Julie Boulet

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Subterranean Earthsick Clues: If Climate Change Forces Us Underground

Global warming may eventually force Homo sapiens to again seek cover from the elements. A global tour of the history of humans living underground.

BERLIN — Be it ancient tombs, homes, abandoned mines, sanctuaries or shopping malls, humans have always been inventive when it comes to settling in underground spaces. But increasing rates of environmental disasters have raised fears of an impending climate cataclysm — and the prospect of humans forced to live below ground. Here are nine examples of our collective subterranean past that could inform our future:

GERMANY — Cave Hohler Fels in the Swabian Alps

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SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

You Can Still Go On Holiday, But It's Time To Do It Sustainably

Air travel is booming despite the current climate debate. But vacationers have to rethink their summer breaks — not only for the environment, but also for the sake of people.

OpEd-

MUNICH — "Urlaub," the German word for holidays, is a term that comes from 8th century High German and means "the permission to leave" and "the possibility to proceed at will" — this is what the Brothers Grimm's dictionary says. To date, this definition has changed little. Anyone who leaves their job for a few days and walks out of the mill of everyday life, wants to do as they please. For most vacationers, this means lying on a beach, relaxing and forgetting about all the problems that plague their everyday life for most of the year. And you can't blame them for wanting to do so. For most, however, the concerns surrounding humanity are waiting back at home along with the cat, a mailbox full of bills and the balcony flowers, that the neighbors should have cared for during the holidays.

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Future

A Parallel Challenge: Teaching Self-Driving Cars To Park

Germany's Bosch and Daimler are teaming up to achieve a high level of success in autonomous parking, becoming the first to have a marketable system far from Silicon Valley.

-Analysis-

MUNICHMoon-bound rockets and driverless cars have plenty in common. For example, in the 1950s, American road cruisers looked like spaceships on wheels. Steep tailfins and stylized jet engines made the drivers dream of a better, accident-free future. The vision for a vehicle which can steer, brake and accelerate on its own fits in well with this optimistic view of the future. But it turned out that the design elements made for aviation are not quite right for cars. Ultimately it was easier to find a parking space on the Moon than to park autonomously in front of the local supermarket.

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Skyscrapers, Turbines And The Problem Of 'Horizon Pollution'

Skylines evolve over time, but that doesn't mean cities like Bremen, Germany should let developers erect whatever kind of tower block they want.

-OpEd-

BREMEN — The horizon is the final frontier, what separates the sky from the earth. Below the horizontal line live people, and above it are the gods and the ether, the sun, moon and stars, and the ozone hole and greenhouse gases. As long as the horizon can be seen, the sun disappears behind it in the evening but rises again in the morning on the other side, and the sky is not falling on anyone's head. The sky remains the sky.

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Why Does The Left Love Islam So Much?

Some leftists are screaming racism because of a conference on the pros and cons of the headscarf in Frankfurt. One can only wish these people that they never have to live in the society that they are rooting for.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — It is one of the most bizarre romances of the past decades: The love of many leftists for Islam. If their ideological ancestors once maintained that "There is no better being, no god, no emperor or tribune", as sung in the famous socialist "The Internationale" anthem, the wind has now turned. The stanzas have been rewritten.

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Game Of Thrones As Sport: 'Historical Medieval Battle' Is A Thing

In this martial arts where competitors are in knight armor, the athletes beat each other with axes and swords — until someone falls.

SMEDEREVO — While fans around the world have been racking their brains over Game of Thrones, even filing a petition to have the final season rewritten, the comparison with the series has the Iron League athletes tired: "Our sport is ridiculed," says Jonas Freese.

Freese is national captain of the German squad of Historical Medieval Battle, a full-contact sport filled with knights in armor and with historical weapons such as battle axes, long swords, and clubs. The Iron League is the sport's umbrella organization in Germany. In early May, Freese led some 40 fighters in the Battle of Nations world championships held in the Serbian city of Smederevo. "We are often associated with the series, but we do not do fantasy," says Freese.

