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Frank Keating

Frank Keating, one of the UK's finest ever sports writers has retired from the Guardian. Mathew Engels appreciation concludes with links to ten of his finest pieces. This is brilliant writing which happens to concern itself with sport, so there is no need for any "doesn't this belong on Sportfilter" type snideness.
posted by Fat Buddha on Oct 7, 2002 - 4 comments

Blue man runs for Senate

Blue man runs for Senate Stan Jones, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Montana suffers from argyria, a condition in which the skin becomes stained a permanent shade of blue. How do you come down with it? You drink lots of colloidal silver. Jones started mixing his own shortly before Y2K to help boost his immune system in the antibiotic-short apocolypse he was sure was coming. No word if he is now engaged in weird behavior involving metal tubes.
posted by agaffin on Oct 3, 2002 - 27 comments

Anyone go to the anti war protest in London today?

Anyone go to the anti war protest in London today? The number of the people has been estimated from between 3000 (by the police) to 350,000 (by the organisers). I reckon 200,000. Either way, its the largest peace protest ever in the country. Me and my friends sign was a great success, with many people commenting on it/photographing it. It was the only black one we saw, so easily stood out. It said 'Its all about the oil' on one side, and on the other there was a picture of Bush looking stupid, and 'No to War'. The protest was peaceful (or was when I left) and on the whole, a success. The only question is, will Bush and Blair take any notice?
posted by Orange Goblin on Sep 28, 2002 - 130 comments

Looks like Verisign

Looks like Verisign forgot to renew their UK domain name.
posted by timeistight on Sep 28, 2002 - 15 comments

In the new LRB, a pretty good attempt to answer the pressing question - why do the Bush people want to attack Iraq so much?
posted by Mocata on Sep 25, 2002 - 20 comments

Finally released, The British Government's Dossier On Iraq appears, after two hours of reading, to be quite remarkable in it's - well - unremarkableness.(.pdf link from mainpage)
posted by Doozer on Sep 24, 2002 - 28 comments

Cooking the Books

Cooking the Books The Office of National Statistics feels that the UK population is a little too small - so they're inventing one million people to fill the gap. Why did they do a census if they were going to make it all up?
posted by tabbycat on Sep 23, 2002 - 9 comments

Earthquake hits the UK.

Earthquake hits the UK. 'Big one' too, 4.8 on the Richter scale, so not quite California standard. Anyone want to share their experience?
posted by derbs on Sep 23, 2002 - 28 comments

Shazam!

Shazam! The Media have been talking about it for a while, but this Music Identification Service for British (nyt) mobile phones is finally here. For 50p, you can place your mobile phone next to any machine playing groovy unidentifiable music, and within a minute, it'll text and tell you what's playing. So far, I've worked out that it's great at identifying Sheryl Crow and Bush tracks, but it's not so good at identifying traditional Greek folk music.
posted by seanyboy on Sep 17, 2002 - 11 comments

The Bolan Tree.
Today is the 25th Anniversary of the accident in which folk-singer turned glam pioneer Marc Bolan died. The tree his car hit - driven by his partner, soul singer/producer Grace Jones - has been purchased by a fan group [T-Rex Action Group], who have also contributed a bust sculpted by Canadian Jean Robillard (with Quebec Government Cultural Attaché to Great Britain attending the unveiling today).
You may not think you know his music, but if you've seen Velvet Goldmine or Billy Elliot, watched the NBA Playoffs on TNT [using 'Get It On/Bang A Gong'], or ever wondered where the ubiquitous '20th Century Boy' [with the definitive power chord + squeal opening burst] comes from, now you know.
Marc inspired devotion in his fans, and respect from the likes of Bowie, the Damned and Billy Idol in his own lifetime - and influenced musicmakers like The Strokes & The Red Hot Chili Peppers [according to this article in The Philidelphia Enquirer].
Dandy's in the Underworld, indeed.
posted by dash_slot- on Sep 16, 2002 - 34 comments

Think of the children.

