Last year there has been a fascinating new tendency in choosing sexual partners: being sapiosexual, meaning that you are absolutely attracted by intelligence. Knowledge is sexy!

Guess what: I’d say sharing knowledge is even sexier!

So, after playing many many games of the famous German quiz app “Quizduell” I stumbled upon Twitter’s polling functionality, where you are able to attach up to four answers in a poll and people can choose one of those answers. My first thought: why not abuse this for a little quiz?

I have studied Egyptology for such a long time – more than 5 years. I have been a huge fan of Ancient Egyptian history for more than 23 years now. I have worked for excavation projects, I am currently working for an interdisciplinary archaeological project. I have worked as a guide for the Egyptian museum in Munich for five years. There MUST be some interesting facts I can share with my Twitter community, right?

The concept: every day at roughly the same time (= in the evening, German time) I share a question, introducing several aspects of the Egyptian culture. Architecture, religion, their writing system, history, geography, all that stuff. Trying to figure out questions which are interesting for a lay audience.

Once the poll has ended, I uncover the right solution(s) – adding a lot of additional facts. Like, when asking about the final consequence of the famous Battle of Qadesch, there is a lot to say about how the Egyptians “wrote history”, what the historic situation for the opponents was. Or maybe giving some interesting literature hints if somebody would want to dive into a scientific discussion.

My evaluation after almost two weeks: I get a lot of positive feedback, and people seem to like the idea! In most cases the “swarm intelligence” is right, so maybe I need to introduce even harder questions… 😉 But doing a quiz is only fun if you have some chance to get the right answer, and at least sometimes know what the question itself is about.

My private insight: doing a quiz right is not that easy. I try to make connections between my questions – and the Egyptian culture helps a lot in this case, because so many things are intertwined. The most difficult thing, though: Twitter and the whole concept does not allow endless chapters about scientific questions. However, many things in Egyptology cannot really be answered within 280 characters. And quite often, there are general answers – but there is always an exception from the general rule. Doing that quiz tries me. I have to look up even the simplest things to make sure I’m not saying something wrong. Which might happen anyway – I am just a human being, much more involved with machine learning and artificial intelligence these days. But I take it as my responsibility to do as much research as I can – or at least making transparent when I failed somewhere. An important aspect for science, I believe.

Doing this quiz helps me to reflect my knowledge and get a new coverage of my most favourite subject – an ancient culture so rich and colorful, so incredible that it touched my heart 23 years ago and never let go. Doing this quiz also shows me that studying Egyptology is not useless. Throughout the years I have met so many people being absolutely fascinated by this culture, so distant and so well-known, having been constant for such an enormous time.

Last, but definitely not least: thanks to any single person participating in this journey. Bringing joy and knowledge is the best thing in life. 🙂

The World™ – Bigger on the Inside

Abstract: Some thoughts about ongoing political topics – like nationalism, protectionism, climate change. Not so much about the respective details, but trying to figure out why people seem to have problems with this new, this global world. Maybe, this world is too big for us? Expect a lot of balance in here!

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The place where you are happy is #dahoam15

In my scientific life I have been to a couple of conferences. Most of them were about Egyptology, as you can imagine. Important people speaking about recent archaeological excavations, presenting new theoretical work or showing off their newest corpora of papyri and other amazing stuff made by the Ancient Egyptians. Nothing is better than to visit such gatherings of scientists. This is the time and place to gain information about the current state of the art in your specific subject and to meet other people loving your favorite topics.

Today I have been to a developers conference – the Daho.am. Not much of an English name, but nonetheless very international: Bavarian. Let me give you a brief summary of this amazing event and my feelings about it.

