By MATHIAS EICHLER   Issue #35: September/October 2014   'We're Falling Forward'


Layer Tennis is Back

Yes! So excited.

LEGO Fusion

Interplay between real bricks and an iPad app?

Christmas is coming!

Is it worth it hosting the Olympics?


Philip Porter, an economist at the University of South Florida who has studied the impact of sporting events, told me that the evidence was unequivocal. “The bottom line is, every time we’ve looked — dozens of scholars, dozens of times — we find no real change in economic activity,” he said. Still, even for established cities like Boston or San Francisco, there is one clear reason to chase the Olympics or the World Cup: People like hosting major sporting events. Economists tend to pay more attention to money than to happiness, because money is easier to count. But it’s no small matter that surveys routinely find high levels of public support in the host nation before, during and after the Olympics and the World Cup. “It’s like a wedding,” Matheson told me. “It won’t make you rich, but it may make you happy.” The trick is deciding how much that’s worth.

It’s been quiet here

The World Cup interrupted everything. Everything.

Then Germany won it all. And I’ve been in a delirium ever since.

Also I went hiking, and to Whistler, and enjoyed the sun.

My trip to Germany is up next.

Man, Summer is great. Just not for blogging.

Kickstarter’s Potato Salad

A potato salad is taking the media by storm.

And as much as this is all funny and in good sport, by Kickstarter allowing this campaign they are essentially making fun of themselves and somewhat tarnishing their brand. Kickstarter used to hold themselves to a standard of trying to inspire and help create beautiful things. This Potato Salad campaign is tarnishing all this and showing everyone that more often than not Kickstarter campaigns are overly opportunistic and sometimes not more than a hunt for a quick buck.


The World Cup doesn’t make sense

Bill Simmons for Grantland:

Every World Cup does one thing better than any other event that human beings organize. It focuses the attention of the world on one place at one moment. Around a billion people watched at least part of the final in 2010; that’s several Super Bowls. When a game becomes so ubiquitous, it almost ceases to be entertainment and becomes something else, an atmospheric phenomenon, an object of astronomy. Will more people watch Germany-France on Friday or see the moon over France and Germany? Only the Olympics brings people together like this, and hey, due respect to the Olympics. But oh man is it ever not the same thing.

And this, even more than neuron-blowing games or unbelievable outcomes, is the magic of the World Cup. Over the next 10 days, a substantial portion of the living population of the Earth will have its feelings altered simultaneously by the actions of 22 men chasing a ball around a field in Brazil. Whether you watch alone or in a group or at a stadium, you will know that what you are seeing is being seen by hundreds of millions of people on every corner of the globe, and that your joy, despair, or disbelief is being echoed in incomprehensibly many consciousnesses. Is there anything more ridiculous than this? There is nothing more ridiculous than this, but it’s an extraordinary feeling, too. When something incredible happens — Messi curls a ball around three defenders; Zidane head-butts Materazzi — it’s not just an exciting moment. It’s a bright line connecting you with the human race.

No other sporting event can really compare to the World Cup in this regard, and when the tournament is as wild as this one has been, the feeling is even stronger. It’s why you despair that FIFA is a cabal of oleaginous quasi murderers, why their inability to control, say, match fixing is so depressing. They don’t deserve to control this. In an important sense, it has nothing to do with them. No World Cup, certainly not one in Brazil, can stand outside history. The World Cup is history. And now it’s history waiting to happen.

Kickstarting my once sold Business

So, there’s this new trend, where people sell their company/app/site/idea to a larger corporation with lots of cash, presumably in exchange for lots of cash and then the inevitable happens and the large corporation shuts the service down.

A little later a disgruntled founder shows up on Kickstarter and begs for cash to restart the service.

Black Red and Gold

Does Germany need a new flag?

We only started using our flag, like really using it since 2006, the last World Cup, and already people are tired of it. The colors are not the coolest colors, and the shapes are very typical ‘flag shapes’ but it’s typical for Germans to already be sick of it and wonder if we should ‘tone it down’ or even change it.


