Monday, 28 December 2015

Processing a tragedy

The lockdown in Brussels last month reminded me of the days following the 9/11 attacks in New York.

I'm home in the US for the holidays, and over the weekend I discovered a treasure trove of old videos from high school and college in my parents' basement.

Among the VHS copies of my public access sketch comedy show in high school (don't worry I won't embarrass anyone by posting those videos!) I came across some footage I shot during the 9/11 attacks in New York City. I had completely forgotten about it.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

No, Brussels is not the new Berlin

People move to Berlin because they want to. People move to Brussels because they have to.

Given that I live in both cities, a lot of people have been asking me this weekend about Friday's New York Times article, 'Why Brussels is the New Berlin'. My first reaction after seeing the headline was to scoff. The article itself left me rather perplexed and annoyed.

These "________ is the new Berlin" articles are becoming a bad cliche. As Jon Worth pointed out in his blog today, this has been written about Warsaw, Leipzig, Zagreb, Krakow, Vilnius - the list goes on and on. The only prerequisite for the comparison seems to be that the city is cheap and has at least some artists in it. The Brussels-Berlin comparison is not itself new. Deutsche Welle did a similar article in August, although their piece had a more sensible focus on artists.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Germany sticks its neck out again - this time on climate

Germany is pushing for a 1.5 degree warming limit in the global climate agreement, but this goes beyond the EU's mandate of two degrees.

I'm in Paris this week for the big climate change summit, and it's very interesting to be here and compare it to Copenhagen five years ago. That summit, which notoriously collapsed in failure, was an absolute chaotic mess. This one, by contrast, is much calmer.

There are two reasons for this. For one, most of the groundwork has already been done before this summit. Secondly, the ambition level this time around is much lower - most notably because the reduction targets will not be legally binding. 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Auf wiedersehen, sleeper trains

A leaked internal document reveals Deutsche Bahn may halt all sleeper train services in Germany at the end of next year.

If you like the idea of rolling across Europe in the relaxed comfort of your bed, it looks like you've got just one year left to do it - in Germany at least.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail operator, has reportedly signalled that it may end all city night line trains in December 2016. No more overnight trains.