Alles verschenen in: Stuff in English

Scientology & huurmoordenaars

[Published n response to an English blog about Scientology.] First. let me introduce myself. I’m Karin Spaink, a Dutch author and columnist, and I‘ve been sued by Scientology for no less than ten years on charges of copyright infringement, after I published excerpts of the OT-levels on my website. The courts kept ruling that I had legal grounds to quote; Scientology kept appealing each verdict. When the Dutch Supreme Court was about to rule in my favour, Scientology suddenly dropped […]   » Verder lezen »

The luscious and the widow

‘The Luscious’ was my nickname for her: Chris was voluptuous and generous. For more than thirty years, we were best friends. Early July she called with devastating news. She had cancer, incurable and untreatable, the type that kills quickly. Within fifteen minutes I was with her. We cried, made lists of what she still wanted to do, who needed to be called and what she had to arrange. A day and a half later we decided to get married. Partly […]   » Verder lezen »


Boudewijn van Ingen (also known as Bogie) died last Tuesday, September 4. He was 49. Boudewijn was one of the first Dutch people who joined me in September 1995 when I put the Fishman Affidavit online. The Fishman Affidavit contains excerpts of the OT-levels, and Scientology had been rather successful in removing the document from the internet. Until the document hit the Dutch part of the internet: within a week, we had a hundred mirrors of the document. The ensuing […]   » Verder lezen »


Today, I had the honour of delivering the keynote lecture at BobCatsss, an annual nternational conference on information management. The conference’s main venue is the beautiful KIT, our national colonial museum. My lecture was titled ‘Privacy is the cornerstone of personal safety’; it’s about counterterrorism surveillance, general data collection, the lack of data hygiene and medical hacks. You can download the slides here (PDF, 1.4 MB).

Why blame Jobs?

Something bugs me about the public comments after Steve Jobs’ death. Yes, he had pancreatic cancer; yes, it was discovered at such an early stage that an immediate operation might have saved his life. Yes, Jobs initially refused the procedure: he abhorred the notion that somebody would open up his body and fiddle with his insides. Instead, he opted for a strictly vegan diet. That tidbit of news made him fodder for skeptics. Oh dear: yet another dumbo who believed […]   » Verder lezen »


[Translation of Fideel, which appeared in the newspaper ‘Het Parool’.] Father Yaseen has a photo studio in Bagdad, where people have come for years and years to have their portrait taken. The pictures are oddly formal. For portraits of brothers and sisters, for instance, only three poses are available; in all three the brother sits in a chair, while his sister stands behind him. And photographing was never easy: the photographer may never touch the women, so that it could […]   » Verder lezen »

Network deceit

For years, it was unclear how the networking site Facebook makes profit. The amount of daily traffic a site generates weighs heavily in deciding the monetary worth of a web site, but invariably, there comes a time when actual revenue starts counting and mere ‘hits’ are no longer sufficient. How does Facebook earn its money? Advertisements that visitors can click on Facebook won’t do the trick: their range is far too generic. You’re never presented with ads that bear a […]   » Verder lezen »

Embody / Us body

(Article in the catalog of the ‘Embody’ exhibition by Chaja Hertog and Nir Nadler, Israel, 2008. I met Nir while I was a mentor at Das Arts, where I had co-assembled the block ‘Who is I?’. I fell in love with Nir’s work and we became friends, which is how I was introduced to his wife Chaja, whose work I found equally impressive. Thus, I gladly wrote something for the booklet publishe for their exhibition. // Bijdrage aan de catalogus […]   » Verder lezen »

Power in numbers

[Originally published in Het Parool; translation by Anonymous, at] The unexpected effect of the internet is, organizing becomes easy. The costs of gathering information and getting people together have been reduced alarmingly: no printing is required, no shipping, no “snowball” list of phone numbers, no member administration, no desk clerk. Apart from that, internet enables evenly distributed participation and variety in different kinds of contribution, without anyone having to direct, or plan or distribute tasks. Mary will start an […]   » Verder lezen »

A bad case of nostalgia

Critique of Andrew Keen’s The cult of the amateur Deciding upon the manner of my response to Mr Keen’s book required much, much more time than composing the response itself. It’s truly seductive to be scathing about the The Cult of the Amateur. Making an inventory of the book’s sloppy argumentation, its fallacious reasoning, its myopic stance, its uncritical praise of copyright, its unwitting foot soldiery of the entertainment industry, its selective choice of facts and its misquotations would be […]   » Verder lezen »