Freedom of Information. The New Yorker looks behind the scenes at The Guardian under current editor Alan Rusbridger, including the investigation of the News of the World phone hacking scandal (previously), overseeing the release of US diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks (previously), and the continuing reporting on NSA material obtained by Edward Snowden (previously).
A look inside the cartoonist's sketchbook - Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown, Kate Beaton, Rutu Modan, Chris Ware
According to The Guardian and Der Spiegel, the NSA has bugged EU government offices in Washington and New York, installed spyware on EU embassy communications equipment, and used the NATO headquarters in Brussels as a base to infiltrate the phone and computer networks of the EU's Justus Lipsius building. In addition, the NSA is targeting German civilian communications, monitoring ca. 500 million phone calls, emails and text messages per day.
European leaders are not amused- these revelations could endanger a trade pact worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
European leaders are not amused- these revelations could endanger a trade pact worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
First editions, second thoughts. [The Guardian] "Interactive: From Amsterdam to Wolf Hall, Booker winners and bestsellers – authors annotate their own first editions.
On Monday, the British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, made a rather rash claim on BBC Radio 4. Hijinks ensue. 'Duncan Smith came under pressure after he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday that he could live on £53 ($81/week) after he was asked about a market trader, David Bennett, who claimed that he had to live on that amount after his housing benefit was cut. "If I had to, I would," Duncan Smith replied." ' from The Guardian. Since then a petition has started challenging him to try it. Petition has gathered 440,133 signatures in 5 days. Original report. There is a secondary petition going: this one is guaranteed to be debated in Parliament if it gets 100,000 signatures. [more inside]
Down to a Sunless Sea - a new short story by Neil Gaiman published by The Guardian as part of their series of Water stories.
Can the UK's 'toilet circuit' of small music venues survive? From Coldplay to PJ Harvey, a lot of big British rock acts started out playing tiny pubs and clubs around the UK. But with many of these venues closing, who will keep the rock'n'roll dream alive? [more inside]
The Guardian has published a compelling interactive graph about where the 50 United States stand on LGBT rights. [more inside]
When sex means reproduction, certain proclivities may simply not be part of cultural models of sexuality: "Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality... [T]he Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."" [more inside]
"The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth." ~ Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: "Widely considered the most important environmental book of the 20th century, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring has been reissued after 50 years. Margaret Atwood considers its impact and legacy."
The Guardian's crossword blog recently completed a list of the top 10 crosswords in fiction [more inside]
The story of British art From the earliest evocative stone structures at Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the disturbing 20th-century portraits by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the art inspired by the British isles tells a truly spectacular story. Through painting, sculpture, architecture and much more, immerse yourself in the best of critic Jonathan Jones's epic survey of the artworks that have made us who we are interactive, intro
How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us "Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us – and how do they shape the way we look at the world?"
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
The Long Good Read presents two articles daily from The Guardian website selected from those featured on Guardian Zeitgeist that users spent the most time reading.
'My son got a very low mark': Writer Ian McEwan describes the odd experience of helping his son with an A-level essay about one of his novels, Enduring Love, and finding his son's teacher disagreed with his interpretation of the novel. This is an excerpt from Ian Katz's interview with McEwan at the Guardian's Open Weekend festival on 24 March 2012. [Full Interview]
#JonathanFranzenHates: "Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose… it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters… it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium." [Via: Slate.com] More [Via: The Guardian]
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of vial of arsenic, must be in want of a wife."
Jane Austen 'died from arsenic poisoning'. [The Guardian] Crime writer Lindsay Ashford bases claim on reading of author's letters and claims murder cannot be ruled out. Almost 200 years after she died, Jane Austen's early death at the age of just 41 has been attributed to many things, from cancer to Addison's disease. Now sleuthing from a crime novelist has uncovered a new possibility: arsenic poisoning.
Wikileaks has alleged that Guardian editor David Leigh negligently leaked the encryption passphrase to the unredacted 'Cablegate' archive in an upcoming book. The Guardian denies the charges, but states that "[a] Twitter user has now published a link to the full, unredacted database of embassy cables", potentially putting informants at risk.
"Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson all face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World's disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman. In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of other senior journalists, whom he named." (Most recent previously.)
What's in a name? The UK riots and language: 'rioter', 'protester' or 'scum'? [Guardian.co.uk] "The BBC drew a small storm of criticism for the word it initially used to describe the people taking part in this week's trouble."
Worn-out Words: [Guardian] Last year Ledbury poetry festival asked poets to name their most hated words. For this year's festival – running from 1 to 10 July – they've asked for the expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning. Here are their responses: please add your own.
The 100 greatest non-fiction books: [Via: The Guardian] After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing, organised by category, and then by date.
"I've been eating two family-size bags [chips/crisps] a day for two years, and little else for the past decade." Via: The Guardian.
