Spain's Xnet: leak-publishing corruption-fighters


Xnet is a Spanish collective that invites the public to leak evidence of corruption using the Tor anonymizer, then uses those leaks to bring private criminal complaints against officials and corporations.

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Google News shuts down in Spain


Spain's insane new compulsory fee for quoting news stories has shut down Google News there -- and will prevent any new news search-engines from emerging to replace it.

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Fidget ring that's also a city-specific sundial


Glashütte's Nomos rings are clever little fidget-rings that act as sundials: you adjust the little sliding rings to the correct date, turn it to the sun, and the shadow cast by the little ring tells you the time.

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Tiny, transforming apartment made huge with massive wheeled storage-compartments

Yolanda Pila's tiny Madrid apartment is now a transforming, five-room space, thanks to the addition of novel, rolling, track-mounted storage units that hold all her possessions as well as a murphy bed, and can be rolled around to rearrange the space as needed.

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Spain's top piracy-fighter goes to jail for embezzling $50K to spend in brothels


Pedro Farré was head of corporate relations for the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, and he falsified €40K worth of receipts for all night binges where he consumed Champagne and sexual services at brothels, claiming the funds were spent entertaining and meeting with senior cops, journalists, and academics.

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Catalan president defies Madrid, decrees independence referendum


Catalonian separatism has grown and grown in the face the brutal austerity imposed upon Spain during the Eurozone crisis.

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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)