September 1, 2020

24 Oranges stays on Flickr, but no longer as ‘Pro’

Filed under: General,Photography by Branko Collin @ 5:57 pm

In 2008 we joined Flickr, a photo sharing site that was also one of the first social networks. Shortly after we switched to their Pro account because it made sense at the time – back then it looked like we might soon be bumping into the limits of the free account.

Recently, the new owners of Flickr, Smugmug, have done us the honour and favour of stimulating us to re-evaluate how we want to keep using the service by raising the price of the Pro account by 300%.

We have decided to stay on Flickr, but switched to the free account. The effect on you, dear readers, should be limited. We have maxed out the number of photos we can post to Flickr, so we can no longer do that. In the coming months Flickr may also decide to delete our oldest 232 photos. Smugmug have said that they will not remove CC licensed photos, but it is not clear if they mean all such photos or just the ones that would cause a PR stink if deleted.

We have always distributed our Flickr photos under a Creative Commons license. Please rest assured that this license remains valid, even if you can no longer find the photo.

(As a tip for your copyright audits, you may be able to find the link between a photo and a permissive license on the Wayback machine, even after a Flickr user decided to change a license; also, Wikimedia Commons often copies photos, including their licenses, from Flickr.)

(Photo by Liz West, some rights reserved)

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July 27, 2020

Horse helped determine law in the age of the Internet

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:48 pm

It was 1914, there was a world war being fought, and a clever man thought he had found a way to smuggle a horse.

In that year, exporting horses from Azewijn, in the neutral Netherlands, to warring Germany was illegal. As local newspaper De Graafschap-bode told the story at the time:

L. Lueb, 32 years of age and farmer in Klein Netterden (Germany) is being tried for exporting a horse on 7 September 1914 from the municipality of Bergh across the border at Klein Netterden, by pulling said animal through the water of said canal towards the place from which he was pulling whilst standing on the German side of the border canal while the horse was on the other side of said canal, with clear intent and by means of a rope tied around the neck of said horse.

People used so many words in those days…

The courts could just smell that Mr Lueb was guilty, but legally, a whiff is not enough. A law needs to be found by which to convict a person. But more than that, they had to agree they had jurisdiction. The law rarely determines that somebody can be tried for something they did in another country.

The result was that the case ended up before the Dutch supreme court.

The original court held that not the location of the perpetrator, but rather the ‘exportable object’ determined the location of the crime, Haal Je Recht writes.

The appeals court disagreed and came up with a post-human solution: the rope is an extension of the arm, and the arm was on Dutch soil at the time of the crime. The Dutch supreme court reworded the verdict, but came pretty much to the same conclusion: one can use an instrument to act in a different place from where one currently is.

In our current day and age, it has become much easier to use an instrument to act in a different place. The supreme court referenced the Case of the Horse of Azewijn as recent as last year when it convicted skimmers who had tried to plunder Dutch bank accounts from an ATM in Milan, Italy.

In 1915, Mr Lueb was convicted to a prison sentence of three months. What happened to the horse, I don’t know.

Photo of he German – Dutch border canal near Netterden by Pieter Delicaat, some rights reserved.

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March 31, 2020

Woman claims prize, a (now) antique radio, after 80 years

Filed under: Gaming by Branko Collin @ 1:32 pm

A woman from Rotterdam won the first prize in an 80-year old competition that she had forgotten to enter as a girl.

In 1940 a then 11-year old Tjits Drenth solved a rebus of the Jamin candy chain store, but then the war broke out and she either forgot or ignored the competition.

Earlier this year, when cleaning her place, she discovered the old rebus and decided to send it to Jamin as a historical memento. The company saw a marketing opportunity (or so I assume) and decided to award a prize.

Jamin wasn’t able to find out if the prizes for the competition had ever been awarded, its archive having a big 1938-1950-shaped hole in it, so they decided to give the now Mrs. Den Tuinder-Drenth the main prize. An original Erres tube radio KY 188 was found on Marktplaats, an Ebay owned classified advertising site, and fixed up—although it also gained bluetooth in the process somehow.

The competition asked entrants “What does baron Benjamin say?” The first prize was a radio, the second a sewing machine, the third a vacuum cleaner and the fourth a bicycle—all from Erres, a company from The Hague later bought by Philips.

Mrs. Den Tuinder – Drenth was glad she won first prize, which she received on 3 March from Jamin CEO Maarten Steinkamp. She told AD.nl: “I do not know how to sew, so the sewing machine would have been of no use to me. I am very happy with the radio, however, because I listen to the radio a lot.” Her favourite channels are NPO1 and NPO5.

