Français | English | Español | Português

Germany Education

Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park's hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus. | 12/19/14

The German Section of the Taipei European School is scheduled to hold an open house event on Jan. 31, 2015 to introduce the excellence of the German Section to parents who are interested in enrolling their children into a certified trilingual program. The TES German Section is one of the four sections of the school and provides children with a trilingual program in German, English and Mandarin Chinese, with a curriculum that mirrors the current academic standards of schools in Germany. | 12/18/14

From the Division of Genetic Epidemiology , Division of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular, and Clinical Pharmacology , Department of Neurology , Department of Internal Medicine I , Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria; First Department of Internal Medicine, Paracelsus Private Medical University, Salzburg, Austria ; Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum MA1 4nchen-German Research Center for Environmental Health, OberschleiAYheim, Germany ; German Center for Diabetes Research , Neuherberg, Germany ; Institute of Human Genetics, University of GA ttingen, GA ttingen, Germany ; Department of Laboratory Medicine, Bruneck Hospital, Bruneck, Italy ; Institute of Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes Center, Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine, University DA1 4sseldorf, DA1 4sseldorf, Germany ; Department ... (more) | 12/17/14

Six schools in Port Moody are locked down after a police incident involving a weapon on Fernway Drive in the Heritage Mountain neighbourhood. A file photo taken 16 August 2000 shows an aerial view of the 4.5 kilometers long so-called "colossus of Ruegen"-complex in Prora on the Baltic Sea island Ruegen. | 12/17/14

From the UniversitA tsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel Klinik fA1 4r Kardiologie und Angiologie, Kiel, Germany ; Department of Internal Medicine/Cardiology, University of Leipzig, Heart Center, Leipzig, Germany ; Medizinische Klinik Kardiologie, Angiologie, Pneumologie Internische Intensivmedizin HA mostasiologie, Mannheim, Germany ; Department of Internal Medicine III, Heart Center, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany ; AZ Middelheim Cardiology, Antwerpen, Belgium ; UZ Brussel Department of Cardiology, Brussel, Jette, Belgium ; Medizinische UniversitA tsklinik Abteilung Innere Medizin III, Kardiologie, Angiologie, und Pneumologie, Heidelberg, Germany ; BioLineRx, Jerusalem, Israel ; Neufeld Cardiac Research Institute, Tel-Aviv University, Tamman Cardiovascular Research Institute, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering Center, Sheba Medical Center, ... (more) | 12/17/14

While filming a new movie in London, I learned that the sole shale gas well in the nation -- just a few hours north of me -- has triggered two earthquakes, suffered a "structural integrity failure," and risked poisoning water supplies.

That's right: the only fracking well in the United Kingdom failed and caused two earthquakes!

This news is a stark reminder of what's at stake in my home state of New York, where newly re-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he will soon make an announcement about fracking.

In his first four year term to date, despite much sound and fury from the gas industry, Governor Cuomo maintained a de facto moratorium on the practice. The emerging science shows the wisdom of that decision -- as scientists themselves are quick to point out. Just last week, Concerned Health Professionals of New York presented the Governor with an updated, hundred-page Compendium on the risks and harms of fracking to health, water, air, wildlife, and economic vitality.

On the same day, the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy released its own analysis of the 400 peer-reviewed studies on fracking -- nearly all of them indicating dangers and nearly all of them published since the Governor took office in 2011. Among the key findings:

· 96 percent of all papers on health found signs or risks of sickness;

· 95 percent of studies on air found evidence for air pollution;

· 72 percent of studies on water found signs or risks of water contamination;

Rising in parallel with these growing signs of trouble is another trend: the increasing numbers of people who oppose fracking.

Many New Yorkers have been closely following the science, and a poll earlier this fall found that fully 79 percent of New Yorkers support a moratorium. Americans across the nation are also becoming aware of the harms of fracking from the science, and over 15 million Americans now live within a mile of a wellpad. This familiarity has bred contempt: more Americans now oppose fracking than support it. The bloom is off the fracking rose. Furthermore, just as New York studies the impacts of fracking, many other countries are as well, and already many have put in place bans and moratoria, including Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and parts of Canada, Spain and Switzerland.

While the oil and gas corporations are trying to buy support with their slick PR campaign, New Yorkers, in poll after poll, show we're not for sale. Indeed, we've countered with our own campaign called 'Not One Well' (, which, ironically enough, launched just one day after VICE News reported that the one well fracked in the United Kingdom failed.

Fracking is like playing a game of Russian roulette with our precious drinking water and public health. The industry knows that the barrier of cement and steel protecting our drinking water from fracking's toxic chemicals and explosive methane fails immediately about 5 percent of the time. In 2003, Schlumberger, one of the world's largest fracking corporations, reported this rate in its own magazine, and that 50 percent fail after 15 years, and 60 percent fail after 30 years, stemming from these inherent engineering flaws. As wells are fracked and refracked, as steel gradually corrodes and cement slowly crumbles, as time goes by, that percentage keeps going up.

And, in spite of many declarations of "I'll do better next time!" and "just give me one more chance!" the truth is that the industry has never shown itself capable of fixing its problems. Take a look at northeastern Pennsylvania. There, the Department of Environmental Protection found that fully nine percent of all new Marcellus Shale gas wells in the northeastern part of the state leaked within the first five years of being drilled.

Nine percent!

No wonder Pennsylvania has suffered at least 243 confirmed cases of water contamination from drilling and fracking operations. And, look, these aren't test wells. All of these cases involve the drinking water wells of real-life families.

Some of those families include people I personally know. These folks are now forced to haul water from long distances just to bathe, cook, drink, and wash their clothes.

New York's Not One Well campaign aims to prevent these tragedies from happening here. It also seeks to publicize the hard truths about drilling and fracking's inherent engineering flaws. (One of the foremost experts on the issue, Cornell University Engineering Professor Tony Ingraffea wrote a short and brilliant essay, "Why a car's engine has more integrity than a shale gas well." Read it!)

To those who say that municipal bans are sufficient -- and stout-hearted New Yorkers have passed 180 local, municipal prohibitions on fracking -- let's point out that they don't protect everyone, and pollutants don't stop at town borders. Especially vulnerable are the towns along Pennsylvania's border, which are both more likely to be fracked and -- as a recent New York Public Interest Research Group reportconfirms -- more likely to be governed by town officials who themselves hold gas leases. The Not One Well campaign insists on equal protection under the law. That's why we need Governor Cuomo to continue the statewide moratorium and, ultimately, ban fracking altogether. All of New York's children are equally deserving of unpolluted air and water.

