Geschützt: The mouse adores the persian cat

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Ride the Bike

Hi Ghazal,
I hope you found a nice bicycle helmet and arrived well in Unterschleissheim. The helmets, I have to admit, are a tribute to the sports industry which makes easy profit from selling them to the fearsome people. And they are a tribute to the insurrance companies, which can refuse to pay you a compensation, in case you are hit by a car and did not wear a helmet. Aestetically, however, they are a disaster. People look like a Alien III monster when they wear a bicycle helmet.
When you were sitting on the bike yesterday, with your open hair and the trenchcoat, you reminded me of a picture I saw on an french retro-poster advertising bikes (see below).

Lady in red on ONYX Bike

Lady in red on ONYX Bike

I think we should make a photo of you on the bike, without a helmet.

Have a nice evening, see you tomorrow.


Geschützt: An old mouse feels spell-bound by a young kitten

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Geschützt: The hidden letters to a persian cat (written from a mouse fallen deeply in love to her)

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Ladies Football Team

Hi Ghazal,

I completely forgot that on Monday all museums in Germany are closed , including the castle Oberschleissheim. Therefore we have to postpone our visit to it. I probably wont come to the institute today at all, since we got relatives visiting us unexpectedly. I hope you are not too disapointed to hear this, but we can go to the castle another day later this week. I might bring a bike for you tomorrow, and we can pass along Oberschleissheim on your way home.
I very much hope that you had a nice long weekend, wherever you spend it, and that you will be back on Thuesday with fresh energy.


PS: On Saturday, whole Bavaria (and some bavaro-philic parts of the other german tribes) fell into sever agonia, when the Munich football team lost the Champions-League final. For me, football was never a very emotional thing, in particular without any local or national identification. Therefore, my sadness about the lost game was rather superfical and short-lasting. And what made it even easier for me was the fact, that two days before, another german team has won a Champions-League final: this time, it was the ladies team from Potsdam (i.e. the former residence town near Berlin, where I grew up). This womans football team is called “Turbine Potsdam”, since it was founded as a sports-club for the workers of an electric industry branch. The coach is still the same since 40 years, and they are all like underdogs. It is like the story of an emigrant in the US, who from a dishwasher-boy made it up to the richest man in the country. Do you know, that womans football is so popular in Iran ? I ones saw a TV-program on it, and found it fascinating how people try to struggle for freedom and how they develop the most clever ideas to get around political suppression.

The Genealogy of Mice

Hello Ghazal, my dear,

I interprete the missing answer to my last e-mail as a sign, that you got cought so much by Lee Silvers book on “Mouse Genetics”. I hope that you find it not just scientifically interesting, but also entertaining.
To be honest, I always have problems seeing a lot of heroic activity in observations on how cells after irradiation battle to repair their DNA or commit suicide for the sake of the entire organism. It is either just a matter of adaptation, or opportunism as we would call in humans, or a battle between two armies fighting with unequal weapons (physical radiation and biological enzymes). Both, opportunism as well as stupid heroism in a war was definitely not what contributed a lot to progress during human evolution.
In case of the mouse genetics and antropology, however, the question which physiological and behavioural properties drive the development is realy fascinating. Did you red about the two dominant mouse sub-species (M.m.domesticus, or the west-european house-mouse and M.m.musculus or the eastern field-mouse). Most of the mice strains we keep in the laboratory world-wide are genetic recombinats between these two.

Now comes the exciting interrelation of the two sub-species: domesticus established its dominant area in south-western europe, from the mediterranean countries up to Germany. M.m.musculus, in contrast populated the old-world from central Germany further east (Poland, Czech, Russia, China to the Pacific ocean). Believe it or not, the boundary between the eastern and the western Mouse Hemisphere went from northern Germany down to the south at the Alp mountains, first along the river Elbe and then along the river Isar. Some even believe, that Neuherberg is located right on this very tiny zone where occasionally the eastern M.m.muscullus and the western M.m.domsticus encounter (B.t.w., if the whole mapping is 100% precise with the Isar-river representing the border-line, we here in Daglfing would belong to the M.m.musculus world, whereas you in Unterschleissheim would already live in M.m.domesticus hemisphere).
The small border stripe where animals of the both sub-species occupy a common area, occasionally see genetic mixing of the two. They can form hybrids, and in the laboratory it was shown that the hybridn offspring between musculus and domesticus are also fertile, i.e. in theory they could give rise to next generations and a whole new sub-specie. In nature, however, the occasional happening of matings between the two give rise to hybrid offspring, that seem to have a selective disadvantage. They are less fit and never increased in population size. So the mixing area remained restricted to this small stripe in central germany (good for science, of course, since therefor we got the relatively homogenous animals for laboratory strains).

