May 15, 2013

Guessing age and gender based on tweets

Filed under: Online by Orangemaster @ 5:56 pm
Pink bike

Dong Nguyen, a doctoral student in computer sciences is part of a group of researchers at Twente University near Enschede which have compiled lists of words and sequences corresponding with different ages and specific genders, albeit in Dutch for now. Based on almost 3,000 tweets, users simply enter their username into the online programme which calculated age and gender by comparing the last 200 tweets with the words and phrases in its database.

“We note that users use more uniform language from about 35 years and older. There are larger differences between a users aged 15 and 20 then there are between users aged 45 and 55,” Nguyen said. The difference between men and women is apparently very stereotypical.


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May 8, 2012

The top 10 ugliest places in the country

Filed under: Architecture,General by Orangemaster @ 10:43 am

On 14 May, a Dutch television show will let viewers vote for the ugliest place (shopping mall, train station, etc.) in the Netherlands. The short list includes Zoetermeer’s Central Station, shopping mall passage way Brinkman in Haarlem and shopping mall Stokhorst in Enschede. They will be the top three in whatever order, while the 4th to 10th place have already been chosen.

Co-blogger Branko gets to see Zoetemeer Central Station often enough (is it that bad?), while I’ve had the pleasure of seeing 5th place winner Bos en Lommerplein in Amsterdam with a caved in parking lot that took months to fix and put people out of their homes. The entire place is also a wind tunnel.

Other ‘winners’ also seem to have been plagued with problems: the Scheringa museum (shown here) in 7th place was never finished, has had legal problems, and is up for sale.

(Link and photos:, Photo of Scheringa museum by Karavaan, some rights reserved)

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March 1, 2012

‘My fast Internet connection is more accessible than yours’

Filed under: General,IT,Online by Orangemaster @ 10:30 am

As of today, the Dutch University of Twente in Enschede has the fastest Internet connection in the world, clocking in at 1 Gigabit upload and download speed. The only thing that comes close is the Google campus in Stanford, California. However, the big difference is Twente is the first university to be able to offer super fast Internet to its students and campus residents, while the Google connection lets people connect to and from home, but isn’t campus wide.

IT department and students set up the network at Twente, not some corporation. “There are strict rules regarding the use and content of the university network. The upload limit of 50 GB per week will be maintained and any complaints about illegal uploads will be treated seriously.”

Stanford, it’s your move.


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September 19, 2011

Church of giant Lego-like blocks

Filed under: Art,Design by Branko Collin @ 4:33 pm

Well, it had to happen. Somebody had to take the famous stackable concrete blocks that are often used to create temporary barriers and paint them in the famous Lego colours.

That somebody was artist Filip Jonke who started building this temporary ‘church’ on the Grenswerk festival terrain in the centre of Enschede. The building is still being erected and you can follow that process at Jonker’s website.

The building will measure 25 by 10 metres with a 20 metre steeple and will serve as a pavilion for the festival.

(Link: Trendbeheer, Photo: Filip Jonker)

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July 28, 2011

The Impossible Project produces Polaroid film

Filed under: Photography,Technology by Orangemaster @ 2:36 pm

After purchasing the old Polaroid factory in Enschede filled with equipment back in 2009, the Dutch Impossible Project figured out how to actually make Polaroid film. By March 2010 they had developed a way to produce film compatible with Polaroid’s SX-70/600 instant cameras.

To give its viewers a sense of how the Impossible Project makes Polaroid film, How’s It’s Made recently visited the factory and produced this five-minute video that, as BoingBoing pointed out, is reminiscent of the old Sesame Street videos from inside a crayon manufacturing facility. “Conclusion,” Maggie Koerth-Baker writes, “The Impossible Project may not be necessary, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch.” See for yourself.


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December 17, 2010

Impossible Project revenue doubles to 8 million euro

Filed under: Gadgets,Photography by Branko Collin @ 8:45 am

In 2009 The Impossible Project bought the last remaining factory of Polaroid film in Enschede, as the latter company was getting out of the instant business, and started producing Polaroid compatible film themselves.

Last Monday business news website Z24 wrote that the company with 30 employees doubled its revenue from 4 million euro in 2009 to 8 million this year. Florian Kaps, one of the ten founders (former Polaroid employees), told the site that they had hoped for more, but due to a lack of raw materials they could only produce 500,000 boxes of film.

In the first year The Impossible Project were still busy inventing their film, as the factory sale had apparently not included Polaroid’s secret recipe, and made its money selling old Polaroid stock. In 2010 the project managed to produce their own film, available in both black and white and colour, and selling for about 20 euro per 10 exposures.

