In 1771, John Wilkes succeeded in defending the freedom of the press to report the then secret debates of Parliament. In 2009, the well-known libel law firm Carter-Ruck, possibly acting on behalf of their clients Trafigura, succeeded in gagging The Guardian newspaper from reporting a question to be asked in Parliament (see #61). [more inside]
Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations." [more inside]
In The Guardian's This Much I Know, celebrities share the lessons they have learned in life. [more inside]
"For a lot of comics, it's OK to talk about raping women now. That's the new black on the comedy circuit." "One false move, and I'm Jim Davidson." "Don't go thinking I'm the new Bernard Manning. I'm being postmodern and ironic. I understand that what I'm saying is unacceptable." The new offenders of standup comedy.
An investigation by the Guardian newspaper has uncovered a trail of hacking and other illegal "Dark Arts" at the News of the World. Rupert Murdoch, the paper's owner, is reported to have shelled out over £1m in out of court settlements [more inside]
The Guardian's How to Believe series summarizes some great philosophical works in the reversed-date format we all know and love. Giles Frasier evaluates the lasting value of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, Julian Baggini tells us what to believe about Hume's critique of religion, Mary Midgeley begrudgingly accepts the majestic contributions of Hobbes' Leviathan, and Simon Critchley throws himself into the hermeneutic circle of Heidegger's Being and Time. [more inside]
Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk gives a rare interview to the Guardian, who also have a rather nice interactive feature on the bands influence.
The Guardian Datastore is running a competition for the best visualizations, mashups and applications built with and for the data in their datastore. Amongst other things, they currently have the latest data on MP's expenses, world booze consumption and two centuries of bio diversity data from Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire. [more inside]
I am in love - and that means I get consumer durables for free! I demand a new kitchen - and you will pay for it!
"The best I can do is to live a good life and maintain decent standards of behaviour towards others."
Erwin James: the real me. Erwin James has written about prison for the Guardian for a number of years, from the point of view of an insider: when his column began, he was serving a sentence for two murders. He completed his sentence a few years ago, but continued to write under that name, a pseudonym. Here, he talks about the crimes that he was originally imprisoned for, his time in the French Foreign Legion, how he became a writer during his time in prison, and gives his real name for the first time.
Surgeons find fir tree growing inside patients lung. Of course, this isn't the first time objects have found their way into the human body. Nail in skull. Paintbrush in skull. Towel behind lung. Potato in Vagina.
"The editor's guidelines are as follows: First, remember the reader, and respect demands that we should not casually use words that are likely to offend. Second, use such words only when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article; there is almost never a case in which we need to use a swearword outside direct quotes. Third, the stronger the swearword, the harder we ought to think about using it.Finally, never use asterisks, which are just a cop-out." - Swearing in The Guardian: A chart
The Guardian is moving entirely to Twitter. "Sceptics have expressed concerns that 140 characters may be insufficient to capture the full breadth of meaningful human activity, but social media experts say the spread of Twitter encourages brevity, and that it ought to be possible to convey the gist of any message in a tweet."
Those of Love(+), those of Sex(+), those of Hearbreak(+), those of People and Places (+), those of Politics and Protest (+). The Guardian's journalists purloin you with "1,000 Songs You Must Hear". The plus links lead to people's outraged suggestions of those that are missing from each category. Perfect for when 10, 100, 500 or 3,000 are just the wrong numbers.
The novlist Julie Myerson has written a book, The Lost Child, about her son's addiction to cannabis, the violent behaviour she says this caused and her tough love policy. Extract. Her son is angry that she's published it, and says his parents over-reacted: "I wasn't doing anything that most other teenagers do, but such was their naive terror of drugs they were acting like six-year-olds". It comes out through MumsNet that Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of a Guardian column, "Living with Teenagers," which described her children's behaviour candidly without their knowledge. Extract. Myerson first denied this. The Guardian discusses whether it was right to publish the columns. Myerson is interviewed about whether she was right to publish The Lost Child. Her partner, and son's father, Jonathan Myerson supports her: This is an emergency. Her son says she's addicted to writing. [more inside]
Somewhat quietly within the past couple weeks, two major newspapers, on each side of the Atlantic, have opened up their data and content APIs. Last month, on their Open blog, the New York Times introduced their Developer Network. Then just yesterday, on their DataBlog and OpenPlatformBlog, the Guardian launched Open Platform. [more inside]
Charlie Brooker cannot help saying out loud what many of us were thinking. He's already known to the Secret Service - and as having "the same mentality as Hitler" (previously on Metafilter)
1000 novels worth reading [about], from the Guardian. Part of its ongoing 1000 series: 1000 albums, 1000 films, 1000 artworks. More than a list, it includes sub-articles and paragraph long write-ups of each.
