A guide to the Socialist Modernist Architecture of Romania and Moldova

The BACU Association -- the folks behind the incredible brutalist Socialist Modernism Tumblr -- have announced a limited run, 800-copy book collecting photos and details on 242 Socialist Modernist "objects" in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Read the rest

Collapsing "connected toy" company did nothing while hackers stole millions of voice recordings of kids and parents

Spiral Toys -- a division of Mready, a Romanian electronics company that lost more than 99% of its market-cap in 2015 -- makes a line of toys called "Cloudpets," that use an app to allow parents and children to exchange voice-messages with one another. They exposed a database of millions of these messages, along with sensitive private information about children and parents, for years, without even the most basic password protections -- and as the company imploded, they ignored both security researchers and blackmailers who repeatedly contacted them to let them know that all this data was being stolen. Read the rest

Romania's anti-corruption protests are massive, growing, and they're playful and serious at once

When the government of Romanian PM Sorin Grindeanu announced that they would gut the country's anticorruption statutes, removing criminal sanctions for official corruption, the country erupted into mass protests. Read the rest

Artist installs rooms beneath Milan's sewer entrances

Biancoshock, an artist in Milan, created these "Borderlife" installations that appear to be underground rooms beneath the city's sewer-entrances, as a way of calling attention to homelessness, especially in Bucharest, where 600 people are living in the sewer tunnels. Read the rest

Kinetic steampunk pub in Romania is boozily adorable

Enigma Café in Romania claims to be the first “kinetic steampunk” pub in the world. Read the rest

Stolen Picasso, Monet, Matisse believed burned

Romanian prosecutors suspect that the paintings stolen from Rotterdam's Kunsthal gallery in the biggest Netherlands art-theft in a decade were incinerated. A Romanian museum is analyzing the ashes in Olga Dogaru's stove; Dogaru is the mother of accused thief Radu Dogaru, and she claims that she dug up her son's buried loot and burned it to protect him -- including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others. Read the rest

Keyboard made from beer-cans

Here's a cute way to gimmick a keyboard out of a grid of beercans, using Raspberry Pis and Arduinos.

Teenager launches Lego Space Shuttle into stratosphere

Oaida Raul, a teenager from Romania, launched a Lego Space Shuttle into the stratosphere by tethering it to a high-altitude balloon, along with a camera that shot gorgeous footage of the ascent. He had to go to Germany to launch the vehicle (to deke out Romania's strict launch rules), and pulled it off beautifully.

1600g Weather Ballon Rocketmodel parachute - slowing things down on the descent Spot GPS - for recovery GoPro Hero - video camera Kodak Zx1 - video camera which took shit images I couldn't even use New Trent - external battery for the GoPro (broke down before leaving for Germany) Handwarmers - keepin' it warm at -50 Celsius 40mm Sytrofoam - building the box Fishingwire - attached the shuttle by 5 wires LED Beacon - in case of night recovery Balsa wood - made the camera arm from it to obtain that filming angle.

And of course: Lego Shuttle model 3367

Micro Blade Jets

(Thanks, Zard!) Read the rest

Romania's prime minister doesn't know why he signed ACTA, Czech Republic's out

The EU's Eastern European constituents have been under enormous trade pressure to sign onto ACTA, the copyright treaty negotiated in secret at the behest of the US Trade Rep and the entertainment lobby. There's widespread rebellion in Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria, and now Romania's Prime Minister has admitted, "he did not hold any information on the circumstances in which Romania had adopted the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's reviewing its ACTA involvement.(via TechDirt) Read the rest

Romanians invade Comic-Con

A tip for New York Comic-Congoers: don't miss the Romanian booth for a look at some of the weirdest, coolest comics being made in the world today. See my piece in Forbes from a few years back on Romania's "otaci." Read the rest