Storefront pixel-art video-game for the neighbourhood


Last November, Kris Temmerman decided to outfit the empty store-window of his Antwerp flat/studio as a playable video game for his neighbours to play as they passed by. He wrote his own Arduino-powered pixel-art game and set some controllers into the exterior window-frame and watched what happened. It turned out great, and Kris has thoroughly documented the build and released his source so you can try it too.

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Giant cat sofa


From "Habitat," a 2010 installation in the Luchtbal district of Antwerp, UNFOLD's "Felis Domesticus." It's a 3.5 meter soft sculpture of a sleeping cat that visitors can lounge upon (finally, the lap-sitting tables are turned!). Pity this never went into production as a piece of furniture; it'd make a fabulous beanbag alternative.

Habitat: Felis Domesticus (via Geekologie)

Belgian 90s techno made modern at 115bpm

Remember early-nineties Belgian techno of the sort that (Mike Shallcross quipped, as quoted on the wikies) was "tough, metallic tracks...with harsh, discordant synth lines that sounded like distressed Hoovers?" If you're having a hard time trying to recreate the sound from that description, try this.

This is Belgium Part Two: Cherry Moon On Valium has discovered a cheap and effective way to breathe new life into those old 12 inches: just slow them down to 115bpm, and voila (gesluierd): the intervening decades telescope down to nothing in an eyeblink.

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GCHQ used fake Slashdot, LinkedIn to target employees at Internet exchanges


A new Snowden leak, reported by Laura Poitras in Der Spiegel, shows that the UK spy agency GCHQ used fake versions of Slashdot and LinkedIn to attack tech staff at Global Roaming Exchanges -- interchange points where large networks meet up. It's speculated that the attacks were used to compromise Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS).

GRX is roughly analogous to an IX (Internet Exchange), and it acts as a major exchange for mobile Internet traffic while users roam around the globe. There are only around two dozen such GRX providers globally. This new attack specifically targeted administrators and engineers of Comfone and Mach (which was acquired over the summer by Syniverse), two GRX providers.

Der Spiegel suggests that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British sister agency to the NSA, used spoofed versions of LinkedIn and Slashdot pages to serve malware to targets. This type of attack was also used to target “nine salaried employees” of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the global oil cartel.

This new revelation may be related to an attack earlier this year against Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS), a subsidiary of the Belgian telecom giant Belgacom. BICS is another one of the few GRX providers worldwide.

UK spies continue “quantum insert” attack via LinkedIn, Slashdot pages [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]

(via TechDirt)

Analog cyborgs


A workshop in Namur, Belgium invited artists and makers to construct analogue cyborg enhancements -- non-digital prostheses that gave them superpowers. There were some remarkable successes, including a graffiti exoskeleton, a glamorous portable bar, and a magnet-based line-shooter.

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Protesting dairy farmers hose down EuroParl and cops with milk

Dairy farmers protesting in Brussels sprayed thousands of litres of milk on the European Parliament and its police cadre. Shown here, a small thumbnail of a remarkable photo by John Thys for AFP/Getty Images. Click through for the full image, on the Telegraph's site.

Dairy farmers spray milk at the European Parliament in Brussels

Knobbly foam sphere furniture


Belgium's Maarten De Ceulaer displayed his knobbly chairs and sofas at Milan's Spazio Rossana Orlandi. The series is called "Mutation."

Each piece in the Mutation series is made from foam spheres, cut so they fit together, attached to a frame and coated in rubber or flocked. De Ceulaer’s work is also on show at the Triennale di Milano and as part of IN Residence at Ventura Lambrate.

Mutation by Maarten De Ceulaer (via Crib Candy)

(Photo: Nico Neefs)

Fantasy-themed B&B in Belgium


La Balade des Gnômes is a B&B in Durbuy, Belgium. It has a series of themed rooms kitted out with carved driftwood and various fantastic elements. As the name implies, many of the rooms look like something out of a Brian Froud illustration, but there's also a Jules Verne space-exploration room, Baba Yaga's hut, a troll's den, a Gaudi themed room, and what appears to be a Trojan Horse. It's like a Belgian Madonna Inn, with less kitsch and more fantasy. The site's kind of hard to navigate, and the photos are disappointingly small, but there's a partial set of larger ones on Kozikaza.

