50 years ago last month,
a dark cloud settled in over London. And stayed for four days. This fog, which was brought on by a lethal combination of high pressure, near freezing temperatures and London's pervasive coal burning, starting killing things. At first, the animals at a cattle show, then the elderly, or those prone to resperatory disease. By the end, over 4,000 people had died. Strangely, to this day the disaster retains a low profile, unlike more glamorous disasters such as the Titanic, or Bhopal. Stranger still, is that unlike those others, while the fog was at its most deadly, few realized there was even an epidemic occurring, with most viewing it as, at worst, a mild nuisance.
posted by jonson
on Jan 22, 2003 -
is the BBC's attempt to build an online community (or have a go at a simpler version of h2g2). Actually seems like an online version of The Guardian's 'The Guide' (mini what's on section which appears every Saturday). Overall it does feel a bit too processed. Should these things be so structured, or is it better that they develop naturally?
posted by feelinglistless
on Jan 14, 2003 -
Is the BBCi website far too big and monopolistic?
Editorial from 'The Guardian' discussing whether the BBC's website, funded by the British license fee is taking the thunder away from commercial websites worldwide trying to achieve the same results in advertising run market place. There is some logic to the argument -- when e-marketing revenues are dwingling how can some sites compete with this bohemoth? On the other hand, if they were achieving the same results people would be going to them instead, and the BBC's website is very, very good in some places, indispensible in others.
posted by feelinglistless
on Jan 6, 2003 -
Tonight, the BBC
took the controversial decision to screen a documentary which investigated the plausability of the life of The Virgin Mary
as it appears in The Bible. As someone who's spiritual without commiting to any one religion, it was a fascinating look at a people and a time. But I can understand why Christians
would be offended
, especially since the programme suggested that Mary (or Miriam) wasn't a virgin at all, that she was a 'mother bringing up a wayward son under difficult circumstances'. Was this the kind of programme which should be shown at Christmas time?
posted by feelinglistless
on Dec 22, 2002 -
The BBC television show The Sky At Night
, which opened in April 1957, is one of the longest-running in the world. Its longevity is undoubtedly due to host and national treasure Sir Patrick Moore. Amongst his other contributions to mankind, the uniquely-voiced bemonacled one plays the xylophone [Flash]
, is an endless source of inspiration for comedians [MP3]
, and was, of course, the condescending yet benevolent GamesMaster
. But in this festive season, can he explain the Star of Bethlehem [Real]
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Dec 21, 2002 -
Mass arrests of Muslims in LA.
The BBC is reporting US immigration officials in Southern California have detained hundreds of Iranians and other Muslim men who turned up to register under residence laws brought in as part of the anti-terror drive.
, FOX News
, and the like have extensive coverage.....sort of.
posted by CrazyJub
on Dec 19, 2002 -
Britannia BBC Rules The Radio Waves
and no other broadcaster in the world comes close. Radio 4, The World Service and Radio 3 are simply the best radio stations for news, commentary and classical music there are. Now, their sparkling new channel, BBC7
, is full of comedy and drama greatness. The League of Gentleman, Rory Bremner, Stephen Fry, Griff Rhys-Jones... nobody does comedy or radio like the British and when the two come together
, it's bliss. Bless 'em! [Specially for us non-license-paying foreigners listening in on the Internet... Real Audio required, nonetheless.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Dec 19, 2002 -
One-in, one-out: the nominations.
"Who should be granted honorary British citizenship and who should have it revoked?" The BBC's Today programme has its annual poll and this year, it claims, is a little different. Various celebrities, politicians etc will be giving their opinions and the result will be announced on New Year's Day. Who will you be voting for?
posted by Kiell
on Dec 18, 2002 -
David wins Fame Academy!
Mix Big Brother with Pop/American Idol and you get the Fame Academy
, where 12 gorgeous
under-30s are thrown into a glorified stage school
for a few months, and only one emerges an idol. The prize? Supposedly the 'biggest TV prize ever.' A £1 million recording contract, a fancy apartment in London, a personal shopper, chauffeur, and more. All is not lost for the 'losers' though, as they've all gained professional management and Mercury Records
is considering them all for solo careers.
In contrast to the 'Idol' shows, being couped up for weeks on end has caused even the wackiest
contestants to grow in their singing and songwriting abilities. So will this show reach the US? Probably, given these other crossover shows.
posted by wackybrit
on Dec 13, 2002 -
be allowed to contain caricatures and satire
of major figures without their permission? My opinion is yes they bloody well should. Good luck to the producers with hunting down Osama.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Nov 27, 2002 -
Actor Richard Harris dies
"Don't let it be forgot - that once there was a spot - for one brief, shining moment - that was known as Camelot..." Such a sad day all around. R.I.P., Richard.
posted by dnash
on Oct 25, 2002 -
Centre of Great Britain
The BBC (God bless 'em) are running a series of "Centre of ..." stories. No-one in the UK seems to care, do other nationalities care more about their country's centre of gravity?
posted by daveg
on Oct 21, 2002 -
A million Japanese boys, hiding in their rooms.