If anything the project has proved the viability of the instant film photography market, which Fujifilm and Polaroid have now (re-)entered. Polaroid introduced the 300 camera earlier this year and is expected to introduce their second new instant camera at CES next January.

(Photo by Patrick Tobin, some rights reserved)

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November 2, 2010

HEMA cakes with Hitler greetings and anti-Islamic text

Filed under: Art,Food & Drink,Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:39 pm

Two Dutch women artists decided to test the limits of what HEMA (major chain store) would accept to reproduce on a cake from a photo in the cities of Enschede and Deventer. They ordered seven cakes, of which three were rejected.

An authentic old picture of a Hitler greeting wasn’t a problem and neither were tompouces with ‘Islamic culture is backwards’ on them, a well-known phrase uttered by murdered politician Pim Fortuyn a few years back.

What didn’t make the cut was a man with an erection and a woman with her legs open and a heart hiding anything indecent. So erotic is out (the store claimed that was porn), but ‘fascist’ politics are in. Now you know too. Let’s be fair, both cities are far from the country’s capital and have different values and political views. That’s my polite way of saying people there are more shocked by sex and clearly vote more to the right as of late.

The General Terms and Conditions of HEMA say that the pictures, “cannot go against the law, must show good morals and cannot have any religious content”. Obviously the people who made these cakes at HEMA never read any of that or don’t understand what it meant.

(Links: welingelichtekringen, ad)

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April 7, 2009

Dutch region of Twente to open ’embassy’

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 10:36 am

The eastern provinceregion of Twente is planning to open what it calls an ’embassy’ in Amsterdam at the request of businesses who want to promote the region to a wider audience. The location will rent office space, serve food and drink, and be open to anyone interested in whatever Twente has to offer.

So far, all the possible office locations are in the Red Light District, making journalists’ life easier this morning with the puns and choice of photos. I can imagine that business people form Twente meeting Dutch and foreign clients in Amsterdam want to meet somewhere more pleasant than at the dreary Amsterdam train station plagued with the nowhere-near-ready subway station.

I think it’s a great idea, a nice way to connect with the some 20,000 people from Twente living in Amsterdam and obviously an excellent way to attract attention to the region. But what comes from Twente? Well, Grolsch beer (see photo) does, the only Dutch beer to really rival Heineken outside the country.

Come on, people of Twente, tell us more about your region and leave the fireworks factory explosion in Enschede and other nasty stories out of it!


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October 4, 2008

New Brueghel (the Younger) discovered

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 11:25 am

Hot on the heels of a recent discovery of a Frans Hals painting comes the news that a painting of Pieter Brueghel The Younger was unearthed last Sunday in Enschede. Writes the Guardian:

It cost the equivalent of £560 when it was snapped up in a Dutch flea market almost 50 years ago. Now the owner of a small round painting of two peasants has been told she owns an unknown work by the 17th-century Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

The owner took it to experts on the Dutch TV show Between Art and Kitsch, similar to the Antiques Roadshow. They immediately recognised the importance of the signed, 16cm-wide picture of a farmer and his wife resting next to a tree, valuing it at €80,000 to €100,000 (£63,000 to £79,000).

The painting was discovered during a recording of Tussen Kunst en Kitsch at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede. The round panel from 1620 depicts a couple of farmers resting near a tree after harvest. Broadcaster AVRO reports that the signature is applied to the stem of the tree and can be read from top to bottom. The show’s expert of old paintings, John Hoogsteder, notes that the way the paint has risen because of the shrinking of the wooden makes him sure that it’s an original. AVRO will broadcast the episode with the Brueghel discovery sometime in March.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger was a Flemish painter best known for copying his famous father’s works.

Photo: detail.

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September 30, 2008

Second biggest skating rink opens in Enschede

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 8:26 am

The city of Enschede, known for Grolsch beer and a very unfortunate fireworks explosion a few years back, should soon be better known for a brand new skating rink, built mainly for short and long track skating. When a North American says ‘skating rink’, hockey and figure skating usually come to mind first, so I had to be explicit, although the rink’s website does mention hockey and activities for young and old.

Scheduled to open on 1 October, The Twente IJsbaan is a fully covered, 400-metre-round rink and the second biggest in the country after Thialf in Heerenveen. It has 66 km (!) of pipes under it, as it uses liquid CO2 for cooling. Read more about this feat of engineering (in Dutch).

From 2 October to 5 October, the entrance fee will be a mere EUR 2,50 instead of EUR 5 and the rink will be opened from noon to 8 pm. I’ve never been to Enschede, maybe it’s time to finally visit.


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