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[GER] Wie man gute Führungen hält und Leute begeistert

Der Besuch eines Museums kann ganz schön anstrengend sein. Die meisten dieser kulturellen Erziehungseinrichtungen erstrecken sich heutigentags über zahlreiche Säle und Räume. Darin stehen dicht an dicht Kultur und Kunst, Statuen und Bilder, Erinnerungen und Ausblicke in die Zukunft. Zusammen verdichten sich all diese Artefakte zu einem bestimmten Thema. Im Deutschen Museum in München beispielsweise gibt es Räume zu Motoren, zu Schiffen, zu Astrophysik, zu Chemikalien – ein breites Spektrum unterschiedlichster technischer Themen. Andere Häuser sind in ihrer Ausrichtung schon weitaus spezialisierter – die Pinakotheken zum Beispiel mit ihren fantastischen Sammlungen bildender Kunst. Oder mein Stammhaus, das Staatliche Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, das – nomen es omen – die Kunst und Kultur der Alten Ägypter für die Besucher parat hält. In diesen Sammlungen steckt nicht nur viel Geld, sondern auch Energie, Zeit und Hirnschmalz. Denn es ist mitunter gar nicht so einfach, komplexe Themen für den Besucher verständlich aufzubereiten.

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[GER] Kultur ist für mich…?

Dear English readers, this article is some contribution to a German blog campaign about culture. It is most likely I will not provide any translation this time. But I promise: the next articles will be in English again! 😉

Auch dieses Mal gibt es einen – diesmal deutschen – Audioschnipsel von 33 Minuten Länge zum Thema. Diesmal allerdings nicht der geschriebene Text einfach vorgelesen. Stattdessen habe ich mich etwas freier am Text entlang gehangelt und über meine Gedanken zur Kultur gesprochen. Enthalten sind daher einige Zusätze, die mir erst in der Aufnahme aufgefallen sind, sowie einige etwas tiefere Einblicke in manche Aspekte. Oder ein paar Secrets. Je nachdem. Ich hoffe, ihr habt auch diesmal Spaß mit Text und Audio!

Kultur ist für mich – Download (MP3)


Kultur ist für mich…? Das ist die Frage, die Tanja Praske in ihrer aktuellen Blogparade: “Kultur ist für mich…” stellt, neukulturell natürlich auch gleich mit dem passenden Hashtag #KultDef versehen. Und wie sie in ihrem Blogeintrag bereits deutlich macht, ist diese Frage nicht eindeutig, aber schon gar nicht einheitlich zu beantworten. Wie wäre es beispielsweise mit einer philosophischen Antwort wie “Kultur ist für mich das, was den Menschen menschlich macht”. Man könnte sich auch als Verfasser eines Lexikoneintrages bewerben und Kultur als die Gesamtsumme aller mentalen, künstlerischen, Gemeinschaft stiftenden Werke der Menschheit definieren. Oder man kehrt zurück in die Welt der Literatur, bedient sich vielseits geliebter Sprachbilder: “Kultur ist, so sprach der Mensch, Luft zum Atmen, Boden als Halt, Baum als Stütze und Feuer als treibende Kraft”. Man kann es aber auch machen wie ich – und einfach in einigen Absätzen über den Begriff schwadronieren, wie ich ihn eben so wahrnehme. Dafür muss ich aber zunächst ein kleines bisschen ausholen.

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The Passion of Gaming

Little something for you – as this is a very long article (and I know very well that reading such long articles on screen is not easy), I tried my best to make some proper audio record. Please excuse some little misreading at the end – the whole text has been recorded at once, I did not want to correct it. At least, now it is much more human. The record is about 21 minutes. I hope, you enjoy my thoughts, textual or auditive. 😉

The Passion of Gaming – Download (MP3)

Today, I will share a little secret with you. Are you ready for it? Yes? But you have to promise to read on, whatever might happen. You might be shocked, you might be trembling in fear, but I count on you reading on. Do you really think, you could do that? Yeah? Okay, I have warned you. Remember it. Deal is deal. Do not disappoint me. So here it comes, my very personal secret, just for you. I have to confess that I am a little bit nervous. Telling secrets is so exciting. Gimme a second to take a deep breath. Okay. Did you ever have to confess something? To come out with something? Did you ever have to feel these very few seconds when you have to decide whether to tell or not to tell? And you have no idea about the reactions. Will they hate you? Will they accept you? Will they support you? That is the way I’m feeling right now. But you promised to stay with me. I trust you. I am ready. Here you go.

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Measles in 2015 – scientific flop?

We are living in 2015. Berlin is ill with measles. Which already seems to be some kind of fictional news, thinking of the original goal to completely wipe out this disease until 2010, as said by the WHO, the World Health Organization. Obviously we missed this specific goal. Anyway, how is it possible that in the 21st century people are still ill with a disease which could quite easily be exterminated by vaccinating people?

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