(Illustrations: AD.nl)

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February 29, 2020

The Letter for the King gets the Netflix treatment

Filed under: Dutch first,Literature,Shows by Branko Collin @ 1:59 pm

On 20 March 2020, Netflix will start running its mini-series The Letter for the King based on the 1962 children’s book of the same name by Tonke Dragt.

Set in the middle ages, knight-in-training Tiuri is tasked by a stranger to deliver a letter to the king and save the world in the process. The adventure spans six episodes. Dragt wrote a sequel to her book, The Secrets of the Wild Wood, so who knows? If this series does well, they might commission another.

According to an interview with Dragt in Trouw last year, this is the first Dutch book that is being turned into an international series by Netflix. Dragt, now 89:

I immediately said no to a couple of [changes Netflix had planned]. No torture! They wanted to remove shield-bearer Piak from the story but I said: Piak stays. And they wanted to make Tiuri’s background more interesting, but I was against that—he is a regular boy. Children must be able to think: that could happen to me. Will I keep the promise [to deliver the letter]?

I had never heard of [Netflix]. So now I need to stay alive for a little while longer, until I have seen at least the first episode. Will it be good or disappointing? I will decide then if I will watch more of it.

Dragt’s stories often revolve around dualities, about finding that crack in the middle to slip through. Tiuri gets the tough choice: do I follow the formal steps that will get me knighted or do I throw that all away so that I can behave knightly?

In De Zevensprong, a so-called seven-way junction is the starting point for a mystery: there are only six roads. The book plays with the notion that a fork in the road is where a single road splits in two—or are they three roads meeting? The duality must be resolved to find the key to the mystery.

And Dragt’s The Towers of February posits that today, Leap Day, is the only time you can slip between realities.

See also: The Dutch like Dutch children’s literature the best

(Illustration: Netflix)

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December 31, 2019

24 Oranges Rewind 2019

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:29 am

The year 2019 in review for 24 Oranges starts with one of the coolest stories I have read in a while: microscope pioneer Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s original specimens were photographed by Wim van Egmond through one of the former’s original microscopes. Among the specimens were the optic nerve of a cow, a slice of cork, and ‘heavenly paper’, a matter that people in the seventeenth century described as paper fallen from heaven but that Van Leeuwenhoek brusquely identified as some sort of dried-out pond scum.

The cutest story must have been that of a kitten stowed away on a fishing boat that sailed from Harlingen, Friesland. The fishers took pity on the animal and let it gorge itself on fresh herring. They could swear little Katrien put on some weight during the trip.

Have you given up on the idea of a Huxleyan hell scape of soma and surveillance? Then we had some good news for you, yes you! In Helmond—because what is in a name?—you could get free housing for a year. The catch? Companies would get to record your every move using sensors, and harvest the resulting data. “Own your data”, they called it, because the scheme turned your complete lack of privacy into a handful of pennies.

You may have heard of a verbal agreement being legally binding, but Dutch law doesn’t have much to say about how you agree on anything, as an unnamed amateur football club from Rotterdam found out to its own detriment. A contract written on a coaster was enough to force the club to pay one of its players 11.000 euro in back pay.

In 1991 Manja Blok became the first female operational F-16 pilot in the world, and in 1993 she became the first Dutch Air Force pilot since WWII to engage in armed combat. We probably should write an article about her some day. Blok has left the Air Force long since and this is not that story. The days of a progressive Dutch Air Force and competent pilots seem behind us, now that Dutch fighter pilots actually shoot their own planes during exercises. In January an F-16 managed to catch up with the bullets from its own MA61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun at a military range on the island of Vlieland.

While Dutch universities closed their Dutch language studies, the Dutch tried their hand at seagull scream impressions. The Netherlands also experienced its warmest summer day in history.

Finally, for us at 24 Oranges HQ personally 2019 stood out mostly because of a short but sweet experiment in a different medium. We had our own radio show! From May to October we had a weekly programme on Broadcast Amsterdam called Happy Hour in which Orangemaster and I discussed the local news. Sadly, we had to give it up (doing the show took up Orangemaster’s only free night), but we had a great little run!

Related: last year’s review.

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November 7, 2019

Tom Scott visits Waterloopbos, a former open air laboratory to study the way water flows

Filed under: Nature,Science,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 7:56 pm

YouTuber Tom Scott visited the Waterloopbos in Marknesse in the Noordoostpolder and had a little chat with Leo van Rijn, a specialist in modelling the flow of watercourses.

