November 10, 2020

Leiden University prints a micro-sized Star Trek starship

Filed under: Film,Science,Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:59 am

According to CNN and BoingBoing on Twitter, while developing methods to 3D print synthetic micro-swimmers, microscopic devices that can propel themselves by interacting with the chemicals in their surrounding environment, researchers at Leiden University printed a model of Star Trek’s USS Voyager that’s just 15 micrometers long. As a comparison, a human hair is around 75 micrometers in diameter.

By studying synthetic micro-swimmers, we would like to understand biological micro-swimmers,” Samia Ouhajji, one of the study’s authors, told CNN. This understanding could aid in developing new drug delivery vehicles; for example, microrobots that swim autonomously and deliver drugs at the desired location in the human body.

Why did they go for Star Trek and why one of the franchise’s later starships? Jonas Hoecht, one of the study’s co-authors, claims to be a big Star Trek fan and was told he could print anything he wanted. Of course, I still want to know why he opted for Voyager and not a version of the Enterprise, but it’s still extremely cool.

(Link boingboing.net, image ealclearscience.com)

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October 13, 2020

Facebook blocks Lebowski quote search engine by mistake

Filed under: Film,IT,Online by Orangemaster @ 3:05 pm

According to British-Canadian journalist and author Cory Doctorow on Twitter, Dutch digital rights activist Hans De Zwart, who used to head up digital rights organisation Bits of freedom in Amsterdam, created the search engine thebiglebow.ski that generates fun quotes from 1998 American cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’.

Right from the start, the site had the rug pulled out from under it, as it was blocked by Facebook (and Instagram) with the message “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” De Zwart wanted to complain to Facebook, but without a Facebook account, he couldn’t. As a digital rights activist, he doesn’t use social media, but he joined Facebook just to be able to file a complaint. He was also annoyed at the fact that he couldn’t spell his Dutch last name correctly, de Zwart with a lower case d. He was basically told ‘thanks for the feedback’, which is big tech speak for f*** you.

About a month later, De Zwart bought a five euro Facebook advert in order to be able to communicate with the tech giant. His advert was rejected with “This ad contains or refers to content that has been blocked by our security systems (#1885260)”. This error code means nothing to mortals, so he tried to complain. First, he had to agree to “four sets of legal terms”, after which he was told “Thanks for helping us improve!” He was down five euro and still didn’t have an answer. “It appears that Facebook will only look at problems if they realise that it might cost them too much political or media capital if they continue to ignore them”, he explained.

A few days after the author of the article below presented the case to a Facebook PR person, the problem was magically solved. Nobody had reported thebiglebow.ski for abusive material: it had simply been incorrectly labelled by Facebook’s automated tools as spam.

Now either watch the movie if you have not seen it and pour yourself a White Russian when you do, if that’s your thing.

(Link: medium.com, image thebiglebow.ski)

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September 28, 2019

Dutch touch on Amazon’s ‘Undone’ by Amsterdam’s Hisko Hulsing

Filed under: Comics,Film by Orangemaster @ 12:51 pm

Versatile artist Hisko Hulsing from Amsterdam, known on this blog and from Rotterdam-based comic magazine Zone 5300, has directed ‘Undone’, co-created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator of Bojack Horseman) and Kate Purdy (a writer on Bojack), released by Amazon Studios and co-produced by Michael Eisner’s company Tornante, Submarine Productions Amsterdam, and Minnow Mountain Texas. It premiered on 13 September.

Exploring the elastic nature of reality, the series centers around Alma (Rosa Salazar), a 28-year-old living in San Antonio, Texas, who discovers she has a new relationship to time after nearly dying in a car accident. She learns to harness this new ability in order to find out the truth about the death of her father (Bob Odenkirk).

For Undone, Hulsing used rotoscoping together with actual oil-painted backgrounds giving the animation an old school cinematic feel – a fresh change from all of you bored to tears with the Cal Arts style dominating the last decade of animation.

Here’s the trailer:

(Link: dutchcultureusa.com, Image: Hisko Hulsing)

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September 12, 2019

Dutch are official test market for Disney+

Filed under: Dutch first,Film,Online,Technology by Orangemaster @ 1:04 pm

As of today, The Netherlands has become the exclusive test market for the new Disney streaming service, unadventurously called Disney+. The country will be able to enjoy the new service for free until November 11, after which ‘The House of Mouse’ will charge 6,99 euro a month for it. On November 12, it will also be made available in the United States and will have more productions added to it. Other countries in North America, Europe and the rest of the world will surely follow.