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Don't Call It Suicide: What Words To Use In Right To Die Debate

Someone who is terminally ill and wants to die faster does not 'commit suicide,' says this German palliative medicine physician. Words matter.

-OpEd-

The Federal Constitutional Court held hearings in April about complaints against paragraph 217 of the German Penal Code, introduced in 2015. This law created the new offense of "business promotion of suicide", which is supposed to only prevent the activities of assisted suicide groups, but effectively prevents any possibility of medically assisted suicide. The law is in sharp contrast with the wishes of the vast majority of the population and is regarded by many legal experts as out of touch and unconstitutional.

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A Century Ago, Birth Of The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus movement came to life in Germany after the end of World War I. And it lives on today in many ways.

BERLIN — The Bauhaus, founded a century ago in 1919 in the turbulent period of the Weimar Republic, was quickly crushed by the Nazis, which described it as a prime example of "cultural Bolshevism."

The Bauhaus was by no means alone in its early efforts to find new forms and a kind of function-less architecture without ornamentation. There was also the German Werkbund, and other attempts to combine artistic individuality and the spirit of industrial modernity. But why has only the Bauhaus survived?

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The Case Of The Cold War Hacker Found Dead In A German Forest

Thirty years after a young West German computer whiz working for the KGB was found dead, we return to an unsolved mystery from the final days before the Wall fell.

BERLIN — It was a classic case of reality being stranger — and more dangerous — than fiction. In May 1989, Karl Koch, a West German hacker linked to an espionage scandal with the Russian secret services, was found dead under suspicious circumstances. The mystery surrounding his death remains, in a plot that is somewhat typical of the Cold War.

Already in 1989 did Germany's public service broadcaster ARD see the story's potential, dedicating the half-hour program Brennpunkt to it in March 1989. "Eastern spies on Western computer networks. German hackers are working for the KGB" was the title of the show.

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Geopolitics

Is Kim Jong-un Exporting North Korean Slave Labor To Europe?

The accusation is serious: North Korea is sending forced laborers to Poland to be able to send money back to the regime. No one wants to take responsibility.

GDYNIA — The dock is almost 400 meters long and 70 meters wide and is one of the largest container crane ports on the Baltic Sea coast. Nearby in this northern Polish city, a company called Crist manufactures parts for container ships and offshore wind farms, destined mostly for Western European countries. And recently, Crist has received 37 million euros from Brussels, from a fund that aims to create jobs in European Union regions that have historically struggled economically.

But there is a detail the officials in Brussels probably missed: not all who work in these shipyards may be here voluntarily.

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SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

If Only Marie Kondo Could Clean Up My Social Life

If it doesn't 'spark joy,' the guest of the hit Netflix series 'Tidying Up' tells us, get rid of it. Should the same lesson be applied to our circle of friends and acquaintances?

-Essay-

I have a friend I can't stand. It sounds mean, but that's how she makes me feel. Every time she writes me, calls me, wants to visit me, I'm annoyed. I just can't handle her. It's always been that way and I'm pretty sure it will stay that way. And yet, this friendship has existed for more than 10 years now.

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Future

Asleep At The Wheel? The Limits Of Self-Driving Cars

The era of driverless cars is dawning. But are we really ready to just let our vehicles take over?

MUNICH — Brake, start, drive, brake again. Above all, be careful not to drive into the car in front of you. Stop-and-go traffic is annoying and unproductive. But soon cars will drive by themselves. And that raises all kinds of new possibilities, like reading the newspaper, checking your emails, or having breakfast — all while respecting the road laws.

Not bad, right? This, apparently, is the future for passengers of self-driving cars. It all sounds very practical. And if you believe what car manufacturers are saying, it's not going to be much longer before this becomes a reality. But will self-driving cars really be as hands-free as all that?

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