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It’s the pithiest headlines of the past week at our European partner site, ScienceBlogs.de!

Friedrich Schiller’s Skull Still at Large
A two-year investigation to determine which of two skulls belonged to the celebrated German poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) has found that neither is a match. This prolonging of a 180-year-old mystery doesn’t thrill Ludmila Carone: “It is not that I do not appreciate Schiller’s works. But the man is dead and a dead skull is not expected to create new literature.”

Schools Resist Standardized Rankings
Germany’s teachers don’t like to be graded. As the ScienceBlogs.de editors’ blog, Neurons, reports, even the teachers’ union has voted against any kind of rankings.

But luckily, writes Florian Freistetter, there do exist several attemps to grade teachers, such as Spickmich and Kompetenztest, although “the ministry of education and cultural affairs doesn’t like them.” And there also has been a debate on the evaluation of university teachers on websites such as MeinProf. “Unfortunately,” Florian continues, “there does not exist an official institution which grades teaching at German universities. Some universities evaluate their teaching and some don’t. There are no common standards and not all results are published.”

My Car Eats Your Bread
A study by Greenpeace says cars filled with biodiesel consume a loaf of bread every three kilometers (2 miles). Christian Reinboth says: “If every product with which is called ‘bio’ were actually saving the environment, then we would not need to worry for our planet. … Biofuel increases hunger in the world.”

An Itsy Bitsy Spy There…i-f1358a4635ce2b55eaf3e37da547ca32-4taxi.jpgi-7c0637550cd44efa428a8ab541950292-4you.jpg
Communications professor and ScienceBlogs.de guest blogger Miriam Meckel shares her impressions of travelling through the USA in her blog Americanische Begegnungen (American Encounter): “We are entering a surveillance society. Just take a taxi from the San Francisco Airport and you will discover a little camera in the front of the car that films you all the way downtown to your hotel.”

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!

This newsletter is compiled by ScienceBlogs.de managing editor Beatrice Lugger.

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