Archive for November, 2006

Graz’s Fifth Gift to the World: Communist Ernest Kaltenegger & Conservative Arnold Schwarzenegger

Today Graz gives to the world two popular politicians:

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ernest Kaltenegger play a similar role in Graz, although they come from diametral different political background. Most people in Graz respect Arnold and Ernest, and they have an image of a “friendly great-uncle”.

So what did Schwarzenegger give to the world?
# As an actor Schwarzenegger was responsible for great movies like Terminator I,II and III, Hercules in New York (1970) or Twins

# Schwarzenegger has been Mr. Universe, and is now the Gouvernor of California.

# As a politician, Schwarzenegger is responsible for the death of a lot of criminals, because he didn’t use his opportunity to amnesty them.

And what did Kaltenegger give to the world?
# Kaltenegger is the main reason, why in Graz the Communist Party has made it to more than 20 % of votes.

# Since 1998, Kaltenegger donates more than half of his salary for social purposes. Every week, people can visit Kaltenegger in his office and ask for some money. Charity begins at home, that’s his motto.

# Ernest has not been working as an actor, as far as I know, but a German director made a Film on the “Kaltenegger-phenomenon”: It’s called Der Kommunist.

photo schwarzenegger by: Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

Graz’s Fourth Gift to the World: The Rocket Mail


Rocket mail is the delivery of mail by rocket or missile. (Something like a superfast snail mail.) The rocket would land by deploying an internal parachute upon arrival. It has been attempted by various organisations in many different countries, with varying levels of success. It has never been seen as being a viable option for delivering mail, due to the cost of the schemes and numerous failures.
The first Rocket Mail was launched in February 1931 by Friedrich Schmiedl (born in 1902), an engineer from Graz. He started a rocket with 100 letters aboard from Schoeckel hill to Sankt Radegund, a distance of two kilometres. But a few years later the property of explosive was avenged with death penalty. Schmiedl, an avowed pacifist, was afraid of using his documents for military research and burned them on the verge of the “occupation” by the Nazis.
After the war some research positions in the USA were offered, but Schmiedl cancelled (remember, he was pacifist) and became an official in the city council of Graz. He died in 1994.

(BTW: the English Wikipedia about rocket mail doesn’t even mention Schmiedl’s name. But I’m too lazy to update it.)

Graz’s Third Gift to the World: Sound of Aether


The world’s first wireless transmission of speech and music was performed by Ing. Otto Nußbaumer at the Graz University of Technology on June 15, 1904. He was using a wavelength of about 18 meters. As a test, he sang the traditional “Hoch vom Dachstein an” (*) and thus proved that it is possible to transfer music by means of electromagnetic transmission, undisturbed and without much bias. Of course, the distance was only 20 meters.
His colleagues didn’t believe in his work, didn’t really support it. Otto Nußbaumer was disappointed and never patented it. Too sad, ’cause Reginald Fessenden from Canada got most of the credit and is still being considered the pioneer of wireless transmission.

Today, wireless technology has developed into a wide variety of communication services, ranging from radio broadcasts to mobile telephony, the mobile internet, smart wireless chips and their applications. In 2004, the Graz University of Technology created a visiting professorship program in the memory of Otto Nußbaumer.

(*) Originally composed for no grander occasion than the 25th anniversary of the Styrian Agricultural Society. But the song soon became Styria’s official anthem.

Graz’s Second Gift to the World: The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos


Johannes Kepler lived in Graz between 1594 and 1600. In Graz, Kepler began developing an original theory of cosmology based on the Copernican system, which was published in 1596 as Mysterium Cosmographicum — The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos. Kepler proposed that the distance relationships between the six planets known at that time could be understood in terms of the five Platonic solids, enclosed within a sphere that represented the orbit of Saturn. This book explains Kepler’s cosmological theory, based on the Copernican system, in which the 5 Pythagorean regular polyhedra dictate the structure of the universe and reflect God’s plan through geometry. But — hey — the idea was false.
Later Kepler did some more mathematical thinking and he defined the Laws of Planetary Motion, one of the biggest break-throughs in science history. But that wasn’t in Graz. Sorry.

Graz’s First gift to the World: Slow Motion

For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days (to see what the rest of the world is contributing, click here.


How fast and boring the world would be without it…
Imagine sport tv broadcastings, scientific documentary films, love tragedies and action movies without the superbe experience multiplier technique… slow motion.
The slow motion technology was invented in Graz by the Styrian pastor and physicist August Musger. He was a passionate cineast and invented a motion technique using a mirrored drum as a synchronizing mechanism. The technique was patented in 1904 and was presented in Graz on July 7, 1907 for the first time.
Graz and Styria is well know for its coziness – so it is a logic consequence that this technique was invented here…


Inner courtyard of the Styrian Landhaus.


The Landhaus is reminiscent of some Venice palazzo. In 1557, the Italian architect Domenico dell’Allio started to construct a prestigious building for the Styrian estates. It still is the provincial parliament of Styria.
And an ugly monster is guarding it! Ah!

Picture source: timitalia’s photostream


although graz is also know as “pensionopolis” there are still some children living here. maybe one of them is currently very sad… i was passing the biochemical institute of the technical university on my way home. it was a cold, rainy and dark evening. suddenly i spotted a bambi sitting on the cold and wet concrete. it smiled at me and i couldn’t help but taking it home with me to a warm place where the poor bambi could rest. but… huh… what is it and to whom does it belong?

owner! if you want back your…
a) part of a biochemical experiment spreading mutat viruses?
b) bomb?
c) surveillance device? (i will check the eyes…)
d) freudian manifestation?
e) piece of art?
…please comment!



On my way through the city I came along three funny/strange street signs:

1. slippery when wet sign on concrete pavement / Location: Grazer Congress


2. no parking except for marriage vehicles / Location: Landhausgasse


3. I have no idea what they want from me. there was just a white line on the ground around the sign. I can’t even translate it to english / Location: Neutorgasse


le.f.t – graz 2006

The “lesbian film days graz 2006” will open tomorrow with “Hu Die – Butterfly”, a drama by Yan Yan Mak. The Chinese film will be shown with English subtitles.


November 22-25.

Venue: Filmzentrum im Rechbauer, Rechbauerstraße 6, 8010 Graz.


Jingle Bells are near

At the moment the city is full of small houses or parts and pieces that will soon be small houses for the Christmas markets. Small houses filled with roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, crocheted tablecloths and handcrafted Santas. The weather is getting colder and more rainy and the Christmas shopping horror and the Jingle Bells overkill is near. I really like Christmas but most of the time it’s not that contemplative I want it to be especially because my way to work leads directly through the shopping streets.


I’m very exited what this is all about. A motor racing-circuit?
Location: Hauptbrücke

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