February 22, 2019

Dutch instrument could help search for extraterrestrial life

Filed under: Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:41 pm

Dutch scientists have developed an instrument capable of detecting the presence of living plants kilometres away, which in the future could be used to help search for extraterrestrial life.

Lucas Patty of the VU Amsterdam has built the TreePol spectropolarimeter, a camera with special lenses and receptors able to detect the rotation of light that occurs when it is reflected by plants. His instrument is able to detect the difference between healthy and dying vegetation. Patty tried out his instrument on the roof of the university by pointing it at a nearby football pitch and didn’t get a signal: turns out the pitch was made from artificial grass.

Scientists are now investigating whether TreePol could be used to monitor agricultural crops from an aircraft or satellite, and maybe it could be used at even greater distances. “We’re also working on a version that could be used on the international space station or a moon lander,” explains astronomer and co-developer Frans Snik of Leiden University.

Over the last two decades, astronomers have discovered almost four thousand ‘exoplanets’, planets that orbit stars other than our own sun. Astrobiologists have often focused on the presence of water, oxygen and carbon, but these molecules and atoms don’t always show the presence of life and therefore involve the risk of a ‘false positive’. TreePol could finally eliminate that false positive, and that is all kinds of exciting.

Back in 2013 we wrote about the search for extraterrestrial life at Leiden University by detecting oxygen on far away planets using transit observations.

On an related note albeit not a Dutch one, if you want to listen to entertaining YouTubers talking about what they call ‘woo woo’ (UFOs, weird places on Earth, spooky stuff, etc.), then you absolutely need to listen to Gary and Diktor van Doomcock on the ExoZone on Nerdrotic and/or Overlord Diktor van Doomcock.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of an artist impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope by ESO/L. Calçada, some rights reserved)

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December 15, 2018

YouTubers show that being openly Jewish is a problem

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 4:59 pm

YouTube crew Bongenoten (‘Allies’) enjoy filming social experiments to see how people deal with extreme behaviour.

In the video below, YouTuber Benjamin Beernink decided to walk around parts of Utrecht with a yarmulke (aka kippah), the head cap Jewish men wear. Beernink happens to be Jewish, but does not usually wear a yarmulke. I can say that it is not something we see very often in the Netherlands.

The crew walked around different neighbourhoods (downtown, Ondiep and Kanaleneiland) in Utrecht. Some reactions were really intense, Beernink having been called ‘kankerjood’ (roughly, ‘Fucking Jew’, but then ‘kanker, which means ‘cancer’ is used as an adjectival swear word) in Kanaleneiland, which doesn’t have the best reputation. He was also laughed at inside a shop by staff and called a ‘faggot’ as well.

The reason Bondgenoten made the video was due to a poll presented by Dutch television show EenVandaag claiming that research shows that a large part of Jews don’t dare show they are Jewish and hide their faith.

(Link: rtvutrecht.nl)

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December 4, 2018

Christian party wants rating system on YouTube

Filed under: General,Online by Orangemaster @ 12:33 pm

Similar to what is done with film and television, Dutch national Christian party CDA says it would like to help parents protect their children against images containing violence, sex and swearing on YouTube. The Dutch system, called Kijkwijzer, is a Dutch film and television rating system that is slightly more liberal than the one many people know from the United States or Canada. However, applying it to YouTube any time soon is said to be next to impossible.

Every minute, YouTube puts up 400 hours of video. The CDA says it’s up to YouTube themselves to protect children, which seems like, as they say in Dutch, ‘yelling into the desert’. If multinationals can’t even sort out all the copyright infringements that appear on YouTube, then they won’t care about some Christians giving their opinion about it in such a small country. This discussion had already been brought up in Parliament in 2015, but now that YouTube (and in this case, Google as the owner) may have to abide by the same rules as television (I don’t know about film), then getting YouTube to comply is a step closer, but still very close to impossible.

