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Learning Space at Open University

Try one of over 600 courses available through the Open University's Learning Space. Get to know the meaning behind the making of kente cloth of Ghana or learn the mathematical modelling involved in analysing skid marks. Lose yourself in art and design or simply learn a new old language. All you need is a device with a browser and internet access. Bonus: OU on the BBC's Frozen Planet series
posted by infini on Dec 10, 2011 - 8 comments

The stench of lobbying and corruption

Britain’s secretive lobbying system - one company, Bell Pottinger which has had several more than slightly controversial clients has been exposed boasting that they can influence the British Prime Minister.
Among other briefs they have been advising the despotic Uzbekistan Government - reforms need not be fast. They have also been found to have been editing wiikipedia using up to 20 different accounts.
More on lobbying and a list of relevant related links
posted by adamvasco on Dec 9, 2011 - 13 comments

Everybody Out!

The UK is experiencing some of its worst disruption to services in decades as more than 2 million public sector workers stage a nationwide strike, closing schools and bringing councils and hospitals to a virtual standstill. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Nov 30, 2011 - 79 comments

Racist rant on London tram leads to arrest

A woman has been arrested after a swearing, racist rant (YouTube) on a tram in Croydon, London trended on Twitter. Daily Mail reports with comments switched off, far right EDL member declares her a patriot to be proud of. Satire site The Daily Mash weighs in sardonically.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 29, 2011 - 202 comments

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Car Wars

Nearly a decade of US road accident casualties mapped by location across America from ITO World via the Guardian (they have also done the UK)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 24, 2011 - 31 comments

The name Kevin is now illegal. Why not use Alan instead? It suits you.

"London Bridge is currently closed to the public and a section 60 in place due to the presence of a depressed swan." - The Metropolitan Police Twitter Feed: Giving you the lowdown on all the criminal shit that's going down in London town. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Nov 23, 2011 - 29 comments

Vajazzled into a fancy new foof

Channel 4 in the UK recently began broadcast of their new reality show My Transsexual Summer. The first TV show of its type to have been produced with consultation from Trans Media Watch, MTS follows Channel 4's signing of the Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year. Response has been largely positive, but not everyone was happy. [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Nov 22, 2011 - 35 comments

The De-Industrial Revolution

Why doesn't Britain make things any more?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 16, 2011 - 108 comments

Gay helpline pioneer Rose Robertson has passed.

Before the Second World War, Rose Robertson did secretarial work. During the war, as part of her work for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK, Robertson parachuted into occupied France to spy on German troop deployments and act as a courier. Her acquaintance there with a gay couple in the French Resistance, and, after the war, friendship with gay lodgers, led her to found Parents Enquiry, Britain's first helpline to support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children, an organization which she operated for many years. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan on Nov 7, 2011 - 37 comments

Don't have nightmares

The Nightmare Man was a four part BBC sf/horror drama about some... thing slaughtering the inhabitants of a remote Scottish island. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 31, 2011 - 13 comments

If 'male' and 'female' were no longer true, then what was?

Thinking critically about transgender issues, a podcast by Juliet Jacques, author of the Guardian's Transgender Journey series. [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Oct 29, 2011 - 13 comments

Dwarfs and orange condoms

This year the Games Media Awards in the UK were sponsored by a little know chain of shops from the North East, Grainger Games, looking to increase their profile... well following the last night's events they are pretty well-known now. Cue a next-day banning and apologies from Grainger and the organisers
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 27, 2011 - 37 comments

VICTORIAN SEX MYTHBUSTERS

A Few Popular Misconceptions And Victorians And Sex
posted by The Whelk on Oct 18, 2011 - 28 comments

Put the needle on the record when the drum beats go like this...

I Was There When Acid House Hit London and This Is How It Felt by Charles Mudede
posted by Artw on Oct 18, 2011 - 23 comments

Reel History of Britain

The Reel History of Britain, a BFI/BBC co-production, brings archive film into the nation’s living rooms. The footage shown in the series has been selected from the hundreds of thousands of films and programmes preserved in Britain’s film and television archives. We are complementing the series by making many of the films featured in The Reel History of Britain available online in their entirety, alongside expert commentary from the nation’s archive curators.
posted by Trurl on Oct 17, 2011 - 4 comments

SAUSAGE MAN WINS ACCOLADE

GUNMAN SEEN OFF WITH MUG --- DEALER SOLD TEA TO COPS --- MICE FORCE PENSIONER OUT OF HOME --- Just another day for the South London Press. [more inside]
posted by Acheman on Oct 15, 2011 - 14 comments

How the religious right censored the UK media – Christian Mothers’ Union head appointed as ‘expert’ by David Cameron

How the religious right censored the UK media – Christian Mothers’ Union head appointed as ‘expert’ by David Cameron
posted by nam3d on Oct 14, 2011 - 34 comments

Can't Beat A Bit Of Bully

Bullseye Contestants (I don't think they've got to the murderer yet) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 8, 2011 - 17 comments

