• I Rode All the E-Scooters. Most of Them Are Awful Except Two

    So sieht es im paradiesischen Wunderland des Transport-Sharing aus : #ASAB Alle Roller sind Mist, außer einem, und der ist genau genommen kein Roller. Und in Berlin? Sind das bessere E-Roller Made in Germany ? Wohl kaum. Tragt bloß einen Helm!

    Matt Farah, 6/10/19 3:45pm - One weekend morning toward the end of 2017, I woke up at home in Venice, CA and took a walk, only to see something entirely new: people on electric scooters. And I mean lots of people on electric scooters. Literally overnight, a new company called Bird, founded just two miles away in Santa Monica, had launched an app and dumped thousands of dockless scooters all over the place. A few things happened very quickly after that:

    Bird Scooters became litter. Freelance chargers, or “Juicers” as Lime would later call their not-employees, would do their best to place the scooters in an orderly fashion, out of the way in common areas. But since people only have respect for a.) things they, themselves personally own or b.) are locked down or are being watched, kicking, destroying, throwing them in the ocean, and more turned into Venice’s favorite new sport. The other morning, I watched someone line up a dozen or more scooters neatly, get into their van, and drive off. Not 10 seconds later, someone used a shopping cart as a bowling ball, turning the whole thing into some kind of bramble.
    Everyone wanted to compete with Bird. Lime was next, with its fun, fruit-themed livery. Bird and Lime were the new disruptors, and the OG disruptors, Uber and Lyft, wanted in on that sweet, sweet last-mile dollar. So those two started dropping their own scooters all over.
    E-Mobility Scooters have absolutely decimated the bike rental industry in Venice. Enterprising bike rental shop owners began to moonlight as scooter chargers or repair facilities. Some bike rental shop owners began buying and renting out their own scooters. Now, just 18 months later, on any given weekend, well over 50 percent of the wheeled traffic on the Venice bike path is battery powered.

    There were injuries. Lots of injuries. Anecdotally, I regularly see people wiping out and getting hurt on mobility scooters. It happens enough that I have made something of a pastime watching a specific corner on the bike path near my house. Business Insider reports over 1,500 injuries serious enough to record in the U.S., in 2018 alone, plus four fatalities.

    For the record, I sympathize with local residents who resent them taking up sidewalk space in front of their home, hate them for becoming litter in a neighborhood that often has too much of that already, and who have to deal with yet another way for dumb, lost tourists to be dumb and lost.

    I’ve found scooters blocking my own front door or garage on several occasions. And folks tend to want the best of all worlds while riding one: they want the rights of a pedestrian, the rights of a bicycle, and the rights of a car, all at the same time, which is an incredibly dangerous mindset.

    Also, for the record, I have found some extremely convenient uses for the scooters when I need to get somewhere that is just out of walking range, or to “run to the store to pick up some forgotten ingredient” while a recipe is in the oven. I have used every brand of scooter at one point or another, with extremely mixed results. I will factor in previous experience into my rankings.

    The Test: My goal was to find out which mobility company provides the best motoring experience for the rider, for their money. A showdown, for which scooter is best.

    For purposes of this piece, we will not be discussing company policy, only the scooter itself, and whether or not you should get down with it when you come hang out with me on Venice Beach.

    The Circuit

    Allow me to introduce you to The Mobiliring: a 3.4-mile handling circuit featuring a variety of surface changes, corners, crags, obstacles, sand, and people.

    You begin at the Venice Beach Parking lot at 2100 Ocean Front Walk, with the densest population of scooters around. Proceeding straight across the parking lot to the bike path, you go north on the bike path over a winding way made of slatted, rough, sandy concrete, all the way to the Santa Monica border, where you turn back south because mobility scooters can’t be ridden on the bike path at all in the city of Santa Monica.

    You ride south on Speedway, basically a decaying alley full of potholes, but appropriately named, as it was LA’s first paved road. Take Speedway south to Windward Avenue, the heart of Venice, and turn right, weaving across the freestyle dance skating grounds, through the throngs of tourists, and back to the bike path where it meets the legal graffiti area. Continue south on the bike path until you get to the Venice pier, then turn left on Washington Blvd and an immediate left to go north on Speedway, taking you right back to Start/Finish.

    This course is approximately 60 percent unlimited-speed bike path and 40 percent public roads, and in order to successfully complete a lap, you must pay attention and obey all posted road signs and laws.

    (Before you ask, Yes, I bought the Mobiliring domain name. Yes, I will be inviting you to post your own lap times.)

    The Contenders: We’ve restricted our entrants to scooter-type vehicles (as opposed to e-assist bicycles) available on the street for rent in Venice, CA as of May 13, 2019. For this test, that means Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump (Uber), and Wheels are in the game. Now let’s see how they did on our handling course.

    5th Place – Jump – DNF

    Jump, along with Lyft, uses the Segway / Ninebot ES2 scooter with 19 miles of range and a claimed top speed of 15 mph. This scooter also uses two independent braking methods: regenerative via a toggle on the handlebar, and direct friction via a pressure plate on the rear tire. But, as with shared platforms in cars, the difference is often in the fine tuning, and here, the tuning mattered a lot.

    Our test started well. I picked up a fully charged and seemingly brand-new Jump scooter a few road blocks from the Mobiliring’s Start/Finish line. On the road, it seemed reasonably well made and stable, and reached the claimed top speed of 15 mph relatively drama-free. Then, just after starting off my official lap time, I hit the bike path, and it told me “no.”

    This is important. You see, the Venice bike path is exactly what it sounds like: a dedicated path for bikes, separate from cars and pedestrians. How each of these scooters deals with the bike path, as we will learn, is a defining factor in their Mobiliring time. The bike path and some of the surrounding pedestrian areas, a few of which are on-course, are “restricted” for some scooters, but not for others.

    While each scooter company deals with the bike path its own way, Jump has elected not to deal with it at all. The scooter refused to move, the app told me to take it back off the path, and into a “parking zone,” to lock it up and end my ride.

    I pushed it back where I found it, and even though my phone knew where I was, the scooter disagreed, and I was penalized for $5 for, ultimately, parking it legally.

    4th Place – Lime S – 44 minutes - $7.60

    Lime, the second scooter brand on the scene after Bird, has just released a heavier-duty version of their scooter, called the “Gen 3.” It features an underfloor battery for better stability, improved front suspension, bigger wheels, and a 30-mile range with all-weather capability.

    Unfortunately, since California doesn’t need that as badly as, say, Boston, we don’t get those. Here in Venice, we get the original Lime S scooter, also by Ninebot, but with a 18 mile range and a top speed of 14 mph. The Lime S has the tallest handlebars of all scooters and a single, rear-wheel bike-style cable and disc brake.

    In my previous experience, I’ve found the Lime S to be the fastest of the stand-up scooters, regularly exceeding the claimed 14 mph number, but also with the twitchiest handling in part because those handlebars are so high up and with a column full of heavy batteries in the front. Allegedly the handling issues are solved in the new scooter, but I will have to wait to see on that.

    Lime has decided that an appropriate speed for the Venice bike path should be 3 mph. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to operate a two-wheeled vehicle at 3 mph, but it’s actually quite a lot of work. Three is just barely enough speed to keep a two-wheeled vehicle standing up. It’s slow enough that I was passed by old people walking.

    It’s so slow, that you really can’t keep it in a straight line, which means the ride takes that much longer because you have to cover more zig-zaggy distance, and have I mentioned you’re going three? 

    I was openly mocked, to my face. I realize how mean-spirited you need to be to mock someone to their face for doing nothing besides silently riding a scooter very slowly on the bike path, but honestly, no one has just randomly mocked me on the street really ever in my lifetime. That’s how embarrassingly slow Lime wants you to go on the bike path.

    To make matters worse, Lime’s GPS calibration is so bad that, not 20 feet away from me on the pedestrian foot path I was passed by a dozen Limes going full-tilt, weaving between pedestrians, while I was a rolling chicane on the bike path, being passed by folks going slower than my own top speed.

    3rd Place – Lyft – 31 minutes, 47 Seconds - $7.01

    As I noted earlier, both Lyft and Jump use essentially the same Ninebot ES2scooter, painted different colors. But the difference between Jump’s DNF and Lyft’s podium finish? The software.

    Jump uses a basic LED display with a speedometer, whereas Lyft just has five little lights to indicate battery status. You could say that makes Jump better, but in fact it makes Jump worse, because there is nothing worse than looking at a powered vehicle’s speedometer and seeing a number lower than where you’d set the treadmill during cool down.

    Lyft’s “Prince Purple” and black livery also features a metal cage surrounding the column-mounted auxiliary battery pack, Mad Max style. I guess they follow @BirdGraveyard.

    I actually tested the Lyft before Lime and Jump, so when I hit the bike path and got stuck with a 5 mph limiter for the first mile and a half, it was bad. I thought that was, at the time, as embarrassed as I could be on a motorized vehicle, traveling barely faster than a walk. The thumb throttle, remained fully depressed for a solid 20 minutes, and my right hand began to cramp. I suddenly realized that, if the other scooters were this bad (they were worse) the test was actually going to take all day (it did).

    In unrestricted zones, the electrons flowed like a burst dam; the combination of power delivery and incredibly cheap, low-grip tires mean that you can actually get wheelspin on the sandy stuff – man this thing is fast. Maybe Lyft doesn’t put a speedometer on the handlebars because they are hiding the fact that their scooters are massively juiced up? Maybe it’s like Japan in the 1990s where everyone says their car makes 276 horsepower, and this is the R34 Skyline actually pushing 450?

    Southbound on Speedway, there were sections where I couldn’t use full throttle because it was just way, way too fast. With these tiny wheels, and this amount of power, when you hit the pavement head first (your only option when the front wheel “pivot point” of a crash is 4” in front of your toes), your head will explode like a Gallagher watermelon.

    The regenerative braking system on these Ninebot scooters is really cool, except, like most cheap regen systems, it stops working at low speed. So you really do have to use the friction brake on the rear wheel to come to a full stop.

    Considering the speed, you do not want to be standing on your toes on your back foot, which means you have to do a mid-brake foot shuffle to get that back foot planted on the brake to stop it. It seems like a good idea, and probably adds to the range to use regen as much as possible, but in a panic, complex braking systems are not good.

    Nevertheless, the bike path clearly took a lot away from Lyft’s time here, and so if you live in a city without restricted zones, commuting on one of these could be faster than you think. Wear a helmet.

    2nd Place – Bird Zero – 20 minutes - $6.20

    Bird is the Kleenex of mobility, the Google of mobility, the iPod of mobility. They were the first on the scene and made everyone else play catch-up. The original Bird scooter was a modified Xiaomi unit (sidebar: the guy who modified it is super interesting on his own and races a very fast and aero-fied Nissan GT-R in the Global Time Attack series), which proved not to be durable enough to stand up to the abuse put forth by Americans handling items they don’t own. So they first did a stint with Ninebot before developing their own in-house scooter, the Bird Zero, which is what I rode.

