A month can be more than just 31 days

Despite giving a very activists impression to the people around me, the last month passed through my fingers like the sand of a oceans dune. After giving lectures at the university on cancer and on stem cells, and after hosting the annual meeting of a joint European research project, after having published 2 new papers in biomedical journals and negotiated with some great scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot about the prospect of a new colaboration, I today realized that theres is no excuse to pass more than a month without a post to my blog.

Other important things happened, that should not be missed:

1.  My good bike has been stolen (but a very nice and enchanting police lady wrote a report on this, giving me some hope that the insurance will refund me for the loss).

2.  As every year in the beginning of the cold season, I continue to go swimming in the chilly Isar channel that I have to pass on my daily ride to work.

3. I managed for the first time to grow wild thyme in a pot on my office window.20151120_151500

4. I had an amazing journey through Israel, about which I will write more in detail soon.

5. Autumn is always a time with lots of good new books in the stores.

    -  Zeruya Shalev  “PAIN”

    -  Salman Rushdie “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights”

    -  Truman Capote “The Early Stories”

    -  Garry Steyngart “Little Failure”

6. Tonight I will go and listen to Amir Hassan Cheheltan, reading at the Munich bookfair.

7.  I recently trapped my 17 year old son, wearing an old leather jacket (approx. 60 years old) that I had been given once by my later uncle, who weared it when was driving his  farm tractor on the cooperative fields.

…. but I know it when I see it.

Today it is pretty easy, for sure, to be branded as an abusive person. If you critizise another peoples political, religious etc. ideas (in particular if you make a few points that are irrefutable, they call you abusive. If you question the hypocrazy of any religion or other dogma (such as gender equality or green political correctness) you suddenly find yourself classified together with mass-murder, darth-vader and sodomist.
I think the term “Abuse” should be restricted to case when one makes negative, derogatory remarks about another persons features for which he/she is not t be blamed (like stature, size, health status etc).
But I like any hard, critical, even unpolite comment about other peoples political, religious, social etc ideas or about their prejudice, paired with self-confident and an astonishing absence of basic knowledge. When a friends couple recently told me that they refuse any vaccination for their kids, and they swear on homeopathy and body-waves, I told them without any hesitation that in my eyes they are “stupid and completely uneducated and that I wish later in life their kids will sue them in the court for neglectance”. Was this an abusive remark ?   I don’t think so. It might have been unpolite, but I had the intention to painfully damage their weired ideas.
If a family sits there, crying about the last words of their son who fell as a marine in Iraq or elsewhere in the world (where he “only” did his job), I would frankly tell them “Yes, I feel with you, I know how bitter it is to raise a stupid son”. Is this abusive ? It is true, he should have informed himself a bit better, but he only saw the glossy pictures and cool guns and uniforms and muscle shirts and hummer cars and Tom_Cruise sun glasses. If he thought that this is all he can get, and nothing he could loose, than he was stupid, and even a priest calling him like this on his grave should not be blamed “abusive”.

With this term “Abuse” it is with many other terms used to judge peoples behaviour:  “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it”. 

O.k., you are definitly right when you say that basic good manners and common courtesy are missing (but who knows, maybe we are just fooled by comparing old Gregory Peck and Doris Day movies with the full spectrum of todays real life ?). When I hear that a presidental candidate (you know whom I have in mind: Donald-the-roof-tile-Trump) makes stupid remarks about his competitors face or her gender, this is what I call abusive. When somebody makes generalizing and derogative remarks about other ethnicities (or even followers of other faiths), this is also what I call abusive. But I don’t know if it should be a matter of legal prohibition. In an argument between ideas or political opinions, however there can not be any limit. Can one abuse an idea, or a faith ?  When I say that the holy bible are fairytales, that Jesus (in case he lived) has not performed any miracles, but that he was an ordenary man, maybe a good guy, as million other good guys in mankind, but for sure not somebody to make a cult of personality around: Would this be called abusive, and me being prosecuted by Paul and 35 million Canadians ?
You see I studied physics and genetics, and if people approach me stating that there was no evolution on earth and that they can communicate with angels on the other side of the moon, I could equally feel abused, since such ideas are totally against my believe in logic and science. But even if these people come with a whole army of followers, and with very well made words, and they outscream me, I still would not call them abusive. It is their right to question my believe, as longf as it remains a battle of arguments. And I don’t see any reason why religion, christianity, islam, hinduism or the church of the flying spaghetti monster should be granted a special status of protection from such a battle of ideas.