What also gave me a shiver when I red this is the funny co-incidence of the above mentioned “demarcation line” between eastern M.m.musculus and western M.m.domesticus with the former iron curtain that devided the eastern, socialist part of Europe from the western, capitalist world. This iron curtain also run north to south along the river Elbe.
Could it be that this artifical devision into an eastern and an western world during the second half of the 20th century was already planned early in evolution. Strange idea, I must admit, but sometime we are much less self-determined as we always like to show, in particular if it is in politics and military activities, in which people sometimes follow instincts like an animal.

The connection between the geographic distribution of M.m.domesticus and M.m.musculus with human history has another, more peaceful aspect. The new world, i.e. North and South America, did not had mouse at all before the european occupation in the 15th century began. Mice were brought over to the new continent on board the ships of the conquerers. Since most of these ships came from western europe (Spain, Portugal, France, England), they importet M.m.domsticus in Amerika, where still today it is the dominant mouse. Only a very tine stripe along the pacific coast (California) was first occupied by settlers from asia (Russia, later Chinese and Japanese), which brought there M.m.musculus. Again, like in Europe, the geographic distribution of the two sub-species remains there very separated.

I hope you are well, and I hope you don”t mind getting e-mails from me.
(sorry, I don”t have a mailing list on which your address is just one among another million, and from which I could easily remove yours. The e-mails are always personally just for you. So if you find them boring or otherways annoying, you have to delete them right away. I will keep them anyhow in my outbox, they are like a diary).

Have a nice and sunny day


PS: You have not suggested a time to visit the castle Oberschleissheim today or tomorrow. In case I don”t hear from you I”ll come tomorrow afternoon.

Visiting Castle Oberschleissheim

Hi Ghazal,

Haven”t heard from you anything, I hope you are alright. I have to do something in the Lab tomorrow and on Monday, although officially it is closed. I suggest we use the nice weather and I show you the castle in Oberschleissheim (for me it is just 5 min drive from the Institute).

Please send me a message when it suits you best.

best greetings Michael

Riding the Wave

Hi Ghazal,

Do you remember the famous spot near the english garden where people surf on a permanent wave that is formed on a small river next to the Isar ?
Here is a video footage that shows it.

The award-winning movie about the Isar/Ice-river Surfer now started in several cinemas in Munich. Have a look at the movie-trailer, it is tough mater:

When you are completely recovered, maybe we go together to see the movie. Hope you are already in the process of conquering the bugs that made you sick.

Get well soon


… a bit better

Dear dr. R,

Thank you so much for your advice. But I feel a bit better, just weak and need to rest. I will be fine.
It was kind of you but I have music in the computer. I will see you on tuesday. Take care.

Ghazal F (21-05-2010)

Non mens sana in corpore sano (oder so ähnlich)

Dear Ghazal,

Sorry to hear you feel bad. Maybe you have been affected by the uncomfortable weather during the last days. Don”t get frustrated, it will be a sunny weekend and maybe even summer for a few days. Do you need something I can do for you ? Very popular here is the swedish Wasa-type Knäckebröd. Milk is bad (also hot chocolate). Better try a strong black tea without sugar.
Shall I bring you the portable CD-/Radio that the MSc-students used to take to their flat ? It comes with a nice selection of classical- and pop-music. I tell you, its not just the orchid who benefits from a pretty sounding voice, I”m sure you would feel better by this to.

Hope to see you back soon


PS: There is a funny theory among a sort of esoteric, antroposophic people in Germany, who claim that vaccination for kids is bad, and that the kids should always “experience” their natural infections. They even claim, that a child has to go through a particular measles infection with fever and shivering, in order to fully develop a mature personality.
Such strange ideas, I guess, sound absolutely bizarre for somebody from scandinavia, where people are much more educated in health issues. Here in Germany you have all sorts of New-Age and other hilarious theories about life and the universe and how everything is interrelated.
What I want to say, I don”t believe in these strange ideas, and in
particular I don”t think that you need fever or shivering to progress mentally.

PPS: You probably have not heard yet something about the “Persian Prince” movie I asked you yesterday about. I later found out, that it is produced by Disney, which makes my doubts about its quality ever bigger. (21-05-2010)