July 31, 2019

Dutch recumbent bike designed to go 120 km/h

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:07 pm


The National Military Museum located on the former air base at Soesterberg had a special attraction recently that had nothing to do with old planes, helicopters, tanks or military equipment: a recumbent bike that is made to go 120 kilometres an hour.

The VeloX 9 recumbent bike – a bicycle that places the rider in a reclining position – was designed by 16 students of the Delft University of Technology and the University of Amsterdam for the World Human Powered Speed Challenge to be held September 8-14 in Nevada, in the United States. Team VeloX 9’s goal is to break the women’s record of 121.8 kilometres per hour with Dutch riders Rosa Bas from Utrecht and Jennifer Breet from Leiden.

The highest speed ever achieved in the Netherlands on the bike is 70 kilometres an hour purely due to lack of a free, straight track to be able to fully test it. Even at the airfield, it could only go 50 km. What must be a breeze to test in the United States is a space issue in the Netherlands, but that’s never stopped the Dutch before.

(Link: rtvutrecht.nl, Photo of Delft University of Technology by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)

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April 17, 2019

More rights for LGBT+ means more money

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:10 pm

According to a new study published by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Leiden Law School, nations who give more rights to the LGBT+ community have a much higher per capita Gross domestic product (GDP) than those who foster social exclusion. Published online in the World Development journal, the study is entitled “The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: Macro-Level Evidence.”

Researchers used legal and economic data from 132 countries in the periods 1966-2011, including the eight-point Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation (GILRHO), which helps assess how limiting LGBT rights harms the economy. Created by Dutch law professor Kees Waaldijk, the study used the GILRHO for the first time, which includes categories such as lost labour time, lost productivity, underinvestment in human capital, and the inefficient allocation of human resources, and how they relate to the macroeconomy.

Adding just one additional point on the GILRHO scale is associated with an increase in real GDP per capita of just over USD $2000, and that estimates of the cost of exclusion suggest that 6-22 percent of this amount “could plausibly reflect the GDP costs of excluding LGBT individuals from a full range of legal rights.”

“Many people, including policymakers, may turn a blind eye to the moral argument against discrimination against LGBT individuals. But if the economy is brought up, they are more likely to use money rather than morals to justify reforming policies to protect LGBT rights,” says co-author Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. “Policymakers want to see the numbers, so here are the numbers that show the economic effect. Here’s evidence they can use to support change.”

(Link: phys.org, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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May 20, 2017

Policeman tracks ‘unsuspecting’ bike thief

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 8:34 pm

Recently a policeman in Leiden was tracking a stolen bicycle that appeared to be very close to where he was driving in his cop van. He followed it around because dispatch told him that the bicycle was nearby, tracking it using a GPS signal, as it was a bicycle cops use to lure bike thieves in order to catch them, a ‘bait bike’.

Then he spotted another van that possibly had the stolen bike in it, followed it, and stopped it. However, once the van pulled over, the policeman figured out that the stolen bike was in the back of the police van he was driving, and promptly became the joke of the day at the police station.

The policeman in question usually bikes on the job, but on this day, he decided to use a van. While he was driving, dispatch told him about the stolen bike, but then they didn’t seem to know it was in the back of the van in the first place.

(Link:rtlnieuws.nl, Photo by Facemepls, some rights reserved)

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April 4, 2017

British film about Amsterdam films in Leiden

Filed under: Art,Film by Orangemaster @ 10:26 pm

Many people thought British actor Emma Watson would be in the Netherlands to film ‘The Miniaturist’, based on a book by Jessie Burton. The story is set in Amsterdam in 1686-1687, inspired by Petronella Oortman’s doll’s house on display at the Rijksmuseum. The more precise setting of the story is on the ‘Golden Bend’, what used to be the richest part of Amsterdam, depicted here around 1672 in a painting by Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde. Read up on the painting, it has quite a story to tell.

The funny thing is the few days of filming that took place in the Netherlands were done in Leiden, 45 kilometres down the road, and not in Amsterdam, which for anyone living in the capital is a bit odd. As far as the rest of the movie goes, it was mostly filmed in a studio in the United Kingdom.

According to the city of Leiden, Emma Watson was also in Leiden for the film, but production company Topkapi Films says that’s not the case, although the Dutch media still went with spreading rumours.

(Link: nieuws.nl, Photo: Rijksmuseum website)

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October 9, 2016

Trix the T.rex on glow in the dark coins

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 4:11 pm


The Royal Dutch Mint has produced silver proof coins featuring Trix the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, currently exhibited at the Naturalis museum in Leiden, South Holland. And they’re not just any old dino coins either, there’s one that glows in the dark, something the mint has done for the very first time. The coins are limited editions, with only 750 minted, a set of which costs 59,95.

How did the Naturalis score a T.rex in first place?

Back in 2012 researchers went hunting for a T.rex in the US, and found one in the state of Montana. The skeleton was carefully cleaned and prepared, and arrived in August 2016 in Leiden, escorted by the police and experts. The Queen of the dinosaurs, Trix is 12 metres long and her bones, muscles, claws and teeth weigh 6,000 kilos. You can visit Trix until 5 June 2017 after which the museum will be closed for renovations until 2018.

