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December 10 2019

State Library Victoria's triumphant redesign: it's not just about books, but community

Good civic architecture embodies the needs of the people. The new-look space respects the building’s history but ensures it’s ready for the future

Public libraries embody the values of democracy by offering free access to knowledge. But the role of contemporary public libraries extends far beyond access to books.

They are places for learning and discovery, forums for debate, galleries for exhibitions and events, and spaces for work and pleasure. As cultural centres and community hubs, libraries bring people together.

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December 09 2019

Explosion der Armut in Griechenland

Auf das Jahr 2008 bezogen stieg in Griechenland die Armutsquote in den Jahren der Memoranden und Austeritätspolitiken um 149 Prozent an.

Can you decipher the Dorn Manuscript? [Klausis Krypto Kolumne]

Bavarian artist Martin Dorn has provided me a seven-pages encrypted manuscript. Can a reader decipher it?

The famous Voynich manuscript …

Source: Schmeh

… has inspired many an artist to create an encrypted book him- or herself. The most popular example is certainly the Codex Seraphianus

Source: Codex Seraphianus

…, an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world, made by Italian artist, architect and designer Luigi Serafini (born 1949). The Codex Seraphianus has never been solved. Serafini once said that the text in this strange work is mere gibberish and can’t be deciphered. However, it is unclear whether this statement is true.


The Dorn Manuscript

When Bavarian medicist and artist Martin Dorn read my book Nicht zu knacken, which contains a chapter about the Voynich manuscript, he felt inspired, too. He created a seven-pages manuscript (I call it Dorn Manuscript) containing encrypted text. He sent it to me – the original, not a scan. This means that, for the first time in my life, I own a notable piece of art. Perhaps it will be extremely valuable one day.

Here’s the title page of the Dorn Manuscript:

Source: Dorn

Here are pages 2 to 7:


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn

Can a reader decipher this seven-pages cryptogram. According to Martin Dorn, the encryption system used is simple and shouldn’t be a real challenge for a good codebreaker. I assume that the plaintext is in German.


#100 on my encrypted book list

As the Dorn Manuscript can be regarded as a short book, I put it on my encrypted book list. It is the 100th book entering the list, so it has received the identity number 00100. I started this list in 2013 (with the Voynich Manuscript being number 00001), which means that it took six years until the 100th entry was reached. I’m sure that there are far more encrypted books around and that my list will continue to grow.

So far, the Dorn Manuscript is listed as unsolved on my encrypted books page, but I’m sure this will change soon. The first reader who presents the solution will be mentioned in the “broken by” field of my list. Good luck!

Further reading: Voynich manuscript: 898 official replicas and one unofficial one


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Weatherwatch: historic UK buildings facing climate threat

Soaring temperatures making National Trust properties ‘no longer safe places’ for visitors

Ham House on the banks of the Thames, near Richmond, is a masterpiece. The building is a rare survival of 17th-century luxury and taste with large windows in its facade facing the sun.

The architect’s idea was to take advantage of passive heating, a common practice in past centuries during the construction of grand houses. But for the National Trust, the current owner of many of these mansions, the climate emergency has brought a serious headache.

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Astronomie in 365 Tagen: Tag 343 (Jahreszeiten) [Astrodicticum Simplex]

Die Erde ist auf ihrer Umlaufbahn der Sonne mal näher und mal ferner. Mit den Jahreszeiten hat das aber nichts zu tun. Sonst wäre ja überall auf dem Planeten gleichzeitig Sommer oder Winter.

Das hier ist die Blog-Seite zur Einführung in die Astronomie “Astronomie in 365 Tagen” bei Instagram. An jedem Tag des Jahres gibt es eine neue Lektion; Details zum Projekt gibt es hier. Wer möchte, kann über meinen Instagram-Account bzw #astronomie365 mit dabei sein.

Ich hab die Domain eingerichtet unter der die gesammelten Blogartikel erreichbar und leichter verlinkbar sind.

Falls jemand Lust hast, sich grafisch besser auszutoben als ich und die Bilder für andere Zwecke anders formatieren will findet man die Rohdaten der Bilder hier bei Google Drive. Meine Texte dazu stehen oben – kann man aber natürlich auch verändern.

Morna, a music style from Cabo Verde, recognized as World Heritage

Cesária Évora was one of the genre's best-known interpreters.

*Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes*…

Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes

How much money exactly does Europe spend trying to curb migration from Nigeria? And what’s it used for? We tried to find out, but Europe certainly doesn’t make it easy. These flashy graphics show you just how complicated the funding is.
In a shiny new factory in the Benin forest, a woman named Blessing slices pineapples into rings. Hundreds of miles away, at a remote border post in the Sahara, Abubakar scans travellers’ fingerprints. And in village squares across Nigeria, Usman performs his theatre show about the dangers of travelling to Europe.

What do all these people have in common?

All their lives are touched by the billions of euros European governments spend in an effort to curb migration from Africa.

Since the summer of 2015,
Read more about the influx of refugees to Europe in 2015 on the UNHCR website.
when countless boats full of migrants began arriving on the shores of Greece and Italy, Europe has increased migration spending by billions.
Read my guide to EU migration policy here.
And much of this money is being spent in Africa.

Within Europe, the political left and right have very different ways of framing the potential benefits of that funding. Those on the left say migration spending not only provides Africans with better opportunities in their home countries but also reduces migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. Those on the right say migration spending discourages Africans from making the perilous journey to Europe.

However they spin it, the end result is the same: both left and right have embraced funding designed to reduce migration from Africa. In fact, the European Union (EU) plans to double migration spending under the new 2021-2027 budget, while quadrupling spending on border control.

The three of us – journalists from Nigeria, Italy and the Netherlands – began asking ourselves: just how much money are we talking here?

At first glance, it seems like a perfectly straightforward question. Just add up the migration budgets of the EU and the individual member states and you’ve got your answer, right? But after months of research, it turns out that things are nowhere near that simple.

In fact, we discovered that European migration spending resembles nothing so much as a gigantic plate of spaghetti.

If you try to tease out a single strand, at least three more will cling to it. Try to find where one strand begins, and you’ll find yourself tangled up in dozens of others.

This is deeply concerning. Though Europe maintains a pretence of transparency, in practice it’s virtually impossible to hold the EU and its member states accountable for their migration expenditures, let alone assess how effective they are. If a team of journalists who have devoted months to the issue can’t manage it, then how could EU parliament members juggling multiple portfolios ever hope to?

This lack of oversight is particularly problematic in the case of migration, an issue that ranks high on European political agendas. The subject of migration fuels a great deal of political grandstanding, populist opportunism, and social unrest. And the debate surrounding the issue is rife with misinformation.

