I can see it now...
You quietly drift off, the Eye-Tracker gives the sat nav a nudge, the sat nav picks Warsaw, and the google car invades Poland all by itself.
In Germany, apart from the well-known national passion for efficiency and order, a common trait among the citizenry is the desire for driving extremely fast along the autobahn. When bombing along the fast lane at 150mph (240km/h) in your BMW, even a split second's inattention can be fatal. And yet we are all human, and …
all Germans are goosestepping, all Brits make bad Nazi jokes, all Poles nick cars ...
And besides - if you ask the "right" questions you get scientific proof of a xenophobic, anti-islamic, yew-hating nationalist Germany again http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,722868,00.html, just don't look at the same simple-answer, scape-goat pointing trend everywhere the economy goes down ...
Having been transferred from the Eastern Front to command of a prisoner of war camp, the Major required the reassuring sound of a bed-side clock to sleep. The "tick-tock" sound helped to calm his nightmares.
One day the clock failed. This being war-time Germany, no replacement or parts could be found, so the Major ordered a prisoner to stand outside his bedroom and say "tick-tock" all night.
However, the prisoner fell asleep and began to say only "tick-tick", which awoke the Major.
In a rage, the Major confronted the prisoner and said, "Ve haff vays to make you tock!"
"People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area."
... but it may give you a head start. I've been researching the very small corner of Germany from whence my other half originates. Turns out Adolf and the boys saw this particular spot as a bit of an ideological hothousing experiment back in the early thirties. In order to be buy farm land there you had to be party member of long and enthusiastic standing, and of course be able to trace your 'pure' ancestry back to about 1800. Presumably the idea was to breed 'natural' Nazis for generations to come.
The place actually became quite famous for a brief few years and bus loads of day trippers and tourists (including from the UK and US) would apparently turn up to walk in the Führer's footsteps and visit this model example of how Germania was going to pan out.
As the war ended, there must have been a lot of bonfires in back gardens, and of course no one knew anything at all, all of a sudden. But a number of mementos of the Führer's visit mysteriously vanished, including a large bell struck in his honour. Local rumour has it buried on one particular family property, and it was apparently dug up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit, so there is at least some reverence for a past most are only too happy to forget.
For me the story says nothing really about the people of the area - although they are particularly conservative people, even by German standards. What it did bring home was that the Nazis were not some mythical species that vanished in 1945, but that more or less anyone can end up hitched to the wrong ideology if the benefits are personally persuasive enough.
As to the driver waking device - Tomorrows World's James Burke demoed an early take on this in the early '70s with a clownish looking headphone device that involved a mercury based rocker switch and a loud squealing noise.
Didn't take long.
May I contribute with the following (totally non-PC) suggested messages:
'We hav vays of makink you drife properly'
'Stop lookink at ze pretty gurls' (probably not needed for married drivers)
'To cancel zis operation raise your right arm'
We, as stated so well, are trrrained to drive at high speed, using the famous Pervitin as your forefathers had to learn to stay awake while the bloody (hahh!!) tourists, having come in hordes to experience the (only) freedom we have - to drive as fast as the car goes - are overwhelmed and react by closing their eyes. So our Wissenschaft had to find a solution to the accident-clogged arteries of our economy to make room again for our Porsches ...
Vonderful, vonderful. The only problem with things like this, nowadays, is that the cams will invariably become mandatory before getting tied into the local school board cctv net for drug checking and attached to the over-the-road automatic license plate snoopery just to "improve servicing" or something. And then stored indefinately despite promises to delete unneeded images in a timely matter. Because you never know, right?
Paranoid? Moi? Being paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. And so far, we have ample proof the latter at least is increasingly true. Deciding the former therefore is a bit of a moot point, no?
How long, I wonder, before insurance companies start refusing claims because the little box recorded that you dozed off behind the wheel?
Or even refusing future cover after the first time it happened.
Because once it's proved to work there will come a time when this type of device will be mandatory in all new cars.
Perhaps a more interesting nationalist angle is why the UK still has speed limits on motorways when German autobahns have fewer fatalities. Are Germans just innately more sensible drivers? I drove a Merc at 140mph there and the only risk was my failure to check my rear view mirror, causing a Porche to brake to halve its speed. The German somehow refrained from flashing or gesticulating when he did pass me. In comparison your average Brit feels justified in occupying the overtaking lane at 60mph for twenty minutes because there is a lorry somewhere on the horizon.
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