1. Weird

    Do You Recognize This Kid Who Claims to Have Lived in the German Woods for Five Years?

    Last September, the kid pictured above appeared in Berlin, Germany and asked for help at City Hall. He said that his name was Ray, that he had no memory, and that he had lived in some woods for five years. German police are now releasing his picture hoping to find anyone who may recognize the young man. More importantly, does anyone remember the story of Kaspar Hauser?

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  2. Gaming

    German Court Grants Motorola Injunction Against Windows 7, Xbox

    There's some potentially bad news for Microsoft in Germany; the Mannheim Regional Court has awarded Motorola an injunction that could effectively block all sales of Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 in Germany. The whole case revolves around a pair of patents that Motorola Mobility holds, concerning "adaptive motion compensation" and "adaptive compression of digital video data." The court found that Microsoft's Media Player, Internet Explorer, and Xbox 360 all infringe on the patents held by Motorola, and the resulting injunction blocks the distribution of the infringing products and allows Motorola -- in theory -- to order the destruction of all physical copies of Windows 7 and any Xbox 360s currently for sale in the country. Whether or not the injunction will actually be enforced, however, is another point of contention entirely.

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  3. Entertainment

    German Court Rules YouTube Solely Responsible For Uploaded Content, Royalties on Infringing Media

    YouTube hasn't been having a good month. First, Viacom's billion dollar lawsuit against the company was raised from the dead and allowed to proceed, and now a German court has ruled that YouTube is solely responsible for the content uploaded by their users. By extension, YouTube can and will probably be held responsible for paying back royalties on infringing content. It might not be a billion bucks, but it's still likely to be a hefty fee.

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  4. Tech

    Motorola Wins Injunction Against Apple in German Courts, Could Halt Sales

    Opening a new chapter in the series of lawsuits between Apple and just about everyone else in the consumer electronics industry, the German courts have awarded Motorola Mobility with an injunction that could prevent Apple from selling products within the country. This is a surprising turn for Apple's fortunes, as the company had won a similar injunction against Samsung in August. As is the case with most legal proceedings, the situation is far more complicated than it first appears.

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  5. Tech

    German Government Fesses Up to Spying on Citizens With Trojan, Says It’s Legal

    Just days ago, the Chaos Computer Club announced that it had analyzed what it called a "Bundestrojaner" or "federal trojan" that the group believed had been developed and used by the German government. Security researchers at F-Secure Labs confirmed the malware's capabilities, giving it the name "R2D2." Now, state officials are confirming that the software is indeed state-sponsored. According to the Deutsche Welle, several German states have admitted late Monday to using the software for the past two years. The first to respond was Bavaria, followed by Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, and North Rhine-Westphalia. In their statements, several of the interior ministers for the states outlined the circumstances in which the trojans had been used, which generally characterize an infrequent and court-approved use of the tool. Some officials, including the Bavarian interior minister, say they will begin investigations into R2D2's use. Germany's Interior Minister said that the trojan has never been used as part of a federal investigation. Today, the German software company DigiTask confirmed that they created the program and have sold it to German clients as well as state and federal agencies in Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

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  6. Weird

    Pirate Party Pillages Its Way Into German Government After Election Win

    The Pirate Party, a political party in Sweden in 2006 with the goal of reforming laws regarding copyrights and patents, officially entered state parliament for the first time. Yesterday, the German branch of the Pirate Party exceeded the necessary 5 percent floor vote to enter Berlin parliament with multiple seats, receiving an estimated 9 percent of the total vote.

    A couple of hours after the polls closed, the Pirate Party secured 15 seats in Berlin parliament, having a small representation in the 620-member parliament. Before actually snagging the 15 seats, the Pirate Party had over 50 members in elected offices across Germany, which happened to be more members in elected offices than in all other countries combined.

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  7. Weird

    German City Introduces Prostitution Parking Machines

    When Germany legalized prostitution in 2002, it presented an interesting problem to the city of Bonn. It wasn't that prostitution wasn't popular, but rather that the government needed to find a way to collect taxes from freelance prostitutes on the city streets. No easy task. The solution by city was elegant and utilitarian: Parking meters. Well, not really parking meters. Tax meters, actually. During the hours of legal prostitution, 8:15PM to 6AM, freelance prostitues must have the printed receipt from the meter on their person, lest they face stiff fines or possibly being banned from working in the sex industry. Prostitutes pay about $8.70 for a license, which is sharply contrasted to the $125 fine they'd face for not having one.

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  8. Gaming

    Doom and Doom 2 Were in Same Classification as Porn In Germany Until Yesterday

    Germany is up there with Australia when it comes to countries that are hard on violent games. However, both have recently been making strides to become a little more accepting. Apparently starting with the backlog, yesterday Germany re-rated Doom and Doom 2, giving both a 16+ rating where before they had been indexed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons, which put them in the same restrictive category as pornography.