A 'Mirky' legal battle for J.R.R. Tolkien Estate. Texas case will contest the right of Tolkien's literary estate to block fictional use of the Lord of the Rings author's name. The estate of JRR Tolkien is embroiled in a fierce legal battle over an American novel that uses the author of The Lord of the Rings as a central character. The J.R.R. Tolkien's Estate has been involved with other legal battles in the past.
And the winner of the Good Sex Award is... "...recognizing the best sex writing in fiction from the past year. We've [salon.com] convened a panel of literary star judges -- Walter Kirn, Maud Newton, Louis Bayard and Salon's own Laura Miller -- to reward the best-written, most interesting and most convincing piece of sex writing published in a novel in 2010." No 2., No. 3, No. 4, No.5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8. The 2010 Bad Sex Award Winner.
While Assange mused darkly in his exile, one of his lawyers sent out a mock Christmas card that suggested at least someone on the WikiLeaks team was not lacking a sense of the absurd. The message: “Dear kids, Santa is Mum & Dad. Love, WikiLeaks.” Bill Keller gives his version of the Wikileaks saga. (previously: Everything, but most especially this.) The snark has begun already. [more inside]
Al Jazeera has obtained a large volume of official documents concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The confidential files, to be released in the coming days, were shared with The Guardian.
Twelve Tales of Christmas is a podcast just launched by The Guardian featuring notable modern authors, such as Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith, Colm Toíbin and Julian Barnes, reading one of their favorite short stories, by authors including JG Ballard, Katherine Mansfield, Italo Calvino, Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver. A story will be posted daily for the next 12 days. The first author and story is Philip Pullman reading The Beauties by Anton Chekhov (mp3). [rss, iTunes]
Last week, the New York Times magazine published an explosive article about the phone-hacking exploits at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News Of The World under the then-editorship of Andy Coulson, now the the Government's chief of communications. Following the NYT's investigation, questions about the "unhealthy" relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the press (particularly Murdoch's News International, which also includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times), and further claims that an independent inquiry was abandoned so as not to upset the Metropolitan Police, assistant Met Commissioner John Yates was questioned [video; 4 mins] on Tuesday by the Home Affairs select committee. Following an emergency debate in Parliament today, which concerned the fact that MPs of all parties may have had their phones hacked (and therefore had their Parliamentary Privilege breached), the Standards and Privileges Committee, the most powerful committee in Parliament, is to open an inquiry which will be able to compel witnesses to give evidence. Meanwhile, former News of the World reporters are coming out the woodwork, claiming that hacking at the paper was "rife", and the pressure is on Coulson to resign his £140,000 job at No. 10, with a poll [pdf] which says 52% of the public says he should go. [more inside]
Sitting, lying or standing: what's the pole position for reading? Both the Guardian and Abebooks want to know? AbeBooks wonders if it's weird to read lying on your stomach?
"Labour 51 BNP 0" Shouted the Guardian after the recent elections, as the BNP failed to return a single candidate who stood. Many felt this was the beginning of the end for the BNP, but how true was this? "The stark facts are these. Nationally, the Green Party's share of the vote actually went down 0.1% to 1%. In terms of vote share, the BNP (1.9%) and UKIP (3.1%) both did better than the Greens. Nearly twice as many voted BNP as did Green, while three times more people backed UKIP. The BNP almost tripled its support compared to 2005, while UKIP received around half as many votes again as last time." [more inside]
"Make no mistake, if the Liberal Democrats actually won the election – or held the balance of power – it would be the first time in decades that Murdoch was locked out of British politics." - David Yelland, former editor of Rupert Murdoch's The Sun, writes in The Guardian. [more inside]
After publishing it's 50 Greatest TV Dramas Of All Time as picked by its television critics (but no Brooker) The Guardian launches it's TV Club to discuss those that didn't make the cut. First up: Edge Of Darkness.
Is television holding back the evolution of football? What is rarely considered is that television could be shaping the way the game is played, and not necessarily for the better. It sounds, admittedly, a touch far-fetched, but two of football's most respected thinkers believe it to be true, and when Jorge Valdano and Arrigo Sacchi are in agreement, it is usually worth listening. Sports journalist Jonathan Wilson investigates the effect televised football/soccer might be having on the tactics of the game. [more inside]
In The Guardian's This Much I Know, celebrities share the lessons they have learned in life. [more inside]
Allan Milburn MP has just published a report [pdf] on social exclusion from the professions in the UK. Polly Toynbee of The Guardian newspaper opines. The Guardian has a few problems on that score of its own however.
"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
It is one of the abiding images of the 1984 coal strike - Guardian photographer Don McPhee's picture of a picketing miner facing up to an officer. But what happened to the two protagonists?
Love Thy Neighbor: Why Have We Become So Suspicious Of Kindness? Most people, as they grow up now, secretly believe that kindness is a virtue of losers. But agreeing to talk about winners and losers is part and parcel of the phobic avoidance, the contemporary terror, of kindness. Because one of the things the enemies of kindness never ask themselves - and this is now an enemy within all of us - is why we feel it at all. Why are we ever, in any way, moved to be kind to other people, not to mention to ourselves? Why does kindness matter to us?