    The Zero has the widest deck of any standup scooter available, making it the most comfortable and stable to ride. (EDIT: New “Bolt” Scooters in LA have wider decks, but were not online at the time of my test). The handlebars fall between Jump and Lime height, so right in the middle, and between your hands is a speedometer and battery indicator.

    Though Bird says the Zero will go 25 km/hr (15 mph), the onboard speedometer would stop at 11.5 mph, and if you actually hit 12 mph (like on a small downhill), it would kill power until you dropped down to 9 mph, an incredibly annoying bug.

    It has larger wheels than the Ninebots used by Lyft, Jump and Lime, and what appear to be grippier tires. At 11 mph and change, you feel like you’re moving along pretty good, but it’s not sketchy fast, and the combination of (slightly) larger wheels and a basic front suspension mean the cracks in the sidewalk aren’t so jarring. The only brake is a bicycle-style cable disc brake on the rear wheel. The cable is exposed, so it’s vulnerable to tampering, but it’s intuitive and effective.

    (Side note: Yes, people are constantly messing with the brakes of these scooters. I regularly find cut cables, and on a few occasions, have started riding only to find out while in motion that the cables have been cut or removed entirely. Check any scooter before riding for functional brakes.)

    I took my first lap ever around the Mobiliring on a Bird, figuring they would be the one to beat, and frankly, Bird is the gold standard for a reason. The Zero is unrestricted on the bike path, and maintained its top speed for the entire first twisty section. The handling is predictable, and there is more grip than other scooters, right up until it gets sandy. Turning southward on Speedway at the north end of the course, the Zero absorbed many of the bumps and ruts in the road better than other scooters. Because I didn’t bump up on any stupid limiters, the entire lap was quite pleasant and relaxing.

    Having tried all three generations of Bird scooter, the Zero is a vast improvement from the first two, and if you’re going to scoot on your feet, not on a seat, Bird is probably the one to ride.

    1st Place – Wheels – 15 Minutes, 16 seconds - $5.60

    “Wheels” is the newest mobility company on the scene; their miniature bicycles only appeared in Venice a few months ago. These bikes are, frankly, genius. In theory, they go up to 35 km/hr, (21.7 mph), though I never saw more than 33.5 on the display.

    Because they are the first mobility option with hot-swappable batteries, the bikes themselves never go out of service during daytime hours. Wheels “Transporters” pick random bikes from where they are left, swap the batteries, and return the bikes to “hubs,” where, in my experience, you can pretty much always find at least one.

    The fact that they are more like bicycles than Razor scooters is, itself, a major advantage. Sitting, rather than standing, means stability. It means your knees and ankles aren’t a suspension component. It has 14-inch wheels with pneumatic tires. It uses dual disc brakes from a high-end bicycle. It has a twist-grip throttle, like a motorcycle. And it has Bluetooth speakers, so you can play your music from the bike itself, freeing you from having to dangerously (and in Santa Monica, illegally) ride on the street wearing headphones.

    A Wheels has enough power that you don’t have to push-start it, real tires so you can ride confidently on sandy tarmac, and the kind of brakes you’d want on a vehicle capable of keeping up with, and passing, folks on geared bicycles, or even cars in urban traffic. The kind of bumps that would sail you headfirst into a parked car on a traditional scooter are mere inconveniences on a Wheels.

    I knew it would be faster than the scooters on specs alone, but honestly, it was also so much more fun. Every single scooter is kinda terrifying, because a crack or a bump can come up so quickly, with really bad consequences. Even while having fun, it’s virtually impossible to escape this train of thought. Especially since right when you do, that’s when you crash.

    A Wheels is like riding an electric Honda Grom. The bike path, unrestricted on a Wheels, might as well be Angeles Crest Highway. I was taking apexes, leaning it down, balancing the brakes, and leaning into the throttle on exits. You can actually look up and around, rather than four feet in front of you, because you aren’t terrified of uneven pavement anymore.

    Best of all, because it looks more like a bike than a Razor scooter, many folks are riding them in more appropriate places than sidewalks, because they no longer see themselves as pedestrians.

    And the speed, Lord, the speed. It completed the Mobiliring a full five minutes faster than Bird, in half the time of Lyft, 1/3 the time of Lime, and for less money than all of them—after all, you’re literally renting these things by the minute, not the mile. Time is money.

    Downsides? Admittedly, there are two: First are the exposed brake cables for the dual disc brakes. During the single day of this test, I found three Wheels with intentionally cut brake lines. Someone not as vigilant as myself might not notice, which, considering where they were cut, I believe was the sadistic intent.

    Secondly, 20 mph is fast enough to have a crash where you can get hurt pretty badly, and Wheels is getting awfully close to moped territory; those do require helmets. While you’re no longer worried about pavement quality, you are going fast enough to misjudge things and just, crash. I hate to say it, but helmets should probably be mandated. And if I’m nit-picking, a height-adjustable seat would be nice, although not having to pedal negates most of the negative effects of a fixed seat.

    When scooters first arrived in Venice, I rolled my eyes and said to myself, “Great, at last a substitute for walking.” And in some ways, I was right. These scooters do expose us at our most slovenly, both in how we treat them when no one is looking, and in how tourists do actually use them, right in front of me, every day: as a walk you don’t have to walk; as a bike you don’t have to pedal.

    But they also do give mobility to people who don’t otherwise have it. 30 miles in LA is a pretty long way; you could ride a Wheels from Venice to Beverly Hills and back, for less than an Uber or Lyft, and without having to be a sweaty mess when you got there. Bird scooters and their ilk are good for short trips that are just out of walking distance, as long as you don’t have to deal with restricted zones and the surface is good.

    A Wheels is good for that too, but it can also be a bicycle. And frankly, it’s safer. Wheels wins this one by a mile.

    But as I write this, some three more e-scooters are coming to Venice in the next month. I guess the Mobiliring’s work isn’t done yet.❞

    #USA #Elektroroller #Verkehr

  • Sanofi et Google renforcent leurs liens dans l’e-santé

    Le premier groupe pharmaceutique français Sanofi et le géant mondial du numérique Google ont annoncé ce mardi une nouvelle collaboration sous la forme d’un laboratoire « virtuel » d’innovation, pour développer de futurs médicaments et services en tirant parti des technologies de données.


    Sanofi compte notamment recourir à des techniques d’intelligence artificielle de Google afin d’établir « de meilleures projections des ventes » de ses traitements et répercuter ces enseignements sur ses activités commerciales et logistiques.

    Sanofi drives digital transformation with Google Cloud

    Sanofi and Google will work closely on two core initiatives. The first will be to build an Innovation Lab to test and explore solutions focused on how technology can:

    – Enhance the understanding of patients and diseases
    – Drive productivity gains for business operations
    – Promote patient outcomes and access to healthcare through the use of technology

    The Innovation Lab will bring together Sanofi executives and experts across Google to discuss challenges in the healthcare space and how we can create solutions together.

    Secondly, Sanofi will leverage Google Cloud Platform to modernize their infrastructure, migrating workloads to the Google Cloud, and building an analytics and machine learning platform to glean better insights from their data.

  • Runaway Saudi sisters call on #Google and #Apple to pull ’inhuman’ woman-monitoring app

    Two runaway Saudi sisters on Wednesday urged Apple and Google to pull an “inhuman” app allowing men to monitor and control female relatives’ travel as it helped trap girls in abusive families.

    Maha and Wafa al-Subaie, who are seeking asylum in Georgia after fleeing their family, said Absher – a government e-services app – was bad for women as it supported Saudi Arabia’s strict male guardian system.

    “It gives men control over women,” said Wafa, 25. “They have to remove it,” she added, referring to Google and Apple.

    #Absher, which is available in the Saudi version of Google and Apple online stores, allows men to update or withdraw permissions for female relatives to travel abroad and to get SMS updates if their passports are used, according to researchers.

    Neither company was immediately available to comment. Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said in February that he had not heard of Absher but pledged to “take a look at it”.

    A free tool created by the interior ministry, Absher allows Saudis to access a wide range of government services, such as renewing passports, making appointments and viewing traffic violations.

    Saudi women must have permission from a male relative to work, marry and travel under the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom’s guardianship system, which has faced scrutiny following recent cases of Saudi women seeking refuge overseas.

    The al-Subaie sisters, who stole their father’s phone to get themselves passports and authorisation to fly to Istanbul, said they knew of dozens of other young women who were looking to escape abusive families.

    Tech giants could help bring about change in Saudi Arabia if they pulled Absher or insisted that it allows women to organise travel independently – which would significantly hamper the guardianship system - they said.

    “If [they] remove this application, maybe the government will do something,” Wafa said.

    The sisters’ plea added to growing calls from rights groups, diplomats and US and European politicians for the app to be removed from online stores.

    United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that she had asked tech companies in Silicon Valley “tough questions” this month about the “threats” posed by apps like Absher.

    “Technology can, and should, be all about progress. But the hugely invasive powers that are being unleashed may do incalculable damage if there are not sufficient checks in place to respect human rights,” she said in a statement.

    A Saudi teen received global attention and ultimately an offer of asylum in Canada when she refused to leave a Thai airport hotel in January to escape her family. Two other Saudi sisters who hid in Hong Kong for six months were granted visas in March to travel to a third country.

    “Increasing cases of women fleeing the country are indicative of the situation of women in Saudi Arabia,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director for rights group Amnesty International.

    “Despite some limited reforms, [they] are inadequately protected against domestic violence and abuse and, more generally, are discriminated against.”

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced reforms, such as lifting the driving ban for women, and indicated last year that he favoured ending the guardianship system. But he has stopped short of backing its annulment.

    Western criticism of the kingdom has sharpened with the trial of 11 women activists who said last month that they had been tortured while in detention on charges related to human rights work and contacts with foreign journalists and diplomats.

    The public prosecutor has denied the torture allegations and said the women had been arrested on suspicion of harming Saudi interests and offering support to hostile elements abroad.
    #contrôle #hommes #surveillance #femmes
    #liberté #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Arabie_Saoudite #femmes #technologie #domination_masculine #fuite #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #passeport

    ping @reka

  • Ahead of IPO, Uber’s Losing Less—but Growing Less Too | WIRED

    THE YEAR OF the gig economy IPO continues, as Uber on Thursday made public its first bit of official paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a sign that the firm is preparing to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The filing shows a sprawling transportation business with operations in 63 countries and 700 cities, providing 5.2 billion rides in 2018—roughly one for every person in Europe and Asia.

