Smoking bans in Europe

Posted by Amy in Life in Holland, News

Last week, the Spanish Parliament voted to implement a smoking ban in public places such as restaurants and work places. The ban will go into effect on New Year’s Day. More »

December 21st 2005 | 9:44 pm CET | 3 Comments »

The Best of 2005

Posted by Arthur in Pop culture, Science & technology

This is the time of year when magazines and websites publish ‘Best of 2005 …’ lists. Here is a list of some of the best news stories, books, movies, music, and gadgets of 2005. More »

December 19th 2005 | 8:34 pm CET | No Comments »

Driverless robot buses crash, Part 2

Posted by Arthur in Life in Holland, News, Science & technology

The crash between two driverless robot buses in Rotterdam on Tuesday 6 December was caused by a human error, reports Connexxion. More »

December 17th 2005 | 11:03 am CET | No Comments »

Parking problems

Posted by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland

Imagine, if you will, an extremely popular parking lot. This parking lot is so in-demand that, when every single space is filled, people cram their vehicles in the tiny areas between the legitimate spots. People leave their vehicles in the middle of aisles, brazenly blocking the exit path of others. Vehicles are left in a rush, allowed to crash on their sides and obstruct walkways. More »

December 14th 2005 | 10:20 pm CET | 1 Comment »

Rotterdam birds inoculated against bird flu

Posted by Amy in Birds, Nature, News

There’s a flu-shot shortage in the U.S. and here in Holland people have to jump through hoops if they want one. But a zoo in Rotterdam is doing something to protect a group even more at risk. Rotterdam Zoo “Blijdorp” has become the first zoo in Europe to vaccinate resident birds against bird flu. Penguins, flamingos and even the ducks in the ponds have been injected as prevention against the virus. More »

December 13th 2005 | 10:30 pm CET | 1 Comment »

King’s Quest IX is saved

Posted by Arthur in Pop culture

My favorite computer games of all time were the Space Quest and King’s Quest adventures from Sierra On-line. Back in 1983 King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown was the first animated adventure game ever. The character was moved around the 16-color environment with the arrow keys, and everything else in the game was controlled by use of a text parser (e.g. “Pick up apple”). At the time these graphics were amazing; it may not seem like a big deal now, but seeing the blocky Sir Graham move behind a tree or a big boulder was many person’s first true 3D experience. The eighth and final King’s Quest game game out in 1998 — but this week Vivendi Universal Games announced that they will allow the work on the unofficial King’s Quest IX to continue!! More »

December 11th 2005 | 12:52 pm CET | No Comments »

“Domino Sparrow” in the news again

Posted by Amy in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature, News

The Dutch goverment has fined the killer of the Domino-Day sparrow €200. According to Dutch law, the shooter violated the “Flora and Fauna” Act because the bird was a protected species. More »

December 9th 2005 | 4:15 pm CET | 1 Comment »

Buried by Digg

Posted by Arthur in Websites & Tools

Beware of your links appearing on the popular site Last night a link to this site appeared on the homepage of, and almost instantly the site crashed from the sudden surge in traffic. It received thousands of hits instantly and that quickly used up our 5 gibabytes per day permitted data transfer. Our hosting company disabled the site as the traffic was affecting other customers. The site has just now come back online after being offline for nearly 18 hours. It was a true diggalanche.

December 8th 2005 | 1:47 pm CET | No Comments »

Who got a flu shot?

Posted by Amy in Life in Holland

Last week I got a flu shot. For the first time it was offered to all employees at my company, at no charge. Okay, so the shot isn’t going to protect me from bird flu. There are still good reasons that young, healthy people should get the shot: More »

December 7th 2005 | 5:39 pm CET | 3 Comments »

Bird watching in the city

Posted by Amy in Birds, Nature

We live close to the center of Leiden. Our back yard is very small and paved with bricks. The idea of attracting feathered friends to our garden is a bit misguided, as there are dozens of pet cats prowling through the neighborhood. Last year we put up a substantial bird feeder in the middle of the yard, but on the first day a cat jumped into it. More »

December 7th 2005 | 12:50 pm CET | No Comments »