bm258 Alive in Baghdad and the New Berlin Wall

As the producer of one of the best information sources coming out of Iraq, BaghdadBrian is passionate about raising awareness about what life is really like for regular Iraqi’s living under occupation. While attending the Republica Conference last week, he and I had a chance to walk around Berlin and even do some tourism. Just as you’ll hear us comparing in this podcast, we often found ourselves comparing the divided post war Germany days to the situation in Iraq today.. specifically when it comes to dividing a city with walls.


bm256 The Lost Emmanuel Goldstein Conversation

This week, as I continue to suffer under the oppression of Dutch internet providers and the demands of my new employment, I bring you a lost episode of this podcast. Recorded the first day of 2008, this is Emmanuel Goldstein of 2600, his radio work as well as 2600 have long been an inspiration and a huge influence on the kind of journalist that I strive to be. This is a brief conversation we recorded on a train platform at Alexanderplatz in Berlin.

Most importantly, we talk about The Last Hope, the big hacker meeting in NYC this July (no I wont be there)In addition we mention:

  • The arctic and the political battle for control of it
  • The CCC and experiences at the congress
  • Public transport in Berlin
  • and more…


Video of my Talk at 24C3

Here is a link to the video of my speech at the 24C3. It is about an hour including questions, if you’re curious what I said and what it was like, watch some of it. If you like the first minutes, watch the rest. I won’t be putting this in the feed as a podcast, full credit to the CCC for putting it up so quick this year. The direct link to the video is here.

On that site you can also see a list of speeches from the conference, shop around, you might enjoy. I’ll be checking out Hacker Spaces and The Voting Computers sessions as I missed those and I know they’re good.

bmtv69 Highlights from 24C3

Last weekend I attended the annual hacker congress in Berlin. As usual, being surrounded by some of the world’s most brilliant and creative minds left me inspired, enlightened, and exhausted. This vlog only captures about 1/10 of the interesting things that took place during the congress, these are my video highlights.

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Arrived in Berlin

A few days in Berlin, among other reasons, to spend time with my dear friends, and to attend BarCamp Berlin.. which is neither a bar nor a camp.. just a nerd convention. Naturally there will be several podcasts and vlogs coming up related to issues here in Germany and beyond… I’m especially curious to discuss the experience of a new parent in Germany, what support the government gives you and that sort of thing.

For now, I require sleep.

Rotting American Image

During one of my very fun nights out on the town in Berlin my two new friends offerred to show me their favorite night spots. And as we walked town the now typical hipster street, we ran into a big crowd of people gathered around one guy who was struggling to be heard, telling some story like a tour guide.

“Oh this is so funny. Have you ever heard about these pub crawl just for Americans?”. my friend asked. Of course I had not. So she went on “Yeah they have this guide who brings alcohol in this backpack dispenser and everyone gets little shot glasses and it advertized for Americans to come get really drunk and maybe get laid.”

As I listened to these words I was already noticing all these details, looking at the obscenely loud crowd of college age kids in front of me. We walked around them like you walk by the scene of an accident. We joked about maybe trying to fit in and observe them up close. The joke didn’t last long and we got out of there in a hurry.

Hours later we hopped into a tram to get to the next destination. It was a typical Berlin tram on a wednesday night, not too full, lots of people sitting and the odd conversation here and there. Suddenly, as the next stop approached, there came this overwhelming sound of people. As if a stadium had let out after a championship game, there was a crowd outside and it was chanting and singing and yelling. And as the doors opened, they packed into the tram with a resounding roar, banging on the walls and stumbling over people in their seats.

YOu could hear the accents, you could hear their words, it was very painfully obvious that the American pub crawl crowd had invaded the tram. When they weren’t shouting conversation to their friends, they were busy leaning over passengers.. repeatedly apologizing for being drunk and for George Bush. I’ll never forget the look in the middle aged German couples faces, the look of disgust and pity, as college kid after college kid apologized for George Bush or even.. being American.

After two never ending stops, they piled out. The silence was deafening. Those who remained on the tram, I’m not exaggerating, gave a collective sigh and everyone looked at each other with this knowing look. To me it said “my god that was horrible.”

These events replayed in my head all evening. The college kids, the pubcrawl, the local people on the tram, the unbelievably loud communication, and of course.. the repeated apologies for what their country has done.

Say what you want about George Bush or even Congress, but these encounters remind me that there is something deeper going on. It is hard to break down what it is all about, but I definitely look to how people are being educated in the US, especially in college. To me college is the new high school, except that now you pay big money for you kids to basically attend a glorified high school with fewer rules.

Then you come back to the whole American image abroad thing. It is in shambles. And It won’t be cured by this congress or a new president. It will take a revolution in American culture that looks highly unlikely any time soon.