It was first used by the revolutionaries in the 19th century who fought bitterly for a united nation.

And therefore we can be proud of it. Even without stars on it, or blue or white…

Soccer-inspired T-shirts

Some fun ones in that catalogue.

XOXO 2014

And I’ll be in Germany – dang.

It’s all just wind

The Federal Republic’s northernmost — and windiest — state of Schleswig-Holstein is set to generate all of its electricity from green energy this year. The state, which borders Denmark and the North and Baltic Seas, has a goal to generate 300 percent of its electricity needs from renewables.

While Schleswig-Holstein aims to become the first of Germany’s 16 states to pass the 300 percent renewables mark, a Bavarian village has already blown past that milestone. In 2011, Wildpoldsried produced a whopping 321 percent of its electricity from clean energy, generating four million Euro (US $5.7 million) in revenue by selling it back to the national grid.

We can all love at it, until it works. Really works.

I’ll remind you before the Playoffs

Gruber links to annoying Obermann:

 ‘When A Tie Is A Win, We All Lose’

How is that different to loosing a regular season game and still making it into the playoffs?

And why am I linking to this?

No one is calling you stupid, unless you start throwing sand in the sandbox.

But man is it cute to see Americans grapple with the fact that something could be awesome that is not trenched in red white and blue nostalgia.

Welcome To Portland

Right out of an episode of Portlandia. SF tech mogul Kevin Rose buys old house in Portland. Wants to tear it down and build modern mansion. Neighborhood freaks out and stages a online petition, while still welcoming him to Portland.

Ha, the mob has its ways. Funny how this goes.

Why you should vaccinate your Kids

Explained in two minutes. Go.

No Drones in National Parks

For now, drones are no longer allowed to fly on National Park lands.

If we as a society should ever entertain the idea that private drones are allowed to fly above our headspace we need to make absolutely sure that all drones contain ‘black boxes’ and proper tracking devices and every flight is trackable, traceable, insurable and accountable to the owner of the drone. Part of the reason why we have loose gun laws is that we are fascinated with technology and love toys in our hands, but drones are a new thing and we have a chance to start this off right. If it ever does start off.

I rather have them not take off ever, but I don’t want to sounds like an old fart who’s just yelling “get off my lawn”.

Coach Sigi Schmid is rooting for the US

Schmid is rooting for the US:

“No. I’m rooting for the U.S. I’m never torn on that. I’ve grown up here, I’m a U.S. citizen, and this is where I’ve earned my living as a soccer coach. … When Germany plays anybody else, I’m very German and I’m definitely behind them all the way. But I sometimes lose patience for people who have lived here a long time and are still rooting for their home country first. I understand that, and I was born in Germany and have all my relatives there. They’re going to be rooting for Germany first and they’re going to give me a hard time. But I just think this is the country that my family committed to and that I’ve committed to, so I’m going to support this country.”

This one is still hard for me. The German National Team has always been my favorite team to watch. I want them to win another trophy and continue their legacy. They need to win it this time.

But when the US is not playing Germany I am 100% rooting for them. They’ve shown great soccer on the pitch this year. The Sounders players help bring the team closer to me and I love watching them succeed.

Just not on Thursday. I will be rooting for Germany again.

PS: On second thought, if we end in second place in Group G we could avoid Brazil until the Finals. Hmmmm.

The Not So Big Superbowl

Tobias Kemper:

In case you were wondering what the World Cup means to everyone else.

Talking Soccer on Tumblr

Moved all that noisy soccer talk to a dedicated Tumblr blog. For the next 4 weeks at least.

Oh, there is so much to talk about, so many amazing games, beautiful goals and so many cool statistical possibilities.

Come and join me, and talk soccer with me.

‘German stadium turned into freakishly clean living room for World Cup’


Complete World Cup Schedule for iCal

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Let the madness begin!