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…

resilience | /ɹə.zɪl.ɪ.əns/

Last week thursday night someone tried to break in to our offices on the fourth floor of a building on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. in order to gain access to the office the wannabe-burglar(s) kicked in the door, pushing one of the wooden door panels into the room. it appears that they then waited to see if there was an alarm system and that they quickly left the building without taking anything from the office when the alarm sounded 20 seconds after the door was kicked in. So while they had…

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…

An evidence-based approached to airport security

It seems that Beirut International Airport has a refreshingly evidence-based approach to flight security. When standing in line for the second security checkpoint (the one between the duty free area and the actual boarding gates) the security guards produced a half liter metal can from the backpack of the passenger two persons ahead in our line. When he failed to get the lid open with his hands, the teenager directly in front of us handed the security guard a pair of scissors, which he used to o…

I want one of these. now!

CCTV Birdbox – designed by Céine Shenton ‘Big bird is watching you’ is a birdbox that looks like a CCTV camera. It works just like a dummy camera, but on closer inspection, it offers a great refuge for birds in need of a new home. Inside the box is a little camera that films the activities in the nest, so that avid nature watchers can watch the flighty comings and goings. The CCTV Birdbox it is a competition entry, vote for it here update [25 May 08]: not as nice as the brid house ones but also…

The Power of Nightmares

Just finished watching the BBC documentary (from 2004) ‘the power of nightmares – the rise of the politics of fear‘ by Adam Curtis. This three part mini series compares the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. Curtis argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth…

Run when you hear the sirens coming

(I suggest to listen to Dizzee Rascals ‘sirens’ while reading this post). so I am in Johannesburg (or some elite gated community called ‘Sandhurst‘ that tries hard not to be part of the rest of the urban fabric) for less than two hours and I am already not used to a lot of things: Physically i am totally not used to run up and down hills. it’s something we just don’t do in Holland (because of the general flatness of the place). Even worse i am not used to running up hills in the mid day summer h…

Beirut safer than Berlin...

The German government advises against trips to lebanon unless you have important business or family matters to attend and recommends to stay well clear of political gatherings and the south of the country. It seems a bit exaggerated especially as the ongoing protest by Hezbollah and their allies in downtown is about the most peaceful demonstration i have ever seen. Most dangerous thing that has happened to me was being forced to sit down with a couple of Lebanese teenagers from boston to smoke t…

There may have been too much hyperventilating going on ...

Mondays New York Times ran an extensive article about the details released about the british ‘terror’ scam of early August. The article based on statements from five senior British officials pretty much confirms what other sources had admitted immediately after the scare: the whole fuzz was apparently about a couple of kids who did not even know how to blow up planes at all. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article: But British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to d…