Die bayrische Regierungskoalition aus CSU und FDP hat entschieden, die Studiengebühren in Bayern abzuschaffen, die Teil des Koalitionsvertrages zwischen FDP und CSU waren. Die CSU hat ihre Position geändert, nachdem das Volksbegehren gegen Studiengebühren im Januar 2013 (Wahljahr!) positiv ausgefallen ist. Die FDP hingegen hatte sich standhaft und lauthals geweigert, mitzuziehen, mehrere Monate lang auf den Koalitionsvertrag hingewiesen und sogar mit einem Bruch der Koalition gedroht.
Heute sind sie umgeschwenkt, und der bayrische FDP Fraktionschef Thomas Hacker erklärt im bayrischen Rundfunk, wieso:
“Studienbeiträge sind unserer Meinung nach sozial gerechtfertigt, damit sind wir allerdings in der bayrischen Politik alleingelassen mit dieser Position. Deswegen, um auch vernünftiges Regierungshandeln zu zeigen ist es jetzt wichtig den Weg in die Zukunft zu zeigen. Die FDP hat die Bildungsinvestitition immer vorangetrieben, auch heute.”
In a long-awaited leap forward for open access, the US government said today that publications from taxpayer-funded research should be made free to read after a year’s delay – expanding a policy which until now has only applied to biomedical science …
With both the US and Europe supporting delayed-access to publications, the UK government looks increasingly isolated in its preference for immediate open access. That policy is due to come in from 1 April, but the details are not yet clear.
Go, Britain! Also, of course a 1-year delay in open access is not what we want eventually, but it’s so much better than the current system that it deserves some celebration.
The Dailymail has a piece on a photograph that was taken 2 days after the alleged Assange rape, and some information about the way Assange and his potential victim spent their time.
“It seems an unremarkable image: a group of friends smiling broadly. But this is the photograph Julian Assange hopes will clear his name. The face of the woman on the left has been obscured for legal reasons. For although she is seen beaming, she would later tell police that 48 hours before the picture was taken, the WikiLeaks founder pinned her down in her flat and sexually assaulted her.”
We know now that the energy industry in Germany is doing very well, despite the fact that we decided to stop doing Nuclear Energy by 2020. In fact, they’re doing so well that they not only lost money, as they claimed they would, but they also made a lot of money. So much, in fact, that it seems questionable not to lower prices for customers. They pretend to be oblivious of all of this, and demand reparations from Germany. Over $20 billion. At this point it’s worth noting that, due to some really weird history of Nuclear Power in Germany, companies do not have to participate financially in disposing of Nuclear Waste. They run the the plants. They make the money. They charge taxpayers for electricity. And taxpayers also pay for the (insanely expensive) longterm management of Nuclear Waste. (Source)
The city of Berlin asked communication providers (i.e. internet and phone companies) for 6.6 million datasets between 2008 and 2011. In 116 cases, this led to leads that were of at least some importance in trying to solve crimes. On average, it means that the police looked into 57.000 datasets of innocent citizens, to get leads on one crime. You know my opinion about proportionality. I do not consider this to be proportional. (Source)
“To battle the two parties’ neglect of these issues, HuffPost Live and The Huffington Post are hosting Shadow Conventions 2012 — devoting a day during each of the national conventions to focusing on one of the three issues. Today and next Tuesday, a wide array of HuffPost sections — from Politics to Green to Entertainment to Science — are featuring stories and blog posts highlighting the effects the war on drugs is having on so many aspects of our lives.”
Iceland made very different decisions than other European countries when the financial crisis hit them in 2008. They were heavily criticized back then for their actions – turns out: they did the right thing.
“Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its rescue led to a ‘surprisingly’ strong recovery, the International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to the country said. Iceland’s commitment to its program, a decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury helped propel the nation from collapse toward recovery, according to the Washington-based fund.”
What did they do?
