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April 13, 2014

Photo mag New Dawn features young photographers

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 10:37 am

newdawn-branko-collinAs I swung by the (relatively) new PhotoQ photo book store on Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam last week, the owner handed me a free tabloid paper called New Dawn.

New Dawn focuses exclusively on photography and puts photos and their makers front and centre. It contains announcements of exhibitions, portfolios (often of young photographers), interviews and reviews of photo books. It appears once every two months and is distributed via a large number of venues such as art schools, museums, coffee houses.

If you’re not in the Netherlands you can still follow the New Dawn blog which contains much of the same content (albeit not in tabloid format). You could also contact the publishers and ask them about a paid subscription.

To me magazines about photography are much more interesting than the unfortunately far more common magazines about photo equipment, so I definitely hope New Dawn keeps it up.

The current issue contains photos by Sharieta Berghuis (cover), Sarah Mei Herman (below), Koos Breukel, Iris van Gelder, Paul van Vugt and others.

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April 12, 2014

‘Occupied’ an unwelcome word during first King’s Day

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 10:19 am

bezet-martijn-van-exel

The Amsterdam district Centrum has declared the word ‘bezet’ (Dutch for occupied) a verbum non gratum, an unwelcome word for King’s Day.

During the Dutch national holiday, the whole country turns into a single large flea market. Citizens often chalk or tape a rectangle on the pavement the night or even days before to ensure themselves of the best spots and write the word ‘bezet’ in the middle for good measure. Parool reports that the district feels the word would be in bad taste so close to Remembrance of the Dead (4 May). To me that suggests (tongue firmly in cheek) a minor victory for the Nazis almost 70 years after they were chased out of the country by Canadian, British and American troops.

Saturday 26 April will be the first King’s Day ever. In 1885 a newspaper editor in Utrecht organised a Princess Day to celebrate the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, which evolved into Queen’s Day when Wilhelmina ascended the throne. Since then the Netherlands has only had queens, but last year King Willem Alexander took over from his mother during Queen’s Day. King’s Day is celebrated on the king’s birthday, 27 April, except when that date is on a Sunday—then the holiday will be moved to Saturday. This year that happens to be the case.

(Photo by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)

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April 11, 2014

EU outlaws private copies from illegal source; government eager to comply

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:07 am

towers-cjeu-press-photosThe Court of Justice of the European Union decided yesterday that the Dutch practice of allowing downloads from an illegal source is itself illegal, Tweakers.net writes.

The court followed the hypothesis of advocate general Pedro Cruz Villalón who felt that the Dutch attitude caused “the mass distribution of illegal materials”. A spokesperson for the Dutch government told NRC that this makes downloading from an illegal source “illegal right away”.

The case was a continuation of one we wrote about earlier, in which manufacturers of blank media argued that since many copies came from illegal sources, the levies they had to pay shouldn’t be so high.

Dutch copyright law contains an exemption that says that copies made for private use are not infringing, regardless of whether the author was paid or not. Member of parliament Astrid Oosenbrug (PvdA) was surprised by the speed with which the government announced a ban on downloading: “That is of course not how things are done.” According to her, the government should explore alternatives first, such as raising levies.

Oosenbrug told 24 Oranges: “PvdA is against a ban on downloading. Citizens should be able to freely use the Internet. We also want to protect the makers, but we shouldn’t do that with bans. Instead we should stimulate legal download models such as Netflix, Spotify, Deezer and so on.”

The Pirate Party’s Dirk Poot (not represented in parliament) called for a drastic revision of copyright law and added that “the government’s attitude is made abundantly clear by the fact that it outlaws downloading as of today, but does not eliminate the levies on blank media with similar haste.”

TL/DR: Copyright law was once a matter between authors and publishers. Now it’s just a mess and everybody’s made to suffer except large publishers and lawyers.

(Photo of the court’s towers by Court of Justice of the European Union / G. Fessy, used with permission)

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April 10, 2014

The Anne Frank tree in Amsterdam is branching out

Filed under: History,Nature by Orangemaster @ 10:08 am
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Back in 2010 the world famous Anne Frank chestnut tree had blown over and broke. In an effort to save something of this tree mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary, branches were take in order to try and grow saplings.

Today, one of the saplings is big enough to be planted, and its prestigious destination will be the Capitol in Washington, DC, the seat of the United States Congress. This is not the first time the United States has planted saplings from the Anne Frank tree; in fact 11 have already been planted throughout the country.

The sapling will be planted on the Capitol’s west front lawn on April 30.

(Link: www.miamiherald.com, Photo: annefranktree.com)

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April 9, 2014

Eindhoven to premiere innovative swimming device

Filed under: Dutch first,Sports by Orangemaster @ 2:29 pm

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The 10th annual Swim Cup Eindhoven, held from 10 to 13 April, will feature the world premiere competition use of the Omega Backstroke Start Device (video in English).

