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Potentially sinister

Security alerts have been declared at Airports in the US, UK and Middle East after the discovery of suspicious packages originating in Yemen. The packages, modified toner cartridges, have been described as "definitely not a complete bomb" but being "potentially sinister".
posted by Artw on Oct 29, 2010 - 291 comments

Steam Punk

Captain Sensible travels on the historic Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch steam railway to Dungeness [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 28, 2010 - 18 comments

The thirteenth floor didn't exist... and yet it was there... filled with unknown terror!

"Greetings, I'm MAX, the computer. Maybe you've heard of me, I'm superintendant here!" - Welcome to The Thirteenth Floor!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2010 - 14 comments

UK Spending Review

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).
posted by paduasoy on Oct 20, 2010 - 91 comments

Greater Manchester Police posting 24 hours of incidents to Twitter

Greater Manchester Police are posting every single incident they deal with over a 24-hour period to Twitter. Due to the high volume of incidents, they're posting them over three different Twitter accounts: one two three. [more inside]
posted by chorltonmeateater on Oct 14, 2010 - 31 comments

I'm really not happy, I'd like to make a complaint please...

Man phones Asda to complain about a pizza. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 13, 2010 - 30 comments

Englishmen's homes are still castles, with prices to match

Depressing million-dollar London property. Even in the economic crisis, £635,000 doesn't get you much inside the M25: you can take your pick of a worker's cottage near a football stadium, an Australian backpacker-style apartment near Earl's Court, a 2-bedroom house right near the ring road or various other similarly dispiriting residences.
posted by acb on Oct 12, 2010 - 52 comments

Gallifreya

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]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 12, 2010 - 102 comments

The Tories' favourite Lib Dem

Good news for Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the Liberal Democrats: he's more popular than the Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron. Perhaps not so good news for the Liberal Democrats' image: that's with Tory party activists. Meanwhile, Cameron has professed his love of Macs and iPads in an interview, undoubtedly causing Apple to become instantly uncool in much the way The Smiths and Paul Weller did a few years ago.
posted by acb on Oct 4, 2010 - 54 comments

Equality Act 2010

"As of today, I am no longer a woman." [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Oct 2, 2010 - 96 comments

Welcome to the funhouse

Anish Kapoor turns the world upside down
posted by Artw on Sep 27, 2010 - 21 comments

So how was the omelette, honey?

The National Portrait Gallery's Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize shortlist for 2010 has been announced. Among the entries, and causing a small ripple of controversy, is Panayiotis Lamprou's Portrait of My British Wife, which is reopening up where mainstream sensibilities of the border between art of and voyeurism lie. The photo features Lamprou's wife Christina looking directly at the camera. Wearing no knickers. [Links are SFW. NSFW links appropriately flagged on the pages themselves] [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Sep 20, 2010 - 72 comments

News of the ... Screwed?

Last week, the New York Times magazine published an explosive article about the phone-hacking exploits at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News Of The World under the then-editorship of Andy Coulson, now the the Government's chief of communications. Following the NYT's investigation, questions about the "unhealthy" relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the press (particularly Murdoch's News International, which also includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times), and further claims that an independent inquiry was abandoned so as not to upset the Metropolitan Police, assistant Met Commissioner John Yates was questioned [video; 4 mins] on Tuesday by the Home Affairs select committee. Following an emergency debate in Parliament today, which concerned the fact that MPs of all parties may have had their phones hacked (and therefore had their Parliamentary Privilege breached), the Standards and Privileges Committee, the most powerful committee in Parliament, is to open an inquiry which will be able to compel witnesses to give evidence. Meanwhile, former News of the World reporters are coming out the woodwork, claiming that hacking at the paper was "rife", and the pressure is on Coulson to resign his £140,000 job at No. 10, with a poll [pdf] which says 52% of the public says he should go. [more inside]
posted by Len on Sep 9, 2010 - 46 comments

Sticks and stones ...

