Things worth your while

Below, you can find links which may be "worth your while", i.e. which I hold valuable, but which have nothing or little to do with present day science. Recommendations are very welcome. (Unfortunately, links keep on changing, and sometimes contents disappear. Let me know if this happened.)

I am currently reorganizing this page and am adding links I have posted elsewhere. Please excuse the temporary chaos.



Still fiction?

Autonomous weapons. Sold here.

One of the best moments in film history

And still as relevant as ever... (Chaplin, 1940)

Smartphone location tracking without permissions

New research shows that even if location permissions (GPS, etc.) are turned off, apps can determine the location of a smartphone precisely. Brave new world! (The corresponding arXiv submission is here.) 

Yet another security compromise.

I'd like to give you a feeling of how vulnerable all of your IT systems are. Does your PC have an "Intel" logo next to your keyboard? Then most likely you are affected by a new (January 2018) security bug which has just surfaced. In simple words, it may allow all sorts of programs, like the ones running right now in your browser, to obtain access to everything on your computer. More precisely: "It is understood the bug is present in modern Intel processors produced in the past decade. It allows normal user programs – from database applications to JavaScript in web browsers (!) – to discern to some extent the layout or contents of protected kernel memory areas." "The kernel's memory space is hidden from user processes and programs because it may contain all sorts of secrets, such as passwords, login keys, files cached from disk, and so on." (Link) Of course, all major operating systems are working like crazy to fix that bug. The result will be that your machine will probably run between 17% and 23% slower. "So what?" you may think. But the point is that as far as is known right now, this bug was present throughout the last decade. Basically anyone might have used this vulnerability, should he/she have known it. We need to be aware of such problems and need do develop a way to deal with this as a society. (There are straightforward possibilities...)

A note on mental health and academia

"I am firmly of the conviction that the psychological brutality of the post-doctoral system played a strong underlying role in Francis’ death."


Albert Einstein about himself ++

An amazing statement of Albert Einstein about himself MP3-file (4 min)

Daten kontra Freiheit ++

"Die in den intransparenten Datenbanken gespeicherten Daten seien oft sensibel und zuweilen skurril: Datenprofile enthalten Angaben zu IQ, politischen Einstellungen, Kinderwünschen oder der vermutete Grad der Naivität (...) Ein großer Teil dieser Angaben sei nie wirklich erfasst worden, sondern leite sich über Techniken wie Maschinenlernen von anderen erfassbaren Faktoren ab."

Viele beliebte Webseiten zeichnen jegliche Texteingabe auf


Flüchtlinge in Deutschland - Rechnen mit falschen Zahlen

"Doch die 'Bild'-Autorin benutzte offenkundig Zahlen, die so nicht in Relation gesetzt werden können, wie auch das Bundesinnenministerium bei Twitter kritisierte." "Eine Schlagzeile, die inhaltlich 'kompletter Unsinn' ist, wie der 'Bildblog' detailliert nachrechnete."



Heisenberg: Philosophy and Physics
: In this very nice speech, Heisenberg elaborates on what the modern developments of physics (at that time QT and rudimentary QFT) can teach philosophy. (German) Download as MP3: File 1, file 2, file 3.

C.F. v. Weizsäcker: A lecture on the occasion of Einsteins' 80th birthday: This is a remarkable speech about the physics of the first half of the 20th century. It offers insight into the ideas and convictions, which gave birth to our "modern" physical theories. (German) Download as MP3 (ZIP-packed).