Tag Archives: paris

Black Blocs – “The Black Peril”?


It may be very difficult to not notice them during rallies. Hooded, dressed in black, they are hundreds, sometimes more, to parade during important local or more international political events.

A black bloc is a name given to groups of protesters who wear black clothing, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items. The clothing is used to conceal marchers’ identities, and hinder criminal prosecution, by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It is also used to protect their faces and eyes from items, such as pepper-spray, which are often used by law enforcement during protests or civil unrest. The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass.

Black bloc has become a generic term for ultraradical, highly mobilised leftwing groups often associated with anti-capitalism, anti-globalisation, anti-fascism and anarchism.

The black bloc is not a group or organisation, it’s something that happens on marches or actions. It’s not pre-planned: it relies on people turning up with the same ideas and clothes. That is why there is a “uniform”: people who want to take direct action and resist containment arrive on the day in black and identify people with the same ideas this way.

In the legal sense, those who damage property or fight the police have committed crimes, so yes they are criminals. But in everyday language, a criminal is someone who lives by criminal means…

The tactic was developed in the 1980s in the European autonomist movement’s protests against squatter evictions, nuclear power and restrictions on abortion, as well as other influences. Black blocs gained broader media attention outside Europe during the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, when a black bloc damaged property of Gap, Starbucks, Old Navy, and other multinational retail locations in downtown Seattle.

Continue reading Black Blocs – “The Black Peril”?

Energy #Startup:This Paris Floating Gym Which Will Turn Your Sweat Into Electricity (en/fr)


  • (fr: Cette salle de sport flottante pourrait naviguer grâce à l’énergie des sportifs)

English: Italian firm Carlo Ratti Associati came up with a brilliant way to inspire people to exercise more. They designed a boat that uses human energy to sail down the Seine River in Paris.

This futuristic project tends to innovate the way of traditional fitness while trying to loose your extra kilos.Each of this floating gym machines is attached to a black box with wires running out of it. The box is a compact generator that converts the motion of the wheels into electricity, which is then fed into the power grid, offsetting some of the club’s energy use. For these gym-goers, it’s not just about their cardio fitness; their sweat is helping to make the planet a bit greener.The box is a compact generator that converts the motion of the wheels into electricity, which is then fed into the power grid, offsetting some of the club’s energy use. For these gym-goers, it’s not just about their cardio fitness; their sweat is helping to make the planet a bit greener.

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By adopting power-producing exercise machines in this way, gyms can promote themselves as environmentally friendly and also reduce their electric bills. This concept has started in the United States but “la Seine” is a more beautiful place to work out. At least three start-ups in the United States are now selling equipment to retrofit aerobic machines—stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, and steppers—into electricity-generating gear. These companies have already converted several hundred machines at dozens of U.S. health clubs and university gyms.

In Paris, the boat is 65-feet-long (20-meter long) and holds up to 45 people. “The Paris Navigating Gym investigates the potential of harnessing human power,” Carlo Ratti said. “It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat. It provides one with a tangible experience of what lies behind the often abstract notion of ‘electric power’.” It’s still in development, but the designers estimate that it could be completed in 18 months.

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Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati

The Paris Navigating Gym works by converting the pedal power into utility grade electricity. However, if there won’t be enough passengers on-board to run the ship, it will be able to use renewable energy sources, like the photovoltaic cells on its roof.

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Credit; Carlo Ratti Associati

The Navigating Gym will allow Parisians to inhabit the river all year long. The augmented-reality screens installed on the boat will show guests both the quantity of energy sourced from the workout, and data about the Seine’s environmental conditions, tracked in real time by sensors incorporated on the vessel. Encased within a transparent glass covering, open in the summer, the gym allows an extraordinary view of the urban panorama. And at night, the boat can even be used for parties and celebrations.

One more reason to visit once again or for the first time Paris!

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Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati

Français:Cette salle de sport flottante pourrait naviguer grâce à l’énergie des sportifs

Si vous aimez flâner à Paris en faisant du sport, ce concept est parfaitement idéalise  pour vous. “Le Paris Navigating Gym” pourrait bien naviguer le long de la Seine en utilisant juste la sueur de votre front. Un concept inédit mêlant activité physique et écologie. Ça change des traditionnelles « salles de muscu ».

C’est  le cabinet de design italien Carlo Ratti Associati qui a imaginé une salle de sports à donner envie, même au pire flemmard des sportifs, de se dépenser à fond en regardant la Seine. Plus besoin de prendre un bateau mouche pour faire le tour de la capitale française. Surtout si vous   Équipée de grandes baies vitrées avec vue imprenable sur Paris, cette salle flottante de 20 mètres de long, baptisée «Paris Navigating Gym», pourra accueillir jusqu’à 45 cyclistes. En s’activant pour perdre des calories, les sportifs produiront l’énergie nécessaire pour faire avancer le navire sur la Seine et prendre des passagers sur les rives de la capitale.

Car cette salle flottante serait, en partie, propulsée par l’énergie que fourniront les sportifs en se défoulant sur les vélos installés sur la plate-forme. “Il est fascinant de voir comment l’énergie générée par une séance d’entraînement à la salle de gym peut effectivement aider à propulser un bateau. Il fournit à l’individu une expérience tangible de ce qui se cache derrière la notion souvent abstraite de puissance électrique”, explique Carlo Ratti sur le site Designboom .

En cas de manque d’affluence dans la salle ou bien de coups de pédale un peu trop mous, des panneaux solaires offriront la source d’énergie complémentaire. Ce projet a été développé en partenariat avec Technogym, qui commercialise des équipements sportifs nouvelle génération permettant déjà de récupérer l’énergie produite, et Terreform One, une organisation qui a déjà proposé un premier projet de gymnase flottant en 2008.

Inspirée des mythiques bateaux-mouches, la salle de sport flottante intégrera à ses grandes baies vitrées, des écrans indiquant la quantité d’énergie produite au cours de la séance, des données en temps réel sur la Seine ou encore des informations constantes sur le bateau. Le bateau est prévu pour mesurer 20m de long et accueillir 45 personnes. De quoi envoyer du nœud et profiter à fond de l’expérience.

*More info and image credit: carloratti.com Other Sources: Le Figaro, Daily Mail, Bored Panda, BFMtv.fr