1. The big one with the flat foot

Let's take the


: 23 meters long, weighing up to 44 tons and therefore about as compact as a BMX X5. Why did the long-necked dinosaurs get bigger and bigger over the course of millions of years? Well, paleontologists can only guess: predators tend to shy away from potential opponents in XXL. There is plenty of space inside (for organs). And: Size is attractive to females. Well.

Presumably for similar reasons, the evolution of road transport once invented SUVs, sport utility vehicles. They have about as much to do with sport as a tyrannosaurus has with veganism, but I don't want to judge here: "Erich" already does that. He's around 30, a natural scientist, and at night he wanders the streets of Potsdam and vents at SUVs. How? With mountain lenses. He puts them under the valve caps of the tires, pfffff, "it takes 30 minutes to three hours until the tire is flat," says Erich, who was inspired by Erich Kästner for his nickname ("There is nothing good except you it does"). My colleague Felix Wadewitz met “Erich”, who came masked up with a baseball cap and corona mask and told us what was behind his actions: climate anger. "Blatant crises require blatant protests to bring about change," says the activist - although he doesn't puncture the tires and leaves a leaflet at every crime scene. »We want to live in cities and communities with clean air and safe streets. Polite requests and protests for these things have failed. It's time to act," it says.

"After the actions of the unpopular climate stickers flopped, the tire extinguishers are relying on guerrilla tactics that are supposed to be more specific to the target group," my colleague Felix writes to me. What happens next with the “Tyre Extinguishers” and their actions also depends on how radical they will be, he says: “A new group called “Tire Extinguishers for Future” has been slashing tires in Berlin in the last few days. That’s where the fun might stop for many.”

Read the story about "Erich" and the other tire flatters, find out in which cities they are particularly active - and what criminal lawyers say about it.

2. Strikelike

"Waiting for Godot" is probably the most famous play by Samuel Beckett, in which the two vagabonds Estragon and Wladimir wait in an indeterminate place, day one passes, day two, but nothing happens, no Godot, at most a messenger who tells, Godot won't come anymore today. But tomorrow. Certainly.

The drama, which is considered a model of absurd theater, premiered in Paris in 1953. It is currently touring Germany again with great success: record rail strike from January 24th to 28th, public transport strike on February 2nd, the “Discover” pilots are not flying today, and on Wednesday the Lufthansa ground staff give the “Godot «. And we good Vladimirs stand at bus stops, airports and train stations and ask ourselves: “So what should we do?”

In the play, the answer is as brief as it is fatalistic: “Nothing at all. That's smarter." Federal Chancellor Olaf "Estragon" Scholz sees it similarly: Labor disputes are freedoms "that are so firmly regulated in our Basic Law that they cannot simply be abolished - not even through laws." And of course all strikers have important and legitimate concerns, no question about it. But what about critical infrastructure?

Economic researchers at IW Cologne estimate that every day without a train costs around one hundred million euros. Without freight transport, there will be production downtimes, supply chains will break, and I'll spare you all the rest of the crooked economic metaphors. In any case: CDU leader Friedrich Merz is not the only one who no longer wants to accept the strikes like the weather. My colleague Alexander Preker from the economics department has put together the three options that are currently being discussed to restrict the right to strike in Germany: "Politicians could finally give industrial action in Germany a legal framework," he wrote to me. »Duties to announce strikes with a specific deadline, for example. Participate in mediation or provide emergency services beforehand. That would be more constitutional than relying on judges to decide whether a strike is permissible.

  • You can read here how promising the plans of the strike skeptics are and how Germany compares internationally.

3. Bring in the coal or we'll close

Quiz question: How many active coal-fired power plants are there in Germany? N/a? Two or three? I'll break it down, the audience joker thing is getting too complicated here: around 130. Especially in North Rhine-Westphalia, the kilns are jostling with each other. Sure, coal was considered black gold in the pot for decades, the romanticism of the Ruhr area is only real with soot-blackened facades. Not much comes out of the seams from back then, but bucket wheel excavators are cutting through the landscape: Germany has mined more than 130 million tons of brown coal in 2022. What a huge pile, do you think? Well, but pretty fleeting: an average power plant burns several thousand tons. Per day.