    Uber pulled in $11.3 billion in revenue in 2018, a 42 percent jump over the year before. And though its operating losses are still heavy—$3 billion in 2018—the company has slowed the bleeding, at least a bit, bringing operating losses down from $4.1 billion in 2017. Uber had 91 million active users at the end of 2018, 23 million more than a year earlier. Revenue growth, however, fell by half in 2018. This is due in part to the increasing might of Lyft, which is now snapping up users faster than its larger rival, but also because of tightening competition in meal delivery, where Uber’s big success story, Eats, is no longer growing as quickly.

    Still, the company is reportedly expected to go public at a valuation of $90 billion to $100 billion, which would make it the largest US tech IPO in the past half-decade. (Facebook went public in 2012 at a $104 billion valuation.)

    Uber is ride-hail; Uber is e-scooters and ebikes; Uber is a burgeoning delivery business; Uber is trucking and logistics software; Uber wants to build a fully functional self-driving car. And Uber only wants to get bigger: “Today, Uber accounts for less than 1 percent of all miles driven globally,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a letter included in the filing. “Because we are not even 1 percent done with our work, we will operate with an eye toward the future.”

    But the filing also depicts a company struggling to recover from its messy past. The company said it lost “hundreds of thousands” of customers in early 2017, when its drivers continued to operate in airports during protests against the Trump administration’s immigration restrictions on visitors from Muslim countries; that led to the #DeleteUber campaign. The filing notes reams of bad press stemming from accusations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and a then-toxic company culture. It also references, obliquely, investigations into its Greyball tool, software that attempted to circumvent regulation in cities that did not want the company operating on its roads. These events prompted, if not presaged, today’s tech-lash. And from a business standpoint, the company says that history has made it more difficult for Uber to retain users, stay on the right side of important city and federal regulators, and to avoid writing very large checks to lawyers, who are representing Uber in lawsuits and investigations around the world.

    Now, as it prepares to go public, Uber faces critical questions. What happens if the company fails to achieve profitability … ever? Uber believes it will need to invest in finding new users, be they riders, drivers, restaurants, or shippers—and use incentives, discounts, and promotions to do it. (More than $3 billion, over a third of total operating costs, went to sales and marketing last year.) It will need to pour money into new markets and operations. It will need to keep finding new employees and drivers. It will have to write checks for expensive “flying taxi” and autonomous vehicle research along the way. (The company acknowledges in the filing that it expects a competitor such as Waymo, General Motors/Cruise, Tesla, Apple, or Zoox to “develop such technologies before us.”)

    “Many of our efforts to generate revenue are new and unproven, and any failure to adequately increase revenue or contain the related costs could prevent us from attaining or increasing profitability,” the company writes in its filing.

    What happens if regulators decide Uber’s drivers are no longer independent contractors, but employees entitled to benefits and more intense oversight? Today, Uber faces litigation and driver protests challenging its core business model all over the globe. The filing notes that more than 60,000 drivers have entered into (or expressed interest in entering into) arbitration over employee misclassification, which the company writes “could result in significant costs to us.” The company also expects to spend significant money recruiting and retaining drivers in the years ahead.

    #Uber #disruption #Börse #Spekulation #IPO

  • m-e-t-h-o-d-o-l-o-g-i-e-s (or not)

    Contribution to the third lab meeting of the project “Re-configuring computing through cyberfeminism and new materialism” (CF+). CF+ is a project of the Gender/Diversity in Informatics Systems research lab at the University of Kassel, Germany. The project aims to lay the groundwork for revisiting dominant modes and practices of knowledge and artifact production in computer science through cyberfeminist and feminist new materialist lenses. It also aims to consolidate a network of researchers, (...)

    And more...


  • What’s the Biggest Threat to Scooter Sharing in 2019

    What’s the Biggest Threat to Scooter Sharing in 2019?While 2018 was the year when the world learned about e-scooters, 2019 may be the year when the world forgets about them. What changes can be made?The winter came. It came together with snowy sidewalks, cold weather and more news about investors’ chilling interest in #scooter-sharing companies. More precisely, VCs are very cautious about startups’ financials. Vandalism, government regulations, charger fraud — these factors pose a significant threat to the bottom line and the whole phenomenon of electric scooters. But initially, expectations were much more optimistic.Envisioned in sci-fiIf you take a wider perspective, electric scooters are the reincarnation of self-moving walkways envisioned by sci-fi writers 100 years ago: efficient and (...)

    #urban-planning #sharing-economy #transportation #electric-scooters

  • Accelerated remittances growth to low- and middle-income countries in 2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries grew rapidly and are projected to reach a new record in 2018, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, released today.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 percent to reach $528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows robust growth of 7.8 percent in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 percent to $689 billion.

    Remittance flows rose in all regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (20 percent) and South Asia (13.5 percent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (9.8 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (9.3 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (9.1 percent), and East Asia and the Pacific (6.6 percent). Growth was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.

    Among major remittance recipients, India retains its top spot, with remittances expected to total $80 billion this year, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines ($34 billion each), and Egypt ($26 billion).

    As global growth is projected to moderate, future remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow moderately by 4 percent to reach $549 billion in 2019. Global remittances are expected to grow 3.7 percent to $715 billion in 2019.

    The Brief notes that the global average cost of sending $200 remains high at 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under #Sustainable_Development_Goals (SDG) 10.7. Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs.

    #remittances #migrations #statistiques #chiffres #2018 #coût #SDGs

    • #Rapport : Migration and Remittances

      This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows. It highlights developments connected to migration-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for which the World Bank is a custodian: increasing the volume of remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) (SDG indicator 17.3.2), reducing remittance costs (SDG indicator 10.c.1), and reducing recruitment costs for migrant workers (SDG indicator 10.7.1). This Brief also presents recent developments on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and proposes an implementation and review mechanism.

      Pour télécharger le rapport :

    • International Remittances Headline ACP-EU-IOM Discussions in #Ghana

      In Sub-Saharan Africa, the flow of remittances is on the rise, but the cost to transfer these funds is far higher than the global average, making the region the most expensive place in the world to send money.

      The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners focused on improving the use of migrant remittances, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa at a three-day regional thematic meeting starting today (19/02) in Accra, Ghana.

      International remittances have been taking on increasing weight in the global policy agenda in recent years according to Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, who is speaking at the event.

      “This in part reflects the growing understanding that improving and harnessing the flow of remittances can have a substantial impact on development,” he said.

      Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from USD 34 billion in 2016 to USD 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent. Despite this increase – a trend which is expected to continue through 2019 – Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive place in the world to send money with an average cost of 9.4 per cent of the transfer amount, a figure that was 29 per cent above the world average in 2017. This is far short of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 10.C.3 to reduce the transaction costs of migrant remittances to less than 3 per cent by 2030.

      “Almost 75 per cent of remittances are spent on consumption which greatly benefit the receiving households and communities,” said Claudia Natali, Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Development at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

      “But more could be done to maximize the remaining 25 per cent. Fostering financial inclusion and promoting initiatives that help people manage the funds can go a long way to harness development impacts of remittances,” she added.

      The meeting, which runs through Thursday (21/02), is providing a platform for communication, exchange and learning for 80 participants involved in IOM’s “ACP-EU Migration Action", including migration experts and representatives from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) governments, regional organizations, the European Union (EU), UN agencies and NGOs working in remittances and diaspora mobilization.

      Given that remittances are at the heart of the joint ACP Group of States and European Union Dialogue’s recommendations on migration, discussions also aim to generate thematic recommendations for the Sub-Saharan region and establish links between the outcomes of the ACP-EU Migration Action programme, and processes relevant to the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development at the regional and global levels.

      The meeting is organized by IOM’s country office for Ghana and the IOM Regional Office in Brussels in partnership with the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) and Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A).

      IOM’s ACP-EU Migration Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to ACP countries and regional organizations. To date it has received 74 technical assistance requests from 67 ACP governments and 7 regional organizations, a third of which directly concern remittances.

      The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU. For more information on the ACP-EU Migration Action, go to:

    • The cost of cross-border payments needs to drop

      FOR MOST of human history, sending money across borders has cost the earth. Thankfully for globetrotters and e-shoppers in the rich world, that has changed in the past decade. A shift from cash and travellers’ cheques towards digital payments has cut the cost of moving funds around. And a new generation of fintech firms has broken the stranglehold that big banks used to have on money transfers (see article). As a result, fees have fallen. The cost of a transfer between consumers or small firms who are both in G7 countries can now cost 2% or less. This year some $10trn will pass across borders. As prices fall further, the sums will grow.

  • The mad, twisted tale of the electric scooter craze

    Dara Kerr/CNET

    For weeks, I’d been seeing trashed electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco. So I asked a group of friends if any of them had seen people vandalizing the dockless vehicles since they were scattered across the city a couple of months ago.

    The answer was an emphatic “yes.”

    One friend saw a guy walking down the street kicking over every scooter he came across. Another saw a rider pull up to a curb as the handlebars and headset became fully detached. My friend figures someone had messed with the screws or cabling so the scooter would come apart on purpose.

    A scroll through Reddit, Instagram and Twitter showed me photos of scooters — owned by Bird, Lime and Spin — smeared in feces, hanging from trees, hefted into trashcans and tossed into the San Francisco Bay.

    It’s no wonder Lime scooters’ alarm isn’t just a loud beep, but a narc-like battle cry that literally says, “Unlock me to ride, or I’ll call the police.”

    San Francisco’s scooter phenomenon has taken on many names: Scootergeddon, Scooterpocalypse and Scooter Wars. It all started when the three companies spread hundreds of their dockless, rentable e-scooters across city the same week at the end of March — without any warning to local residents or lawmakers.

    Almost instantly, first-time riders began zooming down sidewalks at 15 mph, swerving between pedestrians and ringing the small bells attached to the handlebars. And they left the vehicles wherever they felt like it: scooters cluttered walkways and storefronts, jammed up bike lanes, and blocked bike racks and wheelchair accesses.

    The three companies all say they’re solving a “last-mile” transportation problem, giving commuters an easy and convenient way to zip around the city while helping ease road congestion and smog. They call it the latest in a long line of disruptive businesses that aim to change the way we live.

    The scooters have definitely changed how some people live.

    I learned the Wild West looks friendly compared to scooter land. In San Francisco’s world of these motorized vehicles, there’s backstabbing, tweaker chop shops and intent to harm.

    “The angry people, they were angry,” says Michael Ghadieh, who owns electric bicycle shop, SF Wheels, and has repaired hundreds of the scooters. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the Bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”

    Yikes! Clipped brakes

    SF Wheels is located on a quaint street in a quintessential San Francisco neighborhood. Called Cole Valley, the area is lined with Victorian homes, upscale cafes and views of the city’s famous Mount Sutro. SF Wheels sells and rents electric bicycles for $20 per hour, mostly to tourists who want to see Golden Gate Park on two wheels.

    In March, one of the scooter companies called Ghadieh to tell him they were about to launch in the city and were looking for people to help with repairs. Ghadieh said he was game. He wouldn’t disclose the name of the company because of agreements he signed.

