Recap of My Experience at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechia        
There are film festivals that take place in big cities, with screenings at huge performance venues, and lines that go down the block. Then there's festivals that take place in tiny towns, where dedicated cinephiles go to discover amazing films big and small. The Karlovy Vary Film Festival is one of these outstanding little festivals that takes place in a small spa town in the Czech Republic Czechia. This was my first year attending Karlovy Vary, which I had heard great things about from many colleagues for years, and it lives up to the hype. It's an excellent festival in a beautiful town nestled in the hills, and they show tons of stellar films. Coincidentally, I'd already seen many of their big centerpieces (A Ghost Story, Wind River, The Big Sick, Columbus) at other festivals but was still happy to stop by for a week of catching up with other great films. Back in 2010, I wrote an editorial about how ...
          Sweet boy naked on sofa        
More sweet boys from Czechia here!
          T-shirt Czech Republic State Sign        

The Product: Czech Republic State Sign motive printed on regular fit unisex T-shirt made of 5.5 oz. / 155 g heavyweight 100% cotton. Crewneck collar. Machine washable.Genuine motive designed and printed in Czechia. Product Options: Colors: black only...[Read More]
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          Painted coffee mug Prague Castle & Charles Bridge        

The product: Ceramic coffee mug with large grip and contemporary painting of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge skyline. Dimensions: diameter 8 cm (3.2), height 9,5 cm (3.8). Designed and made in Czechia. The motive: Painting of the Prague Skyline as s...[Read More]
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          Brown coffee mug Prague Old Town        

The product: Ceramic coffee mug with brown photo of Prague Old Town towers and medieval buildings as seen from the Charles Bridge. Dimensions: diameter 8 cm (3.2), height 9.5 cm (3.8). Designed and made in Czechia. The motive: Brown style photograph ...[Read More]
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          Eating the Globe: Zimbabwe        

I tried cooking Zimbabwean beef stew last weekend. It was rather unremarkable. The recipe called for virtually no spices. I cut the meat portion in half and doubled the curry powder, and it was still bland. It was straight out of a 1950s American cookbook-- tasteless. I added the spinach and rice, which were not called for in the recipe.

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Tunisia, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Belize, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga
          The Unnoticed Demise of Democracy        
The Unnoticed Demise of Democracy

Politicians are so busy fighting for their jobs, they hardly seem to notice that they risk going out of business. Democracy is on the wane, yet the problem is nowhere in Parliaments. Common to all is a progressive loss of vision, of long term planning and solutions, with politics used just for power.


In English, there are two terms: politics, which is term for the machinery, and politics, that is the vision.
In Latin languages, there is only one, politics, and that is now becoming the adequate term also for English-speaking countries, from May’s UK to Trump’s US.
In a few years, we have seen an astonishing flourishing of authoritarian governments.
Turkey’s Erdogan may be the best example.
He was elected in 2002, and hailed as proof that you could be a Muslim and also a champion of democracy.
At the end of the decade, he started to take a more fundamentalist and authoritarian approach, until in 2013 there was the famous crackdown on thousands of protesters, protecting a Park in Istanbul intended to be razed for a supermarket.
Since then, the tendency to use power has accelerated. In 2014, Erdogan was accused, along with his son, of corruption (three sons of cabinet ministers were also arrested). He blamed it on the Gulenist Movement, a spiritual movement led by an earlier ally, Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in the US.
And when in 2016 some military factions attempted a coup against him, he used the coup as a reason to get rid of Gulenist and other dissidents. It has put 60,000 people in jail, and he has dismissed from public employment a staggering 100,000 people.
What is reminiscent of Stalin and Hitler’s practices is how those 100,000 have been treated. They have been banned from private employment, and their passports as well the ones of their families have been revoked. When asked how they will survive, the government’s reaction was to scoff that even eating roots would be “too good” for them.
We’re talking of hundreds of judges, tens of thousands of teachers, university professors, who have been dismissed without any hearing and without any formal imputation. Europe’s reaction? Empty declarations, and since then Erdogan has become more authoritarian.
He has built a Presidential Palace of 1,150 rooms, larger than the White House and the Kremlin, where there is a three-room office dedicated to taste his food to avoid poisoning. The palace cost between 500 million euro (the government’s declaration), and 1 billion dollars (opposition’ estimates).
It could be said in Europe’s defence that Turkey is not a member of the European Union, and his actions have made it extremely unlikely that membership in the EU is possible.
But Poland and Hungary not only are members of the EU, but also the main beneficiaries of his economic support. Poland joined the EU in 2004, has received more than 100 billion dollars in various subsidies: double the Marshall Plan in current dollars, the largest transfer of money ever done in modern history.
Yet the government has embarked in a firm path to dismantle democratic institutions (the last, the judicial system), and even the sleepy EU has been obliged to warn that it could take away the right of Poland to vote, to the total indifference of the government.
Yet nobody has formally proposed to cut the subsidies, which are now in the budget from 2014 to 2020 another 60 billion dollars – half of what the world spends for development aid for nearly 150 countries.
Hungry is run since 2010 by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who campaigns for “an illiberal democracy”, and, like Poland’s PM Szydlo, has refused to accept any immigrants, in spite of EU subsidies. Hungary, despite its small population (less than 10 million, versus Poland’s 38 million) is the third largest recipient of EU’s subsidies, or 450 dollars per person.
One third of the world population lives on less than that. In addition, the European Investment Bank gives a net subsidy of 1 billion euro, and Hungary received 2.4 billion euro from the balance of Payment Assistance Program.
The two countries have formed with Slovakia and Czechia, the Visegrad group, which is in a permanent campaign against the EU and its decisions. Needless to say, subsidies to Slovakia and Czechia largely surpass their contributions.
Are Erdogan, Orban, Szydlo and dictators? On the contrary, they are democratically elected, like Duterte in the Philippines, Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Maduro in Venezuela and other 30 authoritarian presidents in the world. But in Europe this is new.
And it is also new to see an American President, Donald Trump, present an agenda of isolationism and international confrontation, who was also regularly elected.
A poll at the end of his first semester revealed that his voters would re-elect him again, with the Republican support going down only from 98% to 96%. Nationwide, his popularity has declined to 36%. If elections were held today, he would likely get a second term.
Which brings us to wonder why we still consider elections equivalent to democracy? Because this is how the people can express themselves. But people certainly do not like corruption, which in polls anywhere is considered the most prominent problem of modern governments.
However, unless it reaches a totally systematic level, like in Brazil, a studies don’t show a strong correlation between corruption and electoral punishment. Corruption, in politics, has been used by populists, who has promised to get rid of it to the electorate: exactly what Trump did in his campaign, while now his conflict of interest and lack of transparency with his private interests have no precedent in the White House.
That bring us to the next question. If ideologies are gone, and politics have become mainly a question of administrative efficiency and personalities, what is the link between a candidate and his voters, and whose support persists despite everything, like those who voted for Erdogan, Trump, Orban and Szydlo?
Perhaos it is time that we start to look to politics with a new approach. What did we learn from the last few years’ elections?
That people are aligning themselves under a new paradigm, which is not political in the sense we have used until now: it is called IDENTITY.
Voters now elect those with whom they identify, and support them because in fact they defend their identity, no matter what. They do not listen to contradictory information, which they dismiss as “fake news.” Let us see on what this identity issue is based: the new four divides.
There is first a new divide: cities against rural areas, small towns, villages, hamlets. In Brexit, people in urban areas voted to stay in Europe.
The same goes for those who voted against Erdogan, who is unpopular in Istanbul, but very popular in the rural areas. In the US, those who vote d for Trump were largely from the poor states.
The same has happened with Orban and Szydlo. None would be in power if the vote was restricted to the capital and the major towns.
There is a second new divide: young and older voters. Brexit would not have happened if all young people cared to vote.
Same with Erdogan, Trump, Orban and Szydlo. The problem is that young people have in serious percentages stopped to be active in politics because they feel left out, and look to parties as self-maintaining machines, ridden with corruption and inefficiency.
Of course, this plays in favour of those who are already in the system, which perpetuates itself, without the generational lift for change. Italy found 20 billion dollars to save four small banks while the total subsidies for young people are 2 billion euro. No wonder they feel left out.
There is the third divide, which is also new, ideologies of the past were basically more inclusive, even if of course the class system played a significant role. The third divide is between those who have finished at least high school, and those who did not. This is going to increase dramatically in the next two decades, when the robotization of industry and services will reach at least 40% of the production.
Tens of millions of people will be left out, and they will be those with less education, unable to fit in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Elites look with disdain at the choices of electors who are considered ignorant and provincial, while the latter in turn consider the elite winners who reap whatever they can, and marginalize them.
Finally, there is a fourth divide, which is very important for the values of peace and cooperation as a basis for a world governance.
It is the divide between those who see the return to nationalism as the solution to their problems (and therefore hate immigrants), and those who believe that their country, in an increasing competing world, can be better if it integrates in international or regional organizations.
Two extremely simplified examples: Europe and the US. There was a survey done by the EU among the nine million Erasmus, or the students who with a scholarship from that exchange program went to make lives in other countries. They have had more than 100,000 children by marrying somebody met abroad: the real Europeans.
In the poll, they were at 92% asking for more Europe, not less Europe. And in the US, the classic Trump voters, as white (a demographic group in decline: at every election 2% less of white vote), who did not get beyond secondary education, who do not read newspapers or books, coming from the poorer states.
People who lost their jobs, often after closure of factories or mines, strongly believe that they are victims of globalization, which created social and economic injustice.
This is a consequence of the fact that during two decades, only macroeconomic indexes have been used, like the GNP. Social indicators were largely shunned.
How the growth that GNP indicated was divided was not a concern for the IMF, World Bank, the EU and most politicians, who blindly believed that market was the only engine for growth and would solve social problems: only now have they tried to brakes on, too late.
The world has seen an unprecedented explosion of inequality, which is helping nationalism and xenophobia to become a central part of the political debate.
Nationalism is not confined to Trump, Erdogan, Orban and Szydlo, and to Brexit. China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Israel, Egypt, Russia, and other countries are now run by nationalist and authoritarian governments.
This brings us to a very simple conclusion. Either the transition to an unknown new political system, that will certainly replace the present unsustainable system, will be based on the values of social justice, cooperation and peace (probably updating the present international organizations), or it is difficult to see how we will avoid conflicts, wars and bloodshed.
Why the man is the only animal who does not learn from previous experience?