People in The Netherlands can also watch their Disney favourites on Android and iOS devices as well as PS4 and Xbox One. According to the screenshots we’ve seen on Twitter (see screenshot), Disney+ is offering Marvel films (Avengers’ Endgame will only be available in December), Star Wars (all the films including Solo and The Last Jedi – a big deal because the first films are not Disney productions), Pixar and National Geographic.

Although all in English, some of the productions also have Dutch audio. No other languages are available yet. By testing Disney+ first in the Netherlands, Disney wanted to weed out issues, which sounds more like beta testing. According to one Dutch journalist on Twitter, the search function does not work, and I agree after having seen the screenshot of random suggestions, based on two or three letters, not even in the right order.

Reactions are mixed, but quite positive, ranging from ‘Why do I have to pay for another streaming service?’ [you don’t, but North Americans pay for many services for the same shows we all get on Netflix], ‘If I buy this for my youngest son for his birthday, I’ll be spending more money on him than my other two kids and that’s a dilemma’ to ‘I don’t need a bunch of remakes’ and ‘it’s all Disney princesses anyway’.

Free is always nice, but the true test is who will stay on after it’s no longer free.

(Link: nu.nl)

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August 15, 2019

From Ghetto to Parliament: Dutch documentary features Bobi Wine’s Uganda

Filed under: Dutch first,Film by Orangemaster @ 11:33 am

From Ghetto to Parliament, directed by Dutchman Thimaud de Driesen which premiered in March of this year, is a documentary film about Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, a successful reggae artist and Ugandan freedom fighter.

Wine worked his way up from the ghetto to become an elected representative of parliament, where his outspokenness makes him stand out and gets him into trouble, as in he is regularly arrested in an attempt to stop him from protesting. In a country where corruption, violence and intimidation are rife, the journey of Bobi Wine had been receiving international media coverage as he posts uplifting messages on social media aimed at his supporters.

As De Driesen says in this trailer, the story is not just about Bobi Wine, it’s the story of Uganda. Have a look at the trailer:

(Link: Movies That Matter; photo: Enca)

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July 25, 2019

Dutch actor Rutger Hauer dies at age 75

Filed under: Film by Orangemaster @ 12:14 pm

Although only announced on 24 July, Dutch film and television actor and Hollywood regular Rutger Hauer passed away on Friday, July 19th at the age of 75. He is probably best known for his role as renegade replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic sci-fi film Blade Runner where he delivers the famous monologue that ends with “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” Hauer added ‘like tears in the rain’ himself because he thought it was poetic. In the 1980s, he also played Captain Etienne Navarre in Ladyhawke by Richard Donner; and John Ryder in The Hitcher by Robert Harmon, as well as many other roles in an acting career that would have spanned 50 years this October.

Hauer was one of the best and most prolific Dutch actors who, together with fellow Dutchman director Paul Verhoeven, made it to Hollywood. After many historical roles in Dutch, German and English, his leading role in the 1973 Dutch film Turkish Delight directed by Verhoeven still remains the top grossing Dutch film of all time. Hauer’s first appearance in a Hollywood film was alongside Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks by Bruce Malmuth in 1981, and won a Golden Globe in 1988 for best supporting actor as Lieutenant Alexander Pechersky for Escape from Sobibor, the only Dutch actor ever to win a Golden Globe to this day. Verhoeven, who worked with Hauer on five occasions, told the Dutch press today that “he had lost his alter ego”.

This post was read on the Midnight’s Edge After Dark podcast on YouTube (1:20, see time stamp)

(Links: parool., indiewire, wikipedia.org, Photo of Rutger Hauer on Wikipedia as a screenshot of television show some rights reserved)

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July 15, 2019

Broek op Langedijk featured in latest Spider-Man movie

Filed under: Film,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:37 pm

The quaint town of Broek op Langedijk near Amsterdam was featured in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, but the town had no clue until people saw the movie. In 2016 Marvel asked the Netherlands Film Commission for a filming location, but had heard nothing back. All of a sudden Broek op Langedijk was depicted in the film, although the scenes were filmed in Prague, according to an interview with Spider-Man himself, actor Tom Holland on Dutch entertainment show RTL Boulevard.

