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…

Tiger mothers without claws

One of the most annoying aspects of the Netherlands is the profound love this society has for all things mediocre. this expresses itself in a large number of proverbs that warn against being not normal or raising your head above the ground-level. One of the most unfortunate results of this cultural trait is what is known as ‘zesjescultuur‘ referring to the 6 points out of 10 that you need to score in an exam to pass, which are generally considered to be the optimum result of an exam since achiev…

Can someone please throw that PVV dude out of the overland bus?

So apparently this idiot has fielded the idea that hijab-wearing women should be banned from using overland public transport and that the police should be tasked with removing women who wear the hijab from public transport (you can see the exchange on national public television here). Now obviously this is a completely idiotic idea (which goes further in discriminating specific population groups that the treatment of blacks in apartheid south africa Ot the treatment of african-americans in the U…

For some there was too little terrorism this Christmas...

Xmas is almost over and unfortunately (for the news-media) there have been no instances of (attempted) terrorism this year (well that is no terrorism in the west, since bomb attacks in pakistan do not diminish the well being of us westerners). one of the entities suffering from the absence of terrorist activity is the website of the german weekly ‘der spiegel‘. Instead of reverting to publishing ‘the 10 most … of 2010’ lists spiegel online descended like a vulture on the arrest of 12 somalis tha…

Beyond City Limits

Kimon pointed me to this impressive article by Parag Khanna in which he argues that (mega)cities are slowly emerging as the dominant international actors replacing nation states along the way. His article titled ‘Beyond City Limits’ is well worth a read and a refreshing take on the subject of urban growth. Ever since the publication of Mike Davis’ ‘Planet of Slums‘ in 2006 contributions to the discussion about this subject seem to have deteriorated to become a constant stream of repetitions of t…

WTF? Area secured by DNA spray

Thursday night when cycling home from the north i spotted this sign on a lamp pole at the beginning of Ferdinad Bol straat close to where i live: Area secured by DNA-SPRAY – the police I am not even sure how many things are wrong with this sign, but here are a few that went through my head after i had taken this photo: how the fuck to you secure an area with a (DNA) spray? does it randomly spray something on people that are deemed to be a threat to security? or do they mix something into the air…

Apparently the Dutch do not understand the internet...

So there is this theory that while technology progresses to produce ever more intelligent technology most of humankind are actually loosing intellectual and cognitive capacities as a result of their dependence on these technologies. The obvious example of this is the proliferation of GPS navigation devices that has resulted in most people loosing even the most basic navigation skills (like finding the way to the next coffee-shop). The 2009 end of the year zeitgeist that has just been published b…

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…

Ups and Downs in english

The English translation of the Ups and Downs report on the Economic and cultural effects of file sharing on music, film and games is out [thanks Natali!]. You can download the 130 page report written by a research consortium formed by TNO, SEO & IvIR on the IVIR website [pdf]. I have mentioned the report (commissioned by the ministry of Economic Affairs, the Justice Department and the ministry of Education Culture and Science here before [first thoughts, popular science edition] and as far a…

The first world catching up with the third

While cycling along the Keizersgracht this morning i noticed that a number of the buildings now use CFL lamps for the outside illumination: CFL lightbulb in a lamp on the outside of a building on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam Looks like the first world is starting to play catch-up with the third world.…