          Å védské lidové svátky II. – Luciafest        
neděle 13. prosince 2009, 15.00 hod. do 18.00 hod. Setkání se koná na lodi Czechia, nástup v přístavišti Na Františku, Praha 1 u Štefánkova mostu Na palubě při tradičním programu přivítáme Lucii a její družinu, setkáte s ostatními přáteli Severu, připijeme si glöggem a pobavíme se.
          Å védské lidové svátky II. – Luciafest        
neděle 13. prosince 2009, 15.00 hod. do 18.00 hod. Setkání se koná na lodi Czechia, nástup v přístavišti Na Františku, Praha 1 u Štefánkova mostu Na palubě při tradičním programu přivítáme Lucii a její družinu, setkáte s ostatními přáteli Severu, připijeme si glöggem a pobavíme se.
          Czech trade unions call for a pay rise         
In recent years, trade unions have repeatedly underlined the need for wage increases in Central-Eastern European countries. One of the most emblematic initiatives in this regard has been the campaign ‘The end of cheap labour in Czechia’, launched in September 2015 by the Czech trade union confederation ČMKOS.
          Leave the kids at home: Europe’s top 10 offbeat attractions for adults only (NSFW-ish)        

No kids? Great. They’re off traveling on their own? Even better. Presenting some of Europe’s best attractions for the 18-and-up crowd. Sex Machines Museum – Prague, Czech Republic / Czechia Let’s kick things off with one of the raunchier places – seriously, if you’re not blushing at least a little at some part of this museum, […]

The post Leave the kids at home: Europe’s top 10 offbeat attractions for adults only (NSFW-ish) appeared first on One Weird Globe.

          Europe’s weird and kid-friendly destinations: ten of my favorites        

During our epic trip across Europe, we got to hundreds of places. Time to highlight ten of my kid-friendly favorites. Yeah, I’m kind of a big kid at heart – and we took in a lot of fun places while taking in Europe. Lego museum (Muzeum Lega) – Prague, Czech Republic / Czechia Lots of […]

The post Europe’s weird and kid-friendly destinations: ten of my favorites appeared first on One Weird Globe.

          Exxon Mobil: Recruitment Administrator with English and other european language        
Competitive: Exxon Mobil: ExxonMobil BSC Czechia s.r.o is looking for a Recruitment Administrator to join the existing In-house Recruitment team based in Prague and supporting Businesses in Western Europe. As a Recruitment Administrator you will be the first contact for candidat Prague, Puerto Rico
          Exxon Mobil: Recruitment Advisor        
Competitive: Exxon Mobil: JOB SUMMARY ExxonMobil BSC Czechia s.r.o is looking for an In-House Recruiter to join the existing In-house Recruitment team based in Prague and supporting Businesses in Prague and Budapest. The In-House Recruiter is an exciting role with a remit to find Prague, Puerto Rico
          Small, But Fierce        
One of the distinguishing characteristics of German tank building in WWII was an aim to use up obsolete vehicles, including those which used to be the backbone of the German tank force. If a German tank became obsolete, that didn't mean that it would be scrapped. Some tanks were sent to training units, other were modernized. Obsolete tanks, especially light ones, were often converted to SPGs or engineering vehicles. This was the fate that awaited the PzI, Germany's first mass produced tank, which was already obsolete at the start of WWII.

Minor mechanization of infantry artillery

German infantry units were armed with a wide variety of artillery by the end of the 1930s. Aside from anti-tank guns and mortars, the infantry had howitzers and so called "infantry guns" (Infanteriegeschütz). The parameters of these cannons (barrel length, high elevation angles) made them closer to howitzers, but, formally, they were listed as regimental artillery.

German infantry used two types of infantry guns: the light 7.5 cm leIG 18 and heavy 15 cm sIG 33. The heavy gun was the most interesting, as nothing of the sort was used by any other military. Some of its characteristics were similar to those of a mortar, which was not surprising. The main objective of the sIG 33 was combat with enemy fortifications. Initially, the gun was towed with horses, but later a version that could be towed by artillery tractors appeared. It is easy to distinguish between the two: the motorized version has rubber rims on its wheels, which increased its top speed.

Captured 15 cm sIG 33 on trials in the USSR, 1942.

The sIG 33 was very good at its job. Its biggest drawback was a very large weight for an infantry gun: 1786 kg. This was partially compensated by use of tractors, including halftracks, but it was unlikely that the enemy would let a tractor drive around the battlefield unimpeded. The seven man crew could barely push around the gun on their own. In addition, heavy infantry guns sometimes had to fire at point blank range. Such experience was gained in Poland in the fall of 1939.

The logical solution of mechanizing the sIG 33 appeared by early 1940. To be fair, this was not the first attempt of making this gun self propelled. The sIG 33 was built under license in the USSR under the name NM. The USSR was the first to come up with the idea of using the gun in an SPG. The oscillating part of the NM was installed in the SU-5, an SPG built using T-26 components. The resulting vehicle was indexed SU-5-3. For a number of reasons, it was not mass produced.

In Germany, the same story took a different turn

15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B without the casemate. You can see that the gun is attached to reinforcement brackets welded to the fenders. The fact that the gun hangs above the driver is also visible.

In early 1940, Alkett (Altmärkische Kettenfabrik) from Spandau received an order to develop an SPG on the PzI Ausf. B chassis. The choice of factory was not a coincidence: Alkett was as subsidiary of the Rheinmetall-Borsig AG conglomerate, the developer and producer of the sIG 33.

It was also logical to use the PzI Ausf. B as a chassis. After the campaign in Poland, there was a large number of these tanks in need of repairs. In the same campaign, it became clear that a tank with only machineguns for armament is unsuitable for modern war. The more powerful engine and longer contact surface than on the PzI Ausf. A allowed the PzI Ausf. B to serve as a chassis for an SPG. As for the PzI Ausf. A, they were converted into munitions carriers (51 units were built). In addition, 24 PzI Ausf. A tanks were converted into SPAAGs called 2 cm Flak 38 auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A. These SPAAGs, built at the Stöwer in Szczecin, had very questionable fighting ability.

This SPG's crew seriously modified their vehicle. An improvised brass catcher can be seen, as well as a radio in the casemate.

The Alkett SPG, with the memorable name 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B (15 cm motorized sIG 33 gun on the PzI Ausf. B chassis) also had a very questionable design. It is often called Sturmpanzer I or Bison, but neither of these names has any connection with reality.

The unusual task given to Alkett resulted in an extraordinary vehicle. The turret platform was removed from the tank, and the modifications of the chassis ended with that. Installation of the oscillating part of the gun would be logical, but the requirements insisted on retaining the original design. The gun was simply rolled up onto the PzI Ausf. B chassis and fixed in place. The sIG 33 wheelbase was so wide that it had to be rolled up onto the fenders. Since they were not expected to hold up such a heavy mass, the gun's wheels were attached to special reinforcement brackets.

To protect from rifle fire, the front and the sides (partially) were protected with shields. The height of the SPG was 2.7 meters, and its weight was 8 tons. At the moment of its creation, it was the Wehrmacht's tallest tracked vehicle. Its crew consisted of seven men, three of which followed in an Sd.Kfz. 10 halftrack, which also served as a munitions carrier. The SPG itself only carried a handful of rounds (2-3). It also had no radio. The issue was solved using portable radios.

The fifth SPG from s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 703, June of 1940. According to the inscription on the gun shielf, one of the SPG's crewmen died on May 24th of that year.

Such an odd design did not stop the German command. With a clear list of drawbacks, it had one advantage: the increased mobility of the sIG 33 on the battlefield. In February of 1940, a batch of 38 SPGs was built. However, the word "built" is misleading, since, according to correspondence, Alkett played no part in the process. Most likely, these were conversions at army workshops.

A special type of unit was created for this vehicle: battery of motorized heavy infantry guns (s.IG.Kp(Mot.S)). According to the TO&E, each battery included 6 SPGs. The battery consisted of three platoons of 2 SPGs and 4 Sd.Kfz. 10 halftracks each. Six batteries were formed in the spring of 1940, distributed in the following way:
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 701 – 9th Tank Division
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 702 – 1st Tank Division
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 703 – 2nd Tank Division
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 704 – 5th Tank Division
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 705 – 7th Tank Division
  • s.IG.Kp(Mot.S) 706 – 10th Tank Division

All six batteries were ready for battle by the time the French campaign began. The results of use in combat were contradictory. On one hand, the firepower of the gun was impressive. One hit could destroy a house. On the other hand, the vehicle had plenty of drawbacks. Its large size made the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B a tempting target. Only the brief length of the campaign saved the new SPGs from significant losses.

The overloading of the PzI Ausf. B chassis was no smaller fault. Breakdowns on the march were a common occurrence. Strangely enough, the odd design of the vehicle helped here. It was possible to take off the heavy gun and hook it up behind the chassis. It's possible that the idea of the Waffentrager was born here: a self propelled chassis with the possibility of installing a towed gun.

Destroyed SPG named "Alter Fritz", the first SPG of the 703rd battery. Strangely enough, it continues to be listed as a part of the unit throughout the spring of 1941.

Three batteries were used during the invasion of Yugoslavia: 701st, 703rd, and 704th. A month later, all SPGs were used during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Here, the  15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B were frequently used as tank destroyers. They were clearly not meant for that role, but their crews achieved some measure of success. For example, the 705th battery claimed two tanks, and the 702nd battery also claimed a few. As in France, the sIG 33 guns spent most of their time being towed behind the SPGs instead of on them.

Fifth vehicle from one of the batteries, crossing a pontoon bridge, Eastern Front, summer of 1941.

Even though the war in the Soviet Union was not the same as the war in France, the losses in the batteries were not as high as one would have thought. The 706th battery took the hardest hit, and was disbanded by early 1942. Other batteries fought for much longer. The 702nd battery was disbanded in December of 1942, others in July of 1943. By the end of that month, the 5th Tank Division still had one 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B. 

A Voroshilovets tractor is towing  a captured SPG from the 705th battery. Winter of 1942.

A long list of drawbacks of this SPG did not scare off the German military. On the contrary, for a nearly improvised design, the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B was rather decent, which is illustrated by its relatively long career. At the same time, experience showed that the PzI is not suitable for this kind of task. The chassis was much better suited for a different SPG.

A mix of Rhein and Bohemia

The idea of a light tank destroyer SPG was conceived in Germany in the mid-1920s. The result was the appearance of the Rheinmetall Leichttraktor Selbstfahrlafette and leichte Selbstfahrkanone. An insufficient design and other reasons caused the idea to be abandoned. Attempts to build a tank destroyer on a halftrack chassis followed. Experimental prototypes were built, but work did not move very far.

47 mm PUV vz.36 in the German army, 1941.

The idea of a light tank destroyer on a fully tracked chassis surfaced again in early 1940. The cause was simple: the military suddenly found out that their anti-tank arsenal is insufficient to fight the Char B1 bis. The German 3.7 cm Pak had insufficient penetration, and the 88 mm Flak 18 AA gun had poor mobility on the battlefield. 47 mm Skoda PUV vz. 36 guns obtained by the Germans after the occupation of Czechia were quite a fortunate acquisition.

The PUV vz. 36 could penetrate 55 mm of armour at 60 degrees from a kilometer away. This was enough to fight the Char B1 bis at medium distances. The gun had its drawbacks: greater mass than the 3.7 cm Pak, and wooden wheels, which limited the speed of transport. The gun was accepted into service with the Wehrmacht under the index 4.7 cm Pak 36(t). Production continued, and Skoda delivered 200 guns to its new customer in 1939. These guns, as well as later models produced for the Czechoslovakian army, were equipped with new wheels, with steel rims and pneumatic tires.