I'll be back home in New York for the holidays. All my family wants, along with millions of other New Yorkers, is for our home state to be protected from fracking and to live our lives with the peace of mind that we will not be poisoned. I ask you to join me -- whether you're a New Yorker or just a New Yorker at heart -- in asking Governor Cuomo to give us a big gift this holiday: protect our water, health, and the lives of generations still to come by continuing the moratorium. Not One Well!

Today is the birthday of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, a man whose abstract art made history in the 20th century and whose name continues to stump English speakers long after his death. The beloved painter and printmaker -- celebrated with a Google Doodle today -- would be blowing the candles out on his 148th year were he still alive today.

In honor of Vah-SEEL-ee Kahn-DIN-skee's big day, we're collecting together some of the more interesting facts from his storied life and career. From his birth in Moscow, back when the Russian Empire was still in existence, to his death in France at the age of 77, here are the 9 things you might not have know about dear Vasya.

Vasily Kandinsky's "Improvisation 28 (second version)." (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

1. Kandinsky began seriously pursuing art when he was 30 years old. Which makes him somewhat of a late bloomer. In fact, he had previously been studying law and economics, but he opted to abandon the fields (and a a professorship in jurisprudence at the University of Dorpat) in favor of studying painting in Germany.

A visitor views a painting by Russian artist Kandinsky which is part of the exhibition presented at the Pompidou Center in Paris Wednesday April 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

2. He was an "average" student. Though his appearance, marked by pince-nez glasses and sharp suits, gave the impression of a formidable teacher, he was mostly an average art student . He studied for two years under Anton Ažbe, then for one year alone, before finally being accepted into the Munich Academy, showing a proclivity toward color theory. He received his diploma in his mid-thirties and enjoyed a few years of mid-level success as a professional artist thereafter.

Conor Jordan, Department Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's, speaks about Wassily Kandinsky's "Strandszene," painted in 1909, on display May 2, 2014 during a preview of the Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Christie's. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

3. He believed art and music went hand in hand. This famous quote sums up his penchant to equate painting with composing music : "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."

"Krass Und Mild (Dramatic and Mild)" by Wassily Kandinsky hangs during a preview of the Impressionist and Modern Art fall sales at Sotheby's in New York, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

4. He gushed over Monet's "Haystacks" just like the rest of us. Monet's lily pads and haystacks have converted more than a few admirers into artists. For Kandinsky, the sight of the Impressionist's harvest landscape was simply revelatory :

"That it was a haystack the catalogue informed me. I could not recognize it. This non-recognition was painful to me. I considered that the painter had no right to paint indistinctly. I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendour."

Wassily Kandinsky's 'Circles in a Circle, 1923' is displayed at the 'Bauhaus Art as Life' exhibition at The Barbican on May 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

5. He is credited with being the first artist to create a purely abstract work. It was an untitled watercolor , now in the Centre Pompidou in Paris. According to most historians, by the time he painted Composition VIII in 1923, all representational elements had been removed from his work. Francis Picabia and Piet Mondrian were exploring similar patterns in "pure abstraction" during this period as well.

A visitor passes a painting of Wassily Kandinsky "Komposition VII", 1913, oil on canvas, in the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, Friday, Oct. 20, 2006. (AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas)

6. Kandinsky allegedly had synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as "the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body." In essence, he would see colors when listening to music, which makes sense -- given he also credits Richard Wagner's “Lohengrin” as a reason for leaving law behind and chasing art.

Two members of Christies staff wait by painting by Wassily Kandinsky entitled 'Schwarze Spitzen" 1937 during a press preview at Christie's auction house in London, Friday, March, 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

7. He didn't just loved painting, he saw it as a form of worship. In Kandinsky's book Concerning the Spiritual In Art (1910), the artist declared that "colour is a power which directly influences the soul." He felt that the use of color was not merely a means of representing objects and forms, but rather a method of reaching a level of spirituality.

"All means [in painting] are sacred when they are dictated by inner necessity," he wrote. "All means are reprehensible when they do not spring from the fountain of inner necessity... The artist must be blind to "recognized" and "unrecognized" form, deaf to the teachings and desires of his time. His open eyes must be directed to his inner life and his ears must be constantly attuned to the voice of inner necessity."

Visitors stand in front of the charcoal drawing "Kandinsky" (1927) by Georg Hartmann during a preview at the exhibition "Bauhaus." (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

8. His art was confiscated by the Nazis before he died. While he was a Bauhaus professor, three of his first "Compositions" were seized by Nazis and put on display in the now infamous "Degenerate Art " exhibition in 1937. They were then destroyed.

The painting "Picture with white border" of Wassily Kandinsky is displayed at the exhibition 'Visions Of Modernity' at the Deutsche Guggenheim on November 14, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)

9. His art now sells for millions and millions of dollars. His 1909 painting "Studie fur Improvisation 8" sold for $23 million at Christie's in 2012.

Kandsinky, (1866-1944), Studie für improvisation 8, painted in 1909 in Murnau, oil on cardboard laid down on canvas, 38 5/8 x 27 ½ in. (98 x 70 cm.)

The rate at which carbon emissions warmed Earth's climate almost 56 million years ago resembles modern, human-caused global warming much more than previously believed, but involved two pulses of carbon to the atmosphere, researchers have found. Sediment cores that were drilled from Wyoming's Bighorn Basin and then sectioned for study are shown at a repository at the University of Bremen, Germany. | 12/16/14
A Fascinating New Idea About What It Means When You Start Forgetting Things-Its a saying favored by boomers and grandparents, a comeback beloved enough to make an appearance in New Yorker cartoons and on countless T-shirts: Ive forgotten more than you know.Now, a team of researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany has offered ... | 12/16/14
Mexico's federal police collaborated with local forces in the September attack on 43 students whose disappearance and presumed killings have led to mass protests in the country, according to an investigative report published Sunday in the Mexican magazine Proceso.

Federal authorities also likely tortured key witnesses who offered critical testimony for an investigation by the Mexican attorney general's office into the disappearances, the lead reporter for the Proceso story told The Huffington Post.

The Proceso investigation is based on leaked government documents that are not publicly available, as well as a report by the state government of Guerrero, where the students' college was located and where they were attacked. The magazine published an abbreviated version of its story on Saturday , as well as a newswire version on Sunday. The full investigation was published Sunday in a print version of the magazine, only available in Mexico.

Both the newsire and early version of the Proceso investigation sharply contradict the version of events put forth by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, at a time when a widespread protest movement has questioned the government’s handling of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the missing students.

“We have information that proves the federal government knew what was happening in the moment it was happening, and participated in it,” Anabel Hernández, the lead reporter for the Proceso piece, told HuffPost in a telephone interview. “The government has tried to hide this information.”

Proceso's story was co-authored by journalist Steve Fisher and supported by the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley. The Mexican attorney general's office and the president's office did not immediately respond to requests from HuffPost for comment on the story.