The War Within [more inside]
posted by Megami on Sep 4, 2010 - 4 comments

Z for Zine Editor

The early days of british comics fanzines, by Dez Skinn, one time head of Marvel UK and founder of Warrior.
posted by Artw on Aug 26, 2010 - 3 comments

YouTube Cat Lady has been identified.

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]
posted by ericb on Aug 24, 2010 - 249 comments

The Scorsese of the Midlands

This is England '86, the television series sequel to the film This Is England by director Shane Meadows will broadcast in the UK next week. Meadows started his career with a number of ultra-cheap short films on borrowed equipment, a couple of which have found there way onto the internet. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 22, 2010 - 22 comments

London, 1845

A two-part panorama of London originally made in 1845 by the Illustrated London News, later updated with text descriptions. Other formats can be found on the blog post. [more inside]
posted by gman on Aug 11, 2010 - 8 comments

He likes to keep himself to himself

After years of "If You Suspect It, Report It" (the more Big Brotherly British equivalent of "See Something? Say Something."), it has been finally been determined what level of encouraging people to turn in their neighbours is just too much.
posted by 256 on Aug 11, 2010 - 47 comments

The Prince Of Post-Pub

A pioneer of UK late night television The Word is twenty years old. From the sublime (Television debut of Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit') to the ridiculous (Snoop Dog vs Rod Hull and Emu) to the down-right disgusting (The Hopefuls) it was always memorable. (Much NSFWness) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 11, 2010 - 29 comments

A City for the Motor Age

New Urbanism (previously) is a hot topic these days, yet its core idea of building walkable cities that rely less on automobiles can be traced to a city plan created almost a century ago: the Radburn Design. [more inside]
posted by barnacles on Aug 6, 2010 - 20 comments

Batman wins... the bride

It's the wedding of the year! No not that one... Batman marries Wonder Woman.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 2, 2010 - 46 comments

You're a big man, but you're in bad shape

RIP Trinity Square, Gateshead - a Brutalist car park made famous for it's appearance in the classic British crime drama Get Carter is being demolished this week.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 29, 2010 - 50 comments

Probe Into Shock Tabloid Rumpus

Tabloid Watch and Daily Mail Watch (previously) keep a beady eye on what Nick Davies' Flat Earth News calls "churnalism" in British media. So, you can find out if PC Officials Tone Down Punch and Judy, if Councils Install Muslim-only Toilets or if Muslim Bus Drivers Turf Guide Dogs off the Bus.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Jul 27, 2010 - 24 comments

No realistic prospect of conviction

On 1st April 2009, a newspaper seller called Ian Tomlinson was returning to his home, through the middle of the G20 protests. He was not part of those protests. He was struck from behind, by a masked policeman who had covered up his identity numbers, and fell to the ground. A few minutes later, Ian Tomlinson was dead (previously on mefi) Today, the Crown Prosecution Service (motto 'Fair, Fearless and Effective') announced that there would be no criminal charges against the policeman (CPS statement , Guardian coverage). [more inside]
posted by reynir on Jul 22, 2010 - 59 comments

Daily Mail tube map

The Daily Mail's secret editorial formula depicted as a tube map
posted by MuffinMan on Jul 18, 2010 - 23 comments

Is that light I see?

Britain Investigates Torture: Classified documents reveal UK's role in abuse of its own citizens.
So as bad as this makes the Brits look, it implicates the US far more : Torture and Truth “Did the UK order up torture?” or “Did the UK knowingly use information gathered using torture?”
Will the Bush-Cheney Check Ever Be Paid? Maybe.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 15, 2010 - 29 comments

After the break, it's UK 1997 vs UK 2009

How Britain has changed since 1997
posted by Gyan on Jul 10, 2010 - 44 comments

Freedumb Pies

Last week, the UK government announced an end to 'vanity websites in Government', calling for 600 government websites to be closed down, and 50% budget cuts for those which remain. Six days later, the government launches PR exercise website http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk

Also recently launched was Your Freedumb to enable citizens easily see some of the more 'interesting' suggestions on Your Freedom. For example, repeal the Second Law of Thermodynamics, abolish Facebook and Twitter sites and repeal Sod's Law.
posted by i_cola on Jul 2, 2010 - 28 comments

