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This blessed plot, this earth, this realm

How exactly did England get that name, anyway?
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 6, 2013 - 13 comments

 

There were four in the bed and the little one said "squeeze up"

From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
posted by Mezentian on Feb 3, 2013 - 121 comments

Henry the VIII's Wine Cellar

Who knew that Henry the VIII's wine cellar was preserved inside the Ministry of Defense building? [more inside]
posted by zzazazz on Feb 2, 2013 - 15 comments

Whips, whiskey, women, work, weapons, cars and cadence. But no hockey.

Jump steady, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Looky yonder Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
She's so rock steady! Bam-A-Lam!
She's always ready! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 16, 2013 - 52 comments

Is antigingerism a hate crime?

In the New Statesman, Nelson Jones argues that prejudice against red-haired people in Britain should be addressed by hate crime legislation. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jan 15, 2013 - 114 comments

British Problems

A few select posts from the politest, most quietly despairing subreddit, r/Britishproblems (background)
posted by The Whelk on Jan 9, 2013 - 76 comments

Fastnet, Force 10

The Fastnet Race is a biennial sailing race from Cowes to Fastnet Rock to Plymouth, in England. In 1979, it was the venue for one of the most famous storms and greatest disasters in yacht-racing history. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 5, 2013 - 9 comments

Love Lego? Love Rugby?

Ever wanted to see rugby highlights animated in lego? Of course you have! [more inside]
posted by Scottie_Bob on Dec 14, 2012 - 6 comments

That's me in the corner

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Food History Jottings

Ivan Day has a food history blog. So does India Mandelkern. [more inside]
posted by zamboni on Dec 12, 2012 - 5 comments

Early English Laws

Early English Laws is a project to publish online and in print new editions and translations of all English legal codes, edicts, and treatises produced up to the time of Magna Carta 1215. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Nov 21, 2012 - 7 comments

Last Call: Vertical Integration and England's Drinking Problem

England has a drinking problem. Since 1990, teenage alcohol consumption has doubled. Since World War II, alcohol intake for the population as a whole has doubled, with a third of that increase occurring since just 1995. [...] The United States, although no stranger to alcohol abuse problems, is in comparatively better shape. A third of the country does not drink, and teenage drinking is at a historic low.
How a vertically integrated alcohol industry is to blame, and why the US could find itself in the same position soon.
posted by spiderskull on Nov 20, 2012 - 96 comments

It's just not cricket

As accreditation to many photographic news agencies is declined by the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control for India), The Telegraph publishes its own images of action from the India vs England first test match, while the Guardian goes retro. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Polls for pols for Peelers

England and Wales go to the polls today...or do they? [more inside]
posted by Jehan on Nov 15, 2012 - 48 comments

Yes, its all very funny, but now its time for the money

"The head of HM Revenue and Customs is to be grilled by MPs over revelations hundreds of tax evaders are to avoid prosecution and being named publicly after striking immunity deals with the taxman." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Nov 2, 2012 - 27 comments

Corpora delicti

CSI: Parthenon: A questioner asks historians how a murder case would be solved and prosecuted in the era of their expertise. Answers for : Colonial Boston, Norman Ireland, 19th Century Imperial China, Ancient Athens, 14th-Century England, 13th century England, Victorian England, Rome. (Via Reddit's AskHistorians; whole thread.)
posted by Diablevert on Oct 27, 2012 - 18 comments

A Mighty Wind

Twenty-five years ago today, southern England and northern France were struck by the Great Storm of 1987. Although the storm did not go entirely unforecast, the exact track and ferocity of the storm were not as predicted, and the resulting devastation killed at least 22 people, and destroyed six of the seven oak trees that are symbolic of the eponymous town of Sevenoaks, in Kent. [more inside]
posted by kcds on Oct 15, 2012 - 11 comments

"To most Americans, there is something inexplicably foreign about cricket"

Wickets and Wonders: Cricket’s Rich Literary Vein - a meditation on the literary history of cricket, and a few of the more well-known books surrounding gigaioggie.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 11, 2012 - 14 comments

