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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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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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inthralld showcases a 130 square-foot apartment in Paris, where a set of insanely clever design decisions allows for a full apartment's worth of amenities to be jammed into a teeny weeny space. I love the drawers in the steps, but of course I really love the hiding bed/sofa. Basically, I want to live in a Murphy apartment and/or houseboat.
What was once a master suite of an apartment in the Montparnasse neighborhood is now a 130 square foot micro apartment that houses all of the necessities. There’s even an extremely creative way to house the mattress-slash-sofa. The bed doubles as seating space for lounging and entertaining, which rolls away discreetly underneath a set of steps on the floor. The Magis One stools add some much needed contemporary pizazz to the inner environment, while the storage really looks like art and functions just perfectly.
France remains America's copyright crash-test dummy: about to ditch HADOPI, poised to adopt the dregs of SOPA instead
France is on the verge of killing its ill-starred HADOPI system, whereby people who are accused of multiple acts of copyright infringement are disconnected from the Internet, along with everyone in their homes. After two years, HADOPI has spent a fortune and has nothing to show for it. HADOPI was enacted thanks to enormous pressure from American entertainment companies and the US Trade Representative, and was the first of the "three strikes" rules to make it into law (New Zealand and the UK also both capitulated to Pax America shortly after).
But the new president Hollande is determined to continue to have France play the role of crash-test dummy for America's failed copyright policy. As a condition of dismantling HADOPI, his government has proposed enacting the worst provisions of SOPA, the US copyright proposal that America roundly rejected last year. Under SOPA.fr, the French government will make intermediaries (payment processors, search engines, web hosts) liable for infringement, with broad surveillance and censorship powers.
The above video showing a freshwater catfish stalking pigeons and beaching itself in order to gobble them up accompanies "'Freshwater Killer Whales': Beaching Behavior of an Alien Fish to Hunt Land Birds," a paper in PLOSOne written by a group of French researchers who recorded the images on an island in France's Tarn river. The researchers hypothesize that the pigeons aren't adapted to watch for predators from below, and that the catfish are able to sense the pigeons' presence by the aquatic vibrations made by their drinking.
Cocoon Tree is a 60kg hanging tree-fort. You can gang up multiple, special-purpose cocoons (bathroom, bedroom, dining room) to build a little treetop house, with a safety net beneath. Each cocoon is supported by six guy-wires rated to 1.6 tons each, and is framed in aluminum.
This French family is certainly pleased by its exciting gadgets!