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What’s New on

It’s been a little over a week since ScienceBlogs launched a beta version of its first daughter site, in German.

Today, we present what we hope will be the first of many informal updates on what’s buzzing among the 13 German-language blogs at (Unless noted, links will take you to posts in the original Deutsch.)

Thanks to German Sb editor Beatrice Lugger for her translations.

  • 1. The UN on Forests

    The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali wasn’t the only scientifically-interesting UN activity in the first half of December. The United Nations Forum on Forests had a meeting which culminated in an agreement signed by 192 members. Jürgen Schönstein of Geograffitico criticized it for containing many topics concerning forestry, but nearly no forest protection.

  • 2. Climate Change, Bali

    a) Jürgen Schönstein thinks about package-delivery giant UPS’s decision to save fuel by minimizing the number of left-hand turns its drivers make.

    b) On the occasion of the climate change talks in Bali, Robert Thielicke at Kritische Masse offers a list of Five Reasons Why Everyone Here is Talking About Climate Change:

    1. Because it’s important.
    2. Because it’s wonderfully predictable.
    3. Because CO2 is the symbol that the environmental movement has been lacking for decades.
    4. Because addressing climate change will give idling politicians a real project to sink their teeth into.
    5. Because caring about climate change automatically means you’re smart.

  • 3. Good News For Your Teeth

    a) Marcus Anhäuser at Placeboalarm blogs: You need not brush your teeth after every meal. Once or twice a day is enough and may be even better for your dental enamel.

    b) And also: Chewing gum is good for your teeth, regardless; there is no difference between using a gum with special chemicals for your teeth or a regular variety.

  • 4. German Language Problems

    a) Number trouble. Nearly every German has the same problem with numbers. Someone dictates his phone number and one has to strive to write it down the right way. The reason is: Germans don’t say 82 as “eighty two.” We say “two and eighty.” This is why some of us can’t call you back!

    In his blog, EP Fischer votes for a change. It’s needed now more than ever, he says, since 2008 is to be named the Year of Mathematics.

    b) Translating science terms. Peter Gruenberg is the latest Nobel Laureate in Physics. But German newspapers and magazines had problems translating the name of his prize-winning innovation, giant magnetoresistance. Even if Gruenberg himself is German and prefers his work rendered as “Riesenmagnetwiderstand” without an “o” in the middle, he says that “Riesenmagnetowiderstand” is also a valid translation. Placeboalarm has the story.

  • 5. Science Is In, Online

    No sooner had we started than we were flooded with news of online science developments. Last Thursday, Google manager Udi Manber announced a new knowledge portal which Google will construct. Days later, the German media news portal Heise broke the story that Spiegel and Bertelsmann, two big German media players, will launch a portal specifically for science.

    We’re happy that our bloggers will be able to use their offerings and comment on their stories.