Chat GPT

Efficient tool or the end of independent thinking?

You must have been offline and probably off in deepest space not to have noticed all the fuss about Chat GPT lately. The possibilities, limitations, risks and side effects of the chatbot are currently being covered in all media. The interest in the website is now so great that access is not possible for hours. Although we at don’t see ourselves as trend followers, we thought it was time to react to all the hype about AI and try out the chatbot ourselves.

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The whistle

A friend called me recently. I was just coming from the hospital from a check-up (don’t worry, nothing bad) and he caught me on the way to the parking lot. Now my car isn’t brand new, but it’s not old either, so it has a Bluetooth interface, which allows phone calls while I’m driving – especially since the whole thing works with voice control. When the ignition is turned on, the phone automatically connects to the hands-free system and the call can continue.

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Fitness in the office

The trend toward exercise and wellness continues unabated – and I think it’s highly commendable. The saying “Sitting is the new smoking” fits this trend well – and is leading more and more companies to encourage their staff to do fitness and wellness exercises during working hours. There are numerous instructional videos on LinkedIn and YouTube, and at my company, one colleague took it upon herself to regularly provide us with new exercises “for in between.”

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Risk management for urinals

After my first article for the Harlequin was about a rather neglected topic, i.e. toilet seats, it is time to look again at something somewhat neglected by the public: the urinal. Although not all readers can boast of personal experience in this context, the topic seems at least comprehensible to inexperienced third parties.

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Lifelong learning

On the topicality of “old hat”

At one time or another, everyone is faced with the question
whether to drive themselves or to be driven.” 
(Nicolas Born: Selbstverantwortung (Self-Responsibility))

Once again, a contribution of mine revolves around the topic of learning. This time: lifelong learning. “Old hat” that could not be more topical. As early as 1792, Marquis de Condorcet pleaded for an “éducation permanente” in his project for the reformation of the education system. UNESCO resurrected this idea of lifelong learning in 1962 and since the 1990s it has been increasingly and emphatically imposed on our consciousness by the OECD, the European Commission, also our government and national institutions. And fittingly, Ursula von der Leyen recently proclaimed the coming year the “Year of Skills”.

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Birds in Art

The more I look at the painting, the more my gaze wanders from the face of the old, shabby-looking woman to the owl at her shoulder. The owl here stands for drunkenness and bad, vulgar behaviour. In the 18th century there was the expression “as drunk as an owl”. The picture hangs in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, which was painted by Frans Hals in 1630 is called Malle Babbe1, 2. Owls are also considered wise because of their sharpened senses and night vision abilities, which already fascinated the ancient Greeks. The owl was the companion animal of the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Athens and the goddess of wisdom.

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Baking in the tropics

When I was working in Laos as a voluntary teacher with the British Voluntary Service Overseas (similar to the US Peace Corps), I had the bright idea of treating a number of friends to a British Christmas dinner. I lived in a town on the Mekong, miles away from the nearest Sainsbury’s, so I pondered how to source my ingredients. Fortunately, the British Embassy was a mere few hundred miles away where occasional treats like Chivas Regal for next to nothing (duty free) were available.

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 It doesn’t always have to be goose

What do you have to eat on Christmas Eve? In some German families, sausages with potato salad are a tradition. Or carp with potato salad. When I was a child, there was a lot of excitement at first because we children were not allowed in the living room because the tree had been decorated by our parents and was supposed to be a surprise (it looked the same every year). Then came the giving of the presents, followed by a 3-course meal, a sinful gluttony. Because at 11 pm we all staggered into Christmas mass, drowsy and our bellies full. That was the “family tradition” for many years. Today I experience it quite differently. Let me describe how we will probably celebrate Christmas Eve.

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Oh come all ye faithful…

…to the Christmas market

When it comes to Christmas markets, there is not only the group of fans (“Finally, a Christmas market without Corona restrictions!”) and the group of the uninterested (“What am I supposed to do there? There are only crowds, unhealthy food and presents that nobody needs!”) but also people in the “Yes, but only if…” category. The “yes, but” can come from different directions: “Yes, but only if it’s free.” or “Yes, but only if it’s not too crowded.” (Which in turn amounts to “Yes, but only if it’s not free.”)

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