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

Leaked, "highly classified" French report shows that the slaughter in Yemen depends on US support

Last September, the French Directorate of Military Intelligence prepared a "highly classified" report on the Saudi war in Yemen to brief the "restricted council" of cabinet-level officials; the report has been obtained by the French media organization Disclose, which has published it jointly with The Intercept and four other French media organizations. Read the rest

After months of insisting that #Article13 doesn't require filters, top EU Commissioner says "Article 13 requires filters"

The months of debate over Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive (passed in a tragicomedy of errors when some MEPs got confused and pushed the wrong buttons), the most contentious issue was whether the rule would require online service providers to spend millions on copyright filters, which are known to be error-prone and the source of mountains of algorithmic censorship, as well as being easily abused by would-be censors who can make false copyright claims with impunity and use them to prevent images, videos, sounds and words from ever appearing on the internet. Read the rest

Mystery solved: why has a beach in France been blighted by washed-up parts for toy Garfield phones for more than 30 years?

For more than thirty years, the beaches of France's Iroise Marine Nature Park have been blighted by a seemingly endless stream of a highly specific form of washed-up plastic waste: part of a toy Garfield telephone -- more than 200 pieces in all.

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An astounding gigapixel panorama of Paris affords "an eyeful of the Eiffel"

[Editor's note: Gigapixel panorama impressario Jeffrey Martin (previously) offers us "an eye full from Eiffel" in this astounding gigapixel pano of Paris -Cory]

I shot this gigapixel photo in autumn 2018 from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Using an SLR camera and a variety of telephoto lenses, I shot a few thousand photos from both levels of the Eiffel Tower. The image you see here was shot from the top level, and you can actually see the Eiffel Tower itself in the image. Read the rest

Costa Rican measles outbreak traced to unvaccinated French tourists

Costa Rica had been measles-free for five years, until Feb 18, when visiting French tourists took their unvaccinated five-year-old son to a doctor to investigate a "rash" that turned out to be measles -- the boy's mother was also unvaccinated. Read the rest

French TV cuts Facebook Live video from desecrated Jewish cemetery due to anti-Semitic troll swarm

On Wednesday, the TV network France 3 was forced to cut off a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France when trolls swarmed the feed and filled it with anti-Semitic hate comments. Read the rest

As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse

Last month, it seemed like Europe had been saved from a dangerous attempt by corporate lobbyists to hijack copyright legislation in order to add a few points to their balance sheets, at the cost of a free, fair, open internet. Now, thanks to Germany's decision to turn its back on small European tech companies, the EU is poised once again to hand permanent control over Europe's internet to the United States’ Big Tech sector, snuffing out the small- and medium-sized enterprises of Europe.

The new European Directive on Copyright in the Single Market is a grab-bag of updates to EU-wide copyright rules, which have been frozen in time since their last refresh, in 2001. But the Directive been imperiled since last spring, when German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur, and promptly revived two controversial, unworkable clauses.

To remain credible, the EU must reject this haggling between giant commercial interests—and put the public good first.

Voss's deadly pet ideas were, first, a proposal to let news sites decide who could link to them and to charge for the privilege (Article 11); and second, a proposal to require every platform for public communication to invent and deploy copyright filters that would prevent any user from infringing copyright, even momentarily, by suppressing any communications that appeared to contain a copyrighted work of any kind (Article 13).

The response was swift and decisive: more than a million Europeans promptly wrote to their MEPs to demand that the Directive be voted on clause-by-clause, allowing for Articles 11 and 13 to be amended. Read the rest

As Macron and Merkel meet to rescue the #CopyrightDirective, the world's libraries call for its rejection

The EU's plan to censor the internet with algorithms that block anything that might be a copyright infringement has only days to go before it will be too late for a vote before the upcoming elections, and so far, progress has been stalled thanks to France's unwillingness to accept tiny, meaningless concessions that Germany feels they must win to retain political credibility. Read the rest

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