On Sept. 26, a group of students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers college in the southwestern state of Guerrero traveled to the nearby city of Iguala to take part in a protest. They were ambushed and shot at along the way by police forces, leading to three deaths and several injuries.

Several students escaped, but 43 of them disappeared -- feeding a protest movement with international reach and months of speculation over the role of security forces in their presumed killings.

The federal government has maintained that the students were first attacked by local police acting on the orders of the mayor of the town of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, both of whom were detained last month. Local police, according to the government, then handed 43 of the students off to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, who killed them and disposed of their remains.

But the Guerrero state report says that federal police began watching the students from the moment they left Ayotzinapa at 5:59 p.m. on buses heading toward Iguala, Proceso said. According to the magazine's account of the state report, both federal and state police were monitoring the students as they traveled, and federal police joined in stopping and shooting the students.

Proceso said that according to the state report, the first gunshots were reported at 9:40 p.m. to Mexico's Center of Control, Command, Communications and Computation, or C4, a communication structure used by federal and local security forces, as well as the military. Though the C4 unit in Iguala is run by state authorities, Proceso said that both federal police and the military have access to its communications -- making it impossible that the federal authorities would not have known about the attack as it was happening. said Saturday that Proceso's revelations clearly contradict the federal government’s previous statements that the violent incident was carried out by local authorities, without its knowledge, in collusion with drug traffickers.

“There’s no way the Peña Nieto government can say they didn’t know know what was happening,” Univisió wrote in Spanish in an article published Saturday .

The Proceso article also questions the federal government’s handling of key witnesses in the investigation into the students' disappearance, according to Hernández. Federal authorities have relied primarily on testimony from alleged drug traffickers, who have said they were involved in killing the students and incinerating their bodies.

But Hernández told HuffPost that documents she obtained from the attorney general's office show that witnesses who testified had been tortured by federal authorities or the military during interrogations completed prior to their testimonies. The documents detail telltale signs of beatings on the witnesses' bodies, Hernández said -- black eyes, marks on the neck, bruising on the ribs and signs that authorities had electrocuted one witness's testicles. One witness had a series of red dots over his body that Hernández said also likely indicated electrocution.

“The version given by the federal government, by the attorney general’s office, is based solely on testimony by presumed drug traffickers,” Hernández said. "What we found is that, in at least five cases, these testimonies were obtained using torture."

Hernández said torture is prohibited in Mexico and would make the evidence inadmissible. The fact that the brutal tactics were apparently used to force confessions also casts doubt on the reliability of the information obtained, she said.

The version of the Proceso report published on Saturday includes a short video of compiled footage Proceso says the students took on their cell phones the night of attacks. At one point, voices in the footage shout "don't shoot" and "get down" in Spanish, after crying out "they already killed one" and asking to call an ambulance. Toward the end of the video, the students quietly talk to each other, saying that “the police are leaving, the federal [police] are going to stay. They’re going to hassle us.”

Watch the video below (in Spanish):

Though the Proceso report offers seemingly damning evidence showing some level of federal involvement, Fusion reported Sunday that it could not corroborate the allegations in interviews with two survivors of the attack.

In early November, the Peña Nieto administration announced that members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel had confessed to killing the students and burning their bodies , before discarding the remains in a nearby river. Authorities sent the remains to Austria for DNA testing, and last week, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said that those experts had identified at least one student from a bone fragment .

During the search for the students, at least a dozen mass graves were found in the area near their abduction. However, the Mexican government has said the unmarked graves do not contain the students' remains.

In the weeks that followed the students’ disappearance, thousands of people marched in Mexico City , demanding justice and transparency from the federal government, as well as the students' return.

Similar protests cropped up around the world , including in the United States , Brazil, Holland and Germany, and several prominent Mexican figures voiced their support for the demonstrators.

The public pressure prompted Peña Nieto to propose a series of measures to reform police forces and deter corruption between authorities, officials and criminal organizations.

Mexico has faced a surge in violence since the country's previous president, Felipe Calderón, launched a frontal assault on the nation's drug cartels in December of 2006. Since the conflict began , more than 100,000 people have died in drug war-related violence, and another 22,000 have disappeared.

The moon is blue, so I shall defend a socialist prestige cultural project. East Germany had its shotputters, the USSR its grand masters of chess, Venezuela has "La Sistema" - a much lauded system of musical education. | 12/13/14

They march in their thousands every Monday evening, wave German national flags and angrily protest against "criminal asylum seekers" and the "Islamisation" of their home country. In recent months, Germany has witnessed the emergence of a far-right populist movement that has drawn support from hardcore neo-Nazis and also a small but growing anti-euro party, the AfD. Germany was rattled this week when the latest in a series of marches in the eastern city of Dresden by the "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident", or PEGIDA, drew over 10,000 people. The group's name is in itself "a veritable call to arms by far-right populists", evoking echoes of Christian crusaders and Nazi propaganda, said Hajo Funke of Berlin's Free University. | 12/12/14

From the Department of Cardiology, INSERM, Center d'Investigation Clinique 9501 and UnitA© 961, Center Hospitalier Universitaire, Nancy University, UniversitA© de Lorraine, Nancy, France ; Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Clinical Research, Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Buies Creek, NC ; Klinik fA1 4r Innere Medizin III, UniverstitA tsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg/Saar, Germany ; Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Medical Engineering and Science, Cambridge, MA ; ASH Comprehensive Hypertension Center, The University of Chicago Medicine, IL ; Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal, Institute for Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway ; CVRx, Inc, Minneapolis, MN ; Department of Nephrology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany ; Department of Cardiology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, ... (more) | 12/11/14

BERLIN — Schools in Berlin have recognized World Humanist Day as a holiday on a par with All Saints' Day, Yom Kippur and Eid al-Fitr.

The decision means Berlin pupils who subscribe to humanism — a philosophy that rejects the existence of deities — can apply for a day off to celebrate their belief in the same way as Christians, Muslims and Jews do for their holy days.

Arik Platzek, a spokesman for Germany's Humanist Association, said Wednesday the decision "is a positive signal and a good example."

Filed under: Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Volkswagen, UAW/Unions

An audit at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN has revealed that at least 45 percent of the facility's workers support unionization, leading the German company to grant access rights to the United Auto Workers .

This is a tremendous step in the UAW's long-running and at times contentious pursuit of the workforce at Chattanooga. With this latest move, "local leadership is ready to move forward with additional conversations with the company ," the union said in a statement obtained by The Detroit News .

"As a starting point, UAW Local 42 will take advantage of the company's offer to establish bi-weekly meetings with Volkswagen Human Resources and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee."