La Balade des Gnômes - Chambres de charme - Chambres d'hôtes - Bed&Breakfast à DURBUY (Heyd) (via Neatorama)

(Photo: © Photos P. Schyns - Sofam)

Belgian copyright society wants royalties for library volunteers who read to small groups of children

Robin Wauters writes in The Next Web about the bizarre, cartoon-villain move from Belgian copyright collecting society SABAM, who are demanding that public libraries pay royalties when volunteers read to groups of ten or so small children. SABAM is demanding €250 per year from each cash-strapped library. The technical term for this is "eating your seed corn" (a less technical term might be "acting like a titanic asshole"). If kids are read to, they grow up to be readers, and they buy books. If kids don't get the reading habit, they won't grow up to buy books and writers will starve.

Twice a month, the library in Dilbeek welcomes about 10 children to introduce them to the magical world of books. A representative of the library in question is quoted in the De Morgen report as saying there’s no budget to compensate people who read to the kids, relying instead on volunteers (bless them)...

The De Morgen reporter then contacted SABAM (probably to check if this wasn’t an elaborate hoax or some grave error in judgment) and received a formal statement from the organization asserting that, indeed, public libraries need to pay up for the right to – once again – READ BOOKS TO KIDS.

Belgian rightsholders group wants to charge libraries for READING BOOKS TO KIDS

KILL ACTA: give the EU an earful about secret copyright treaties in Brussels tomorrow at 2PM (and more protests all over the world)

Tomorrow marks a day of global protest against ACTA, the profoundly undemocratic copyright treaty that was negotiated in secret, and which governments are signing up for without democratic review and debate from elected representatives. In Brussels, thousands will mass at the Bourse De Bruxelles at 2PM to give the EU an earful.

Update: Germany's out

To send a letter to your elected representatives, anywhere in the world, use the form below. You can get your own copy of this form from the good folks at KILL ACTA, here. These are the same folks who organized the SOPA blackout: let's make the global fight against ACTA twice as big!

Stop ACTA & TPP: Tell your country's officials: NEVER use secretive trade agreements to meddle with the Internet. Our freedoms depend on it!

For European users, this form will email every MEP with a known email address.
Fight For The Future may contact you about future campaigns. We will never share your email with anyone. Privacy Policy

(Thanks, Wendy!)

Woman's infected jaw removed, 3D printed replacement implanted

An 83-year-old woman with a badly infected lower jaw had the entire thing replaced with a 3D printed titanium/bioceramic replica. The surgery was performed by doctors from the University of Hasselt (Belgium) in collaboration with Dutch surgeons.

The 3D printer prints titanium powder layer by layer, while a computer controlled laser ensures that the correct particles are fused together. Using 3D printing technology, less materials are needed and the production time is much shorter than traditional manufacturing. The mandible was finally given a bioceramic coating compatible with the patient's tissue by BioCeramics in Leiden. The artificial jaw weighs 107 grams, it is only 30 grams heavier than a natural jaw, but the patient can easily get used to it.

The operation was performed in June last year in the hospital in Sittard-Geleen. One day later the lady could start talking and swallowing.

83 year-old woman got 3D printed mandible (Thanks, Don!)

Was DB Cooper a French Canadian who got the idea from Belgian comics?

The FBI thinks that DB Cooper, the infamous parachuting plane hijacker, was a French Canadian who got the idea from a Belgian comic book:

On the cover of one issue of the Belgium-produced comic — sold in Europe and French Canada shortly before Cooper’s hijacking of a Portland-to-Seattle flight — the Canadian superhero is shown parachuting from an aircraft. And that’s what the man calling himself Cooper did four decades ago this week — during a rainstorm while flying somewhere above the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest — to escape justice after receiving his ransom payoff from U.S. authorities.

The informally deputized investigators, who were invited to analyze the Cooper mystery by Seattle-based FBI agent Larry Carr, are Tom Kaye, a paleontologist at Seattle’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Illinois-based metallurgical engineer Alan Stone and University of Chicago scientific illustrator Carol Abraczinskas.

FBI-backed team finds Canadian link to famous ’60s-era plane hijacking (Thanks, Nadreck!)

Insurer: music-festival tragedy caused by illegal downloading

Ernesto sez, "In August, after an unexpected summer storm, 4 people died when one of the festival tents at pukkelpop collapsed, leaving 10s of other people injured. The festival's insurance companies now claim this drama was caused by illegal downloading. The reasoning being that fewer CD sales have led to an emphazise on live-acts and festivals. Pukkelpop is a yearly music festival in Belgium (since 1985) attracting up to 180.000 visitors and has sold out every year since I can remember." (Thanks, Ernesto!)