    Now he admits he didn’t quite know what he was getting into.

    Days after the scooter startups dropped their vehicles on an unsuspecting San Francisco, SF Wheels became so crammed with broken scooters that it was hard to walk through the small, tidy shop. Scooters lined the sidewalk outside, filled the doorway and crowded the mechanic’s workspace. The backyard had a heap of scooters nearly six-feet tall, Ghadieh told me.

    His bike techs were so busy that Ghadieh had to hire three more mechanics. SF Wheels was fixing 75 to 100 scooters per day. Ghadieh didn’t say how much the shop was making per scooter fix.

    “The repairs were fast and easy on some and longer on others,” Ghadieh said. “It’d depend on whether it was wear-and-tear or whether it was physically damaged by someone out there, some madman.”

    Some of the scooters, which cost around $500 off the shelf, came in completely vandalized — everything from chopped wires for the controller (aka the brain) to detached handlebars to bent forks. Several even showed up with clipped brake cables.

    I asked Ghadieh if the scooters still work without brakes.

    “It will work, yes,” he said. “It will go forward, but you just cannot stop. Whoever is causing that is making the situation dangerous for some riders.”

    Especially in a city with lots of hills.

    Ghadieh said his crew worked diligently for about six weeks, repairing an estimated 1,000 scooters. But then, about three weeks ago, work dried up. Ghadieh had to lay off the mechanics he’d hired and his shop is back to focusing on electric bicycles.

    “Now, there’s literally nothing,” he said. “There’s a change of face with the company. I’m not exactly sure what happened. … They decided to do it differently.”

    The likely change? The electric scooter company probably decided to outsource repairs to gig workers, rather than rely on agreements with shops.

    That’s gig as in freelancers looking to pick up part-time work, like Uber and Lyft drivers. And like Nick Abouzeid. By day, Abouzeid works in marketing for the startup AngelList. A few weeks ago, he got an email from Bird inviting him to be a scooter mechanic. The message told Abouzeid he could earn $20 for each scooter repair, once he’d completed an online training. He signed up, took the classes and is ready to start.

    “These scooters aren’t complicated. They’re cheap scooters from China,” Abouzeid said. “The repairs are anything from adjusting a brake to fixing a flat tire to adding stickers that have fallen off a Bird.”

    Bird declined to comment specifically on its maintenance program, but its spokesman Kenneth Baer did say, “Bird has a network of trained chargers and mechanics who operate as independent contractors.”

    All of Lime’s mechanics, on the other hand, are part of the company’s operations and maintenance team that repairs the scooters and ensures they’re safe for riders. Spin uses a mix of gig workers and contract mechanics, like what Ghadieh was doing.
    Gaming the system

    Electric scooters are, well, electric. That means they need to be plugged into an outlet for four to five hours before they can transport people, who rent them for $1 plus 15 cents for every minute of riding time.

    Bird, Spin and Lime all partially rely on gig workers to keep their fleets juiced up.

    Each company has a different app that shows scooters with low or dead batteries. Anyone with a driver’s license and car can sign up for the app and become a charger. These drivers roam the streets, picking up scooters and taking them home to be charged.

    “It creates this amazing kind of gig economy,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden, who is a former Uber and Lyft executive, told me in April. “It’s kind of like a game of Pokemon Go for them, where they go around and try to find and gobble up as many Birds as they can.”

    Theoretically, all scooters are supposed to be off city streets by nightfall when it’s illegal to ride them. That’s when the chargers are unleashed. To get paid, they have to get the vehicles back out on the street in specified locations before 7 a.m. the next day. Bird supplies the charging cables — only three at a time, but those who’ve been in the business longer can get more cables.

    “I don’t know the fascination with all of these companies using gig workers to charge and repair,” said Harry Campbell, who runs a popular gig worker blog called The Rideshare Guy. “But they’re all in, they’re all doing it.”

    One of the reasons some companies use gig workers is to avoid costs like extra labor, gasoline and electricity. Bird, Spin and Lime have managed to convince investors they’re onto something. Between the three of them they’ve raised $255 million in funding. Bird is rumored to be raising another $150 million from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Sequoia, which could put the company’s value at $1 billion. That’s a lot for an electric scooter disruptor.

    Lime pays $12 to charge each scooter and Spin pays $5; both companies also deploy their own operations teams for charging. Bird has a somewhat different system. It pays anywhere from $5 to $25 to charge its scooters, depending on the city and the location of the dead scooter. The harder the vehicle is to find and the longer it’s been off the radar, the higher the “bounty.”

    Abouzeid, who’s moonlighted as a Bird charger for the past two months, said he’s only found a $25 scooter once.

    “With the $25 ones, they’re like, ’Hey, we think it’s in this location, it’s got 0 percent battery, good luck,’” he said.

    But some chargers have devised a way to game the system. They call it hoarding.

    “They’ll literally go around picking up Birds and putting them in the back of their car,” Campbell said. “And then they wait until the bounties on them go up and up and up.”

    Bird has gotten wise to these tactics. It sent an email to all chargers last week warning them that if it sniffs out this kind of activity, those hoarders will be barred from the app.

    “We feel like this is a big step forward in fixing some of the most painful issues we’ve been hearing,” Bird wrote in the email, which was seen by CNET.

    Tweaker chop shops

    Hoarding and vandalism aren’t the only problems for electric scooter companies. There’s also theft. While the vehicles have GPS tracking, once the battery fully dies they go off the app’s map.

    “Every homeless person has like three scooters now,” Ghadieh said. “They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it.”

    I’ve seen scooters stashed at tent cities around San Francisco. Photos of people extracting the batteries have been posted on Twitter and Reddit. Rumor has it the batteries have a resale price of about $50 on the street, but there doesn’t appear to be a huge market for them on eBay or Craigslist, according to my quick survey.

    Bird, Lime and Spin all said trashed and stolen scooters aren’t as big a problem as you’d think. When the companies launch in a new city, they said they tend to see higher theft and vandalism rates but then that calms down.

    “We have received a few reports of theft and vandalism, but that’s the nature of the business,” said Spin co-founder and President Euwyn Poon. “When you have a product that’s available for public consumption, you account for that.”

    Dockless, rentable scooters are now taking over cities across the US — from Denver to Atlanta to Washington, DC. Bird’s scooters are available in at least 10 cities with Scottsdale, Arizona, being the site of its most recent launch.

    Meanwhile, in San Francisco, regulators have been working to get rules in place to make sure riders drive safely and the companies abide by the law.

    New regulations to limit the number of scooters are set to go into effect in the city on June 4. To comply, scooter companies have to clear the streets of all their vehicles while the authorities process their permits. That’s expected to take about a month.

    And just like that, scooters will go out the way they came in — appearing and disappearing from one day to the next — leaving in their wake the chargers, mechanics, vandals and people hotwiring the things to get a free ride around town.

    #USA #transport #disruption #SDF

  • A Wristband to Track Workers’ Hand Movements ? (Amazon Has Patents for It)

    What if your employer made you wear a wristband that tracked your every move, and that even nudged you via vibrations when it judged that you were doing something wrong?

    What if your supervisor could identify every time you paused to scratch or fidget, and for how long you took a bathroom break?

    #contrôle #surveillance
    Je propose que tou-te-s les employé-e-s se mettent à se masturber en même temps pour faire planter le système !

    • Visiting EU, Netanyahu will be ’billed’ 1m euros for razed West Bank projects - Israel News -

      By Netta Ahituv | Dec. 7, 2017 | 9:26 AM |

      Next Monday, December 11, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay what is being called an “unofficial visit” to the European Parliament. The visit to Brussels will include a breakfast, which is also classified as unofficial. On top of this, Netanyahu can also expect an unofficial reception: A group of European Parliament members have prepared posters welcoming the prime minister upon his arrival in Europe (“Dear Bibi, Welcome to Europe”), but they also want to ensure that he doesn’t forget to pay a certain invoice before he leaves the continent.

      The bill, according to the dozens of EP members who have signed a petition accompanying the posters (and are planning to take out a full-page ad in Haaretz), amounts to 1.2 million euros. That’s how much Israel ostensibly owes the European Union for humanitarian projects the EU built for the Palestinians and which Israel demolished. The projects, all in Area C in the West Bank (that is, under full Israeli civilian and security control), were razed by the Israel Defense Forces by order of the government. Among them were dwellings for homeless Bedouin, structures used for schools and kindergartens, and various infrastructural projects such as water pipes, cisterns and electrical power systems.

      The invoice that Netanyahu is being asked to pay is being presented to him “on behalf of millions of EU taxpayers,” as posters in the corridors of the EP declare. According to the posters, “Approximately 400 EU and Member State-funded humanitarian aid structures built for vulnerable Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and deliberately demolished or confiscated by Israel outside of military hostilities and in violation of international humanitarian law since you became prime minister in 2009.”

      A note at the bottom of the “invoice” states: “This invoice only covers the EU contribution to the humanitarian structures, not their full cost. It also does not cover the damage to the Palestinian families displaced by demolitions and the harm to the prospect of a peaceful future.”

      The “reception” being prepared for Netanyahu at the EP is another stage in the ongoing discussion being conducted in Europe about the measures that should be taken in the face of the demolitions of EU-funded structures. Already a year ago, the EU’s Middle East committee recommended that member states demand compensation from Israel for the destruction of these projects, but apart from diplomatic tension between Israel and the EU, nothing has happened since. The EU classifies these structures as “humanitarian aid” for the Palestinians, but Israel sees them as illegal construction, which could create facts on the ground.

      “It is inconceivable that the EU institutions and member states are imposing austerity on their citizens in an attempt to manage public funds correctly, but when it comes to the government of Israel, which demolishes projects funded by the EU budget, suddenly those governments don’t care,” says French-born EP member Pascal Durand, a member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, which is one of the sponsors of the posters.

      Durand takes affront when asked about the allegation often voiced by the Israeli public and the country’s elected representatives that the EU is anti-Semitic and, it follows, pro-Palestinian.

      “That is a myth and it is an insult,” he asserts. “Everyone who has signed these posters condemns every anti-Semitic declaration or act. We will always defend the right of the Israelis to live in peace within recognized borders. We are not ready to accept the fact that our pacifist stance is being exploited by vested interests and termed anti-Semitic.” He notes also that the EU’s relations with Israel are the most extensive and closest of any non-EU country, a reference to the fact that the EU is Israel’s largest trading partner.

      Durand emphasizes that the sponsors of the poster and the signatories are not angry about Netanyahu’s visit to Brussels, “but at the demolition of the humanitarian projects and the continuing expansion of the settlements – two actions that are contrary to international law. We want Netanyahu to understand the European frustration at his actions, and then to rebuild what he has demolished, or pay for the destruction.”