For an issue of this magnitude, it’s crucial to have a clear view of existing policies and to examine whether these policies make sense. But to be able to do that, we need to understand the funding streams: how much money is being spent and what is it being spent on?

While working on this article, we spoke to researchers and officials who characterised EU migration spending as “opaque”, “unclear” and “chaotic”. We combed through countless websites, official documents, annual reports and budgets, and we submitted freedom of information requests
in a number of European countries, in Nigeria, and to the European commission. And we discovered that the subject of migration, while not exactly cloak-and-dagger stuff, is apparently sensitive enough that most people preferred to speak off the record.

Above all, we were troubled by the fact that no one seems to have a clear overview of European migration budgets – and by how painfully characteristic this is of European migration policy as a whole.
Nigeria – ‘a tough cookie’

It wasn’t long before we realised that mapping out all European cash flows to all African countries would take us years. Instead, we decided to focus on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s strongest economy, as well as the country of origin of the largest group of African asylum seekers in the EU. “A tough cookie” in the words of one senior EU official, but also “our most important migration partner in the coming years”.

But Nigeria wasn’t exactly eager to embrace the role of “most important migration partner”. After all, migration has been a lifeline for Nigeria’s economy: last year, Nigerian migrants living abroad sent home $25bn – roughly 6% of the country’s GNP.

It took a major European charm offensive to get Nigeria on board – a “long saga” with “more than one tense meeting”, according to a high-ranking EU diplomat we spoke to.

The European parliament invited Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, to Strasbourg in 2016. Over the next several years, one European dignitary after another visited Nigeria: from Angela Merkel,
the German chancellor, to Matteo Renzi,
the Italian prime minister, to Emmanuel Macron,
the French president, to Mark Rutte,

the Dutch prime minister.

Three guesses as to what they all wanted to talk about.
‘No data available’

But let’s get back to those funding streams.

The EU would have you believe that everything fits neatly into a flowchart. When asked to respond to this article, the European commission told us: “We take transparency very seriously.” One spokesperson after another, all from various EU agencies, informed us that the information was “freely available online”.

But as Wilma Haan, director of the Open State Foundation, notes: “Just throwing a bunch of stuff online doesn’t make you transparent. People have to be able to find the information and verify it.”

Yet that’s exactly what the EU did. The EU foundations and agencies we contacted referred us to dozens of different websites. In some cases, the information was relatively easy to find,
but in others the data was fragmented or missing entirely. All too often, our searches turned up results such as “data soon available”
or “no data available”.

The website of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) – worth around €3.1bn – is typical of the problems we faced. While we were able to find a list of projects funded by AMIF online,

the list only contains the names of the projects – not the countries in which they’re carried out. As a result, there’s only one way to find out what’s going on where: by Googling each of the project names individually.

This lack of a clear overview has major consequences for the democratic process, says Tineke Strik, member of the European parliament (Green party). Under the guise of “flexibility”, the European parliament has “no oversight over the funds whatsoever”. Strik says: “In the best-case scenario, we’ll discover them listed on the European commission’s website.”

At the EU’s Nigerian headquarters, one official explained that she does try to keep track of European countries’ migration-related projects to identify “gaps and overlaps”. When asked why this information wasn’t published online, she responded: “It’s something I do alongside my daily work.”
Getting a feel for Europe’s migration spaghetti

“There’s no way you’re going to get anywhere with this.”

This was the response from a Correspondent member who researches government funding when we announced this project several months ago. Not exactly the most encouraging words to start our journey. Still, over the past few months, we’ve done our best to make as much progress as we could.

Let’s start in the Netherlands, Maite’s home country. When we tried to find out how much Dutch tax money is spent in Nigeria on migration-related issues, we soon found ourselves down yet another rabbit hole.

The Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, which controls all funding for Dutch foreign policy, seemed like a good starting point. The ministry divides its budget into centralised and decentralised funds. The centralised funds are managed in the Netherlands administrative capital, The Hague, while the decentralised funds are distributed by Dutch embassies abroad.

Exactly how much money goes to the Dutch embassy in the Nigerian capital Abuja is unclear – no information is available online. When we contacted the embassy, they weren’t able to provide us with any figures, either. According to their press officer, these budgets are “fragmented”, and the total can only be determined at the end of the year.

The ministry of foreign affairs distributes centralised funds through its departments. But migration is a topic that spans a number of different departments: the department for stabilisation and humanitarian aid (DSH), the security policy department (DVB), the sub-Saharan Africa department (DAF), and the migration policy bureau (BMB), to name just a few. There’s no way of knowing whether each department spends money on migration, let alone how much of it goes to Nigeria.

Not to mention the fact that other ministries, such as the ministry of economic affairs and the ministry of justice and security, also deal with migration-related issues.

Next, we decided to check out the Dutch development aid budget
in the hope it would clear things up a bit. Unfortunately, the budget isn’t organised by country, but by theme. And since migration isn’t one of the main themes, it’s scattered over several different sections. Luckily, the document does contain an annex ( that goes into more detail about migration.

In this annex, we found that the Netherlands spends a substantial chunk of money on “migration cooperation”, “reception in the region” and humanitarian aid for refugees.

And then there’s the ministry of foreign affairs’ Stability Fund,
the ministry of justice and security’s budget for the processing and repatriation of asylum seekers, and the ministry of education, culture and science’s budget for providing asylum seekers with an education.

But again, it’s impossible to determine just how much of this funding finds its way to Nigeria. This is partly due to the fact that many migration projects operate in multiple countries simultaneously (in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, for example). Regional projects such as this generally don’t share details of how funding is divided up among the participating countries.

Using data from the Dutch embassy and an NGO that monitors Dutch projects in Nigeria, we found that €6m in aid goes specifically to Nigeria, with another €19m for the region as a whole. Dutch law enforcement also provides in-kind support to help strengthen Nigeria’s border control.

But hold on, there’s more. We need to factor in the money that the Netherlands spends on migration through its contributions to the EU.

The Netherlands pays hundreds of millions into the European Development Fund (EDF), which is partly used to finance migration projects. Part of that money also gets transferred to another EU migration fund: the EUTF for Africa.
The Netherlands also contributes directly to this fund.

But that’s not all. The Netherlands also gives (either directly or through the EU) to a variety of other EU funds and agencies that finance migration projects in Nigeria. And just as in the Netherlands, these EU funds and agencies are scattered over many different offices. There’s no single “EU ministry of migration”.

To give you a taste of just how convoluted things can get: the AMIF falls under the EU’s home affairs “ministry”

(DG HOME), the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) falls under the “ministry” for international cooperation and development (DG DEVCO), and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) falls under the European External Action Service (EEAS). The EU border agency, Frontex, is its own separate entity, and there’s also a “ministry” for humanitarian aid (DG ECHO).

