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October 24, 2014

Bike path with solar cells finally being built

Filed under: Bicycles,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 11:39 am

SolaRoad

In 2011 we had a story about a Dutch bike path with solar panels to be built in Krommenie, North Holland by SolaRoad in 2012, but apparently construction is happening right now in October 2014.

A straight stretch of 70 metres of bike path is being fitted with a concrete base, topped with a 1 cm thick layer of crystalline silicon solar cells. The solar cells will be protected by a thick, heavy-duty glass surface strong enough to drive a truck over it.

The Netherlands’ 140,000 kilometres of bike paths could be built out of 400 to 500 km2 of solar cells, which would provide a much bigger surface than the total roof surface of all Dutch houses, to give you an idea of future possibilities.

(Link: motherboard.vice.com, Photo: SolaRoad)

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October 23, 2014

Banksy makes his own Vermeer in Bristol

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

Bristol, UK now has their very own ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ revisited by Banksy and called ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’, which has already been defaced. The earring is an alarm box.

(Link: www.independent.co.uk, Photo of Banksy’s Cleaner by Dan Brady, some rights reserved)

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October 22, 2014

Simple and soothing time lapse film of Dutch cities

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 12:39 pm

“In ,’7685 Frames of Netherlands’, filmmaker Pengcheng He documents the beauty of the old cities of the Netherlands in a charming series of tilt-shift time-lapses. He shot the video in Delft, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.”

Many people don’t see Rotterdam as one of the old cities, mainly because few old buildings were left in the city after the WWII. Delft and Amsterdam join cities like Haarlem and Nijmegen as old cities.

Amsterdam’s IJ river ferries kick it off, then the Stopera, but I’ll let you play guess the city on your own because I could possibly describe the entire video location by location (yes, that is a bit scary) having lived extensively in all three cities. Sometimes, the film even has a miniatures feel to it.

(Link: laughingsquid.com, Photo of Rotterdam, KPN building by Roel Wijnants, some rights reserved)

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October 21, 2014

Historical verdict in weed growers’ case

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 1:56 pm

The court of Groningen handed down a ‘historical verdict’ last Thursday by refusing to punish two cannabis growers who ‘safely and responsibly’ carry out their work, only selling to coffee shops and even paying taxes. While the court found the growers guilty of cultivating weed, it refused to punish them for doing so, underlying the Dutch hypocrisy of punishing ‘the back door’ while turning a blind eye to selling through ‘the front door’. Weed sold in coffee shops is ‘tolerated’ and still illegal, but it continues to be supplied illegally, which is often challenged.

“Coffee shops must supply themselves and so cultivation must be done to satisfy these demands,” the Groningen court said, “but the law does not state how this supply should be done.” What growers do is illegal, but allowing the sale of cannabis since 1976 in coffee shops is very hypocritical and blatantly encourages crime.

The government enjoys the tax money it gets from legitimate businesses like coffee shops, and now the back door has now been left open. Other growers could also soon go unpunished, en route to the legal supply of cannabis for coffee shops.

(Links: phys.org, www.voc-nederland.org)

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October 20, 2014

Houses of pension fraud Krol seized

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:53 pm

Celebrity laywer Oscar Hammerstein must have been out of the spotlight for too long. Volkskrant reports that even though the foundation claims not to have money to spend on legal counsel, they have managed to get Hammerstein (400 euro per hour) to seize two of Krol’s houses for them.

The foundation Vrienden van de Gay Krant (Friends of de Gay Krant, a gay paper) is being besieged by the Dutch Ministry of Education, which wants to get subsidies back that were earmarked for an online meeting place for teenage gays, but which Krol allegedly used to fund his other enterprises during his stint as foundation chairman. In turn the foundation felt Krol should pay their debt as it was he who got them into this mess.

One of the two houses is Krol’s villa in Eindhoven which he wants to sell for 860,000 euro, which includes a bar, a sauna, a hair salon and an obscene amount of marble. Financial gossip mag Quote has photos. The ministry’s bill is apparently only for 206,833 euro.

Krol’s party 50PLUS, who run on a platform of milking the young (read: poor) to give to the elderly (read: not so poor), have accused Volkskrant and AD of ‘damaging’ Krol. Considering that the man who allegedly robbed his employees of their pension funds has not been convicted, nor even prosecuted, they may have a point. On the other hand, the return of Krol in parliament to replace a sick colleague has led to an increase of projected votes of 50% in the polls (read: 1 seat) according to Maurice de Hond.

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October 19, 2014

Amsterdam marathon 2014

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:21 pm

am2014-lucas-rotich-branko-collin-24o

I don’t really have much to say about the marathon of Amsterdam which took place today, except that I liked the photo of Kenyans Lucas Rotich and John Mwangangi that I took on Amstelveenseweg near the finish. The two athletes came in second and third after their countryman Bernard Kipyego who ran 42 kilometres and 195 metres in a personal best time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 20 seconds, NRC reports.

