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Dutch government scraps "weed cards" - foreigners will still be able to smoke weed in Amsterdam's "coffee shops"

The new Dutch government has scrapped plans to issue "weed passes" to permanent Dutch residents, and require these passes in order to purchase cannabis products in Amsterdam's famed marijuana "coffee shops." Other cities will be free to ban foreigners from their own cannabis coffee shops, should they choose, but the national government will not impose this upon them.

Incoming Dutch government ditches 'weed pass' plan (via Reddit)

Dutch government gives itself the right to break into your computer and destroy it

Ot from Bits of Freedom sez, "On 15 October, the Dutch ministry of Justice and Security proposed powers for the police to break into computers, install spyware, search computers and destroy data. These powers would extend to computers located outside the Netherlands. Dutch digital rights movement Bits of Freedom warns for the unacceptable risks to cybersecurity and calls on other countries to strongly oppose the proposal."

Three new powers: spy, search and destroy

The proposal (Dutch, PDF) would grant powers to the Dutch police to break into computers, including mobile phones, via the internet in order to:

  • * install spyware, allowing the police to overtake the computer;
  • * search data on the computer, including data on computers located in other countries; and
  • * destroy data on the computer, including data on computers located in other countries.

If the location of the computer cannot be determined, for example in the case of Tor-hidden services, the police is not required to submit a request for legal assistance to another country before breaking in. Under the current text, it is uncertain whether a legal assistance request is required, or merely warranted, if the location of the computer is known. The exercise of these powers requires a warrant from a Dutch court.

Dutch proposal to search and destroy foreign computers (Thanks, Ot!)

European Directories sends legal threat to guy who wants to make it easy to stop receiving phone books

Branko sez,

Everybody in the Netherlands still receives the paper phone guide once every year, whether they want to or not, even though in these days of Google and the Internet it is nothing but a vehicle for advertisements.

To help stop this form of harassment, a guy called Alexander Klöpping has registered a URL called sterftelefoongidssterf.nl (diephonebookdie) which redirects to the phone book cancellation form. In other words, if you want the phone book to be eliminated (‘die’) from your life, follow that link. (Actually don’t follow it, De Telefoongids are known to ignore your cancellation request anyway.)

Last Monday Klöpping received a threatening e-mail by the publishers of the phone book, a subsidiary of European Directories, that tells him he is engaged in trademark violation and that he must cease and desist.

Phone book publisher tries to silence critic with legal bullying (Thanks, Branko!)

Dropped infected USB in the company parking lot as a way of getting malware onto the company network

Workers at the Dutch offices of DSM, a chemical company, report finding USB sticks in the company parking lot, which appeared to have been lost. However, when the company's IT department examined the sticks, they discovered that they were loaded with malware set to autorun in company computers, which would harvest employee login credentials. It appears that criminal dropped the keys in the hopes of tricking a employees into getting them into the company network.

Cybercriminelen doen poging tot spionage bij DSM

Cybercriminals do attempt to commit espionage at DSM (Google Translate)

(via /.)

Lego Turing machine

Some more wonderments in honor of the Alan Turing centenary: Jeroen van den Bos and Davy Landman from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam have created a working Turing machine out of Lego. It is both inspired and an inspiration:

Our LEGO Turing machine uses a tape based on a classic interpretation of computer memory: switches. Additionally, it uses a light sensor to determine the value of a switch: if the switch is on, the sensor will see the black colour of the switch's surface. But if it is turned off, the sensor will see the white colour of the LEGO beam, making it possible to distinguish between the states. Finally, a rotating beam mounted above the tape can flip the switch in both directions.

Alan Turing's original model has an infinite tape, but LEGO had a slight problem supplying infinite bricks. So we chose to fix our tape size to 32 positions.

A Turing Machine built using LEGO In honor of the Alan Turing year 2012

Catcopter artist explains all

In the event that you were wondering about the motives of the Dutch artist Bart Jansen, who attained notoriety by taxiderming his dead cat and retrofitting its corpse to serve as a quadcopter, wonder no more. The CBC's As It Happens recorded an interview with Mr Jansen, and it is one of the strangest, finest interviews in that show's august history. The producers were kind enough to provide us with an MP3 for your listening pleasure. Cory

Dutch Masters portrait subjects clothed in foam packing sheets


Netherlands artist Suzanne Jongmans has created a series of portraits in the style of the Dutch Masters, creating the costumes out of soft packing foam sheets. She needs to team up with the artist who creates 15th century Flemish self-portraits using airplane toilet tissue and seat-covers. Together, they will rule the atemporal world.

Referring to both vulnerability and impermanence, I am investigating the texture and feel of both the present and past. Since 2007 I have been working on the series 'foam sculptures': caps and collars, inspired by 16th and 17th century paintings, made from materials currently used for packaging and insulation. This is also an inferior material which is often discarded after use. By using this material I make a reference to consumerism and the rapid circulation of materials. With these foam sculptures, but also an i-pod, a tattoo and a foot in plaster, we end up in the 21st century.

The portraits are a certain reference to Holbein, Clouet, Vermeer and Holland's Golden Age. It is no coincidence. In fact, in the 16th and 17th century, laid the foundations for photography. Call it the prehistory of photography. It appears that the artists have used photographic images, they could not yet capture. In fact, there was the phenomenon of photography so much earlier. This is an atavism of the Golden Age and the early days of the invention of photography.

