Boing Boing 

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."

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!)

Tuesday linkdump

* Clockwork fairy. Steampunk! Steampunk! Set aside the impulse to tedious kvetching about nonfunctional gears and sit agog with me. (via)

* Stop Pretending Art Is Hard. From botched art restoration to manifesto in one t-shirt.

* The Science News Cycle [PhD Comics]. Don't believe the hype. DING DING! (via)

* Talk on Beat SF, Turing and Burroughs. Rudy Rucker being as Ruckerian as is humanly possible, and we're all better for it.

* The Real Romney. Biography of the man before he became a quadrillionaire sovereign nation in a vat. (via)

* Spanish microcurrency boom. When the going gets tough, the tough issue fiat scrip. (via)

* Anarchist scaremongering at RNC. Black bloc bogeymen for everyone! They've got acid-filled eggs, you know. Because that would totally work. (via)

* Deporting parents of children born in America. No human is illegal*. If your family values demand that the mothers of American children should be sent abroad forever, you're doing it wrong. (via)

Spain's pocket communist utopia, Marinaleda

Dan Hancox sez,

You may have heard about Spain's 'Robin Hood Mayor', Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo - who last week made global headlines after he led farm labourers into supermarkets to expropriate basic food supplies, which were then distributed to the massed ranks of the local unemployed (currently 34% in Andalusia).

The Spanish economic miracle has become a catastrophe; with a government whose cuts have pushed miners to armed conflict (firing home-made rocket launchers at riot police), an Economics Minister whose last job was director of the Spanish branch of Lehman Brothers, and a lost generation of 'indignados' with no homes, no work, and no faith in the system. And right in the middle of it all, Marinaleda, a self-described communist utopia led by the charismatic poet-rebel, Sánchez Gordillo: a town of landless labourers who for over 30 years since the death of Franco, have fought capitalism - and won. 'Utopia and the Valley of Tears' is their story, published this week. There is a short extract in The Guardian.

Utopia and the Valley of Tears: A journey through the Spanish crisis

Folding electric car inches toward the market


Some concrete dates and prices for the Hiroko Fold, a folding electric car that can park in teeny places and turn with "zero radius." The following is from PSFK's Yi Chen:

Researchers from MIT’s Changing Places group and DENOKINN have developed a convenient and eco-friendly car to commute around the city. The Hiriko Fold is an ultra-compact vehicle that can fold upright to fit into tight parking spaces. We first wrote about Hiriko Fold earlier this year, and now it’s been confirmed that the electric car is expected go on sale in 2013 for around $16,000.

The car is able to carry two passengers and is capable of traveling up to 75 miles between charges. The vehicle would also be equipped with zero-turn radius wheels that allow it to move sideways, making parallel parking a less frustrating maneuver. Some of the Hiriko Fold models are on trial in European cities for testing, and the group believes that the compact car would be popular in cities like Berlin, San Francisco, and Barcelona.

MIT’s Tiny Foldable Electric Car Will Retail For $16,000 (via Engadget)

Trees stained by a toxic spill, with the high-tide line aligned to the horizon


This image comes from The Line, a book of photos by Palíndromo Mészaros, "a Spanish photographer and architecture student whose life jumps between Madrid and Budapest." It shows the high-tide line of an aluminum spill from a chemical factory in Hungary, which flooded out a forest in Ajka. Mészaros lines up the red residue with the horizon, producing an effect that is beautiful and terrible and delightfully disorienting. The book, which is produced on demand through Blurb is €127.92, and is printed on Proline Pearl photo paper - 32'4 x 27'6 cm.

"The Line photobook" (via Reddit)

Spanish activists raise money to sue bank boss at center of financial crisis

A group of Spanish activists organized under the #QuerellaPaRato ("Lawsuit for Rato") hashtag, have raised a large private fund to pay for a civil action against Rodrigo Rato, the disgraced former chairman of Bankia, one of the banks at the heart of the Spanish financial crisis. The activists also plan on paying private investigators to amass as dossier detailing Rato's wrongdoings in the hopes that Spain's prosecutors will bring criminal charges against the banker.

