And now for something completely different. In 2005, I had the honour to publish the book „The Nicobars Islands. Cultural Choices in the Aftermath of the Tsunami“ by my friend Simron Jit Singh, then a scholar at the Institute of Social Ecology Vienna. Simron is an Indian anthropologist who’s work on the Nicobar Islands proved to tremendously exceed the enormous scientific value of the publication in itself as it became the reference book for that part of the population of the Nicobar Islands who had survived the apocalyptic Tsunami of Christmas 2004. With this book the survivors were at least partly enabled to re-establish their culture in spiritual and material terms. At the same time the population had to struggle with a second aftermath, that of aid organizations, bureaucracy, and the general onslaught of „civilisation“. In 2014, Raphael Barth presented his film „Aftermath-The second flood“ re-telling these events and processes. The screening of this film next week at the Boku Kino will be followed by a panel discussion, among others yours truly participating, hosted by the formidable Verena Winiwarter and organized by BOKU – Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Boku Kino, and Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. The book was published by Czernin Verlag and should still be in stock. The foreword can be found here. Do come.
Edit 19|10|08: The research project on the negative impact of disaster aid was conducted by Marina Fischer-Kowalski (Institute of Social Ecology) and her team, and funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). For more see abstract
By chance, I came across an image on Facebook which was taken on the day of my birth, May 7, 1964, showing shops on the busy Kärntner Straße close to my parents‘ flat in the centre of Vienna. The photographer was the American Charles W. Cushman. A quick research led me to his photo collection which, today, is part of the Indiana University Archives. The colour images taken on and around my birthday constitute a random selection with no connection to me or my family. Weiterlesen
Two years ago I was elected Honorary Secretary of the European Union of Science Journalists‘ Associations (EUSJA). It was an honour to serve in this function, a pleasure it was not. Together with my colleagues on the board Jens Degget, Marina Hužvárová and Antonio Calvo Roy, and with auditor Kaiainders Sempler, we were faced with the most serious threat to the union so far. My contribution to ease and hopefully solve this challenge was to draft and negotiate the new constitution which was passed at the General Assembly in Madrid on 24 March 2018. On the web page of the Austrian association I explained the essentials of the new constitution in German. On my departure from the board I left the delegates the following farewell note. Weiterlesen
I love the classicist Mary Beard. And I advise everyone else to do so too. While studying history at The Open University a fellow inmate of A219 summoned all her courage and contacted Beard over Facebook to tell her that we had spent weeks with her writings, loathing and loving them, and were now revising for our TMA 04. The night before the deadline Beard contacted our learning group to wish us luck. Minerva herself had spoken and blessed us. The Guardian rightly dedicated a long read to her. One telling excerpt: „The (EU) referendum then, should not be treated as the final word, she said, but as a straw vote. ‚Sure, say we want to leave, but you can only in the end say we are going to leave when we know what it means. Otherwise,‘ she said, ‚it’s just wanking in the dark.‘ Thinking I had misheard, I asked her to repeat. ‚Wanking in the dark,‘ repeated Beard, at volume.“