    It turns out that 10 years after something is indexed, an appeal can be entertained and Bethesda, who aquired id back in 2009, figured they might as well try. Well, it worked. It seems that this isn't just a lark either. The third Gears of War title has been granted a rating as well instead of being relegated to the index like the two previous games, and Microsoft is pushing Germany to reconsider the rest of the series. It seems that Germany might finally be lightening up on depictions of gratuitous violence, although when you put it that way, it seems a little bit weird to be celebrating it. Still, the Doom games are the historical foundation of the most popular video game genre today, so regardless of how much gibbing there is, there is certainly something to be appreciated there.

    (via Joystiq)

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  9. Science

    Deadly E. Coli Sticks Like Glue

    In May, a form of the bacteria Escherichia coli (better known as E. coli) began infecting people in Germany and other parts of Europe. Now, with 18 dead and over 1,500 people infected, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the strain responsible for the outbreak has never before been isolated from a human patient, making it a completely new strain. Designated as 0104:H4, the new E. coli strain combines two particularly dangerous elements -- toxin and "glue." Genetic analysis has shown that the strain is in a class of E. coli called STEC that produces Shiga toxin, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, it can also cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) by attacking the kidneys and causing subsequent coma, seizure, and stroke. Researchers believe that like other STEC's, this strain contains a "glue" or protein that helps the bacteria cling to the cells in the intestine.

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  10. Science

    Germany Plans to Shut Down All Nuclear Reactors by 2022

    The German ruling coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced its intent to shut down all nuclear reactors in Germany by 2022, a major decision for a country that as of last year obtained 23% of its electricity from nuclear plants. While this policy decision was precipitated by the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima following the tsunami and earthquake in March, it's long been the subject of political struggle in Germany, with the country's left-wing and environmentalist parties pushing for a nuclear phaseout well before Fukushima. So where will that new energy come from? Merkel and her allies say that Germany will cut energy consumption while increasing renewable fuel sources, while skeptics say that Germany will simply import energy from elsewhere:

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  11. Science

    Rules for Golfing During a German Bombing

    These temporary rules were posted at Britain's Richmond Golf Club, located 10 miles from London, after German bombs hit the course in 1940. British dry humor was not lost in the face of adversity, even during World War II. (via Boing Boing)

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  12. Tech

    How Much Does Your Cellphone Carrier Know About Your Life?

    The German government is currently debating an issue not many in the U.S. may have thought of: how long cellphone providers should retain your personal information. After all, cellphones histories are a veritable treasure trove of information on our movements and habits, not to mention a meticulous log of whom we contacted. In order to demonstrate how much just six months worth of cellphone data reveals, German politician Malte Spitz released six months of his own cell phone data. With this information publicly available, The Zeit online took the massive Excel spreadsheet and created an amazing visualization of Spitz's movements from August 2009 to February 2010. The data was augmented with Spitz's tweets and blog entries. While numbers just look like numbers, watching the little dot zip around Germany is very unsettling. During those six months, Spitz was trackable 78% of the time. You can even see how he liked to spend Christmas.

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  13. Tech

    Danish Mail to Trade Stamps for Text Messages

    Danish philatelists (look it up) will soon be in mourning as the country's post office has announced their intention to offer a digital alternative to postage stamps starting on April 1, 2011. Instead of affixing adhesive squares for proof of payment on letters, the new system will rely on text messages. The system seems similar to systems in the U.S. which allow people to make charitable donations by sending a text to a pre-set number. The charge is then added to their monthly bill, and the money sent to the organization indicated by the sender. The only difference with the postage code system is that after the text is sent, the user receive a special code which they write on the envelope. The code is scanned at mail sorting facilities, and canceled just like a stamp. Those philatelists I mentioned earlier might see this as the beginning of the end for postage stamps, and mourn the passing of the artistic little squares. However, I would point out that with this new system, anything you want could be made a stamp. A sticker, a painting, a drawing made by the sender themselves. The possibilities are endless. The hope is that offering a digital payment system will make it easier to send mail, and perhaps increase system usage. Digital stamps first debuted in Germany, and now Sweden is also looking at starting a similar program later this year, and perhaps success in these two countries will make other postal systems consider adopting it. Now, it is worth pointing out that while I've seen many sources corroborating the story, the fact that it is scheduled to be begin on April 1st gives me pause. It is extremely unlikely that someone would stage so elaborate a prank based around the Danish postal system, but if that turns out to be the case: we warned you. (The Local via The Daily What, image via Tecca)

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  14. Entertainment

    German Hotel Looks Like That Scene From Inception

    This hotel in Berlin is not falling over (or folding). It's actually built like that on purpose. Billed as the first hotel in Europe specifically designed for musicians, the Nhow Hotel features state-of-the-art recording studios and guitars. The interior design, by Karim Rashid, has been described as "an amusement park for lovers of glossy, hyper design." (via Jetsetta via Neatorama)

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  15. Weird

    This German University Has Slides

    This beats Hofstra University's Unispan by a mile. A fun, slippery-slidey mile. In the Mathematik/Informatik building of the Technical University of Munich, Garching campus, there are two four-story parabolic slides. They're not display art for looking at. They are for sliding. By anyone in the building. Best. College. Ever. Between this and the dog who gave birth to 17 puppies, Germany wins this week. (via Makezine)

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