One of the 132 Panzerjager I built in the spring of 1940.

Alkett also received the order for a tank destroyer on the PzI Ausf. B chassis. The experimental prototype, personally inspected by Hitler, was ready by February 10th, 1940. Alkett didn't reinvent the wheel: the turret platform had its roof and rear cut off, which were replaced with an open casemate. Unlike the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B, where the casemate was riveted, the tank destroyer had a welded casemate. The oscillating part of the PUV vz. 36 and a new gun shield were installed inside.

The tank's crew increased to 3 men, and the fighting compartment had enough room for a radio and 84 shells for the gun (74 of which were armour piercing). The mass did not increase much, only to 6.4 tons, which helped the SPG retain its mobility. Its index was no simpler than that of the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B: 4,7 cm Pak (t) (Sfl) auf Pz.Kpfw.I (Sd.Kfz.101) ohne Turm (47 mm self propelled anti-tank gun on the PzI Ausf. B chassis without a turret).

The tank destroyer's design was much better than that of the assault SPG.

Before the first tank destroyer was ready, a battle broke out within the German military. On one hand, the tankers wanted these new vehicles, since the tank destroyer was built on a tank chassis. On the other hand, the infantry also wanted a highly mobile anti-tank gun. Initially, the tankers were winning: a day before the demonstration to Hitler, the infantry was scheduled to get only 10 vehicles out of 132. Everything changed on the next day: a decision was made that all SPGs would end up in units formed from infantry anti-tank battalions.

Understandably, these plans had their opponents. On February 20th, Guderian noted that infantry units would have issues with spare parts and repairs. It was logical, in his view, to give the tank destroyers to tank units, and leave towed anti-tank guns for infantry.

During these debates, the vehicle was called Panzerjäger or Panzerjäger Pz.IB. Later, this index transformed into Panzerjäger I, which became the official title.

The fighting compartment of the Panzerjäger I. It's hard to call it roomy, but considering what the designers had to work with, it is acceptable.

Production of the Panzerjäger I was organized at Alkett. 40 conversions were planned for March of 1940, another 60 for April, and 30 in May. Krupp also took part in the process, as it was up to them to build 60 casemates. In Krupp's correspondence, the vehicles were indexed La.S.47. Another 72 casemates were built at Deutsche Edelstahlwerke AG (DEW) in Hanover. Skoda wasn't left out, and received a contract to produce guns for the tank destroyers.

A three-man tank destroyer crew. Situations where the crewmen wore a tank uniform and the commander wore an infantry uniform were not uncommon.

According to plans of the Armament Directorate signed on March 20th, 1940, 132 Panzerjager I would be distributed in the following way. Wa.Pruf 1 and Wa.Pruf 4, responsible for ammunition and artillery respectively, received one vehicle each. By April 1st, 36 vehicles would be sent to equip six batteries to make two tank destroyer battalions. 54 SPGs would create three more battalions by May 1st, and 36 vehicles would be sent out by June 1st. 6 SPGs were left in reserve.

In reality, only the 521st Tank Destroyer Battalion received 6 SPGs in each battery. It was reformed by April 2nd, 1940, from a towed gun unit. Other battalions had a different structure. The 616th, 634th, and 670th battalions had three batteries with 9 SPGs each. By May 31st, another 18-vehicle battalion was being formed, with one SPG in reserve. In reality the last two vehicles remained at Alkett for a long time. Skoda traditionally failed to meet its quota. The second to last Panzerjager I was finished in September of 1940, and the last much later, in July of 1941.

Tank destroyers in ambush. The low silhouette was remarked on by commanders of battalions which used the Panzerjager I.

Self propelled anti-tank battalions were formed in a hurry. This did not allow the crews to fully get used to their vehicles. Nevertheless, the Panzerjager I showed itself well in the May-June campaign in 1940. The vehicle was rather low, and breakdowns did not happen as often as with the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B. There were some issues with spare parts, but they were solved quickly. The Panzerjager I proved itself as an effective measure against French tanks and fortifications.

SPG crossing a bridge, France, spring of 1940.

Of course, the SPG had its drawbacks. The crews complained about poor visibility and a cramped fighting compartment. The ammunition loadout was deemed poor, and the share of high explosive shells was increased to 50%. Despite all of its drawbacks, the Panzerjager I was evaluated as a more effective weapon than towed guns.

Panzerjager I from the second production batch, 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Vehicle #32 from this unit survives to this day.

These results were sufficient to consider building an additional batch of SPGs. On September 19th, 1940, a contract for 70 casemates was signed with Krupp. Vehicles from the second series had a slightly different casemate, which also had additional side armour.

Initially, Alkett was supposed to convert the PzI Ausf. B into the Panzerjager I again, but plans changes on October 15th. Alkett was busy with building the StuG III Ausf. B. As a result, only 10 vehicles were converted in Spandau. Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz was chosen as a backup. This company, which included the Magirus firm, was known for its trucks. Nevertheless, it was responsible for converting 60 tanks into Panzerjager Is between December 1940 and February 1941. 

The new tank destroyers were sent to the 529th and 605th battalions, 27 vehicles apiece. The Leibstandart SS division was another unit to receive these vehicles, a battery of nine Panzerjager I. The remaining SPGs were sent to the 900th Training Brigade. It was a training unit only on paper, since the brigade was taking part in combat in the USSR in July of 1941.

This SPG was lost in 1941. Judging by the patch in the front armour, this was not the first time it was knocked out.

All units armed with the Panzerjager I fought on the Eastern Front, with the exception of the 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The units were constantly given completely unsuitable tasks. For example, the 529th battalion was given objectives better suited for the StuG III. Without the armour of an assault gun, the tank destroyers were more vulnerable, which led to heavy losses. The Panzerjager I was also plagued with technical problems. This often applies to road wheels, which did not survive long marches.

Captured Panzerager I from the first production series in Moscow, summer of 1943.

The 47 mm gun was sufficient to fight Soviet T-34 tanks. In addition, production of subcaliber Pz.Gr.40 shells began in 1941, which let these tank destroyers fight the KV as well. Nevertheless, 140 Panzerjager I were lost in 1941. The remaining SPGs kept fighting until early 1943. The vehicles in the 521st Tank Destroyer Battalion served the longest, eventually sharing the fate of the 6th Army at Stalingrad.

The 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion deserves a separate mention. In March of 1941, it was sent to Lybia, where it was included in the 5th Light Division. In 1941, the battalion lost 13 vehicles. Most of the losses happened during November, when the British launched Operation Crusader. One of the enemies of the tank destroyer was the British Matilda tank. At 600-800 meters, the armour piercing shells could not penetrate this tank, but spalling could injure the crew. The Matilda could only be penetrated with subcaliber shells. German crews complained that there was shortage of them.

The same vehicle from a different angle.

Including reinforcements, the 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion had 11 Panzerjager I by October of 1942 and the start of the Battle of El-Alamein. The British captured three SPGs during this battle. One of them, a vehicle with tactical number 32, was handed over to the Americans. This vehicle spent a long time at Aberdeen. In the early 1980s, it was returned to Germany, where it was restored. Presently, it is the only surviving Panzerjager I in the world.

Unlike the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B, the first German mass produced tank destroyer was a very good vehicle. Despite many drawbacks, mostly connected with the chassis, the Panzerjager I met its expectations. While criticizing the PzI as a chassis, one must remember that it was far from the worst, recalling the 4.7 cm Pak(t) (Sfl) auf Fgst.Pz.Kpfw.35 R 731(f), whose combat career lasted for less than two weeks in the summer of 1941.

An abandoned SPG on the Panzerjager I chassis, Berlin, May 1945.

In the end, let us mention one more SPG that was built from the Panzerjager I. During the Battle of Berlin in April of 194, the Germans used a vehicle which carried a 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 gun. It is not known who built this SPG. It is only known that the Germans used it in Berlin and abandoned it.

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Central and Eastern Europe is rich with technical talent and a growing number of globally-minded startups, yet it is a fragmented region of over 150 million people, living in more than a dozen countries. When startups start to gain traction and think about scaling internationally, they face a problem on how to raise VC funds.  At the same time, global venture capital funds are searching for young companies to invest in, but often are unable to travel extensively across the CEE region.  

 Last  week Campus Warsaw, a Google space for entrepreneurs, hosted the first-ever CEE All Stars event to connect 40 of the region’s most promising startups together with 25 venture capital firms, making it the biggest fundraising event of its kind in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

Campus Warsaw’s mission is to connect the region’s entrepreneurs to global startup ecosystem and  directly support entrepreneurs with programs at every stage of the lifecycle.

When we launched 18 months ago, coworking hubs from Poland, Estonia, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania and more CEE countries met to discuss how a network could support startups from the entire region. In the months that followed, we brought together startup hubs, accelerators, and early-stage venture capital firms to create a much-needed community--and conceived CEE All Stars as our flagship Community event.

CEE All Stars 3
Entrepreneurs and investors at CEE All Stars at Campus Warsaw

Each startup at CEE All Stars had the opportunity to briefly present its idea and business model to potential investors during pitching sessions, followed by individual 1:1 meetings: “During the 2 day intensive event, I was able to have 16 meetings with VCs, something I usually make in a year on my own” said one of the founders present at the event.

CEE All Stars 2
Entrepreneurs and investors at CEE All Stars at Campus Warsaw

While the startups at CEE All Stars come from the same region, they are quite a diversified group across different industries and different stages of business.

  • We hosted startups launched five years ago (such as Latvian Sellfy) and five months ago (Estonian Shipitwise);

  • Those who have already experienced a great success on the market (e.g. PublishDrive, an e-book publisher that has just been chosen for LaunchPad Accelerator program, or Funderful, which provides services to universities including Oxford, Cambridge and Berkeley) and those who have just reached profitability.

  • They represent a wide range of industries from fintech (Czech BudgetBakers or Lithuanian Welltrado) or health (Estonian SoterAnalytics) to travel (Polish BeforeYouGo or Czech ClaimAir) and culture (Lithuanian Bescouted or Polish Flowbox).

  • Some pitched cutting-edge technology, e.g. Wolf3D, which creates truly realistic avatars to represent people in VR, or iGreet, using Augmented Reality to produce cards that provoke increased emotional experience.

What they all have in common is courage, a passion for innovation and hunger for international success.

We were blown away by the talent, and hope that in a few years’ time, when startups present at Campus Warsaw this week look back, they will consider CEE All Stars as a milestone in the development of their business. We also look forward to replicating this type of fundraising event together with other regional coworking hubs. CEE All Stars hosted by Campus Warsaw may be the first of its kind--but we have a feeling it won’t be the last.

          Big data putting the 'fun' back in fungal research        

Open access to biodiversity data presents an unparalleled potential for understanding many aspects of the ecology and biogeography of organisms. Many national initiatives have gathered species occurrence records from e.g. citizen science projects and museums, however, to answer global-scale questions, data needs to transcend national borders.

Striking in their absence from analyses of species’ shifts in response to climate change, fungi are the focus of this study, in which researchers compile nine national datasets from Europe into one meta-dataset, called ClimFun. Through nomenclatural harmonization, formatting and filtering, the resulting dataset spans 6 million records of more than 10,000 species.