Still with me?

Because this was just the Netherlands.

Now let’s take a look at Giacomo’s country of origin, Italy, which is also home to one of Europe’s largest Nigerian communities (surpassed only by the UK).

Italy’s ministry of foreign affairs funds the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), which provides humanitarian aid in north-eastern Nigeria, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. AICS also finances a wide range of projects aimed at raising awareness of the risks of illegal migration. It’s impossible to say how much of this money ends up in Nigeria, though, since the awareness campaigns target multiple countries at once.

This data is all available online – though you’ll have to do some digging to find it. But when it comes to the funds managed by Italy’s ministry of the interior, things start to get a bit murkier. Despite the ministry having signed numerous agreements on migration with African countries in recent years, there’s little trace of the money online. Reference to a €92,000 donation for new computers for Nigeria’s law enforcement and immigration services was all we could find.

Things get even more complicated when we look at Italy’s “Africa Fund”, which was launched in 2017 to foster cooperation with “priority countries along major migration routes”. The fund is jointly managed by the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of the interior.

Part of the money goes to the EUTF for Africa, but the fund also contributes to United Nations (UN) organisations, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as to the Italian ministry of defence and the ministry of economy and finance.

Like most European governments, Italy also contributes to EU funds and agencies concerned with migration, such as Frontex, Europol, and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

And then there are the contributions to UN agencies that deal with migration: UNHCR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), IOM, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to name just a few.

Now multiply all of this by the number of European countries currently active in Nigeria. Oh, and let’s not forget the World Bank,

which has only recently waded into the waters of the migration industry.

And then there are the European development banks. And the EU’s External Investment Plan, which was launched in 2016 with the ambitious goal of generating €44bn in private investments in developing countries, with a particular focus on migrants’ countries of origin. Not to mention the regional “migration dialogues”
organised in west Africa under the Rabat Process and the Cotonou Agreement.

This is the European migration spaghetti.
How we managed to compile a list nonetheless

By now, one thing should be clear: there are a staggering number of ministries, funds and departments involved in European migration spending. It’s no wonder that no one in Europe seems to have a clear overview of the situation. But we thought that maybe, just maybe, there was one party that might have the overview we seek: Nigeria. After all, the Nigerian government has to be involved in all the projects that take place there, right?

We decided to ask around in Nigeria’s corridors of power. Was anyone keeping track of European migration funding? The Ministry of Finance? Or maybe the Ministry of the Interior, or the Ministry of Labour and Employment?


We then tried asking Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency (NAPTIP), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

No luck there, either. When it comes to migration, things are just as fragmented under the Nigerian government as they are in Europe.

In the meantime, we contacted each of the European embassies in Nigeria.
This proved to be the most fruitful approach and yielded the most complete lists of projects. The database of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
was particularly useful in fleshing out our overview.

So does that mean our list is now complete? Probably not.

More to the point: the whole undertaking is highly subjective, since there’s no official definition of what qualifies as a migration project and what doesn’t.

For example, consider initiatives to create jobs for young people in Nigeria. Would those be development projects or trade projects? Or are they actually migration projects (the idea being that young people wouldn’t migrate if they could find work)?

What about efforts to improve border control in northern Nigeria? Would they fall under counterterrorism? Security? Institutional development? Or is this actually a migration-related issue?

Each country has its own way of categorising projects.

There’s no single, unified standard within the EU.

When choosing what to include in our own overview, we limited ourselves to projects that European countries themselves designated as being migration related.

While it’s certainly not perfect, this overview allows us to draw at least some meaningful conclusions about three key issues: where the money is going, where it isn’t going, and what this means for Nigeria.
1) Where is the money going?

In Nigeria, we found

If you’d like to work with the data yourself, feel free to download the full overview here.
50 migration projects being funded by 11 different European countries, as well as 32 migration projects that rely on EU funding. Together, they amount to more than €770m in funding.

Most of the money from Brussels is spent on improving Nigerian border control:
more than €378m. For example, the European Investment Bank has launched a €250m initiative

to provide all Nigerians with biometric identity cards.

The funding provided by individual countries largely goes to projects aimed at creating employment opportunities

in Nigeria: at least €92m.

Significantly, only €300,000 is spent on creating more legal opportunities to migrate – less than 0.09% of all funding.

We also found 47 “regional” projects that are not limited to Nigeria, but also include other countries.
Together, they amount to more than €775m in funding.
Regional migration spending is mainly focused on migrants who have become stranded in transit and is used to return them home and help them to reintegrate when they get there. Campaigns designed to raise awareness of the dangers of travelling to Europe also receive a relatively large proportion of funding in the region.

2) Where isn’t the money going?

When we look at the list of institutions – or “implementing agencies”, as they’re known in policy speak – that receive money from Europe, one thing immediately stands out: virtually none of them are Nigerian organisations.

“The EU funds projects in Nigeria, but that money doesn’t go directly to Nigerian organisations,” says Charles Nwanelo, head of migration at the NCFRMI.

See their website here.
“Instead, it goes to international organisations, such as the IOM, which use the money to carry out projects here. This means we actually have no idea how much money the EU is spending in Nigeria.”

We hear the same story again and again from Nigerian government officials: they never see a cent of European funding, as it’s controlled by EU and UN organisations. This is partially a response to corruption within Nigerian institutions – Europe feels it can keep closer tabs on its money by channelling it through international organisations. As a result, these organisations are growing rapidly in Nigeria. To get an idea of just how rapidly: the number of people working for the IOM in Nigeria has more than quadrupled over the past two years.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Nigerian organisations are going unfunded. Implementing agencies are free to pass funding along to Nigerian groups. For example, the IOM hires Nigerian NGOs to provide training for returning migrants and sponsors a project that provides training and new software to the Nigerian immigration service.

Nevertheless, the system has inevitably led to the emergence of a parallel aid universe in which the Nigerian government plays only a supporting role. “The Nigerian parliament should demand to see an overview of all current and upcoming projects being carried out in their country every three months,” says Bob van Dillen, migration expert at development organisation Cordaid.

But that would be “difficult”, according to one German official we spoke to, because “this isn’t a priority for the Nigerian government. This is at the top of Europe’s agenda, not Nigeria’s.”

Most Nigerian migrants to Europe come from Edo state, where the governor has been doing his absolute best to compile an overview of all migration projects. He set up a task force that aims to coordinate migration activities in his state. The task force has been largely unsuccessful because the EU doesn’t provide it with any direct funding and doesn’t require member states to cooperate with it.

3) What are the real-world consequences for Nigeria?

We’ve established that the Nigerian government isn’t involved in allocating migration spending and that local officials are struggling to keep tabs on things. So who is coordinating all those billions in funding?

