Sleeper trains

In the current climate (pun intended), traveling by train is the most ecological alternative.

Austrian Railways have understood this and are offering sleeper trains from Germany to Austria. Leaving Cologne in the evening, you arrive at Vienna central station early in the morning, with a full day ahead for meetings or sightseeing.

Swedish Railways have just announced plans for an overnight Stockholm to Brussels train, which would add a much needed East-West connection.

Alas, Deutsche Bundesbahn seems to ignore the opportunity.

IMG_20200801_213418_edited

(NJ 40421 to Vienna, 8/1/20)

Coal

Our government recently passed a law that guarantees several large corporations, such as RWE and LEAG, the right to mine lignite until 2038. It also awards them huge compensation for shutting down money-losing plants.

There’s no need for coal-firing plants to generate electricity – it’s even not commercially viable anymore.

Instead of protecting the environment and its people, our government subsidizes a couple of big companies and violates the Paris accord.

We’ll ask the EU for help.

IMG_20200710_131956_edited

(Getting ready, 7/10/20)

Shutdown, week eleven, lost

We’re at the end of the eleventh week of social distancing now, restrictions are easing, and the borders should reopen in two weeks. It could be a time to celebrate, but it’s not.

The institutionalized racism in the West has again led to one more death. Someone caught the murder on video, which is causing massive civil unrest all across the US. In Europe, we’re still failing to support the people at our borders, showing similar, completely inhuman behavior. Why is racism still a thing in 2020?

Black Lives Matter!

We’re also ignoring the climate emergency and fired up a new coal power plant.

Our government is looking to subsidize car ownership once again, as if we didn’t know that we need to rethink traffic radically.

Indigenous peoples all over the world are in danger because they’re protecting our environment.

I’m lost.

At least we can finally restart the weekly protests …

IMG_20200531_191856_250

(Instagram, 5/31/20)

Shutdown, week ten, corona-style exams

We are still not taking care of the people at our borders, leaving them helpless and defenseless, so we had to rally again on Saturday. Shame on Europe!

Also on Saturday I sat my first corona-style exam, with ten feet between the students and wearing a face mask, a very strange experience. The university since changed all further exams this term to term papers. June is going to be busy!

The Corona shutdown is in some kind of weird in-between state – we’re still trying to distance socially, but at the same time we are reopening stores and restaurants; there’s even talk about vacation travel in summer.

Today (Sunday) was Seedot Community Day.

And I’m getting better at managing my Email.

Screenshot_20200524-133131_edited

(Gmail Inbox, 5/24/20)

Shutdown, week nine, IDAHOBIT

Today is #IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, celebrated all over the world.

30 years ago, on May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization finally removed Homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – a huge step forward for LGBTIQ humans everywhere.

We’re also in the ninth week of the Corona-Shutdown here in Cologne, although we were able to lift so many restrictions that it no longer feels like a shutdown. Two more weeks and cinemas can reopen! If R, the reproduction rate, stays at its current level, that is.

Staying home and working from home is good for home improvement projects and at long last I was able to finish my new, all-flash NAS build.

IMG_20200507_091101_edited

(Case from Mini-ITX.com, 5/7/20)

Shutdown, week eight, Liberation Day

Friday was Liberation Day, marking the end of World War II in Europe and the end for the Nazi-Government in Germany. It also marks the end of the most atrocious crime in humankind, the murder of millions of Jews and other people in Germany and the occupied territories.

Never Again!

Never Forget!

Social distancing is still in effect, but our government lifted a lot of the restrictions – I hope all goes well and that we won’t be seeing a new wave and a second shutdown.

I’ll stop my “Shutdown” series on Instagram for now, though – stay safe!

IMG_20200508_103607_edited

(Stolpersteine, 5/8/20)

Shutdown, week seven, May Day

Seven weeks of social distancing now, the numbers are beginning to look better and next week might see some easing of restrictions; FOM has extended remote teaching until June though.

Friday was May Day, a pretty somber event without all the rallies, but I think we were able to get the message of solidarity across. Especially since we’re still failing the people at our borders big time – such a shameful behavior of our governments and our society! This is not what the EU was meant for.

On a positive note, walking with my buddy Machod helps me stay sane and in shape … ?

Screenshot_20200503-152209_edited

(Pokémon Go screenshot, 5/3/20)

Shutdown, week six, LDW +2

We’re at the beginning of the seventh week of shutdown in Cologne, and we’ve started to cautiously ease some of the restriction and re-opening shops for business again.

Social distancing measures are still in place, new for this week is the requirement to wear a face mask when shopping or using public transport. We’ll know in two weeks whether R continues to stay below 1 or not …

Also, two years ago, was my last day at Hewlett Packard Enterprise – the fourth term at University is coming to a close, too, with one more year to go.

And, we still haven’t acted on the refugee camp in Moria and at all the other places at our borders – shame on us!

IMG_2020-04-26-13280923_edited

(Coronawalk with my buddy Machod, 4/26/20)

Shutdown, week five, maintaining weight

At the end of the fifth week there is cautious optimism in Cologne and starting Monday we’ll see some small measures of reopening the city.

Overall, contact avoidance and social distancing will remain in place though.

You might recall that I started a LCHF diet in November 2018 and I’m quite happy that I have been able to maintain my weight until now, I hope I’ll be able to continue to do so – the added exercise during shutdown seems to help. A bit.

The other big news this week: We are still failing the people at our borders, big time. Shame on us!

IMG_20200416_111325_edited

(Bathroom scales, 4/17/20)

Shutdown, week four, total lack of solidarity

It’s the end of the fourth week in which Cologne has shut down, and it’s definitely the most somber and silent Spring Break and Easter holiday of my life.

In Christian mythology, Easter signifies hope, but not at our borders.

The utter lack of solidarity across Europe, and even more at our borders, towards the most vulnerable people of all – migrants fleeing the perils of war, civil unrest and strife – is appalling and deeply shameful.

Our Federal Ministry of the Interior recently agreed to allow 50 (in words: fifty) migrant kids into a nation of 80 Million.

Happy Easter!

IMG_2020-04-11-13181686_edited

(Pikachu on lawn, 4/11/20)