This T.rex skeleton is one of the three most complete ones in the world and obviously a great addition to the museum.

(Links: www.knm.nl (also photo), t-rex.naturalis.nl)

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December 4, 2014

Shell from Java features oldest ever engraving

Filed under: Dutch first,History by Orangemaster @ 10:28 am


A 500,000-year-old shell found on Java in Indonesia is said to feature the oldest ever engraved geometrical pattern. The zig zag pattern, which can only be seen with oblique lighting, is said to be older than the weathering processes on the shell arising from fossilisation. As well, the study excluded the possibility that the pattern was created by animals or natural weathering processes.

The shell will be on display in the Naturalis museum in Leiden from 4 December onward.

By applying two dating methods, researchers at the VU University Amsterdam and Wageningen University have determined that the shell with the engraving is minimally 430,000 and maximally 540,000 years old.This means that the engraving is at least four times older than the previously oldest known engravings, found in Africa. An international team of researchers, led by Leiden archaeologist José Joordens, published this discovery on 3 December in the periodical ‘Nature’.

(Link and photo: www.sciencedaily.com)

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November 25, 2014

Saudi prince descendant homeless in Leiden

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:05 am


Today Muhammad Bin Talal, the grandson of Muhammad bin Talal of the Saudi Arabian Al Rasheed dynasty and its last prince, is a homeless man in Leiden who lives on a bench near Leiden Central Station.

Bin Talal came to the Netherlands in 1995 as a Master’s student in Social Communication at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and lived with a friend in Leiden. He also had a flush Swiss bank account thanks to his family’s fortune.

Life in Leiden was good until the family fortune had been questionably removed from his bank account by the Swiss, although he was left with some 35,000 euro from the 10 mln that was in it initially. Used to living in hotels, the money eventually ran out and he became homeless and an illegal immigrant, as his student visa ran out. He also doesn’t have a passport, but is not an asylum seeker. How he ever got his student visa is beyond me.

According to BN De Stem, his Saudi family has confirmed his back story, but they didn’t know he lived on the street. They offered him help, but he doesn’t want to owe them anything, a question of pride he says. People bring him food and he’s good with that for now.

(Link: bndestem, Photo of Leiden Central Station by harry_nl, some rights reserved)

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March 2, 2014

Stapel.tv builds video walls with a vintage touch

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 8:54 pm

stapel-tvEvery video wall that the three entrepreneurs of Stapel.tv create is unique, financial news site Z24 writes.

Instead of clicking together countless similar LED screens the three friends from The Hague use old-fashioned CRT TVs, each screen a unique set.

Dave Seth Paul told Z24: “People hire us because they tire of the same-old state-of-the-art LED screens. Old TVs have a certain charm.”

The company uses old sets they get from friends or that they buy off Marktplaats for ten euro a piece. So far they’ve collected 60 TVs which enables them to build a vintage video wall of 6 by 2.5 metres. The units are driven by tiny Raspberry Pi computers.

For the Leiden International Film Festival a gate of TV sets was built by Stapel.tv (the name means Stack TV), each set displaying on of the movies shown at the festival. In front of the screens a small living had been constructed.

(Foto: Stapel.tv)

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May 16, 2013

Printing human skin in 3D to help burn victims

Filed under: Science,Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:16 am

The concept of SkinPrint, thought up by a group of students at Leiden University, uses a 3D printer to print pieces of human skin for skin grafting. SkinPrint has won the Digital Award, the country’s most sought-after student award.

“SkinPrint could mean a revolution in medicine”, explains team leader Ingmar van Hengel in the press. A healthy piece of skin is removed from a burn victim and then printed, ready to be used for medical procedures. SkinPrint must undergo a lot more scrutiny and certification before it can be used, say about five years.

There are many scientists around the world working on printing human body parts such as skin, ears, livers and what not. Have a look at 7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of an Ultimaker)

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May 6, 2013

Dutch doctor cartoon: tasteless, funny or who cares?

Filed under: Comics,Science by Orangemaster @ 5:17 pm

Doctor (‘Medicine man’): ‘Jambalayla, Jambayla’ (= nonsense words, nothing to do with cooking)
Patient: Thank you… I feel much better already.
Caption: It should be easier for foreign doctors to practice here.

I personally know doctors and nurses with perfectly good diplomas from Eastern European countries that cannot or could not find work in the Netherlands, as their diploma was either not recognised or highly devalued.

After 14 years in the Netherlands, a land that generally hates to be politically correct, I can imagine that this cartoon didn’t even raise an eyebrow for most people. I’m not saying I agree, but I do understand why people didn’t have a problem with it: it’s a ‘far-from-my-bed-show’, the Dutch equivalent of ‘it doesn’t really concern me’, after all the medicine man is just a caricature not a real person, someone would say.

However, I also understand why some people would be offended at the depiction of a tribal sounding African-like Black person portrayed as a quack. I just think the cartoon is not that great (Hein de Kort does have his moments), but it does have a racial slant that could have been avoided.

The media have enough Dutch doctor mishaps to report about. Just today a Dutch doctor hit the presses for unnecessarily removing a man’s prostate in Leiden (in Dutch). The man had the same name as someone else. ‘Jambalayla, Jambayla’ to you, too.

(Link to more info, in Dutch: www.parool.nl)

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