The Guardian is knocked for six by American sport references in British media Creeping cultural imperialism? The effect of internet media from foreign news outlets? Or just Guardian handwringing about something no one else notices? Is British media alone in this trend?
Two German kids attempt to head to Africa and elope, bringing one's sister with them. They're five and six.
A Guardian interview with Lynndie England (of Abu Ghraib notoriety).
The future of soccer in America is black, female and from the inner-city.
Zombies don't run, says Simon Pegg. Well ours do, says Charlie Brooker, director of Deadset. (also some stuff about the election and skeletor and stuff)
"60% of men trim their pubes. What, really?"
Vitamin purveyor Matthias Rath^ has dropped his libel case against Ben Goldacre^ and the Guardian. Goldacre's take. [more inside]
Peter Bradshaw pwns the new Guy Ritchie film. I mean, doing yet anotha stinka of a drama about the mee-lee-a of the ersatz London gangsta?
The Medicalisation of Everyday Life. "As the pace of medical innovation slows to a crawl, how do drug companies stay in profit? By 'discovering' new illnesses to fit existing products." An extract from Ben Goldacre's new book, Bad Science. [Via]
Two takes on the immediate future of the electric car: we are either "Going Nowhere Fast" (if you ask a petrolhead from Top Gear magazine) or we are witnessing "The End of the Petrolhead" (if you ask The Economist). A bestiary of current and planned models includes TeslaMotors (now in production), Fisker Automotive (who are being sued by Teslamotors), the GM Volt (due 2010), The Lighting Car Company, the plug in Prius, the GWiz (now slightly less squishy apparently), the Corbin Sparrow, a few (vapory?) models from Zap! and the wondrous Sinclair C5.
In 2006 in the Fitzwilliam Museum three enormous porcelain vases from seventeenth or eighteenth century China were smashed by a museum visitor who fell down the stairs. This presentation "follows the vases' progress from scattered fragments to their redisplay in the Fitzwilliam Museum. The site includes slideshows, film clips of the conservation process and a timelapse of one of the vases under reconstruction". [more inside]
40% of Afghan aid returns to donor countries. In today's guardian, it has been reported that 40% of the money promised/delivered to aid Afghan has been spent on "corporate profits and consultancy fees" and that "Much of the money earmarked for aid is diverted to political or military purposes." [more inside]
1,000 Albums to hear before you die compiled from The Guardian's assorted music reviewers (assisted by readers who then told them which ones they missed). You won't want to be planning to expire any time too soon with these to get through.
"What we are now seeing is the break up of Bretton Woods mark 2." The Guardian's economics editor, Larry Elliot, on growing fears of a global depression. [single link op-ed alert]
anonymity is often a sure route to notoriety. An article on anonymous authors from The Guardian.
Morrissey makes some controversial remarks to the NME. Defensive explanations by the interviewer, attempts at defusing the situation and threats of legal action ensue, as does satire.
Welcome to Guardian America "So what is Guardian America, what makes a British newspaper think that Americans will want to imbibe its view of America and the world, and why, having decided to undertake such an improbable project, would the paper place it in my hands? Fine questions. Let's explore." [more inside]
Jon Ronson decides "I'm going to tell my son the worst swearword in the world". His follow up article is also interesting. Incidentally, his "Bad Science" colleague from The Guardian did uncover a list of the worst swearwords from the BBC no less (and previously)
Wi-fi Routers: Silent blinking death. Via badscience.net, where it was posted in response to what sounds like a truly awful show. Electrosensitivity previously discussed here.
Top 40: The greatest foreign films of all time as chosen by Guardian readers (complete with snarky comments by the paper's resident film writers).
Writers' Rooms The Guardian takes you inside the spaces where writers such as JG Ballard and Will Self attempt to cajole words into doing their bidding.
Iran has shown the British what kind of people we really are: without honour and without shame, writes David Cox in The Guardian.
Our shameless culture, by David Cox (The Guardian): Iran has shown the British what kind of people we really are: without honour and without shame. The Sun, the now officially approved disseminator of British military information, notes that navigator Arthur Batchelor was "tormented" by being called "Mr Bean". Understandably, he had to cry himself to sleep. Perhaps President Ahmadinejad feared that the goody bags might just prove a step too far. But no, they were gratefully received, in a response that aptly captures the infantilisation of a people that once ruled much of the world. Navigator Batchelor has however since complained that the quality of his own bag's contents was not what he had hoped.