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Steve Jobs, European and American Washing Machines

Apparently Steve Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, "spent a lot of time asking ourselves, 'What is the purpose of a sofa?'" It was the choice of a washing machine, however, that proved most vexing, writes Malcom Gladwell in The New Yorker:

European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes. But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle. What should the family do? As Jobs explained, "We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half?

Perhaps Apple will on day produce an overpriced washing-machine that combines the best from European and American technology, incl. some Asian robot, which folds the laundry away.

Did you know that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution?

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Today is World Teachers' Day

Why do public school teachers have such a bad reputation in the US and get little pay?

That's one of the things I don't get. It's quite different over here. The job is well paid and respected by most folks. As a country with little natural resources, Germany depends on innovation and a smart work force. Education is good for democracy, happiness etc. The children are our future, yade, yade.

The US has more natural resources and is better than Germany (Europe) in attracting the smartest brains from all over the world, but still it needs a well educated general population to compete in the 21st century.

To improve the level of education in the US requires many reforms (as it does in Germany), but it seems quite elementary that more pay and more appreciation is necessary to encourage smart, talented, creative and committed young people to choose the profession of a teacher and then to stay motivated in this tough job to provide excellent education.

Since today is World Teacher Day, here is a shout out to teachers world wide!

Watch the trailer of the new documentary American Teacher below:

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EU Closer to Adopting Biometric Security Measures, and Drones Too!

From Deutsche Welle:
The European Commission agreed to a plan to collect fingerprints and photographs from foreigners entering the EU, part of an effort to fortify the bloc's borders.  The plan, which was presented on Wednesday, Feb. 13, could see EU funds used to develop surveillance equipment like cameras, sensors and pilot-less drones. Civil libertarians argue that the controversial measures infringe on people's privacy and won't fight crime.  But proponents of the plan called the proposals "further building blocks in the often stated aim of the European Union to build a space of free and secure travel through collective responsibility and solidarity."
Yesterday’s Washington Post also had an interesting article on the topic:

If approved by the European Parliament, the measure would mean that precisely identifying information on tens of millions of citizens will be added in coming years to databases that could be shared by friendly governments around the world.

The United States already requires that foreigners be fingerprinted and photographed before they enter the country. So does Japan...
The plan is part of a vast and growing trend on both sides of the Atlantic to collect and share data electronically to identify and track people in the name of national security and immigration control.

German Solar House Wins Contest Sponsored by US Department of Energy

The Technical University Darmstadt won the first pize in the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon, beating out major US universities, writes Dialog International and quotes the jury:
The Architecture Jury said the house pushed the envelope on all levels and is the type of house they came to the Decathlon hoping to see. The Lighting Jury loved the way this house glows at night. The Engineering Jury gave this team an innovation score that was as high as you could go, and said nobody did the integration of the PV system any better.

Earlier this year, the Atlantic Review post Positive US Media Coverage of Environmentalism in Germany quoted the Rocky Mountain News: "Home importer turns to Europe for quality, speed and energy efficiency, not to mention looks."

RELATED: Anglofritz writes about green technology as well:
Germany sells the most climate friendly technology worldwide, thanks to the pioneering EEG law of the Schröder/Fischer government - now adopted by 47 other nations. It's said that the renewable will overtake the automobile industry in the next decade. And sure enough, the United States is in second position and already a strong competitor.