Some of you may know that part of our family is based in Great Britain. So for us the Brexit is not just a distressing fact with respect to the unity of Europe. Especially for my sister -a german citizen living in London and currently teaching architecture in Brighton and Brussels- life will get most probably quite a bit more difficult. So of course we are not happy about the Brexit. Nevertheless I feel rather uncomfortable with voices in the media which suggest that asking the British people to decide wether they would like to stay in the European Union or not as “problematic”. That is I think the referendum was a very democratic move and should be repected as such.
It is almost sure that the motivations for some of the votes were not connected to the actual question with all its consequences and of course it is important to understand not only the outcome of the Brexit but also those motivations but I think that rendering the Brexit referendum as problematic means implicitly to question (that form of) democratic decision making. So if some people want to question the procedure of a referendum as such then this should be adressed directly and not in connection with the outcome of one particular question.
Here a comment about a specific problem in statistics which is often ignored by (mostly) non-mathematicians.
I originally intended to leave the comment in a mathematicians forum where this problem is discussed. As an example I looked at the glyphosate Renewal Assessment Report from 2013 where I think this ignorance leads to very problematic conclusions. Warning: some details about the animal test results are rather explicit.
image from Wikipedia by Vincent de Groot.
In the context of the last post about the WHO and the assessment of health problems due to radioactivity I wonder about one citation in the BBC report Falluja doctors report rise in birth defects. The BBC report was linked to from the Guardians WHO critique which I had mentioned in the last post.
According to the BBC report the citation was by “British-based Iraqi researcher Malik Hamdan:”
Ms Hamdan said that based on data from January this year, the rate of congenital heart defects was 95 per 1,000 births – 13 times the rate found in Europe.
Malik is a male name, so I guess this is a misprint and who is probably meant is Malak Hamdan.
Why did I wonder about that citation?
Image of the new safe confinement of April 2015 by Tim Porter, Wikimedia Commons
On the occasion of commemorating the Chernobyl disaster which happened then 25 years ago an interview with Dörte Siedentopf (a physician who has since 20 years been working in disaster relief programs for victims of the disaster and an antinuclear activist) had been published on Germanys major public news website. It was reposted today on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Amongst others Dörte Siedentopf drew my attention to a 1959 agreement between the IAEA and the WHO.
Read the rest of this entry »
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – remnants of the pub, as they are wafting over the railway tracks.
I am sorry to keep on talking about local politics. The pub from the last post has now been fully demolished. The little shops, which are adjacent to it are currently also under threat. A threat though of a slightly different sort.
Today – despite many protests by inhabitants, despite a successful collection of signatures – a traditional Berlin pub, which was built in the 19th century and which was constantly in operation up to last year – a survivor of two world wars – was torn down. The current plans are to substitute it with a “kleinteilige Shopzeile” (clustered shop row).
Shame on: Real Estate Developpers Grotjan GmBH , Bezirksamt Marzahn in particular Department for “city development” in Marzahn-Hellersdorf (Head Christian Gräff), Deutsche Bahn AG (who sold the estate, without any regard for their own history) and the socalled “Landesdenkmalamt” (CHM department of Berlin) who acted in my opinion absolutely incompetent and totally against for what they are paid for, namely defending historical buildings, instead of furthering their demolishment.
I had invested a lot of time and energy in trying to save the pub. The pub was one of the few locations, where relaxing discussions could be made also without tons of money. The death of this pub is unfortunately symptomatic for an ongoing demolishment of a very important piece of european culture. From my neigbours I heard similar things from Poland and here a link to a Guardian long read about the death of pubs in Britain.
update 2.3. 2016:
On November 19, 2015 I had made an official question in front of the district assembly wether the district could buy the pub/restaurant in order to avoid the tear down. I got the answer: No the district won’t buy the pub.
The day before yesterday the head of the department for city development Mr. Gräff invited the inhabitants of the neighbourhood to a party promotion event, which was set up as a kind of townhall meeting in a local church. Questions and comments to local politics could be made. I asked Mr Gräff why the department of city development and in particular he, Mr. Gräff finds that supporting the 500.000 Euros/year running costs of the castle which is right next to the former pub/restaurant is considered more important than buying the pub/restaurant, which would have probably costed -including renovation- 500.000 Euro once and would have then caused no further running costs.
Side remark: In emails to him and other local politicians I had also tried to make clear that tearing down the restaurant was a shock for many, that there are not many similar public places to go to anymore and that a lot of those shocked may not be the kind of people who usually protest openly and loudly. I had also proposed that if the district buys the pub/restaurant one could for example turn it into a pub/restaurant/cafe-like meeting point which includes the people who had usually been there and likewise have some integrative approach, which could also include refugees.
His answer to my question at the townhall meeting was about (recorded from my memory):
Well – one can have different opinions about the pub/restaurant and I had another opinion than you. Like there are old ladies for whom it is easier if there are shops in the vicinity. Furthermore 500. 000 Euro is still a lot of money and one can use this money better for e.g. preschools and schools.
Remark 1: The size of the clustered shop row is about 60 sqm, so there will be about two small shops, where the pub/restaurant had been. Moreover there are already existing and prospected shops in the ultimate vicinity.
Remark 2: Mr. Gräff is a member of the supervisory board of the company who just recently got the mandate to run the the castle.
randform wishes everybody happy holidays and a good start into the new year!
To stay in the mood some chrismas caroling by pianist Soheil Nasseri at his appartment:
Soheil Nasseri’s youtube channel has of course also some more elaborate music -including a video of the performance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Rachmaninov at the St. Petersburg Philharmonia which has gotten meanwhile over 300.000 plays.
For those who would like to hear the Piano Concerto live – there is an upcoming performance with the Berliner Symphoniker in the great hall of the Berliner Philharmonie on Sunday Feb 21. at 4 p.m. It might be sold out.