As part of an emerging online technologies project, the BBC set up Island Blogging in the early 2000s to allow residents of three groups of sparsely populated and often windswept Scottish islands (the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles, Argyll and Clyde Islands and the Northern Isles) to blog for free. As nearly all were on often unreliable dial-up, the service was simple and web-based, allowing comments (by anyone) and posts and pictures (blogging residents only). Moderation and rules were light; controversies were infrequent. [more inside]
The Value of Culture is a five part BBC radio series by Melvyn Bragg (which can be downloaded as a podcast) which explores the modern concept of 'culture' from its roots in mid-19th Century Britain, specifically Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy and Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture (vol. 2), and exploring the discourse and uses of the concept until the present day. There are five episodes, each a little over forty minutes long, focusing in turn on Arnold and the roots of the concept of culture, Tylor and the anthropological conception of culture, C. P. Snow and the 'Two Cultures' debate, mass culture and culture studies, and then ending with a debate on the value of culture today.
A Foreigner's Guide to American Culture After De Tocqueville, just about every European sent to the United States has treated the posting as an invitation to help diagnose the country's faults and suggest ways in which they might be fixed.
The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
Architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham loved Los Angeles. (Last link is a BBC documentary, circa 1972, 52 minutes -- NSFW at 47 minute mark) [more inside]
Hamster Market Bubble in China. Hamsters have become the must-have pet in China since the Year of the Rat began on 7 February. Hamster demand has tripled in recent weeks and some enterprising individuals might be buying them with the sole intention of holding them for a short period before flipping them for a profit. For my own part, I'm working with HSBC in trying to launch a market in hamster-backed short term notes.
The ashes of the recently deceased contains high amounts of nutrient rich phosphates, just perfect for sprucing up that garden of yours. On the iconic peaks of Scotland though Mountaineers have decided that enough is enough.
When Good Things Go American. Fans of The Office on the BBC may feel a redundacy after watching the NBC pilot.
The BBC is asking visitors of its news site to vote from a shortlist of the ten most embarrassing political moments. Visitors can watch a short film [real media] which shows all ten nominated moments (forgive the home-video moments style background muzak). There's some variety here: Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock in moments exhibiting a baffling degree of misguidedness, George W Bush and Kenneth Clarke in tight spots (figuratively and literally), while Charles Kennedy and John Prescott probably coming out of their situations looking better than they did beforehand. For me the most cringe-inducing clip is that of John Redwood, the then newly appointed Secretary of State for Wales, attempting to mime the Welsh national anthem. Genuinely difficult to watch.
The trade in stolen Asian relics is booming. TIME reports on how cultural sites are being looted and precious artifacts smuggled overseas. Sometimes they're returned, but much of Asia's cultural heritage is being lost.
The culture of a society, is largely invisable to it's inhabitants. While the bigger things in our own cultures are easily identifiable, such as food, customs and religion. More unique things like hitting a statue or a picture of Saddam with a shoe, are not. Symbolism is usually subtle and can easily be missed or misinterpreted by people from other cultures. This is a great article from BBC WORLD NEWS which explains some of the symbolism we're seeing in the Iraqi gatherings.
comment of "the superiority of Western civilisation" have provoked outrage in Arab countries not such a smart or nice thing to say right now.