Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Shameless Add: Unsoul Record Release Party"

"The Dark Side Of Cyberspace: Chinese Labor Conditions And Your Motherboard"

Yesterday we went to the presentation of two NGOs, WEED and SACOM, who are on tour to make people across Europe aware of the awful working conditions in the Chinese computer industry. They released a study called The Dark Side Of Cyberspace.
Computer hardware for almost all companies is produced in Chinese sweatshops. Their laborers work about twice the amount of hours that are LEGAL in China, sometimes they even don't get contracts, even if that is the law, too.
There is absolutely no healthcare and no safety regulations at work. The two case studies focused on EXCELSIOR ELECTRONICS and COMPEQ TECHNOLOGY who provide material for companies like DELL, LENOVO and FUJITSU SIEMENS COMPUTERS. APPLE, NOKIA, SONY, AMD and MOTOROLA are said to be supplied by those companies as well. INTEL rejected the relationship, even though they are directly supplied by EXCELSIOR according to this study.

This is what the researchers found out:

"Excelsior Electronics is a supplier of motherboards, chipsets, and graphic cards to Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Intel, AMD and other IT multinationals. During peak production periods overtime work hours routinely exceed the legal limits (up to 370 hours in total in a month). Worse yet, workers are not insured against illness or industrial diseases, despite their exposure to dangerous chemicals.
According to the Labour Contract Law, a labour contract must be negotiated and consented to by the worker and his or her employment unit. The labour contract comes into effect when the worker and the employment unit each signs or affixes a seal upon copies of the contract. The employment unit and the worker shall each retain a copy of the labour contract. Excelsior workers, nevertheless, are not given their copies.
At the time of massive layoffs, Excelsior workers reported that they have difficulties to claim their legitimate compensations."

The NGOs are asking especially public institutions and organisations who buy more hardware than private persons to check back on what they buy. It is in their responsibility as well.

It is in our responsibility to spread the word.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Vaguely Travel Comparing Two Different Systems: USA and Germany/ EU"

I need to link this blog again, because Jesse just wrote some very interesting things on how he perceived the difference between Germany/ Europe and his own home country, the USA. Cultural theory agreed on the fact that it takes the mirror of "The Other" to understand the self better. Personally I think, German politicians (and inhabitants of this country...) should pay a lot more attention to how their country is perceived by open-eyed and open-minded travellers from other systems, like him. They tend to forget about the good things and we all know how easy it is to loose something that is really really good (like good education for example, or values and laws people agreed upon, or a sense for community and the sharing of resources). And once lost, it might be hard to regain. Some things are better preserved than gambled about out of a new fashion or lazy mindset, that can be more fun and more rewarding than gambling.

I am looking forward to read more of Jesse's impressions.

(and to finish my thesis to keep on rocking this world inside the next level of the great game - work in progress, as usual ... )

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Waiting For Christmas: Welcome To The Mulled Wine Season"

It is a common tradition in Germany to prepare mulled wine during the advent season. You can get a nice mug of this tasty hot potion on Christmas markets, or make it at home for a nice evening with your friends and family. I just had my first mug last week, enjoyed it very much, strolling around Prenzlauer Berg Christmas market with a friend. We had a typical mix of smelling wooden toys, listening to embarassing a cappella musicians and spotting some random tv soap stars shooting a scene or two inside the old brewery space.

If you like to give it a try as well - here comes the recipe:

Heat up red wine (don't cook it - there goes the alcohol...) with cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel and star-anise. Sweeten at will with honey or sugar. Enjoy. Have some gingerbread or almond biscuits with it. Enjoy even more.