May 14, 2012

Silver coated bag shields you from phone calls and e-mail

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 8:46 am

Amsterdam based artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck came up with the Faraday bag, which is according to Bright magazine made of “silver plated polyester which will protect the contents against electromagnetic data, including wifi and mobile networks”.

No idea what that means. The artist herself explains that “my world is less silent because of […] technological advancements. That’s why I created portable silence.”

The bags were made in a limited edition of 100 copies which sell for 129 euro each.

If that is a bit too steep for you, several department stores sell cooler bags that may produce the same effect for a couple of euro or even less. Van Sonsbeeck’s website does not tell whether the Faraday bag runs afoul of local anti-shoplifting legislation that states that it is illegal to carry a prepared bag with the intent to shoplift—that is, bags that cause exit scanners to fail to detect RFID tags. reported in 2008 that 60% of all shoplifting is done with shielded bags.

(Illustration: Sarah van Sonsbeeck)

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November 22, 2011

Mayor of Haarlem got his bling stolen

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 2:12 pm

Bernt Schneiders, the Mayor of Haarlem, or Burgomaster (‘Burgemeester’) as it is called in the Netherlands, has had his silver livery collar stolen from his office. Schneiders knew about the theft, but kept it quiet, hoping someone would return it. That plan obviously failed.

Amsterdam City Council has tweeted that it was willing to lend out their spare livery collar. I mean otherwise this appointed and not democratically elected mayor couldn’t do his job, right? He’s the man who wrongly lectured the Chinese about the printing press a few years back.

It’s only worth about a couple of hundred euro (in my ‘hood that’s a lot of cash) and yeah, it can’t be that easy to pawn off in the Netherlands.

The concerned citizens of Haarlem are brainstorming ideas to get it back:
– Offering a 1,000 euro reward (sure).
– Throwing it at night in Town Hall’s mailbox – that’s not about getting it back.
– Sending it to the Haarlems Dagblad newspaper – that’s not about getting it back either.

Let’s think out of the lunch box now.

(Links:, Photo of the mayor of Haarlem, Mr. Bernt (B.B.) Schneiders)

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March 26, 2009

Van Leeuwenhoek microscope to be auctioned

Filed under: Gadgets,History,Nature by Branko Collin @ 6:37 pm

One of only three surviving silver microscopes of the Father of microbiology, Renaissance scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), will be sold on April 8 at an auction at Christie’s in London, writes De Telegraaf (Dutch). The auction house expects to sell the silver device for somewhere between 75,000 and 105,000 euro.

The other two surviving Leeuwenhoek microscopes are at the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden.

Van Leeuwenhoek built his own microscopes, superior to what was available at the time (the first microscope was invented in Middelburg seven years before his birth), but kept the secret to his lenses meticulously hidden, and only in the 1950s did scientists manage to reconstruct them. It turned out that rather than grinding lenses, Van Leeuwenhoek seems to have used a glass fusing method, which allowed him to quickly make a microscope, of which he constructed around 400 during his lifetime.

The Internet Archive has The Select Works of Antony van Leeuwenhoek, translations into English of Van Leeuwenhoek’s many observations, unfortunately without his drawings. Fascinating stuff, almost like being alive in the 21st century.

The silver microscope that will be sold at Christie’s was used by Van Leeuwenhoek to discover sperm cells. The current owner found it during the 1970s among old laboratory equipment.

Portrait of Van Leeuwenhoek by Jan Verkolje (1650-1693).

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