Each month, the European donors and implementing agencies mentioned above meet at the EU delegation to discuss their migration projects. However, diplomats from multiple European countries have told us that no real coordination takes place at these meetings. No one checks to see whether projects conflict or overlap. Instead, the meetings are “more on the basis of letting each other know”, as one diplomat put it.

One German official noted: “What we should do is look together at what works, what doesn’t, and which lessons we can learn from each other. Not to mention how to prevent people from shopping around from project to project.”

Other diplomats consider this too utopian and feel that there are far too many players to make that level of coordination feasible. In practice, then, it seems that chaotic funding streams inevitably lead to one thing: more chaos.
And we’ve only looked at one country ...

That giant plate of spaghetti we just sifted through only represents a single serving – other countries have their own versions of Nigeria’s migration spaghetti. Alongside Nigeria, the EU has also designated Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia and Niger as “priority countries”. The EU’s largest migration fund, the EUTF, finances projects in 26 different African countries. And the sums of money involved are only going to increase.

When we first started this project, our aim was to chart a path through the new European zeal for funding. We wanted to track the flow of migration money to find answers to some crucial questions: will this funding help Nigerians make better lives for themselves in their own country? Will it help reduce the trafficking of women? Will it provide more safe, legal ways for Nigerians to travel to Europe?

Or will it primarily go towards maintaining the international aid industry? Does it encourage corruption? Does it make migrants even more vulnerable to exploitation along the way?

But we’re still far from answering these questions. Recently, a new study by the UNDP

called into question “the notion that migration can be prevented or significantly reduced through programmatic and policy responses”.

Nevertheless, European programming and policy responses will only increase in scope in the coming years.

But the more Europe spends on migration, the more tangled the spaghetti becomes and the harder it gets to check whether funds are being spent wisely. With the erosion of transparency comes the erosion of democratic oversight.

So to anyone who can figure out how to untangle the spaghetti, we say: be our guest.
#externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Nigeria #EU #EU #Union_européenne #externalisation #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Frontex #Trust_fund #Pays-Bas #argent #transparence (manque de - ) #budget #remittances #AMIF #développement #aide_au_développement #European_Development_Fund (#EDF) #EUTF_for_Africa #European_Neighbourhood_Instrument (#ENI) #Development_Cooperation_Instrument (#DCI) #Italie #Banque_mondiale #External_Investment_Plan #processus_de_rabat #accords_de_Cotonou #biométrie #carte_d'identité_biométrique #travail #développement #aide_au_développement #coopération_au_développement #emploi #réintégration #campagnes #IOM #OIM

Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
Et ajouté à la métaliste développement/migrations :

ping @isskein @isskein @pascaline @_kg_

OSAR | Stop aux renvois vers le Sri Lanka

OSAR | Stop aux renvois vers le Sri Lanka

Depuis l’élection présidentielle remportée par Gotabaya Rajapaksa en novembre 2019, la situation des personnes critiques vis-à-vis du gouvernement s’est fortement dégradée selon l’Organisation suisse d’aide aux réfugiés (OSAR) qui a reçu de nombreuses informations faisant état de menaces à l’encontre d’activistes critiques et de journalistes. Sur fond d’enlèvement d’une employée de l’ambassade suisse à Colombo […]

Multiple measures failed to control mis- and disinformation in Tunisia's 2019 elections

In light of the lack of transparency from Facebook and a legal void characterizing the regulation of political ads on social media, measures to counter disinformation were inadequate.

Don't make fun of the $120,000 banana – it's in on the joke | Jonathan Jones

A banana stuck on a wall by artist Maurizio Cattelan has been widely mocked. But it was always making fun of the art market

Before we get to the banana, we should consider where it was eaten. Art Basel in Miami Beach is a franchise of a famous Swiss art fair that takes place far from the Alps, in sunny Florida – presumably because it’s too cold to sell art in Basel at this time of year. This surreal displacement adds to the sense that contemporary art, like haute couture, is a luxury for people with more money than sense, who can afford to follow their favourite art dealers around the planet like migrating birds.

Enter Comedian. That is the title of the artwork by Maurizio Cattelan, renowned for his stolen gold toilet, that has taken this sophisticated trade fair out of in-crowdy art websites and into mainstream news. Cattelan’s Comedian is a banana taped to a wall. Descriptions tend to carefully specify that it is fixed there with grey duct tape. Everyone stresses this somewhat bare technical fact, as if to find physical evidence that it really is, after all, art. At the weekend, after Comedian had already sold for $120,000, an artist named David Datuna joined the queue of fair-goers eager to take selfies with Comedian, but instead peeled back the grey duct tape, removed the banana from the wall and ate it. The piece was remade but then removed from the show, presumably to prevent further stunts. No such luck – a graffitist with few artistic pretensions wrote “Epstien (sic) didn’t kill himself” in the blank space it left.

Continue reading...

Profiling, Political opinions, and Data Protection - The Legal Background

(Blog) We’re campaigning to stop political parties abusing personal data in their rush to try and win elections.…

The Round Tables: Then, Now and in a Possible Future. Ten Theses


30 years ago, the Round Tables of 1989 negotiated the end of several state socialist regimes. They represented highly innovative forms of both regime transition and constitution making. Following the more complex and less planned Spanish reforma-pactada-ruptura, the Round Table in Poland was to become a model for the rest of Central Europe. Most importantly, a specific scenario was generated for the overcoming of the reform or revolution dilemma that has plagued all radical politics since the early 20th century. Adding the new element of the round table of the opposition (EKA) that established unity and bargaining strategy for the national version (NKA), the Hungarian process fully overcame the liability so often stressed by transition scholarship, one still confirmed in Poland. Now it became clear that negotiated transitions do not have to involve undemocratic concessions to the earlier governmental power.


Yet, the developed form of the round table model was not achieved in either Poland or Hungary, nor especially where the national question partially defeated the model: Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic. As it were teleologically, the developed form of a full round table led democratic regime change was achieved only in South Africa, in the early and mid 1990s (Codesa in 1991, MPNF of 1993, Constitutional Assembly of 1994-1996). It involved: 1. A two-stage process with free elections in between them; 2. The making of two (interim and final) substantively liberal democratic constitutions; 3. The generation of fully democratic rules of constitution making in the interim constitution, 4. along with principled restrictions on the democratic constituent power 5. The latter were enforced by a new constitutional court. 6. Finally, there was a high level of extensively organized public education, discussion and involvement during the second stage of the process, under the interim constitution, producing strong democratic legitimacy for the outcome.


