Europe, unplugged

As if there weren’t anymore pressing topics to tackle, the representative in Brussels/Strasbourg have finally made a breakthrough in…. phone charge cable standards.

Yes, indeed! With a timeframe of 4 years, the EU thinks it proper to not only decide on a common standard for charger connectors, but it also thinks it best to enforce this, making it mandatory on… phones. Not tables, laptops or other portable electronic devices, just phones. Continue reading Europe, unplugged

Defining Steampunk proper

For years I have liked the aesthetics of the steampunk look in various project. Be it clothing, objects or vehicles, a nicely done steampunk project I find very pleasing. I have done some mild steampunk themed project in the past, mainly computers and cabinets, but recently I felt the urge to do some more of that. For a start I did some online research, as I always do and I found myself, quite quickly, to have a strong opinion on certain steampunk practices.

What is steampunk?

Usually steampunk is defined as Victorian/Edwardian style-cues mixed with industrial revolution inspired attributes projected on modern technological and social concepts. That is to say that a typical steampunk rocket-scientist would wear a top-hat with brass welder-glasses and a steam-powered jetpack on his or hers back.

The variations are endless frankly and a lot of steampunk enthusiasts would add to¬†steampunk a sense of make-believe history, roleplaying and subcultural elements, but in essence it’s a style-figure you can categorize as you can Jugendstil. Apart from the Victorian style-ques, which are mostly decorative, the materials play a large role in the overall style. Materials like brass, copper, ¬†wrought iron, rivets, pneumatics, hydraulics, leather, gears, and latches are used a lot.

Continue reading Defining Steampunk proper

On the origins of black Pete, A proper historical context.

Draft 5 currently under revision : click here for version 4 of the paper : ZP_hist_context_Draft4

Every year when festivities of Sinterklaas come to the Netherlands, the skewed debates around Black Pete (zwarte Piet) raises it’s ugly head again. What really annoys me is the incompetence and utter selectivity with which historical claims are made in this “debate” and criticism is brushed aside simply by playing the racism card.

History is an academical discipline and a hard one at that. It’s not a plaything that one can simply cherry-pick in order to construct an arbitrary interpretation of history. Unfortunately, our shared history is often abused by individuals or groups in order to either claim personal grievances or greatness. This selective laymen attempt at historical identity manufacturing has been frowned upon, rightfully, for decades now by most people because it is a fallacy and often a dangerous one at that. By superficially skimming historical narratives one could link ones identity to that of kings or martyrs easily and, to the untrained eye, convincingly.

Continue reading On the origins of black Pete, A proper historical context.