Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

Opinion

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Date June 2012 / Category News

University managers create a virtual university for themselves, a sort Sim City academia. Columnist Mirko Schäfer calls it Sim Sity as in SIMplified univerSITY. He pleads for rogue scholars, who come up with solutions for problems without bothering at all the encrusted superstructure of administrators.

Tags Opinion

Date March 2012 / Category News

Many scholars struggle with the latest budget cuts and the autocratic management that has removed students and teaching staff from participating in decision making processes. If we would actively get involved by investing into our university, we might regain some influence.

Tags academia crowdfunding Opinion

Date September 2007 / Category News

The recent trend in Germany towards surveillance is threatening civil rights seriously. The right wing minister for Inner Affairs even requires clandestine online searching of personal computers next to wiretapping, and data retention. This would be similar to house searches without even notifying the occupants. The constitutional legality does not approve the practice why CDU and CSU politicians currently try to change the laws. The plans for data retention of all citizen's Internet traffic, phone calls, e-mails and even the logging of geographical location in relation to mobile phone communication will be in effect soon. A growing group of concerned citizens is organizing actions for defending what is left of our civil rights.

German Working Group on Data Retention

Tags Event Opinion

Date November 2004 / Category News

Very interesting how the EU administration is pushing directives that help monopolists to regulate markets and to avoid competition. Next monday the directive on software patents will be adopted by the council for agriculture, environment and fishing (I guess these guys really know how software works).

According to a recent survey of the Deutsche Bank Research software patents will stiffle innovation and market growth. According to a HP memo published earlier this year software patents will help Microsoft to keep open source out of the market.

More information:
FFII
Free Software Foundation Europe

Tags Opinion

Date March 2005 / Category News

On Monday March 7th the EU Commission accepted the directive on copyrights and software patents against the will of the EU Parliament. The M$ lobby won. Software patents are about to be legalized in the EU; Europe won't make a difference any more. It will harm our cultural freedom, it will stiffle innovation and slow down economic growth. The future won't be open.
Unfortunately the EU Commission is obviously neither representing the people nor Europe.

Council Presidency Adopts Software Patent Agreement Against Council's Rules
De website van NoSoftwarepatents.com in het Nederlands: Geen Softwarepatenten.

 

Tags Opinion

Date April 2012 / Category News

An institutionalised pledge in order to prevent academic fraud is useless when the entire institution is undermined by policy makers, crippled through bureaucracy and damaged by unacademic leaders. Such a pledge is as valuable as a hasty vow in a Las Vegas drive-through wedding chapel. Restoring academia's autonomy and fostering traditional academic values, however, might be a good start.

Tags academia Opinion

Date November 2007 / Category News

The right wing party winning the latest elections in Switzerland communicated their political objectives in an online game. As reported by Ian Bogost on Watercoolergames  the game's hero is a white cartoon goat called Zottel. In "Zottel rescues Switzerland" the user has to solve missions such as kicking out black sheep "representing criminal foreigners", intercepting passports issued to immigrants and shooting "EU tax collectors" for the sake of a "flourishing Switzerland." (see screen shots)

The shocking aspect of the game is its trivialized racism, presented as a playful and harmless game. It would have been impossible for the Swiss People's Party to launch a version of Ethnic Cleansing a racist First Person Shooter developed by Neo-Nazi label Resistance Records. Even right-wing conservatives would have distanced themselves from the obvious endorsement of violence, white power, and racism. But it is actually that very spirit that the Zottel game thrives on.

Xenophobia and racism are wrapped into a cheerful online game promoting the People's Party's concern for safety, order and independence. Employing stereotypes of criminal immigrants, unwilling to adapt to Swiss law and culture, the People's Party promotes nationalism and hatred for foreigners as funny leisure activity. The obvious implication is actually the call for race war and genocide promoted explicitly in Ethnic Cleansing. The campaign represents the recent trend in European politics making nationalism sociable as protectionist conservative policy.

Tags Games Opinion

Date September 2006 / Category News

Before I became a junior teacher at Utrecht University I spent a year as Erasmus student there, back in 1999. When I left Utrecht in 2000 I was asked to write a review on my time in the Netherlands. It was published in the student magazine De Marge.

Tags Article Opinion

Date November 2004 / Category News

Of course I am deeply concerned about the tendencies going on in Europe lately. Dumb people exploring their proud into "their" nation. I can only refer to Schopenhauer's excellent comment on this problem:

"Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Aphorisms

"Aber jeder erbärmliche Tropf, der nichts in der Welt hat, darauf er stolz sein könnte, ergreift das letzte Mittel, auf die Nation, der er gerade angehört, stolz zu sein. Hieran erholt er sich und ist nun dankbarlich bereit, alle Fehler und Torheiten, die ihr eigen sind, mit Händen und Füßen zu verteidigen."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Aphorismen

And I think, we don't need these fools around. So we all should tell them to **** off and to leave for another planet!

Tags Opinion

Date April 2005 / Category News

Gott ist tot: aber so wie die Art der Menschen ist wird es vielleicht noch jahrhundertelang Höhlen geben, in denen man seinen Schatten zeigt.
[God is dead; but given the ways of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft)

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2000 - 2017 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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