There are empirical as well as normative reasons for considering the South African version of round table led negotiated regime change superior to all others. The empirical reason has to do with its over 20 year period of survival, even in the face of authoritarian-populist challenges under the Jacob Zuma presidency1)It is symbolically important, that after Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the architects of the South African process has become the president of the republic., linked to intense grievances that are partly shared with other countries across the globe (inequality, weak welfare state protections, incomplete form of retroactive justice etc.). The not unrelated normative reason lies in the achievement of a complex from of legitimacy consisting of liberal, party-political, and participatory democratic dimensions. The high commitment of the undisputed leader, Nelson Mandela, to all these values was important, but countless militants shared and promoted the same combination. Thus today in South Africa it is much more difficult to represent the new constitution as a product of mere elite agreement, or as old regime imposition.


The developed model of the two stage process can and should be used to help diagnose what went wrong elsewhere. Here I focus only on Poland and Hungary. In the former, the undemocratic concession of presidential government should have been more completely removed in the eventual interim constitution (The Small Constitution, 1992). Paradoxically it was not under General Jaruzelski but Lech Wałęsa’s presidency, that presidentialism revealed its potentially authoritarian features opening the terrain to a populism that was to consume Walesa’s own reputation in the end. (Ost The Defeat of Solidarity) A final constitution was made in 1997, but in the face of ongoing populist protest and self-exclusion. Even more dramatically, in Hungary where there were no rules for final constitution making in the interim version of 1989, the second stage of the process failed in 1996 in the face of a peculiar Left Right alliance foreshadowing the populist turn to come. Thus, in both countries the liberal democratic constitution of 1989-1990 could be (in my view: falsely) portrayed as a product of nothing but agreement between old and new elites.


The emergence and success of national populism in Poland and Hungary cannot be reduced to the failure of constitution making, nor especially to the negotiated character of the first stage. (as in Mudde-Kaltwasser Populism p.37) The latter claim is that of populist leaders themselves, who like Orbán and Kaczyński were originally enthusiastic supporters of the round table process’ first stage. But national populism is now (very unfortunately) a world-wide phenomenon that has its causes in very broadly shared democratic, welfare and status deficits. (Arato How We Got Here). The most that can be said is where the two stage round table process produced sufficient democratic legitimacy, the constitution was and remains better protected against populist attempts at refoundation, such as the one in Hungary as against the South African case. Even Poland the material constitution has been only partially altered in the face of judicial (and European) resistance, and where the documentary constitution of the regime change and a more democratic electoral rule survive with potentially important options for democratic oppositions.


Turning to Hungary, it would be a serious mistake to consider the making of the new Basic Law by FIDESZ the missing second stage of the round table process, that the party itself after initial hesitation on this score now prefers to simply denounce. Its ability to impose a new constitution was due to the combination of grave disproportionality in the electoral rule (53% of votes made into 67% of the seats) and the simple one chamber 2/3 amendment rule both inherited from the transitional arrangement. FIDESZ chose not to imitate the highly consensual but failed effort of 1994-1996, which it strongly supported back then. Instead, it carried out a constitutional revolution (“revolution of the voting booths”) in the manner of those populists elsewhere who are able to do so, marginalizing opposition and weakening liberal checks and balances during the process and especially in its result. A new “illiberal democracy” has been announced (called NER: system of national co-operation).


It is controversial whether or not there has been yet another regime change under FIDESZ in Hungary. In general, I conceive of populism in three main forms: as a movement, as a government, and as a regime. FIDESZ was a liberal democratic, but not a populist movement in 1988-1989. After a governmental term and electoral loss in 2002, it did however organize a new populist movement (Civic Circles) that was according to a well-known pattern demobilized after 2010 when FIDESZ became the government. A new constitution such as the Basic Law certainly indicates interest in constructing a new regime. Yet that very constitution is a hybrid of national-populist and liberal democratic elements. Does Hungary have a new autocratic regime (as János Kornai, and János Kis now maintain) or is it a hybrid as the organs of the European Union implicitly insist on treating it?


To me the ambivalence is itself a mark of hybridity. But the answer cannot be decided purely theoretically. Following a 1971 essay of Leszek Kołakowski “On Hope and Hopelessness” that dealt with the question of authoritarianism vs. totalitarianism I propose that we treat the question of regime type experimentally. There are grounds for the hypothesis that in Hungary (and even more in Poland) we are facing populist governments that have had to put up with democratic features like relatively competitive elections, as well as liberal elements as the precariously surviving forms of free communication and private security. We can name this hybridity if we wish “competitive authoritarianism” (Levitsky The most important point is that as the recent results in Hungarian (and Turkish!) urban areas have shown, it is still possible for the populist governmental party to lose elections, of course depending on the actions of the fragmented opposition parties (Arato on Verfassungsblog and Szuverén).


Is such an outcome possible on the national level, given the reconstructed, now even more disproportional and gerrymandered electoral rule? Given the changed electoral rule, the control over electronic media and new forms of clientelism there are grounds for skepticism. Nevertheless, it is up to the opposition parties to try to find out not in theory but performatively whether electoral defeat of FIDESZ is or is not possible. It is clear that only a bloc for democracy has a chance to carry out the experiment. If they succeed, the example of the negotiated process again becomes relevant. Following a friendly suggestion of Kriszta Kovács, I would stress the need to replace the (at best) hybrid Basic Law with its many illiberal and undemocratic elements, along with the FIDESZ electoral rule, by a process that has learned from the round table model. In her cogent view even in the case of the highly unlikely electoral victory of a united opposition, constitutional change after elections would again require a negotiated process between the Orbán regime’s remainders and its opposition. And I would add even if a united coalition did attain a constitutional amending majority of 2/3, the FIDESZ example of constitutional imposition should be rejected in favor of a negotiated consensual alternative that was foreshadowed briefly by the rules of 1994-1996 before the collapse of the effort of completing the two stage process. This time however, following the South African model’s second stage, extensive public participation, discussion and education too should be organized (a suggestion of mine from 1994 that was rejected by the then coalition parties and their experts).


What if it becomes entirely clear that elections have become fully uncompetitive and ritualized and an autocratic regime form has been consolidated? We have been there before. Put optimistically, it cannot be more difficult to replace the new autocracy than it was to force communist governments to accept regime change. Such a process however is not possible without either external pressure or mobilization from below. What should be the modality of transformation? Here the lessons of 1989 transcending the reform-revolution dichotomy would again become extremely relevant. Surely top down reform by the present incumbents, even under European pressure,  would try to preserve as many authoritarian elements as feasible, and thus at best re-introduce hybridity such as existed in Mexico for a 30 year period, and in Chile for one almost as long. Hopefully, the authoritarian logic of external imposition and revolution both are not yet forgotten in a country where they had disastrous consequences. Thus we would do well to try to apply once again the round table led negotiated model, in this case (as against the scenario of IX) starting with its very first stage. If the current rules do not allow democratization, then indeed new rules are needed. If the new rules are not to be imposed by either incumbents or revolutionaries, they must once again be negotiated. First and foremost, a genuinely proportional electoral rule would be required, followed by the reform of structures of the media and of electoral supervision. Is this at all impossible? To my generally skeptical Hungarian friends I would say the following: It was done before under much more difficult and dangerous circumstances! But if accomplished once again, the full logic of the two stage process should now be followed by carrying out the work of a post sovereign constituent power.

