Racist codes used in the name of tradition

The biblical Three Magi (Photo: P. Jung).

Some weeks ago here on medium, I read the story “Seeing Blackface in Public Is Worse Than I Expected” by Morgan Jerkins.¹ The author writes about the Dutch tradition of “Zwarte Piet” (“Black Pete” in English), the companion of “Sinterklaas”, who essentially is the Dutch version of Santa Claus. The tradition includes blackfaced people dressed as Zwarte Piet, celebrating on the streets around Christmas time. In her story, the Morgan Jenkins expresses the dismay she felt when she was confronted with this ritual in person.

The story and the underlying personal experiences impressed me so much that I decided to…

Perspective Piece

Some thoughts about a disturbing question

Should this lion be killed because it’s a predator? (Photo by joel herzog on Unsplash)

Should humans kill all the predators on this earth to end the never-ending suffering of their prey? I admit, when I first thought about this question a few weeks ago, I shuddered. For me, this is a theoretical animal-philosophical question that shakes the foundations of humanity itself.

Ben Bramble, lecturer in philosophy at the “Australian National University”, pursues this question in his article “Painlessly Killing Predators”, recently published in the “Journal of Applied Philosophy”.¹

Others felt the same as I did. For example, there already is a very good response on Medium that deals with the question:

Jared Dyer: No…

Why the famous island never existed

The shores of Atlantis, the long-lost island? I fear it is just a picture of a sandy beach and waves (Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash).

Much has been written about the ancient island of Atlantis, which has become the object of so many efforts and dreams. Even here on medium, a quick search yields several hits.¹ ² ³

Being an age-old superpower, Atlantis is said to have sunk in the sea, taking immense ancient wisdom with it to the bottom of the ocean.

Many have tried to localize and find this magnificent place, raise the treasure of knowledge and forgotten ancient technologies. …

My way to slow down my life

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” — Ashley Montagnu (British-American anthropologist, 1905–1999)

The last year was the most exhausting time of my life. Please don’t get me wrong: no complaints at all about that, after all I’m a lucky guy.

But let me tell you the whole story.

Exactly one year ago my wife became pregnant, for the third time. Our two other kids were one and three years old then.

“Third time? That’s going to be easy!”

No way. This pregnancy was by…


Astonishing new data about laying hens: Industrial free-range environments are no better than battery cages

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

We all are used to the pictures of laying hens kept in mass stocks, penned up by thousands or even tens of thousands, or sitting in battery cages all their miserable lives long. Most of us shiver when we look at such images — but forget them quickly, at the latest when having the next breakfast, while eating one or more tasty eggs.

Truths and misconceptions about a scientific discipline you should know

Archaeological excavation, proto-city settlement at Çatalhöyük. These guys really work hard | 7100 BC to 5700 BC | Konya, Turkey (Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash).

“What’s the best thing you’ve found?” — A question an archaeologist frequently is asked by strangers

Many people are interested in our past, our cultural heritage, or simply like the idea of treasure hunting, experiencing adventures in exotic environments, or solving ancient mysteries. But: Public opinion about archaeology and archaeologists is distorted. Here are 10 facts that show what it’s really like to be an archaeologist.


To put it simply, archaeology is about material culture. Everything humans have produced, modified — and later have dropped, forgotten, or that otherwise is preserved till the present day.

The streets of Rome at sunset — crime time! (Photo by Julius_Silver on Pixabay)

Outlaws in the Roman Empire

Rome, 75 AD | Caius was walking down the street, turning his head and looking back every few steps. Long after dawn, it was dark already. The alleys were only lit by sporadic torches, oil lamps, or candles shining through some windows. Most of their inhabitants were wise enough to stay inside at this time of the day.

He cursed the gods for allowing him to get lost in the streets of Rome, this megacity full of garbage and dirt. …

What might be behind these trees? An ancient Germanic warrior, hiding to ambush you, or just a modern-day hiker coming around the corner? (Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash)

Why the woods are so important to German history

After they had sneaked to their assault position, they took cover and waited for the enemy. Large trees of all kinds and ages, with thick shrubs around their trunks, hid them perfectly from any scout that might come in front of the invader’s army.

Under normal circumstances, the warriors would have been no match for their foes, highly drilled professional soldiers that belonged to the most powerful army on earth. They had learned this many times in the past.

But this time, using the savageness of their homeland’s nature for their own benefit, the warriors knew victory would be theirs.

The fascinating world of anthrozoology

Photo by Jenna Beekhuis on Unsplash

She just sat on the ground. After having a meal she had come here, to the edge of the small forest, to find some rest on a hot summer day. Looking around, it came to her mind how much she really liked this place. She was surrounded by the mighty branches of trees several times taller as herself.

The thick layers of green leaves above and around her made her feel protected and safe. Actually, she didn’t know why just this particular spot made her feel that way. …

Patrick Jung

Academic from Germany. On medium purely private. Loves asking questions, especially about himself. Trying to stay curious and open-minded.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store