentially) cures cancer

Chemistry has gotten to the point where we can essentially play as god, adding or removing electrons to alter the essence of a substance, thereby altering its effect.  Thus we live in sensitive times with the potential to target and destroy cancer cells with minimal damage to the patient.  Dr David Grant, scientific director of the charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, agrees in saying:

The prospect of being able to target blood cancer with a drug derived from ecstasy is a genuinely exciting proposition.

What You Wish you Had

Rollin, rolllin, rolling…keep that cancer away! RAWHIDE ?

In regards to cancer and health we must also delve into the definitions of what it means to be healthy or sick.  As a practicing holistic healer it is my definition that sickness is a realization of internal energetic (or psychic) divisions in the self (for you hindus out there atman would be the term).  These divisions manifest themselves in our outward physical shell as symptoms of sickness.

Health then, is to be understood as a realization of non-division (or wholeness).  In this discourse of health thoughts are the catalyst for health or sickness.  There have been multiple therapies utilizing MDMA to increase empathy, appreciation, and general well-being.  If our conscious and subconscious minds are settled and not in conflict (schisms) then we are less likely to develop sickness or disease.

Modern Science has implemented the use of drugs that only alleviate the symptoms of the sickness rather than addressing the root of the problem (int. division).  It is as if you have a cold and you take tylenol to decrease head pressure or pain.  These drugs are working on the receptor sites to essentially make you forget you are sick (further entrenching the sickness as you begin to think you are ok when you are not).  What we need as a society right now is not to take the easy way out and forget the problems, but instead to bring them into our conscious awareness and deal with them.

As a shaman and as one who cares about the creatures of the world and the world itself I condone use of medicines when utilized with the correct intention.  Heal yourselves, find your authentic truth and when you have…act as a lighthouse to those who haven’t.

Modified ecstasy could one day have a role to play in fighting some blood cancers, according to scientists.

It is important under the discourse of health to understand what tools are available when confronting a problem with such scope as cancer.  In the past the American  and the British government have decried substances such as MDMA as poison and even gone so far as to have it be a scheduled drug.  However when faced with the positive results of Ecstasy therapy logic should begin to overturn the taboo on medicines like the one above.
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BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14572284
For more information on MDMA
http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma.shtml