Think of the children.
posted by metaforth on Sep 14, 2002 - 37 comments

MOD Selects The Carlyle Group as Preferred Bidder for QinetiQ. In a move that seems to be going ahead with very little coverage, Britain's military research agency is being sold off to a foreign company. Given the important role Qinetiq plays in Britain's Defense, and the type of business The Carlyle Group is, this is perhaps surprising...
posted by chill on Sep 8, 2002 - 12 comments

A hot rod hamster

A hot rod hamster caused quite a stir when he was caught racing along the promenade – in his dragster car. More Friday Funny.
posted by Grod on Sep 6, 2002 - 21 comments

Stalin, Hitler, Guilt, Finger-Pointing And Friendship:

Stalin, Hitler, Guilt, Finger-Pointing And Friendship: Timothy Garton-Ash reviews, a trifle superciliously but fairly, a very lively and soul-searching polemic between two consummate, consuming and irresistible writers, Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens - who also happen to be old friends. Funnily enough, I'd suggest reading Hitchens's review in the Atlantic Monthly first; then the three [1] extracts from [2] Amis's book [3] and, finally, Hitchens's reply to them. All in all, it's that rare thing: a long, juicy, well-written and passionately argued polemic with plenty of insights into how generations come to terms with the honest indiscretions and oversights of their youth. Oh and there's a lot about communism, nazism, totalitarianism and the Sixties too...
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 5, 2002 - 15 comments

The British Empire in Colour -- a three-part documentary series from the producers of the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award-winning Britain at War in Colour will air this month. The series is supposed to include "a treasure-trove of early colour movies filmed before 'technicolour' transformed film making in the 1930s. Unique colour footage of the Edwardian splendour of 1906 British India, soldiers of the First World War and class divided Britain in 1926 as seen for the first time by a modern visually sophisticated audience." Apparently, it also includes Horrifying footage of last days of Raj.
posted by Bixby23 on Sep 2, 2002 - 17 comments

Amina Lawal Must Not Face Death by Stoning

Amina Lawal Must Not Face Death by Stoning says UK Amnesty International. Nigerian woman, divorced & single, with 3 kids, to be executed by a Sharia Court for giving birth outside of wedlock. Other pregnant unwed mothers, such as this computer student, are seeking asylum outside of Nigeria to avoid being stoned to death by a Nigerian Sharia Court in accordance with Islamic law principles. Amina's whole convoluted and horrible story is laid out nicely here. Sharia Courts, and their ilk, punish sexual and "moral offenders" through stoning, amputation, crushing the victim with walls, hanging, or even rape.

Meanwhile, in another universe, the Nigerian 419 scam has mutated into Amina Lawal's "barrister" spamming the net with pleas for cash. Instead of that, sign the open letter to the President of Nigeria asking that death by stoning be stopped.
posted by filchyboy on Aug 31, 2002 - 14 comments

Essex

Essex is the New Jersey of England, but is trying to change the public perception of my beautiful home county. Not all Essex girls are slappers and it's not all industrial wasteland. But why tell the rest of England about our beautiful secrets?
posted by essexjan on Aug 30, 2002 - 31 comments

Lobsters, caviar and brandy for MPs at summit on starvation.

Lobsters, caviar and brandy for MPs at summit on starvation. Is this really a scandal? Or typical tabloid pabulum? Yes, it is hypocritical, but is it worse than rich people who don't claim to give a damn about the poor eating caviar and swilling champagne? Matt thinks it's "sick".
posted by goethean on Aug 26, 2002 - 27 comments

Holidays cut into UK growth...

Holidays cut into UK growth... Wow, so much for National Slacker Day being a good thing! Although honestly, I cannot see where they have more National Holidays than the US does... Must be all our 40 plus hour work weeks.
posted by gloege on Aug 23, 2002 - 10 comments

Adam Ant, who once assured us that "ridicule is nothing to be scared of", admits pub affray & has been remanded on bail, after using a fake gun to take revenge on pub-goers that took the piss out of his clothes!
Adam seems to have suffered quite a lot - both before and after - his heyday, and his behaviour has led to him being compulsorily detained on at least one occasion.
Quite apart from the fact that Police do not seem shy of killing anyone who could be a threat and might be armed with a pistol, has there ever been such an exact fall from grace for a celebrity - whose personal 'philosophy' came back to haunt him like a Shakespearean tragedy?
posted by dash_slot- on Aug 13, 2002 - 34 comments

Can Dumbing Down Save Our Libraries?