Apparently, the difficult to pronounce name of the village was more important than its actual location – it is a nice village, I’ve worked there. According to Dutch newspaper NRC, they got the cabbage shot right in the film, although there’s no windmills or tulips fields close by. They also got the Dutch hooligans right, complete with orange garb and red, white and blue makeup. Dutch actors Jeroen van Koningsbrugge also told RTL Boulevard that his agent knew that Marvel was looking for Dutch hooligans. “They asked me if I spoke good English and then told me they wanted me to speak with the thickest Dutch accent possible for the role”.

The local museum in Broek op Langedijk, the Broekerveiling, quickly noticed the increase in American traffic to their website, which besides Dutch is also in English and German. Now they are trying to figure out how to cash in on the fame. For almost a year now the museum has had a huge cabbage in front of it for people to take their selfies. Maybe they need to put a Spider-Man somewhere now, too.

(Link: nrc.nl, Painting from Historiek.net says)

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March 25, 2019

Dutch horror film flop unexpected hit in China

Filed under: Film,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:54 pm

A horror film by Dick Maas from 2016 called Prey (‘Prooi’) has become an unexpected hit in China recently for reasons that nobody here really knows.

Dick Maas, known for films such as De Lift (‘The Lift’, 1983) and more recently Sint (‘Saint’, 2010), only found out his film was a hit in China because all of a sudden, he got a pile of orders for it from there, for which he only gets a flat fee, but not royalties.

It’s possibly the biggest selling Dutch film of all time in China and at the same time, it’s the biggest flop in Maas’ career. Only 30,000 people out of a Dutch population of 17.5 million saw it. The Lift is probably his most famous film, or at least the one the Dutch mention first when someone talks about Dick Maas. The film is about a lift (elevator) that inexplicably begins to function alone, trapping people and doing nasty things to them.

Here’s the official trailer for Prey in Dutch with English subtitles. Now I want to watch it, too.

(Link: dutchnews.nl, Photo of Dick Maas by Rob C. Croes / Anefo – Nationaal Archief, some rights reserved)

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January 9, 2019

Dutch ‘Rambo’ tulips at the Golden Globe Awards

Filed under: Film,Nature by Orangemaster @ 2:59 pm

The Dutch flower bulb company Borst from the wee town of Obdam, North Holland are now world famous for having provided the bouquets of tulips for the Golden Globe Awards, with a whopping 10,000 individual tulips having been ordered.

When the company received the order for the tulips from the United States, which doesn’t happen very often, they were kept in the dark about what they were for. Soon after the event aired, they got a message about what they were for and saw their product all over the news.

The fun part is, the Golden Globe opted for a type of tulip called ‘Rambo’, like the movie. “It’s a tulip that is heavy and gives big flowers,” explains Menno Boots from Borst.

(Link and photo: nhnieuws.nl)

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April 16, 2018

Footage of war time Rotterdam uncovered

Filed under: Architecture,Film,History by Orangemaster @ 10:21 am

Bijenkorf_Rotterdam_1935

New images of Rotterdam during WWII have surfaced, filmed by a Mr Jurlings. They show places such as the Port of Rotterdam (today’s biggest European port) and the ‘White House’, a beautiful 1989 Art Nouveau building that survived the bombing of the city and also Europe’s first skyscraper at that time. The film will be turned into a documentary by filmmaker Joop de Jong, which will be presented in the Museum Rotterdam in the fall.

Many people are quick to say that Rotterdam isn’t as pretty as Amsterdam, which has an intact city centre, and that will never be a fair comparison. Rotterdam was bombed flat and almost entirely rebuilt with the exception of a handful of buildings. Today, it has many new buildings that have become symbols of the city. There’s also a reason that the unofficial city motto ‘is niet lullen maar poesten’ or ‘geen woorden maar daden’ (‘stop blabbing and start cleaning’ or ‘not words, but deeds’.

(Link: ad.nl, Photo of Rotterdam, van Hogendorpsplein by Unknown, some rights reserved)

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