The News reports that UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel, shown above speaking at the Chattanooga plant last summer, claimed these meetings "will remind Human Resources and the Chattanooga Executive Committee of the mutually agreed-upon commitments that were made by Volkswagen and the UAW last spring in Germany. Among those commitments: Volkswagen will recognize the UAW as the representative of our members. We believe Volkswagen made this commitment in good faith and we believe the company will honor this commitment."

It's important to note that despite Casteel's remarks, this is not a collective-bargaining agreement, Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at University of California, Berkeley, told The News.

"But it is a step in the direction of recognition, which ultimately could lead to collective bargaining. This is not the end point," Shaiken said. "We don't know what's next. We're in unchartered territory."

Volkswagen officially grants access to UAW in Tennessee originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  | Email this  | Comments | 12/9/14

Katja Heinze, a chemistry professor from Mainz University, Germany, and her Luxembourg cooperation partner Dr. Patrick Choquet have received 35,000 from the Interregional Research Award for intelligent food packaging with a freshness indicator. The three-year project called Surfamine saw the pair develop a foil food packaging that would interact with the atmosphere within the package and display information about its composition by colorimetric signals, changing color from green to red, for example. | 12/9/14
Men feel less threatened by outsiders when in a male group and this bravado prevents them getting stressed, said scientists from the University of Gottingen, Germany.

1, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany 4Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN, 620 University Avenue Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2C1 Correspondence: TW Mak, Medical Biophysics and Immunology, The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, 620 University Avenue, Suite 706, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2C1. Tel: 001 416 946 2234; Fax: 001 416 204 5300; E-mail: or or During virus infection and autoimmune disease, inflammatory dendritic cells differentiate from blood monocytes and infiltrate infected tissue. | 12/8/14

Dusseldorf , Dec 8, 2014 - - NEC Corporation today announced that NEC Deutschland GmbH has delivered a supercomputer utilizing NEC's scale-out server, the Express5800/E120f-M, featuring the new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Product Family, to the University of Ulm, a state university in Germany offering high performance computing services for theoretical chemistry researchers. The new "JUSTUS" system, named in honor of the accomplished German chemist Justus von Liebig, will help researches in Baden-Wurttemberg to understand highly complex chemical processes with computer simulations. | 12/8/14

A Thai woman has been crowned Miss Intercontinental 2014 for the first time in Madgeburg, Germany on Thursday while another won the first runner-up title in another international pageant in Warsaw, Poland, the following day. Phataraporn 'First' Wang, a 20-year-old Thai-Taiwanese, studies at Rangsit University's Tourism and Services College. | 12/6/14
Researchers at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany have proposed the first broadband amplifier using vertical inductors. All circuits are built from passive components, and improved chip design requires passive-component miniaturisation and efficient structure. | 12/5/14

By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The Cold War has flared up again in Germany ahead of a tight and unpredictable state assembly vote on Friday in the eastern state of Thuringia, where the reform communist Left party is yearning to take control of a regional government for the first time.
The prospect of a Left politician leading a state coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens has unsettled Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and put strains on her grand coalition with the SPD over fears it could be a blueprint for a future left-wing alliance at the national level.
The SPD and Greens have been accused of betraying victims of East Germany's communist dictatorship by cooperating with the Left, which is popular in the east and traces its roots to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany that built the Berlin Wall.
Thousands have protested in the state capital Erfurt against the prospect of the pro-Russian, anti-NATO Left taking power.
"The Cold War paranoia breaking out in Thuringia is bizarre - you get a feeling it's a state bordering Russia rather than Hesse and that Soviet tanks are ready to roll in," said Gero Neugebauer, political scientist at Berlin's Free University.
"The reality is that the Left taking control of a state is a big step towards more German unity," he added.
Merkel's opposition to the Left-SPD-Greens alliance is because her CDU has lost control of six states since 2009 and now leads just five of the 16, Neugebauer said.
By abandoning their ostracism of the Left and helping Bodo Ramelow become the first Left state premier, the SPD would be dislodging the CDU after 24 years in power in Thuringia..
"We've got a chance to open a new chapter of German history with the SPD and Greens," said Ramelow, a trade unionist and West German native who moved to the east soon after the Berlin Wall fell.
But his left-wing coalition enjoys just a one-seat majority in the 91-seat assembly over the CDU and anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD). That means that if one or more SPD or Greens deputies defect in the secret ballot, Ramelow's hopes of running the state could yet be dashed.
"It would be a good thing if Ramelow isn't elected, Merkel's education minister, an easterner named Johanna Wanka, told a talk show this week. "I can't stomach the thought." (Editing by Noah Barkin and Gareth Jones)
Most of the mourners gathered outside a German mosque Wednesday never met Tugce Albayrak when she was alive. But hundreds of them came out anyway to pay their final respects to the 23-year-old college student , who was killed after she stepped forward to defend two teenage girls from harassment .

"I didn't know her," one mourner told the BBC when asked why he’d come to Albayrak's funeral in the town of Waechtersbach. “It's just so sad. She was such a beautiful young girl."

(Story continues below.)

Flowers and a picture cover the grave of Tugce Albayrak on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

According to The Guardian, an estimated 1,500 mourners stood outside the Waechtersbach mosque , many with a photo of Albayrak pinned over their hearts. Others were seen carrying flowers and banners.

“We quickly forget those who make us cry. We always remember those who made us smile,” read one homemade sign, per the BBC.

Mourners surround Tugce Albayrak's coffin outside a mosque during a funeral ceremony in Waechtersbach, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

Last month, Albayrak had been at a McDonald’s in Offenbach when she heard cries for help coming from the public restroom. When she entered, she reportedly found two teenage girls being harassed by men, and she promptly intervened.

Surveillance footage reportedly shows one of the men later confronting Albayrak in the restaurant’s parking lot and hitting her in the head. Albayrak is said to have then fallen to the ground.

The young woman was in a coma for two weeks. Her parents chose to take her off life support on Nov. 28, her 23rd birthday , reports The New York Times.

Mourners stand at the grave of Tugce Albayrak, on Dec. 3, 2014. The university student died after she was attacked in a McDonald's restaurant parking lot.

Since the attack, Albayrak, who was of Turkish descent, has become a national hero in Germany. Her death has triggered an outpouring of emotion and sympathy, as well as national "soul-searching" on the issues of immigration and multicultural integration -- questions that have in recent years proved incredibly divisive in Germany.

As of Thursday, more than 185,000 people had signed a petition calling for Albayrak to be awarded the country’s highest civilian honor. The award is reportedly not given posthumously, but President Joachim Gauck has said that he will consider making an exception in this case.