“Iceland refused to protect creditors in its banks, which failed in 2008 after their debts bloated to 10 times the size of the economy. […] The fact that Iceland managed to preserve the social welfare system in the face of a very sizeable fiscal consolidation is one of the major achievements under the program and of the Icelandic government.”
And while you’re at it, read up on Iceland. Some interesting facts:
“As of 2011, Iceland was ranked 2nd in the strength of its democratic institutions”. (Wikipedia)
“The country has a high level of civic participation, with 84% voter turnout during the most recent elections, compared to an OECD average of 72%.” (Wikipedia)
Reykjavík is currently governed by the Best Party: “The party ran in the 2010 city council election in and won a plurality on the Reykjavík City Council, receiving 34.7% of the vote, defeating the Independence Party which received 33.6%. The founder and chairman of the party is the incumbent Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr [a comedian]. As the party was founded several months after the last Icelandic parliamentary election, it has not yet had the opportunity to compete on the national level. The party’s initial success is seen as a backlash against establishment parties in the wake of Iceland’s 2008-2011 financial crisis.” (Wikipedia)
The German Christian Democract Ansgar Heveling wrote the most hilarious guest article, in which he attacks the new generation using the internet, pretending you can either use the internet, or live a real life as a real person. (German link, and commentary on the article on spiegel.de)
“Two large ISPs in the Netherlands have said they will not be blocking subscriber access to The Pirate Bay, as demanded by the Hollywood supported anti-piracy outfit BREIN. T-Mobile and KPN argue that blocking websites is a threat to the open Internet, and suggest that the entertainment industry focuses on new business models instead.” (via torrentfreak)
“Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change … and some ways you can fix them” (Persuasive Tech Lab, Stanford University)
“Under new consular fees published Thursday, cost of renouncing U.S. citizenship skyrocketed from $0 to $450″. They really want you to stay American citizen, I guess? (NYdailynews)
“Aerospace engineers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have developed a prototype device that could power a pacemaker using vibrations in the chest cavity that are due mainly to heartbeats.” (Source)
FDP at 0%. Hard to fathom that a party which would be voted by 0% of the people is governing this country (German source)
“As FBI and Scotland Yard investigators recently plotted out a strategy for tracking suspects linked to Anonymous, little did they know that members of the group were eavesdropping on their conference call and recording their plans.” (Wired)
For the first time in the German history I can remember, investors were so desperate yesterday that they lent €3.900.000.000 to Germany, not only without asking for interest, but actually donating €250.000 so that Germany would accept their money. The interest yield was a negative 0.0122%.
Pretty insane. If someone wants to lend me some money, and I have to pay back less than I received, let me know.
(In comparison, Italy currently pays an interest rate of over 7% when lending money from investors/banks)
The study involved more than 1700 heterosexual couples, of whom one partner was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the other was not at the start of the trial. All those infected still had relatively intact immune systems. The study gave antiretroviral drugs to half of the infected people and delayed giving treatment to the other half until their immune systems declined to a dangerous degree. The results of this early treatment with a cocktail of antiviral drugs were dramatic, lowering the rate at which the HIV-free partner became infected 20-fold, while also improving outcomes for the infected partner. In combination with other promising clinical trials, the results have galvanized efforts to end the world’s AIDS epidemic in a way that would have been inconceivable even a year ago. “The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious, but it is possible,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told scientists last month.
Bruce Alberts ends his summary about the year 2011 with very critical words:
Not all of the news for science has been good this year. Regrettably, we live in an age where “science denial” has become fashionable. For instance, in the United States, the pressure to conform has become so great that even many politicians who know better have become unwilling to speak out to support what science knows about climate change. Part of the reason is that politicians need to raise funds to compete effectively in elections, and the large amount of money spent by special interest groups distorts the public debate. To counter such science denial, I have repeatedly argued on this page that scientists need to pay much more attention to science education. Teaching is not the same as simply telling students what one knows—a common approach pursued through lecturing. Instead, the scientific community needs to strongly support evidence-based methods for improving how students learn science both in college and at lower levels, focusing on empowering all students with the reasoning and problem-solving skills of scientists [...]