Paris: Police fire tear gas, water cannons on 'yellow vest' protest anniversary

In Paris on Saturday, police fired water cannons and tear gas on protesters who gathered to mark one year since the anti-government “yellow vest” demonstrations of 2018. Read the rest

Guillotine watch: Louis XVI's final chateau, never occupied by royalty, is for sale, just in time for the next revolution

If you have €7,000,000 you want to spend before capitalism collapses, you can scoop up Château du Bouilh, built for Louis XVI on the eve of the French Revolution, never occupied by royalty, and lovingly preserved to this day, with period interiors to match. Read the rest

Beautiful footage of Parisian life from more than 100 years ago

A clip from director Hugues Nancy's "Paris 1900, the City of Lights," featuring restored and colorized film footage from the fin de siècle. From C21Media:

Thanks to incredible archives restored and fully colorized, this film presents a previously unseen journey through time and space. Discover, Paris in 1900 at the time of the Exposition Universelle and the very beginning of modern art and cinema. The City of Lights became a showcase city, displaying the latest technical and scientific inventions, and also boasting avant-garde art galleries, lively cabarets, the ultimate in high fashion, and… the Parisiennes. The myth of “La Belle Epoque” reigned supreme.

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Les gilets noirs: a French protest movement defending migrants' rights

The gilets jaunes/yellow vests protest movement mobilized in France over a slate of grievances, led by President Macron's plan to meet emissions targets by punishing poor and a rural people, while dealing out massive favors to the country's wealthy elites. As the movement spread around the world, it took on different characters: sometimes lefty, sometimes right-wing, sometimes explicitly racist. Read the rest

The complicated, nuanced story of how racialized French people fought to save their local McDonald's

On NPR's always-excellent Rough Translation podcast comes an incredibly complex and nuanced story (MP3, transcript) about marginalized, racialized people in public housing in Marseille who found an accepting haven in a local McDonald's franchise, and who banded together to save it -- and other nearby McD's -- in a series of direct actions ranging from occupation to threats of self-immolation. Read the rest

After the passage of the EU Copyright Directive, Google nukes Google News France

The passage of the EU's Copyright Directive last March marked the most controversial rulemaking process in EU history, with lawmakers squeaking a narrow victory that relied on confused MEPs pushing the wrong button. Read the rest

Is France's capital city lying to its citizens about a new audio surveillance project?

Anyone who’s visited France or who keeps track of the nation's doings through the news, knows that it’s a nation that’ll put up with a lot of bullshit -- being overrun by tourists, loud talkers, or smiling at strangers -- provided said bullshit doesn’t infringe on the quality of its citizens' lives. The Paris government is arguing that excessively loud vehicles falls on the infringement list. At first blush, it looks like they're trying to do something about it.

From Engadget:

Parisians with powerful cars might want to think carefully before showing off their rides. Parts of the city (most recently the suburb of Villeneuve-le-Roi) are testing a "noise radar" system from Bruitparif that can pinpoint loud vehicles and, eventually, ticket them. The system uses four microphones to triangulate the origins of a sound and link it with CCTV footage to pinpoint whoever's making the racket.

Just shy of 40 of the devices are in use so far, primarily near bars in Paris' entertainment regions as well as 17 around major buildings.

It sounds like a great idea, but I suspect that there might be something greasy going on here. The technology being put into use sounds suspiciously similar to the gunshot locator systems manufactured by ShotSpotter and a few other tech firms. ShotSpotter’s website provides a basic lesson on how the technology works:

Acoustic sensors are strategically placed in a coverage area. When a gun is fired, the sensors detect shots fired. Audio triangulation pinpoints gunfire location and machine-learning algorithms analyze the sound.

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Trump and Macron strike deal to end feud over France’s tax on tech giants

Illegitimate US president Donald Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron’s respective governments have struck deal to end feud over France’s tax on tech giants. Read the rest

Louvre purges every mention of the Sackler opioid family after artist's protest

The Sackler family got richer than the Rockefellers by marketing Oxycontin in ways that kickstarted the global opioid epidemic, whose body count continues to rise -- more than 200,000 dead in the US alone, which is more Americans than died in the Vietnam war. Read the rest

Having burnished their reputations with extravagant promises, the billionaires who pledged €600m. to rebuild Notre Dame are missing in action

Philanthropy is theoretically an expression of generosity and fellow-feeling, but in an increasingly unequal world, charitable giving is a form of reputation laundering for super-rich oligarchs who build their massive fortunes on savage programs of exploitation and immiseration. The idea is that you can paper over the fact that deliberately starting the opioid crisis made you richer than the Rockefellers by having your name plastered all over the world's leading art galleries and museums. Read the rest

French politicians want to add an ag-gag rule to the country's sweeping online hate speech proposal

One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into "allowed" and "prohibited," the "prohibited" category tends to grow, in three ways: first, because company lawyers and other veto-wielders err on the side of caution by excising anything that might be in the "prohibited" bucket; second, because courts respond to these shifts in the discourse by finding more and more edge-cases to be in violation of the law; and finally, because lawmakers are tempted to shovel any speech they or their campaign donors don't like into the "prohibited" bucket. Read the rest

There's a particle accelerator in the Louvre's basement

Three basement levels of the Louvre are given over to the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), which provides research and restoration services to France's 1,200+ art museums and galleries. Read the rest

Bio-modem: a fan-art tribute to Simon Stålenhag's Things From the Flood

Leo Corvaisier, an art student in Paris, created this 3D rendered "bio-modem" based on an illustration from Things From the Flood, an alternative future-history of Sweden published in 2016 by Simon Stålenhag (previously), which was turned into a crowdfunded RPG last year. Corvaisier notes, "Tried getting a handpaint feeling to stick with Stålenhag's illustration style." (via JWZ) Read the rest

Notre Dame's new spire might be copyrighted and blocked by EU filters

There's a proposal in the works to replace Notre Dame's spire -- which was a relatively modern addition -- with a new, starchitect-designed "statement" spire, which will be copyrightable under the same French rules that prohibit commercial photos of the Eiffel Tower at night (and other French landmarks). Read the rest

After Notre Dame bailout Yellow Vests urge more Victor Hugo tributes, starting with "Les Miserables"

The Notre Dame fire is a global tragedy, and it's also raising complicated questions about our present moment, including trenchant inquiries into which church fires merit global outpourings and whose sacred sites get mourned when they are destroyed. Read the rest

As the EU Copyright Directive was approved, Germany admitted it requires copyright filters, putting it on a collision course with the EU-Canada trade deal

The EU Copyright Directive was voted through the Parliament because a handful of MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong button; this week, it passed through the Council -- representing the national governments of the EU -- and as it did, the German government admitted what opponents had said all along: even though the Directive doesn't mention copyright filters for all human expression (photos, videos, text messages, code, Minecraft skins, etc etc), these filters are inevitable. Read the rest

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A fire at Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral was reportedly started by accident, and is related to ongoing work, according to France 2 News which cites police. The Paris bureau chief for Reuters said the news “is terrible and a hideous blow to the symbolic heart of the city.” Read the rest

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