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September 1, 2015

There’s an online Dutch shop for mermaid tails

Filed under: Fashion,General,Online by Orangemaster @ 3:03 pm

mermaid

Mermaids have always been popular whether you believe the happy ever after Ariel version or, like me, your parents read you the original Hans Christian Andersen tale featuring daggers, blood and pain. You can also read the difference between mermaids and sirens as the two are often conflated.

Parents Leo and Denise Bergsen were looking for a mermaid tail for their daughter who wanted one and couldn’t find one anywhere in the country. They decided set up a shop called Dutch Tails in Spijkenisse, South Holland that caters to the mermaid inclined, including professional mermaids. They make and sell mermaid outfits and also sell ‘monovins’ and fun swim stuff.

The couple say that very few boys have asked for a mermaid tail and that besides the hordes of little girls ages 6 to 12 who want one, more and more teenagers and adults are asking as well. “Blue is the most popular colour, then pink and purple. Orange not so much.”

(Link: www.z24, Photo of mermaid by Jolante van Hemert, some rights reserved)

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August 31, 2015

Dutch trains to run on 100% wind energy by 2018

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:04 pm

windturbines

As of 2016 Dutch Rail claims that 50% of all electric trains in the country will run on wind energy. In 2017 that figure should be 95% and in 2018 it would go up to 100%. If successful, it will mean a serious decrease Dutch Rail’s CO2 footprint, something it says is important to passengers.

Some 50% of the wind power needed to run the trains will be generated by new wind parks that will gradually be put into operation in the Netherlands, while the other 50% will come from wind parks in Norway, Sweden and Belgium, managed by power company Eneco and VIVENS, an energy procurement cooperative. “Drawing upon sources outside the Netherlands to source the railways means they avoid decreasing availability and also avoid increasing prices of green power for other parties.”

A total of 1.4 TWh of electricity for the rail system, equivalent to the amount of power used by all households in Amsterdam, needs to be generated.

(Links: techxplore.com, www.dekoepel.org)

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August 29, 2015

1960s promo of science museum Evoluon (video)

Filed under: Science,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:38 pm

evoluon-carillon-screenshotThe Eindhoven science museum Evoluon had to close its doors in the 1980s, but a 12-minute-long promotional film made in 1968 provides a fascinating insight into the experience for those who never got to see the real thing.

Visitors would enter a UFO-like building perched on top of a glass frame, pay at turnstiles and take an elevator to the saucer section. There they would be greeted by exhibits about motion, magnetism, engineering, the human body, sound, light, society and more. The basement had a popular electronic speech synthesizer that could be made to say the word ‘koffie’ (‘coffee’) using different inflections.

A lot of the exhibits were operated by the visitors themselves.

The film would find an unexpected audience in the UK as it had been selected by the BBC as one of its 158 colour trade test films which were broadcast during intervals in the regular BBC2 programming. The idea was to give electronics store owners a chance to show off their colour TV sets to shoppers.

The film was produced by Ted de Wit and director Ronny Erends and the music was made by Jaap Hofland and the Moonliners.

See also: Evoluon architect Leo de Bever dies.

(Image: crop of the video)

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August 27, 2015

Unilever wins against vegan mayo makers

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:05 am

chickpeas

Even though Dutch-British food giant Unilever had dropped its case against American vegan mayo maker Hampton Creek for its eggless mayonnaise Just Mayo, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that Just Mayo is not mayonnaise and is not ‘healthy for your heart’, either.

Mayonnaise has to contain eggs, so Just Mayo needs to change its name and probably its logo currently featuring an egg on it. As well, Just Mayo claims to be ‘healthy for your heart’, but apparently it’s mostly fat: a 14 g serving (one tablespoon) contains 90 calories, 75% of which is fat. In comparison a 13 g serving (one tablespoon) of Unilever’s Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise has 90 calories, 100% of which is fat, but doesn’t claim to be a good choice. The definition of tablespoon is still used in many countries and fluctuates, making calorie counting a pain.

Instead of Unilever getting bad publicity for bullying vegans and spending money to attack Hampton Creek, the FDA did their work for them.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Chick peas by abrunvoll, some rights reserved)

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August 26, 2015

A Dutch marriage tradition partially disappears

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:03 pm

Yesterday a Dutch wedding tradition was updated: the custom of ondertrouw, which is said to be the equivalent of getting a marriage licence. In the Netherlands, a couple has to go to town hall to announce their intention of getting married, a pre-marriage legal requirement in Belgium as well.

