Bleg: Tiny Rhine Numbers

While biking yesterday, along the Rhine frontage of the Urdenbach nature preserve, I came across this small number on the shore of the Rhine:


Rhine Number 1

It was about 100 meters from the eastern shore, about where the gray location pinpoint is:

Rheinchild

As I rode the trail north, there was a "2" sign after about 100 meters, then a "3", then a "4", but then I turned off the riverside trail.

These are obviously not the large black-and-white kilometer markers along the Rhine (g). Does anyone know what purpose they serve? Thanks in advance for any help.

Dialog With a Mass Murderer

This video is grimly fascinating: it shows the Munich spree killer walking around on the top of a parking garage.

The guy filming him (or someone close by) begins screaming insults at the killer, and the killer responds and gives a few reasons why he is doing what he's doing. In a Youtube comment, Scalpelli provides a pretty good translated English transcript of their dialog:

Some English translations floating around on here are wrong. Here's the correct one:

Balcony     Man: "You fucking asshole you…"

>Shooter: "Because of you I got bullied for 7 years…" (referring to Turks)

Balcony Man: "You wanker you. you're a wanker"

>Shooter: "…and now I have to buy a gun to shoot you"

Balcony Man: "Yeah, you know what? Your head should be cut off, you asshole!"

>Shooter and Balcony man shouting at each other

Balcony Man apparently to people filming: "He's got a gun here, the guy has one"

>Shooter: "Fucking Turks!"

Balcony Man: "Fucking wogs" ("Kanake" is a mean term for Turkish immigrant workers)

Balcony man to someone else: "EY! HE'S GOT A GUN! He has loaded his gun! Get the cops here!"

>Shooter: "I am German."

Balcony Man: "You're a wanker, that's what you are"

>Shooter: "Stop filming!"

Balcony Man: "A wanker is what you are, what the fuck are you doing?"

>Shooter: "Yeah what, I was born here!"

Balcony Man: "Yeah and what the fuck you think you're doing???"

>Shooter: "I grew up here in the Hartz 4 area. Here in the Turk-region, in the Hasenbergl" ("Hartz 4" = social welfare benefits in Germany / "Hasenbergl" = district just next to the shopping mall)".

>Shooter says he was depressed for some time and got clinical treatment ("stationäre Behandlung" here usually refers to being under treatment at a psychiatric clinic).

Balcony Man: "Yeah treatment, you belong in a psychiatric clinic, you fucking asshole."

>Shooter: "I didn't do anything wrong. [unintelligible] Just shut the fuck up man!"

Balcony Man: "You wanker you"

Balcony Man: "HEY! HE'S ON THE UPPER FLOOR HERE. YOU IDIOTS"

Filming man goes into cover, shooter starts firing.

Balcony Man: "You're not quite right in the head / You're fucked in the head you wanker"

Unknown voice (police?): "EY, go over there!"

Balcony man: "You fucking asshole, you're fucked in the head!" – literally translated though he says "They shat into your brain", to which the shooter replies:

"No they didn't, that's the thing, they didn't"

Video ends.

‘A Pretty Girl For Pleasure At a Place Convenient For You’

Doing a bit of tidying-up recently, I found a business card I got during a recent trip to Sofia, Bulgaria. I was minding my own business, waiting by the side of the street to be picked up by friends, when I watched a nice, but unspectacular late-model sedan park in a nearby parking lot. A guy dressed in a nice but unspectacular suit, perhaps mid-30s, well-groomed, emerged from the car carrying a briefcase. He spotted me and walked directly over.

He said, "Can I help you?" "No, I'm just waiting for a friend," I replied. Then he said "Well, in case you would like some company," and gave me a business card. I assumed it was his business card, and that he either wanted to buy me a drink to practice his English, or to do something more, er, Greek. Then he walked away. This was the card:

IMAG0006 IMAG0007
Well, that was unexpected. At least my heterosexuality is confirmed, I thought. Not that I needed any confirmation, mind you. Just reassuring. 

