Category Archives: Science

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Product More

If you work, like me, in a large international company and work with colleagues from many other countries, you are regularly confronted with the prejudice that Germans work so few hours and have so many holidays/vacation days.

Well, some of it is simply wrong (like having many public holidays, but thats a separate article), and then … could it be that this is part of why we are so productive? Because we really work, when we work?

Although this article is already from 2014, I just stumbled across it a few days ago when browsing some of the blogs that I follow:

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

Reading this takes you about 10 minutes or so … interestingly, the comments section below takes more than 90% of the web-page… some interesting stuff there also and the usual debate about “what is wrong” and “why its right”… didn’t read too much of it…

As I am German, I am by nature sceptical and do not have a tendency to be overly proud of myself or country. But I do think that some of that may be true… isn’t it?

Animals and the definition of intelligence

I think that many people too quickly come to believe that (some) animals are intelligen. Specifically pet-owners tend to believe that “their” special creature definitely must be intelligent.

I’m certainly not convinced. Some time I go I thought it is easy to tell which behaviour is intelligent, or not; but today I believe that objective criteria are hard to find. It may still be possible to argue specific behaviours or specific cases, but to instate objective criteria to decide in general about intelligence… seems to be hard or impossible.

And there are astonishing specific cases. You can see reports or videos where you really wonder: is this a fake with long and specific training of the animal; is it just coincidence; or is it a collection of very specific natural behaviour pattern, that put together create the impression of intelligent behaviour; or is it really Intelligence?

Currently I tend to think that a collection of thoroughly connected pieces of behaviour, you can call it evolution of behavioural patterns, combined together … can create the impression of intelligent behaviour. But it’s not necessarily intelligence. But I would not be sure enough to rule it out.

In any case, it is a very interesting topic and fun to watch…