And now, a choice of viewing

TV idents provide a bridge between programmes, remind the viewer of the channel they're watching and give the announcer something to talk over about what's on next and later. YouTube is a veritable treasure trove of idents, especially British ones, including
Classic BBC2 idents of the 90's, [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Jun 26, 2010 - 15 comments

The curved worlds of Stephen Ladkin

Stephen Ladkin's contemporary paintings have a cheery yet distorted perspective. His traditional works are more down-to-earth.
posted by Hardcore Poser on Jun 20, 2010 - 7 comments

City of the Daleks

"There aren't 13 episodes of Doctor Who this year, there are 17 - four of which are interactive." The first episode of Doctor Who: The Adventure, at the moment only available in the UK, has been downloaded 500,000 times in 12 days. Users outside of the UK can expect to see a paid for version in the next month, in the meantime why not try to track down one of the previous Doctor Who videogames such as Dalek Attack or Doctor Who Top Trumps.
posted by Artw on Jun 20, 2010 - 108 comments

Eyes pop, skin explodes, everybody dead

Alex Cox, director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, and one-time presenter of Moviedrome, which was a cult movie education for an entire generation of British people, has posted a ton of free stuff on his site: 10000 ways to die (pdf) - his book on Spaghetti Westerns, the Moviedrome guide parts 1 and 2 (pdf), a video defence of Walker (quicktime), and much much more.
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2010 - 50 comments

SFGB

The Martians And Us a BBC documentary series on the history of British science fiction. Part 1 - 'From Apes To Aliens' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 2 - 'Trouble In Paradise' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 3 - The End Of The World As We Know It (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 7, 2010 - 7 comments

Set Your Spreadsheets to Stunned

The UK Government has published extracts from COINS, the Combined Online Information System used by the Treasury to track all public spending by the Government. Together, the files constitute about 11Gb of data in delimited text format containing consolidated financial information for each department and account type. [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Jun 4, 2010 - 3 comments

you're dancing to the news

You're listening grooving to ABC News in Australia, or 7 News, or Ten. And now, over to the UK for the BBC or Sky News. Don't listen to the others! They are false prophets!
posted by divabat on May 27, 2010 - 15 comments

"...and Wakefield was contracted to conduct scientific research for him."

The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. A fifteen page comic about the MMR vaccination controversy. Previously.
posted by ignignokt on May 26, 2010 - 87 comments

Adoption Confidentiality Being Bypassed Through Social Media

UK adoption agencies are reporting "huge numbers of calls from 'deeply distressed' adoptive parents whose children have been contacted" through Facebook and other social networking sites, in violation of the traditional, confidential reunion process between birth parents and their offspring who have been placed with other families. Full report from Channel 4. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2010 - 45 comments

Pimm's O'Clock

The Guardian has an article on Pimm's, a traditional gin-based English summer drink. Invented by one James Pimm in London in 1840, Pimm's soon became associated with upper-class institutions and the British Empire; its popularity declined somewhat in the decades following World War 2 (apart from a few revivals as part of ironic constructions of "Britishness"), though it has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. Recipes for serving Pimm's vary, though they typically involve mixing it with lemonade and/or ginger beer in a jug and adding oranges, strawberries, sliced cucumber and mint. While the formula remains a secret, knockoffs do exist (both Sainsbury's and Aldi sell their own substitutes, though Sainsbury's had to change the label on its to look less like the original), or you could try making your own.
posted by acb on May 19, 2010 - 151 comments

You say potato, I say vodka

In March a little known potato vodka made in the UK by a Herefordshire farmer, William Chase, won best in class at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition [warning: PDF]. Chase was 20 when he bought his father’s 75-acre farm, in 1984 with a £200,000 loan from the bank. This is his second venture: in his first, he bucked the trend and told supermarket giant Tesco to get lost when they wanted to sell his potato chips. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on May 18, 2010 - 25 comments