References   [ + ]

1. It is symbolically important, that after Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the architects of the South African process has become the president of the republic.
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

Campaigners demand answers over parties use of personal data in General Election

(Press Release) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY 9 DECEMBER 2019 Directors, staff, and members of the Open Rights Group have…

New York's high-rise jails: what could go wrong?

Plans to build four tall tower jails in New York City have generated backlash – but have also prompted a debate over what modern prisons should look like

It looked like a gigantic tombstone, a monumental rectangular slab looming over the streets of Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, blocking out most of the sky. The great grey hulk was punctuated by tiny slit windows, each marking one of the 1,400 prisoners that would be stacked inside the vertical human storage facility.

This dystopian vision of a future Gotham was an image of one of New York’s proposed new high-rise jails, released earlier this year to cries of dismay, when mayor Bill de Blasio announced sweeping reforms to the city’s criminal justice system. It depicted an outline idea for one of the four new jails planned for the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, intended to replace the crumbling, violent, and roundly condemned jail complex on Rikers Island, nicknamed the “Guantanamo of New York”.

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Exekutiver Freestyle im Mittelmeer

„Wir brauchen den Schutz der Verfassung, weil damit Menschenrechte, Freiheit und Demokratie gesichert werden“, heißt es auf der Webseite des Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz (BfV). Die Praxis der pre-screenings von Schutzsuchenden auf Malta und in Italien wird diesem Anspruch kaum gerecht. Kompetenzrechtlich steht sie auf wackligen Füßen. Es entsteht der Eindruck, dass es sich hier um einen exekutiven Freestyle handelt, um in Abwesenheit einer europäischen Regelung migrationspolitische Zielsetzungen zu fördern. Ob sie rechtsstaatlichen Ansprüchen genügt, kann man ernsthaft bezweifeln.

Vor der Übernahme: Screenings

Im Verborgenen Gutes zu tun: Das schreibt sich das BfV in einer Werbekampagne auf die Fahnen.  Vielleicht hat die Praxis der pre-screenings deshalb bisher wenig Aufmerksamkeit erfahren. Licht ins Dunkel brachten insbesondere zwei Kleine Anfragen der Fraktion Die Linke. im Bundestag (Drucksachen Nr. 19/9703 und Nr. 19/13863). Das BfV, die Bundespolizei sowie das Bundeskriminalamt sind demnach seit November 2018 in Italien und auf Malta aktiv und befragen dort Schutzsuchende. Diese Befragungen sind als Sicherheitsüberprüfung markiert und bilden die Grundlage für die Übernahme des Asylverfahrens der Befragten durch die Bundesrepublik nach Art. 17 Dublin-III-VO.

Der Hintergrund: 2018 hat sich die Bundesregierung bereit erklärt, die Asylverfahren einiger aus Seenot geretteter Schutzsuchender zu übernehmen, die sich auf Malta befinden. Um eine politische Lösung zur Verteilung auf mitgliedsstaatlicher Ebene ringt man seitdem. Insbesondere die Idee einer coalition of the willing wird regelmäßig diskutiert. Aktuell sagt die Bundesrepublik Übernahmen aber noch ohne geregeltes Verfahren zu, sondern spricht sich im Einzelfall mit anderen Staaten ab. Bevor nach einer solchen Zusage die Übernahme stattfindet, werden pre-screenings durchgeführt. An ihnen teilzunehmen, ist für Schutzsuchende obligatorisch. Das Verfahren soll nach Auskunft der Bundesregierung sicherstellen, dass Personen aufgenommen werden, „die die Chance hätten, in Deutschland auch als Flüchtlinge oder zumindest als subsidiär Schutzberechtigte anerkannt [zu] werden“ (vgl. hier S. 2). Gleichwohl betont sie, nach der Übernahme führe das Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) ein ergebnisoffenes Verfahren durch (a.a.O., Antwort auf Frage 4). Brisanz erhält das Thema durch die steigende Zahl von Nicht-Übernahmen infolge der Sicherheitsüberprüfungen, die sich aus aktuellen Auskünften der Bundesregierung ergibt (vgl. hier, Antwort auf Frage 3, und hier). Wie steht es also um die Rechtmäßigkeit dieser Praxis, die mit zunehmenden Härten für Schutzsuchende verbunden ist?

Der Auslandseinsatz: kompetenzgemäß?

Fragwürdig mutet bereits der Einsatz des BfV im Ausland an. Schließlich handelt es sich dabei vulgo um den deutschen Inlandsgeheimdienst.  Ist ein solcher Einsatz also überhaupt zulässig? Nach dem konkreten Fall gefragt, weist die Bundesregierung auf Art. 17 Abs. 2 Unterabs. 3 der Dublin-III-VO in Verbindung mit Art. 3 Abs. 2 S. 1 der VO (EG) Nr. 1560/2003 hin (vgl. hier, Antwort auf Frage 1 und 2). Als Rechtsgrundlage überzeugen diese jedoch nicht. Die genannten Normen regeln die Kompetenzen von Staaten, die einen sogenannten Selbsteintritt nach Art. 17 Dublin-III-VO vornehmen. Das heißt: Staaten übernehmen ein Asylverfahren, obwohl sie nach den Dublin-Regeln nicht dazu verpflichtet wären. Sie erklären sich entweder aus Eigeninitiative für zuständig (Abs. 1), oder auf Anruf eines anderen Mitgliedsstaats (Abs. 2). Die Bundesregierung beruft sich nun auf die in Art. 17 Abs. 2 Unterabs. 3 Dublin-III-VO verankerte Möglichkeit, geltend gemachte humanitäre Gründe für eine Übernahme zu überprüfen.

Alleine aus einer solchen Ermächtigung eines Mitgliedsstaats, Überprüfungen vorzunehmen, folgt aber noch nichts zur nachrichtendienstlichen Kompetenz des BfV. Aus dem Kompetenzkatalog des Bundesverfassungsschutzgesetzes (BVerfSchG) scheint lediglich § 3 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 BVerfSchG nach seinem Wortlaut ein Tätigwerden außerhalb des Bundesgebiets zu ermöglichen, die Ermächtigungen der Nummern zwei bis vier hingegen sind ausdrücklich auf den Geltungsbereich des Gesetzes beschränkt. Hierin ist allerdings noch keine Auslandskompetenz zu sehen, insbesondere, da behördliches Handeln generell auf das Bundesgebiet beschränkt ist, soweit sich aus den Kompetenznormen nicht explizit etwas anderes ergibt (vgl. Meinel, NVwZ 2018, 852 [855]). Es gibt also schon keine Kompetenzgrundlage für den Einsatz des BfV.

