Saturday “Belgian” Smörgåsbord

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Lisa reading a Tintin comic book.

Even Lisa reads Tintin! (Image via Wikipedia)

For as long as Belgium exists, I will be proud of it! We may have the most indecisive politicians in the world, but we also have chocolate, beer, Tintin, the saxophone and amazing maps, … we have it all, we have it good, and we should be proud of it! So despite the current political crisis, I thought I’d use this week’s Smörgåsbord to highlight some of the good stuff coming from Belgium recently…

To start off, Sam Sulmont (25) has made it to the shortlist of 125 finalists of the YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video competition. The competition, which was organized in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum, aimed to discover and showcase the most exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of online video. Sulmont’s movie, “Sounds in the key of Z”, paints a rather depressing view on life, as a man wearing a gas mask wakes up, wanders around in an old, worn-down building and finally dies in front of a non-functional television. The experimental short was Sulmont’s thesis at the Narafi film school in Brussels. Ironically, his exam jury wasn’t easily convinced by “Sounds in the key of Z” and Sulmont only just passed. Whether he has made it to the final 20 who will see their work on display at the New York Guggenheim from Oct. 22-24, will be announced on October 21st. (via De Morgen, screenshot from “Sounds in the key of Z”)

United Pepper, a Belgium-based eco-tech company, is setting high standards to their products. Not only do they want to produce “green” electronics by avoiding the use of PVC and flame retardants, two chemicals of particular concern when old electronics are disposed of, they also want to produce them in a fair trade manner. Since there really are no globally agreed fair trade standards for electronics, the company took general principles outlined by the World Fair Trade Organization – no easy task, given the global nature of the electronics supply chain – and applied them to their manufacturing partner in Vietnam. Greenness and fair trade aside, who wouldn’t want such an adorable-looking webcam? (via The World, image used with permission from United Pepper)

Good news from the Belgian army also! Conform the Oslo Treaty from 2008, we have destroyed all our cluster bombs. Cluster bombs have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 40 years and -unfortunately- continue to do so today even long after a conflict has ended. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. So far, the Convention on Cluster Munitions has been signed by 108 countries, 41 of which have also ratified it. Unsurprisingly, the USA, Israel, Russia, and China are among those countries who have not signed.
(via De Morgen, image under Fair Use via Cluster Munition Coalition)

And to finish off on a lighter note, the hidden camera show Benidorm Bastards has won the top award of best program of 2010 at the Rose d’Or television festival in Switzerland. Seven old people drive the kids crazy in this guerrilla-style show, in which the wrinklies get one over on the youth, for a change. But I’ll let the Bastards themselves do the talking… Enjoy!
(roughly every other prank is without dialogues, so it’s even enjoyable for non-Dutch speakers)

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