Can Dumbing Down Save Our Libraries?
An intersting story from The Sunday Herald that says libraries are facing a stark choice: modernize or die.
The author say we just can't win, if we put in a bank of computers we are accused of dumbing things down, if we demand silence in the reading rooms and purchase books that aren't "popular" we find ourselves charged with elitism.
He says the public library has an altruistic purpose of making knowledge freely available through the printed word. The trouble is that those high principles were undermined by the librarians themselves. Facing a revolution in communications, they tried to become all things to all people.
He focuses on England, but I think many of these issues are international. Are public libraries out of date?
posted by Blake on Aug 12, 2002 - 26 comments

The UK Parliament Site

The UK Parliament Site gets a new design, with live webcasting. They want it better to serve "grazers" as well as "hunters". For comparison, the US House and Senate, and the French Assembly and Senate.
posted by liam on Jul 30, 2002 - 14 comments

Big Brother is here!

Big Brother is here! Close to a thousand Brirish schools have collected their student`s fingerprints via library scanners; all this without the consent or knowledge of the parents. Please commend my success in refraining from oversentionalizing the story. YES!
posted by ( .)(. ) on Jul 23, 2002 - 15 comments

The Burqa Incident.

The Burqa Incident. British freethinker Sarah Lawrence dresses in a burqa to make a point at the US Libertarian Party Conference, and causes a hotel-wide security alert. Looks like one of those systemic sense-of-humour failures that conspire to spiral out of control these days. But isn't it a bit worrying when even Libertarian Party officials start threatening to report their own conference speakers to the FBI for suspicious dress sense?
posted by ntk on Jul 21, 2002 - 17 comments

Best British Blog.

Best British Blog. The Guardian has launched a competition to find the best British weblog. Is this another case of the mainstream media not really understanding what blogging is all about?
posted by crayfish on Jul 18, 2002 - 18 comments

Britain to Relax Laws for Millions of Dope Smokers.

Britain to Relax Laws for Millions of Dope Smokers. The theory is that this move will free up officers and money to deal with more serious drug problems. As far as the classification goes, cannabis will now be grouped with anabolic steroids and growth hormones, two substances that I think are more dangerous than pot. What was it grouped with before?
posted by Miss Beth on Jul 9, 2002 - 18 comments

Have the anti-Euro lobby shot themselves in the foot?

Have the anti-Euro lobby shot themselves in the foot? A video promoting opposition to the UK joing the Euro has been critisized for including a spoof of Hitler praising the currency. It's attracted publicity for the campaign, all right, but has it unmasked the "No" campaign as anti-Europe "little Englanders"? (Guardian link)
posted by salmacis on Jul 3, 2002 - 23 comments

Stranger is as stranger does

Stranger is as stranger does Lets see, the older I get, the more eccentric I become. Boy, am I in trouble.
posted by thekorruptor on Jun 28, 2002 - 12 comments

British papers

British papers seem to be the only place we can find out what goes on in the US these days. Probably has to do with the liberal media, wouldn't you say?
posted by nofundy on Jun 18, 2002 - 36 comments

Spider-Man "too violent for kids"

Spider-Man "too violent for kids" The British Board of Film Classification has given the Spider-Man film (which opens here in the UK today) a '12' certificate because of its violence, meaning no one under that age can see it. Some local authorities have exercised their power to reclassify it as a 'PG' to open it up to younger viewers.
The BBFC's argument runs that "The violence is set in a modern urban setting with a clear message that the use of violence is the normal and appropriate response when challenged." In fact, I'd say, the film suggests that an appropriate response when challenged is to put on an armoured exo-skeleton and fly around on a jey-powered glider. How can the BBFC not get the concept that this is a fantasy?
posted by jonpollard on Jun 14, 2002 - 45 comments

