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How a German ’racing pigeon’ went viral after speed camera snapshot

The German town of Bocholt on the Dutch border has become unexpectedly famous all because of a speedy pigeon.

How a German ’racing pigeon’ went viral after speed camera snapshot
The snapshot that has travelled the world over. Image: DPA

The pigeon exceeded the speed limit by 15 km/h, although officials are sceptical it’ll pay the fine.

It was caught speeding down a residential street in the North Rhine-Westphalia town at 45km/h, a good tick over the 30km/h speed limit. 

The pigeon’s speed triggered the automatic camera in the device – and a viral story was born. 

After initially being picked up by the German media, the pigeon story flew worldwide – covered by outlets in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Australia. 

The penalty for such an offence is €25. 

The ‘We Love Bocholt’ Facebook site said they were caught off guard by their newfound fame. 

A Facebook user from Bocholt lamented that now the pigeon “was even more famous than us”, while several others claimed to have know the pigeon well. 

According to the United KIngdom’s Pigeon Control Resource Centre says pigeons fly on average as fast as 123km/h and have been clocked at up to 150km/h – meaning that pretty much anywhere but the Autobahn is off limits. 

READ: Greens call for speed limit on Autobahn

SHARE YOUR VIEW: Should there be a speed limit on the Autobahn?

The pigeon was caught on camera back in February, but the news wasn’t brought to light until May. 

In cases of speeding such as this, there’s a 3km/h leeway – although that would mean the pigeon is still 12km/h over the limit. The Bocholt City Council said they decided against opening up a call for witnesses to the incident. 

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Vocab

pigeon – (die) Taube

snapshot – (der) Schnappschuss

speed camera – (die) Blitzer

fine – (die) Geldstrafe

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.

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VIRAL

German observatory goes viral after Star Wars re-styling

A German professor has brought international attention to Zweibrücken in the country’s southwest after repainting an observatory to look like Star Wars robot R2D2.

German observatory goes viral after Star Wars re-styling
Image: Facebook (Hochschule Kaiserslautern)

Hubert Zitt, an electrotechnology professor at the Zweibrücken University of Applied Sciences in Rhineland-Palatinate, is known for giving his lectures a science fiction feel. 

For decades Zitt has discussed the real-life possibilities of science fiction technology and how they could be achieved.

He came to international prominence by discussing the potential for beaming and warp-drive technologies in his class “The Physics of Star Trek” at universities and science fiction conventions around the globe. 

The observatory in Zweibrücken. Image: Facebook

Thinking that he needed to bring a little science fiction flavour to the observatory, he got together a team of painters – including his father and several of his students. 

The tower’s transformation actually took place in late 2018, but it has only recently gone viral in the American media. 

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill gave professor Zitt a shoutout on Twitter, thanking him for turning Germans into “Giant Nerds”.

Hamill’s predictions seem to be coming to fruition, with Star Wars fans from around the world travelling  to the small town on the French border to get their own slice of viral fame. 

 

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