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i-2256fce95b1617688aa8853838c8fc90-potato.jpgThese stories made headlines during the past week at our European partner site,

GM Potato Goes to German Bundestag
Tobias Meier, who has posted before at his blog WeiterGen about his concerns regarding the EU procedures for authorizing genetically modified food, is amused to find that the German Parliament’s FDP (Free Democratic Party) faction is now asking more or less the same questions. “Only just in my blog,” he writes,

now in German Parliament… The German FDP party now questions the scientific basis of German ministers’ ballot behaviour in EU boards, as exemplified by the botched Amflora potato decision.

Amflora is a genetically modified, high-starch potato developed by the BASF corporation. BASF has sought approval for the potatoes to be grown and used in Europe; objectors cite evidence that Amflora potatoes could build up resistance to certain antibiotics in humans. So far, Europe has been more reluctant than the U.S. and many other areas to accept genetically modified crops.

Racism in Auto Insurance
Ali Arbia at Zoon Politikon unearths some built-in racism in the automobile liability insurance system in his home country of Switzerland. There, insurance companies have recently convinced policy makers that nationality is a legitimate factor for risk assessment. So now non-native Swiss—reputedly boy racers, all of them!—will have to pay varying insurance fees depending on where they’re from. Arbia is slightly shocked by this Swiss tribalism, but his commenters provide similar examples from throughout Europe.

Prize-Winning Charts and the Future of Visual Education
At the 16th Malofiej International Infographics Awards, the coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre was awarded the Peter Sullivan Prize. For Benedikt Köhler at Zahlenbilder, this choice is a dramatic example of how online media are increasingly important for visual information transfer. He wonders aloud whether colleges are teaching more sophisticated forms of visual communication today, or if it’s still all in the old PowerPoint templates.

Real ‘Serving Suggestions’
Stefan Jacobasch at Mahlzeit is fascinated by a photo project on the online-art website pundo3000. In it, a hundred German pre-packaged food products were cooked according to the package instructions and photographed; the photographs are displayed alongside the food photos on the original packaging. The often-glaring contrast aptly, sometimes hilariously, illustrates the gap between commercial packaging and what’s inside.

“Expelled” is “Vertrieben” in German
Finally, PZ Myers’ now-famous ‘expulsion’ from a movie theater in the Mall of America doesn’t escape the notice of Tobias Maier at WeiterGen.

That’s all until next week. Note that links in this article are to blog posts in German—but their authors are usually happy to respond to comments in English. Danke!

Thanks to Anwen Roberts and to managing editor Beatrice Lugger.


Images from Dr. Hemmert and Kate at yr own risk on Flickr.