Values ? What Values !


Doggy Fizzle Televizzle











See the common pattern after considering the time-shift

Confronted with a huge wave of political refugees from countries shattered with war and terror in the Middle East, many here in the West express their unease with immigration of people who have a different ethnic, cultural and especially religious background. It is in 90% of the European population a fixed idea, that terror by the so-called “Islamic State” or “Al-Kaida” or “Al-Shabab” is a direct result of islamic faith. Being a strict atheist person, I have to reject such ideas. It is a complete ahistoric view to associate islamic faith with a more inhuman attitude than any other religion. If you just go in the history text books back 400 years, you will find that witch-hunting guided by christian priests lead to > 20 000 innocent people burned to death in (the beautiful state of) Bavaria. Simply the longer historical distance should not blur our view, that burning innocent people (blamed as being witches or heretics) to death is not less disgusting and inhuman than decapturing opponents of the IS in Syria or Iraq.

The worst and most influential crime organization, Mafia/Cosa Nostra/NDrageta etc. are devote catholic believers. It might not have reached your attention, that last month the death of one of the Mafias godfathers received a glamorous funeral with catholic priests. Which conclusion you would draw from this ? That by abandoning catholizism you can minimize organized crime ?
Have you ever heard about the support of the Vatican to hide Nazi criminals after WW2, and helping them to escape to South America (so-called “rat path”), where they provided their expertise in torture and killing the opposition to the military dictators ? Does it mean that fighting catholizism is a useful way to prevent political dictatorships ?
Vatican (and its Banco Ambrosiano) was crucial in financing the Italian terror organisation P2, responsible for killing Aldo Moro and placing a bomb that killed >100 people in the Bologna train station. Would you go as far to propose abandoning catholizism in order to fight political terror ?
Religion has to faces: for poor people it is like a drug, like a pain-killer. It might ease their life and prevents them from fighting against the injustice they live in. But at the same time, all religions are prone to got misused by political leaders, criminals, wannabe dictators. Promising them a little share of the power or a little share of the financial gain, it is easy to be granted religious absolution not simply from sins, but from mayor crimes against humanity.

In physics and signaling theory there is a useful method to identify regular pattern in apparently chaotic measurements over time. It is called serial-correlation (or auto-correlation analysis) and it works by overlaying (or logically comparing) a time series of measurements with itself, after applying a continous time shift. If this is done for the last 2000 years of mankinds history, we find that always after +/- thousand years of the formation of a new faith, its representants start to develop a sort of paranoia and want to fight enemies. The christians did this first by starting crusades against muslims and jews in the holy land, and later by punishing and killing thousands of “heretics and witches” in Europe. The Islamic leaders developed the same time of paranoia 700 years later, and now don’t seem to be able to stop the misuse of their faith for extremist violence and religious war.

Mrs. F – saw you after so long time

The video is of a friend of mine who enjoys a calm afternoon in the Iranian desert. I was not there at the same time, but I played the music later on.

Enjoy !

Sofia Street Art

For all of those who missed the geography lesson about South – Eastern Europe in school: Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Bulgaria has boarders to Serbia and Mazedonia (in the West), to Greece and Turkey (in the South), to Romania (in the North), and it has a nice long coast-line along the Black Sea (in the East).
The Balkan mountains (Stara Planina in Bulgarian) gave the entire peninsula with Romania, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Albania and Mazedonia its name. As a proof, here is the one and only railway-station in the world with the simple name “Balkan”. It is on the route from Sofia to Mezdra, but infact it is not a fully functional railway station, but a “Request Stop”, such as the one in Monty Pythons sketch with the old lady at the bus request stop.


Whereas the Balkan mountains are really a piece of great and unspoiled nature (the few Uranium mines are currently not operating), the Bulgarian capital Sofia is a cool, young, relaxed city. It is very European style, and in the center is remarkable triumphirat of the eldest orthodox church, a mosque with a bathing house and a synagogue. Traditionally, Bulgaria hosted a large sephardic community, which always gain protection from the Bulgarian Tzars.
I like the fresh colours in the city, and graffity street artists have contributed a lot to it.

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Burka girl shows her Basic Instinct

I have to make a confession: I like both the few Sharon Stones of this world and the many burka girls. Therefore I was extremely pleased to see at Munich Airport today this rare example who has them both: a Burka, and a Basic Instinct underneath it.


