The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge
of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen
, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain
posted by thirteenkiller
on Sep 5, 2006 -
After the Romans left
Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms
that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders
we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur
, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin
, by Aneurin
), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin
) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick
in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet
(Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones
, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes
with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak."
posted by languagehat
on Aug 31, 2006 -
90 years ago today, whistles blew around the river Somme in France as British troops prepared for an attack on German trenches. By the end of the day they had suffered 57,470 casualties. By the battle's end in November, there were over 600,000 Allied casualties, with perhaps the same number of German casualties. The Imperial War Museum
has launched an online exhibition, where you can find out more about how the battle was planned, personal stories
of those involved, and myths
about the attack. Elsewhere you can find copies of Army reports on the first day
, look at film
of the attack, diaries and letters
home from the troops, go on tours
of the trenches
, listen to contemporary songs and music
inspired by the battle, and see some more modern responses
posted by greycap
on Jul 1, 2006 -
Ever wondered what old amounts of money would be worth today?
Or what you could buy with your current salary if you went back 200, 400, or 600 years? Now you can find out with a tool that converts English currency from 1270 onwards into today's prices. Based on Treasury records, it tells you that Mr Darcy's £10,000 a year would now be worth nearly £350,000, or that your house would only have to be worth the equivalent of £500 now to qualify for the vote after 1832.
posted by greycap
on Jun 28, 2006 -
by Badsey Council School children describing life in a market gardening community in 1933. A great insight into their lives and some excellent penmanship to boot. [via]
posted by tellurian
on Jun 19, 2006 -
Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
Digital images, plus the occasional sound file, for the Bodleian's massive collection. In addition, Samuel Pepys
was an enormously important collector, and the Early Modern Center at UCSB has digitized his collection
--again, with some sound files. See also the Francis J. Child Ballads
, taken from Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
. (For previous MeFi sojourns in the wonderful world of ballads, see here
, and here
posted by thomas j wise
on Apr 14, 2006 -
British soldiers filmed beating Iraqis.
A British tabloid has released footage showing British troops beating Iraqi rioters. The video, available in realplayer format
or Windows Media format
, was apparently taken by a British corporal, and shows at least eight British soldiers dragging four young rioters inside a British army compound, where they were repeatedly beaten with batons, boots and fists, and kicked in the genitals. Arab television and the BBC have since aired the footage.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Feb 13, 2006 -
BBC News: British unconvinced on evolution
"More than half the British population does not accept the theory of evolution, according to a survey.
Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons."
Nice to know that the maxim for the UK being five years behind the US still holds true, more or less.
posted by badlydubbedboy
on Jan 26, 2006 -
Thanksgiving sucks. The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.
posted by j-urb
on Nov 24, 2005 -
In 2001 America destroyed
the Kabul offices of al-Jazeera with two smartbombs; officials said it was an accident. In 2003 America destroyed
the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Nov 22, 2005 -
The Portable Antiquities Scheme
is a voluntary effort to record archeological objects found by the U.K. public. Searchable database
of finds from the Paleolithic, through Roman times, up to the 18th-century. With images
, and an accompanying website for kids
posted by steef
on Nov 18, 2005 -
- central aim ... is to convey the richness and complexity of links
between Britain and South Asia, through the story of plants and people
posted by Gyan
on Nov 12, 2005 -
Tons of British Food for Katrina Victims to be Incinerated
(link to Mirror article)
More red tape embarrassment
for the Katrina relief
effort. This time, tons of food donated by the UK is set to be incinerated rather than delivered to hungry evacuees. The FDA recalled the food rations, which had been loaded onto trucks and sent out for distribution, because they had been "condemned as unfit for human consumption". Never mind the glaring fact that these are the same food rations being eaten by British soldiers in Iraq right now.
posted by fenriq
on Sep 20, 2005 -
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail.
Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château
, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere
. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code
Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code
. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont
on Sep 16, 2005 -
TED UK (click through to What is Ted : About Ted : Highlights. You'd think a conference with Freemon Dyson speaking could afford a decent web designer)
posted by Tlogmer
on Jul 25, 2005 -
"At this moment, I am proud to be a citizen of a country that has done more than most to help the US get rid of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. And I think that it would do other Europeans some good to think again about what their countries have achieved, if anything, to try to stem the tide of dictatorships and terrorism around the world. They should wonder whether they are really asking themselves the hard questions. Or whether they are shrugging their shoulders and blaming America because that is what they have been brought up to do."
A thoughtful & conflicted post from the anti-war Englishman in New York
reflecting on the London bombings.
posted by dhoyt
on Jul 16, 2005 -
If you're not Cheney's friend, be careful what you sell overseas
- While residing in Poland, British citizen Ali Manzarpour was arrested for the export of a Berkut 360
, a small kit plane manufactured in the United States, to Iran. The issues surrounding this application of American law overseas on foreign nationals notwithstanding, the US Department of Justice Attorney's office could not explain what sensitive technologies were in the plane, which could motivate the arrest. Coincidentally, Halliburton's use of a Cayman Islands subsidiary to trade with Iran without restrictions
, and, with the help of the Department of State, the United States remains the largest arms dealer
in the world.
posted by AlexReynolds
on May 30, 2005 -
Hoodies, Baseball Caps and Ganja, Oh My
Fresh from his accountability moment
, Tony Blair is tackling some of the thorniest issues facing British society
: criminalising "hoodies"
and baseball caps while keeping marijuana decriminalised (despite a "get tough" pre-election stance
). In the midst of a moral panic
, Blair recently came out in support of moves to ban the wearing of hooded leisure tops
in public, especially when coupled with the nefariously potent symbol of evil
: the baseball cap. Meanwhile, the committe whose recommendation resulted in the Commons reclassification of cannabis
in Britain to a Class C drug (a misdemeanour equivalent to possessing a prescription medication without a valid prescription) says it sees no reason to reverse its decision
, even as Olympians are tarred and feathered
. Meanwhile, sales of verboten hoodies can only increase
, while cannabis becomes distinctly less cool
posted by meehawl
on May 16, 2005 -
Highlight of the election coverage:
George Galloway is the leader of Respect
and won a historic and unexpected victory against the Blairite Oona King, on an anti-war ticket. He was then interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, an increasingly controversial interviewer well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times until they get answered - a technique which arguably backfires here. You might want to watch Galloway's acceptance speech
first. [Windows Media. My two cents: Paxman is an egregious cock, more interested in getting his eternally righteous indignation across than any issues.]
posted by Pretty_Generic
on May 6, 2005 -