Gauck has praised the young woman as being a “role model,” writing in a recent letter to her family, "Where other people looked away, Tugce showed exemplary bravery and civil courage and stood up for victims of violence.”
What do lasers, neural networks, and spreading epidemics have in common? They share a most basic feature whereby an initial pulse can propagate through a medium - be it physical, biological or socio-economic, respectively. The challenge is to gain a better understanding - and eventually control - of such systems, allowing them to be applied, for instance to real neural systems. This is the objective of a new theoretical study published in EPJ B by Clemens Bachmair and Eckehard Schöll from the Berlin University of Technology in Germany. Ultimately, with a better theoretical understanding, scientists aim to control such excitations in networks of neurons to prevent their detrimental effects like in stroke. | 12/3/14
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - Iranian hackers have infiltrated some of the world's top energy, transport and infrastructure companies over the past two years in a campaign that could allow them to eventually cause physical damage, according to U.S. cyber security firm Cylance. Aerospace firms, airports and airlines, universities, energy firms, hospitals, and telecommunications operators based in the United States, Israel, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, France, England have been hit by the campaign, the research firm said, without naming individual companies. ... | 12/2/14

Scientists digging in Germany recently found a well-preserved, 47-million-year-old pregnant horse fossil, and say it shares a number of surprising similarities with modern day mares. A computer system developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is the first to be found equal to or better than people at indexing and correlating data from scientific publications. | 12/1/14
Microbial partners are important for the nutrition of many insects. They help detoxify and digest food, but also provide essential nutrients that insects need in order to survive. The European firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus and the African cotton stainer Dysdercus fasciatus feed mainly on plant seeds that are poor sources of essential B vitamins. Scientists of the Max Planck Research Group Insect Symbiosis at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, together with colleagues at the Friedrich Schiller University, have now found that bacterial symbionts in the insects' gut produce these vitamins and thereby ensure the host's metabolic stability and, ultimately, survival. | 12/1/14

Scientists digging in Germany recently found a well-preserved, 47-million-year-old pregnant horse fossil, and say it shares a number of surprising similarities with modern day mares. A computer system developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is the first to be found equal to or better than people at indexing and correlating data from scientific publications. | 12/1/14

BERLIN — Tugce Albayrak's dreams of becoming a high-school teacher came to a brutal end one weekend night last month. The young woman of Turkish descent stepped in to protect two teenage girls from harassment at a McDonald's in central Germany, enraging the girls' tormenters.

One of the men allegedly hit the university student in the head in the restaurant's parking lot. She crumbled to the ground. After two weeks in a coma, her parents took her off life support on her 23rd birthday, ending a short life of promise and courage.

Instead, these questionnaires tend to reflect what people believed they dreamt about once they are awake, said G. William Domhoff, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved with the study. But the new study's lead researcher, Michael Schredl, the head of research at the Central Institute of Mental Health's sleep laboratory in Mannheim, Germany, said that dreams are often an amplification of what happens during waking life. | 12/1/14

A major milestone for "The Wittenberg Project" - the effort to establish a Lutheran education and outreach center in the birthplace of the Reformation - is only months away. On May 3, representatives from the LCMS, Concordia Publishing House and the Synod's German sister church will dedicate the new International Lutheran Center in the Old Latin School in the very heart of historic Wittenberg, Germany. | 11/30/14

Five Taiwanese high schools and a German cultural promotion center renewed agreements Thursday to continue encouraging German language and cultural exchanges in Taiwan. The Goethe Institute Taipei said the partnership is aimed at deepening cooperation for another three years with Zhongshan Girls High School, Jingmei Girls High School and Jianguo High School, all in Taipei, as well as National Fengshan Senior High School and National Feng-Hsin Senior High School, both in Kaohsiung. | 11/28/14

A group of journalists has launched a campaign to convince the Pulitzer Prize administrators at Columbia University to bestow the prestigious award posthumously to Ed Kennedy, a former Associated Press reporter who reported exclusively on Germany's World War II surrender. Kennedy defied the military's instructions to withhold the story until a public announcement was made, and was vilified by his peers and fired by his employer. | 11/27/14
Violent protests that erupted after a grand jury's failure to indict a white police officer for shooting to death an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, are making world headlines, with editors and reporters reflecting on the state of American justice and race relations.

Spain’s El Pais reports that the grand jury decision “confirmed the town’s worst fears and unleashed a new wave of anger,” rendering Ferguson a “ghost town under police blockade.” The newspaper also profiles the activists who have gained prominence in Ferguson in the wake of Michael Brown's death Aug. 9. “Most are led by young blacks and while many didn’t know the deceased, the case has united them, ” the newspaper writes. "This is not America’s or the black community’s problem. It is a global problem of people who feel oppressed,” Tory Russell tells the Spanish newspaper.

The BBC points out that the death of Michael Brown and the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson do not stand in isolation, but were preceded by the acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting to death Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The network warns that while the grand jury’s call already triggered widespread clashes in Ferguson, it could also “inflame racial tensions elsewhere across the country.”

Also in the U.K. , The Guardian notes the dilemma faced by U.S. President Barack Obama as he urged protesters to remain calm after the verdict. “Obama’s early, and at times emotional, intervention in the national debate that followed the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 was blamed by many critics for inflaming racial tensions, and the White House had strained to avoid similar intervention in Ferguson,” the newspaper writes. “But he has also struggled to make clear that his sympathy also lies with many demonstrators in the city who feel that the police are not always on their side.”

“Officers in Ferguson are also not alone in shooting unarmed black men,” the Economist writes , looking at similar cases across the U.S. “Systemic racism is still a problem, and so-called ‘justifiable homicides” are on the rise,’ the magazine reports.

In Canada , The Globe and Mail parses the legal aspects of the grand jury decision. Criminal lawyer David Butt argues that “legal conclusions flow from microscopic dissection of very tiny slices of life: In this case, a few brief minutes of interaction between a police officer and a young man. Larger questions around the prevalence and role of racism in policing, racism in Ferguson, and racism in the United States, were not part of the jury’s work. But we can understand things quite differently if we trade the legal microscope for the social telescope, lift our eyes up from the courtroom, and scan the horizon and skies.”

Echoing comments by Konstantin Dolgov, the human rights envoy for Russia ’s foreign ministry , that events in Ferguson reflect simmering U.S. tensions over racial discrimination, Russia Today on Tuesday ran an interview with Josh Pasek , an associate professor from the University of Michigan, headlined, “Racial animosity in U.S. not over.” Pasek says: “A lot of what we are seeing here is that in the environment where we now are, having a black president of the U.S., a lot of people had this sense that big stark divide that the racial animosity in America was over. And that is not the case.”

Sebastian Fischer argues in an opinion piece in Germany’s Der Spiegel that Obama’s speech in the wake of the grand jury announcement fell short. “It was a weak, tired appearance," Fischer writes. “This is not enough.” Fischer urges Obama to travel to Ferguson and give the speech of his lifetime, a speech that will direct all the outrage, anger and sadness towards fighting racism in America.