    • Bruxelles : Netanyahu salue la décision de Donald Trump et espère que les pays de l’UE feront de même
      RTBF avec Agences
      Publié à 06h12 - Mis à jour à 09h43


      Mais les ministres ont eu du mal à cacher des fractures de plus en plus profondes au sein de l’Union, dans une situation où plusieurs Etats membres - notamment la Hongrie, la Grèce et la Lituanie - veulent gommer les aspérités de la difficile relation entre l’UE et Israël.

      La Hongrie a ainsi, au-delà de la question de la colonisation et d’une reprise du dialogue avec l’Aurtorité palestinienne. Une autre question sensible, qui a été abordée à Bruxelles, est la destruction par Israël en Cisjordanie occupée d’infrastructures destinées à « des communautés palestiniennes vulnérables » financées par des fonds de l’UE ou des Etats membres.

      Demande de compensations

      Dans des affiches placardées au Parlement européen interpellant Benjamin Netanyahu, des eurodéputés présentent une « facture » de 1,2 million d’euros pour des écoles, des citernes d’eau, des systèmes électriques et d’autres installations qui ont été selon eux « délibérément détruits ou confisqués par Israël, en dehors d’hostilités militaires et en violation du droit humanitaire international ».

      Plusieurs Etats membres ont récemment écrit au gouvernement israélien pour lui demander des « compensations » pour ces destructions.

  • Why China Is Leading the Fintech Race - Knowledge Wharton

    But there are actually seven tech firms in the global top 10 now — the other two are Chinese: Alibaba and Tencent. In China, everyone knows “BAT” (Baidu, the Chinese Google, along with Alibaba and Tencent). There is much less BAT buzz outside China, for two reasons.

    First, the Chinese government’s “great firewall” around the internet not only restricts the flow of information in China, it also helps protect Chinese firms from international competition. Second, the Chinese tech companies have tended to be rapid adopters and adapters of innovations generated elsewhere rather than breakthrough inventors themselves.

    The first point continues to hold: “techno-nationalism” is a new term of concern in the West when it comes to China’s aspirations to chart its own course to global prominence in technology, by protecting the domestic market and always with a close eye on the IP of others.
    Knowledge@Wharton High School

    But the second reason for discounting Chinese tech — that they are incapable of creating true innovation — is rapidly receding as a viable criticism. Anyone who ignores Alibaba and Tencent does so at their own peril because of real innovations they are implementing in China, and what they hope to do globally tomorrow.

    When it comes to Alibaba, think less eBay meets Wal-Mart and Amazon, and more fintech. For Tencent, think less social media and e-sports and more fintech.

    Four hundred and sixty-nine million people made online payments in China in 2016. A larger number used phones to pay in offline retail stores. For comparison, the user base of Apple Pay, by far the dominant American player, was 12 million in the U.S. last year. I am now used to seeing people in China paying for everything from taxis and coffee to clothes and meals with either WeChat (Weixin) Pay or Alipay (Zhifubao) — another world from the China of the early 2000s when you had to pay hotel bills with a series of 100 RMB notes.

    No one knows who will win this global competition, but the recent history of digital payments underlines a key fact. The extraordinary innovativeness of the U.S. tech sector is justly acclaimed. However, it is no longer immune to the forces of globalization and global competition that have disrupted so many other industries in the past few decades.

    #GAFA #TAB #Chine #Fintech #Alibaba #Tencent #Baidu

  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 39. “One Big Fool”

