Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond call the Mexican sportscar Mastretta the "tortilla car" and say that since cars reflect national characteristics, a mexican car will probably be "a lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat". The Mexican ambassador in London complained to the BBC about the comments and demanded a public apology from the presenters. Meanwhile, [person who is pretty clearly not] James May continues to attack Mexicans over on his Twitter page.
Champion Swedes to take on British Challengers... in rabbit jumping.
The BBC plans to jettison the Douglas Adams-founded H2G2, but the H2G2 Community Consortium is trying to raise money to buy it back.
Horizon asks "What is reality?" -- youtube for links for those outside the UK: 1, 2, 3, 4. It's a hard question. To help you answer it, Stanford has a set of free courses available on line by Leonard Susskind: General Relativity, Cosmology, New Revolutions in Particle Physics, Quantum Entanglement, Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, The Standard Model. (Each link is to lecture 1 of a full college course of a dozen or so lectures.) If you need help with the math, the Khan Academy should help get you up to speed.
Human Planet the new nature series from the BBC: Thousands of fishermen empty lake in minutes :: Girls Judge Boys in Desert Sex Factor :: 3,000 Arctic Reindeer Face a Mighty River Crossing :: Sea Bed Hunting On One Breath :: Pa-aling divers :: Ken Bradshaw's Big Wave Hold Down :: Paddle Surfer Rides Monster Wave
Kibera is a slum in the southwest of Nairobi, often called the biggest slum in the world; some estimates of the population put it as high as 1.5m, although the 2009 Kenyan census puts the population at a rather more sober 170k(ish). Now, Kiberans are carrying out two similarly named but unaffiliated projects, Map Kibera and Map Kibera Project, to create maps of their home. MKP has a pair of rather slick-looking PDF maps showing the terrain and structures in Kibera. MK uses OpenStreetMap, which means that their cartographers can be rapidly update it to more accurately reflect how quickly things change in Kibera. They also have, inevitably, a twitter account, flickr stream and a blog to keep the world up to date with their work, including their ambition to start mapping another Nairobi slum, Mathare. Via the Beeb, which also has a nice wee audio slideshow about MK.
A comedy about an English adventurer, very much a product of his time, frozen for decades only to be defrosted in modern-day London, where his challenges range from fighting petty thugs to understanding a world with totally different behaviors and sexual mores*, to the inevitable face-off with a villain from his own time.
And all this with a great swinging 60's vibe! [more inside]
And all this with a great swinging 60's vibe! [more inside]
How musical are you? ← the test. The BBC is teaming up with researchers at Goldsmiths University of London to find out whether personality or practice creates great musicians.
"Snowball Cam has no visible moving parts but [is] able to roll across most terrains, even up hill." A new generation of spycams - very mobile spycams - have been prowling the northern arctic islands of Norway for an upcoming BBC TV program on polar bears. Bilzzard Cam has two electric motors that propel it across the snow - on skis - at speeds up to 40 mph. When threatened by the bears, it releases the onboard decoy device - the Snowball Cam - seen in action here.
BBC Correspondent Brian Hanrahan, who rose to fame during his coverage of the Falklands Conflict in 1982, has died at the age of 61. [more inside]
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.
Friday Frivolity: A highlight reel of clips from the BBC show Walk on the Wild Side, featuring voiceovers for animals so you finally get to know what's really going on in all those nature documentaries. This BBC playlist has previews for a lot of the individual episodes. (I got region-blocked on a few of those videos, but most seem to work fine.) [more inside]
Nigel Kneale's adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four was one of the most controversial television programmes of its time. Broadcast live, it made "unusually extensive and imaginative use of filmed inserts (14 in total). These sequences bought time for the more elaborate costume changes or scene set-ups, but also served to 'open out' the action." And now you can watch it too! The full version is currently on Youtube. Short of the John Hurt film released in 1984 being posted online, the 1954 BBC TV adaptation is about as doubleplusgood as it gets for now. [more inside]
This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
The naughtiest word in English? In an unbelievable coincidence, first a prime time Radio broadcaster [on the serious BBC Radio 4 station], then the well known political correspondent & broadcaster Andrew Marr on the same station, then Nick Herbert MP in the House of Commons, all managed to Spoonerise the name of a government minister with his position. His name? Jeremy Hunt. His department? Culture. All started by... James Naughtie. See what he did there?
