Tag Archives: Germany

ShareBear Run: Dortmund Bus Bomber ‘Was Russo-German Financial Speculator’!

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All Apologies: Germany’s #1 Newspaper Caught Up in #FakeNews Farrago!

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Making Relationships Great Again: From Disenchantment to Magic via Game Theory

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Notwithstanding the tumultuous socio-psychological state of today’s world, there is actually surprisingly little which keeps our Creative Director & CSO awake at night. One of the exceptions to this rule is the seemingly relentless march – particularly, though by far from exclusively, in technology-defined cities such as London – towards a post-human society in which human beings are increasingly perceived as disposable. Within the job market, robots are unquestioningly viewed as superior replacements; within wider society, immigrants and other out-groups are libellously demonised in a way that even two years ago would have seemed almost unthinkable.

The dating scene is not immune to this logic. People – real people with feelings, emotions, sensibilities and fragilities – are now routinely dismissed with not so much as a left swipe on a screen. And for those people who do get dates, the shadow of ritual humiliation is rarely too far from the surface.

In recent years, much of the analysis of post-modern dating’s sub-optimal outcomes has focused on this topic from male perspectives; while this is in some ways entirely understandable, these narratives have tended to marginalise or even ignore a genuinely disturbing phenomenon: that of women in consenting relationships being starved of affection, used and then unceremoniously discarded by men who seem incapable of forming attachments – or beyond this, even basic empathy.

It was therefore with great relief that we at Mediolana came across a recent item at FASHIONARTISTA – a beauty industry/lifestyle blog with a burgeoning and richly-merited following – which addresses this issue head-on. In Why We Are Losing Our Charm And How To Get It Back, game theory is used to great effect in illustrating how the dynamics of male-female dating interactions can be tipped back towards sanity by the latter adopting a classic ‘less skin, more charm’ strategy.

By metaphorically augmenting one’s character with a layer of mystery (and perhaps literally adding a layer of clothing to the evening brand), the terrain of the dating game can be changed from one which is primarily about sex to one which is about the quality of the human being you are having dinner with; sex does not disappear, but instead has a chance to occur at such a time when it can possess some metaphysical significance – and with this, a corresponding leap in quality and connection.

So far, so logical – but what if adoption of this strategy still ends in rejection? After some contemplation, this is where – at least for us at Mediolana – ‘less skin, more charm’ comes into its own. If a young lady is following the rest of the advice given at FASHIONARTISTA’s blog – which can best be summarised as counsel on the art of being more graceful – and there are still no takers in her social circle or dating market, then the course of action is clear. Change your social circle, change your location, change the religion and/or weltanschauung of the people you date (or even your own). Refuse to be stuck in a cycle of second-rate relationships – go to where the great guys are and be appreciated for being you in all your glory. Numbering the days of the disposable society requires nothing less.

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Secret Mediolana Fans, Volume 1: Siemens!

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Here at Mediolana, it’s no secret that we love our blogging – and the rest of the world seems to agree. Within months of its inception, mediolana.wordpress.com had already ascended into the 1% of Technorati blogs; had been featured multiple times on WordPress’s own showcase of its best content; and via associated social media channels had started to amass some seriously influential followers, which today number entities from some of the world’s biggest international news networks.

However, it only recently came to our attention that a certain German industrial conglomerate was reading the very blog that you are presently viewing: no less a company than Siemens AG has referenced us in an article on young inventors featuring Elif Bilgin, the Istanbul teenager who created a new type of plastic out of banana peels – and whom we wrote about way back in September 2013.

We’re honoured that such a doyen of the European and global industrial scene is tuning into our blog – and particularly on a matter of genuine import, such as humanity’s relationship with the environment. As we sometimes say in this part of London: Schönen Dank!

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Take My Breath Away: How Berlin Can Become Europe’s Commercial Capital

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With the zeitgeist-defining British vote to leave the European Union via a non-binding referendum creating chronic uncertainty in London since 23rd June 2016, Berlin – which for much of the twentieth century was broadly sliced into two entities, one of which was communist, by a Cold War wall – now has the opportunity to supplant the former Centre of the Known Universe as Europe’s startup capital. And some might say it is already in the process of doing just that: in 2015, Berlin’s technology companies received €2.15bn in VC funding, significantly more than the €1.77bn allocated to their London equivalents.

However, Berlin still lags significantly behind London in plenty of lucrative associated sectors, such as financial technology (‘fintech’); in comparison with its counterparts in the United States, the gap is a chasm. Moreover, plenty of larger companies have a negligible presence in a German capital which is still often referred to as ‘poor but sexy’; for now, London continues to ooze corporate swagger.

