July 12, 2018

Dutch university tries new way to catch criminals

Filed under: General,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:16 pm


As of yesterday, the police, together with Eindhoven University of Technology, started a trial using data correlation to determine the bad behaviour of criminals such as pickpockets more quickly.

In Roermond, Limburg, a city next to both Belgium and Germany that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from other countries every day for their outlet shopping centre, the city has a major pickpocketing problem. A university team led by data-mining professor Mykola Pechenizkiy is helping the police analyse various databases containing information about shopping centre visitors, including automatically recognised number plates, data collected for marketing purposes, messages on social media and camera images.

Of course, privacy is an important part of this project for both the criminals and visitors. “For this reason, we also work closely with the mayor and public prosecutor, for example. Based on the experiences in the living labs, they can assess the impact on the privacy of citizens and decide whether this is acceptable in order to achieve the desired goals’, explains Marius Monen of the university’s Data Science Centre.

In Rotterdam a while back, a dynamic teenage duo was following pickpockets, taking pictures and calling the cops on them.

(Link: phys.org, Photo: of Dutch police officers politie.nl)

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October 4, 2013

Tombstones holding hands circumvent religious rules

Filed under: Religion by Orangemaster @ 10:25 am

Two segregated graves, joined together by a connected pair of hands, looks romantic by today’s standards. However, buried here are a husband and wife that couldn’t be put into the earth near each other back in the 19th century because the man was Protestant and the woman was Catholic. Marrying them wasn’t a problem apparently, but their eternal peace was.

The man died one day, and his wife died eight years later. She didn’t want to be buried in her family’s tomb, but as close as possible to her husband. This pair of hands was a compromise and is today a reminder of the important religion played in people’s beliefs. If I read correctly it was only in the 1960s that it was acceptable to mix and match religions in graveyards, something I’ve seen in military graveyards in the Netherlands.

Up until the 1960s (and still today in many Dutch institutions like schools and political parties), the Netherlands was segregated based on religion, which was called ‘pillarisation’ (‘verzuiling’): Protestants, Catholics and anything that didn’t quite fit those two (atheists, liberals, etc.). Muslims were not even a blip on the radar at that point, which is the beginning of a big discussion on why they never had a pillar and why their integration is happening haphazardly.

(Link: nowiknow.com, Photo of Tomb by Frank Janssen, some rights reserved)

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February 26, 2013

From stuffy to cosy, a jail turned into a hotel

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 2:59 pm

The Dutch have made hotels out of tree tents, quaint Dutch houses and even key cards. Now it was time to turn being stuck in a room into a real hotel experience.

Het Arresthuis in Roermond, Limgburg is a Dutch luxury hotel in a building that was a jail for more than 150 years. Guests at the hotel can stay in jail cells or, for a more luxurious experience, the warden’s quarters.

Part of the Van der Valk hotel chain, Het Arresthuis had been abandoned for years, but was reopened in 2002 as an emergency facility for ‘body stuffers’, people who smuggle hard drugs into the Netherlands by ingesting them.

(Link: laughingsquid.com, Photo by Ken Mayer, some rights reserved)

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November 1, 2009

Venlo made up foundation legend to fool the church

Filed under: History,Religion by Branko Collin @ 3:48 pm

In elementary school I was taught about the founding legend of my city of birth, Venlo. The story went that the leader of a local tribe, the Bructeri, fled a lost battle with the rival Chamavi tribe towards the fertile ground on the Meuse river in 96 AD.

In remembrance of this chief, called Valuas, giant dolls of him and his wife had been carried around the city for ages, and all kinds of companies, schools and clubs had been named after him. Valuas was Venlo.

Recently though I learned it’s all a crock, and all it took was a visit to Wikipedia. There is no such legend. Instead, the story was made up in its entirety in the 18th century, because the bishop of Roermond wanted to outlaw the use of dolls depicting Goliath and his wife in processions.

With Goliath given a new, non-religious identity, the bishop could no longer object to what was basically idolatry. Today, the local ceremonial shooting club, Akkermansgilde, still carries giant dolls of Valuas and his wife Guntrud around in processions and during carnival.

(Photo of Venlo city hall by Wikimedia user Michiel1972, some rights reserved.)

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July 24, 2007

Follow detour signs, not your GPS

Filed under: Automobiles,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 2:56 pm

The city of Roermond, Limburg has placed six warning signs telling lorry drivers to follow the detour signs and not their navigation system. Foreign lorry drivers regularly get their vehicles stuck trusting their navigation system, which does not tell them which streets are closed off due to road works on the A73, N280-Oost and N293. These symbols were chosen so that foreigners can understand them. The word ‘attentie’ looks like the English ‘attention’ and the Italian ‘attenzione’. The word ‘omleiding’ (‘detour’) is also used because that is what it says on the actual detour signs.

And so the city has to wait and see if it actually works.

(Link: De Limburger, Gemeente Roermond)

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