Friday, March 20, 2009

Hello from Germany

Every time I arrive at the airport in Frankfurt and go through passport control under the EU circle of stars it strikes me how GERMAN the border officials look. Maybe it's just that the uniforms are green instead of blue, or maybe it's because noticeably more of them are blond and blue-eyed than South-, East-, and Westward of here, but without that intimidating Viking chill you find further North. And if you arrive from North-America it's impossible not to notice how silent they are. They might just give my passport an uninterested look, hand it back, and nod over my shoulder to the next person. The guy on Wednesday was comparably chatty and mumbled “Schön Tach noch” (about: have a nice day).

And as usual, Germany looks different from the inside than from the outside. The only thing I seem to read in newspapers and magazines overseas about Germany is the chancellor Angela Merkel's hesitation to throw more of taxpayer's money out of the window, which drowns these day in a vast sea of articles about layoffs, commentaries on The Great Recession, declines in consumer spending, rises in unemployment and other over-interpreted statistics. Browsing through a German newspaper however, reporting on the financial crisis remains in the business sector. Unlike six years ago, so far nobody of my friends or relatives has lost his job, and I haven't noticed any unusually large amount of closing sales either. Instead, Frankfurt has just "added a new dimension to shopping" with a recently opened 8 floor storehouse on Frankfurt's main shopping street Zeil, named in best Germenglish “MyZeil.” I have the best intention to visit the place and to support the German economy with my new credit card (in case Stefan recalls where he put the respective letter from the bank, cough).

Instead of global or national hiccups in the financial systems, the topics of the month are apparently the upcoming NATO summit in April in Kehl, and the country is still collectively in shock about the recent school shooting where a nutcase of a teenager killed 15 people.

Besides this, Germany has a federal election upcoming this year in September, meaning the election campaigns are slowly starting. As a consequence everybody is criticizing everybody else. Dirk Kurbjuweit (a well-known journalist) just published a book “Angela Merkel: Die Kanzlerin für alle?” (Chancellor for Everybody?) portraying her as too eager to please everybody and having lost direction. And Daniel Friedrich Sturm wrote a book “Wohin geht die SPD?” (Where does the Social Democratic Party go?). That's a good question indeed, maybe somebody should have asked it like 20 years ago. But what's really new about this is that, guess what, the guy has a blog.

Speaking of books, Lee Smolin's book “The Trouble with Physics” will be published in German on April 14th under the title “Die Zukunft der Physik: Probleme der String-Theorie und wie es weiter geht” (The Future of Physics: Problems of String-theory and how it will go on), according to the blurb “ein erfrischend provozierenden Buch” - a “refreshingly provocative book.”



34 comments:

Plato said...

Hi Bee,

I couldn't help but notice the comment on the Vikings:)

So are you saying there is a genealogy "that is more stronger in character" then other parts of the German people?:)

Also, conglomeration, is to push others out of the market. Lower prices on volume purchases is to pass on this benefit, to reduce customers confidence in other competitive venues of the same sort? Until, they can control the market.

Here in Canada, we call it Walmart.

I would think "in translation" the book of Lee's would just be prolonging the inevitable realization, that it may have fell short theoretically, unless an addendum has been added?:)

Best

Uncle Al said...

A pair of shoes! String theory demands BRST invariance to unite gravitation and inertial acceleration. If chiral atomic mass configuration violates the Equivalence Principle, string theory implodes.

Eötvös experiment: oppose single crystal test masses of space groups P3(1)21 (all atoms in 3-fold right-handed helices) and P3(2)21 (ditto left-handed) quartz.

If net output is not zero there is a massed sector vacuum chiral anisotropic background. Physics changes. Somebody should look.

mmfiore said...

We are a group that is challenging the current paradigm in physics which is Quantum Mechanics and String Theory. There is a new Theory of Everything Breakthrough. It exposes the flaws in both Quantum Theory and String Theory.
Please Help us set the physics community back on the right course and prove that Einstein was right! Visit our site The Theory of Super Relativity: Super
Relativity

Uncle Al said...