To demonstrate the value of the database, the researchers show simple examples of climate-related shifts in the fruiting dates for two species, Amanita rubescens and Hypholoma fasciculare. The patterns found rely on data spanning more than 15 degrees of latitude and altitudes from sea level to 1700 m, and are as such only achievable because of the continental scale of the data.

Hypholoma fasciculare

Hypholoma fasciculare by Bent Christiansen licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

GBIF area 
Citation information 

Andrew C, Heegaard E, Kirk PM, Bässler C, Heilmann-Clausen J, Krisai-Greilhuber I, Kuyper TW, Senn-Irlet B, Büntgen U, Diez J, Egli S, Gange AC, Halvorsen R, Høiland K, Nordén J, Rustøen F, Boddy L and Kauserud H (2017) Big data integration: Pan-European fungal species observations’ assembly for addressing contemporary questions in ecology and global change biology. Fungal Biology Reviews. Elsevier BV 31(2): 88–98. Available at:

Number of resources used 
245,382 species occurrences
Data use 
Data type 
Content stream 
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          All That Man Is        
All That Man Is
author: David Szalay
name: Liviu
average rating: 3.77
book published: 2016
rating: 5
read at: 2016/05/23
date added: 2016/05/24
shelves: 2016_release_read, mainstream, read_2016, shorts, top_25_2016_books
while of the 3 completed parts so far only the first was new for me (two 17 year old English boys, Simon, introspective and Ferdinand, outgoing, taking a trip to Europe, with stops in Berlin and Prague - very good story though the weakest of the 3), I really enjoyed reading the full story of Emma, Balasz and Gabor of which about 1/2-2/3 appeared in the Granta 123 (best of young English novelist 4 as Europa) and re-reading the story of Bernhard's Cypriot vacation which appeared fully in a Paris review issue; the 4th story is the one with the car, the Polish Waleria, and the Belgian medievalist which appeared (not sure yet if fully as I have just started it, though I suspect there should be more given the ending of the magazine story, but will see) in another Paris review issue (or in another Granta - there were 2 appearing simultaneously in Granta and Paris review this and the one with the Scandinavian scandal journalist which appears later in the book, and forgot which appeared where)

awesome end to end

9 stories with the protagonists getting older (from 17 to 73) which are generally unconnected except that the last one features the grandfather of the hero of the first though a few years later as Simon is now in college; a 17 year English boy on an European trip to Germany and Czechia, a 20's drifting Frenchman going to Cyprus on a vacation, a late 20's Hungarian bruiser going to London, a 30's Belgian medievalist taking a luxury SUV from London to Poland to his girlfriend's father who ordered it, a late 30's Scandinavian tabloid journalist on a quest to Spain for scandal news, a mid forties Englishman who sells real estate in the French Alps, a "retired" 50's Englishman who lives in Croatia, a Russian former billionaire in his 60's who just lost a lawsuit and much of his fortune in England, on his yacht, and finally, a retired English civil servant (and "sir") in his 70's and living in Italy are the main characters and we see a slice from their lives with drama, plans, fate, endings and beginnings; some are nicer, some are annoying, some are outright offensive, but all are fascinating and a superb book I cannot recommend highly enough;

as mentioned one can read four of these stories (most actually complete, only one about 2/3) in recent issues of Granta or The Paris Review


    Entre l’été et l’hiver,

    Je vais t’aimer tout l’automne.

    De l’équinoxe au solstice d’hiver,

    Comme l’écureuil, réserves d’amour je ferais.

    Redoux de tendresse,

    Tu es mon été indien.

    De mes oripeaux tu me défais,

    Comme les arbres se débarrassent de leurs feuilles.

    Saisons des récoltes, après ta semence de l’été,

    Maïs et tournesols, pommes et poires,

    Châtaignes, noix et noisettes...

    C’est l’heure des vendanges.

    Je viens cueillir,

    Sur ton corps vallonné,

    Le raisin de nos amours.

    C’est l’automne,

    Et sous la couette,

    Je vais t'aimer mon amour !   

"L'automne" d'Arcimboldo.

          Hans von Storch's talk on the occasion of Nico Stehr's 70th birthday        

Social Science ? A Must for Climate Research

This is the written version of a talk given at the symposium "Social Knowledge and Knowledgeable Society" in Friedrichshafen on the occasion of Nico Stehr's 70th birthday. It will be published later in a collection of papers on the occasion of that event. It is now a bit older, from 2011, but I think it may be interesting to learn how things have developped in recent decades.

1. Nico and me wandering through climate …

      Nico Stehr and me met first in about 1992, or so, in Cecilienhof in Potsdam. The newly founded Potsdam Institute of Climate Impacts Research had brought together a group of people, whom one thought may help to bring together the natural science side of climate research and the “societal dimension”, whatever this may mean. So, there were we two, a physical climate scientist from the Max?Planck Institute of Meteorology, where we naively played around with ideas how climate change may affect societies, and a social scientist   from Calgary, who knew something about the social process of science, Nico Stehr. I do not remember anything about the meeting itself, but Nico offered a good opportunity to   interact with people, who were not just dabbling physicists. After a while, we even found   out that we could speak in German to each other. Then I invited him to come to our institute in Hamburg for a couple of months, and he accepted this invitation.

      What did we natural scientists think then back in the early 1990s? None of us had any education in social or cultural sciences; we had heard a few courses in environmental economy, had read Nordhaus’ “To slow or not to slow”. We thought that it would be possible to include society in our models, just another model component, which would interact deterministically, possibly with some stochastic components, with the natural system comprising the atmosphere, the ocean, vegetation and the carbon cycle. That we would be able, at least in principle, to estimate optimal measures, which would balance the need for the costs for reducing man?made climate change (mitigation) and the costs for adapting societal vulnerability to changing climate conditions. The role of the political process would mostly be the determination of an appropriate metric apart of avoiding free rider problems. In its core, this argument represented simply climatic determinism. It assumed implicitly that societal development would be governed by certain laws. The role, which we assigned in these days to social and cultural sciences, was to formulate these laws, and to provide parameters for modeling such as demographic data and the usage of resources.

      Then came Nico. He gave a talk on … – I am not sure. I mostly remember the set?up of the talk. He had asked for an overhead projector, as was common for us natural scientists at the Max?Planck Institute. We were sitting and waiting, when he came in – and then he sat down. An unheard action; we give our presentation standing up, in front of the screen going through our transparencies. Nico had a few transparencies, but they only served as decoration on the wall. And then he read his manuscript. He read it – and we had to listen.
Unfortunately, we were not used to that – we were used to look at diagrams, think about it, have our thoughts wandering around, and eventually return to the diagrams, compact hypothesis and conclusions on the transparencies. But Nico read, read!, and we were lost, at least I was lost, I guess almost all. Two cultures met the first time, and it needed some time to get the interaction going.

      I do not really remember what his talk was about, but he did not provide us with  laws of social development and response to climatic change, no parameters to estimate emissions or vulnerability, but very likely he spoke about Emmanuel de Roy Ladurie’s book “Times of Feast, times of famine”, the case of the wet summers in England in 1315?17, when harvests failed and the religious authorities instituted a climate protection policy of the time, a successful policy as it had to be perceived. This case was an eye?opener to me, and my apprenticeship at Professor Stehr began, then in 1993. It is almost 20 years ago, and I am deeply thankful to Nico for what he has taught me.

      We started with using this case of 1315?17, as an example to illustrate that the issue of man?made climate change would not be a new concept, that the idea of adopting measures to end the catastrophic consequences of our misdoings – manifest in an adverse climate – was thought before, but in a framework entirely senseless for our enlightened times. My question was – would generations to follow find our explanations and measures equally strange, as we considered the activity of the Archbishop of Canterbury some 700 years earlier?

      The first thing we wrote was a piece in the German weekly ZEIT. The title was “Genarrt vom Wettergott”, and we wanted to see if others had thought about this link before. The response to this article was meager, and apart of Wolfgang Settekorn, a media scientist at the University of Hamburg, no significant contact emerged. A full article was published two years later in the journal Climate Research, and we continued with other work, such as climatic determinism and the case of Eduard Brückner. And we continued to publish shorter articles in newspapers and weeklies to encourage exchange with other segments of the public and of sciences.

      Brückner was an important step in our understanding, because it told us that the present perception of man?made climate change and the need to mitigate was something which has happened often in history, and the issue of deforestation in the 19th century was in many aspects similar, albeit smaller in extent, to the current concern about ongoing man? made climate change. We made it in to a short article in nature in 2000: “Climate change in perspective. Our concerns about global warming have an age?old resonance“

      Another important line of research was related to climatic determinism – with the concepts of Ellsworth Huntington in the center. Ellsworth Huntington was a US geographer from Yale, who tried to present the classical climatic determinism in modern scientific clothes, with maps, statistics and the like. He demonstrated the similarity of global maps of

presumed level of civilization and the utility of regional climate for creating favorable working conditions. Not surprisingly, the two maps pointed both to western Europe and parts of North America, while Africa and most of the rest of the world obviously suffered from unfavorable climatic conditions and needed support from the regions with favorable conditions – in short colonialism. I was surprised to find “my” good climatology in the neighborhood of racism.

      The case of Brückner, the climatic determinism, as well as the case of the Bishop of Canterbury’s mitigation policy in the 14th century, demonstrated me very clearly that social construction processes really matter when talking about climate, climate change, climate impact and climate policy. Scientific construction processes are intertwined with these social construction processes ? if you allow me for the time being the separation of the two types  of processes. Some  would claim that all such construction processes would be cultural. Indeed, but there are differences. I will return to this later. A significant element of the parallel existence of such constructions is the parallel existence of terminology – climate means something different in the social understanding than in physical understanding.

      For Nico, this was of course clear right away, and he insisted from the beginning of our cooperation on Gernot Böhme’s concept of “social natural sciences”, that any climate science needs to be embedded into an understanding of social and cultural dynamics, that the understanding of the physical dynamics would be conditioned to some extent by our cultural world. For social scientists trivial, for us natural scientists an insult, as we are objective, we claim. Following Merton, so to speak, but Nico’s early work from 1978 on the social reality of Merton’s norms showed us otherwise.

      We condensed all this into our “Wetter, Klima, Mensch”?book, which came out first in German in a small book in 1999; now it has been translated to Chinese, Russian, Slovenian, Romanian, Czechian, and English, and a revised and extended 2nd version is on the market.

2. Climate science as a physical approach?

      As an initial educated look tells us, the scientific analysis of climate is mostly a physical science discipline. The actors are physicists, meteorologists, oceanographers, geographers; also ecologists and economists are joining in the last decades, and the older concept of a climate model is more and more replaced by an Earth System model.

      The traditional object of climate science is not a social construct but part of “Wirklichkeit”, of the real world that is governed by physical principles, such as conservation of energy, momentum and mass in hydrodynamics. Thus, the climate science field contains the “physics of the climate system”. When we add terrestrial and marine cycles of matter, of ecosystems, other natural science concepts are getting involved.

