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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.

Keyboard made from beer-cans

Here's a cute way to gimmick a keyboard out of a grid of beercans, using Raspberry Pis and Arduinos:

We did this at Webstock, event which took place in Bucharest in September. Staropramen, one of the sponsors of the event asked us for an innovative way to offer a trip to Prague to one of the event's guests.

So, we came up with a keyboard made out of 44 Staropramen beer cans. Each beer can was a key, and whenever someone touched it, the corresponding letter appeared on a large plasma screen (just like any regular computer keyboard).

And the surprise was fantastic! The user experience and engagement overcame any expectation. Every single person who attended Webstock tried the keyboard and participated to the contest.

Behind the scene, the system is built around an Arduino board and a few capacitive controllers (just like the ones which are inside smartphones' touch screens), connected to a Raspberry PI board which controls the plasma screen display.

The Beer Cans Keyboard Movie (via Hacker News)

Teenager launches Lego Space Shuttle into stratosphere

Oaida Raul, a teenager from Romania, launched a Lego Space Shuttle into the stratosphere by tethering it to a high-altitude balloon, along with a camera that shot gorgeous footage of the ascent. He had to go to Germany to launch the vehicle (to deke out Romania's strict launch rules), and pulled it off beautifully.

1600g Weather Ballon
Rocketmodel parachute - slowing things down on the descent
Spot GPS - for recovery
GoPro Hero - video camera
Kodak Zx1 - video camera which took shit images I couldn't even use
New Trent - external battery for the GoPro (broke down before leaving for Germany)
Handwarmers - keepin' it warm at -50 Celsius
40mm Sytrofoam - building the box
Fishingwire - attached the shuttle by 5 wires
LED Beacon - in case of night recovery
Balsa wood - made the camera arm from it to obtain that filming angle. And of course: Lego Shuttle model 3367

Micro Blade Jets (Thanks, Zard!)

Romania's prime minister doesn't know why he signed ACTA, Czech Republic's out

The EU's Eastern European constituents have been under enormous trade pressure to sign onto ACTA, the copyright treaty negotiated in secret at the behest of the US Trade Rep and the entertainment lobby. There's widespread rebellion in Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria, and now Romania's Prime Minister has admitted, "he did not hold any information on the circumstances in which Romania had adopted the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's reviewing its ACTA involvement.(via TechDirt)

Romanians invade Comic-Con

A tip for New York Comic-Congoers: don't miss the Romanian booth for a look at some of the weirdest, coolest comics being made in the world today. See my piece in Forbes from a few years back on Romania's "otaci."