Syd Dale, Legend of Library

There is no questioning Syd Dale's [mid-60s UK NSFW] place amongst the legends of library music. ... his lavish big band inspired compositions were quickly brought to the public's attention through their use in countless t.v. shows and advertisements. Much of his work could be as classed as easy listening however Dale was also adept at incorporating elements of funk and spy jazz.* [The music of the 1967 Spider-Man animated TV series - to which he so memorably contributed - has been discussed previously.] [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 8, 2011 - 10 comments

Warning, may contain nuts

The contestants on the grand final of the BBC's The Great British Bake Off were upstaged by the brief 'explicit' appearance of a squirrel. This has apparently shocked a nation. (possibly NSFW unless you work in a zoo/farm/park/pet shop etc)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 6, 2011 - 75 comments

Wild West on the internet

Is the internet rewriting history? Teaching the difference between truth and propaganda online via BBC [more inside]
posted by infini on Sep 30, 2011 - 32 comments

You have been watching...

RIP David Croft, writer / producer of some of Britain's most well known and loved sitcoms including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served?, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi! and 'Allo 'Allo!
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 27, 2011 - 64 comments

Documentary mistakes videogame footage for genuine terrorist footage

Last night, British ITV broadcasted "Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA", a documentary which included this 1988 Provisional IRA footage the filmmakers found on YouTube. Unfortunately, the footage is actually and blatently from videogame ArmA 2. ITV has stopped streaming the documentary.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 27, 2011 - 25 comments

Keep Calm, But Cease and Dissist

On the 25th March 2011, Mark Coop of 'Keep Calm and Carry On LTD' registered a trademark of the words Keep Calm and Carry On in an attempt to take control of the very British and now very famous, nostalgia invoking, wartime poster. The trademark has angered Barter Books (who discovered the poster), wartimeposters.co.uk (owners of an original poster) and Kerry Cade from Simply Printing 4U whose business was greatly affected by the trademark. Now, in true British Spirit, a group of wartime enthusiasts has come together in an attempt to overturn the trademark. [more inside]
posted by The Discredited Ape on Sep 25, 2011 - 44 comments

Happy Owain Glyndwr Day!

Not a lot of people know that today is Owain Glyndwr Day. "Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr led a successful people's rebellion against England's iron-fisted rule in the early 15th century and arguably became the most famous and highly regarded figure in Welsh history." [more inside]
posted by Yakuman on Sep 16, 2011 - 23 comments

First they came for the tea drinkers...

Hot on the heels of the stunning revelation that Twining's had changed the 180-year-old recipe for Earl Grey tea, the Telegraph continues its reporting on the decline of British civilization with word that HP Sauce -- condiment of choice in millions of bacon butties around the United Kingdom -- has been brought "in line with changes in consumer tastes."
posted by villanelles at dawn on Sep 13, 2011 - 75 comments

The Plural Noun For Tailors is a "Disguisery"

The Man's Suit (p2/p3/p4) has influenced politics, shaped fashion, and signaled everything from stodgy conformity to rock stardom, sex-appeal, power, and success. And yet the man's lounge suit was originally considered the casual option. It is an iconic image of Western (and today, global) masculinity, even when used to question and challenge traditional gender iconography. And where are the finest men's suits in the world made? [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Sep 5, 2011 - 87 comments

I want to make my dad proud and not feel like he gave his life away for no reason

In 2005, Manuel Bravo, 35, walked to a stairwell of the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Center carrying a bedsheet. He hung himself. The note he left indicated that he had done it so that his son, Antonio Bravo, 13, could remain in the United Kingdom to be educated. The pair were to be deported back to war-torn Angola the next day, where they alleged that they had been victims of abuse by the ruling party. Now, Antonio is 19, training to be an electrician, speaking in Yorkshire dialect, no longer speaks his native Porteguese, and will be deported back to Angola if his humanitarian visa is not extended. "My family, they're English," he said, referring to the Beaumonts (his adoptive family). "Britain, that's my culture." [more inside]
posted by guster4lovers on Aug 27, 2011 - 32 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

Hello, my name is Tara and I scream my own name during sex

From 1999 to 2003, the largely-female UK comedy trope Smack The Pony had a series of short skits based on video dating ads. Youtube user myLastTears has edited them together into a supercut: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Aug 21, 2011 - 18 comments

Tag teaming Ambassadors

A husband and wife ambassador team leave soon for Armenia. The UK has found a solution to the challenge of "trailing" foreign service spouses. [more inside]
posted by k8t on Aug 21, 2011 - 16 comments

You say smile I say cheese

A year after spending some time in Edinburgh, and subsequently finding his way home across Scotland, Danny MacAskill unexpectedly finds himself in an abandoned ironworks. A zen-like state of bicycling ensues. [via kottke]
posted by schmod on Aug 16, 2011 - 59 comments

Good for the arabs, but not good for us

Cameron said: “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.”
posted by knz on Aug 14, 2011 - 73 comments

Testing the right to photograph in public spaces

"On Tuesday 21 June 2011 six photographers were assigned different areas of the City to photograph. Some used tripods, some went hand held, one set up a 5 x 4. All were instructed to keep to public land and photograph the area as they would on a normal day. The event aimed to test the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers. All six photographers were stopped on at least one occasion. Three encounters led to police action. This is what happened." (The actual video starts at 1:14.)
posted by John Cohen on Aug 8, 2011 - 57 comments

Riots in London

Riots have broken out in the Tottenham area of London Saturday night after a protest over a fatal police shooting on Thursday. A double-decker bus and several police cars have been set on fire, and one policeman is said to be in hospital. Shops have been looted, and several buildings have been set on fire.