The fastest woman was Betelhem Moges from Ethiopia in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 35 seconds, followed by Ogla Kimaiyo from Kenya and Diane Nukuri Johnson from Burundi.

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October 18, 2014

Ms ‘Hen the Rooster’ new chicken boss of the Netherlands

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Branko Collin @ 1:20 pm

chicken-branko-collinStarting next year Ms Hennie de Haan will become the new chairperson of the Poultry Farmers’ Union of the Netherlands, Telegraaf reports.

In itself this is not interesting news, but if you understand Dutch you’ll realise her name means ‘Hen the Rooster’. Never was there a poultry farmers’ union’s chairperson with a more fitting name, I imagine.

Ms De Haan told AD that she hadn’t even noticed the funny pairing at first: “Well, I’ve had this name for 45 years now. You don’t often stop to contemplate your own name. My partner had to point out [how remarkable this is]. [...] Usually chicken farming is discussed in terms of the environment and the treatment of animals. If my name causes a smile [...] I consider that a bonus.”

A popular go-to person for the Dutch press whenever a plane threatens to fall out of the sky is the former chairperson of the Association of Dutch Commercial Pilots, Benno Baksteen, whose last name means ‘brick’.

Every year popular radio DJs Coen & Sander collect the funniest names they can find and crown one of them the ‘shame name’ of the year. Two weeks ago that award went to Wil Helmes, which sounds like the title of the Dutch anthem, ‘Wilhelmus’. Number 2 was Ben Bouten, which means ‘off to poo’. Third place went to Leen Kleingeld means ‘borrow small change’.

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October 17, 2014

Playing with your food can be art

Filed under: Art,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:00 pm

Vla-Vermeer

Daniel Kok makes artwork with custard, in Dutch known as ‘vla’, which comes in cartons like milk cartons. He’s going strong on instagram, showcasing Dutch and international portraits. He calls it ‘Vlaart’ (‘vla’ and ‘art’). Kok says his daughter asked him to make her something in 2011 and has been honing his custard art skills every since.

(Link and image: www.froot.nl)

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October 16, 2014

Wearable tech onesie turns into Wi-Fi hotspot

Filed under: Design,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:35 am

BBSuit

Borre Akkersdijk, a ‘textile developer’, designed a onesie called the BB.Suit that “allows you to become technology”. Presented at the SXSW in Texas earlier this year, the knitted BB.Suit has Wi-Fi, GPS with room gadgets and computer chips. At the time it was a prototype, and the issue of washing the onesie with tech in it was definitely a problem. Akkersdijk aptly points out that wearable technology still has a long way to go.

Walking around and being a Wi-Fi hotspot seems like the most practical use of this outfit, especially abroad.

Embedded with copper wires that enable WiFi, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth, the BB.Suit turns its wearer into a mappable hotspot with mp3 streaming ability. Batteries, processor boards, and UI actuators live in the BB.Suit’s pockets, making the rest of the suit feel seamless, and it’s made of two layers of cotton to hide and protect the copper cables, with filling that puffs when it’s steamed, meaning the onesie is super-comfy too!

(Link: www.shinyshiny.tv, Photo: byborre.com)

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October 15, 2014

Grieving parties must purchase software to fill in tax form

Filed under: General,IT by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

Roughly translated the Dutch tax office’s motto is, ‘We can’t make it more pleasant, but we can make it easier’, which is often use to preface the exact opposite, as I am about to do.

Some guy’s stepmother dies. Besides coming to terms with the situation, there’s paperwork to be done for the tax office. Many forms have been digitised over the years, but not the one form this guy needs to fill out. In fact, some 140,000 people need to fill out this form every year, but its 27 pages. Our guy says he’ll need to sit down and spend hours figuring it out.

Nope, he can’t send it in digitally. For that one form, he needs to purchase software from one of two publishers who make it for accountants and it costs 610 euro. Our guy is justifiably upset and decides to write to Parliament because sending in most tax forms is usually free. After all the two companies that make this professional software are able to send in their corporate tax forms for free. The tax office didn’t think that people doing taxes for the deceased was a priority, but you wonder why they think it’s OK to force ordinary citizens to buy expensive, almost useless software to fill in one form. Politicians have said they agree, but changing the rules won’t happen overnight.

Tax office cock-ups are a great source of entertainment:

Tax office in Friesland refuses Frisian letter. You can’t talk to the tax office in any other language than Dutch for legal reasons, something we hadn’t mentioned back then.

Tax office tells woman to divorce for benefits. Taxes before bros, thinks the government.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl)

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