The Man, the author, his reader & her e-book

The American Library Association fires the latest response in its tussle with publishers over e-books in public libraries, while in England, a government review of e-books in public libraries is announced.
posted by Wordshore on Sep 28, 2012 - 36 comments

A tale of (the wage bills of) three English sports

Information on cricket salaries in England is difficult to find, though the amounts are acknowledged to be low; many cricketers take on a second job during the off-season. One of the top flight teams, Durham, is the first county fined for narrowly exceeding the total playing staff salary cap for the year. As a cross-sport comparison, the top flight football (soccer) team wage bills for 2010-11, and the team salary caps for rugby.
posted by Wordshore on Sep 9, 2012 - 12 comments

Charles de Thierry: man of many lands, king of none

Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry lead a storied life, and many of those stories are ones he made up. His family was associated with the French court, though there is doubt to his claims of noble lineage. In England, he met two Maori chiefs and an English missionary from New Zealand, and attempted to purchase a northern portion of New Zealand in 1820. He then sought to turn this land into a colony first for Britain in 1822, then the Dutch government in 1824 when the English offer fell through. The Dutch, too, turned him down, so in 1825 de Thierry made the same offer to the French government, and was similarly refused. Fleeing creditors, he left for America. In 1834, he traveled south, where he was granted concession for cutting the Panama Canal. That, too, fell through, and he sailed west, reaching Tahiti in June 1835, where he elected himself king of Nuka Hiva. The kingdom was never his, and so he continued west and south, arriving at his plot in New Zealand in 1837, where again he offered land up to France for a colony. His efforts to claim a colony and a kingdom came to an end in 1840, with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, sealing a deal between the British Crown and the Māori. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 16, 2012 - 7 comments

an enigmatic people dedicated to the life of the mind

'Bookish' Australians indifferent to Olympics success.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 8, 2012 - 68 comments

If you're going to run away from home - fly Jet2

Kerouac as an 11 year old? Many of us have ran away from home. Most make it to the first street corner before coming back home. Liam Corcoran of Manchester made it all the way to Rome. He managed to board a plane without a passport or boarding pass.
posted by 2manyusernames on Jul 25, 2012 - 25 comments

You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.

In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2012 - 16 comments

If only he would listen to their advice on how things should be run! It was such good advice.

A history of the English monarchy and how listening to "bad" advisors has gotten it in trouble.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 27, 2012 - 20 comments

Blessed Plot

What Britain used to look like from the air (Audio slideshow) From sprawling factory complexes to newly built suburban streets - by way of some of the UK's top sporting venues and seaside resorts. More than 10,000 images from one of the earliest collections of aerial photography are being made freely available on the web.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 25, 2012 - 10 comments

Animated Histories of European Football

In advance of Euro 2012, the Guardian has made animated histories of six of the competitors: England, Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Germany and France. (Autoplay video in last six links.)
posted by hoyland on Jun 6, 2012 - 21 comments

Free camping in Europe by bicycle

Adrift in a bleak economy and our isolated urban bubble, in 2010 my sweetheart and I set out to see the world the old-fashioned way: by bicycle. We did it on the cheap and without any itinerary, gadgets, or training. We moved south with the sun as the seasons changed, cooked food we found at local markets, and slept in fields or on strangers’ couches. [more inside]
posted by latkes on May 29, 2012 - 50 comments

5-3-1852: Prince Albert still won't get out of the can

The diaries of Queen Victoria, totaling 47,000 pages and running from the age of 13 until her death, have been digitized. The site will be free to UK users, but open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June.
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 24, 2012 - 33 comments

Libel protections for peer reviewed journals

Britain is considering legislation to protect scientific publications in peer reviewed journals from libel lawsuits, such as the Chiropractic Association's lawsuit against Simon Singh. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 17, 2012 - 24 comments

British Council Film Collection

The British Council Film Collection "is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time." A couple of essays and case studies also already up, with more to come.
posted by Abiezer on May 3, 2012 - 7 comments

Timeless Message

The story behind the iconic poster Keep Calm and Carry On rediscovered in 1991 at Barter Books, has been covered here before, but not in this lovely short video. And not with the new iPhone app.
posted by Miko on Apr 3, 2012 - 36 comments