Same message, different style

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”

these are the lyrics of Joni Mitchells 1974 song:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin’ hot spot ….

They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them

Listen, late last night, I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took my girl away.

Great song, indeed, combining fine poetry, great tunes and an intelligent message. It has spirit and it has humor.


2007 came along Janet Jackson, with her strange smile that will always demonstrate how silly a plastic surgery is. Looking for a new song to place her in the rap music charts someone recommended “Big Yello Taxi” to her (Maybe a really cool NY taxi driver with a good taste told her how much he likes Joni Mitchells song). So JJ ordered some writers to add a few sentences and electronic loops to the original song …..

….. AND MESSED IT UP COMPLETELY. I avoid to put a link to the youtube song here, since it is just white noise. But look to the lyrics,

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

Have a feelin’, now believin’
That you were the one
I was meant to be with
Oh, how I’m wishin’
Thinkin’, dreamin’ ’bout you
And the love, how’d I let you get away?
Got ’til it’s gone
Got ’til it’s gone.

Does Mrs Jackson, who was already 41 years old when she recorded it wants to create the image that she suffers from teenage gril feelings? Remember that Joni Mitchell was only 25 when she presented the original song, with its subtle poetry). I think the current times really see an epidemic of infantilisation.



Weired Conversation

Some years ago I started a loose conversation with Lars Gustafsson, my secret favorite guess for the next Nobel price in literature since I read his first book some 25 years ago. It all began with some essays Mr. Gustafsson wrote on his blog about Berlin, my home town. Gustafsson himself lived there for several years in the 70s, hence he knows many places in the Western part of town much better than me, who went there only after the “wall came down” in 1989. He wrote all 8 parts of the essay in German, and me – in complete ignorance of any writers psychology had the “brilliant idea” to slightly “improve” the grammar and syntax for him. When I send back to him the 8 parts of essay, all with my “improvements” (meaning that the typical Gustafsson style has now been converted to a proper East-German persian-cat style) I received a rather cold reply from him. Anyhow, secretely Mr. Gustafsson revised the essay on his blog, and considered some of my changes as reasonable. Our mail conversation did not went any further, although I submitted several praising comments to other posts on his blog.

Suddenly, 2 years ago I received an emergency message from Lars, calling me “My friend” and explaining that he got stucked in London, lost his wallet and now needs some money to buy a ticket home. Obviously, somebody had hacked Lars’ address book (which obviously must have contained my e-mail contact) to send out Phishing mails to all his friends. From this moment I was careful with everything Mr. Gustafsson send me.

Earlier this year, however, I received a more trustable message from him, where he announced his comming visit to Munich to read from his latest books. I soon confirmed with the local Literature Club and even made some publicity for the event (again completely ignoring the fame of Lars Gustafsson, who has such a huge list of followers and readers that all tickets were sold out in a day).

After his reading Mr. Gustafsson stayed for an hour, nipping some excellent white wine and eating some delicious dark bread sandwiches and chatting with the audience. When I finally made my way through the flock of people who always surrounded him I had the chance to talk to him in person. During the reading on this evening Gustafsson only focussed on his poetry, so I told him that “… after reading his novel Bernard Foy’s Third Castling I realized that there are also decent crime writers in Skandinavia, considering the dreadful style of Adler-Olson, Harkan Nesser, Stieg Larsson and the like …”.  Gustafsson reacted a bid with surprise, that somebody would consider Bernard Foy’s Third Castling a crime novel. He said that for him all crime literature is immoral, which I could not agree at all if I think about Raymond Chandler, E.A.Poe, Patricia Highsmith or Friedrich Duerrenmatt. In my view, all bad literature is immoral literature, be it a crime story or a naturalistic poem. And all good literature is highly moral literature, as is the case of Raymond Chandlers long list of Philip Marlowe detective stories and equally of Gustafssons “Bernard Foy”.   I don’t know to which degree we found an agreement on this issue, since more people were pushing from behind to have their copies of “Everything one needs. A manual for life” (written jointly with his wife Agneta Blomqvist) decorated with his signature.

Yesterday, suddenly, 6 weeks after our last encounter, I received a funny invitation from Lars again, this time with a request to join him on his LinkedIn site. So maybe he remembered that I was once so helpful in polishing his German essays, that in the future I will really get a job from Lars. Or his ardent interest in mathematics and science made him think of starting a research job in my lab.

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