So how can Berlin make the leap from tier-two metropolis to business base of choice? After some contemplation, we at Mediolana think we have a five-point plan to rival anything else doing the blogosphere rounds on this topic:

  1. Quality of Life. This should be a leitmotiv when pitching to the London business communities in the context of relocation; in particular, the prospect of a comprehensive, state-owned and above all reliable public transportation system. The concept of not being at the mercy of creaking infrastructure and wasting literally days each year stuck in delays is more than ever a thing of beauty, and can be appreciated by all those trying to get stuff done.
  2. Cost of Living. For at least fifteen years now, London has seemingly specialised in insulting the intelligence of its denizens when it comes gouging them for basic amenities such as shelter and transport – and because of both the eerie degree of apathy and the pronounced lack of social capital within the city, it has easily got away with it. By contrast, Berlin is a city of rent caps (€600/month for a decent 1-bed apartment, not €1,500/month) and affordable mass transit (€81/month for a Travelcard equivalent as opposed to fees north of €200/month for something approaching London-wide), things which any SME within the start-up sector cannot easily ignore.
  3. Cheap Commercial Space. For now, Berlin is still awash with former manufacturing and espionage facilities which are available to hire at prices which are lower than the cost of many London parking slots; the bits of Berlin which were in the German Democratic Republic are especially good value.
  4. Abundant Skilled Labour. While practically nowhere else on Earth can rival London as an education hub, Berlin does boast some marvellous institutes of technical education which can supply startups – not least those on the cusp of information technology and industrial applications – with an excellent talent pool.
  5. A Genuine Cosmopolis. Not long ago, the idea that the capital of dowdy Germany could somehow rival swinging and definitively international London in the tolerance stakes would have seemed faintly ridiculous, but the post-Brexit wave of lunacy has revealed that the capital of the United Kingdom is not necessarily the paradigm of open-mindedness that it needs to be to continue to attract the best talent from around Europe, let alone the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Berlin – while hardly free of discrimination itself – is nevertheless part of a country that, in the twenty-first century at least, is unlikely to embark on a needlessly divisive political trajectory which could have direct consequences for its own immigrant populations in quite the same way as the United Kingdom.

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Filed under Business, Economics, Finance, Political Science

When Heroes Go Down: Tyler Brûle and the Fear of the Fictional Other

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It will be no secret to regular readers of this blog that our Creative Director & CSO was and remains a huge fan of Tyler Brûle – the editor-in-chief of what is possibly still the finest magazine in the English language, Monocle – and it was precisely because of this admiration that he was so surprised at the content of one of the iconic Canadian’s more recent Financial Times columns, On the migrant train to Munich (12th-13th September 2015), avidly caught up with over the Christmas and New Year break.

In this late summer piece, Brûle openly questions whether the people of Germany (estimated population: 81,083,600) are as enthused as certain parts of the global news media appeared to suggest by the arrival of a few hundred thousand refugees (a great proportion of whom are likely to be ultimately deported) fleeing the increasingly dystopian military conflict in Syria and Iraq. This could have been exemplary journalism – questioning a seemingly broadly-accepted narrative is rarely a Bad Thing – but then Brûle posited the following:

‘The juxtaposition of kiosks selling lederhosen adjacent to Syrian and Iraqi families boarding buses almost looked like this was part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fast-track programme to get people integrated into German life as quickly as possible. But I’m not sure Ali and Leila from Aleppo were quite ready for Oktoberfest, let alone knee-skimming deerskin shorts or dresses that magically push cleavage up under the chin. And therein lies one of the main issues that are being whispered by Germany’s middle and upper classes but which isn’t out in the open just yet: how much will a wave of largely Muslim refugees impact German society?’

It is genuinely difficult to know where to begin in analysing this excerpt. For one, Brûle’s choice of the fictional Ali and Leila’s city of origin betrays a basic lack of knowledge about Syria: Aleppo is a city which for most of its >7,000-year history has been a byword for innovation, cosmopolitanism and commerce; its denizens are certainly not known for their insularity and are unlikely to be existentially freaked out by a skirt, particularly given that ‘Eastern’ religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Taoism have traditionally embraced the erotic, notably within the context of mysticism.

But wider questions must be raised, not least about Brûle’s knowledge of contemporary German culture. Is he aware that immigrants from Southern Europe – many of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Albania and (ex-)Yugoslavia – are credited with making (West) Germany’s postwar economic miracle possible? Does he know that footballers from the Islamic religious community have been attending Oktoberfest with their wives and girlfriends for many years, sometimes drinking the same alcohol-free brews that constitute one of the few growth spots – 200% in the seven years to 2014 – in Germany’s declining beer industry? (Bottled water overtook beer as Germany’s most popular cold drink back in 2002.)

Perhaps most worryingly, is it not simply a little bit presumptuous to assume – purely from someone’s name, place of birth and stated (non-)religious identity, whether Christian, Atheist, Muslim or Shinto – what they think? Because if the genuinely amazingly amazing Tyler Brûle cannot grasp this point, then one of the great illusions of our strange postmodern times has been shattered: spending hundreds of days a year travelling the world on business is no guarantee against parochialism.

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#PEGIDA ‘Makes Campus Breakthrough’: Indian #Student Denied Germany Internship Owing to ‘Toxic Mix of Gender and Nationality’!

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