In the first 12 hours of the campaign, organisers reported that dozens of Bankia shareholders, as well as former employees, agreed to testify against Rato in a lawsuit. According to a survey by Spanish paper El País, 91% of respondents want an investigation of Rato's management of Bankia...

"Bankia did not last even two years; how is it that Rodrigo Rato leaves his position, hastily and receiving millions in compensations without anyone in an institution having asked nothing before, without anyone asking for an explanation, and nobody asking for an investigation? The Spanish political class is complicit in covering up anything that could have happened, and even more troubling, will continue to do so."

Demanding #QuerellaPaRato (via Techdirt)

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Super-Fun-Pak, featuring Pato Afortunado mit Heinrich Hund!

Support Tom the Dancing Bug and receive untold BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES by joining the brand new INNER HIVE right now!

“I signed up the second I read about it. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy hearing Ruben tell the story behind each of his comics. Good luck, Ruben!” -Mark Frauenfelder, INNER HIVE member since three weeks ago

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Teacup chandelier


Spotted in Valencia, Spain by La Petite Nymphéa: this beautiful teacup chandelier. Designer unknown, but it begs for a remake.

La Petite Nymphéa: UN DÍA EN VALENCIA III - DE PASEO I

Spanish record industry cartel sues business prof who called their system an illegal cartel, claims "threatened honor"


Enrique Dans is a professor at Spain's IE Business School and a well-known blogger who has been a fierce critic of the entertainment industry. Last summer, Prof Dans wrote a blog post, Siete motivos por los que el caso SGAE es mucho más que la propia SGAE, which set out his view that Promusicae, the Spanish record industry consortium, had formed an illegal cartel to distribute music for radio broadcast, which shut out non-members and independents.

Now Promusicae is suing Dans for EUR20,000, accusing him of libel and "threatening their honor," and they are demanding a retraction. As Ernesto writes on TorrentFreak, Dans is standing his ground.

The professor, on the other hand, says his claim was well researched and that he consulted experts in competition law before he wrote it up. And even if that’s not the case, Dans believes he has the right to make such claims in an open and free society.

“In short, what I said in the article was my opinion, protected by the right to freedom of expression and, as I documented it properly and professionally, the right to freedom of information.”

” I stand by my opinion,” he writes in a new blog post. “Of course it may be debatable, but even if it were not well founded and I was wrong, I can not think how it can be an attack against the honor of a society such as Promusicae... The reality? Promusicae are using the ‘honor’ argument to restrict the right to freedom of expression and information. After many years of direct confrontations and repeatedly being humiliated in numerous public forums, now they want to shut me up through a lawsuit.”

Spanish RIAA Sues Blogging Professor for Defamation

Hactivistas protest brutal Spanish copyright law with flood of complaints

Spain's brutal new copyright/censorship law, passed at the behest of the US Trade Rep, has gone into effect. Spanish hactivists working with a recording artist have flooded the service with copyright complaints, busying it out so that none of the major labels' complaints can be processed.

Threatened with being put on a United States trade blacklist, the Government passed the so-called ‘Sinde Law’ in a rush late last year. The law allows for the blocking of allegedly infringing sites based on reports from copyright holders, a position similar to that proposed by the US SOPA bill.

Today the Sinde law went into effect and immediately it was met with resistance from opponents. The group Hackivistas was quick to organize a rather unique form of protest. They encouraged sites to link to a copyrighted track from the artist Eme Navarro, who’s a member of the music rights group SGAE, but critical of the Sinde law.

While Navarro generally publishes his music under a Creative Commons license, he created an “all rights reserved” track specifically for the protest. Thanks to the hacktivist campaign hundreds of websites are now linking to this copyrighted song without permission, and Navarro reported a first batch of sites to the Ministry of Culture early this morning.

As a result, the commission tasked with reviewing all the requests will be overloaded with complaints. All the reported sites have to be processed on order of arrival, so the protest will significantly slow down this review process.

Artist and Hacktivists Sabotage Spanish Anti-Piracy Law