German politicians are clueless about the Internet – and the technological glass ceiling of fairground rides

According to a new study released today by German government spokesperson for addiction issues, half a million Germans suffer from internet addiction. Unsurprisingly, the percentage of internet addicts is highest among the 14 to 24 age group. Apparently, four hours of internet usage per day is enough to qualify as addiction. Never mind that the 60-year-old spokeswoman for addiction issues does not seem to have grasped the fact that online socializing is socializing.

Sigh. And they wonder that the Pirate Party got 8.9 percent of the vote in the recent Berlin elections, while the party of the spokeswoman for addiction issues, the FDP, got a measly 1.9 percent.

And there’s even more cluelessness and idiocy from German politicians regarding Internet usage, as conservative politician Volker Kauder has announced a bill that will allow to temporarily terminate the internet connections of copyright violators. I wonder what he’s going to do to all those plagiarising politicians, all of whom were members of Mr Kauder’s own party or the coalition partner FDP.

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Fall is fairground season in Germany. This article from Deutsche Welle discusses a phenomenon that most German fairground visitors will already have noticed, namely that there are fewer new rides. The reasons are that new rides are getting every more expensive and that operation costs are rising as well. What is more, the big manufacturers of fairground rides such as our local matador Huss are increasingly focusing on amusement park rides.

Personally, I also suspect that we have hit a technological glass ceiling for fairground rides beyond which not a lot of innovation is possible within the limits of the traveling fairground business. Because the rate of innovation in fairground rides has definitely slowed down in the past ten to fifteen years, compared to the glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s where we’d queue up for the privilege to testdrive the latest Huss attractions and where the Freimarkt, our local autumn fair, boasted three or four new rides every year.

What is more, most newer rides – frankly speaking – suck and have sucked for a while. Of course, part of this may be due to the fact that I have been out of the target demographic for fairground rides for almost twenty years now, though my stomach is still strong enough, even if I avoid notorious spinal disc killers these days. But most of the rides of my youth are still enjoyable these days – I still love the Kraken and the Happy Traveller a.k.a. Breakdancer and the Frisbee and I’m sure I would still love the Rainbow or the Ranger or the Pirate Boat or the Magic or the Take-Off if they were still around. The new ones, however, are both forgettable and badly designed. It’s also telling that you still have to fight with 12-year-olds for a seat on the 35-year-old Kraken, while many a new ride remains empty and vanishes after two or three years never to be seen again.

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