Backstroke swimmers will no longer have to worry about their feet or toes slipping at the start of a race, which has been an issues for ages.

Starting platforms for swimmers are constantly being adapted so that swimmers don’t slip, so I can imagine it’s about time the backstroke crowd got their ‘starting device’ as well.

(Link: www.ed.nl, Photo of Olympic pool by diamond geezer, some rights reserved)

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April 8, 2014

Lego creation strolls down the beach

Filed under: General,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:31 am

Inspired by Theo Jansen’s ‘Strandbeest’ (‘Beach Animal’), Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks has built a creation called ‘Steampunk Walking Ship’ (see video below), entirely made of Lego components featuring several play features, including the functional cargo crane.

“Power and control is provided by the Lego Power Functions system, which includes the remote control, IR receiver, battery box and two M-size motors. The frame, crankshaft and legs are built using Lego Technic elements.”

More Lego stories:

Rietveld Schröder house in Utrecht gets immortalized in Lego

Drug dealer accepts payment in Lego

Lego computer built for Alan Turing’s 100th anniversary

(Photo of Lego by tiptoe, some rights reserved)

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April 7, 2014

Two billion euro in gold? Nah, keep it!

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:47 pm

gold-bars-sprott-moneyDutchnews wrote yesterday: “The Netherlands has no plans to try to recover 60,000 kilos of Dutch gold stolen by the Nazis during WWII and sold on to Switzerland, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has told MPs.” Parliamentarians had been asking questions—it turns out the government had already decided not to ask the Swiss for the stolen gold in 2000.

An interesting story, but perhaps even more interesting is the question: does the Federal Reserve in New York still hold fifty percent of the Dutch gold reserve? According to Wikipedia the Netherlands is the country with the tenth biggest national gold reserve (654 tonnes), but half of that reserve is supposed to be in New York. When the Germans asked in 2012 whether they could come over and count their gold, they were told “no”. Germany then told the Federal Reserve it wanted some of its money back, to which the bank said it could take a while.

The American attitude has sparked rumours that the Federal Reserve has stolen the gold that a number of foreign nations have entrusted to it and is now scrambling to buy it back so that it can be returned to its owners.

(Photo by Sprott Money, some rights reserved)

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Dutch parliament to bin secure voting in favour of electronic voting

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:42 am

vote-counting-rnwThree weeks ago there were municipal elections and according to AD on 27 March there is a big discrepancy between the number of voters that showed up and the number of votes counted.

In 235 of the 380 municipalities that participated, the numbers didn’t add up. AD claims that at least 7,387 errors were made. Some of the municipalities decided to have a recount, NRC reported the same day, Wassenaar and Heerlen among them.

Counting both voters and votes makes it harder to commit fraud. The ‘ghost votes’ (spookstemmen) as AD termed the discrepancies led to commotion in parliament. Members for PvdA, D66, GroenLinks and VVD declared themselves to be in favour of the reintroduction of electronic voting which works much less transparent and is therefore much harder to check for fraud.

The fact that a discrepancy between votes and voters was discovered means that manual counting works. The political parties mentioned above said they only wanted to reintroduce electronic counting if it is completely secure. Considering that the job to build these computers must be given to the cheapest supplier according to European laws will pretty much ensure that security will end up at the bottom of the list of requirements though.

(Photo by Branko Collin, some rights reserved)

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April 5, 2014

Foam carpet by Nightshop

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 9:38 pm

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This carpet by Rotterdam-based designers Nightshop is made to look like a classic oriental carpet—from a distance—but when you look closer you’ll see it is actually made of foam.

foam-carpet-nightshop-2Mocoloco says the carpet (called Showdown) will be on display next week at Ventura Lambrate during the Milan Design Week.

Nightshop is the design studio of Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg. They are keen on “investigating the boundaries between good and bad taste”. I don’t know if this carpet will be for sale and for what price—why not find out for yourself by contacting the makers at intothenightshop.nl.

(Illustrations: Nightshop)

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April 4, 2014

Netherlands ordered to retro-actively pay pregnant freelancers

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 1:27 pm

pregnant-frank-de-kleineThe Dutch state owes 20,000 women who were self-employed and pregnant between 2004 and 2008 maternity leave benefits. NRC wrote yesterday that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has ordered so.

The committee was the last court of appeals for the Clara Wichmann legal fund, having first been denied by all Dutch courts including the Supreme Court. Like most countries in the world, the Netherlands has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women which includes an article on the right to paid maternity leave.

The Clara Wichmann fund tries to improve the position of women in society through test cases. According to Volkskrant, until 2004 the self-employed had obligatory insurance against income loss because of pregnancy and illness and since 2008 the unemployment office pays out so-called ZEZ benefits (Zwanger En Zelfstandig, meaning ‘pregnant and self-employed’).

(Photo by Frank de Kleine, some rights reserved)

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