Catalan separatists plan largest ever European demonstration for Sept 11


Liz writes, "This Sept 11 is the 300th anniversary of the loss of Catalonia's sovereignty to Spain. Catalans will commemorate the date by holding a massive demonstration -- perhaps Europe's largest ever-- on two major Barcelona boulevards, creating a huge letter V for Vote with upwards of 1.5 million expected participants."

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Supercomputing center in a beautiful, deconsecrated church


Allison writes, "The Barcelona Supercomputing Center is not only gorgeous with its soaring ceilings, it also was an instrumental site for developing modern microchip technology."

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Dazzle-paint in public square in Alicante causes dizziness, triggers seizures


The ground in a Plaza de Pio XII, a square in Alicante, Spain has been decorated with a dazzle-paint-like pattern of high contrast wiggly white lines. It has caused seizures in some people with photosensitive epilepsy (20,000 people with epilepsy live in the region) and some elderly people have complained of dizziness while traversing the square. The square is centrally located, and some of its detractors argue that they have to cross it several times a day just to get around town. Here's some of the Google Translate text from the Diario Informacion piece by Alberola Pine:

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Reading net creates a kids' level in a library


Spain's Playoffice -- a design firm focused on kid-centric designs -- conceived of the "reading net" as a way of transforming "a traditional family library into a fun place for kids." It looks amazing.

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Spanish PM summons US ambassador to explain NSA mass-surveillance of Spaniards

The US ambassador to Spain has been summoned by Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy to explain a Snowden leak that shows the NSA is engaged in bulk surveillance of ordinary Spaniards, intercepting some 3.5M calls/day.

If any country were found to be doing this to the USA, it seems likely that elements of the US government would consider it to be a hostile act by a foreign power.

As some have pointed out, the capability for this kind of surveillance will grow steadily cheaper, so you can expect countries like Spain to be in a position to engage in the same conduct with respect to the US in short order -- and now that the US is going around the world, insisting that it is legitimate and even necessary to spy like this, why should they show any restraint?

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Argentine Judge wants to place officials from Franco regime on trial

"Spain, whose judges have aggressively pursued human rights abuse cases far beyond its borders, finds itself on the receiving end of such an inquest." A judge in Argentina is trying to extradite and bring to justice Spanish police officials accused of torturing opponents of the regime under Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator who died in 1975. Victims of those abuses "filed a lawsuit in Buenos Aires in 2010, after getting nowhere in Spain because of a 1977 amnesty law meant to smooth Spain’s return to democracy." Raphael Minder has more in the NYT.

Maker Faire Barcelona this weekend

Ian sez, "Makers, hackers and crafters in Barcelona are in for a treat this weekend as the first ever Maker Faire event in Spain takes place at the MOB (Makers of Barcelona) workspace in the Eixample district of the city. Barcelona is shaping up as one of the most exciting cities in Europe for makers as the locals respond to the economic crisis by remaking the world from the ground up." Cory

Town delivers sidewalk dog poop to owners in "lost property" boxes

A Spanish town called Brunete used volunteers to covertly identify people who had left their dog's shit on the public sidewalk (the volunteers chatted up the dog owners' about their dogs' breeds, this was cross-referenced against the register of dogs). The volunteers then packaged up the turds in a "lost property" box and returned them to the owners. 20 volunteers delivered 147 crap-o-grams and reported a 70 percent drop in public poop after the program ran (they did not disclose their methodology for calculating this).

On the one hand, this is funny. On the other hand, it's a sobering reminder of how trivially small pieces of seemingly innocuous information can be used to identify people. On the third hand, people who let their dogs crap on the sidewalk and don't pick it up are the worst human beings on Earth, and I join with Mark Thomas in calling for a law that requires people to wear any unclaimed turds as a mustache for a full day.

