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Dutch court unblocks The Pirate Bay

A Dutch court has ruled that the country's ISPs need no longer block The Pirate Bay. The court ruled that the block was disproportionate and ineffective, and ordered (notoriously corrupt) rightsholder group BREIN to pay restitution to ISPs, including XS4ALL, an ISP with a long tradition of fighting for free speech and the open net.

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Dutch Masters recreated as exploded, mixed-media collages


Michael Mapes's Dutch Masters series recreates 17th century paintings as blown-mosaics composed of "photographic prints, insect pins, pinning foam, gelatin capsules, glass vials, optomotrist lens, paint samples, modeling clay, dried botanical matter, fabric, magnifying box, plastic specimen bags, cotton thread" (what a list!).

His other work applies similar techniques to other subjects. Man, I love this stuff.

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Skull chair with brain ottoman


Vladi Rapaport's Skull Chair isn't the first one we've posted (cf: stacking chair; armchair), but it's my favorite so far. Love the subtlety of the skull, the eamesoid styling. Works especially well accompanied by the brain ottoman, made from leather and foam.

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Late sixties "Internet" brand transistor radio


Mark Hill found this Internet Radio Product Ltd-branded "Internet" radio from the late sixties in a Dutch junk-market. It's an interesting find, not least because it suggests that the official etymologies of "Internet," dating to the seventies and the Arpanet crowd, is a bit muddier than previously thought.

Was ‘Internet’ First Used For A Transistor Radio? (via M1k3y)

Crowdfunding an in vitro meat cookbook


Eindhoven's Next Nature Lab is running an IndiegOgO fundraiser for a "Meat the Future Cookbook" -- a piece of design fiction setting out recipes we might be able to prepare when in vitro meat-growth is the norm. There's meat grown from your own flesh, cultured in a medallion you wear around your neck while it matures; rainbow meatballs, meat that you knit, meat-paint that kids use to paint edible pictures, meat cultured from samples of extinct dodos and dinos, and transparent meat "sushi."

There's four days left, and &eur;25 gets you a copy of the cookbook (&eur;15 for a digital version). Next Nature produces some gorgeous books on these lines, so it's a good bet that Meat the Future will be a lovely little piece.

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Smati Turtle: car made from scrap parts by Ghanian artisans and Dutch artists


The Smati Turtle 1 is an "African concept car" created by Dutch artist/researcher team Melle Smets and Joost van Onna, who worked with the artisinal car-makers of Suame Magazine, Ghana, to create a killer junker for the African market. Suame Magazine is a neighborhood full of people who take apart scrap cars and rebuild them for local markets, removing the difficult-to-maintain electronics, expanding the cargo areas. The Turtle 1 took three months to create, and had its test-drive inaugurated by the Ashanti king.

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Dutch ebook sellers promise to spy on everyone's reading habits, share them with "anti-piracy" group

Earlier this summer, the German Booksellers Association announced a daft "watermarking" process for ebooks that would introduce random variations in the text as a means of uniquely identifying them. At the time, I pointed out that this was just silly: firstly, it's not hard to detect and vary the watermarks (just compare two different copies of the text using a 40-year-old program called "diff") and secondly, because the fact that a pirate site has a copy of a book with "your" watermark in it doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong. It's not illegal to lose your computer, be hacked, or give your hard-drive away.

What I totally failed to anticipate was that booksellers and publishers would use watermarking as a rubric for tracking and sharing information about everything that everyone is reading. In the Netherlands, ebook sellers have announced that they will retain full reading records on their customers for at least two years, and will share that information with an "anti-piracy" group called BREIN (a group that already has the power to order Dutch ISPs to censor the Internet, without due process or judicial oversight; and who, ironically, were caught ripping off musicians for their anti-piracy ads).

I am not often shocked by the insanity of anti-piracy efforts, but this one has me agog. As a former bookseller, I can't believe that people in the business of putting books into readers' hands would casually spy on their customers' reading habits, and, worse still, turn them over to a sleazy third party with a track-record of bullying, corruption, and censorship.

It's hard to imagine a less ethical business practice. Piracy (that is, "reading books the wrong way") pales by comparison alongside of it. If the Dutch booksellers had set out to build the case for piracy as the safest, most virtuous reading practice, they could have done no better.