Hans Rosling [previously, previously] compares the health and wealth of 200 countries over 200 years in 4 minutes using the best infographic ever. Interactive Flash version here.
A Brief History of Mathematics is a BBC series of ten fifteen-minute podcasts by Professor Marcus du Sautoy about the history of mathematics from Newton and Leibniz to Nicolas Bourbaki, the pseudonym of a group of French 20th Century mathematicians. Among those covered by Professor du Sautoy are Euler, Fourier and Poincaré. The podcasts also include short interviews with people such as Brian Eno and Roger Penrose.
The Blanks perform Katy Perry, Cee-Lo, and Duck Sauce. You might know them from elsewhere.
Watch a language evolve in a single afternoon in part 6 of BBC Horizon's fascinating documentary, "Why Do We Talk." (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)
"On Monday morning, you can tell all your friends at school about this." Matt Smith makes a surprise appearance at the Doctor Who Proms 2010. (SLYT)
Meanwhile in the TARDIS - two bonus ‘mini-episodes’ from the fifth season of doctor who. Can't wait to see the next season? If you're overseas it may get to you a bit quicker, as the BBCs iPlayer goes international. Bonus link: Amy Pond by way of Alphonse Mucha, by Bill Mudron.
Not Only... But Also, the 1960s Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch show, was one of the many programmes where many of the episodes were lost due to the BBC's strangely appalling archival policies. Last month, however, audio recordings of 11 of the lost episodes were found at the home of NOBA fan Graham Webb, who had recorded them off the TV at the time of transmission, using a reel-to-reel tape recorder. [more inside]
Broadcast on Halloween night 1992 Ghostwatch - a live investigation into a haunted house - was one of the most controversial and terrifying programs the BBC has ever shown. [more inside]
Graham Crowden, character actor, has died at 87 after a 52 year career on stage, television, and film. In the United States he may be best known for playing the whimsical Tom Ballard alongside Stephanie Cole's cynical Diana in the BBC series Waiting for God, often shown on PBS. Born in Edinburgh in 1922, he had a distinguished career on stage, particularly at Olivier's National Theatre, undertaking (among other roles) The Player King in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In 1974, citing an inability to commit to a single role, he turned down the part of the Fourth Doctor, which eventually went to his friend Tom Baker. A few years later, in 1977, he played in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. He had another star turn on television in a previous BBC series, A Very Peculiar Practice, as the physician Jock McCannon. His last role was in 2008 in an episode of Foyle's War, "Broken Souls." Said his agent Sue Grantley to the BBC, "We will all miss him enormously."
Madness in the Fast Lane. Part 1, 2, 3, 4 (YT -- videos include footage of human-car collisions and some NSFW language). On May 17, 2008, the identical twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson ran into traffic on the UK's M6 motorway, apparently for no reason whatsoever (original article & footage). Despite the first being run over by a lorry and the second hit head on by a car, both sisters survived, even cursing and struggling against the police who tried to help them. That's when things got weird. [more inside]
Bird Box Studio makes short, simple, wordless, slapstick-heavy, fantastic cartoons. Bird Box UFO. Sketchy Ice Creams. Sketchy Blues. Sketchy Duel. Sketchy Guard. More available on the BBC's "headroom" website. brought to my attention by yoga in this thread
Nick Robinson, the BBC's main political correspondent in London shows what he thinks of free speech. While taping a stand-up in the yard in front of Westminster Palace, Nick Robinson loses it with an anti-poverty protester. Robinson, an admired writer and broadcaster, was a leader of the Conservatives at university but has been largely non-partisan. His own blog about the experience in the video.
The Chancellor of the UK coalition government has announced the details of the Comprehensive Spending Review, setting budgets for government departments to 2014/15. Total savings will be £18 billion. Local government funding will be cut 7% each year for the next four years. The Arts Council budget will be cut by 30%. 490,000 jobs are forecast to be lost over the period in the public sector. The average cuts for each government department will be 19%. The speech. HM Treasury Spending Review pages. Guardian summary. Independent article. Nick Robinson's blog for the BBC. Make your own cuts with the Guardian's interactive tool. Graphic showing 09/10 government spending (that is, before the cuts).