I noticed that there's only one phone number, but the rates on the front and back of the card are different. This hardly speaks for the conscientiousness of Bulgarian pimps. Unless there's actually a difference between 'top models' and 'pretty girls for pleasure'.

The more I thought about it, the more questions I had. The guy who gave me the card looked like a mild-mannered accountant. I was waiting right in the middle of Sofia, not in some park where odd grunting sounds come from the bushes. Do Bulgarian pimps just hand out cards to ordinary Bulgarian men and tell them to give the cards to anyone who looks like a horny tourist? Or is this mere hospitality, like a tribal chieftain offering his wife to a traveler?

In any case, since I was staying with friends, I didn't enjoy the company of any pretty girls for pleasure. But t then again, the minute you exit a German train station, you see that you don't have to leave Germany to enjoy the company of Bulgarian prostitutes (g).

James Flynn on Humanity’s Huge Cognitive Leap

I know, it's one of those easily-mockable TED talks. But hey, just because they're easily-mockable doesn't mean they're worthless. This one is fascinating, even if cognitive ability isn't one of your hobbyhorses (it is one of mine). I even added German subtitles.

The 'Flynn Effect' is named for James Flynn, the man in this video. The Flynn describes the fact that in an absolute sense, humanity as a whole has become smarter every decade of the recent past. In the past 150 or so years, humanity has enjoyed steady increases in cognitive ability. Literacy has become almost-universal, average numbers of years educated has increased, the number of people engaged in cognitively demanding professions has skyrocketed, and the median level of cognitive ability has increased, making it normal and routine for people to think in abstract categories that would be unintelligible to people living in, say, 1890. The effects are concentrated mostly in the global North, of course, but they're spreading everywhere.

Forget just about everything you learned in sociology classes, this is probably the most important change in the human condition since the Renaissance. And most people have no idea it happened.

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/lang/de/james_flynn_why_our_iq_levels_are_higher_than_our_grandparents.html

‘Oh Albania, Red Star that Burns Bright’

Probably the finest Canadian song praising the Communist Party of Albania you will hear today (h/t RM):

I wonder if there are any English-language songs praising East Germany?

If you're interested in the internecine squabbles of Canadian Marxist splinter parties in the 1960s — and who isn't? — you can find plenty of documentation here. One of the absolute must-read highlights, On the Question of Liu Shao-Chi:

While we might be disposed to be somewhat critical of [Sidney Rittenberg]'s speech for being poorly constructed, not too carefully prepared and containing some careless formulatons, we are in agreement with its basic content in criticizing and repudiating the bourgeois-reactionary line of Liu Shao-chi and upholding the proletarian-revolutionary line of Mao Tse-tung. However, the Belgian trio of Jacques Grippa, Rene Raindorf and Stephen Strulens who are of the opposite opinion, in reply to Rittenburg’s 40 to 50 minute speech inscribed a, reply that would fill a good-sized book.

The extreme length of this literary attack is largely caused by the authors’ ranging far beyond the limits of the Rittenburg speech which did not provide them with sufficient scope for the objective they had in mind. In order to correct this situaton Rittenburg is charged with not saying certain things, and the things which were not said provide the main basis for the attack.

Order, Security, Cleanliness and Discipline

I hope you like the redesign. Until recently, Typepad only gave you two options: the center column could be either 500 pixels wide, or no border at all. I chose no border because 500 pixels is too narrow for many embeds and pictures.

Thanks to a recent upgrade, though, you can now have a broader main column, so I've done that. I also changed the banner, to reflect this blog's Signature Values™ of Order, Security, Cleanliness and Discipline. The recognition plaque comes from the former East Germany. During the last years of Communism, the government tried to compensate for empty store shelves and crumbling infrastructure by giving nearly every citizen a prize, plaque, or award of some sort.

It didn't work. Or did it?

The Urinating Mussel

Spotted in the famous Brussels mussels-and-frites restaurant Chez Leon, a diagram in which a French fry explains to a nonplussed mussel the principle of waterless urinals:

Mussels and Frites in the Bathroom

Good to see french fries finally taking personal hygiene seriously.