I didn't know about this - but then again, by definition, maybe I wouldn't. Domestic hermits aside, I frequently see behavior I'd identify as "borderline mentally ill" slide right under people's radar here in Tokyo, and I'm certain a nihonjin
might think the same thing after a year in my hometowns, New York and San Francisco.
What culturally-specific form does neurosis take in your neck of the woods?
posted by adamgreenfield
on Oct 20, 2002 -
Will this comedy ever cross the atlantic?
The Office, now half way through its second series, must be the sharpest, funniest and most tragic t.v. comedy the BBC have made in a long time. A spoof documentary set in the office of a paper wholesaler whose manager, David Brent, is obsessed with his motivational bon homie and oblivious to the fact the rest of the world thinks he is a bumptious idiot.
The clips give some idea of the style but maybe the humour is too British to travel far.
posted by rolo
on Oct 20, 2002 -
Wallace and Gromit
fans can now download one of ten short films from the BBC
website. There are low
(1.38 meg), medium
(2.59 meg) and high
(4.3 meg) quality versions available. To save, right click on the links and select "save as".
posted by ralawrence
on Oct 15, 2002 -
BBC Online's attempt to attract vinyl, teletext and platform game lovers to the magic of digital radio stations. Actually I think that's going to require cheaper receivers not games, but this is still good fun.
posted by feelinglistless
on Oct 12, 2002 -
The Art of Terror.
Damien Hirst, one of Britain's most celebrated artists, told the BBC last month that the Sept. 11 attacks were "visually stunning" artworks and that the perpetrators "need congratulating."
A stomach-turning account of how the art-dingbat world views the September 11 attacks.
posted by ZenMasterThis
on Oct 9, 2002 -
includes pictures, video, text and audio from Pole To Pole
, Around the World in 80 Days
, Full Circle
, Hemingway Adventure
and Great Railway Journey
coming soon) - BBC TV series featuring Michael Palin
of Monty Python
fame wandering around the planet and being puckish and amusing. Great TV, and a great site, particularly if (like me) you're a travel addict. "No bombarding with ads, no spam on toast, just the Palin product, taken apart and put together again, for you to use however you want." [via the always excellent and recently-resurrected wood_s_lot]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken
on Oct 4, 2002 -
US terror suspect 'beaten in custody',
says the BBC. The US gov't claimed
there was a massive amount of evidence to link him to Al-Queda. Now, after 11 months of being held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer and allegedly being beaten, he has been charged with having crossed the US border illegally in the past (he was living in Toronto
when he was arrested).
posted by 4easypayments
on Aug 24, 2002 -
It's just like the film Network.
Former BBC anchor David Ickes, who claimed he was "the son of god" in 1991 has got a new job at the Sci-Fi channel ranting. In Network
, anchor Howard Beale has an on air nervous breakdown. Instead of taking him off the air, the network gives him a weekly show to rant to the nation.
Oddly, Icke's idea about reality is very similar to Philip K. Dick's Valis
, Grant Morrison's The Invisibles
and a recent mefi discussion
posted by drezdn
on Jul 4, 2002 -
eu seeks closer ties to iran
This approach has got to be better than calling states 'evil'. This is the same as the US keeping links with China, a less than perfect regime, and one that could be called a sponsor of terrorism.
" Mr Patten told the BBC: "It can't seriously be anybody's idea of a good way of promoting stability in the region to think that we should isolate and cut Iran off for ever."
He said there should be recognition of the strength of the reform movement and be aware that there were other elements which were far less friendly to the West.
"If you don't talk to the reasonable people, you fetch up with fewer reasonable people to talk to."
it's been over a decade since i was in Iran (1992) and the reformers/moderates ahve gained very significant ground since then. The Axis of Evil speech did tremendous harm for moderate Iranians, as it seemed to justify the hardliners stance on the west.
posted by quarsan
on Jun 17, 2002 -
Food summit 'waste of time'
and a shame for many first world countries. Berlusconi and Spain’s prime minister Aznar were the only leaders of wealthy countries present during the summit. And Silvio Berlusconi made the summit end two hours early in order to watch his country's crucial World Cup game with México. I wish the War Against Hunger woukd receive the same attention than the War Against Terror…
posted by samelborp
on Jun 13, 2002 -
BBC's Newsnight reports on a massive security oversight that makes unencrypted NATO video surveillance available on the Internet
"Nato surveillance flights in the Balkans are beaming their pictures over an insecure satellite link - and anyone can tune in and watch their operations live," reports Mark Urban of BBC2's late-night news analysis show.