      All this is good conventional natural science – but constrained by schools of thought, by paradigms, and ubiquitously challenged by alternative knowledge claims, which employ pre?scientific or  outdated views or concepts molded by world views and particular interests. We natural scientists consider ourselves as objective, independent of our history, equally open to all ideas, always prepared to accept our view falsified by new observations and findings. However, we are not, as Ludwik Fleck and STS studies have taught us.

      For one of our latest papers, Nico and I have teamed up with a theoretical physicist, Armin Bunde from Giessen, and analyzed if climate science would be mostly a kind of subfield of physics, and we concluded – yes, it includes many elements of physics, albeit not necessarily in a conventional way, and, no, there is more, in particular on the side of social and cultural studies. This paper became a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society.

      The situation becomes more complex, when the product of the knowledge construction, the wissenschaftliches Wissen, becomes an asset in political debates: when stakes are high, decisions urgent, the uncertainty remains high and values are in dispute. We call this situation, following Silvio Funtovicz and Jerry Ravetz post?normal. In this situation science becomes politicized, and policy “scienticized”. It is no longer only the scientific method, which qualifies a result but also its utility as an argument in a political debate, a debate about values; on the other hand, political decision are perceived not as mostly a matter of cultural preferences and values, but a mere “must” provided by natural sciences. Symptomatic are calls, which discuss whether autocratic systems are better in dealing with environmental crises than the slow democratic system, which is built to balance different worldviews, assessments of risks and possibilities, preferences and values.

      Post normal situations are common in case of environmental issues, among them climate. The uncertainty is large and will remain so for an extended time; if the sensitivity of the climate system (the equilibrium temperature increase caused by a doubling of CO2 concentrations) is 2K, 4K or 11K will be known only in a few decades ? same with the development of the big ice sheets Greenland and Antarctica , or trends related to tropical cyclones, the spreading of diseases and the fate of ice bears. If we want to limit climate change and the sensitivity is high, then we need now to reduce emissions massively; if we think that the sensitivity is lower, we may have more time doing so. But the decision of implementing significant measures has to be taken today – think of the rhetoric of COP?15 in Copenhagen. The decisions are urgent. Obviously such decisions have costly consequences: the stakes are high: if we do not mitigate enough, the damages may be prohibitively high, while un?needed mitigation may limit other urgently needed investments, say in the provision of electrical power for the poor. Do we need to act now to prevent challenges   from future generations, or do we want to create wealth now as basis for future prosperity? This is a value decision, closely related to the question of how to deal with risks.

      The postnormal situation goes mostly unnoticed for natural scientists, who become actors in a political conflict, while believing to be objective; they get desperate, because the political system does not follow the suggestions and requests of “science”, which recently became more and more publicly voiced orders by an elite of climate scientists. But the policy processes do not follow these grand calls of re?organizing global economics, of the great transformation, of efficient global mitigation, whereas science seems to have a profound effect only on more piecemeal activity of regional mitigation and adaptation.

      To conclude: A significant part of the set of issues represented by “climate” is deeply embedded in social and cultural processes, in particular the field of society?climate interaction. Thus, climate science is a genuinely trans?disciplinary scientific field, which   poses special challenges and approaches requiring the skills of both physical and other natural science professionals as well as social and cultural scientists.

      While the climate science began its ascent as a conventional natural science quest for understanding real world dynamics, it is now dealing with both, “physical reality” and social constructions thereof.

3. What is needed from social and cultural sciences?

      There are a number of issues, which social and cultural sciences should clarify and examine, to help society using natural science better and to help natural sciences become making better scientifically constructed knowledge available. A bit idealistic, I admit.

1. The topology of competing knowledge claims, their origins, their social power and their dynamics; natural science knowledge is one of these claims. Ideally it differs from others by its methodology of permanent skepticism and willingness to incorporate falsification. This includes the dynamics of what is named “skeptical climate science”.
2. Is scientifically constructed knowledge “better” than other explanation systems? In which respect “better”? A better guide to practical implementation or a system less likely to be falsified?
3. Empirical analysis to what extent climate science quarters are implementing the ideals of Merton’s CUDOS principles. Such an analysis needs studying specific cases – instead of broad general claims.
4. An ethnology of the different tribes in climate science – how do they determine
 dominant narratives and knowledge systems, how are speakers chosen, how is the interaction with other tribes and stakeholders taking place?
5. Which expectation does the public and stakeholders have of the function, and possibly service, of climate science? Is this consistent with Robert Merton’s norms?
6. Are STS studies relevant for the practice of climate science and of science? stakeholder interaction, and are such studies taken into account by natural scientists?

      This list can certainly be extended, and ordered better. A key element not explicitly included is the role of subjectivity of scientists. I have often heard very general assertions that all knowledge would be subjective, and thus there would be no qualitative difference between all of them; a kind of arbitrariness. While subjectivity is all over the place, and in that sense no objectivity would exist, we have to face that there is a “Wirklichkeit”, as the timing of the next high tide at the St Pauli gauge, which we can predict – and determine the skill of this forecast in a objective frequentist manner. Scientifically constructed knowledge has often superior utility.

      But, this subjectivity – we natural scientists want to learn how it manifests itself, not in general terms but concretely, in our own work. My own answer includes two manifestations:

1) In the process of choosing issues for our scientific endeavor, we select topics, which are of interest for us. Many scientists have entered the field of climate because they are concerned about the state of the environment, some because they want to protect climate from human interferences.
2) In the process of accepting an explanation as valid, we employ alternative knowledge systems; when we “know” already that climate change is manifest in our environment, we need less evidence before accepting that man?made climate change is causing, for instance, an increase in Hamburg storm surge heights. On the other hand, we would ask for more evidence, if the data would not show the expected pattern of change. Our “backpack” of culturally constructed understanding guides us in the analysis, acts as an efficient filter when looking for consistent explanations.

      In a sense, all this is “nice-to-have”, but does it matter? I believe so; I believe that better knowledge, more robust against falsification, will emerge in this way. My subjective assessment!

      But there is one field, where it certainly matters, that is the practice of what is nowadays called “climate service”. In this practice, the idea is to make scientifically constructed knowledge “useful” in practical societal contexts ? by providing options and perspectives valuable in societal and economic decision processes. This has something to do with the competition of knowledge claims, and it is by no means clear that scientific knowledge will be accepted as superior. An example is the smart physicist, who tells me that our storms are getting stronger because of the increased warmth of the air would lead to more water vapor and thus more kinetic energy. This sounds plausible but is easily falsified by the observation that our summers are warmer than our winters, even in the North Sea area, and that strong storms are an attribute of our cold season.

      The issue of regional climate servicing was the latest topic Nico and I, plus 7 others, have written about in the Journal for Environmental Law and Policy.

4.    Epilogue

      In retrospect, after 25 years of working with and learning from Nico Stehr, I see myself greatly enriched. He has opened various windows and doors to look or walk through, to approach relevant issues and exciting problems in other ways, with fresh ideas and different perspectives. Maybe, my own practice has converged toward his “social natural science” concept.

          Shione Cooper – Shione & The Man From S.E.X.        
Shione & The Fellow From S.E.X.

There have been many admirable, huge titted porno stars based without the Czechia since 1998 and angelic-looking Shione Cooper is right up there with Zuzanna, Veronika, Marketa, Iva, Krystal Swift and Bozena and several further huge boobed Czech favorites. The baby-faced black brown can easily move between an amateur look and a awfully glam look. In her SCORE scenes, that babe goes for a glam appearance.

Shione said this babe prefers cougar chaps with large schlongs as bed buddies and this babe is into gals as well. She's good at tit-fucking and dick blowing, can engulf her own nipps and is a incredibly energetic, sensuous sex partner as this movie proves once more. Shione's natural marangos are pliable and squeezable and that babe likes 'em licked and blowed hard.

Shione & The Dude From S.E.X.

Check Yet of Shione Cooper at SCORELAND.COM!

          It's fall already        
I know it's October already and the weather is the way it is supposed to be, at least in Czechia, but I don't like it. When I was in the U.S. I didn't miss cold mornings, rainy and windy days in September. Sure, they will come in any places where the weather changes, and there are countries with really bad weather , such as Ireland and Great Britain, however these cold days come to the Czech Republic pretty early for my taste. You guys in the New York metropolitan area and even Grandmom in Ohio are having such nice days. Well, it may be foggy, but at least it is not cold. Since I have my weather Internet tool on my screen, I can check the temperatures every day. Therefore I know that the temperatures there are above 60 F during nights and around 70 F during days, but on the other hand, the temperatures here have been around 40 F at night and 50 F during days since the second week of September. What a cold!!! We have already had to turn our heater on. Yes, we had two days of Indian summer last weekend, but that was it. It is very windy, gloomy with a few showers, and the temperature is supposed to drop below the freezing point on Sunday. Brr!!! This weather is in contrast to last year's fall weather in Bayonne and New York. I remember wearing my shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops until the middle of October. Well, I cannot change the weather. Nonetheless I can have my warm memories of better days.
Leaves have already turned yellow in our backyard as you can see on pictures below. That is a view from our bedroom window.

          Where is my home?        
When I wrote my last post, I didn't imagine, not even in my wildest dreams, that I would not be able to return back. I planned my visit for 3 weeks only or so. Yet, my stay has taken an unfortunate turn. Because a jerk at the U.S. Embassy decided not to renew my student visa only after a five minute conversation and for him doing so I was practically banned to go back, I had to stay in the Czech Republic. Unprepared. I left almost everything in the States. I came here with two suitcases full of Christmas gifts and only with a few personal belongings. Jesse was there at home in Bayonne. Yes, I call it our home. You know, I usually have a hard time to get accustomed to a new place to live, but this time I just got used to the apartment in Bayonne and to the town itself so fast. I also felt I found the calling of my life in studying a culinary arts major at Hudson County Community College. It is true that I had to be pushed to do so by Jesse, other members of our American family, and I should not forget to mention also my friend and former teacher at Bell School Jonathan. He really believed in me like the others, but the thing is he was a bit of a stranger since he was only my teacher at first and not a member of my family. I miss him so much, and it is a pity that we kind of lost touch, although I sent him an email a few days ago. Let's see, maybe everything is not lost forever. How the situation was absurd can be seen in that that I even had dough for my pies ready in a fridge. We were supposed to celebrate Christmas when I would get back.
Even though it 's already been 9 months, I still live in cultural shock the same way I lived in it when I moved to the U.S.A. Living in the States for 4 years left deep marks on my habits, my thinking and on my soul. There is no doubt about it and if anyone says otherwise then he or she is plainly wrong. Now I understand Jesse when he talked about being uprooted from his culture and at the same time not belonging to the Czech one. I feel the same way now. The sad thing is that this experience should have helped us to better understand each other and brought us closer, but it is not so. We are still far apart away on this issue, however our points of view have changed. Jesse is closer to Czech culture than I am now. He always says I complain a lot about life in Czechia and don't appreciate my country. Well, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I like my country in the way a citizen can like his country. Nonetheless it looks to me along with the European Union very Socialist and I definitely don't like that. What I really appreciate is liberalism here which is not in the U.S. under the rule of neo-conservatives in the White House. That is my general impression. Let's take a look at something practical. You can call me a materialist, but when I compare technology, services and meeting basic needs of people, the U.S. comes up as a winner. I know that for many folks here 'the bigger, the better' saying sounds funny, but I have to say it is true.
Everything seems to be small. For example, we used to have a very nice wide and large stove range. The ones here look like they are taken from doll houses. The roads here are narrower, and I don't mention highways that are clogged by traffic, because they are not fitted for traffic nowadays since they were built, the oldest ones, in the 70's. There is no such thing as Netflix, people here don't know a rice cooker and you cannot use your credit card whenever you want or where it makes sense. My point is that when you take these small ordinary things for granted, it is hard not to compare them and also to get used to something else and accept that just because it is smaller, it doesn't mean it is worse. However it is only human nature to make a comparison. I am also aware of the fact that it was not always like that. I remember well our beginnings in the States. They were quite tough, but we overcame them. I always ask myself if my feelings toward the U.S. would have been the same if I had left while we were living in Jersey City, because I don't have as nice memories from it as I do from Bayonne. What if it had been a different season and not around Christmas which I love very much. Would it have been different? I don't have the answer. It may have been.
I know that I will get used to living here. Sooner or later. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean I will stop missing New York, college, Bayonne, the Hudson River, the Atlantic ocean, Hoboken with its beautiful waterfront promenades and our trips to Ohio, just to mention a few. It doesn't mean I will stop considering the U.S.A. as my second home and it certainly doesn't mean I will stop trying to come back. Like it or not.

