Digital Nomades – The herd moves on

Being able to exchange information promptly and over long distances has always been the decisive driving force behind new forms of communication. In most cases older practices have faded into the background and then – over time – been “forgotten”. Interesting migration paths of communication are to be found everywhere. Adults view the communication behaviour of their children or today’s youngsters critically (and with a degree of horror). And there we have it: we can hardly imagine these kids without smartphone, SMS and WhatsApp!

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Language is randy …

Well, not always. Because somehow I’m annoyed by the gender-conflicted writing and language use in politics and reporting media, which thereby vigorously represent their own media interests. On the one hand, they report about LGBT, PRIDE and Christopher Street Parade – we are diverse – and on the other hand, it is the same instances that press language from a principally asexual understanding into a binary, more precisely bisexual form.

(For those of you whose native language knows only one grammatical gender for nouns – such as English –  and conveniently side-steps the issue, German has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. This does NOT mean the gender is determined by an object’s physical characteristics. So a table is masculine, a snail, though a hermaphrodite, is feminine and a girl is neuter. Seriously. Harlequin BCO)

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The forgotten blockchain of the Middle Ages

The Tally

For all those who do not yet have Bitcoins and do not program themselves on a laptop: the blockchain is a form of digital documentation of the ownership and transfer of assets, but in addition to monetary values, these can also authenticate rights to pictures, land ownership or even cows. And that’s exactly what our forefathers had the tally for – only as analog documentation.

For thousands of years the central tool of “accounting”, the term tally is today only known through the phrases “keeping tally”, meaning noting the score or amount and “tallying up”, meaning totalling up a number of items, or to “tally”, meaning to agree with another statement.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier – Spy

Some of our contributions now have the character of a series, because after the first contribution the same phenomenon suddenly appears everywhere. Most people will recognise this when buying a car or clothes. You’ve just decided on a “beautiful rarity” and you then come cross it on every other street corner – at least that’s how it seems. In reality, you have only become more sensitive to this specific perception. This is what happened to me recently, after buying an older house, with which I unexpectedly came across – or rather was thrust into – the trappings of an extinct profession.

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My favourite wine

Ti Amo (I love …) Ai Suma, a wine from Piedmont. Not as popular as Tignanello and Sassica from Tuscany, just not a super Tuscan. Nevertheless, a very special wine from the Barbera grape. In principle, it is harvested like a German Spätlese (late-harvested wine), although this quality classification does not actually exist in Italy.  Only Giacomo Bologna had the courage in the last century to harvest his Piedmont Barbera much later and produce a truly great wine. On a visit to the estate in the 90s, his daughter Raffaella Bologna warmly welcomed us to an extensive wine tasting, even though she had already sold all the wines by subscription beforehand. We were able to taste all the wines – but not buy a single bottle from her.

Quantum physics for hippies

While regularly checking my SPAM filter last year, I came across a news mail that surprised me. I knew that research was being done in the field, but this message showed it in a completely different light:
Fraunhofer and IBM present live: Quantum Computing in Germany
Inauguration of Europe’s most powerful quantum computer in an industrial context 15th June 2021 – 14:00

While I was still in the process of clearing the SPAM filter, the realisation hit me that I hadn’t the slightest idea of how quantum computers work. As a result, I bought some books and read posts about it. But just as a basic understanding of the electron is needed to understand how the current generation of computers work with transistors (or formerly valves), a basic understanding of quanta and quantum physics is needed to understand a quantum computer.

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The limits of good taste (Part 2)

Today’s article is not about cooking, we are not doing food science or rating a restaurant. No, we are looking at the world from the special perspective of a polyglot gourmet. A person who knows borders from travelling, who likes to cross them, but who would also like to explain what other borders there are: culinary boundaries – the boundaries of good taste. To be fair, it should be mentioned briefly that the exact course of the border is often disputed, but these details are rather irrelevant for this article.

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The limits of good taste (Part 1)

My grandmother was an interesting woman. Whenever I think of her, experiences from my youth and her words of wisdom come to mind. In every situation in life, for every circumstance, there was – if necessary – a suitable saying. For her, these were fixed guidelines, almost commandments. There was no discussion, it was just the way things were.

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Scilly Taxi Tale

Dear Harlequin fans, I confess, over the summer I neglected my educational mission and did not publish any “stories that life writes” for our blog. This will change again instantly, laughter provoked by bizarre stories helps best to banish winter blues and pandemical tin-foil theories.

The German title of this article is based on the Stern magazine column “News from Kalau”, which specializes in excruciating puns; no doubt the cartoonist would also think of a suitable cartoon for the following story. In short, the following story is about foreigners in strange places, weird streets and an irritable taxi driver.

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