Berlin in 1945 and today

In additional to the video I posted yesterday, here are some comparison images of Berlin in 1945 and today, in 2015.


And this is just a single city from the World War II.  I’m pretty sure most of Europe and half of Russia looked like that.  And these are cities, which survived.  Think of hundreds or thousands of villages that were completely erased from the face of the earth.  Think of tens of millions of people who perished.  All that was just 70 years ago.  And it looks likes we haven’t learned or remembered our lessons.  It’s 2015 and the world is still at war.

“It’s different now”, you might say.  But I’ll argue.  People die the same.  And places are destroyed the same.  Just have a look at some of the images from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Syria, Egypt … the list of countries grows every year.

Berlin in July 1945

My great-grandfather was there.  My grandfather was there.  My mother was there.  And last year I was there.  Standing in front of the Reichstag building was very moving and emotional.  As was visiting war memorials.

This colored footage of Berlin just three month after the World War II has ended is amazing.  The areal shots at the end of the video of the destroyed city are mind blowing.  Look at all the people involved in restoration.  Look at all the military presence.

Found over at kottke.

German waiter breaks beer-carrying record

The Guardian reports:

A German waiter has set a new world record, carrying 27 one-litre beer glasses. Oliver Struempfl, who works at the traditional Gillamoos beer festival in the Bavarian town of Abensberg, carried the beer 40 metres. Struempfl says he trained at the gym for the record-breaking attempt

Überlingen mid-air collision

This accident has recently came up in a conversation I had with a few friends.  Surprisingly, it’s not as widely known as I thought it was.  Read through the Wikipedia page for more details.

The Überlingen mid-air collision occurred at 21:35 UTC on 1 July 2002 between Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 (a Tupolev Tu-154M passenger jet carrying 60 passengers – mostly children – and 9 crew) and DHL Flight 611 (a Boeing 757-23APF cargo jet manned by two pilots) over the towns of Überlingen and Owingen in southern Germany. All 71 people on board the two aircraft were killed.

Nearly two years later, on 24 February 2004, Peter Nielsen, the air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident, was stabbed to death by an architect, Vitaly Kaloyev, who had lost his wife and two children in the accident.

On 19 May 2004, the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation (BFU) published its determination that the accident had been caused by shortcomings in the Swiss air traffic control system supervising the flights at the time of the accident and by ambiguities in the use of TCAS, the on-board aircraft collision avoidance system.

This is obviously very tragic, but what a story!  I’ve heard a rumor that there will be a drama movie made about it. That’s in addition to a few documentaries that already exist. Like this one, for example:

International PHP Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany

As many of you already know, I’ve spent most of the last week in Berlin, Germany, attending the International PHP Conference 2014.  Here’s the short story:  it was another great event (yes, I’ve attended this conference before).  The conference seems to grow and mature.  There were plenty of engaging speakers and insightful topics.  If you haven’t been to one of these yet, and you are involved with web technologies in general or PHP in particular, you definitely should attend.   It’s worth every dime.

Now, for the long story.

Continue reading “International PHP Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany”

A Brief History of Beer Gardens

A Brief History of Beer Gardens

Unlike the ales that constituted all the world’s beer before the middle of the nineteenth century, the lager yeasts discovered in Bavaria at that time required a different type of fermentation. Ales — produced through the addition of top-fermenting yeast — ferment rapidly, at warm temperatures. Lagers, contrarily, depend on a slow, cool fermentation, ideally at temperatures between 45–56 degrees Fahrenheit. And after fermentation is complete, they need to be stored and aged for several months, at even cooler temperatures.

This was an era before refrigeration, however, so Bavarian brewers dug out large underground cellars for stashing the barrels while the beer “lagered.” To ensure fuller protection from the sun, they then scattered gravel over the ground and planted leafy chestnut and linden trees, which, as they grew, would provide ample shade from the sun.

Someone did the math. Shade, gravel, beer — all just off the banks of Munich’s Isar River, which provided an additional source of cooling for the beer. Put some tables and chairs outside, and start the taps. Beer garden culture was born.

Frankfurt and Karlsruhe photos

In November 2009 I went for a PHP conference in Karlsruhe, Germany.  I’ve also visited Frankfurt briefly.  As with most of my travels, I’ve shot a whole bunch of pictures.  But unlike my other travel pictures, these ones were waiting for post-processing for way too long.  Yesterday I abandoned the hope of ever editing them and started to upload them as-is.  Maybe one day I’ll be back to level the horizons, crop, resize, and correct colours.  Until then, I’m too scared they will just get lost.

I’ve organized these images into two separate sets: Frankfurt and Karlsruhe.

I’m too lazy to dig through my archives, but I’ve probably mentioned a few times that I enjoyed myself over there, that I like travelling through Germany, and that that PHP conference was a blast.  And if you don’t believe me, you can always ask Chris and Michael who accompanied me on that trip.