          Coming soon...        
My new post is coming soon from Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. This time I would like to dedicate the blog to our family in the United States of America and because of that I intend to write in English. Before I do that, please accept my apology for my bad English, because I haven't been using it on a daily basis since my harsh return to Czechia. I used to be quite confident in proper English, but I'm not anymore.

          Google Outage        
Google was down tonight across most of Central Europe tonight.  At around 8 pm tonight, the world's largest search engine went down all across Czechland.

It wasn't just the search engine that was down.  People couldn't access their Gmail accounts or watch videos on YouTube.

No Google, Gmail or YouTube?!?!  At least Facebook still worked.

Shortly before 10 pm, things started working again.  There hasn't been a statement yet as to what happened but whatever it was, it impacted service in Czechia, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia.

          FK Olympia Praha        

Downloading this artwork you agree to the following:

The above logo design and the artwork you are about to download is the intellectual property of the copyright and/or trademark holder and is offered to you as a convenience for lawful use with proper permission from the copyright and/or trademark holder only. You hereby agree that you agree to the Terms of Use and that the artwork you download will be used for non-commercial use without infringing on the rights of the copyright and/or trademark holder and in compliance with the DMCA act of 1998. Before you use or reproduce this artwork in any manner, you agree to obtain the express permission of the copyright and/or trademark holder. Failure to obtain such permission is a violation of international copyright and trademark laws subject to specific financial and criminal penalties.

Logo of FK Olympia Praha Czechia Sports
          CZECHIA, April 2017. Median poll        
KSČM 13.5%, Z 3%, ČSSD 20%, PIRÁTI 3%, KDU-ČSL 6.5%, ANO 28.5%, STAN 2%, TOP09 8%, ODS 7.5%, SVO 1.5%, SPD 4%

Source | Parties
Latest Czech polls - Electomonitor
          CZECHIA, April 2017. Phoenix Research poll        
KSČM 13.4%, Z 1.2%, ČSSD 15.7%, PIRÁTI 3.5%, KDU-ČSL/STAN 10.4%, ANO 25.9%, TOP09 5.2%, ODS 8.8%, SVO 1.8%, ÚSVIT 1.1%, SPD 4%

Source | Parties
Latest Czech polls - Electomonitor
          EU And Eastern European Nations on Collision Course Over Migrants and Soros        

There's a head-on car train crash on the way between the liberal European Union and Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia. The Visegrad 4 block are furious over ttempts by Brussels to force Muslim 'refugee' quotas on the nations which have stated their determination to remain Christian, and to stamp out criticism of the role of [...]

The post EU And Eastern European Nations on Collision Course Over Migrants and Soros appeared first on Knights Templar International.

          Prague, Czechia (CZ) - Rovinj, Croatia (HR)        
Carpooling Route from date: 2017-09-02 to date: 2017-09-02 User annotation available.
          FK Olympia Praha        

Downloading this artwork you agree to the following:

The above logo design and the artwork you are about to download is the intellectual property of the copyright and/or trademark holder and is offered to you as a convenience for lawful use with proper permission from the copyright and/or trademark holder only. You hereby agree that you agree to the Terms of Use and that the artwork you download will be used for non-commercial use without infringing on the rights of the copyright and/or trademark holder and in compliance with the DMCA act of 1998. Before you use or reproduce this artwork in any manner, you agree to obtain the express permission of the copyright and/or trademark holder. Failure to obtain such permission is a violation of international copyright and trademark laws subject to specific financial and criminal penalties.

Logo of FK Olympia Praha Czechia Sports

Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review
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Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review
More spies and traitors may appear in Russia after adoption of amendments on espionage and high treason
German intelligence was also paying to Russian spy from Estonia
Truth about activity of Russian spy will not emerge in foreseeable future, Estonian security services superviser believes
Security Police of Estonia suspected civil engineering company official of bribery
Lithuanian President summons security chiefs to discuss challenges of economic and financial crisis
CIA declassifies reports written by Polish spy who helped bring down Communism
Police considers two versions of reasons of attack on Ukraine’s Security Service Colonel
Security Service of Ukraine adviced parliament members to read Ukrainian newspapers more thoroughly
Security Service of Ukraine seized drugs worth UAH 250 million in 2008
President of Moldova appointed new deputy directors of security service

More spies and traitors may appear in Russia after adoption of amendments on espionage and high treason
Much more spies and traitors of the native land may appear in Russia; the State Duma has been considering the bill which offers expanding of concepts of high treason and espionage, Radio Ekho Moskvy reports. According to news agency RIA Novosti, it is marked in an explanatory note that the bill has been prepared on the basis of analysis of activity of the Federal Security Service of Russia on revealing, suppression and investigation of crimes, responsibility for which is stipulated by specified articles of the criminal code.
The authors of the bill suggest considering the high treason not only hostile activity to the detriment of external security of the country, but also an act directed against constitutional order, the sovereignty, territorial and state integrity. Lawyer Anna Stavitskaja said in an interview to daily Kommersant that all the listed attributes of high treason were themselves very amorphous concepts which were not registered precisely in the law and consequently they could be treated as one liked.
Meanwhile the concept of espionage has also been expanded. Now under this clause these are acts that cause damage to the country’s security and not only to external security but also it is the transfer of classified information to international organizations.
Human rights activists are afraid of return of Stalin-era when everyone who had dared to criticize the authorities could became a traitor of the native land and a spy, Ekho Moskvy marks. Radio notes that the government explains necessity of amendments with care of law enforcement bodies. In an explanatory note it is said that it is difficult to prove the fault of defendants under espionage and high treason clauses because of narrow formulations.
Photo by Postimees: Simm's house and vehicle  
Simm's house and vehicle  

German intelligence was also paying to Russian spy from Estonia
The foreign intelligence service Germany BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) for several years used the former adviser of Ministry of Defence of Estonia, Herman Simm, as an agent, German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reveals. Simm was supplying the BND with data on activity of the Russian intelligence in the Baltics, and Germans generously paid for it, writes Der Spiegel. «It is not yet clear whether Simm was giving false data on Russian instructions, or simply wished to receive double compensation».
According to Der Spiegel, Simm’s meetings with agents of the BND were taking place basically in large Western European cities and cooperation with him was stopped shortly before Estonia joined the European Union in 2004.
Der Spiegel writes about suspicion of Germans that Simm could have transferred data of confidential system of enciphering to the Russians. „Since 2004, the NATO uses Elcrodat system developed in Germany. Telephone conversations and a turn of documents between headquarters of NATO in Bruxelles and its members are ciphered using it", notes the magazine.

Truth about activity of Russian spy will not emerge in foreseeable future, Estonian security services supervisor believes
The chairman of the parliamentary special commission on supervision of security services, Jaanus Rahumagi, believes that in the nearest 50 years public would hardly learn the truth about activity of the Russian spy Herman Simm, Estonian TV reports.
"I am confident that within the nearest 50 years wide public will not learn the truth. I also consider that in the court only that part of Simm’s working will be considered which he himself has admitted”, Rahumagi told in an interview to Aktual Kamera program of the Estonian Public Television.
He also added that he did not have powers to make comments on Simm’s espionage case related to high treason. Rahumagi only said that all what was Simm reporting to Russia on security details has already changed. "All the information which was known to Simm has been changed. All the systems have been changed, too,” he added.
The Estonian TV program mentioned that evidently Simm was also transferring false information to the West, according to orders of the Russian secret services.

Security Police of Estonia suspected civil engineering company official of bribery
The member of board of civil engineering firm Merko Ehitus, Tonu Korts, told an Estonian Television program details of his visit to the Security Police of Estonia (KaPo) in connection with the scandal about alleged bribes in the Tallinn mayoralty.
«As the law enforcement bodies do not wish to publicise the content of their suspicion and in press there are various speculations, I have to tell about suspicions myself to avoid new rumours», announced Korts. According to Korts, the version of the Security Police is that he as a board member of Merko Ehitus company, have allegedly presented the adviser of vice-mayor of Tallinn, Ivo Parbus, a book in which a EEK 25,000 gift certificate of travel company Estravel was enclosed.
According to the Security Police, this gift became a way of promotion of many large building projects in the capital city of Estonia, added Korts. No other suspicions has been shown, according to Korts. He expressed his hope that the investigation would help him to find out the truth.

Lithuanian President summons security chiefs to discuss challenges of economic and financial crisis
The President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus summoned a meeting of the new country leaders after the composition of the new government to discuss eventual actions on case of critical situation aggravated by economic and financial crisis, daily Respublika reports.
"Economic crisis is threatening national security," is the headline of the online paper Delfi reporting on the event. "In the conditions of economic recession, instability threatening national security of the state can arise in Lithuania,” Delfi cites the speaker of parliament Arunas Valinskas who stressed that „it is better to speak about those problems beforehand instead of talking about them only when they occur”. According to Delfi, President Valdas Adamkus, parliamentary chairman Arunas Valinskas, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, Chairman of the parliamentary defense and national security committee Arvidas Anusauskas, the head of State Security Department (VSD) Povylas Malakauskas and other officials for three hours discussed problems which the state may expect in the event that the country will be overflowed with a wave of bankruptcies and citizens will start to massively lose jobs". "At the meeting were discussed problems which could emerge with an aggravation of the complex financial situation", president’s press-attache Rita Grumadaite told the press. President Adamkus wished smooth coordination and trust between the VSD and the President, the parliament and the government. It was separately emphasized that the mission of the VSD, new tasks put forward before the security service and its responsibility before the population of Lithuania was also discussed.
Mass media were not informed on more concrete eventual dangers. Prime Minister Kubilius only noted that danger could arise only in the event that the economic situation would worsen, if bankruptcies of large enterprises will begin in the country, and "when economic problems become problems of concrete people", Delfi reports.

