What’s the German for schadenfreude?

On the eve of the presidential election, Der Spiegel reported on the state of the American nation

This realization became only too apparent during and after Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm that ravaged America’s East Coast last week, its effects made all the more devastating by the fact that its winds were whipping across an already weakened country. The infrastructure in New York, New Jersey and New England was already in trouble long before the storm made landfall near Atlantic City. The power lines in Brooklyn and Queens, on Long Island and in New Jersey, in one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, are not underground, but are still installed along a fragile and confusing above-ground network supported by utility poles, the way they are in developing countries.


Complete article does feature cameos by Tom Friedman and Aaron Sorkin, so take with a grain of salt.


  • Robert

    November 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing it. From just next door it looks scarily close to reality…

  • Alex

    December 4, 2012 at 5:10 am

    See also my beef with Edward Luce of the FT, who said Americans had a “British fatalism about declining infrastructure”. It’s not our capital that loses electricity every time it rains, is it?

    Mind you, I remember telling Rudolf van der Berg (from SURFNET and then Logica) and Colin Pons from KPN that I was rather pleased to see that Virgin Media had at last done the cable install in the council estate next door properly, bunching the coax in cable trays along the walls rather than leaving great flappy bights everywhere. They were astonished anyone would run cable like that in the open air rather than building it into something solid.

    (The less said about BT copper the better.)

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