Theorists boast promiscuity while empiricists pay child support. What is your falsifying experiment? Plug in your theory and compare the results - you, GR, observation:

http://www.mathpages.com/rr/s6-02/6-02.htm

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/9148/title/Einstein_Unruffled_Relativity_passes_stringent_new_tests
Science 323(5919) 1327 (2009)
Double pulsar J0737-3039A/B is within 0.05% of GR model
http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2006-3/
http://arXiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0311039

Quantum field theory pulls 14 significant figures, prediction vs. observation of the 21-cm hydrogen hyperfine transition. What do you have? Kleinen Wert, großen Verlegenheit.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where else to ask this, but is Fermilabs discovery of Y(4140) something that fits in well or badly with that guy Garrett's theory of everything discussed here some time ago, or does it have no relevance ?

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

It’s hard to imagine what it must be like for someone who has been exposed and attained through their ambition, profession and circumstance a broadened sense of the world as you have. The only ones that I can think of who may be equally or better exposed might be journalists and then only if their assignments mandate an extended stay in any one place.

I must also confess to envy a bit your European Union, as it has not only better facilitated the freer exchange of goods and services, yet also people and with it their ideas. That is apposed to our paltry attempt in North America with NAFTA ,where not only was the freer mobility of its member peoples never seriously considered, yet effectively all hopes of such a concept lost with the suspicion induced increase in restrictions since 9/11. Now even the trade aspect is going backwards with the added bureaucracy it’s since provoked, and now threatened to be weakened further still with the current economic concerns.

Yes, I must admit at times I’ve wished that Canada could be added to that flag of stars you've displayed. Not that I see it as a perfect solution yet certainly a new and good beginning. I guess this serves to indicate there are more then just our neighbours south that look for and long for change.


Best,

Phil

stefan said...

Anonymous,

... is Fermilabs discovery of Y(4140) something that fits in well or badly with that guy Garrett's theory of everything discussed here some time ago, or does it have no relevance?

The Y(4140) is a very short-lived intermediate state in the decay of a B+ meson (which is a bound state of an up and an anti-bottom quark) - see here for the decay scheme. The preprint is arXiv:0903.2229v1, if you are interested in the details.

So, it's quite safe to assume that the Y(4140) is a so far unexpected state involving quarks and gluons, and not some novel, truly fundamental particle.

Tommaso had an excellent post about the Y(4140) and the riddles and open questions involving heavy QCD bound states. If you have more questions about the Y(4140), Tommaso's blog probably is a good place to get answers.

Best, Stefan

Klaus said...

Hi there,

I recomend the following link, I think it is self-explanatory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO9VlNFuUiU&feature=channel_page

Well done! Germany rocks!

Best
Klaus

Parantar said...

germany is the best!

Bee said...

Hi Anonymous: Since I'm not sure what your prior knowledge is, the short version of Stefan's answer is no, whatever it is, this has nothing to do with Garrett's theory. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

well, I guess it will happen sooner or later that Europe, Canada and the USA have some kind of trade union and simplified border procedures. After all, the circumstances of living are fairly similar in all of them. Question is whether the US-Americans will realize and accept that. As a (German) friend of mine once remarked, it is always funny to be interviewed by their border posts who generally seem to assume one would, once one has crossed the border, not want to leave again. Sometimes one has this urge to ask what makes you believe I would want to give up my living standard? And exactly for what? But anyway, what I was trying to say is that from my writing it is probably the differences that I emphasize, but there are actually more similarities than differences.

It is pretty sad however how badly the EU is doing so far dealing with the financial crisis. Best,

B.

Giotis said...

"It is pretty sad however how badly the EU is doing so far dealing with the financial crisis."

Yes Bee, because the Europeans leaders behave like pathetic little accountants that worry about the deficit. Americans on the other hand think big once again. Now they are throwing hundreds of billions of dollars (which they don't have) into the market to boost the purchasing power of the Americans. That's the key to the solution. Remember me that after this crisis is over, US will emerge even stronger.

Bee one more thing: Did you had the chance to check the link about the Zeitgeist movement in the "Political Ideologies" post? They have some pretty good ideas.

Bee said...

Hi Giotis,

I think it's too early to say whether the US procedure to relieve the financial crisis will be successful in the long run. It might just get them into another round of the same game. I am quite sympathetic to Merkel's call for better regulations that I believe are necessary for a more stable system that doesn't continue to create problems that eventually the whole world has to suffer from. The problem with the EU reaction to the crisis is that every country still puts its own citizen first, since politicians who do so score high. I am afraid it will take some more decades before the union really is a union. Best,

B.