CIA declassifies reports written by Polish spy who helped bring
  Kuklinski. WBJ
  Ryszard Kuklinski 
down Communism

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declassified over a thousand pages of reports handed to the Americans by the late Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, an officer serving in the General Staff of the People's Army of Poland (1976-1981), and dealing with Communist regime preparations to enforce martial law in Poland in December 1981, Polish Radio reports. The CIA has now disclosed around 1,000 out of the approximately 40.000 pages of most classified documents concerning Poland, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, involving Moscow’s plans to use nuclear weapons that Kuklinski conveyed to the US.
The documents were made public during a special session in CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, devoted to Kuklinski. It was accompanied by a screening of War Games, a film by Dariusz Jablonski about Kuklinski which was attended by CIA chief Michael Hayden and former presidential national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Hayden called the agent a hero and patriot whose activities had helped save many lives.
Speaking to the radio CIA historian Nicholas Dujmovic said the revealed documents do not give a clear answer to the question of General Wojciech Jaruzelski's decision to enforce martial law in Poland. “Unfortunately the release is not complete and may be disappointing to some people and I know Polish people are looking to restore their own history. It is disappointing to me as a historian but it's a good start. So stay tuned, as we say, there will be more such releases.”
According to Kuklinski, an invasion of Poland by Warsaw Pact nations was scheduled for December 1980, during the height of the Solidarity trade unions pressure for reform, though the action was subsequently called off. In February 1981, after Jaruzelski had been elevated to prime minister, plans to speed up the introduction martial law in Poland were presented to officials of the KGB who were in Warsaw.
In June, information handed by Kuklinski to the CIA reported that Moscow had ordered Soviet families living in Poland to leave by 15 June. He also reported Warsaw Pact troops movements in Poland. 
Other documents show Moscow's reluctance to initiate armed intervention in Poland, but at the same time Kuklinski stressed, what he saw, as its eventual inevitability. The information sheds light on the circumstances of declaring martial law, a subject central to the ongoing trial of Jaruzelski and other generals who are charged with crimes against the nation. According to Kuklinski, it was General Kiszczak who was keenest on a quick clampdown on the Solidarity trade union, using the advantage of surprise to smash the opposition. Another aspect of the documents that the CIA has released is that despite knowing about the plans for the introduction of martial law, the American government did not let Solidarity know about them. For nearly ten years, Kuklinski was the CIA's top spy in the Soviet bloc, NPR program emphasized yesterday.
Born in 1930 in Warsaw, Kuklinski joined the Polish military in 1947. He began cooperating with the CIA after the bloody suppression of workers' strikes in Gdask, Gdynia and Szczecin in December 1970. In 1981, Kuklinski and his family left Poland with the help of the American intelligence community. Kuklinski was sentenced to death in absentia in 1984, a sentence that was later commuted to 25 years in prison and finally overturned in 1997. He died in 2004 in Florida. In 1982, then-CIA director William Casey wrote to President Reagan that no one had done more than Kuklinski to undermine communism over the previous 40 years, Warsaw Business Journal notes.

Police considers two versions of reasons of attack on Ukraine’s Security Service Colonel
The police have been considering two versions of the reasons of an attack on a Colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine in Lvov, news agency RBC-Ukraine reports, referring to an informed police source. The investigation is carried out by Frankovsk regional department of police of Lvov.
According to one of the versions, the attack could be explained with a robbery attempt, the other one considers that the attack might be connected with the criminal case on bribery by the Chairman of Lvov Court of Appeal Igor Zvarych.
Unknown persons attacked a Colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine last week in the city of Lvov. The State Office of General Prosecutor of Ukraine brought a criminal case against the Chairman of the Lvov Administrative Court of Appeal on materials of the Security Service of Ukraine for reception of a bribe in especially large amount.

Security Service of Ukraine adviced parliament members to more thoroughly read Ukrainian newspapers
The Acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentin Nalyvaychenko studied in the
V.Nalyvaychenko NEWSru  
Valentin Nalyvaychenko  
Institute of Intelligence named after Yuri Andropov, not in the Higher School of the USSR State Security Committee, according to the head of press-service SBU Marina Ostapenko who was making comments on inquiry of members of the Supreme Rada (parliament) of Ukraine with the request to check up the corresponding information of a Russian newspaper, daily Ukrainskaya pravda reports.
Thus Ostapenko advised the parliament members to read « Ukrainian newspapers instead of Moscow ones». In particular, she reminded that back in July in an interview to the Fakty. Sobytiya i Lyudi, Nalyvaychenko already told where he had studied, „and he did not try to hide these facts of the biography”. In the interview Nalyvaychenko told about his studies in the Institute of Intelligence named after Andropov where he received his second higher education. He said he was the last listener from Ukraine in the Institute and he had a choice, whether to remain in Moscow or to come back home.
15 members of the Supreme Rada sent a corresponding inquiry addressed to the editor-in-chief of the daily Moskovskaya pravda and specified that in the issue of newspaper dated November 14, 2008, there was information that Valentin Nalyvaychenko ostensibly is a graduate of the Higher School of the KGB of the USSR. The parliament members asked the Moscow paper to present documentary acknowledgment of the fact of Nalyvaychenko’s studies and at absence of such acknowledgment to publish a refutation in the newspaper.
The reply of the newspaper stressed that the Moskovskaya pravda was not a keeper of the KGB archive and recommended the Ukrainian parliament members to ask Nalyvaychenko himself about his education.

Security Service of Ukraine seized drugs worth UAH 250 million in 2008

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in 2008 seized drugs worth UAH 250 million (USD 1=UAH 7.47), according to the press service of the SBU, National Radio and Television Company of Ukraine reports.
This year, the security agency confiscated 216.8 kilograms of heroin, 53.2 kilograms of cocaine, 12.8 kilograms of methadone, 22.1 kilograms of psychotropic substances and over 2.6 kilograms of precursors. The overall value of confiscated drugs set at black market prices is over UAH 250 million. According to specialists, this amount of drugs is enough to produce around five million drug doses.
According to SBU General Valery Kravchenko, the SBU has information that a million of US dollars was allocated to promote methadone programs in Ukraine, online site Rising Voices writes. It is understandable that pharmaceutical companies which produce methadone should sell it somewhere, but this is a drug and will not stop the addiction, General marked.

President of Moldova appointed new deputy directors of security service
The President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin has signed the decree on appointment of Mikhail Bodyan and Alexander Lunkar to the posts of the deputy directors of the Information and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova, information agency Lenta PMR reports.
Before the appointment to the posts of the deputy directors of the Information and Security Service, Alexander Lunkar headed the Soroksk management of financial control and audit, and Mikhail Bodyan held a post of the head of the Information and Security Service department, Lenta PMR expands.

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          Love's Cross-Currents        
I blog so intermittently... I just can't seem to make a habit of it, the disciplined morning habit I once hoped to cultivate. What foxes me too is this desire to communicate; one has to perch on the edge of some dissatisfaction and rock about on it. As someone said, sometimes I just look at the stars... and can't be bothered. But having recently gained more than, say, ten puzzled readers from Czechia, I feel guilty about it. Oh, but here's something so perfectly written, so intensely enjoyable and I am simply going to transcribe it. Because Algernon Charles Swinburne's A Year's Letters is out of print and no one has read it. Buy a second hand copy tonight! I recommend it to the world!

Once out in the garden, Reginald became more wonderful than ever. Any one not two years younger and half a head shorter must have doubled up with laughter before he had gone three steps. Our friend's patronage of the sunlight, his tolerance of the roses, his gentle thoughtful condescension towards the face of things in general, were too sublime for words.
When they came to the parapet of an old broad terrace, Reginald, still in a dignified way, got astride it; not without a curious grimace and some seeming difficulty in adjusting his small person: tapped his teeth with his whip-handle, and gave Frank for a whole minute the full benefit of his eyes. Frank stood twisting a rose-branch and looked meek.
The result of Reginald's scrutiny was this question, delivered with much solemn effect.
I say. Were you ever swished?
Swished? said Frank, with rapid heat in his cheeks.
Swished, said Reginald in his decisive voice. Birched.
Do you mean, flogged? Frank asked this very diffidently, as if the query singed his lips.
Well, flogged, if you like that better, said Reginald, conscious of a neat point. Flogged. But I mean a real right-down swishing, you know. If a fellow says, flogged, it may be a whip, don't you see, or a strap. That's caddish. But you can call it flogging if you like. Only not at school, mind. It's all very well before me.
Reverting from these verbal subtleties to the main point, Reginald put the grand query again, in a modified shape, but in a tone of courteous resolution, not to be evaded by any boy.
Does your father often flog you?
I never was flogged in my life, said Frank, sensible of his deep degradation.
Reginald, as a boy of the world, could stand a great deal without surprise; experience of men and things had inured him to much that was curious and out of the usual way. But at the shock of this monstrous and incredible assertion, he was thrown right off his balance. He got off the parapet, and leant his shoulders against it, and gazed upon the boy to whom birch was a dim dubious myth, a jocose threat after dinner, with eyebrows wonderfully high up and distended eyelids. Then he said; Good - God! softly and dividing the syllables, with a hushed breath.
Goaded to insanity by the big boy's astonishment, agonized by his silence, Frank tenderly put a timid foot in it.
Were you? he asked, with much awe.
Then, with straightened shoulders and raised chin, Reginald Harewood took up his parable. Some of his expressions must be forgiven to youthful excitement, and for the sake of accuracy; boys when voluble on a tender point are awfully accurate in their choice of words. Reginald was very voluble by nature, and easy to excite on this painfully personal matter.
Ah! Yes. I should think so. My good fellow, you ought to have seen me yesterday. I was swished twice in the morning. Can't you see in a man's eyes? My father is - the - most - awful - Turk. He likes to swish me - he does really. What you'll do when you go to school - (here a pause) - God knows. (This in a pensive and devout manner, touched with pity.) You'll sing out - by Jove! won't you sing out the first time you catch it? I used to. I do sometimes now. For it hurts most awfully. But I can stand a good lot of it. There were bits cut right out of me yesterday on one side. Here. And one twig stuck in the cut and I couldn't get it out for half an hour. My father can always draw blood the third or forth cut. It's ever so much worse than a whole swarm of mad bees stinging you at once. Makes a fellow tingle to the bone. At school, if you kick, or if you wince even, or if you make the least bit of row, you get six cuts over. I always did. When I was your age. The big fellows used to call me all manner of chaffy names: Pepperbottom, that was out of a book; I know the book; I bet you don't; and the Wagtail; because I used to wriggle about on the block: between each cut; I know I did. They call me Wag now, and Pepper, for short. Not the young ones, of course. I should lick them. I say, I wish you were going to school. I'd look after you. You'd be letting fellows get you into the most awful rows. Ah! wouldn't you? When I was your age I used to get swished twice a day regular. The masters spite me. I know one of them does, because he told one of the big fellows he did. At least he said I was a curse to the whole school, and I was ruining all the young ones. He did really, on my word. I was the fellow's fag that he said it to, and he called me up that night and licked me with a whip. With a whip like this. He was a most awful bully. I don't think I'll tell you what he did once to a boy. You wouldn't sleep well to-night.

from A Year's Letters (written 1862, first published in Tatler, 1877) reprinted in a beautiful annotated dark blue edition from Peter Owen Ltd., London, 1974.