    The time had come for George to go. He knew he had to leave, but he had kept putting it off. Twice he had booked his passage back to America and made all his preparations for departure, and twice, as the day approached, he had cancelled the arrangements.
    He hated the thought of quitting Germany, for he felt, somehow, that he would never again be able to return to this ancient land he loved so much. And Else — where, and under what alien skies, could he hope to see her again? Her roots were here, his were elsewhere. This would be a last farewell.
    So, after delaying and delaying, once more he booked his passage and made his plans to leave Berlin on a day towards the middle of September. The postponement of the dreaded moment had only made it more painful. He would be foolish to draw it out any further. This time he would really go.
    And at last came the fateful dawn.
    The phone beside his bed rang quietly. He stirred, then roused sharply from that fitful and uneasy sleep which a man experiences when he has gone to bed late, knowing that he has to get up early. It was the porter. His low, quiet voice had in it the quality of immediate authority.
    “It is seven ‘o’clock,” he said.
    “All right,” George answered. “Thank you. I’m awake.”
    Then he got up, still fighting dismally with a stale fatigue which begged for sleep, as well as with a gnawing tension of anxiety which called for action. One look about the room reassured him. His old leather trunk lay open on the baggage rest. It had been packed the night before with beautiful efficiency by the maid. Now there was very little more to do except to shave and dress, stow toilet things away, pack the brief-case with a few books and letters and the pages of manuscript that always accumulated wherever he was, and drive to the station. Twenty minutes’ steady work would find him ready. The train was not due until half-past eight, and the station was not three minutes distant in a taxi-cab. He thrust his feet into his slippers, walked over to the windows, tugged the cord, and pulled up the heavy wooden blinds.
    It was a grey morning. Below him, save for an occasional motorcar, the quiet thrum of a bicycle, or someone walking briskly to his work with a lean, spare clack of early morning, the Kurfürstendamm was bare and silent. In the centre of the street, above the tram tracks, the fine trees had already lost their summer freshness — that deep and dark intensity of German green which is the greenest green on earth and which has a kind of forest darkness, a legendary sense of coolness and of magic. The leaves looked faded now, and dusty. They were already touched here and there by the yellowing tinge of autumn. A tram, cream-yellow, spotless, shining like a perfect toy, slid past with a hissing sound upon the rails and at the contacts of the trolley. Except for this, the tram-car made no noise. Like everything the Germans built, the tram and its road-bed were perfect in their function. The rattling and metallic clatter of an American street-car were totally absent. Even the little cobble-stones that paved the space between the tracks were as clean and spotless as if each of them had just been gone over thoroughly with a whisk broom, and the strips of grass that bordered the tracks were as green and velvety as Oxford sward.
    On both sides of the street, the great restaurants, cafés, and terraces of the Kurfürstendamm had the silent loneliness that such places always have at that hour of the morning. Chairs were racked upon the tables. Everything was clean and bare and empty. Three blocks away, at the head of the street, the clock on the Gedächtnis-kirche belatedly struck seven times. He could see the great, bleak masses of the church, and in the trees a few birds sang.
    Someone knocked upon the door. He turned and crossed and opened it. The waiter stood there with his breakfast tray. He was a boy of fifteen, a blond-haired, solemn child with a fresh pink face. He wore a boiled shirt, and a waiter’s uniform which was spotless-clean, but which had obviously been cut off and shortened down a little from the dimensions of some more mature former inhabitant. He marched in solemnly, bearing his tray before him straight towards the table in the centre of the room, stolidly uttering in a guttural and toneless voice his three phrases of English which were:
    “Goot morning, sir,” as George opened the door
    “If you bleeze, sir,” as he set the tray down upon the table, and then
    “Dank you ferry much, sir,” as he marched out and turned to close the door behind him.
    The formula had always been the same. All summer it had not varied by a jot, and now as he marched out for the last time George had a feeling of affection and regret. He called to the boy to wait a moment, got his trousers, took some money, and gave it to him. His pink face reddened suddenly with happiness. George shook hands with him, and the boy said gutturally:
    “Dank you ferry much, sir.” And then, very quietly and earnestly: “Gute reise, mein Herr.” He clicked his heels together and bowed formally, and then closed the door.
    George stood there for a moment with that nameless feeling of affection and regret, knowing that he would never see the boy again. Then he went back to the table and poured out a cup of the hot, rich chocolate, broke a crusty roll, buttered it, spread it with strawberry jam, and ate it. This was all the breakfast he wanted. The pot was still half full of chocolate, the dish was still piled with little scrolls of creamy butter, there was enough of the delicious jam, enough of the crusty rolls and flaky croissants, to make half a dozen breakfasts, but he was not hungry.
    He went over to the wash-basin and switched on the light. The large and heavy porcelain bowl was indented in the wall. The wall and the floor beneath were substantial and as perfect as a small but costly bathroom. He brushed his teeth and shaved, packed all the toilet things together in a little leather case, pulled the zipper, and put it away in the old trunk. Then he dressed. By seven-twenty he was ready.
    Franz Heilig came in as George was ringing for the porter. He was an astonishing fellow, an old friend of the Munich days, and George was devoted to him.
    When they had first met, Heilig had been a librarian in Munich. Now he had a post in one of the large libraries of Berlin. In this capacity he was a public functionary, with the prospect of slow but steady advancement through the years. His income was small and his scale of living modest, but such things did not bother Heilig. He was a scholar, with the widest range of knowledge and interests that George had ever known in anyone. He read and spoke a dozen languages. He was German to the very core of his learned soul, but his English, which he spoke less well than any other language he had studied, was not the usual German rendering of Shakespeare’s tongue. There were plenty of Germanic elements in it, but in addition Heilig had also borrowed accents and inflections from some of his other linguistic conquests, and the result was a most peculiar and amusing kind of bastard speech.
    As he entered the room and saw George he began to laugh, closing his eyes, contorting his small features, and snuffling through his sourly puckered lips as if he had just eaten a half-ripe persimmon. Then his face went sober and he said anxiously:
    “You are ready, zen? You are truly going?”
    George nodded. “Yes,” he said. “Everything’s all ready. How do you feel, Franz?”
    He laughed suddenly, took off his spectacles, and began to polish them. Without his glasses, his small puckered face had a tired and worn look, and his weak eyes were bloodshot and weary from the night before.
    “0 Gott!” he cried, with a kind of gleeful desperation. “I feel perfectly dret-ful! I haf not efen been to bett! After I left you I could not sleep. I valked and valked, almost up to Grunewald . . . May I tell you somesing?” he said earnestly, and peered at George with the serious intensity with which he always uttered these oracular words. “I feel like hell — I really do.”
    “Then you haven’t been to bed at all? You’ve had no sleep?”
    “Oh, yes,” he said wearily. “I haf slept an hour. I came back home. My girl vas asleep — I did not vant to get into ze bett wiz her — I did not vant to vake her up. So I laid down upon ze couch. I did not efen take off my clothes. I vas afraid zat I vould come too late to see you at ze station. And zat,” he said, peering at George most earnestly again, “vould be too dret-ful!”
    “Why don’t you go back home and sleep today after the train goes?” George said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to do much work, feeling as you do. Wouldn’t it be better if you took the day off and caught up on your sleep?”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig abruptly, yet rather indifferently, “I vill tell you somesing.” He peered at George earnestly and intently again, and said: “It does not matter. It really does not matter. I vill take somesing — some coffee or somesing,” he said indifferently. “It vill not be too bad. But Gott!”— again the desperately gleeful laugh —“how I shall sleep to-night! After zat I shall try to get to know my girl again.”
    “I hope so, Franz. She’s a nice girl. I’m afraid she hasn’t seen much of you the last month or so.”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig, as before, “I vill tell you somesing. It does not matter. It really does not matter. She is a good girl — she knows about zese sings — you like her, yes?”— and he peered at George eagerly, earnestly, again. “You sink she is nice?”
    “Yes, I think she’s very nice.”
    “Veil, zen,” said Heilig, “I vill tell you somesing. She is very nice. I am glad if you like her. She is very good for me. Ve get along togezzer very vell. I hope zat zey vill let me keep her,” he said quietly.
    “They? Who do you mean by ‘they’, Franz?”
    “Oh,” he said, wearily, and his small face puckered in an expression of disgust, “zese people — zese stupid people — zat you know about.”
    “But good Lord, Franz! Surely they have not yet forbidden that, have they? A man is still allowed to have a girl, isn’t he? Why you can step right out into the Kurfürstendamm and get a dozen girls before you’ve walked a block.”
    “Oh,” said Heilig, “you mean ze little whores. Yes, you may still go to ze little whores. Zat’s quite anozzer matter. You may go to ze little whores and perhaps zey give you somesing — a little poison. But zat is quite all right. You see, my dear shap,” here his face puckered in a look of impish malice, and he began to speak in the tone of exaggerated and mincing refinement that characterised some of his more vicious utterances, “I vill now tell you somesing. Under ze Dritte Reich ve are all so happy, everysing is so fine and healsy, zat it is perfectly Gott-tam dret-ful,” he sneered. “Ve may go to ze little whores in ze Kurfürstendamm. Zey vill take you to zeir rooms, or zey vill come wiz you. Yes,” he said earnestly, nodding, “zey vill come wiz you to vhere you live — to your room. But you cannot haf a girl. If you haf a girl you must marry her, and — may I tell you?” he said frankly —“I cannot marry. I do not make enough money. It vould be quite impossible!” he said decisively. “And may I tell you zis?” he continued, pacing nervously up and down and taking rapid puffs at his cigarette. “If you haf a girl, zen you must haf two rooms. And zat also is quite impossible! I haf not efen money enough to afford two rooms.”
    “You mean, if you are living with a girl you are compelled by law to have two rooms?”
    “It is ze law, yes,” said Heilig quietly, nodding with the air of finality with which a German states established custom. “You must. If you are liffing wiz a girl, she must haf a room. Zen you can say,” he went on seriously, “zat you are hiring wiz each ozzer. She may haf a room right next to you, but zen you can say zat she is not your girl. You may sleep togezzer every night, all you Gott-tam please. But zen, you see, you vill be good. You vill not do some sings against ze Party . . . Gott!” he cried, and, lifting his impish, bitterly puckered face, he laughed again. “It is all quite dret-ful!”
    “But if they find, Franz, that you’re living with her in a single room?”
    “Veil, zen,” he said quietly, “I may tell you zat she vill haf to go.” And then, wearily, dismissingly, in a tone of bitter indifference: “It does not matter. I do not care. I pay no attention to zese stupid people. I haf my vork, I haf my girl. And zat is all zat matters. Ven I am finished wiz my vork, I go home to my little room. My girl is zere, and zis little dog,” he said, and his face lighted up gleefully again. “Zis little dog — may I tell you somesing? — zis little dog — Pooki — ze little Scottie zat you know — I haf become quite fond of him. He is really quite nice,” said Heilig earnestly. “Ven he first came to us I hated him. My girl saw him and she fall in love wiz zis little animal,” said Heilig. “She said zat she must haf him — zat I must be buying him for her. Veil, zen,” said Heilig, quickly flipping the ash from his cigarette and moving up and down the room, “I said to her zat I vill not haf zis Gott-tam little beast about my place.” He fairly shouted these words to show the emphasis of his intention. “Veil, zen, ze girl cry. She talk alvays about zis little dog. She say zat she must haf him, zat she is going to die. Gott!” he cried gleefully again, and laughed. “It vas perfectly dret-ful. Zere vas no more peace for me. I vould go home at night and instantly she vould begin to cry and say she vill be dying if I do not buy zis little dog. So finally I say: ‘All right, haf it your own vay. I vill buy zis little animal!’” he said viciously —”‘Only for Gott’s sake, shut your crying!’ So, zen,” said Heilig impishly, “I vent to buy zis little dog, and I looked at him.” Here his voice became very droll, and with a tremendous sense of comic exaggeration his eyes narrowed, his small face puckered to a grimace, and his discoloured teeth gritted together as he snarled softly and gleefully: “I looked at zis little dog and I said —‘All right, you — you-u-u buh-loody little animalyou-u-u aww-ful — dret-ful — little bee-e-e-st — I vill take you home wiz me — but you — you-u-u damned little beast, you’"— here he gleefully and viciously shook his fist at an imaginary dog —”‘if you do some sings I do not like — if you viii be making some buh-loody awful messes in my place, I vill give you somesing to eat zat you will not enchoy’ . . . But zen,” said Heilig, “after ve had him, I became quite fond of him. He is quite nice, really. Sometime ven I come home at night and everysing has gone badly and zere haf been so many of zese dret-ful people, he vill come and look at me. He vill talk to me. He vill say he knows zat I am so unhappy. And zat life is very hard. But zat he is my friend. Yes, he is really very nice. I like him very much.”
    During this conversation the porter had come in and was now waiting for his orders. He asked George if everything was in the leather trunk. George got down on hands and knees and took a final look under the bed. The porter opened doors and drawers. Heilig himself peered inside the big wardrobe and, finding it empty, turned to George with his characteristic expression of surprise and said:
    “Veil, zen, I may tell you zat I sink you have it all.”
    Satisfied on this score, the porter closed the heavy trunk, locked it, and tightened the straps, while Heilig helped George stuff manuscripts, letters, and a few books into the old brief-case. Then George fastened the brief-case and gave it to the porter. He dragged the baggage out into the hall and said he would wait for them below.
    George looked at his watch and found that it still lacked three-quarters of an hour until train time. He asked Heilig if they should go on immediately to the station or wait at the hotel.
    “Ve can vait here,” he said. “I sink it vould be better. If you vait here anozzer half an hour, zere vould still be time.”
    He offered George a cigarette and struck a match for him. Then they sat down, George at the table, Heilig upon the couch against the wall. And for a minute or two they smoked in silence.
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig quietly, “zis time it is to be good-bye . . . Zis time you vill really go?”
    “Yes, Franz. I’ve got to go this time. I’ve missed two boats already. I can’t miss another one.”
    They smoked in silence for a moment more, and then suddenly, earnestly and anxiously, Heilig said:
    “Vell, zen, may I tell you somesing? I am sorry.”
    “And I, too, Franz.”
    Again they smoked in troubled and uneasy silence.
    “You vill come back, of gourse,” said Heilig presently. And then, decisively: “You must, of gourse. Ve like you here.” Another pause, then very simply and quietly: “You know, ve do so luff you.”
    George was too moved to say anything, and Heilig, peering at him quickly and anxiously, continued:
    “And you like it here? You like us? Yes!” he cried emphatically, in answer to his own question. “Of gourse you do!”
    “Of course, Franz.”
    “Zen you must come back,” he said quietly. “It vould be quite dret-ful if you did not.” He looked at George searchingly again, but George said nothing. In a moment Heilig said: “And I— I shall hope zat ve shall meet again.”
    “I hope so, too, Franz,” said George. And then, trying to throw off the sadness that had fallen on them, he went on as cheerfully as he could, voicing his desire more than his belief: “Of course we shall. I shall come back some day, and we shall sit together talking just the same as we are now.”
    Heilig did not answer immediately. His small face became contorted with the look of bitter and malicious humour which George had seen upon it so often. He took off his glasses quickly, polished them, wiped his tired, weak eyes, and put his glasses on again.
    “You sink so?” he said, and smiled his wry and bitter smile.
    “I’m sure of it,” George said positively, and for the moment he almost believed it. “You and I and all the friends we know — we’ll sit together drinking, we’ll stay up all night and dance around the trees and go to Aenna Maentz at three o’clock in the morning for chicken soup. All of it will be the same.”
    “Vell, zen, I hope zat you are right. But I am not so sure,” said Heilig quietly. “I may not be here.”
    “You!” George laughed derisively. “Why what are you talking about? You know you wouldn’t be happy anywhere else. You have your work, it’s what you always wanted to do, and at last you’re in the place where you always wanted to be. Your future is mapped out clearly before you — it’s just a matter of hanging on until your superiors die off or retire. You’ll always be here!”
    “I am not so sure,” he said. He puffed at his cigarette, and then continued rather hesitantly. “You see — zere are zese fools — zese stupid people!” He ground his cigarette out viciously in the ashtray, and, his face twisted in a wry smile of defiant, lacerated pride, he cried angrily: “Myself — I do not care. I do not vorry for myself. Right now I haf my little life — my little chob — my little girl — my little room. Zese people — zese fools!” he cried —“I do not notice zem. I do not see zem. It does not bozzer me,” he cried. And now, indeed, his face had become a grotesque mask. “I shall always get along,” he said. “If zey run me out — yell, zen, I may tell you zat I do not care! Zere are ozzer places!” he cried bitterly. “I can go to England, to Sveden. If zey take my chob, my girl,” he cried scornfully and waved his hand impatiently, “may I tell you zat it does not matter. I shall get along. And if zese fools — zese stupid people — if zey take my life — I do not sink zat is so terrible. You sink so? Yes?”
    “Yes, I do think so, Franz. I should not like to die.”
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig quietly, “wiz you it is a different matter. You are American. Wiz us, it is not ze same. I haf seen men shot, in Munich, in Vienna — I do not sink it is too bad.” He turned and looked searchingly at George again. “No, it is not too bad,” he said.