Die Befragungen: intransparent

Aber auch das Verfahren an sich ist problematisch. Die Antworten, die Schutzsuchende auf die Sicherheitsüberprüfung geben, sind prägend für den weiteren Verlauf ihres Asylverfahrens und haben zunächst Auswirkungen darauf, welches Land zuständig ist. Eine Ablehnung der Übernahme infolge der Sicherheitsüberprüfung führt zu einer prekären Lage: Malta ist nicht bereit, die Geflüchteten aufzunehmen und gibt ihnen scheinbar keine Möglichkeit, einen Asylantrag zu stellen (vgl. hier, Vorbemerkung).

Dabei herrscht über den genauen Fragenkatalog des BfV Unklarheit. Die Bundesregierung weigert sich, offenzulegen, ob Fragen zu Fluchtgründen, familiären Bezügen oder Personalpapieren gestellt werden (vgl. hier, Antwort zu Frage 11). Jedenfalls dürfte es aber Fragen geben, die für das Asylverfahren relevant sind, denn dort spielen regelmäßig auch Fragen der öffentlichen Sicherheit im Ergebnis eine Rolle (vgl. § 3 Abs. 4 AsylG i.V.m. § 60 Abs. 8 S. 1 AufenthG). Zwar beteuert das BfV, es teile die Antworten der Befragten nicht mit dem BAMF (vgl. hier, Antwort auf Frage 15) – es teilt sie aber mit den Inlandsgeheimdiensten anderer Mitgliedsstaaten (a.a.O., Antwort auf Frage 4). Gerade bei Schutzsuchenden, deren Asylverfahren infolge der Sicherheitsüberprüfung nicht von Deutschland übernommen werden, drängt sich also die Frage auf, inwiefern diese Entscheidung dann eine Präjudizienwirkung in dem nunmehr zuständigen Staat hat. Eine Garantie dafür, dass dies nicht der Fall ist, besteht jedenfalls nicht. In diesem Fall aber liegt es nahe, dass die Beteiligten – wie im Asylverfahren auch – eine unabhängige rechtliche Beratung und Unterstützung erhalten,.

Aber auch dem Asylverfahren vorgelagert bleiben Fragen offen. Erneut: Der Selbsteintritt ist freiwillig. Auch bei freiwilligem Handeln müssen Behörden jedoch die Grundrechte der Betroffenen achten, daran ändert auch die extraterritoriale Dimension des Falls nichts. Vor allem die Weitergabe von Ergebnissen der Überprüfungen an andere Geheimdienste und auch an das BAMF begründen eine Eingriffslast, die – etwa aufgrund einer möglichen Vorwirkung für Verfahren in Deutschland – eine Grundrechtsbindung plausibel erscheinen lässt. Auf freiheitsrechtlicher Ebene ist dabei insbesondere an das Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung (Art. 2 Abs. 1 i.V.m. Art. 1 Abs. 1 GG) zu denken.

Mit Blick auf Art. 3 Abs. 1 GG kann die Befragung aller Schutzsuchender einerseits als unverhältnismäßige Generalisierung verstanden werden. Andererseits könnte die Ablehnung der Übernahme des Asylverfahrens auf Basis einer nicht protokollierten, nicht überprüfbaren und ohne rechtlichen Beistand durchgeführten Befragung eine Ungleichbehandlung darstellen. Sie wäre zu sehen in der unterschiedlichen Behandlung der Befragten – Übernahme und Nicht-Übernahme – auf Basis von Kriterien, die aufgrund dieser Intransparenz nicht nachvollzogen werden können. Art. 3 Abs. 1 GG untersagt der Verwaltung bei Handeln außerhalb der Gesetzesdurchführung – wie hier – insbesondere Entscheidungen aufgrund sachfremder Erwägungen (vgl. Heun, in: Dreier (Hg.), GG, Kommentar, Art. 3 Rn. 57). Dies aber ist nicht auszuschließen, solange die Fragen, die zu der Entscheidung führen, nicht bekannt sind. Möglicher Anknüpfungspunkt sachfremder Erwägungen ist hier die Staatsangehörigkeit, denn den Angaben der Bundesregierung lässt sich entnehmen, dass 21 von 59 abgelehnten Personen Staatsbürger des Sudan sind – von Angehörigen anderer Staaten wurden jeweils höchstens vier abgelehnt (vgl. hier, Antwort auf Frage 6, und hier, Antwort auf Frage 3). Allerdings lässt sich aus den Angaben nicht die Nationalität der nicht abgelehnten Personen ermitteln, sodass die Vermutung einer Ungleichbehandlung sudanesischer Staatsbürger mangels proportionaler Vergleichbarkeit Spekulation bleiben muss. Ließe sie sich erhärten, wäre die Rechtfertigung der Ungleichbehandlung jedenfalls fraglich.

Grundsätzlich sind es aber nur die Diskriminierungsgründe des Art. 3 Abs. 3 GG, die den Betroffenen die Beweislast erleichtern könnten und die hilfreich wären, um eine Offenlegung der Fragen zu fordern. Ein möglicher Ansatzpunkt ist das Geschlecht, spricht die Bundesregierung doch nur von männlichen Staatsangehörigen, die abgelehnt worden seien (wobei unklar ist, ob bei mehreren Personen einer Nationalität das generische Maskulinum verwendet wird). Hier bedürfte es aber weiteren Datenmaterials. Den Verdacht einer von Art. 3 Abs. 3 GG verbotenen Benachteiligung zu erhärten, könnte eine wichtige Strategie sein, um zu der Frage zu gelangen, ob aufgrund von Art. 19 Abs. 4 GG auch gegen ein pre-screening mit negativem Ergebnis der Rechtsweg eröffnet sein müsste.

Nach der Ablehnung: Rechtsschutz?

