Vangelis Vasilopoulos is the chief engineer for a company which builds swimming pools in the wealthy northern suburbs of Athens, home to ship-owners and tycoons like Spyros Latsis, one of the richest men in the world, who hosts Prince Charles on his travels to Greece. Industrialist Theodore Angelopoulos and his wife Gianna, who led the organising committee for the Athens Olympic Games (only six years ago, when Greece was heralded a “little nation miracle”) are installed there too, as is Mr Papandreou himself.Greek Tax Avoidance 101: Cover Your Swimming Pool With A Tarp, Fool A Satellite | Zero Hedge (via new-aesthetic)
Mr Vasilopoulos says his company has been “inundated with calls” from residents of such elite residential neighbourhoods as to how to camouflage their swimming pools. At first blush, the requests seem bizarre.
In fact, they stem from the revelation that the Greek finance ministry is using Google Earth software to track down the owners of the pools, which tax inspectors consider an indicator of wealth, and which have often been built illegally.
“There are therefore two reasons to hide one’s swimming pool,” said a pool-owner who confessed guilt on both counts and, not surprisingly, asked not to be named.
Fortunately for him, however, there is a ingenious solution.
“The formula is simple,” said Mr Vasilopoulos. “All you need is a green-coloured cover and then the pool cannot be spotted from above. But if the water is visible, or the netting or cover is blue, then you’ve had it”.
So what do they do with GE’s historical images?
Instead, the app “seems to broaden who is engaged in civic action, not simply shift the channel of their engagement.”
Just as crucially, Osgood says, “the nature of the mobile app seems to change, for some people, the feeling of the engagement. We’ve heard user feedback that calling a hotline ‘feels like making a complaint’; using Citizens Connect ‘feels like taking action.’”
What I worry about are the de facto laws that are being coded in software without public scrutiny.http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/05/18/the-too-smart-city/q87J17qCLwrN90amZ5CoLI/story.html
Yep. No one told me going into urban design that half my life was going to be designing parking lots. This is why transit oriented development (where the parking mins are typically flipped to parking maximums) is a GREAT - if not our only - opportunity to design affordable housing development urbanistically. This land use factor is the primary barrier to building densely. As soon as you require a parking structure to pull your development off, you’ve just killed any element of affordability (you definitely tank it putting it underground). So you always need to then subsidize the project somehow if you want urbanism. Then when you find, say, tax credits for the project, it doesn’t help when you’re sacked with the state requirement to provide 1.5 parking spaces per dwelling unit. The net effect is that you simply can’t build above 14 dwelling units per gross acre, at least for affordable housing. Above that you have to heavily subsidize parking.http://www.humantransit.org/2013/05/how-sim-city-greenwashes-parking.html
at Museum Meermanno
We found paradise
Meanwhile we risk overlooking the much more important story here, the real revolution, which is the mass democratisation of the means of access, storage and processing of data. This story isn’t about large organisations running parallel software on tens of thousand of servers, but about more people than ever being able to collaborate effectively around a distributed ecosystem of information, an ecosystem of small data.http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/apr/25/forget-big-data-small-data-revolution
The Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria.
In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks.
It was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement. It was opened in 1981. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government, it has fallen into disuse.
Explore the location with these coordinates! 42°44’07.85”N 25°23’39.20”E
photographs courtesy of Stanislav