Near-realtime footage of NATO surveillance operations in the Balkans is routinely gathered by spy planes and returned to base as an encrypted signal and then forwarded to intelligence facilities in the US. However, when they are beamed back to Europe for analysis at NATO headquarters, no encryption is used. It is possible to tune into and watch these live video feeds (complete with map references and information about the type of aircraft in use) and so, in theory, an unfriendly agency could use the pictures to see what troops are up to and who they are watching. How long before this loophole is acknowledged and closed? Or should all surveillance data be made ever more available to whoever wants it?
posted by hmgovt
on Jun 12, 2002 -
so which site has the best soccer live coverage? is it yahoo!'s fifaworldcup.com
? is it the bbc
? is it someone else? right now from here (germany) it looks like none of the big sites is holding up to the traffic. is any site as well prepared as msnbc
was for the olympics? oh, and it looks like senegal is winning the opening match.
posted by HeikoH
on May 31, 2002 -
TiVo and the BBC force programming on consumers.
The BBC apparently paid TiVo to command all its boxes -- without consumers' permission -- to record an episode of a drama the BBC marketing department deemed a must-see. Users can't even delete the recording -- it'll be there until TiVo decides to remove it. Can TiVo users expect to be bombarded with paid advertising after all? (ZDNet article here.)
posted by mattpfeff
on May 26, 2002 -
A heavy turnout has been reported
in the Dutch general election. More on the current situation there: "A Dutch Radical's Message to Europe"
. This was published yesterday and was written by a Dutch reporter for the NYT (so I guess you can find it there too, but why go there if you don't really have to?).
posted by Taco
on May 15, 2002 -
is fast, simple and free." Football is quite rubbish, but this is great for us office prisoners.
posted by Dan Brilliant
on May 14, 2002 -
"Women Empowering Women".
This pyramid scheme
is spreading like wildfire in the UK, with huge amounts of money involved. Basically you get a lot of people to put up say £100. The more people you attract to add money to the pyramid, the better chance you have of moving up and becoming entitled to many times your initial outlay. However, no investment occurs; this is simple cashflow juggling. Someone I work with gained £12000 on it in under a month - now everyone wants in the act. But (and I've pleaded with these people) the participants don't seem to appreciate the sheer idiocy of such schemes. Their attitude is "my husband goes to the betting shop, it's just my bit of fun
". In the end, if you gain money, you're taking it directly
from another participant. This is exploitation of people (normally hard-up, heavily mortgaged parents, it seems), is morally wrong
and should be illegal - but it isn't in the UK
. Here's a link to a BBC feature on pyramid schemes
(aka trading schemes). This really
boils my piss, but it carries on because individual participants can benefit from the fraud themselves. I understand women are targeted in this case as men are more likely to get in fights when they realise they've lost large amounts of cash.
posted by boneybaloney
on May 3, 2002 -
"Australian scientists say they have created a "thinking cap" that will stimulate creative powers. It is based on the idea that we all have the sorts of extraordinary abilities usually associated with savants."
The device is said to improve drawing skills within 15 minutes.
posted by MintSauce
on Apr 17, 2002 -
Vaisakhi Festival - Sikh New Year.
Well, given the MeFi tradition of announcing religious celebrations et al, I just thought I'd note that today is the Sikhs invite everyone to celebrate Vaisakhi (or Baisakhi) -- traditionally the start of the agricultural year, and for the past several centuries also the birthdate of the Khalsa form of Sikhism. An interesting history
provides some information on how the Sikhs were used and abused by the British, and their struggle (and resulting violence) for independence in the Punjab.
posted by five fresh fish
on Apr 13, 2002 -
The Falkland Islands are ours and we'll get them back, says Argentina.
Argentina celebrates the twenty-year anniversary of their invasion of the Falkland Islands. Britain won the Falkland War in 1982, but Argentina now boasts that they'll definitely conquer the islands in the future. Since the majority of islanders are of British descent, does Argentina stand a chance? And shouldn't Argentina be focusing on rebuilding its own economy instead of whining about some insignificant islands in the Atlantic ocean?
posted by wackybrit
on Apr 2, 2002 -
Like Benny Hill
, Monty Python
, Mr Bean
, Eddy Izzard, et al
, before him, looks like Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G
. is finally heading this way. Although the London Times
denounces him, while "frighteningly" proclaiming his latest movie will be a massive hit, and the BBC
is royally pissed off, there's no holding him back. Next stop is America
and he wants to be massive
in da States. Some prior discussions going back all the way to May 2000 here
, PS You can catch a glimpse of him the next time Shaggy's Me Julie video plays.
posted by Voyageman
on Mar 22, 2002 -