52 States in 8 Months

Some stolen pictures and the Google hits…

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on June 22, 2009

Guess what happens when you google for “2009 Volkswagen Scirocco” or something like that. Oh, I mean Google Images. These are the results:

Yes, I’m on the first page. The reason is simple: Some months ago I stole an image of an Volkswagen Scirocco when I wrote about the 2009 car sales in Europe. But my readers seem to be more interested in the image next to the numbers in that blog post…

Now, why am I telling you about this? Look at my blog stats:

I really get a lot of traffic due to this simple blog post. I’ve had 290 views altogether on that single post. The only post which comes close is about Rock, Paper, Scissors (274 views). But I believe that people also don’t care about the text I wrote, they were just interested in the picture. And they found it using Google Images


Publishing books online — good or bad?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on June 15, 2009

A few weeks ago there was a discussion about Google Books and similar services. Many authors signed the Heidelberger Appell, stating their discontent about digitalizing their books.

You know what? I believe they’re still living in the 20. century. A few days ago I bought two chapters from the tour book “Lonely Planet USA”. That worked just fine, and Lonely Planet even distributes their PDFs without any digital copy protection nonsense (that means that I could make print-outs my two chapters).

Today I decided that I want to read “Das Klimasystem und seine Modellierung” (Storch, Güss, Heimann) again. I’ve read that book before. I either borrowed it from some library in Germany, or I’ve actually bought it. Anyway, I don’t have it with me here in Delaware, so I looked it up on Google Books. I could access the first 24 pages, afterwards I got this message:


My conclusion:
Google Books is nothing more or less than any other book store. Book stores also let you read a couple of pages before you buy a book. Oh, the difference is of course that Google doesn’t sell the books themselves, they just give the direct links to the publisher as well as a number of real book stores.

Stefan found something funny on luftpiraten.de

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on June 3, 2009

Stefan found this on luftpiraten.de, which is really a cool page!

They also give details on the ACARS-System (Wikipedia), which sent the automatic error messages that Air France received from flight AF447. Apparently the error messages were spread over four minutes! If the crew was still conscious at that point, the cockpit voice recorder should really helpful in understanding how good our redundant fly-by-wire systems are today.

The American v. the German — which one is the real 911?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on May 5, 2009

One 911 against another 911, sounds like a fair match, right?

bild8402 911_carrera

And they both are very similar. When we visited the Porsche development center in Weissach, the engineers refused to give details about the car. The top speed of the Porsche would be “a bit higher than the top speed of whatever it is compared to”, and the fuel consumption would be “even higher than that”.
Well, the cops here in the US are just like the German engineers. They also refused to tell me about the top speed of their car.

So, Wikipedia has to decide. The cop car was a Ford Crown Victory, probably electronically limited to 120mph because I assume that car is less than four years old. If it was older, then it might be able to get 150mph out of its 250hp V8 engine. Anyway, the slowest Porsche 911 has a top speed of 177 mph and a 345hp H6. So guess which one is the real 911 ;-).

Stride Gum

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on May 3, 2009

Now, I don’t have to tell you that Stride lasts so long that people don’t buy a second pack. But what if I told you Stride Gum isn’t just for chewing anymore?

I’ve intentionally watched a web ad on wunderground.com. It was for Stride Gum, one of the few gum brands which don’t come from Wrigley’s. You can watch a longer version of it on YouTube.

Now, these were the some of the other things you can do with your Strides, if you don’t want to chew them:

stride4 stride5 stride6
stride7 stride9 stride10
stride11 stride12 stride13

Derek however commented:

“Stride gum lasts so long that people don’t buy a second pack.” — Wishful thinking buddy, maybe it just sucks?