    “Oh hell, you’re talking like an idiot,” George said. “No one’s going to shoot you. No one’s going to take your job or girl away. Why, man, your job is safe. It has nothing to do with politics. And they’d never find another scholar like you. Why, they couldn’t do without you.”
    He shrugged his shoulders indifferently and cynically. “I do not know,” he said. “Myself — I think ye can do wizout everybody if ye must. And perhaps ye must.”
    “Must? What do you mean by that, Franz?”
    Heilig did not answer for a moment. Then he said abruptly: “Now I sink zat I vill tell you somesing. In ze last year here, zese fools haf become quite dret-ful. All ze Chews haf been taken from zeir vork, zey haf nozzing to do any more. Zese people come around — some stupid people in zeir uniform”— he said contemptuously —“and zey say zat everyone must be an Aryan man — zis vonderful plue-eyed person eight feet tall who has been Aryan in his family since 1820. If zere is a little Chew back zere — zen it is a pity,” Heilig jeered. “Zis man can no more vork — he is no more in ze Cherman spirit. It is all quite stupid.” He smoked in silence for a minute or two, then continued: “Zis last year zese big fools haf been coming round to me. Zey demand to know who I am, vhere I am from — whezzer or not I haf been born or not. Zey say zat I must prove to zem zat I am an Aryan man. Ozzervise I can no longer vork in ze library.”
    “But my God, Franz!” George cried, and stared at him in stupefaction. “You don’t mean to tell me that — why, you’re not a Jew,” he said, “are you?”
    “Oh Gott no!” Heilig cried, with a sudden shout of gleeful desperation. “My dear shap, I am so Gott-tam Cherman zat it is perfectly dret-ful.”
    “Well, then,” George demanded, puzzled, “what’s the trouble? Why should they bother you? Why worry about it if you’re a German?”
    Heilig was silent a little while, and the look of wry, wounded humour in his small, puckered face had deepened perceptibly before he spoke again.
    “My dear Chorge,” he said at last, “now I may tell you somesing. I am completely Cherman, it is true. Only, my poor dear mozzer — I do so luff her, of course — but Gott!” He laughed through his closed mouth, and there was bitter merriment in his face. “Gott! She is such a fool! Zis poor lady,” he said, a trifle contemptuously, “luffed my fazzer very much — so much, in fact, zat she did not go to ze trouble to marry him. So zese people come and ask me all zese questions: and say: Where is your fazzer!’ And of gourse I cannot tell zem. Because, alas, my dear old shap, I am zis bastard. Gott!” he cried again, and with eyes narrowed into slits he laughed bitterly out of the corner of his mouth. “It is all so dret-ful — so stupid — and so horribly funny!”
    “But Franz! Surely you must know who your father is — you must have heard his name.”
    “My Gott, yes!” he cried. “Zat is vhat makes it all so funny.”
    “You mean you know him, then? He is living?”
    “But of gourse,” said Heilig. “He is living in Berlin.”
    “Do you ever see him?”
    “But of gourse,” he said again. “I see him every veek. Ve are quite good friends.”
    “But — then I don’t see what the trouble is — unless they can take your job from you because you’re a bastard. It’s embarrassing, of course, and all that, both for your father and yourself — but can’t you tell them? Can’t you explain it to them? Won’t your father help you out?”
    “I am sure he vould,” said Heilig, “if I told zis sing to him. Only, I cannot tell him. You see,” he went on quietly, “my fazzer and I are quite good friends. Ve never speak about zis sing togezzer — ze vay he knew my mozzer. And now, I vould not ask him — I vould not tell him of zis trouble — I vould not vant him to help me — because it might seem zat I vas taking an adwantage. It might spoil everysing.”
    “But your father — is he known here? Would these people know his name if you mentioned it?”
    “Oh Gott yes!” Heilig cried out gleefully, and snuffled with bitter merriment. “Zat is vhat makes it all so horrible — and so dret-fully amusing. Zey vould know his name at vonce. Perhaps zey vill say zat I am zis little Chew and t’row me out because I am no Aryan man — and my fazzer”— Heilig choked and, snuffling, bent half over in his bitter merriment —“my fazzer is zis loyal Cherman man — zis big Nazi — zis most important person in ze Party!”
    For a moment George looked at his friend — whose name, ironically, signified “the holy one”— and could not speak. This strange and moving illumination of his history explained so much about him — the growing bitterness and disdain towards everyone and everything, the sense of weary disgust and resignation, the cold venom of his humour, and that smile which kept his face almost perpetually puckered up. As he sat there, fragile, small, and graceful, smiling his wry smile, the whole legend of his life became plain. He had been life’s tender child, so sensitive, so affectionate, so amazingly intelligent. He had been the fleeceling lamb thrust out into the cold to bear the blast and to endure want and loneliness. He had been wounded cruelly. He had been warped and twisted. He had come to this, and yet he had maintained a kind of bitter integrity.
    “I’m so sorry, Franz,” George said. “So damned sorry. I never knew of this.”
    “Vell, zen,” said Heilig indifferently, “I may tell you zat it does not matter. It really does not matter.” He smiled his tortured smile, snuffling a little through his lips, flicked the ash from his cigarette, and shifted his position. “I shall do somesing about it. I haf engaged one of zese little men — zese dret-ful little people — vhat do you call zem? — lawyers! — O Gott, but zey are dret-ful!” he shouted gleefully. “I haf bought one of zem to make some lies for me. Zis little man wiz his papers — he vill feel around until he discover fazzers, mozzers, sisters, brozzers — everysing I need. If he cannot, if zey vill not believe — yell, zen,” said Heilig, “I must lose my chob. But it does not matter. I shall do somesing. I shall go somevhere else. I shall get along somehow. I haf done so before, and it vas not too terrible . . . But zese fools — zese dret-ful people!” he said with deep disgust. “Some day, my dear Chorge, you must write a bitter book. You must tell all zese people just how horrible zey are. Myself — I haf no talent. I cannot write a book. I can do nozzing but admire vhat ozzers do and know if it is good. But you must tell zese dret-ful people vhat zey are . . . I haf a little fantasy,” he went on with a look of impish glee. “Ven I feel bad — yen I see all zese dret-ful people valking up and down in ze Kurfürstendamm and sitting at ze tables and putting food into zeir faces — zen I imagine zat I haf a little ma-chine gun. So I take zis little ma-chine gun and go up and down, and ven I see one of zese dret-ful people I go — ping-ping-ping-pingping!” As he uttered these words in a rapid, childish key, he took aim with his hand and hooked his finger rapidly. “0 Gott!” he cried ecstatically. “I should so enchoy it if I could go around wiz zis little ma-chine gun and use it on all zese stupid fools! But I cannot. My ma-chine gun is only in imagination. Wiz you it is different. You haf a ma-chine gun zat you can truly use. And you must use it,” he said earnestly. “Some day you must write zis bitter book, and you must tell zese fools vhere zey belong. Only,” he added quickly, and turned anxiously towards George, “you must not do it yet. Or if you do, you must not say some sings in zis book zat vill make zese people angry wiz you here.”
    “What kind of things do you mean, Franz?”
    “Zese sings about”— he lowered his voice and glanced quickly towards the door —“about politics — about ze Party. Sings zat vould bring zem down on you. It would be quite dret-ful if you did.”
    “Why would it?”
    “Because,” he said, “you have a great name here. I don’t mean wiz zese fools, zese stupid people, but wiz ze people left who still read books. I may tell you,” he said earnestly, “zat you have ze best name here now of any foreign writer. If you should spoil it now — if you should write some sings now zat zey vould not like — it vould be a pity. Ze Reichschriftskammer vould forbid your books — vould tell us zat ve could no longer read you — and ve could not get your books. And zat vould be a pity. Ve do so like you here — I mean ze people who understand. Zey know so vell about you. Zey understand ze vay you feel about sings. And I may tell you zat ze translations are quite marvellous. Ze man who does zem is a poet, and he luffs you — he gets you in, ze vay you feel — your images — ze rhythmus of your writing. And ze people find it very vonderful. Zey cannot believe zat zey are reading a translation. Zey say zat it must haf been written in Cherman in ze beginning. And-0 Gott!” he shouted gleefully again —“zey call you everysing — ze American Homer, ze American epic writer. Zey like and understand you so much. Your writing is so full of juice, so round and full of blood. Ze feeling is like feeling zat ve haf. Wiz many people you haf ze greatest name of any writer in ze world today.”
    “That’s a good deal more than I’ve got at home, Franz.”
    “I know. But zen, I notice, in America zey lull everyvun a year — and zen zey spit upon him. Here, wiz many people you haf zis great name,” he said earnestly, “and it vould be too dret-ful — it vould be such a pity — if you spoil it now. You vill not?” he said, and again looked anxiously and earnestly at George.
    George looked off in space and did not answer right away; then he said:
    “A man must write what he must write. A man must do what he must do.”
    “Zen you mean zat if you felt zat you had to say some sings — about politics — about zese stupid fools — about ——”
    “What about life?” George said. “What about people?”
    “You vould say it?”
    “Yes, I would.”
    “Efen if it did you harm? Efen if it spoiled you here? Efen if ve could no longer read vhat you write?” With his small face peering earnestly at George, he waited anxiously for his reply.
    “Yes, Franz, even if that happened.”
    Heilig was silent a moment, and then, with apparent hesitancy, he said:
    “Efen if you write somesing — and zey say to you zat you cannot come back?”
    George, too, was silent now. There was much to think of. But at last he said:
    “Yes, even if they told me that.”
    Heilig straightened sharply, with a swift intake of anger and impatience. “Zen I vill tell you somesing,” he said harshly. “You are one big fool.” He rose, flung his cigarette away, and began to pace nervously up and down the room. “Vhy should you go and spoil yourself?” he cried. “Vhy should you go and write sings now zat vill make it so zat you cannot come back. You do so luff it here!” he cried; then turned sharply, anxiously, and said: “You do, of gourse?”
    “Yes, I do — better than almost any other place on earth.”
    “And ve alzo!” cried Heilig, pacing up and down. “Ve do so luff you, too. You are no stranger to us, Chorge. I see ze people look at you ven you go by upon ze street and zey all smile at you. Zere is somesing about you zat zey like. Ze little girls in ze shirt shop yen ye vent to buy ze shirt for you — zey all said: ‘Who is he?’ Zey all vanted to know about you. Zey kept ze shop open two hours late, till nine o’clock zat night, so zat ze shirt vould be ready for you. Efen ven you speak zis poor little Cherman zat you speak, all ze people like it. Ze vaiters in ze restaurants come and do sings for you before everybody else, and not because zey vant a tip from you. You are at home here. Everybody understands you. You have zis famous name — to us you are zis great writer. And for a little politics,” he said bitterly, “because zere are zese stupid fools, you vould now go and spoil it all.”
    George made no answer. So Heilig, still walking feverishly up and down, went on:
    “Vhy should you do it? You are no politician. You are no propaganda Party man. You are not one of zese Gott-tam little New York Salon–Kommunisten.” He spat the word out viciously, his pale eyes narrowed into slits. “May I now tell you somesing?” He paused abruptly, looking at George. “I hate zese bloody little people — zese damned aest’etes — zese little propaganda literary men.” Puckering his face into an expression of mincing disdain, advancing with two fingers pressed together in the air before him, and squinting at them with delicately lidded eyes, he coughed in an affected way —“U-huh, u-huh!”— and then, in a tone of mincing parody, he quoted from an article he had read: “‘HI may say so, ze transparence of ze Darstellung in Vebber’s vork . . . ’ U-huh, u-huh!” he coughed again. “Zis bloody little fool who wrote zat piece about you in Die Dame— zis damned little aest’ete wiz zese phrases about ‘ze transparence of ze Darstellung’— may I tell you somesing?” he shouted violently. “I spit upon zese bloody people! Zey are everyvhere ze same. You find zem in London, Paris, Vienna. Zey are bad enough in Europe — but in America!” he shouted, his face lighting up with impish glee —“O Gott! If I may tell you so, zey are perfectly dret-ful! Vhere do you get zem from? Efen ze European aest’ete says: ‘My Gott! zese bloody men, zese awful people, zese demned aest’etes from ze Oo Ess Ah — zey are too dretful!’”
    “Are you talking now of Communists? You began on them, you know!”
    “Veil now,” he said, curtly and coldly, with the arrogant dismissal that was becoming more and more characteristic of him, “it does not matter. It does not matter vhat zey call zemselves. Zey are all ze same. Zey are zese little expressionismus, surréalismus, Kommunismus people — but really zey can call zemselves anysing, everysing, for zey are nozzing. And may I tell you zat I hate zem. I am so tired of all zese belated little people,” he said, and turned away with an expression of weariness and disgust. “It does not matter. It simly does not matter vhat zey say. For zey know nozzing.”
    “You think then, Franz, that all of Communism is like that — that all Communists are just a crowd of parlour fakes?”
    “Oh, die Kommunisten,” said Heilig wearily. “No, I do not sink zat zey are all fakes. And Kommunismus”— he shrugged his shoulders —“vell, zen, I sink zat it is very good. I sink zat some day ze vorld may live like zat. Only, I do not sink zat you and I will see it. It is too great a dream. And zese sings are not for you. You are not one of zese little propaganda Party people — you are a writer. It is your duty to look around you and to write about ze vorld and people as you see zem. It is not your duty to write propaganda speeches and call zem books. You could not do zat. It is quite impossible.”
    “But suppose I write about the world and people as I see them, and come in conflict with the Party — what then?”
    “Zen,” he said roughly, “you vill be one big fool. You can write everysing you need to write wizout zese Party people coming down on you. You do not need to mention zem. And if you do mention zem, and do not say nice sings, zen ye can no longer read you, and you cannot come back. And for vhat vould you do it? If you vere some little propaganda person in New York, you could say zese sings and zen it vould not matter. Because zey can say anysing zey like — but zey know nozzing of us, and it costs zem nozzing. But you — you have so much to lose.”
    Heilig paced back and forth in feverish silence, puffing on his cigarette, then all at once he turned and demanded truculently:
    “You sink it is so bad here now? — ze vay sings are wiz ze Party and zese stupid people? You sink it vould be better if zere vas anozzer party, like in America? Zen,” he said, not waiting for an answer, “I sink you are mistaken. It is bad here, of gourse, but I sink it vill be soon no better wiz you. Zese bloody fools — you find zem everyvhere. Zey are ze same wiz you, only in a different vay.” Suddenly he looked at George earnestly and searchingly. “You sink zat you are free in America — no?” He shook his head and went on: “I do not sink so. Ze only free ones are zese dret-ful people. Here, zey are free to tell you vhat you must read, vhat you must believe, and I sink zat is also true in America. You must sink and feel ze vay zey do — you must say ze sings zey vant you to say — or zey kill you. Ze only difference is zat here zey haf ze power to do it. In America zey do not haf it yet, but just vait — zey vill get it. Ve Chermans haf shown zem ze vay. And zen, you vould be more free here zan in New York, for here you haf a better name, I sink, zan in America. Here zey admire you. Here you are American, and you could efen write and say sings zat no Cherman could do, so long as you say nozzing zat is against ze Party. Do you sink zat you could do zat in New York?”
    He paced the floor in silence for a long moment, pausing to look searchingly at George. At length he answered his own question:
    “No, you could not. Zese people here — zey say zat zey are Nazis. I sink zat zey are more honest. In New York, zey call zemselves by some fine name. Zey are ze Salon–Kommunisten. Zey are ze Daughters of ze Revolution. Zey are ze American Legion. Zey are ze business men, ze Chamber of Commerce. Zey are one sing and anozzer, but zey are all ze same, and I sink zat zey are Nazis, too. You vill find everyvhere zese bloody people. Zey are not for you. You are not a propaganda man.”
    Again there was a silence. Heilig continued to pace the floor, waiting for George to say something; when he did not, Heilig went on again. And in his next words he revealed a depth of cynicism and indifference which was greater than George had ever before suspected, and of which he would not have thought Heilig’s sensitive soul was capable.
    “If you write somesing now against ze Nazis,” said Heilig, “you vill please ze Chews, but you cannot come back to Chermany again, and zat for all of us vould be quite dret-ful. And may I tell you some-sing?” he cried harshly and abruptly, and glared at George. “I do not like zese Gott-tam Chews any more zan I like zese ozzer people. Zey are just as bad. Ven all is going yell wiz zem, zey say: ‘Ve spit upon you and your bloody country because ye are so vunderful.’ And yen sings are going bad wiz zem, zey become zese little Chewish men zat veep and wring zeir hands and say: ‘Ve are only zese poor, downtrodden Chews, and look vhat zey are doing to us.’ And may I tell you,” he cried harshly, “zat I do not care. I do not sink it matters very much. I sink zat it is stupid vhat zese bloody fools are doing to zese Chews — but I do not care. It does not matter. I haf seen zese Chews yen zey vere high and full of power, and really zey vere dret-ful. Zey vere only for zemselves. Zey spit upon ze rest of us. So it does not matter,” he repeated harshly. “Zey are as bad as all ze ozzers, zese great, fat Chews. If I had my little ma-chine gun, I vould shoot zem, too. Ze only sing I care about more is vhat zese dret-ful fools viii do to Chermany — to ze people.” Anxiously, he looked at George and said: “You do so like ze people, Chorge?”
    “Enormously,” said George, almost in a whisper, and he was filled with such an overwhelming sadness — for Germany, for the people, and for his friend — that he could say no more. Heilig caught the full implications of George’s whispered tone. He glanced at him sharply. Then he sighed deeply, and his bitterness dropped away.
    “Yes,” he said quietly, “you must, of gourse.” Then he added gently: “Zey are really a good lot. Zey are big fools, of gourse, but zey are not too bad.”
    He was silent a moment. He ground out his cigarette in the ashtray, sighed again, and then said, a little sadly:
    “Veil, zen, you must do vhat you must do. But you are one big fool.” He looked at his watch and put his hand upon George’s arm. “Come on, old shap. Now it is time to go.”
    George got up, and for a moment they stood looking at each other, then they clasped each other by the hand.
    “Good-bye, Franz,” George said.
    “Good-bye, dear Chorge,” said Heilig quietly. “Ve shall miss you very much.”
    “And I you,” George answered. Then they went out.