"British Liberty, RIP"

"British Liberty, RIP"
A leader article on the danger represented by the British Government's new Statutory Order and the need for Parliamentarians to step in and resist. (The Order will allow a wide range of organisations access to phone and internet records - The Guardian's own story with details is here.)
Ben Franklin has been quoted here many times before, but I have no hesitation quoting him again: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
posted by jonpollard on Jun 11, 2002 - 10 comments

The Queen's Golden Jubilee in the UK

The Queen's Golden Jubilee in the UK - did anyone see it? If you were in the UK, it's likely you would have seen at least some of the amazing celebrations of the Royal Family - four days of partying, including a huge pop/rock concert with loads of famous names, a classical concert, pomp and pagentry in a 4 ton gold chariot and a huge carnival drew 14 million TV viewers a night, and millions more went to see the royal knees-up, knocking the royal critics for six. Even Ozzy Osbourne sang a number, bless him. The final royal flypast rounded off the most amazing scenes I've ever seen. Brits - does this show of affection make your bosom swell with pride? Others - are you jealous, or thankful you weren't there?
posted by wibbler on Jun 5, 2002 - 54 comments

UK Kids to Get £40 a Week to Stay in School.

UK Kids to Get £40 a Week to Stay in School. Schoolchildren are to be paid £40 a week to stay on at school as part of a multi-billion-pound revolution in secondary schools in England and Wales.
posted by ncurley on Jun 2, 2002 - 37 comments

Stephen Byers resigns

Stephen Byers resigns (finally). Here is a profile of the man. Do politicians have to fall into the same pattern everytime something like this happens? Press: You've done something wrong. Politician: No I haven't. I'll admit to no impropriety on my part. Prime Minister: I'll stand by my minister. Press: But we can prove he did something wrong. The Public: I'll go with what they say, and he should resign. Prime Minister: Look mate, it's about the voters. Politician: I still don't believe I've got anything to hide but save the government embarassment, I'll resign.
posted by feelinglistless on May 28, 2002 - 7 comments

Mystery Illness

Mystery Illness such a mystery? Help needed! (old news, new information?) OK, I'm going to try and do this without naming names... The British troops in Afghanistan have been struck down by a mystery illness recently, with an investigation finding that the illness was just a "winter vomiting" bug.
I've heard different. The source may have been an Al Qaeda terrorist who had been captured. The 'mystery illness' may have been caught when the British or US government used biological warfare to make it easier to find and capture members of Al Qaeda. Can anyone help verify this? I should stress I only have word of mouth from a friend of a friend. All very speculative, but I've not been able to find anything else on this... yet...
posted by snowgoon on May 21, 2002 - 13 comments

Man cleared after taking pig's head into court.

Man cleared after taking pig's head into court. Also a garden gnome. Sadly, the article doesn't actually say what he was doing there in the first place. I'm glad your back Metafilter. It's been strange without you.
posted by feelinglistless on May 19, 2002 - 4 comments

Web Snatcher - when Web users go mad

Web Snatcher - when Web users go mad Andrew Wiseman began investigating someone called Dave Van Staveren when he ripped off his 625 Television Room site and several other TV fan sites. What follows is a descent into absolute lunacy. Who is Van Staveren? What does he want?
posted by Summer on May 17, 2002 - 5 comments

BBC funds ad-free, porn-free search engine.

BBC funds ad-free, porn-free search engine. Fueled by UK television license fees and Google search technology, the engine doesn't kick out results from paying advertisers. News article here.
posted by CosmicSlop on May 15, 2002 - 6 comments

Is It Racism If You Admit You're A Racist But Decry Racist Behaviour?