The Iron Man

UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveils plan to lease motorways in England. David Cameron will clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England. Guardian liveblog.
posted by panaceanot on Mar 19, 2012 - 127 comments

Harry Redknapp, Rube of the Year

Despite evidence of extensive misconduct, English football coach Harry Redknapp remains beloved in the hearts and minds of football fans.
posted by reenum on Mar 4, 2012 - 41 comments

London is full of ghosts

"Everyone knows there’s a catastrophe unfolding, that few can afford to live in their own city. It was not always so." - China Miéville on Apocalyptic London
posted by timshel on Mar 1, 2012 - 58 comments

The sun is new each day. -- Heraclitus

Rupert Murdoch to replace the News of the World with the Sun on Sunday, meaning the Sun will publish 7 days a week. (Sun, BBC) In other News International news, Murdoch has reinstated the Sun journalists arrested for paying public officials, will pay their legal expenses, and has written to all of the Sun's journalists with a combative memo pledging support. The Guardian liveblogged the day.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 19, 2012 - 59 comments

LYONEL THE SECOND

Tollemache, Ralph William Lyonel Tollemache- (1826–1895), Church of England clergyman and bestower of eccentric names.
posted by BungaDunga on Feb 11, 2012 - 11 comments

Full Revelations of a Professional Rat-Catcher, after 25 Years’ Experience

In placing before my readers in the following pages the results of my twenty-five years’ experience of Rat-catching, Ferreting, etc., I may say that I have always done my best to accomplish every task that I have undertaken, and I have in consequence received excellent testimonials from many corporations, railway companies, and merchants. I have not only made it my study to discover the different and the best methods of catching Rats, but I have also taken great interest in watching their ways and habits, and I come to the conclusion that there is no sure way of completely exterminating the Rodents, especially in large towns. If I have in this work referred more particularly to Rat-catching in Manchester that is only because my experience, although extending over a much wider area, has been chiefly in that city, but the methods I describe are equally applicable to all large towns.

Yours truly,

IKE MATTHEWS.

PROFESSIONAL RAT-CATCHER,
PENDLETON,
MANCHESTER.

posted by timshel on Feb 8, 2012 - 33 comments

My Gap Yah

The gap year is often a quite memorable experience for some of the London youth. (slyt)
posted by beisny on Jan 31, 2012 - 23 comments

They were all Clad in the Moorish habite Cassocks of Colourd Cloth or silk with buttons and loopes

The Anglo-Moroccan connection originates in the quarrels between the two half-sisters Queen Elizabeth i and Queen Mary i. Elizabeth suspected that Mary's husband, Philip ii of Spain, had designs on England, and she was consequently interested in an ally who could join in attacking Spain. On the Moroccan side, there was considerable enthusiasm for expelling the Spanish and Portuguese from the several Moroccan coastal cities they had conquered. The Moroccans also wanted naval support in case of further encroachment by the Ottoman Turks, who were eager to extend their empire west from Algiers into Morocco. It was for this last reason that the Moroccan sultan Ahmad al-Mansur was unwilling to collaborate with the Ottomans despite Ottoman consideration of an invasion of Spain: He preferred instead an alliance with the English.

An 'Extreamly Civile' Diplomacy: a short history of early Anglo-Moroccan relations
via the always wonderful @bintbattuta
posted by timshel on Jan 13, 2012 - 7 comments

The Battle Of Maldon

The Battle Of Maldon is an Old English poem (here in the original Old English, here in a modern translation) retelling the events of a battle that took place in England in 991, in which a small army of Saxons attempted to halt an invading Viking force only to suffer a crushing defeat. This battle, and the disastrous rout suffered by the Saxons, led to the introduction of the Danegeld, the payment of silver in tribute to the Vikings to buy off their invading forces. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jan 12, 2012 - 25 comments