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg

  • Etats-Unis : l’état d’urgence est décrété à #Charlottesville, où se rassemblent des militants d’extrême droite

    Le gouverneur démocrate de la Virginie, Terry McAuliffe, a déclaré un état d’urgence à Charlottesville, où de nombreux militants d’extrême droite veulent dénoncer le retrait d’une statue du général sudiste Lee. Un véhicule a foncé dans un groupe de contre-manifestants, tuant au moins une personne.
    [edit vu ailleurs : TROIS morts et 19 blessé-e-s]

    La #fachosphere de twitter, très active comme à son habitude, a très vite lancé la rumeur que le conducteur serait un « jeune déséquilibré » antifa et anti #Trump, qui se serait « trompé » de manif... Le jeune en question, Joel Vangheluwe, a très vite démenti mais la rumeur était déjà partie et infectait jusqu’aux mainstream français pendant un temps...

    Pour le contexte, je ne sais pas trop ce que vaut ce site mais il recense pas mal de sources d’automedias sur twitter sur le déroulé de la manif interdite, les affrontement entre suprémacistes blancs et antifas, mais aussi les milices et les flics...

  • Les smartphones « Samsung » : petite histoire de l’exploitation des employé-e-s dans le Sud-Est asiatique.

    Factory Riots Flare Up in Vietnam over Samsung’s Violence Against Workers — Goodelectronics

    The riot is the latest manifestation of Samsung’s smoldering tensions with labor in Vietnam where it is now the largest foreign employer. In Jan. 2014, in a similar pattern local workers and South Korean security guards clashed at the construction site of a $3.2 billion Samsung Electronics plant in the Vietnamese province of Thai Nguyen, leaving 13 people injured.

    Since 2008, Samsung Group has invested a total of $17.3 billion in Vietnam. Samsung Display, a spinoff of Samsung Electronics, alone is investing a total of $6.5 billion in the country. Currently, more than 100,000 Vietnamese workers assemble close to 50 percent of Samsung mobile phones and 100 percent of high-end Galaxy smartphones.

    Apart from flashpoints like riots or violent clashes, little information is available about working conditions at Samsung factories in the Southeastern Asian country. However, the Galaxy 7 fiasco last year offered a sneak peek: Vietnamese workers had to assemble close to 7 million replacements for fire-prone Galaxy 7 handsets during the five days Harvest Moon holidays for the hasty recall that flopped.

    #browntech #exploitation #capitalisme (débridé)

    • When I received the requirements, they contained the questions for the quiz, along with multiple choice answers for each question.

      Missing from the requirements was any indication of what I should do with the answers at the end of the quiz. So what rules determined what treatment the quiz would recommend?

      I spoke to the Account Manager about this. She emailed the client and got me the requirements. With those, I proceeded to code up the quiz.


      I wish I could tell you that when I first saw those requirements they bothered me. I wish I could tell you that it felt wrong to code something that was basically designed to trick young girls. But the truth is, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had a job to do, and I did it.

      L’informaticien fabrique la machine particulière que concrétise chaque logiciel en ignorant totalement les mondes qui peuvent être bouleversés par leurs usages. En effet, son interlocuteur direct et unique est l’informatiseur. Celui-ci lui fournit les éléments requis pour accomplir sa tâche sous la forme de « spécifications ». L’informaticien n’en conteste le contenu que si celui-ci n’est pas suffisamment cohérent pour mener à bien la tâche qui lui incombe. C’est bien souvent d’ailleurs une position revendiquée par l’informaticien qui se voit comme le virtuose d’une technique à la fois spécifique qu’est l’ingénierie logicielle, et très générique puisque la pratique de l’informaticien se déplace de projet en projet en changeant de contexte sans changer de contenu.

      En conclusion de l’article de Bill Sourour

      Since that day, I always try to think twice about the effects of my code before I write it. I hope that you will too.

      Ooohhh oui, j’y pense à deux fois ! Mais l’ethos des informaticiens (le pure formalisme) et les conditions de production des logiciels (SSII, sous-traitance, externalisation, critères d’évaluation d’une carrière) sont des obstacles qui ne peuvent être franchis individuellement qu’à l’occasion (bien trop rare) où le lien entre informaticien et informatisé-e-s est établi en direct comme le relate Bill Sourour