We don't have that in our country

Cul-de-sac is a new independent film (trailer, briefly NSFW) by London-based directors Ramin Goudarzi Nejad & Mahshad Torkan. It tells the story of Kiana Firouz, a filmmaker, actress, and lesbian activist who fled Iran after authorities learned of her attempt to make an underground documentary about the lives of Iranian gays and lesbians. According to this interview, Firouz didn't write the film, but plays herself. Earlier this month, her asylum petition was allegedly denied. The denial shouldn't have been surprising according to statistics in a report (pdf) by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, which states that the refusal rate for lesbians and gay men is as high as 98-99%. Although the Home Office claims it takes the sexual orientation of asylum seekers into consideration, laws which permit deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers have recently been challenged in the supreme court.
posted by treepour on May 13, 2010 - 10 comments

If politicians were mathematicians

If politicians were mathematicians. "I would like to suggest two systems for parliamentary votes, one that would weaken the party system but without killing it off entirely, and one that would protect large minorities. Neither has the slightest chance of being adopted, because they are both too complicated to be taken seriously. But mathematicians wouldn’t find them complicated at all — hence the title of this post." Fields medalist Tim Gowers messes around with political axioms.
posted by escabeche on May 12, 2010 - 18 comments

Indecision day UK style

Following days of uncertainty not witnessed since 1974, David Cameron makes a hasty entrance to 10 Downing Street, an hour or so after Gordon Brown made a surprisingly hasty exit. [more inside]
posted by idiomatika on May 11, 2010 - 207 comments

Can a person disappear in surveillance Britain?

It's been estimated that the average UK adult is now registered on more than 700 databases and is caught many times each day by nearly five million CCTV cameras. So how hard would it be for an average citizen to disappear completely? That’s the subject of a new documentary film: Erasing David, (Trailer: YouTube, Vimeo) which premieres this evening in the UK on More4. It's also now available worldwide online at the iTunes store and through several Video On Demand services, as well as through Good Screenings. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 29, 2010 - 17 comments

UK PM calls a voter a bigot whilst wearing a radio mike.

Gordon Brown didn't realise his radio mike was on and accidentally called the woman he'd just spoken with a "bigot". The Guardian's take; The Daily Mail. Is this Brown's Prescott moment?
posted by handee on Apr 28, 2010 - 158 comments

I am the son and the heir of nothing in particular.

"What are you f**king playing at?” Mr Murdoch asked Mr Kelner in a loud voice and in front of dozens of bemused journalists."
This week, 300,000 copies of the UK's Independent newspaper were distributed for free advertising the paper's claim to editorial independence stating, "Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will".

According to the Financial Times, Murdoch's son James subsequently stormed into the Independent's newsroom brandishing a copy of the edition, protesting it besmirched his father’s reputation. "Lively times," the Guardian observes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 22, 2010 - 62 comments

Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality

The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody: Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. (From BBC Three.) Oh, and... [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 22, 2010 - 69 comments

Dr Evan Harris - The Liberal Democrat's Dr Death?

The new focus on the Liberal Democrats sees the Daily Telegraph's Cristina Odone profiling Dr Evan Harris. That's "profiling" in the sense that the FBI might profile a criminal. A criminal the papers are calling Dr Death. [more inside]
posted by DNye on Apr 20, 2010 - 71 comments

Redesign of the Daleks

With Matt Smith making his US debut as Doctor Who tonight, showrunner Steven Moffat gives an interview to Tor.com. Meanwhile in the UK viewers have just had their first sight of a controversial new Dalek redesign.
posted by Artw on Apr 17, 2010 - 270 comments

I agree with Nick: you're no Jack Kennedy.

Yesterday, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK engaged in a live televised election debate for the first time in history. Most commentators seem to agree that Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's perennial third party the Liberal Democrats, made the best impression in yesterday's first of three weekly debates leading up to the general election on May 6. The progressive-leaning Guardian even goes so far as to claim that he is now prime ministerial material.

This being Metafilter you will undoubtedly ask, "how does Cory Doctorow figure into all of this?" Well, he agrees with Nick on the Digital Economy Act. Then again, Nick is agreed with quite a lot.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 16, 2010 - 54 comments

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