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Showing posts from September, 2012


I am not the person who get's to go places. Usually I am sitting in a damp office somewhere one or two floors below the basement of an unbelievably ugly office-building. So I don't have to think whom I could ask to water my plants. Which is good, because I neither have plants to water nor friends to ask. But you might. And you certainly solved that problem. But you know what? Your plant also needs light - sunlight if possible. Will you ask your neighbours to move the Hibiscus around your apartment while the sunlight wooshes through? No, you say, watering will have to do it.  But there are people thinking seriously about that problem - and thinking hard they solved it.  I bumped into those guys when I rediscovered the treehuggers. I had almost forgotten them. Treehuggers, you say? I know. Me too. BUT. There is this one website, that I once ran into, when I read about the carnivorous robots that get their energy from digesting anything from fruitflies to your favou

One world is enough!

A friend of mine dated a girl who was an identical twin. She and her sister suffered from multi personality disorder. He finally left them - all seven. And led a happy life with the remaining four. They married when she found a doctor who freed her from her demons. Some of them. And he died. Widowing two. They tried to console eachother and never married again.

Risk-aversion kills innovation

The number of publications and citations, possibly rescaled into more complex relations like the Hirsch-index or fashionable derivatives thereof, are widely accepted parameters to quantify scientific quality.  In times of scarce financial resources, it is argued, transparency is imperative for allocating funds, and substantial investments in science are best legitimized by ,excellent and useful‘ research results. This is lead by the perception that scientific quality can somehow be objectively measured and the whole process of 'doing science' can ultimately be subjected to some sort of controlling.  While the drive for excellence and usefulness is agreed upon - their definition and measurability, however, is at the center of many a heated debate. At first sight, benchmarking usefulness translates into a short time-to-market of the research results, general application-orientation and product-driven applied research (a term coined by the german philosopher Juergen Mittelst