Is It Racism If You Admit You're A Racist But Decry Racist Behaviour? Geoffrey Sampson, Professor of Natural Language Computing at the University of Sussex in the UK is likely to be sacked from the Conservative Party for his defense of "racialism" as a legitimate human emotion. In an interview on this morninn's BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme, he said recognising people's racial prejudices is a scientific fact has nothing to do with espousing discriminatory behaviour. The Observer coyly shrank from linking Sampson's offending article but it wasn't difficult to find: here it is. Judge for yourselves.[My two cents and a question for UK Mefis: as a conservative, I'm quite impressed with Ian Duncan-Smith's(the new Tory leader's)efforts to dissociate himself from the Tory Party's reactionary bastions(e.g.The Monday Club) and attitudes. Is it just a pose, electioneering or is there something to it?]
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 13, 2002 - 33 comments

Mother jailed for girls' truancy

Mother jailed for girls' truancy A question for our British gang, is truancy such a problem in the UK now that this is really necessary? When I went to school in England, lo those mumblemumble years ago, I don't remember it being this bad. For the rest of the world, do you think truancy in your country would justify locking up the primary caregiver or is this punishing the wrong person? Can parents be held responsible for everything a child does? And better said, should they? When should we grant children the priviledges and penalties of their own autonomous actions?
posted by dejah420 on May 13, 2002 - 27 comments

'Three dead' in train crash

'Three dead' in train crash The day after our beloved Transport Secretary Stephen Byers apparently 'saved his job', the British rail system experiences another fatal accident. That's around 70 people killed on British railways in the last three years according to this chronology.
posted by jonpollard on May 10, 2002 - 13 comments

Backstabbing your coworkers via email --

Backstabbing your coworkers via email -- In a British survey almost 40% said they used email to further their own careers at the expense of colleagues.
posted by palegirl on May 8, 2002 - 9 comments

"Women Empowering Women".

"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 - 18 comments

Nazis alive and well in England

Nazis alive and well in England Far-right extremists have sent a "chill factor" across the country after they claimed a symbolic victory in English local elections
posted by scotty on May 3, 2002 - 14 comments

It looks like that the British network einstein.tv and the FIDE may open negotiations this month for a reunified world chess championship. The championship was split in 1993 when Garry Kasparov left the FIDE to start his own failed league. Kasparov claims the world championship left with him, while the FIDE claims he abdicated by refusing to play nice with others. Kasparov lost the championship last year to Kramnik. Einstein.TV is milking the publicity while the FIDE says we are meeting but no comment. Wood pushers like me are probably better off leaving the politics to the people who can't stand each other and sticking to the internet chessclub, the free chess servers or simply email chess.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Apr 30, 2002 - 2 comments

Time for a change of business strategy focus?

Time for a change of business strategy focus? Nokia and VolksWagen are the examples given,
'the heart of productivity growth is what happens inside the firm, and firms are first and foremost organisations of human beings'
positive role models to lead us from downturn alley?
posted by asok on Apr 29, 2002 - 2 comments

I have a bad feeling about this.

I have a bad feeling about this. The UK government has urged employers to be leniant to staff who want to watch the World Cup when they should be working. Isn't this instantly discriminating against people who happen to like football (Soccer) all that much? For example, I'm sure I know what would happen if I broached the idea of turning up for work late on May 16th after I've been to the first showing of this thing.
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 29, 2002 - 15 comments

An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
posted by semmi on Apr 24, 2002 - 14 comments

Britishness at its absolute bloody best

Britishness at its absolute bloody best I watched the whole Queen Mum procession thing yesterday, complete with "frantically filling BBC commentators", and this Brains Trust article was the perfect antidote. My favourite though is Die Sissons Die
posted by Summer on Apr 6, 2002 - 5 comments

Another trip into TV Hell.

Another trip into TV Hell. In the UK we're much kinder to bad television -- shows will go on for weeks without an audience and often get comissioned for second series before someone releases they're awful (yes you 'Let Them Eat Cake' -- if that French and Saunder monstrosity had been on UStv it would have been cancelled after two episodes -- if it had been comissioned at all). 'Off The Telly' considers all the things prospective television producers need to avoid if they're going to create something they're proud of. Does anyone else have any bad examples?
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 4, 2002 - 18 comments

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