Happy Holiddays!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on April 12, 2009

This is what your box looks if you buy a half dozen doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts:
I’ve often asked myself why they write “Holiddays” instead of “Holidays”. I just couldn’t believe that a company of this size could do such a typo. Today I asked my office mate Vivek about this, and he immediately knew the answer! It’s rather trivial. The two Ds stand for “Dunkin Donuts”…

Toy-Box: Sailing, sailing, jumping off the railing!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on April 3, 2009

Oh yes! I discovered a great song on YouTube. It’s “The Sailor Song” by the Danish band “Toy-Box“:

Please don’t ask me how often I’ve played it since yesterday ;-).

Toy-Box created some other songs, but they’re not as good as The Sailor Song: Russian Lullaby, Superstar, Tarzan & Jane, Best Friend, Super Duper Man, Teddybear, S.O.S., E.T., 007, The Fire Man Song, Prince of Arabia.

Another great Scandinavian band is Basshunter. I really like the songs “Boten Anna” and “DotA“. Basshunter is not about hunting fish. Anna is a bot and not a boat. And IRC channels do not contain water. No confusion about DotA, it’s a computer game. Stefan, thank you for telling me about Basshunter!

Jan-ken-pon, Ching-Chang-Chong or simply Chifoumi

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on March 25, 2009

rock_paper_scissorsI recently asked myself where the game “Ching-Chang-Chong” comes from. I was a bit disappointed when I read that the German title of the Wikipedia page is in fact “Schere, Stein, Papier”. When we were young, we never called it like this! The game is called “Ching, Chang, Chong”, and there’s an end to it!

However, I was quite astonished when I realized that this game is really played all around the world! Here in the US they know it as “Rock-paper-scissors”, or RPS. My Korean office mate knows it and both the Chinese office mates know it. Another Korean here in the lab knows it, too, but he said it would be more common to give one’s choice not by making a gesture with the hand but by moving the feet (widening them means scissors, doing a step means paper and putting them together means stone, I think). The children in Turkey also play RPS, but:

Neither the Indians nor the Pakistani know it! (Well, one of the Indians did, but all the others did not). Maybe the British were to much focused on cricket when they colonized that area.

Some other stuff about Chifoumi:

  • The French Wikipedia page on Pierre-feuille-ciseaux mentions a 2005 Jan-ken-pon match that decided about whether Christie’s or Sotheby’s would organize the auction of some paintings. Christie’s won because they took the scissors. This was an obvious step if one considers that they were going to sell paintings (like paper).
  • There are many videos on YouTube about Rock Paper Scissors. Watch this one, and that one.
  • The Finnish Wikipedia page about Kivi, paperi ja sakset mentioned this picture:


Doing a 15 minute questionnaire in 5 seconds

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on March 4, 2009

facebook-logoA friend of mine just asked me to fill out this questionnaire (it’s for a master thesis about Facebook). He said that it would only take me 10-15 minutes, and that I could win Amazon coupons worth 15 €.

So, this is the survey:


And you know what? I answered the first two questions honestly, and then I was done!
The whole questionnaire only took me 5 seconds! :-D

German politicians on rescue missions

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on February 20, 2009

juergen_ruettgersMost people who watched the German news in the last days learned about Jürgen Rüttgers’ trip to Detroit (General Motors Corp), where he tried to help saving the jobs at the Opel plants in Germany.

These are the current results from Google News if I type in “juergen ruettgers”:

Now, do you have the impression that Jürgen Rüttgers went to the US just for helping Opel (and Saab)? And that his trip was kind of a “last minute decision”?  Well, it wasn’t. Right now, there is the “German Conference” in Boston. It’s organized by some fellows from the Studienstiftung, so that’s how I learned about it. Guess which governor of North Rhine-Westphalia gave the opening keynote yesterday…

I’m pretty sure Mr Rüttgers would never claim to have visited the US only to care about Opel. Therefore it’s probably our media’s fault to create wrong impressions. They should have told us that Jürgen Rüttgers was on the long-planned trip to the US, and that he therefore used this opportunity for helping Opel. Or at least for trying it.