Sounds about as sustainable as a spontaneous Caribbean flight for a beach dinner. But the systems are needed if neither solar nor wind power is available. Energy first, concerns second. After all, the federal government has now drawn up a plan to convert the German power plant fleet. My colleague Stefan Schultz analyzed the project with other colleagues from our economics department: The first step is to create gas heaters that can later also run on hydrogen. Output: ten gigawatts. Step two: An on-call service for low-power hours is to be developed by 2028. The electricity producers are then paid at a flat rate - and not based on actual consumption. Above all, it sounds like a good deal for RWE, Vattenfall and all the other producers. But the government's strategy makes sense, says Stefan: "Energy should be safe, affordable and climate-friendly. Considering this, the federal government’s solution is pretty good.”

“Ideally” – if all the other measures also work – there will be an end to coal by 2030. »However, there is still a lot of work to be done in this plan. Not just for the traffic lights, but also for the coming government,” Stefan writes to me.

  • You can read here what the plan will cost and which locations are being discussed.

What else is important today?

  • EU is planning massive sanctions against Russia on the anniversary of the invasion:

    The end of February marks the second anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine: To mark this occasion, the EU apparently wants to significantly expand the punitive measures - by more than 200 people and companies.

  • Chinese court sentences Australian writer to death:

    An Australian writer with Chinese roots disappears in southern China - now he has been sentenced to death "on probation". The government in Canberra is horrified.

  • Incorrectly drilled holes – problems again with the Boeing 737 Max:

    The delivery of 50 737 Max passenger aircraft will be delayed. Boeing reports two incorrectly drilled holes in aircraft fuselages. However, the problem was not discovered by the manufacturer itself.

  • Taylor Swift writes Grammy history - and delights fans with the announcement:

    The most important music awards of the year have been awarded: Billie Eilish and SZA were able to celebrate at the Grammys, as did Miley Cyrus. Taylor Swift set a record and made an unexpected announcement.

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • Pistorius sends more soldiers to Kosovo:

    The Bundeswehr is expanding its presence in the Western Balkans. Another 160 soldiers are to be sent to Kosovo. Defense Minister Pistorius speaks of “clear signals to Moscow.”

  • Why China is so conspicuously holding back in the Red Sea:

    The trading nation of China is hit hard by the fact that the Yemeni Houthi militia is threatening free shipping in the Red Sea with their missiles. Beijing has great influence on their patron Iran. Why is it used so sparingly? 

  • “We could prevent 60 percent of cancer deaths”:

    The number of good news in the fight against cancer is increasing. Here, Germany's leading cancer researcher explains why he thinks this new optimism is appropriate - and what therapies are coming.

  • Can my child play “Fortnite”?

    Nathalie Klüver's twelve-year-old son wants to fight against others on a virtual island until he is the only survivor. Many children do this. She asked experts what they thought about it - and got four concrete tips.

Which wasn't that important today

Dieter Bohlen and Carina Walz (2010 at the Vienna Opera Ball)

Photo: Herbert Neubauer/dpa

Cheri, Cheri Lady

: Ex-Modern Talking guitar owner

Dieter Bohlen

, 69, wants to get married again, namely to “his Carina” Walz, 39, the boulevard is rejoicing. The two have two children together, it would be Bohlen's third marriage, and he "definitely doesn't want to mess it up," he told the "Bild" newspaper. However, Walz gives the shallow pop titan another task: "You have to make me a real proposal again so that I marry you." Let's all just hope that it doesn't become a song: "You're my heart, you 're my soul."

Mini concave mirror

You can find the entire concave mirror here.

Cartoon of the day

And tonight?

Bang Boom Bang:

I don't know what the sky in your area meant to you today, but here in the north it's been raining all day. For such flood evenings, God created Netflix and Amazon Prime on the eighth day, hallelujah. My colleague Oliver Kaever has bitten deeply into the apple of knowledge and recommends the series piece of jewelry »Mr. & Mrs. Smith" with Donald Glover and Maya Erskine (Amazon Prime Video), a remake of the 2005 Brangelina film: The two play spouses who work incognito as spies without knowing about each other's risky job. Sounds complex? “That’s exactly what’s wonderful about this tender, disarming, intimate eight-part comedy,” writes Oliver. “Nothing feels forced here, everything is play.” Trust him: Oliver has already done the whole series. And he saw that she was good.

A lovely evening.


Your Jens Radü

, head of duty