Giotis said...

I'm not talking about the regulations. I agree with those. The problem with Germany is that they are afraid (as always) that they will pay for the problems of other European economies. Don't they understand that the economy is a global issue? If people in Europe and in the rest of the world don't have money to buy your cars your economy will collapse too. Your economy is based on exports.

Of course these politicians score high. Nationalism is a characteristic of the general uneducated public. It refers to the lowest instincts of humans.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steffan.
(Physics graduate, some time ago now - was unsure if combination details of quarks etc could in effect be "lemmas" of Garretts theory, and therefore wondered if this discovery could have any implications. Thanks for the responses)

Georg said...

Bee wrote:
Maybe it's just that the uniforms are green instead of blue,..
Hello Bee,
Police in Germany (exept Bavaria
and Saar Region) is switching over to
blue uniforms and blue/silver cars.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polizeiuniform_(Deutschland)
Regards
Georg

Bee said...

Hi George,

Yes, I read about this already some years ago, but then nothing happend. Best,

B.

Giotis said...

I have to admit that the Americans have the opportunity to rejuvenate their economy with billions of Dollars due to the dominant position of the Dollar in the world's economy. The Europeans don't have this possibility yet and so they must be careful with their spendings. Basically the Americans can produce wealth out of thin air by just cutting dollars without any reference to their true economy. That is why they don't care much about their debt. Some people even suggest that they started the war with Iraq because Sadam wanted to be paid for Iraq's oil with Euros instead of Dollars.

Everybody knows that but nobody talks about it. That's one of the privileges of the super power I suppose:-).

Georg said...

Hallo Bee,
here in the Palatinate the Police cars are mostly blue meanwhile,
uniforms are still green, the new uniform
I have seen once on a regional exhibition,
where Police had a booth of its own.
Georg

Bee said...

Hi Giotis,

Though I agree with the general sense of your comment, what you say is overly simplistic. Economy is not a priori a global issue, there are plenty of countries in the world who play basically no role. And that imbalance of power is exactly why the stronger countries are protectionist. You might argue that in the long run the poorer countries will become richer and be interested in export products. But not only is this far from guaranteed, in the short run there are usually other ways to spend money that might offer faster progress exclusively for the rich and thus might be favored if the political system (or absence thereof) allows it.

Nationalism is a characteristic of the general uneducated public. It refers to the lowest instincts of humans.

As I hope becomes clear from my above comments, I am certainly not in favor of nationalism since in the long run it only poses obstacles to progress. But your comment doesn't offer any argument for or against it. It is also generally not true, you can boost your local economy with protectionist measures. Even the free-market defenders know that as you can notice when times get really tough. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi George,

I actually saw a policeman in a blue uniform the other day! I asked if he minds if I'd take a photo, but unfortunately he did mind because "One never knows where the photo might show up." Well. I'd have thought he should be flattered to make it on my blog, too bad. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“Well. I'd have thought he should be flattered to make it on my blog, too bad.”

Just further evidence that paranoia is becoming more global in its extent when one can’t distinguish between the motives of a factual reporter to those of the pavoratzi . One thing I can assure your is that our own Canadian Mounties have no such concerns :-)

Shy police on one hand and totally unencumbered hikers on the other; to tell you the truth I just don’t get it :-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Sorry, that should have read paparazzi, not pavoratzi. I also have trouble with the spelling of the types pasta as well. Besides this I just realized your policeman could have been justified since Paparazzi is the plural of Paparazzo meaning “buzzing mosquito”. So perhaps he couldn’t distinguish a Bee from the other buzzing hazard:-)

Best,

Phil

Giotis said...

Bee, what I'm saying is that Germany's attitude does not help the European idea. Of course Merkel doesn't like protectionism because she wants to export the German products in a unified European market. At the same time she says basically that Europe should not help any European economy but instead each country should take care of its own problems. So we are a Union when Germany wants to take advantage of the unified European market but when things gets tough everyone is alone. This is not fair and demonstrates without a doubt that Germany is not one of the pylons of the European Union as we used to think. Germany especially with CDU in power resembles UK more and more. As I see it our only hope is France. Every progressive idea in Europe comes from France and is the only country with a European vision. Now for example is one of the few countries where people demonstrates against the big corporations and the way they do business that led to this crisis.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Giotis,

Sorry not to answer for Bee, or have one to expect any reason in me having any great knowledge in this, yet more so just as to offer a personal insight and perspective I would reason the following. To me this all comes down to what distinguishes being a member of the union from being a nation within it. This is most interesting considering that there are two ways to imagine it. First, if one nation is expected (mandated)to give direct aid to another that would seem to impinge on both nations autonomy, while if trade between them is restricted that would impinge on the concept of union. So what are shared matters and responsibilities and what are individual ones? This seems to be something that should have been anticipated and spelled out in the constitution of the union.