Writing for Le Monde in France , Gilles Paris describes the protests and clashes in Ferguson as evidence of a racial fracture in a town in full demographic transition. While pointing at the “disproportionate and ineffective” deployment of Ferguson’s police forces during the protests and “unimpressive measures” by the town’s authorities, Paris argues that Ferguson’s racial divide “could only widen” with the decision of the grand jury.

Also in France, Le Figaro sees the protests as the continuation of 50 years of racial riots in the U.S. sparked by altercations between police officers and members of the black community. “Since the end of segregation, the same scenario has repeated itself at steady intervals.”

In the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Allison Kaplan Sommer reflects on two arguments frequently made in the region in recent days: The excessive force with which U.S. police reacted against protesters in Ferguson is similar to how Israeli security forces address Palestinian protests. Some even blamed the U.S. influence on U.S. law enforcement for the heavy tactics in Missouri. Sommer argues that while most of these arguments lack a foundation, she does see one large similarity: “As absurd as I find this tear gas-driven solidarity, I do see one major similarity between the Israel-Hamas conflict and Ferguson, as I watch the talking heads on the U.S. media and their counterparts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem endlessly try to work out how to solve their respective problems during this long, hot summer: dangerously short-term thinking.”

“In Ferguson -- as in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank -- crises must be used as an opportunity for out-of-the-box solutions that could prevent the next explosion.” Sommer writes. “It’s not just the right time to solve big problems -- it is the only time.”

More On Ferguson From HuffPost:
Photographic Evidence Reveals | 'First Year Law Student Could Have Done Better Job' | 61 Arrested | Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires | Protest Locations | Americans Deeply Divided | Police Chief: 'Worse Than The Worst Night We Had In August' | What You Can Do | Darren Wilson Interview | Darren Wilson Could Still Face Consequences | Timeline | Students Protest | Photos Of Darren Wilson's Injuries Released | Shooting Witness Admitted Racism In Journal | Peaceful Responses Show The U.S. At Its Best | Reactions To Ferguson Decision | Prosecutor Gives Bizarre Press Conference | Notable Black Figures React | Jury Witness: 'By The Time I Saw His Hands In The Air, He Got Shot' | Thousands Protest Nationwide |

From the Department of Radiology, AA Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging , Stroke Service, Department of Neurology , and Center for Human Genetic Research , Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, SkA ne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden ; Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN ; Department of Neurology , Center for Public Health Genomics , and Department of Public Health Sciences , University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Department of Neurology and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine , University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research , Klinikum der UniversitA t MA1 4nchen, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, MA1 4nchen, Germany ; Department of Clinical Science, Lund University, MalmA , Sweden ; Department of ... (more) | 11/25/14
Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have surged globally, rising as much as tenfold in some countries. The disorder has become a cultural and economic phenomenon -- but it may not be a medical one, according to one scientist who studies the sociology of health and illness.

"Exporting American-based diagnoses like ADHD is really exporting American behavioral norms under the guise of medicine," Peter Conrad, professor of sociology at Brandeis University, told The Huffington Post. "With millions more kids (and adults) likely to be diagnosed with and treated for ADHD in the next decades we see the export of American behavioral norms worldwide. This may be more insidious than the globalization of American fast food or pop music, in that it comes in the name of proper mental health and behavior."

In a paper published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, Conrad and colleague Meredith Bergey investigated the growth of ADHD diagnoses in five countries where ADHD diagnosis and treatment rates increased dramatically -- the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil.

In Germany, for instance, prescription ADHD drugs increased from 10 million daily doses in 1998 to 53 million in 2008. In the UK, stimulant-treatment for ADHD increased from under 200,000 prescriptions in 1991 to 1.58 million in 1995, according to data cited in the paper. These rates mirror the United States, where ADHD diagnoses have risen by almost 25 percent in a decade .

Currently in the U.S., some 11 percent of children and 4.4 percent of adults now have a diagnosis. While some data suggests that ADHD is more common in the United States than in other countries, research points to an increasing global prevalence of ADHD diagnoses as well as an increase in consumption of ADHD medication.

Conrad and Bergey argue that while ADHD has been medicalized in the U.S. since the 1960s, other countries have been slower to medicalize the condition. It wasn't until the 1990s, he said, that ADHD diagnosis and treatment migrated from North America to be increasingly applied internationally.

While much of the rise of ADHD can be attributed to improvements in recognition, acceptance and treatment of the disorder, some in the medical community have expressed concerns about over-diagnosis.

"We need to ensure balance," Thomas Frieden, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the New York Times last year . "The right medications for ADHD, given to the right people, can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate."

Conrad and Bergey pointed to five trends -- what Conrad refers to as the "how" of the globalization of ADHD -- that may have influenced the exponential rise in diagnoses and treatment globally.

For one, drug companies are increasing their lobbying efforts overseas .

"The multinational pharmaceutical industry, which has been promoting ADHD and stimulant treatments in the United States for decades, now is looking for larger markets as the U.S. market has become increasingly saturated," Conrad said. "I don't mean that in any evil sense, but that's just what the drug companies do."

Secondly, Western psychiatry increasingly has a biological focus, which looks at biological rather than psychodynamic causes for various psychological problems. We've come to view ADHD more as a chemical problem in the brain that should be treated using stimulants, he explained, rather than considering potential psychological causes and behavioral treatment interventions, such as psychotherapy. Another factor is that other countries have adopted the standards of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). In the DSM-5, the requirements for ADHD were made broader , allowing more people to be diagnosed.

The third fact is that ADHD advocacy groups (sometimes funded by drug companies ) have become more common and more visible to the public in the U.S. and abroad. These groups often promote pharmaceutical treatments, Conrad noted.

And lastly, ADHD information and self-diagnosis tools are easily accessible on the Internet. While online self-tests are generally meant to be used for screening purposes only, Conrad said that they are often used as "do it yourself" diagnostic tools.

Of course, the data shouldn't be taken as conclusive evidence of the global rise of ADHD, and doesn't prove that American influence has caused an international impact. The data is theoretically driven, and only looks at five countries which were specifically selected based on their known increase in ADHD rates. There may be other explanations for the increasing rather of diagnosis and treatment in these countries.

Still, the research does underscore the importance of being aware of the potential risks of overdiagnosis.

"We're defining more and more kids as having some kind of psychiatric disorder," Conrad told The Huffington Post. "And while they may have some kind of difference, a difference isn't necessarily a disease or a disorder."

Clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., agrees that ADHD diagnoses are being thrown around too loosely, and she thinks that the public should be concerned. In addition to the influence of pharmaceutical companies, Honos-Webb attributes the phenomenon to "sloppy diagnosis and changes to DSM."