BBC and Sky News camera crews have moved away from the scene for safety reasons, but LBC Radio is reporting live.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 6, 2011 - 1387 comments

No, you put your tea in a petrol can

Alex and Liam Do Walmart
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Aug 4, 2011 - 109 comments

UK had official torture use policy.

UK's official use of torture policy. For MI5 & MI6, special renditions: when to proceed knowing torture would be used during the interrogation. [more inside]
posted by maiamaia on Aug 4, 2011 - 27 comments

A St. Bernard and a year's supply of whisky

"Little slices of glamour beamed directly into your home in half-hour chunks; a perky theme, flashy titles, charismatic host, inventive format, gags, quiz, games, raucous outro – the works! Incredibly plain people given a quick glimpse of the good life, to which the tanned, funny man in the nice suit held the door." The joys of the 1980s game show. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Aug 4, 2011 - 4 comments

Somebody get His Majesty a lager

Did a case of 15th C. royal adultery mean that every King and Queen of England since Henry VI to sit on the throne was not the legitimate heir according to the rules of royal succession? And if the Tudors, Stuarts, Hanoverians, and Saxe-Coburg von Gothas Windsor-Mountbattens are not properly the ones to be occupying the positions they have/are, who is Britain's Real Monarch? [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 26, 2011 - 109 comments

The abridged career of Stewart Lee, 1991-2031

"I play a CD of a long Evan Parker sax solo while they [enter the theatre]. I figure if people can’t put up with that then they will probably not be able to put up with me." Quoth Benito Strauss, in the context of the Daily Mail's crusade against cruelty to millonaire stand-up Michael McIntyre: Yeah, I'd love it if someone would do a post on Stewart Lee. So: [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Jul 25, 2011 - 28 comments

Moirism voyeurism

Comedian Stewart Lee clarifies his view of comedian Michael McIntyre following a Jan Moir (the very same) article in the Daily Mail (itself a culmination of coverage elsewhere), which included for me the definitive out of context quotation... [more inside]
posted by nthdegx on Jul 20, 2011 - 35 comments

Fucking wanker!

"F**king wanker!" "Wanker!" "You f**king wanker!" "You f**king wanker! You tosspot!" "You stupid wanker!" "I am not a wanker!" "F**king are!" And the classic, "Wuuuarrrrgggh!" Ladies and gentleman, I bring you deranged Bristolian electric bicyclist Taypet21's YouTube channel. [more inside]
posted by hnnrs on Jul 20, 2011 - 63 comments

BFI Film Archive

The British Film Institute has a youtube channel with rare footage going back over 100 years, covering many aspects of British life. Highlights include: 'Solarflares Burn For You' (1973) (featuring a soundtrack by Robert Wyatt); Rush Hour, Waterloo Station (1970); London Bridge (1926); Productivity Primer (1964); Today in Britain (1964); Snow (1963); Holiday (1957).
posted by ClanvidHorse on Jul 14, 2011 - 7 comments

"The Third Way of COIN: Defeating the Taliban in Sangin"

100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."
This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 12, 2011 - 23 comments

Dog and Deco

Dog and Deco. My name is Pickles McConchie. I’m a 15 year old Art Deco and camera loving Terrier from Scotland. I like to travel the country with my bitch and pose in front of art deco factories and industrial buildings from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as well as other twentieth century architectural gems.
posted by The Discredited Ape on Jul 12, 2011 - 12 comments

Your Paintings.

Your Paintings a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation and participating collections and museums from across the UK, is a website which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country. Currently the archive contains 63,000 of the approximately 200,000 publically-owned artworks that make up the national collection. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jul 10, 2011 - 12 comments

How News of the World interfered with hunt for 13-year-old's killer

Thirteen-year-old Milly Dowler was kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school in 2002. During the six-month hunt before her body was found, her parents gave exclusive interviews to the News of the World, saying they believed she would be found alive. That hope was based partly on the fact that her voicemails were still being listened to and deleted. Today, it was revealed that the deleting was being done by the News of the World. [more inside]
posted by bonaldi on Jul 4, 2011 - 324 comments

Busted!

Johann Hari, British columnist for The Independent and The Huffington Post (recently on mefi), has this week been caught in a storm of controversy concerning his apparent plagiarism of interview quotes. [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Jun 29, 2011 - 91 comments

Yet more censational news

Lulzsec appear to have hacked the UK 2011 Census which, if true, could be quite a significant ramp up of the security wars. Grabbing a few million credit card numbers is one thing, 60 million identities is something else entirely. Not to mention the celebrity data. Here's the Hacker News comment thread, and a list of the actual census questions to show what could be on offer.
posted by Duug on Jun 21, 2011 - 135 comments

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