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) Read the rest

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." Read the rest

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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: Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

France kills three-strikes copyright disconnections

After years of controversy, millions spent, and nothing to show for it, the French government has backtracked on HADOPI, the "three strikes" law that made it possible for entertainment companies to demand the termination of Internet accounts implicated in illegal downloading accusations. People whose routers are said to have been used for piracy may still face fines -- even if they can prove they didn't personally download anything illegally -- but no one will lose their Internet connection over piracy accusations in France: "the panel concluded that the three strikes mechanism had failed to benefit authorized services as promised." Read the rest

Bookstore in a train-car

Here's a mouth-watering set of photos from La caverne aux livres, a bookshop in Auvers-Sur-Oise, north of Paris. The store is in a converted train-car, and appears to be a magical wonderland. The pics were taken by the Gallifreyan Detective, and the whole set is wonderful.

An old train transformed into a book shop in Auvers-sur-Oise (via That Book Smell) Read the rest

Raging Heroes: kickstarting all-woman armies of RPG miniatures

Raging Heroes is a spectacularly successful new Kickstarter to produce 150 female warrior miniatures divided into three armies. They were looking for $12,000 and hit that in 30 seconds. Now they're over $300K and still rising, with over 1,400 backers. The minis are very beautiful, and the studio, based in France, has a textbook-example, perfectly structured KS. But 30 seconds. Wow.

Raging Heroes - The Toughest Girls of the Galaxy (Thanks, Alice)

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Laxative ad promises tiny poop-scrubbing people for your colon

This 1919 French laxative ad promises that it will set lose a cadre of tiny sewage workers who will personally scour your colon of impacted poop.

Butt Pirates Read the rest

Artist finds the faces lurking in maps

Artist Ed Fairburn selective colors in maps, revealing faces lurking in potentia in their many lines, contours and shapes. He sells prints. These are gorgeous. Shown here: Paris.

Ed Fairburn (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Homemade laser pops 100 balloons

Scott A. Stevenson modded a Blu-ray laser flashlight to run at 500mW and used it to pop 100 black balloons. For science!

100 black balloons vs. Blu-ray laser! It is all over in under 8 seconds. The sound they make as they pop is a bit mesmerizing! Note: The laser used in this video is custom made from a flashlight body and the laser diode from a 12X speed Blu-ray burner drive and not purchased in a store or online.

Laser Videos by (via Geekologie) Read the rest

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