As of September 1, couples can announce their intent to marry by filling out a form online in their municipality free of charge, saving some 10 to 20 euro. I would imagine it saves time and frees up one’s diary around a busy planning period as well.

The new electronic document is still needed two weeks before the actual wedding to have the right to marry, giving bureaucrats time to check the partners’ personal details. And just like before, this ‘permission to marry’ expires after one year.

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, photo of wedding figurines by ValentinaST, some rights reserved)

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August 25, 2015

Free app to send replies out when driving

Filed under: Automobiles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:35 pm

Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix, who brought us questionable songs about wearing a burqa and buses full of Polish people, is currently designing a phone app.

Motivated by the amount of fines he has had for using a mobile phone while driving and causing minor accidents ‘with no injuries’, Vlemmix’s app would provide the equivalent of an ‘out of office’ reply but then an ‘I’m driving’ version for all incoming messages, including social media. The app would be available in September for Android and iPhone, and it will be free.

Besides replying to the recipient who wonders why you’re not answering them back quickly, Vlemmix would leave his phone alone much easier knowing a reply was sent. Maybe he needs to tell his recipients to chill or needs to learn to let go of his phone while driving and realise that it is illegal to drive and text because it’s dangerous.

Another argument from Vlemmix is that if ever the police were to stop you (well, him), he could prove he didn’t answer his phone. We’ve had two stories, Man fined 237 euro for scratching his ear and Man gets 150 euro fine for sticking finger in ear, where this app could have been useful.

(Link: www.ed.nl, Photo by Hello Turkey Toe, some rights reserved)

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August 24, 2015

Den Bosch tests noise barrier made of solar panels

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

solar_noise_barrier.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.

The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.

“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”

Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.

(Links and photo: www.treehugger.com, www.tue.nl)

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August 22, 2015

Clothing made from recycled ocean plastic

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 8:13 pm

Pharrell-Williams-for-G-Star-RAW-AW-2015_dezeen_468_1

Dutch denim label G-Star Raw together with music artist Pharrell Williams have teamed up to design an entire range of clothing made from recycled ocean plastic. The RAW for the Oceans collection for the Autumn-Winter 2015 line for both men and women features a stylish jellyfish logo that pops up in amusing places on the clothing.

“The garments in the collection are all created using fabrics developed in collaboration with textile company Bionic Yarn [whose creative director is Williams] and environmental group Parley for the Oceans, an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing issue.”

(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)

August 21, 2015

Knocking on your phone to exchange your details

Filed under: IT,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:06 pm

Knock Knock

You meet someone and you want to exchange all your social media details, and that’s a lot of work. Dutch-born David Wyler and his American business partner Ankur Jain, both Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with many accolades, have developed a free mobile app called ‘Knock Knock’ that lets you swap details and instantly follow people. Unfortunately, Google Play won’t let me download it to my Samsung Galaxy to try it out, but y’all go ahead.

The app has received undisclosed investments from British investor Richard Branson, American rapper Will.i.am. and American actor Sophia Bush who can all be seen in the promo video. For reasons unknown – and I have asked – Bush was left out of the Dutch sources of this article as well as Jain, which is very odd.

Knock Knock is apparently the third in a series of similar apps, as Spincard and Bump were first, but are not around anymore. Maybe third time’s the charm.

(Links: techcrunch.com, www.rtlnieuws.nl)

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August 20, 2015

Consumers can report embarrassing complaints anonymously

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 1:32 pm

Cracked-egg

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), which protects consumer interests, is encouraging people to complain about unsatisfactory products and has decided to let people lodge complaints anonymously from August 20 to September 10.

The idea behind the anonymity is to get people who have been duped buying ‘embarrassing’ products such as sex toys and dating site subscriptions to come forward, something many people don’t do because they have to mention their personal details.

The ACM site mentions a person who paid 50 euro for a ‘pamper yourself’ package that only contained a thong and a candle. A woman bought a ‘remote egg’ sex toy that didn’t work remotely. And then there’s the elderly who get pushed by salespeople at the door to sign something, which they later find shameful, and people having won something but have to pay postage or taxes to get their ‘prize’.

(Link: www.consuwijzer.nl, Photo of cracked egg by John Liu, some rights reserved)

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