Parisian canals now open to swimmers

Paris, France is making good on its promise to reopen long polluted waterways to bathers.

Up to three hundred people at any time can use the lifeguard-protected pools, although the pools only have locker space for 80. Located in a part of Paris already popular as a place to stroll in fine weather, the new bathing spot is likely to prove a major hit in an already hotter-than-average summer. Early reports suggest that the water is indeed delightful, though a small residuum of green algae does make a post-bathe shower a good idea.

How did Paris pull this off? The city’s been working on cleaning up the waters here for decades. Paris’s canals here were once unsurprisingly filthy, running as they do through a former industrial area once packed with cargo barges and polluted by sewage. Since the 1980s, however, regulations managing industrial run-off have tightened substantially, while Paris has invested heavily in wastewater treatment and in preventing sewage from being discharged into the canal during periods of high water. Two years ago, following a concerted clean-up, bacteria levels dropped below safe levels, and rogue bathers have been jumping in the water here for a while. Meanwhile, the Canal Saint Martin, which runs downstream from the basin down to the Seine, was entirely drained and cleaned in 2016, a process that sent a powerful visual message to Parisians that the area’s historic filth was being swept away.

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France trolls Trump on decision to withdraw from Paris Accord

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs tweeted a 🔥 video today on Trump's Paris Accord decision.

After president Emmanuel Macron's epic tweet yesterday, this is something else.

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City of Paris deploys "anti-refugee boulders" to prevent camping while waiting for space at a humanitarian center

The city of Paris has installed "anti-refugee boulders" beneath a highway overpass in Porte de La Chapelle in a bid to stop Syrian refugees from sleeping in the flyover's shelter while they wait for space to open up at a nearby humanitarian relief center operated by Emmaus solidarité. Read the rest

Paris terrorists used disposable burner phones to hide plans. No evidence of encryption.

"Everywhere they went, the attackers left behind their throwaway phones."

Buried in the New York Times story Mark poked fun at earlier for its Crypto Panic vibe, a confirmation of sorts that there's really no evidence the terrorists used crypto at all. There is lots of evidence they used throwaway burner phones to evade detection while planning mass murder. Again, no evidence encryption, none, period. This is significant because these attacks, and similar ones that followed, are at the core of an anti-encryption charm offensive by the FBI and Department of Justice, now targeted at Apple's iPhone.

Ars Technica rehashes the details of the NYT piece and then puts it plainly:

Until we have stronger evidence to the contrary, it seems likely that encryption played little or no part in the Paris terrorist attacks.

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Listen to the sounds of 18th century Paris

Musicologist Mylène Pardoen and a team of 3D artists created this "sonic tableaux" of 18th century Paris based on a 1781 map and numerous historical documents and research on what Paris's Grand Châtelet district, between the Pont au Change and Pont Notre Dame bridges, may have sounded like at the time. From the French National Center for Scientific Research:

“I chose that neighborhood because it concentrates 80% of the background sound environments of Paris in that era, whether through familiar trades—shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, washerwomen on the banks of the Seine, etc.—or the diversity of acoustic possibilities, like the echo heard under a bridge or in a covered passageway,” Pardoen explains. While historical videos with soundtracks are nothing new, this is the first 3D reconstitution based solely on a sonic background: the quality of the sounds (muffled, amplified…) takes into account the heights of the buildings and their construction materials (stone, cob etc.).

This urban soundscape was recreated based on documents from the period, including Le Tableau de Paris, published in 1781 by Louis-Sebastien Mercier, and the work of historians like Arlette Farge, a specialist on the 18th century, Alain Corbin, known for his research on the history of the senses, and Youri Carbonnier, an authority on houses built on bridges. The audio tour includes sounds like the cackling of birds in the poultry market, the hum of flies drawn to the fishmongers’ stalls, the sound of the loom at the woollen mill that used to stand at one end of the Pont au Change, that of the scrapers in the tanneries on Rue de la Pelleterie, of typesetting at the print shop on Rue de Gesvres… all overlaid with the incessant cries of the seagulls that came to feed on the city’s heaps of waste....

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French PM defies Ministry of Interior, says he won't ban open wifi or Tor

Despite the French Ministry of Interior's demands to crack down on Internet anonymity, Prime Minister Manual Valls has gone on record saying he won't allow such a thing to pass: Read the rest

“Your son died as a martyr” text to a mom reveals third Bataclan attacker

A mother in northeast France received a text from a phone traced to Syria: “Your son died as a martyr Nov. 13.”

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France declares state of emergency, gives government Web-blocking, device search powers

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the French National Assembly has declared a state of emergency with sweeping powers, without any substantial debate. Included in the bill are the power to order the nation's ISPs to block websites without any judicial review or court order, and for authorities to seize and search electronic devices without a warrant.