"In principle, looking to a brain disorder to explain attention deficits should be the last possible explanation," Honos-Webb said in an email to The Huffington Post. "Let's take for example a 6-year-old boy -- developmentally, you would expect rowdy behavior and difficulty with attention. Almost all kids have some of the symptoms of ADHD -- some of the time. The key point of diagnosis is to rule out alternative explanations and to determine that an impairment in functioning exists."
Following the tragic passing of Robin Williams earlier this year, one of the filmmakers who directed the iconic comedian has left us as well. In a statement from ABC News President James Goldston, we've learned that director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83, though no cause of death was revealed. Nichols was one of the most iconic directors to ever get behind the camera from his early work on classics like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate to recent provocative and acclaimed films like Charlie Wilson's War and Closer. Goldston added, "No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike." Nichols was born in Germany in 1931 and came to the United States when he was 7 years old, because his family was fleeing Nazi Germany. His career began with a pursuit in theater at the University of Chicago (an influence you could feel in each and every film) in the 1950s, and he would ...
Physicists at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, have developed a new algorithm that is capable of solving the Boltzmann equation for systems of self-propelled particles. The new method also reveals previously unknown patterns of collective motion in such systems. | 11/20/14

Celebrations on Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution felt more like an uprising against the current Czech president. To cries of "Resign! Resign!" Czechs pelted President Milos Zeman with objects including eggs, sandwiches and tomatoes as he stood side-by-side with the presidents of Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia at the university campus where a student rally launched the revolution in Czechoslovakia a quarter century ago. | 11/18/14

Celebrations on Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution felt more like an uprising against the current Czech president. To cries of "Resign! Resign!" Czechs pelted President Milos Zeman with objects including eggs, sandwiches and tomatoes as he stood side-by-side with the presidents of Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia at the university campus where a student rally launched the revolution in Czechoslovakia a quarter century ago. | 11/18/14
The online purchasing behavior of private individuals shopping in their leisure time is heavily influenced by recommendations made by other customers. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. | 11/17/14

PRAGUE — Celebrations on Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution felt more like an uprising against the current Czech president.

To cries of "Resign! Resign!" Czechs pelted President Milos Zeman with objects including eggs, sandwiches and tomatoes as he stood side-by-side with the presidents of Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia at the university campus where a student rally launched the revolution in Czechoslovakia a quarter century ago.

Minister of Gender, Social Welfare and disabilities Patricia Kaliati has expressed concern over increased rate of early pregnancies and marriages in Mchinji district, which is negatively affecting girls' education. Speaking Thursday, when she together with officials from KFW-Germany visited beneficiaries of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme at Khombe Village, T/A Zulu in Mchinji district, Kaliati said she was deeply saddened that although the SCTP programme is greatly improving the livelihood of vulnerable people such as child, elderly headed families and the chronically ill, girl children dropped out of school due to pregnancies. | 11/17/14
(RNS) ISIS terrorist rampages, waves of anti-Muslim hate speech and fear-mongering Islamophobia are inspiring an outburst of online activism in the form of Twitter hashtags.

The question is: Does it work, especially over the long term?

An army of “clicktivists” — a mix of earnest advocates and pointed satirists — has entered the fray armed with 140-character positive, peaceful or humorous counter-messages.

Using names such as #TakeOnHate, #IStandUpBecause, and #NotInMyName, the pushback approach promotes the complexity, diversity and positive contributions of Islam and Muslims. Others, such as #MuslimApologies, offer sarcasm in service of the same message.

Yet the hashtags are often immediately co-opted by trolls spewing an opposite message. And some experts question whether clicktivist campaigns have lasting worth.

Linda Sarsour has no doubt they do. She’s a Brooklyn-based Palestinian activist in the streets and on social media and a co-creator of #TakeOnHate. The hashtag is accompanied by a resource website , launched in March by the National Network for Arab American Communities.

“The insidious thing about anti-Arab hate speech is that it seems to be acceptable, where the ‘N-word’ or anti-Semitic remarks are not taken with the same degree of outrage,” said Sarsour, who was chased down the street in September by a man who was later arrested for threatening to behead her .

“Hashtags are temporary, but knowledge is not temporary… Once you learn something, you won’t forget you had that experience, that conversation. And you don’t have to wait for national TV to call to get your message out,” said Sarsour, noting that #TakeOnHate sees Twitter spikes whenever she’s on the airwaves.

She is a fan of the tongue-in-cheek #MuslimApologies, which shows “how ridiculous this is when you ask for 1.8 billion Muslims to apologize for a small group of people who are horrific.”

#MuslimApologies has small circulation — fewer than 5,000 tweets since Oct. 13, according to the Twitter analytics site Topsy .

@falasteenager tweeted “I’m sorry that Adolf Hitler doesn’t represent Germany, but Osama Bin Laden represents every Muslim and their mother.” In a video circulated by several tweeters, an unnamed man says, “I apologize for World War I and World War II, even if it has nothing to do with Muslims, but just in case.”

The hashtag parallels the more serious #NotInMyName campaign, in which people recite all the ways they reject terrorism in the name of Islam.

This isn’t the first clicktivism debut of the #NotInMyName hashtag. The New York Times observed that the same hashtag was used in 2003 to oppose the Iraq war and by Israelis this summer who condemned the war in Gaza.

The Active Change Foundation , a community organization in East London devoted to quelling street crime, gangs and violent extremism, also adopted #NotInMyName after the beheading of journalists and a British aid worker.

“Young Muslims are adding their voices to the fight-back against ISIS,” reads the campaign’s website. “#notinmyname gives you the opportunity to denounce their violent actions in your own words. Let your voice be heard rejecting the ideology of hate.”

So far, although tweets per day are down from nearly 1,000 to fewer than 400 since Oct. 13, according to Topsy, tweets in line with the hashtag’s original mission are running roughly even with trolls posting attacks.

Not so for the #IStandUpBecause hashtag campaign started by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. It began in August by inviting people on Facebook and Twitter “to tell the world why you are not afraid to speak out.” The Facebook page survived, but #IStandUpBecause has essentially devolved into a river of insults and denigration.

#ISpeakOutBecause Islam is EVIL

— Dan Cox (@DanCox4) November 7, 2014

“The trolls organized immediately — almost the first day,” said Riham Osman, MPAC’s communications coordinator. “Initially, we fought back, but it was overwhelming.”

Osman said the lesson she learned is that hashtag efforts work if you can pinpoint an exact target, reach people with the power to make change and tell them exactly what you want.

She cites an example: After Wal-Mart advertised a “scary Muslim” costume for Halloween featuring a shaggy gray beard, skullcap and South Asian waist coat, Twitter outrage drove the retailer to dump the item.