I use the elements in the present as in the past, the objects in my work are used as symbols of values. I mutate old costumes into new plastics and old masters in new photographic works. By using time foreign materials, plastics and techno's, I am creating a time crux, a tension of time.

Suzanne Jongmans (via Neatorama)

Netherlands becomes first EU nation to enshrine Net Neutrality in law

Ot from the Dutch technology activist group Bits of Freedom writes, "Good news from The Netherlands: on 8 May 2012 The Netherlands adopted crucial legislation to safeguard an open and secure internet. It is the first country in Europe to implement net neutrality in the law. In addition, it adopted provisions protecting users against disconnection and wiretapping by providers. Digital rights movement Bits of Freedom calls on other countries to follow the Dutch example." (Thanks Ot!) Cory

PixelTable is a storage unit on one side, table on the other.


I'm not entirely clear on how Studio Intussen's "PixelTable" works -- the outer layer of square bamboo pieces appears to be permanently affixed, while the interior rows simply rest on one another. When you insert an object into one side, it pushes out the wooden pieces on the other side, making little table-like extrusions. I can't decide if this would be an endlessly delightful fidget-object, or instantly tedious.

PixelTable (via OhGizmo)

Dutch Catholic Church accused of castrating 10 young men

In the New York Times, Stephen Castle reports on a case in the Netherlands dating back to the 1950s: Roman Catholic Church officials are accused of surgically castrating as many as ten young men. In at least one case, the act may have been punishment against a child who went to police to report that he had been sexually abused by priests. The castrations may have also been "treatment for homosexuality." The article contains descriptions that may be upsetting.

(via Mia Farrow)

Woman's infected jaw removed, 3D printed replacement implanted

An 83-year-old woman with a badly infected lower jaw had the entire thing replaced with a 3D printed titanium/bioceramic replica. The surgery was performed by doctors from the University of Hasselt (Belgium) in collaboration with Dutch surgeons.

The 3D printer prints titanium powder layer by layer, while a computer controlled laser ensures that the correct particles are fused together. Using 3D printing technology, less materials are needed and the production time is much shorter than traditional manufacturing. The mandible was finally given a bioceramic coating compatible with the patient's tissue by BioCeramics in Leiden. The artificial jaw weighs 107 grams, it is only 30 grams heavier than a natural jaw, but the patient can easily get used to it.

The operation was performed in June last year in the hospital in Sittard-Geleen. One day later the lady could start talking and swallowing.

83 year-old woman got 3D printed mandible (Thanks, Don!)

Dutch court gives rightsholder group unchecked power to block IPs and domains in the Netherlands

Niels sez, "Yesterday, the Court of The Hague ordered Dutch ISPs XS4ALL and Ziggo to block access to 3 IPs and 24 domains of The Pirate Bay. On top of that, it granted the entertainment industry's lobby organisation BREIN the power to order extra addresses to be added the blacklist, without having to go to court and without any further checks. XS4ALL, founded in 1993 by a group of Amsterdam based hackers and still advocate for online civil rights, is shocked by the ruling because it violates the freedom of information, which suggests that the judge finds the commercial interests of the entertainment industry to be more important than the civil liberties of the citizens of The Netherlands. Naturally, XS4ALL will appeal the ruling." Cory

Dutch copyright group accused of pirating its anti-piracy anthem, music collecting society boss seeks 33% finders' fee for getting musician paid

A musician called Melchior Rietveldt was commissioned by the Dutch copyright-lobbying group BREIN to compose an anthem for an "anti-piracy" video. According to Rietveldt, BREIN licensed his work for a single use. However, the film industry has gone on to use the music in those crappy anti-piracy ads they run at the start of DVDs telling you off for being a pirate when you've just bought the DVD you're watching. Rietveldt's representatives claim that tens of millions of Dutch DVDs contain his composition, and that he's owed more than EUR1M.

Soon after he discovered the unauthorized distribution of his music Rietveldt alerted the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra. The composer demanded compensation, but to his frustration he heard very little from Buma/Stemra and he certainly didn’t receive any royalties.

Earlier this year, however, a breakthrough seemed to loom on the horizon when Buma/Stemra board member Jochem Gerrits contacted the composer with an interesting proposal. Gerrits offered to help out the composer in his efforts to get paid for his hard work, but the music boss had a few demands of his own.

In order for the deal to work out the composer had to assign the track in question to the music publishing catalogue of the Buma/Stemra board member. In addition to this, the music boss demanded 33% of all the money set to be recouped as a result of his efforts.

It gets worse. Click through to read how Gerrits was recorded making this demand, and what happened next.

Copyright Corruption Scandal Surrounds Anti-Piracy Campaign

Heavily gendered Dutch toy advertising


Mataklap sends in this picture from a Dutch toy brochure. For girls, there's a "washing the dishes" playset. For boys, a microscope.

Cross-sections of teapots embedded in cement blocks


Dutch designer Rolf (no last name, apparently) created a series of cool cross-sections of "teapots and kitschy vases" by embedding them in cement blocks and then sawing them in half: "By cutting the same type of teapot in half, in two different ways, two totally different shapes emerge that are both very characteristic and to a certain, but different degree, recognizable for the shape of a classic teapot."

Cutting Porcelain (via Crib Candy)