As a parent, a member of the CDA said that his seven-year-old son looks at YouTube films and it is tough to determine if a film is suitable for him or not, which is completely understandable. Sadly for him and I bet also his spouse, they have to look over their child’s shoulder to make sure they can control what their kid watches. As well, a representative of Google Netherlands said that imposing the Dutch system is impossible and that YouTube would then come with its own system, and the entire world would have to follow whatever they come up with.

(Links: bnr.nl, bright.nl)

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January 22, 2018

Hanging off a Dutch train is dangerous

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:58 pm


There’s possibly (but hopefully not) a new trend in jackass land, and it’s about hanging onto a moving train on the outside like James Bond, but then for real and purely for shock value.

The Climbing Dutchman is pissing off Dutch rail operator ProRail with his extremely dangerous stunts, but he couldn’t care less, and has done it before. While ProRail says that this is ‘intolerable behaviour and against the law’ and has filed a complaint with the police, The Climbing Dutchman’s answer was, “go ahead and complain to the police again”, implying that he doesn’t think he’ll ever be caught.

ProRail is trying to have this video deleted from YouTube, but of course, it can still easily be found, which says a lot about YouTube.

Update December 2018: new video, as the old one had been deleted.

(Link: ed.nl,Photo by Flickr user Kismihok, some rights reserved)

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May 14, 2017

A heartwarming tale of a Dutch pianist’s success

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 8:25 pm

Dutch amateur musician Joep Beving, 41, has become a one-man recording phenomenon with his self-released recordings on Spotfiy being streamed more than 85 million times and counting. True, he became big earlier this year, but then once in a while you need some nice piano music.

Beving told British newspaper The Guardian that he never imagined that the contemplative, atmospheric piano tunes would draw such a vast audience worldwide. But after scoring with his album ‘Solipsism’ online, four record companies were soon fighting over him, a fight won by the prestigious classical music label Deutsche Grammophon.

Beving’s success is more extraordinary because he had been turned down by the only record label he approached, and had to pay to press 1,500 vinyl copies of Solipsism. “I wanted to make something tangible,” he said. By day he used to work as an advertising manager for a company that provides music for commercials. He worked on his debut album in his kitchen at night, while his girlfriend and two young daughters were asleep.

The director of new repertoire at DG, Christian Badzura, heard Beving’s music by chance when the vinyl copy of Solipsism was playing in a late-night bar in Berlin at 2 am a while back. One of Beving’s German advertising colleagues had left it with the barman. It impressed Badzura so much that he had to sign him up. As for Beving, he said he wasn’t counting on this and is truly grateful for technological developments opening up the music market and making it more democratic.

Hailing originally from Doetinchem, Gelderland and now living in Amsterdam, Beving composes music that is a search for tranquility and beauty, as highlighted by the video accompanying the music. I personally enjoy the music and can hear many influences of great composers as well as someone who is very concentrated at the piano with much ease.

Enjoy ‘The Light She Brings’:

(Link: theguardian.com)

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April 15, 2014

Man films daughter growing up, becomes YouTube hit

Filed under: Film by Orangemaster @ 3:39 pm

Vince Hofmeester

Dutchman Frans Hofmeester has been filming his daughter Lotte weekly from ages 0 to 14, and a few days ago, he placed a time-lapsed video of her on YouTube.

Two years ago Hofmeester had also placed the first video when Lotte was 12, which had more than 4 million hits. Last year, he placed one that had some 900,000 hits and his latest one is currently at over 2,500,000 hits.

Hofmeester has also posted time-lapsed videos of his son Vince (see pic) from 0 to 11 years and other films related to his family.

Here’s Portrait of Lotte – 0 to 14 years in 4 min. (The Original):

(Link: www.metronieuws.nl, Photo of Vince Hofmeester, screenshot of a YouTube video)

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August 13, 2013

Shoplifter leaves with photos instead of tablet

Filed under: Gadgets,Photography by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

Since last week the Amsterdam police are looking for a shoplifter who changed his mind while robbing a Kruidvat drugstore located in the De Pijp district.

