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I almost died the inevitable office death

Yesterday evening I left my desk in the institute at about 7:30 pm. The last our I spend thinking of how to design an experiment to reduced the risk of mutations from cosmic rays. I thought I am pretty safe in the office from anything falling down, being it cosmic debris or terrestrial objects. On the left side you can see me still in a pretty relaxing mute. When I opened my office today at 8 am, however I was slightly speaking a bit confused. I only saw pictures like this one (below) in news reporting from sites of earthquakes. But there wasn't any earthquake in Munich since about 3 million years. It appeared, instead that 4 book shelfes (each weighting about 80 kg) came suddenly of the wall at night (they had been fixed there by our campus facility group by drilling some holes in the plaster-board). The occupational safety officer came around right away to document the event. He assure me that if I would have been sitting at my desk in the moment of the event, I could have been dead (I guess it would have been the first case in history that somebody had been beated to death by falling books).
When I removed all the debries I discovered that the computer had also been damaged, at least it lost power connection when the heavy bookshelf crashed on it (white large box). On its temp-file time stamp I could retriev the time point when the accident happend. It was exactly 11 minutes after I left the institute. So a few minutes later, maybe another 15 minutes more thinking in a relaxed position about the risk of cosmic debris, and I would have fallen on the office field of honour.


The crazy world of Venn diagrams

Venn diagrams are tools to summarize in a graphical manner the results of a multifactorial analysis. Outside proper number theory in mathematics, however, they are usually more confusing than elucidating. Actually, I hate them, because people in life-science use them mainly to show how much work they did (but not how much intelligent thoughts they invested).

Here I'd like to suggest (and of course claim trademark ownership for) a couple of special cases of Venn diagrams

The Solar Eclipse diagram
(2 sets with 1 shared set)

The Krupp diagram
(3 sets with 3 shared sets in pairs and 1 shared set for all)

Image result for audi ringe

The Audi diagram
(4 sets with 3 pairwise shared sets)

Image result for olympische ringe

The Olympic diagram
5 main set
7 pairwise shared sets in the overlap between
       -  blue-yellow
       -  blue-black
       -  black-yellow
 -  green-yellow
                                                                   -  green-black
                                                                   -  green-red
                                                                   -  red-black
                                                    3 subsets shared by 3 sets in the overlap between                                                                                           -  blue-black-yellow
                                                           -  green-black-yellow
                                                           -  green-black-red 


Scientists wellcome culture

You might call this scientific brain drain, but I rather consider it the competition of the brightest brains for the best possible places in the world to do research. I do every year a two-weeks summer school on "Molecular Mechanisms of Radiation Carcinogenesis", which over the last ten years or so attracted more and more students from all over the world. This years class had participants from China, India, Iran, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Germany, Nigeria, Ghana and the US (please note I listed the countries in the order of the rising sun, i.e. from the farest east to the farest west).

Young scientists from various countries attented the 2016 CONCERT summer school on "Molecular Mechanisms of Radation Carcingenesis" in my instiute. I am sure that the unrestricted spreading of science will promote new discoveries, maybe one of them even help me to reverse my grey hair (4th from left).

I have to say that they were all extremely commited to the lectures they heared here, and since they returned to they home institutions or continue their PhD projects anywhere else, it is not a brain drain from the poorer to the richer hemisphere of the world, but rather the spreading of scientific knowledge.
I strongly believe that anything that mankind has discovered or created should be available for no costs to everyone, because only this way this and all future generations can profit from scientific discoveries. But I not only want to advocate a world-wide benefit from the discoveries of a few brilliant researchers (such as Harald zur Hausen or Emmanuelle Charpentier), but I strongly believe that an unlimitted access to the creative pool of the whole world will speed up and nourish any further progress, be it scientifically, technical or cultural.