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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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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."

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)

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

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)

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 WorldScott.com (via Geekologie)

Bras useless, says science

"A little-known French sports doctor who spent 16 years studying the busts of about 300 women sent a scare through a country known for its love of lingerie this week when he suggested bras were useless." [Reuters]

Clever, 130sqft Paris apartment


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.

130 Square Foot Micro Apartment in Paris (via Core77)

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.

French Hadopi Scheme Gutted; Other Bad Ideas To Be Introduced Instead

Catfish beaches itself to gobble up pigeons

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.

“Freshwater Killer Whales”: Beaching Behavior of an Alien Fish to Hunt Land Birds (via As it Happens)