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Jewish teacher in France stabbed in anti-Semitic hate crime by terrorism supporters

In France, police are searching for three terrorism supporters who stabbed a Jewish school teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille.

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A story of a building in Paris that's stood since the Crusades

See more photos at Wink Fun.

750 Years in Paris is a historical graphic novel sans words as well as a stunning coffee table art book. Paris-based artist Vincent Mahé (aka Mr. Bidon) illustrates 60 snapshots of the same building in Paris, spanning from the year 1265 with cows grazing in front of its humbler beginnings to 2015 in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. With the smallest of details, from words of storefront signs to the clothing of people to the state of the building itself, Mahé is able to subtly and masterfully inject humor, horror, nostalgia, historical facts and pride into his various images.

The back of the book has a timeline to help decipher some of the historical events revolving around the images. For instance, directly quoted from the book (and images shown above):

1515 – Francis I is crowned king and enters the city in a lavish procession. 1804 – Napoleon’s enthronement and imperial troops procession. 1915 – World War 1. 2015 – 4 million in the streets defending freedom of speech.

As I began to write this review, the horror of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded before the world, making this newly-released book all the more poignant and significant.

750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé Nobrow 2015, 120 pages, 8.4 x 13 x 0.7 inches $18 Buy a copy on Amazon

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EU official: all identified Paris attackers were from the EU

Despite the rumors that tricked more than half the state governors in the USA into enacting racist anti-Syrian policies, there is no evidence that the Paris attackers came from outside the EU. Read the rest

If the Paris attackers weren't using crypto, the next ones will, and so should you

Lots of law enforcement agencies hate crypto, because the technology that helps us protect our communications from criminals and griefers and stalkers and spies also helps criminals keep secrets from cops. With each terrorist attack there's a fresh round of doom-talk from spooks and cops about the criminals "going dark" -- as though the present situation, in which the names and personal information of everyone who talks to everyone else, all the time, where they are then they talk, where they go and who they talk to next, is somehow less surveillant than the past, when cops could sometimes use analog tape-recorders to wiretap the very few conversations that took place on landlines. Read the rest

Former ISIS hostage: they want us to retaliate

French journalist Nicolas Hénin was held hostage for ten months by ISIS terrorists, chained in an underground cell; his cellmates were later murdered by ISIS. For nearly a year, he lived with ISIS fighters, and learned what makes them tick. Read the rest

There is no record of US mass surveillance ever preventing a large terror attack

CIA Director John Brennan wants you to think the Paris attacks were Snowden's fault -- the "hand wringing" over mass surveillance has ended his agency's ability to "thwart" terrorists attacks "before they're carried out." There's only one problem with that: there's no evidence that the US's mass surveillance programs have ever prevented a major terrorist attack. Read the rest

How terrorists trick Western governments into doing their work for them

Terrorism's goal is to commit frightening, high-profile crimes that scare people into making rash, expensive decisions that make the world look like the terrorists would like to see it. Read the rest

A beautiful card-magic tribute to Paris

Magicpeacelove writes, "Shin Lim, who created the extraordinary card act that took Penn & Teller (and the magic world) by storm has just released another rather stunning card act, this one in tribute to Paris. It looks like CGI but it's not; just beautiful magic done by a young master." Read the rest

ISIS claims responsibility for Paris terror attacks

129 people were killed in a series of terror attacks across Paris Friday night, with Middle-East terror group ISIS claiming responsibility in the aftermath. Authorities described the carnage as the worst acts of violence to hit France since World War II.

The seemingly-coordinated shootings and explosions took place at at least six locations, including a café and a stadium where a soccer game was interrupted by an apparent suicide bombing, sending the crowd pouring onto the pitch. Eyewitnesses claim that the assailants carried Kalashnikov rifles.

Some 118 people were reported killed at the Bataclan theater, where hostages were taken and systematically executed before police stormed the building and killed at least three gunmen.

Californian rock band Eagles of Death Metal were performing a concert at the venue.

Reports of gunfire, explosions, and ongoing killings within the theater forced a police assault on the building at about 6:30 p.m. EST, according to Agence France-Presse.

Local news channel BFMTV reported that the police operation was concluded at about 7 p.m.

Julian Pearce, speaking to CNN, says he escaped the building earlier in the evening and described it as a "bloodbath."

There were further reports of gunfire at a food market near the center of town. 42 were reportedly killed there, at the Petit Cambodge restaurant in the 11th district, and in the stadium bombing.

A state of emergency was declared across the nation and 1,500 extra soldiers deployed to the capital in the aftermath of the attacks. Read the rest

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