          A Deutsche Bahn tizenhatodik leányvállalatát hozta létre Európában        
A DB Cargo Czechia s.r.o. révén tizenhatodik leányvállalatát hozta létre Európában a Deutsche Bahn. A DB Cargo új, dedikált cége általi hálózatbővítéssel fokozza jelenlétét Csehországban. A DB Cargo Czechia s.r.o. központja Ostravában, az ország egyik legfontosabb ipari régiójában található. A cikk folytatódik, csatlakozz közösségünkhöz LinkedIn-en is:
          Slecna Sara's Cheesecake        
The creation of this cheesecake has a slightly interesting story. The other day, my mischievous cat learned how to climb on top of the refrigerator. Unfortunately for me, I had left 4 eggs in their carton on top of the refrigerator, assuming that he DIDN'T know how to get up there. Well, as I'm sure you can guess, he pawed that egg carton until it fell off the refrigerator and promptly cracked all but 1 egg. I was left with about 2 whole eggs and 1 yolk (the white had sadly seeped off onto the tablecloth) I put them into my fridge, knowing I would make something.
Another recent acquisition of mine is a springform pan (Cake!) So I decided I would use that and the eggs. What to make for the cake though? My friend Sara and I were talking the other day, and she loves the crusts of cheesecakes. So I decided that I would make a cheesecake with an extra thick crust, just for her. She also likes sour cream a lot, and I had some languishing in the fridge, so I thought I would include that as well. After searching, I found a recipe that seemed pretty basic and that didn't require many eggs. It's right here for those who want to read it.
I've just realised my mistake in making it, but it was a good one, so I'll continue. On with the crust! Here in Czechia, we dont really have graham crackers. We do, however, have lots of nilla wafers (detske piskoty) which I think are just as good (if not better) than graham crackers. Since I wanted the crust to be EXTRA THICK, I used a whole 240g bag, which yeilded about 300g of crumbs. However, as you will see the recipe, you can to this or double it for an XXL crust. Now here is my mistake: The recipe calls for 3 eight ounce packages of cream cheese. Simple enough. 8 ounces in a cup, 250 g in a cup, so 750 g of cream cheese. Now, the last time I made a cheesecake, I used about 1 kg of cream cheese, and this thought was automatically in my head. So I ended up using 1 kg of cream cheese PLUS 250 g of farmers cheese. I also whipped the eggs like crazy. This ended up giving me a super thick cream cheese batter, but it was fluffy and DELICIOUS, so if you want a big ass cheesecake (not dissimilar to a cheesecake factory cheesecake) use that. For a more normal cheesecake, follow the recipe.

Slecna Sara's Cheeesecake

2 240 g bags of detske piskoty, crushed into crumbs
250 g melted butter
1 tsp salt

2 eggs and 1 yolk
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 tbs vanilla
1 kg cream cheese
250 g farmers cheese
3 generous tablespoons sour cream
Zest of 1 lemon

To make the crust, combine all the ingredients and press into a 7 inch springform pan
Bake for about 10 minutes at 150 c or until dry to touch

Beat the eggs and the yolk with the sugar on high speed until light colored, thick, and voluminous
Beat in the other ingredients on high speed until thick and frosting like

smooth the batter into the crust (there will be LOTS)
Bake at 150 c for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until center of cheesecake seems dry to the touch

As a side note, I used plain old tesco brand "soft cheese", Tvaroh (0,5% fat) and detske piskoty. This cake was surprisingly cheap to make, I'd say probably about 80 crowns! It still tasted fabulous though, despite it's generic ingredients.

Don't forget to share you decadent cake, or you will become a fatty!

I've already mentioned my fondness for browsing's kitchen gadgets blog. I'm sure that every cook, even the ones that thing they have everything, have a kind of "wish list" of gadgets. The following is my list, what are yours?

1. Donvier Ice Cream Maker Perfect for whichever country my wanderlust may take me to: this ice cream machine doesn't use electricity (no, it doesn't use salt either). It's so cool. So elegant. How can you not want one? One of the only things holding me back from this appliance is that I'm not sure I'd make that much ice cream. I probably WOULD however, try to make fro yo and sorbets.

2. Home Hot and Cold Smoker Simply put, smoked things taste better. I don't eat a lot of meat and LOVE fish, so I need a smoker that would do cold smoking (can we say smoked cheese galore?) as well as the occasional hot. However, this appliance is as big as a small fridge. And living by myself, I'd say the chances of frequent use for this one are nil. Sadly :-(

3. Kitchen Aid Mixer Who DOESN'T want one of these? I just found a place that sells them in Czechia, but no price listed. I shudder to think how much it would cost. Additionally, I shudder to think of what would happen if I decided to move to England, Canada, or anywhere else that has a different electrical plug system than mainland Europe. But Ach, all those amazing attachments! Pasta! Sausages! Cakes! A GRAIN MILL! This is the grandmother of all that is mixed in the kitchen. I think I want Boysenberry.

*~Update: I just found a place that sells them in the Czech Republic. How much? At today's exchange rate (CZK 20.5 / $1) a cool $761~*

4. Food Dehydrator I can make banana chips and apple chips and dried strawberries and...and...and...everything without the added sugar and deep frying. Besides, it'd be great if I ever decide to one day go Raw Foodie (don't laugh, I was vegan, and the Raw food diet DID cross my mind several times...)

5. Home Canner When summer comes, and there are so many fresh fruits and veggies (especially tomatoes) I am dying dying dying to make tomato sauces, preserves, etc., to just pop open whenever I may need (ESPECIALLY) tomato sauce/juice. And the jars. Love love love the jars. However, I don't really have the storage means for the canner OR the finished canned goods. Sad, really. However, one of the nice things about a home canner is that it doubles as a pressure cooker as well. But, a really large pressure cooker, meaning large amounts of food, meaning terrible choice for single female.

6. Le Creuset French Oven I know, many of you might think I have one already but I don't. I'm almost embarassed to admit it.

7. Set of 4 Cheese knives There's one for every type of cheese! Soft and crumbly cheese, unripened cheese, hard cheese and for medium soft to medium hard cheese. Why wouldn't I get this? Because when I have cheese I kind of hoard it. I don't like sharing (i.e., entertaining with cheese, which would inevitably lead to using these knives) Yes, it's a bit disturbing.

8. Mandoline I suppose I COULD get this, but I haven't because there are so many out there, I'm worried about picking the wrong one! I DO like this one though because it stands on it's own and has a fairly simple looking dial to adjust thickness...

9. Bamboo Steamer Steamed fish and veggies all day every day. What could be better?

10. Digital Scale No more converting from ounces to cups to grams to mililitres. *sigh*

Ok, I'll probably add to this list later, but now I must get back to work. If you haven't noticed, another favorite site of mine to browse these gadgets is
The Brooklyn Kitchen

Finally one more: A thermometer that works for meat as well as candy!!!
          Comment on Prague, Czech Republic by Jindrich        
Hi, really glad that you enjoyed your stay in Czechia! Looking forward to see you back soon. :) Czechia is the official short name of our country since 2016. For more information, see Have a nice day!
          Destination: the Sex Machines Museum (Prague, Czechia) – a wonderful, raunchy, NSFW look at some kinky tools        

Ready to get kinky while keeping your clothes on? At the Sex Machines Museum in Prague, you’ll enjoy how people got it on in decades and centuries past. As you might guess, this post is NSFW – while you may know the country as the Czech Republic, it officially changed its name to Czechia in […]

The post Destination: the Sex Machines Museum (Prague, Czechia) – a wonderful, raunchy, NSFW look at some kinky tools appeared first on One Weird Globe.

           Food self-provisioning in Czechia: beyond coping strategy of the poor: a response to Alber and Kohler's 'Informal Food Production in the Enlarged European Union' (2008)         
Jehlicka, Petr ; Kostelecký, Tomáš and Smith, Joe (2013). Food self-provisioning in Czechia: beyond coping strategy of the poor: a response to Alber and Kohler's 'Informal Food Production in the Enlarged European Union' (2008). Social Indicators Research, 111(1) pp. 219–234.
          Around the World In Books        
around the world in books

This week is Armchair Book Expo, and the discussion topic for today is on diversity in books. I thought this would be a perfect time to post about a personal challenge I've created for myself to read more diversely: Around the World in Books!

If you follow my Sunday Snapshots, you know that this year I spontaneously started keeping track of the nationality of the authors I read. Since I've been keeping it up, I decided: why not challenge myself to read at least one book written by someone from every country on earth? This is the masterpost for my Around the World in Books Challenge; feel free to join in if you like!


  • How many countries are there? Seems like a straightforward question, but like most straightforward questions, the answer isn't as simple as you'd expect. The UN recognizes 193 countries. There are two countries not represented in the UN, namely Vatican City and Palestine. There are also countries not universally recognized as self-governing, for example Taiwan, which is considered part of China by the US. For this challenge, I am including Palestine as a country but not Vatican City, since no one is "from" Vatican City, if that makes sense. So the total number of countries in my challenge will be 194. Sorry, Taiwan.
  • Do people with multiple citizenships or books with multiple authors count for multiple countries? I want to finish this sometime before I die, so yes.
  • What about someone from a place that's no longer a country or was a different country when they lived there? (E.g., countries formerly part of the Soviet Union) Hm, I'm not sure. This is getting into politically murky waters. I think for now I'll just approach that on a case-by-case basis.
  • What if new countries are created or countries disappear? If that happens before I finish this challenge, I will update the list.
  • What's the start date for the challenge? The start date is when I started tracking countries read: January 1st, 2017

And now for the list. 9 down, only 185 to go!

around the world in books

Read Countries (by number of books read):

United States of America (13)
United Kingdom (6)
New Zealand (3)
Japan (3)
Canada (1)
South Africa (1)
South Korea (1)
Australia (1)
Denmark (1)

Unread Countries (alphabetically):
List of countries in the world provided by the US Department of State.


Antigua and Barbuda


Bahamas, The
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burkina Faso


Cabo Verde
Central African Republic
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Republic of the
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire


Dominican Republic


East Timor (see Timor-Leste)
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea




Gambia, The


Hong Kong






Korea, North




Marshall Islands


North Korea




Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea






Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
Sint Maarten
Solomon Islands
South Sudan
Sri Lanka


Trinidad and Tobago


United Arab Emirates







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          2017 Trafficking in Persons Report - Czechia        
Publisher: United States Department of State - Document type: Annual Reports