Osman said ideas such as combating Islamophobia “are an easy target for hijackers because they are very broad. (The) free speech umbrella covers hate speech as well.”

Hate speech’s power resides in its ability to provoke fear, said Robert Perez, a branding and messaging strategist focused on social-change communications and founder of

“When fear is activated in your brain, it’s like loud emotional noise that almost drowns out your ability to empathize with others,” he said.

“Hearts-and-minds campaigns have to address fear and are unlikely to lessen anxiety, fear and misinformation,” he said.

But that’s hard to do in a tweet, particularly when often the only people who see it are your personal followers who already agree with you.

“Not a lot of Americans know Muslims as friends and neighbors, so their understanding of Islam and Muslims is shaped by negative views. That gives a very distorted impression,” Perez said. “To help people have a fuller, more accurate and authentic understanding, we need to show stories, and bring people to face to face dialogue.”

Clicktivism success can’t be evaluated by tweet/retweet counts but by its contribution to the complicated matrix of social change, said sociologist Jen Schradie.

Schradie, a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Toulouse School of Economics in France, studies the intersection of technology with social movements. “Social change happens for a lot of reasons, often through concerted efforts of organizations and through offline activism,” she said.

Even so, “it’s critical to confront hate speech,” and social media can allow someone who has never participated in the public conversation before to take a bold stance.

Ultimately, attention matters — for ill and for good.

“Attention has never been powerless,” said sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She looked into the aftermath of the #bringbackourgirls campaign. (So far, Boko Haram still has hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls and the viral hashtag traffic has subsided.)

Tufekci flips this around, asking: “What happens when attention itself is part of the reward structure for the cruel? … Attention, to a terrorist group, is often what the well-meaning, outraged response is to your two-bit Internet troll: it is the food that feeds them.”

Even so, Tufekci concluded in an essay for “Medium,” an idea-sharing essay site: “Despair and throwing up one’s hands in disgust is … the luxury of the unafflicted.”
Indian officials are scrambling to find a solution to a German language problem in Indian schools that is fast becoming a diplomatic problem with Germany.

From the Department of Neurology , Institute of Medical Informatics , Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine , University of MA1 4nster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, MA1 4nster, Germany; Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom ; Department of Neurology, Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland ; and Department of Neurology, Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany . Correspondence to Jens Minnerup, MD, Department of Neurology, University of MA1 4nster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48149 MA1 4nster, Germany. | 11/14/14
Scientists at the University of Heidelberg in Germany found using just 20ml of water with each pill can help patients take their medication more effectively. | 11/13/14

Semen appears to interfere with microbicide gels to prevent HIV, possibly explaining why they work in the lab but not in real-life situations, scientists said Wednesday. Protein fragments found in semen hamper the work of microbicides applied to the vagina, said the report in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Known as amyloid fibrils, these particles in semen "act like glue to attach HIV particles to the cell surface and boost viral infectivity," said the study led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Ulm in Germany. These microbicides were originally developed as a way to empower sub-Saharan African women who may not be able to negotiate condom use with their partners. | 11/12/14

The responsibility for the German education system lies primarily with the states (Bundesländer) while the federal government plays only a minor role. Optional Kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years of age, after which school attendance is compulsory, in most cases for 11 to 12 years. The system varies throughout Germany because each state (Land) decides its own educational policies. Most children, however, first attend Grundschule from the age of six to ten or 12. German secondary education includes five types of school. The Gymnasium is designed to prepare pupils for university education and finishes with the final examination Abitur, after grade 12 or 13. The Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediate pupils and finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife, after grade 10; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education and finishes with the final examination Hauptschulabschluss, after grade 9 or 10 and the Realschulabschluss after grade 10. There are two types of grade 10: one is the higher level called type 10b and the lower level is called type 10a; only the higher level type 10b can lead to the Realschule and this finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife after grade 10b. This new path of achieving the Realschulabschluss at a vocationally-oriented secondary school was changed by the statutory school regulations in 1981 - with a one-year qualifying period. During the one-year qualifying period of the change to the new regulations, pupils could continue with class 10 to fulfil the statutory period of education. After 1982, the new path was compulsory, as explained above. Other than this, there is the Gesamtschule, which combines the approaches. There are also Förderschulen/Sonderschulen. One in 21 pupils attends a Förderschule. Nevertheless the Förderschulen/Sonderschulen can also lead, in special circumstances, to a Hauptschulabschluss of both type 10a or type 10b, the latter of which is the Realschulabschluss. German children only attend school in the morning. There is no provision for serving lunch. There is a lot more homework, heavy emphasis on the "three R's" and very few extracurricular activities. A very low-cost or free higher education could lie beyond a German Abitur. Many of Germany's hundred or so institutions charge little or no tuition. But, students must prove through examinations that they are qualified. In order to enter university, students are, as a rule, required to have passed the Abitur examination; since 2009, however, those with a Meisterbrief (master craftman's diploma) have also been able to apply. Those wishing to attend a "university of applied sciences" must, as a rule, have Abitur, Fachhochschulreife or a Meisterbrief. Lacking those qualifications, pupils are eligible to enter a university or university of applied sciences if they can present additional proof that they will be able to keep up with their fellow students A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils on vocational courses to do in-service training in a company as well as at a state school. Recent PISA student assessments demonstrated serious weaknesses in German pupils' performance. In the test of 43 countries in the year 2000, Germany ranked 21st in reading and 20th in both mathematics and the natural sciences, prompting calls for reform. In 2006, German schoolchildren improved their position compared to previous years, being ranked (statistically) significantly above average (rank 13) in science skills and statistically not significantly above or below average in mathematical skills (rank 20) and reading skills (rank 18). The PISA Examination also found big differences in achievement between students attending different types of German schools. According to Jan-Martin-Wiadra: Conservatives prized the success of the Gymnasium, for them the finest school form in the world – indeed, it is by far the number one in the PISA league table. But what they prefer to forget is that this success came at the cost of a catastrophe in the Hauptschulen. Some German teachers' representatives and a number of scientists disputed the PISA findings. Claiming among other things that the questions have been ill-translated, that the samples drawn in some countries were not representative, that Germans (most of whom had never done a multiple choice tests in their lives before) were discriminated against by the multiple choice questions, that the PISA-questions had no curricular validity and that the PISA was "in fact an IQ-test", which according to them showed that dysgenic fertility was taking place in Germany. A 2008 statistic from Nordrhein-Westfalen shows that 6.4 percent of all students did not earn even the Hauptschulabschluss, however not all of them were high school dropouts, as many of them were children with special needs, who received special school leaving certificates. Only 3.3 percent dropped out of school without earning any kind of diploma.

From dbpedia, under creative commons CC-BY-SA | hosting | | |