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Stolen Picasso, Monet, Matisse believed burned

Romanian prosecutors suspect that the paintings stolen from Rotterdam's Kunsthal gallery in the biggest Netherlands art-theft in a decade were incinerated. A Romanian museum is analyzing the ashes in Olga Dogaru's stove; Dogaru is the mother of accused thief Radu Dogaru, and she claims that she dug up her son's buried loot and burned it to protect him -- including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others. Cory 16

Putting party hats on CCTVs to celebrate Orwell's birthday

Yesterday was George Orwell's birthday, and to celebrate, people in Utrecht perched little party hats atop CCTV cameras in public places.

By making these inconspicuous cameras that we ignore in our daily lives catch the eye again we also create awareness of how many cameras really watch us nowadays, and that the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality.

No one tried this in London, because there are not enough party hats in the universe.

George Orwell’s Birthday Party (via Making Light)

Bank pays for costumed flashmob to recreate Rembrandt's Nightwatch in a mall

I'm not normally a fan of corporate commercials designed to be "viral media," but one's very clever. The Dutch financial giant (and money launderer for Iran) ING paid to have a group of actors play out a dramatic reenactment of the events depicted in Rembrandt's classic painting The Night Watch, climaxing with a posed, framed tableau that re-created the painting itself. It's awfully fun to watch Rembrandtian cosplayers charge around a Dutch shopping mall while the shoppers stand agog.

Flashmob brengt 'De nachtwacht' tot leven (via Making Light)

Astronaut duvet cover


€60 is a lot to spend on your kid's duvet cover, but there's no denying that this astronaut bedding from Snurk is pretty wonderful.

Astronaut (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

ISP blinkenlights synchronized to a sprightly piano

Here's a lovely video shot at the XS4ALL ISP data-center outside of Amsterdam, in which the many twinkling, blinking lights are synchronized to a sprightly piano score.

De achterkant van het Internet (Thanks, Neils!)

3D printed house to emerge


A Dutch architecture firm plans on using a D-Shape 3D printer to output a house in the shape of a Mobius strip, a project they estimate will take 18 months:

Dutch architecture studio Universe Architecture is planning to construct a house with a 3D printer for the first time.

The Landscape House will be printed in sections using the giant D-Shape printer, which can produce sections of up to 6 x 9 metres using a mixture of sand and a binding agent.

Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture will collaborate with Italian inventor Enrico Dini, who developed the D-Shape printer, to build the house, which has a looping form based on a Möbius strip.

Dutch architects to use 3D printer to print a house (via Beyond the Beyond)

Artist 3D prints replica of his own skull


A Dutch artist called Caspar Berger is producing a "self-portrait" by 3D printing a replica of his own skull, then layering "flesh" atop it.

In this project, Self-portrait 21, the 3D copy of the skull represents the true image (vera icon). This image has formed the basis for a facial reconstruction by a forensic anthropologist, who received the skull anonymously accompanied only by the information that it belonged to a man in his mid-40s born in Western Europe. This facial reconstruction is based on the available scientific documentation of tissue structure, skin thickness and muscle groups. The clay reconstruction has been cast in bronze to be presented as Self-portrait 21, a self-portrait that has not been made by the artist.

Skeleton / Self-portrait 21 (via Beyond the Beyond)

Bits of Freedom's annual donation campaign is today: defend digital freedom in the Netherlands!


Ot sez, "Bits of Freedom is organizing its annual donation campaign today. Why? Because privacy and freedom on the internet are under threat and we need to defend our rights online. We can only do so with your help. If you want to help, you can write a blog, use one of our banners on your own site or become a supporter. Thanks!"

Bits of Freedom is the Netherlands' answer to groups like EFF, Open Rights Group, Netzpolitik, La Quadrature du Net, and many others (thankfully, there's more than can be readily enumerated here -- it's a global movement). They really deserve your support.

Bits of Freedom is een onafhankelijke beweging, en dat willen we blijven. We kunnen alleen bestaan dankzij donaties van Nederlanders die geven om hun vrijheid en privacy. Wil jij ook meehelpen om internetvrijheid te beschermen? Word dan donateur.

Met jouw steun kunnen we doorgaan met:

* Schendingen van online rechten signaleren en aanpakken

* Slecht beleid terugdraaien en goed beleid stimuleren. Zowel in Den Haag als in Brussel

* Tools ontwikkelen en kennis delen waarmee jij je eigen internetvrijheid kunt beschermen

* Elk jaar de Big Brother Awards uitreiken aan de grofste privacyschenders

Do your bit! (Thanks, Ot!)