Clown and cop: ridicule as protest


Remy Gabalda's photo for Agence France-Presse of an anti-Sivens Dam protestor confronting a riot cop is the perfect expression of the moral of Jacob Two-Two: the one thing authoritarianism cannot withstand is laughter.

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Kleargear ruins customers' credit over online criticism, refuses to honor US judgment


The latest update in the saga of Kleargear (previously) is downright bizarre. Having invoiced unhappy customers for complaining online about their crappy service and then ruined those customers' credit rating, the company now refuses to acknowledge a judgment against them from a US court because they insist that they're located in France and weren't served there.

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Guest review: my daughter reviews Ariol

I love reading with my daughter, Poesy, who has just turned six. We agree on almost all of her favorites, and re-reading them is one of our best-loved activities, and how we pass the time on boring bus-rides and so forth. However, there are a few books that Poesy loves, but which leave me cold. First among these is are the Ariol books, a long-running French kids' comic series that are being swiftly translated into English by Papercutz (there are three books out so far, and a fourth is due in May). Ariol was co-created by the amazing and talented Emmanuel Guibert, whose other work includes the anarcho-gonzo Sardine kids' comics; the brilliant WWII memoir Alan's War, and the extraordinary memoir of doctors in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, The Photographer.

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Study: French three-strikes law did not deter or reduce piracy

In Graduated Response Policy and the Behavior of Digital Pirates: Evidence from the French Three-Strike (Hadopi) Law a team of business-school researchers from the University of Delaware and Université de Rennes I examine the impact of the French "three-strikes" rule on the behavior of downloaders. Under the three-strikes law, called "Hadopi," people accused of downloading would be sent a series of threatening letters, and culminating with disconnection from the Internet for a period of a year for everyone in the household. Hadopi is the entertainment industry's model for global legislation, and versions of it have been passed in the UK and New Zealand, and it has also been proposed for inclusion in the global Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.

The researchers carefully surveyed French Internet users to discover what effect, if any, the Hadopi law had had on their behavior -- specifically, whether they were encouraged to download more from legitimate sites and pay more for music as a result of the threat of Hadopi. Their conclusion: [Hadopi] has not deterred individuals from engaging in digital piracy and that it did not reduce the intensity of illegal activity of those who did engage in piracy.

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Trench-run in a wingsuit

Brian Drake donned a wingsuit atop the ENSA ski-run in Couloir, France, and then did a ground-skimming trench-run that left me half-terrified, half-tingling in sympathy. Wish they'd shown the landing, though.

Is this the Closest a Wingsuit Pilot Has Ever Flown to the Ground? (via Kottke)

France's new surveillance law creates a police state

Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "France just turned into a surveillance state, adopting a sneaky surveillance framework in article 13 of its Defense Bill (Loi de programmation militaire). It drastically extends the exceptional regime of extra-judicial surveillance against terrorism, for broad motives, including for the purpose of 'preserving scientific and economic interests of France' which could enable total.surveillance of political activists, journalists, corporate watchdogs, etc."

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French bill to legalize bulk Internet spying moving through National Assembly

Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "Yesterday the 2014-2019 defense bill passed first reading in the French National Assembly. It marks a strong shift towards total online surveillance. If passed, the bill will not only allow live monitoring of everyone's personal and private data but also do so without judicial oversight, as the surveillance will be enabled through administrative request. The bill also turns permanent measures that were only temporary."

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Understanding NSA boss James Clapper's France-spying "denial"

NSA boss James Clapper has officially responded to the allegations that the agency intercepted 70,000,000 French phone calls with a narrowly worded, misleading denial. Tim Cushing at Techdirt does us the kremlinological service of finely parsing the NSA word-game and showing us what Clapper doesn't deny:

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Natural History Museum wallpapers


Deyrolle's natural-history wallpapers are amazing, even if their site is an unbrowsable, unlinkable mess. These designs would make great additions to any home, presuming you can actually find them and manage to order them.

Deyrolle and NeoDko Collaborate on a Playful Wallpaper Collection [Dana Thomas/Architectural Digest]

(via Geekologie)

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Chinese tourists with room full of Euro coins weren't counterfeiters; they got 'em from scrap cars

A hotelier in Paris called the cops on a pair of Chinese guests who were paying their bills nightly with Euro coins and who had 3,700 more in their rooms. He thought they were counterfeiters. It turned out that they were friends with a Chinese car-scrapper who had harvested forgotten coins from European cars on their way to the wrecker.

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Miniature libraries of Marc Giai-Miniet


Sculptor Marc Giai-Miniet creates astounding miniature boxes with beautiful, hypothetical libraries of teeny, tiny books in them. He lives in Trappes, France. These marvellous photos are by Michel Dubois.

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Europeans petition Bob Iger to save Disneyland Paris from its long decline


A multilingual petition to Bob Iger asks for Disney's CEO and top management to do something about the (frankly, pretty terrible) condition of Disneyland Paris, a park I've stopped visiting (though it's closest to me), due to the poor staffing, poor maintenance, bad (and expensive) food and hotels, and large number of out-of-service attractions and shows.

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Parisian stop-motion music video that violates anti-burqa law

Michael sez, "While on a brief visit to Paris last year, I made a silly stop-motion film-clip for my band The Leafs. It is silly because I am doing a silly dance - a style I like to call 'Reality Dancing' - through the streets of that lovely city. I tried to get some actors involved but when I showed them my Reality Dancing in a pub they averted their eyes and finished their drinks quickly and left. Not so my Parisian friends, who were right up for it. The whole shoot was technically illegal because my face was covered the whole time, and the anti-burqa laws don't allow that. Thanks to the police and the army officers who walked by for only looking grumpy but not locking me up: you guys rule."

THE LEAFS - Come, Take My Hand (Thanks, Michael!)

Scholar shows 'three strikes' programs don't reduce piracy

Evaluating Graduated Response, a new paper from Rebecca Giblin from the law school at Australia's Monash University, looks at the impact of "three strikes" and "graduated response" punishments for file-sharing. Countries including France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. have adopted systems whereby people accused of file-sharing have their Internet access curtailed. This takes many forms, from losing access to YouTube and Facebook until subscribers complete a "copyright training course" designed by the entertainment industry to out-and-out disconnection from the Internet.

A good summary in IT News by Juha Saarinen discusses Giblin's findings from an in-depth survey of the file-sharing landscape before and after the introduction of three strikes rules: "There is no evidence demonstrating a causal connection between graduated response and reduced infringement. If 'effectiveness' means reducing infringement, then it is not effective."

Giblin is the author of 2011's Code Wars, an excellent book on the first ten years of file-sharing data.

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Junkbots with French backstories


Gille Monte Ruici makes wondrous junkbots. I mean, totally great. He writes adorable little French fairytales about them, too. He sells them in Paris's Brauer Galerie.

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