A throne of weapons. An armchair built from a Russian seamine. A dress made of bullets. [more inside]
"… if I ever have to see this gurning little maggot clicking into faux reverie mode again – rising from his seat to jazz-slap the top of his piano wearing a fake-groove expression on his piggish little face – if I have to witness that one more time I'm going to rise up and kill absolutely everybody in the world, starting with him and ending with me.". Charlie Brooker, the UK Guardian's TV 'critic', calls it quits.
Back in the 80s when Doctor Who was mired in a creative and ratings slump, the programme's creator Sydney Newman was asked how to revive it. His answer - regenerate the Doctor as a woman. [more inside]
"I've never interviewed anyone who's quite this animated when speaking...do you ever worry that you're going to burn out?"
'I looked into that camera. And I just said it.' Ray Gosling, a well-regarded UK journalist and activist investigated for mercy killing after an on-air confession, has been found guilty of "wasting police time" instead.
Johnny Selman: "I will design a poster a day for 365 days in reaction to a headline on the BBC news website and update this website everyday with the poster and the accompanying news story."
One Song to the Tune of Another is just what it sounds like. A selection of greatest hits from BBC Radio's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. (SLYT)
PuzzGrid is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
The Haystack application aims to use steganography to hide samizdat-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines" of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack until a security review can be performed.
"I HEREBY REQUEST that my body or any part thereof may be used for therapeutic purposes including corneal grafting and organ transplantation or for the purposes of medical education [...] with the exception of my skull, which shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance." [more inside]
“We strive for a future that we cannot touch, and memories of our life’s past leave traces that form a road behind us. When we stop, there are no traffic lights and no give way signs; only ourselves in the here and now.” -Here and Now: Sonia Yee [more inside]
A Widow's Journey [MP3]. "In 1989, Appapillai Amirthalingam - the most prominent political figure of the Tamil community - was assassinated at his home in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Twenty years on, the Tamil Tigers have been defeated by the military. Appapillai's wife and son travel back to their homeland in search of his legacy in an attempt to understand what the future holds for Sri Lanka's Tamil people."
Britain's longest running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine came to an end on Sunday, gathering 5.4 million viewers rather than the 20 million of its heyday. Filmed in Holmfirth, Yorkshire it followed the exploits of playful, cantankerous retirees for 37 years. Though the last bathtub has rolled, Britons can watch the final episode on Iplayer. Location map, some quotes, scriptwriter Roy Clarke interview. We won't see its like again, but you can hear Ronnie Hazlehurst's theme tune set to words for Compo's funeral.
Pinball - a fun brainstorming and decisionmaking online tool from the BBC.
This past Saturday evening a woman dumped a rescue cat into a garbage bin on the side of a residential street in Coventry, U.K. Fifteen hours later owner Darryl Mann: "I came down to feed Lola on Sunday morning but couldn’t find her anywhere. It was really hot day outside and I searched nearby alleyways but suddenly heard a tiny meowing coming from the bin. I looked inside and I found her in the bin, she was terrified and covered in her own mess....At first I thought she’d somehow climbed inside the bin herself but when I checked the CCTV I was gobsmacked to see some a woman had done it deliberately." Mann posted the video to YouTube and Facebook in an effort to find the perpetrator. As a result, the woman was identified by this morning. [more inside]
On August 16th 1951 a number of people in the quiet southern French town of Pont St.Esprit began to fall ill. Stomach pains were soon followed by violent and often terrifying hallucinations. Local hospitals were soon overwhelmed and more than thirty people were taken to asylums in nearby towns. It was soon decided that the cause was bread poisoning and the evidence pointed to just one Bakery. The reason, it was believed was 'ergot', a fungal infection found in Rye bread which had often caused mass poisonings in Medieval times. Journalist Hank Albarelli, however, claims that a recently released CIA memo shows that the CIA were in fact testing LSD on the inhabitants of the town. [more inside]