As a second point, even though you have a common currency, you don’t have what could be recognized as a central bank or what’s considered a Federal reserve, as they have in the U.S. This in turn is what is now being mostly relied upon, not only to come to the aid of the US itself yet also beyond. Like for instance the bailout of AIG guaranteed the insurance they issued to European and other banks that purchased it to hedge the risk on those so called creative financial instruments. In actually what the country called the U.S. is amounts as being collection of states that does have all this defined within their unifying constitution.

What then I see as being truly at issue here is do Europeans wish themselves to be sovereign nations, that although being members of a union that provides free trade and movement of people among them with no difference in currency; or are you a union of states that extend this further to where to the external world you are represented as being one entity.

With this then I think the answer is clear, since up until now it appears each European nation was not only happy with, yet insisted upon representing themselves in terms of their national interests and place among the other nations and therefore must accept both the benefit and responsibility in doing so. It’s like the old saying that you can’t expect to be able inhale and exhale at the same time :-)

Best,

Phil

Giotis said...

Phil, I agree more or less with what you said but I wanted to make a different point. I don't know if you are familiar with the European affairs but the progress in the EU was driven by two countries; France and Germany. These two countries (under the guidance of visionary leaders) were enthustiaticly pro European and had formed an informal coalision within the EU that supported all the reformations that allowed the EU to grow into a strong Union with its own independent voice and go as far as it did. UK on the other hand was always a pro atlantic and anti-European nation that wanted the EU to be only a common market and nothing more.

Now sadly I see that Germany under Angela Merkel step by step is moving away from these European principles and treat the EU as a field to promote its economical interests. The stance of Angela Merkel in the last crisis only supports my assertion.

Bee said...

Hi Giotis,

I do agree with you, and I don't particularly like Merkel's statements on the issue either. I was just trying to say what's the smartest thing to do is not a trivial question that can be brushed away simply with saying the public is uneducated and has low instincts. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Giotis,

Like I said in the outset I’m no expert on European issues, yet only look at things from a structural/organizational basis. This idea of nationhood and national interest seems to be the stumbling block. It would appear until economic, foreign and military policy is integrated the unifying aspect of this process will remain at a standstill. I think this has much to do with factors outside of Europe as they have with those that remain within.

For me It appears to all boil down to mistrust and suspicion, as far as I can tell and that is what needs to be worked on. For instance within the continent, while it could be that Germany has the strongest economy in terms of production, it is only France that holds the control of a nuclear arsenal. In simple terms one has a greater means to produce, while the other the greater to destroy. This cannot be ignored if people are to trust one another enough to pool their resources particularly in times of crisis. That is of course just one issue, with there being many more like having unified represented policy in regards to the rest of the world. That doesn’t suggest these should be static, yet rather when presented it be as a result of consensus. These of course are hard issues, yet ones that need to be faced to be resolved.

This current situation I see as a crossroads, where it could be looked upon as the catalyst for positive change or the wedge to destroy what’s been achieved up until now. As usual it’s that strong relationship between money and power that we have here and I believe to come to terms there must always be a sharing of both.

The way I look at it Europe has been the place within the last 100 years where division won over unity, to have dire consequence for both them and the rest of the world. So perhaps its time that all of its people show the rest of us something positive was learned, as to have all those sacrificed not be in vain.

It is said that only America can lead the way out of this crisis. That might be true in terms of initial finance, yet who will be those that step forth to demonstrate that without trust, nothing that has begun can for long continue. I would suggest Europe and its people have the opportunity to be that leader in trust as they know better then most what price we pay for having a lack of it.

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I was reminded upon the news today of our Canadian government moving towards a free trade agreement with the EU of this post you wrote and the exchange I had with you as a result. It appears such thoughts are not merely wishful thinking, yet may actually come to pass. It is on days such as this I’m able to feel a little more joyful and optimistic that better and safer times for all may one day become a reality, rather than only a dream.