Die Rechtsschutzgarantie des Art. 19 Abs. 4 GG besteht gegen alle Akte der deutschen öffentlichen Gewalt. Darunter versteht man im Rahmen des Art. 19 Abs. 4 GG jedenfalls alle Handlungen der Exekutive, wobei es auf die Handlungsform nicht ankommt und grundsätzlich keine gerichtsfreien Hoheitsakte anerkannt werden (vgl. Schulze-Fielitz, in: Dreier (Hg.), GG, Kommentar, Art. 19 IV Rn. 55). Zusätzlich bedarf es einer Verletzung subjektiver Rechte. Wie oben dargelegt, stehen hier insbesondere Rechte aus Art. 2 Abs. 1 i.V.m. Art. 1 Abs. 1 GG im Raum, aber auch gleichheitsrechtliche Verstöße sind durchaus vorstellbar – wenn auch aufgrund der Intransparenz des Fragenkatalogs bislang nicht zu substantiieren. Mit Art. 19 Abs. 4 GG könnte man also die Forderung effektiven Rechtsschutzes gegen die pre-screenings durch das BfV begründen, soweit es gelingt, auf den allgemeinen Gleichheitssatz, die Diskriminierungsverbote des Art. 3 Abs. 3 GG oder das Recht auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung abzustellen. Wo aber ein Rechtsweg ist, da darf auch unabhängige Rechtsberatung nicht fehlen.

Und nun: Transparenz schaffen

Man bewegt sich hier in einem prekären Problemkreis. Das Handeln von Nachrichtendiensten unterliegt oft genug nicht einer in qualitativer Hinsicht vergleichbaren gerichtlichen Kontrolle wie das Verwaltungshandeln etwa der am Asylverfahren beteiligten Behörden. Dies wird auch mit Geheimhaltungs- und Sicherheitserwägungen begründet. Zugleich besteht keine Verpflichtung für die Bundesrepublik, die Asylverfahren zu übernehmen – sie tritt ja freiwillig ein. Dennoch stellt sich die Frage, ob die Folgen für die Betroffenen in ihrer Schwere nicht mit Verwaltungsakten etwa des BAMF vergleichbar sind. Die Bundesregierung sollte Transparenz über die Kriterien schaffen – auch unabhängig eines subjektiven Anspruchs der Betroffenen. Die handfesten Auswirkungen auf die Betroffenen jedenfalls würden aufgrund von Art. 19 Abs. 4 GG wenigstens erfordern, dass die Betroffenen Zugang zu rechtlicher Beratung erhalten  und die Entscheidungen nachvollziehbar und im Wege des Rechtsschutzes überprüfbar sind.

Will Algeria disrupt internet access as election day nears?

With protesters taking to social media to spread information about what is happening on the ground, the Algerian authorities repeatedly resorted to disrupting access to networks and social media platforms.

Prácticas Constituyentes / Practicing Constitutionalism, Universidad Diego Portales, 17-18 December 2019

Coloquio Internacional «Prácticas Constituyentes: Constituciones, imaginarios políticos y formas democráticas de vida» Núcleo de Teoría Social UDP, junto con el Janey Program in Latin American Studies de la The New School for Social Research y el Centro de Investigación en Teoría Política y Socia de la Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, organizan el Coloquio Internacional «Practicas Constituyentes: Constituciones,…

The post Prácticas Constituyentes / Practicing Constitutionalism, Universidad Diego Portales, 17-18 December 2019 appeared first on Critical Legal Thinking.

Julia Robinson 100 [Mathlog]

Ein Film über die Logikerin Julia Robinson ist aus Anlaß ihres gestrigen Centennials in Berkeley uraufgeführt worden (wo heute ein Symposium dazu stattfindet).

Mehr über den Film erfährt man bei Zala Films und den kompletten Film kann man bei Vimeo anschauen.

In Hilberts 10tem Problem geht es um Algorithmen für ganzzahlige Lösungen polynomieller Gleichungen (bzw. um den Beweis, dass es solche allgemein funktionierenden Algorithmen nicht geben kann). Robinson hatte dazu mit zwei Koautoren zunächst bewiesen, dass es für die Unlösbarkeit des zehnten Problems genüge, eine spezielle Gleichung A(a,b,c,x1,…,xn)=0 zu finden die für gegebene a,b,c dann und nur dann eine ganzzahlige Lösung hat, wenn a=bc. Dieses Problem wurde dann letztlich von Juri Matiyasevich gelöst. Der hatte als Doktorand zunächst alle seine Zeit darauf verwand, eine solche Relation zu finden, war aber letztlich steckengeblieben und hatte über ein anderes Thema promoviert. Als kurz nach seiner Promotion eine Arbeit Robinsons mit neuen Ideen zum 10ten Problem erschien, hatte Matiyasevich eigentlich schon beschlossen, nicht noch mehr Arbeit in das Projekt zu stecken. Er mußte die Arbeit dann aber doch lesen, weil er sie als Reviewer für das Referatnyi Jurnal Matematika bekam. In Robinsons Arbeit ging es um die Gleichung x2-(a2-1)y2=1. Deren Lösungen erfüllen eine Rekurrenzrelation xn+1=2axn-xn-1, yn+1=2ayn-yn-1. Modulo einer beliebigen Zahl sind diese Folgen periodisch. Modulo a-1 sind die Reste der xi die Folge 0,1,2,…,a-2 mit Periode a-1. Modulo 4a-5 ist die Periode der xi-(a-2)yi die Folge der Zweierpotenzen. Robinsons neue Idee war nun, eine Bedingung G(a) zu finden, so dass die Periode der ersten Folge (also a-1) ein Vielfaches der Periode der zweiten Folge wäre. Wenn man solch eine Bedingung (in Form eines ganzzahligen Polynoms) finden könnte, die für unendlich viele a erfüllt ist, dann kann man zeigen, dass a=2c die im ursprünglichen Ansatz gewünschte Eigenschaft hat. Mit diesem neuen Zugang fand Matiyasevich dann in wenigen Wochen einen (anderen, aber in gewisser Weise dualen) Beweis. Er zeigte, dass die Eigenschaft “n ist die 2m-te Fibonacci-Zahl” ein exponentielles Prädikat ist. (Selbst in der neueren Forschung kommen also Fibonacci-Zahlen überall vor.) In den folgenden Jahren konnten Robinson und Matiyasevich dann in gemeinsamer Arbeit noch die im Beweis vorkommenden Konstanten verbessern.

Robinson unterrichtete in Berkeley mehr als zwanzig Jahren im Statistik-Department, weil ihr Mann dort bereits Mathematik-Professor war und es die Regel gab, dass nicht zwei Mitglieder derselben Familie im selben Department eine Professur bekommen durften. Eine Professur im Mathematik-Department bekam sie deshalb erst nach der Pensionierung ihres Mannes. Später wurde sie unter anderem Präsidentin der American Mathematical Society. Daneben hatte sie bleibenden Einfluß auf die Popularisierung der Mathematik, indem sie ihre Schwester, eine bekannte Schriftstellerin, dazu motivierte, Bücher über die Geschichte der Mathematik zu verfassen.

Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01
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