Time for another round of "What's been in the local paper lately?"
Toads on Tour
It's still too cold at night, but soon the local frogs and toads will begin their annual migration across roads to...get to the other side, I guess. In areas with heavy frog and toad populations, commuters will have to reckon with traffic restrictions such as lowered speed limits (often 20 km/h, or 12.4 mph) and stop-and-go traffic as conscientious drivers attempt to squash as few of the slimy or warty beasts as possible. These road restrictions are expected to last until the end of April, when all the hoppy critters are either deceased or on the other side of the road.
26. Feb. 2015
The British builders' supply chain B&Q dramatically increased their supply of Kabelbinder (cable ties), Seile (ropes), and Klebeband (tape) in the first half of February, not because of a building boom in the U.K., but because of the release of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. They want to be able to assist their customers who want to reenact various scenes from the film. To this end management also ordered hundreds of copies of the book to loan to their employees so that they can give good advice to customers' "sensitive questions".
12. Feb. 2015
Big Brother is Listening
The NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ used hacker methods to steal the codes to millions of Sim-cards manufactured by the Dutch company Gemalto, allowing them to listen in on private telephone calls of cell phone users worldwide. It sounds like this was done several years ago. Gemalto is one of the main producers of Sim-cards (the little device inside your cell phone usually under the battery that allows the phone to connect to networks), but there are others as well and the manufacturer is not identified on the device. Only about 50% of Sim-cards are made by Gemalto, and I'm sure the NSA/GCHQ didn't steal the codes to all of them, so don't worry. Your phone probably isn't one they're listening to. Besides, if you're not talking about something illegal, what difference does it make?
Hey, it's all in the name of national security and our safety, right?
21. Feb. 2015
I Lost My Key!
About a week after the Kabelbinder story above appeared, we got another peek behind a door most of us would rather not open. This one takes us to London, where the police have reported an increase in 9-1-1 calls (to the emergency center) since the release of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems many would-be Greys are not able to free their partners from the Handfessel (hand cuffs) they bought to use in their sex games. Each incident costs British taxpayers about €400, according to the London fire and rescue chief.
The writer of the article, D. Leibbrand, went on to say that Brits may have a reputation for being stuffy, but clearly they are more loose and casual than we pietistic Swabians are. The Stuttgart rescue squad has not been called to any such emergencies despite the movie having been released in Germany more than a week ago. Perhaps it's because of the price - here in Baden-Württemberg the handcuffed sex kitten or her partner would have to pay the cost of the rescue.
Ms. Leibbrand also suggests that the order-loving Stuttgarters - keyword Kehrwoche (weekly sidewalk sweeping) - probably simply make a point of remembering where they laid down the key...
21. Feb. 2015
Hedges, thick bushes, and large trees may not be cut back after March 1st, so get it done this month. The purpose of this rule (I think it's a law) is to protect the Lebensraum (living space) of the local feathered community, who may have already taken up residence in such prime locations. On March 1st they start scoping out where they will build their nests, and it is unfair - not to mention unchristian - to reduce their options once they've started looking. The poor little bahstards have a hard enough life, so do them a favor and cooperate. You'll save yourself paying a hefty fine, as well.
That just about covers it for this round.