Election Day (2017)

As i am writing this i am on a flight from Strasbourg back to Amsterdam. At the same time people back in the Netherlands are voting in one of the most contested elections of recent memory. There is a real (although increasingly unlikely) chance that the xenophobic, populist and anti European PVV of Geert Wilders will become the biggest party and that the rest of the political spectrum will splinter into 15 or more parties. The dutch elections are seen as a first test for the future of a united a…

Equipopulous Europe

I am strangely fascinated by this map that depicts the European Union as 28 equipopulous member states (although i would rather imagine this as administrative territories rather than as states): Twenty-eight equally sized European Union Member States, by Alasdair Gunn Of course this is utterly unrealistic as (re)drawing borders has been one of the most destructive activities in the history of humanity. So the only way to improve on the current situation would be to do away with border altogether…

Europa Prima Pars Terrae in Forma Virginis

Europa Prima Pars Terrae in Forma Virginis (1582) by Heinrich Bünting Found this in yesterdays newspaper, next to an article comparing the current state of the European Union to the state of the Habsburg Empire right before its collapse. Not sure about that comparison, but the map is amazing.…

Hamiltonian cathedrals and the the Jeffersonian bazaar

Tumblr pointed me to a fascinating essay on the structure of our economic system. In ‘The American cloud‘ Venkatesh Rao explores the economic system of the United States by applying the much hyped cloud metaphor to the production, flows and consumption of goods. While it is not without flaws (reading it one might be tempted to believe that the USA are a self sufficient economy without any connections to the rest of the world) the essay provides an interesting perspective on our times. At the cor…

A Bridge Between Europe and Africa

Brilliant BLDGBLOG post on the possibility of a bridge across the Strait of Gibraltar and it’s implications (i very much like the idea an underwater bridge): Bonus points for introducing a new currency.…

Strange things are happening...

Not sure why this is happening, but it appears that commons sense is slowly starting to make a comeback in the discussion about copyright. Yesterday we had the British Prime Minster announce that his government is undertaking a review of the parts of the intellectual property laws in order to enable more flexible use of copyright protected works along the lines of the the US fair-use doctrine: The second new announcement I can make today is to do with intellectual property. The founders of Googl…

Why the U.S is and will remain miles (sic!) ahead of europe.

If you want to understand this you simply have to listen to the below excerpt from a planet money interview with Mark Zandi the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics and contrast that with the petit bourgeois, xenophobic attitude towards immigration that is prevailing in Europe: and again, fundamentally we are fine. we can’t loose the sight of what makes our economy really tick though and that is: the most educated population, the best infrastructure and most importantly of all that we continue t…

A beach near the city of Syracuse

In november 2007 i added the following entry to the ‘meanwhile at the borders…‘ page on noborder.org: 29.Oct.07: The bodies of 12 migrants were pulled from the water at a beach near the city of Syracuse on Sicilys eastern coast. Seven survivors were found on shore and two others were considered missing. (Update: by 6 november 4 additional bodies had been found bringing the total dead count to 16 (source: reuters AlertNet) This month i spend a week of vacation on that same eastern east cost of Si…

Parallel infrastructures #4

Over the last year or so Sara (together with Suzanne Valkenburg and Eefje Blankevoort) has explored the world of vacation parks in the Netherlands. Many of these parks that had originally been designed for dutch families to spend their summer vacations have – over the years – attracted new types of temporary and permanent residents: Kenyan athletes competing for price money in dutch running events, Afghani refugees, African agriculture students, Dutch drop outs and polish contract workers and th…

Parallel infrastructures #3 (Torino revisited)

Have been spending the last 2 days in Torino for a succession of workshops and conferences, and have used my spare time to revisit some of the places that here we had planned to install the expertbase during the big torino biennial back in 2002 (before we were kicked out of the exhibition). Seems that those parts of the city that we were working in have remained relatively unchanged by the construction madness caused by the 2008 winter games. However it appears that there has been a change among…