So, first post from Berlin. I can't really say much about the city yet, as I've been preoccupied with work and looking for a flat. So far, my predominant impression of Berlin is that it's hot, though that doesn't really distinguish the city from the rest of the country. Hence, a (heat-related) anectoid about Peking instead.
I've recently had breakfast with a couple - Chinese husband, German wife - who live there most of the year. They said that Peking is both extremely smoggy and extremely hot. But official temperatures rarely reach 40 degrees centigrade. The reason is easy enogh to see: There is a rule that if it's 40 degrees or more, factories need to close for the day.
Lest you think this kind of thing only happens in extremely authoritarian societies: I once heard from people who were consultants with Copenhagen (?) city services. The city was obliged to provide snow clearing services when the ground was "covered by snow". Can you guess who were the last people in Copenhagen to notice when the ground was covered by snow? That's right: City officials.
If you teach stats, you may want to try and get your hand on a dataset of official Peking temperatures and see if you can quasi-replicate Quetelet: Presumably, actual temperatures follow a near-normal distribution, so in official Peking temperatures, you should see a bump at 40 degrees. This might also be useful when introducing regression discontinuity approaches.
P.S.: Another thingy the Chinese husband told: A taxi driver asked him: "What? You have a European wife and you live in China? Why?"