Initially the man tried to steal a tablet computer that was stored in a display case, but later changed his mind. He left the fancy gear behind and took off with somebody’s printed photos. The man took off on a bicycle.

The video below shows the man entering the store and taking the tablet from the display case.

My theory is the man came in to collect his photos, saw an opportunity to acquire a tablet he had no money for, then realised the bulge in his jacket would look suspicious at the register. OK, so it’s not a very good theory. What do you think was in those pictures?

The video doubles as a free instructional film on Dutch bicycle etiquette. The shoplifter first secures the rear wheel using his wheel lock, then does the same using a chain lock.

(Photo/video: Politie.nl (YouTube))

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May 18, 2012

Free Dutch films online on YouTube

Filed under: Film,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:48 am

Amsterdam film company A-film has its own YouTube channel offering free, full length films online. There are some 20 films such as Alles Stroomt (Upstream), Ik Omhels Je Met Duizend Armen (A Thousand Kisses) and First Mission. Not all films are in Dutch: there are English-language films such as Bend It Like Beckham, The Promotion and Youth In Revolt (watch here below). As a comparison, competitor Ximon.nl, which has a much larger selection, offers a film like A Thousand Kisses for 3,50 euro.

(Link: www.bright.nl, Photo of film cans by tallfoot, some rights reserved)

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December 29, 2010

Favourite 24oranges facts of 2010

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:02 pm

I noticed a few neat things this year while working on 24oranges and I want to share them you:

– Our most used Flickr photos are by Peter de Wit, aka FaceMePLS. He has great everyday Dutch stuff that we just can’t seem to get enough of.

– Our most popular Flickr photos are Red thumbtack and Red thumbtack 2, followed by Old books. The message seems to be that simple, everyday objects are what people really like. Co-blogger Branko has taken most of the pictures, he has a fancy DSLR camera while I go through life with a small pocket thingy.

– Our most popular tag is ‘Amsterdam’ because that is where we live, followed by ‘Rotterdam’ and a tie for third place: ‘Groningen’, ‘football’ and ‘law’.

– We’ve added some categories this year (or late last year): ‘photography’, ‘bicycles’ and ‘sustainability’, three topics that come up often.

– We started a Facebook group that has news other than on the blog, with a few exceptions. A big thank you to the 140 members for joining!

– We had our best month yet in November 2010 with 23,562 unique visitors. A big thanks to Global Post and many other sites for linking to us.

Our resolutions include more of our own pictures, a new header (we need sun and oranges at the same time), more videos, (join our 24OrangesTV channel) and one day hopefully more co-bloggers.

Thanks to everyone who submitted and forwarded stories, and took the time to comment on our postings, you make us want to keep going. Cheers!

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November 17, 2010

Copyright collection agency to charge for embedding after all

Filed under: Film,General,Music,Online by Orangemaster @ 7:57 pm

In December 2009, after a wave of criticism from the media and beyond, Dutch copyright collection agency Buma/Stemra (B/S) decided to back off on its plans to make people pay for embedded music streams. However, today they announced that they will go ahead with their plans after all. According to B/S logic, embedding music is another form of ‘rebroadcasting’, which require licences. Buma/Stemra will start charging for music streams and video streams like YouTube, all of which will be confirmed soon. According to Tweakers, last year the projected rates for embedding videos with music were lower than embedding music streams — why, nobody knows.

They also say they won’t bug private persons, just companies. We’ll see.

In other copright news, a court in The Hague has ruled that downloading copyrighted material without permission of the rights holder is permitted as long as it’s a copy for home use. There was some doubt as to how copyright law should be interpreted on this issue, but not anymore. Read more about it in Dutch from our friendly neighbourhood Internet legal expert, Arnoud Engelfriet.

(Link: tweakers)

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