1984

I wish I were the first one to come up with this catchphrase. I would certainly not bet against that at least one major Western country will develop into a full-fledged dictatorship during the next twenty years. Politicians in practically all countries of the world seem to take every chance they get to introduce new surveillance laws or ridiculous bans. The sad thing is that only a small minority is actually concerned about this development.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the current president of the eurozone and one of the most influential European politicians, gave the following insight how the politics of the EU really works in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel in 1999:

“We decide something, put it on the table and wait some time if something happens. If there is no huge fuss about it and no uprising – because most people don’t have any idea what the decision is all about – we just keep going. Step by step. Until there is no way back.”

Truly a noble defender of democracy.


Comic strip tips

Some new tips for comic strips which are worth a look:

  • My Cage by Melissa DeJesus and Ed Power is one of the best syndicated comic strips. Ed Power described it as “the comic strip for everyone who has ever felt like a platypus in a world of cats and dogs.” The lead character Norman dreams of being a famous writer, but is currently stuck in a draining job and has to deal with his whacky co-workers.
  • The distinctive feature of Lio by Mark Tatulli is that it does not contain any kind of dialog most of the time. The main character of the comic strip is the young boy Lio who is often seen hugging his hideous pet monsters or playing dangerous tricks on his father. It’s often surprising to see such dark humor in a syndicated newspaper strip.
  • Union of Heroes by Arne Schulenberg and Eric Wünsche is a slice-of-life photonovel which takes place in the Ruhr Area of Germany in an alternative universe in which superheroes are common. Despite this description, the comic does not suck 😉 but is an enjoyable read. The comic is currently celebrating its one year anniversary, by the way.

Say “No!” to HR 669

Rick Griffin, the creator of the webcomic Housepets!, has written an interesting article about the proposed U.S. bill HR 669 which seeks to ban all non-native species from the United States. If you live in the U.S. and think that banning hamsters might not really stimulate the economy, don’t want to have another personal right taken away by the nanny state, or oppose the conviction of a static nature whose current state has to be preserved at all costs, the website NO HR 669 offers more information how you can get active against the bill.


Raccoons in Germany

75 years ago, on 12 April 1934, forest superintendent Wilhelm Freiherr Sittich von Berlepsch released four raccoons (two males and two pregnant females) into the German countryside at the Edersee reservoir in the north of Hesse. He released them two weeks before receiving permission from the Prussian hunting office to “enrich the fauna”, as the request of their owner, the poultry farmer Rolf Haag, stated.

In the attached photograph you can see Rolf Haag with one of his pet raccoons. I don’t know, however, if it’s one of those released to the wild.

Rolf Haag and one of his raccoons, photo taken by Christoph Haag

Rolf Haag and one of his raccoons, photo taken by Christoph Haag

A second population was established in East Germany in 1945 when 25 raccoons escaped from a fur farm at Wolfshagen to the east of Berlin after an air strike. Today, the estimated number of raccoons in the whole of Germany is between 200,000 and 400,000 animals. Contrary to popular belief, the raccoon experts Ulf Hohmann and Frank-Uwe Michler, who currently leads the research project „Project Raccoon“ (German) in the Müritz National Park, have found no evidence that a high population density of raccoons has had negative effects to the biodiversity of the examined areas.


Hacking Attack

Sandra and Woo and all my other websites have been the targets of a large-scale hacking attack. The attack apparently involved an automatic script which inserted malicious code into all source files on the webspace. To fix the problem, I have changed my passwords, removed all files on the webspace and re-uploaded my local backup. The forum and my other sites should be back online during the next week.

If you have visited Sandra and Woo or any of my other websites on Wednesday or Thursday you should check your system with anti-virus and anti-spyware software.