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An ambitious scientific study conducted in Germany shows how discrimination can work on a spectrum. It also shows how anti-Muslim bigotry is affected by how much the target appears to have assimilated into mainstream society.

"It's a common argument, mainly by parties on the right, that immigrants are resistant to integrating," Nicholas Sambanis, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Los Angeles Times.

"They justify conflict and negative attitudes toward immigration and arguments to reduce immigration by referencing these fears that immigrants don't want to integrate," he continued.

To see whether an immigrants perceived adaptation of cultural norms affects the level of discrimination they face, Sambanis and two of his partners conducted a social experiment in 29 train stations that involved over 7,000 bystanders who unwillingly became test subjects.
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Communities

Germany Plans to Give Dozens of Military Bases Back to Nature

The country will turn thousands of acres once reserved for training soldiers into sanctuaries reserved for protecting wildlife.

image via (cc) flickr user justinwkern

“Old soldiers,” explained acclaimed general Douglas MacArthur, during his iconic farewell speech to Congress, “never die; they just fade away.”

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These Robotic Apes Could be Headed for the Moon

In the future, will mechanical chimpanzees mine for fuel in space?

Image courtesy of Daniel Kühn, DFKI

If like me, you see stories about sending robots into outer space and think to yourself, “needs more apes,” Charlie the moon-exploring robo-chimp should be just the thing to make your day. CNN reports that the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (known as DFKI in Germany) has modeled a robot design on the chimpanzee, betting that imitating the animal’s versatile range of movements will prove ideal for the wide range of tasks required on an unmanned lunar mission. The prototype is technically called the iStruct Demonstrator, but the scientists have nicknamed it “Charlie,” and are testing out its moon skills on artificial lunar craters in a lab.

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This 500-Year-Old Religious Figure Is Playmobil’s Best Selling Toy of All Time

Playmobil’s “Little Luther” sold out in a record-breaking three days.

Image via Boing Boing / Playmobil

As popular history tells it, the Protestant Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Thesis to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Little did Luther know that in addition to launching one of the most important movements in Christianity, he would be transformed into a children’s toy—and a record-setting one at that.

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Can Battlestar Galactica Roleplay Boost Political Engagement? The German Government Thinks So

80 frackin’ participants are learning all about politics and civic responsibility through the lens of BSG

image via (cc) flickr user thmorgenroth

When Roland D. Moore and David Eick rebooted classic ‘70’s cheese-fest Battlestar Galactica in 2004, they took a series known for clunky robot costumes and transformed it into a complex, morally ambiguous meditation on life, politics, and human nature. At its best (something not always the case in its waning episodes) the Battlestar reboot is considered by many to be one of – if not the – gold standards by which other science-fiction franchises can measured. But while the show may have provided us with hours of moderately thought-provoking entertainment, one German organization thinks Battlestar Galactica has something much more substantive to offer: A model to help train aspiring politicos through live action role playing, or as it’s more commonly known, LARPing.

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British Farmer Wants a Refund on His Dangerous Nazi-Bred “Super Cows”

The cows are reportedly “too dangerous to handle”.

A Heck cattle cow in Mannheim, Germany. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A British farmer who made news in 2009 when he shipped over a herd of Nazi-bred “super cows” from Germany now wants to get rid of them. Farmer Derek Gow says that the cows are “too dangerous to handle” and would try to “kill anyone” any chance they could. Apparently, it was “not a lot of fun at all”, though it’s hard to imagine why anyone would expect a herd of Nazi-bred super cows to be a barrel of laughs.

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