The forgotten gentleman lawer turned privateer who founded Jamestown

In 1602, he became the first Englishman to sail directly to New England across the ill-charted waters of the North Atlantic (Google books; alt: Archive.org). He is credited with setting up a fort on Cuttyhunk Island, and naming both Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod in that voyage. A few months later, he then returned to England, where he planned the first English settlement to take hold in the new world. He returned in 1607, but only survived 13 weeks in Jamestown (Gb). Who was this founding father of the first English colony take hold in North America? Bartholomew Gosnold. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 7, 2011 - 12 comments

"Perfect Storm" Lobster Tags found 20 years later

Perfect Storm lobster tags wash up 3000 miles and 20 years later. Here's the US version of the story. Ocean currents hero Curt Ebbesmeyer (previously), "studier of flotsam," believes the tags were likely stuck in mud, then meandered around the Atlantic until arriving last year in Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. There is a monument to the lives of fisherman lost in Gloucester and includes over 10,000 names dating back to 1716, including those from the Andrea Gail.
posted by eggman on Dec 2, 2011 - 31 comments

C.G.P. Grey

Here is Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever and other neat videos by C.G.P. Grey who explains non-obvious aspects of science, history, geography, elections, and economics in entertaining and clear ways. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 1, 2011 - 20 comments

Lest We Forget

"Almost 1,500 people from Royal Wootton Basset [Wiltshire, England] have taken part in a music video filmed on the same high street that they once lined to pay their respects to Britain's fallen soldiers."* They hope to raise £1 million for military charities with their cover of Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends". [more inside]
posted by ericb on Nov 25, 2011 - 28 comments

Occupy England

"Asked if he thought he should have been paid, he said: 'I reckon they should have paid me … I was basically doing what a normal member of staff does for Tesco. I had the uniform and I was in the staff canteen. I obviously got access to the food and drinks in the staff canteen … that's what they let you do … but I got nothing else apart from that.'" -- The Guardian on Britain's "Work Experience Programme," which provides thousands of free man-hours to some of the country's largest and most profitable private companies
posted by bardic on Nov 17, 2011 - 69 comments

The other two, sure. But Amir? As if

Unlike other forms of match fixing, spot fixing does not affect the final result, only specific events within a game. Last year, in a cricket match at Lord's between England and Pakistan, three Pakistani cricketers and one agent 'conspired to cheat'. Following the decision [PDF] at Southwark Crown Court today, all four men will face prison time ranging from six to 32 months. It is the first time this charge, brought in under the Gambling Act 2005, has led to a sportsperson's conviction. [more inside]
posted by smcg on Nov 3, 2011 - 25 comments

A prehistoric monster which has mysteriously survived into the modern world

The City of London Corporation has been in the news lately related to Occupy London. But the deeper story of how this medieval remnant functions in 21st century England is far stranger... and more sinister.
posted by Joakim Ziegler on Nov 2, 2011 - 51 comments

Meet the natives of England and America

Not content to keep funding expeditions of Westerners to learn about Tanna, in 2007 the National Geographic funded an expedition of five men from Tanna's Prince Philip movement cargo cult to visit England, stay with families, and eventually meet Prince Philip himself whom they revere as the son of their God. Jimmy, who was a member of the expedition and the narrator for the film has posted the video on his youtube account. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In 2009 the Travel Channel aired Meet the Natives: USA, which brought five men from another group from Tanna to the United States. Their tribe within Tanna reveres Tom Navy, an American World War II sailor who generations ago had taught the inhabitants to live in peace. The Tanna ambassadors were taken across, visiting five states, and eventually meeting former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and verifying with him that the spirit of peace taught by Tom Navy lives on in the current U.S. President, Barack Obama. While visiting with a family on Fort Stewart, a US Army Major-General conferred a World War II Victory Medal and an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal upon the chief in representation of the contribution the people of Tanna in World War II. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Be sure to look for Jimmy's responses to questions in the mercifully uncharacteristic youtube comments [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2011 - 16 comments

Myra Hindley

My purpose here has been to inquire into mediated understandings of Hindley, and to question how popular texts delineate between the deeds of a human being and the way those deeds are culturally inscribed. The task is neither conclusive nor complete, for monsters are illusive. There is always some part of them that evades both enunciation and comprehension.
posted by Trurl on Oct 30, 2011 - 15 comments

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