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

Just following up with some info if people are interested. I do not want you to think my views had been circumspect to provincial jurisdictions, or just Canadian content. :)

You get to learn how the system can be used to advance a certain agenda?

The Doha round stalled, so the only way to move forward on trade liberalization was to strike bilateral deals. Within the Council of the Federation—another good idea from Quebec—several premiers, including B.C.’s Gordon Campbell, Manitoba’s Gary Doer and Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, made strong commitments to freer trade, both outside Canada and within its borders.Link you gave Phil.

Challenges in court system then become "rule of law in all of Canada's Provincial jurisdictions," and this may not necessarily be a good thing.

Depends on one's perspective about a healthcare system that caters to a "for profit scheme."

This, is a way around it by a court challenge.

I do not think wait times should be thought of as "money spent relieving the system" when the system could be better serviced to reduce wait times according to who needs to be taken care of first. Not by, who moves ahead of the line by how much money they have.

State of Play: Canada’s Internal Free Trade AgendaCenturion Health, a US health service provider, for $160 million because it claims that Canadian governments prevented it from establishing a chain of private health clinics;

You see?

This is a "global agenda" I have with regards to people given the treatment, not based on who has money and who does not. It is what is right "to all people" regardless of what country they belong too.

Best,:)

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

Thanks for drawing my attention to the document you presented as I find it interesting. The gist of it however represents an overall viewpoint which has as the underlying premise that all of this is for the globalization of unrestricted business practice and nothing more. What it comes down to is who will increase their power and who stands to lose it. There is little here that addresses the overwhelming and overbearing redundancies found in our current fractualized system and all the many overlapping layers of political empire building that exists because of them.

To be truthful I welcome a process that might serve to reverse this growing costly and wasteful trend. Case in point, we now have many municipal governments these days spending more time and more focused on national and international issues and policy than on their traditional mandates of service. I would admit this document points out some problems and dangers, yet beyond simply suggesting the maintenance of the status quo offers no solutions at all. Like I’ve said earlier I grow tired of those that simple point fingers to potential problems and look more to find those that point to ways of solving them. Unfortunately I find nothing in this document that has any utility in this regard.

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

It is what is right "to all people" regardless of what country they belong too.When Corporations can overtake governments and countries by law, then that is a problem. So, the discrepancies are pointed out?

Somebody had to give "accent to the platform" in order for it to be so. To believe, this is right.

From a Global standpoint, this move from provincial to federal, to "global attentiveness" is nothing more then a smoke screen "for the larger agenda." It will then become rule of law? Whose law?

Nothing you say, can change that.:)

What is the one thread that runs consistently through all countries? How shall this constitution be prepared to address the global community, as citizens?

Dichotomy-The word is derived from the Greek dichotomia, which means “splitting in two.” A dichotomy is a split into two parts which are considered to be either contradictory or mutually exclusiveUnder that law, is this not forcibly seen as so? Who are it's judges? It's panels? How did they get there?

Best,

Plato said...

Phil:Like I’ve said earlier I grow tired of those that simple point fingers to potential problems and look more to find those that point to ways of solving themShall that be the process then as when "democratic nations were built while drafting it's constitutions?"

Optimist and pessimism seem to run deep in the biological framework of the thinking mind. Shall we not prepare, while moving over to a new agenda?

Best,:)

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

Honestly I truly don’t want to square off again on this issue. I think you know my position being that I understand the only way our world and its people can move forward to be sustained much longer is to realize that nationhood is an antiquated concept with everything considered. Therefore we need to find ways to move towards world government which must be as a prerequisite an even better model and enactment of democracy then any currently existing; based on human rights, opportunity for personal growth, dignity and global stewardship. This first entails ridding ourselves of the suspicion and fear of what this might bring if done badly to permit ourselves to find the commitment, courage and understanding to do it right.

I see all other issues having little importance as long as the necessity of this is continued to be ignored. So I say let’s stop being only able to give reason not to have the world unite and start finding ways it can be done, without reason to fear it becoming a reality. I however must admit as being uncertain if our species as a whole has the capacity to have this succeed in coming to pass. If not then nature will move on to find perhaps one who does.

Best,

Phil