As wiki says: “The Waterloopbos [literally ‘Watercourse Forest’] was the property of Delft Hydraulics […]. In 35 large scale models of sea arms and harbours, such as the Deltaworks and the harbour of Lagos, tests were performed in order to learn how to predict the way large hydraulic systems influence the course of water.”

The laboratory closed in 1995 and the forest is now owned by Natuurmonumenten and is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset (Dutch). It is part of the Voorsterbos, the oldest forest in Flevoland, a province that was entirely reclaimed from the water.

Read more about Waterloopbos at Holland.com.

(Photo: screen capture of a video by Tom Scott / Youtube)

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November 4, 2019

Police pose with pickpocket, then arrest him

Filed under: General,Photography by Branko Collin @ 10:18 am

Last Friday, while one police officer in Amsterdam was taking a photo of a pickpocket stealing a wallet, another police officer took a photo of their colleague taking a photo.

The pickpocket had entered a train waiting at Amsterdam Central Station and sat backwards in his chair to be able to reach into his mark’s pocket. After finishing their photographic hobbies, the police officers got on the train and arrested the thief.

A police officer’s testimony counts as evidence in Dutch criminal cases, so the officers were not required to take a photo of the pickpocket first. They did so nevertheless, and have not said why.

Two weeks ago, Dutch parliament asked questions about high resolution photos depicting murder victim and FC Emmen football player Kelvin Maynard as he was fighting for his life after having been shot in Amsterdam. MP Chris van Dam (Christian Democrats) thought this was disrespectful. Asked if the police aren’t stepping in the shoes of the press if they themselves start taking and distributing photos, minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) replied that the police have the right to inform the public.

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April 28, 2019

Rainiest King’s Day since 1955 goes by without incident

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 5:15 pm

Yesterday King’s Day was the wettest in over 60 years.

With 8.9 millimeters of precipitation, only 1955 was rainier (9.6 millimetres), Parool reports.

Perhaps as a result King’s Day was otherwise uneventful, the papers say. Last year’s ‘disaster’, when beer ran out in the country’s capital, Amsterdam, was averted this year by readying more kegs.

The royal family visited Amersfoort, which joined in the uneventful trend by giving an undistinguished presentation, NRC writes. The organiser of the city’s festivities, Yordi Grutters, told the paper: “we are an average city with an average population.”

The paper adds that this was crown-princess Amalia’s day. For the first time ever, she gave interviews without her sisters to national broadcasters RTL and SBS. “It feels sometimes unreal that this is my life,” the princess said. I wonder how she knows.

Since the king’s inauguration in 2013, we haven’t had a King’s Day that wasn’t either cold or wet.

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April 14, 2019

Most Dutch people talk to their pets

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 11:34 pm

Assocation of language lovers Onze Taal (‘our language’) has published the results of an informal poll that suggests that 95% of all Dutch pet owners talk to their pets.

The type of pet and whether or not the animal is deaf doesn’t seem to matter. People address their pets in their local dialect.

Popular ‘conversations’ are: admonishments, compliments (“Who is the cutest kitten in the world? You are!”), sharing what the owner is going to do (“Mummy is going to the pet store”) and, apparently, deliberation (“Is it OK if I move your bowl over here?”).

People don’t just talk to pets, but also inanimate objects. Furniture gets apologised to when bumped into, and encouragements are uttered towards blocked robotic vacuum cleaners and bent trees.

The poll was held in January among the visitors of the association’s website.

(Photo by Eddy Van 3000, some rights reserved)

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March 30, 2019

Dutch art detective retrieves stolen Picasso after 20 years

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 11:36 pm

A Dutch “art detective” from Amsterdam called Arthur Brand has managed to lay his hands on Buste de Femme (Dora Maar), a painting that had been lost since 1999, The Guardian reported yesterday.

On 14 March 2019, two men “with contacts in the underworld” handed Brand the stolen Picasso in his apartment in the east of Amsterdam. According to Brand, stolen art can often be a hot potato. It is difficult to sell and in the meantime the thief or fence is stuck with a stolen item that, if found in their possession, can lead to awkward questions from the authorities.

Having gotten wind of the Picasso, Brand let it be known that he was interested in the painting, worth an estimated 25 million euro.

Brand, whose motto is “if they start to threaten you, you know you are on the right trail”, recovered a pair of bronze horses by Josef Thorak in 2015. The year after he negotiated the return of five stolen painting held by a Ukranian militia.

A day after receiving the painting, he handed it over to representatives of the insurance company.

Pablo Picasso painted the work in 1938.

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso)

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