Spanish town posts dog mess back to offending hound owners (via Neatorama)

Lamps made from cassette tapes


Cassette Is Not Dead refurbs cassette tapes into handsome lamps. They operate on a barter economy -- send them 40 homemade mix-tapes and they'll send you a wallet made from one tape; send them 80 pre-recorded tapes and they'll send you a box lamp. Alternatively, you can buy the lamps for cash.

cassetteisnotdead.com (via Yanko Design)

Hardwood Escher tesselated interlocking lizard tiles


The Spanish firm Arbore offered these custom Escher-inspired floor tiles back in 2011; from the looks of things, they're still available. It's a very well-executed conceit, done in hardwood.

Diseño geometrico inspiración Escher (via Geekologie)

Child abuse PSA street-poster has a secret message for kids

The Anar Foundation and Grey Spain created a lenticular street-poster about child abuse that shows a "secret" message to people who view it from a kid's eye-height.

ANAR Foundation manages in Spain the european unique phone number 116 111, to attend children and teenagers under a risk situation. On this telephone number, only for minors, they can find the help they need in a totally anonymous and confidential way. But, how can we get our message to a child abuse victim, even when they are accompanied by their aggressor?

Knowing the average height for adults and children under 10,GREY has created two different messages. Using an outdoor lenticular we show adults an awareness message, while children see a message where we offer them our help and show them the telephone number. A message only for children.

Glad they're using this power for good and not evil. Wait until the grocery stores get hold of it and start loading the pester-power ads at kids' eye-height.

FUNDACIÓN ANAR. "ONLY FOR CHILDREN"

Spanish civil war posters


Retronaut has collected a huge gallery of posters from both sides of the Spanish Civil War that come from the Biblioteca Nacional de España site.

1936-1939: Posters from the Spanish Civil War

Zambia's fictional 1960s space programme


Rick sez, "Spanish photographer Cristina De Middel's fictional documentation of a failed 1960s space programme in Zambia - The Afronauts - has just been nominated for the 2013 Deutsche Borse photography prize."

Zambia's first (unofficial) space programme

Spanish locksmiths won't help banks evict people from their homes

As the subprime bubble continues to burst in Spain, locksmiths find themselves complicit in putting families out on the street. In Pamplona, the local locksmiths have banded together and will not accept work from the banks changing locks or opening doors, even though it's costing them business:

Tired of accompanying court officials to evict unemployed people as banks foreclosed mortgages, De Carlos consulted his fellow Pamplona locksmiths before Christmas. In no time at all, they came to an agreement. They would not do the dirty work of banks whose rash lending pumped up a housing bubble and then, after it popped, helped bring the country to its knees.

"It only took us 15 minutes to reach a decision," says De Carlos amid the racks of keys in the family's shop in the centre of this small northern city best known for its annual bull-runs and the adoration heaped on it by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. "We all had stories of jobs we had been on where families had been left on the street. When you set out all you have is an address and the name of the bank, but I recall an elderly, sick man who was barely given time to put his trousers on."

The logic behind their decision was clear and simple. While Spain's banks mop up billions of euros in public aid, they are also busy reclaiming homes that in some cases they lent silly money for. At the height of Spain's housing madness, banks were, in effect, offering mortgages of more than 100%. They aggressively chased clients – especially among the immigrants who arrived from Latin America in their millions to build new homes – creating an uncontrolled spiral of self-fulfilling, but ultimately doomed, demand. Complex networks of guarantors were pieced together by middlemen among immigrants who often barely understood what they were doing.

Pamplona's locksmiths join revolt as banks throw families from their homes [Monica Muñoz and Giles Tremlett/The Guardian]

(via We Make Money Not Art)

Fresco "restorer" wants a royalty from the church

Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian Spanish amateur art restorer who dramatically refashioned a 100-year-old Jesus fresco at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, has declared that her botched effort is copyrighted (probably true as a matter of law), and is demanding that the church cut her in on some of the donations that come from people who visit the church to marvel at her handiwork.

Old Lady Ruins Fresco, Claims Copyright, Demands Money (Thanks, EeeyoreX!)