Archive for October, 2011

Should the Internet be open?

October 12th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

The answer may seem obvious. Surely the great thing about the Internet was that anyone could do anything on it. In fact, this was never true. In democratic countries, what is illegal off-line is equally illegal online. And, in authoritarian nations, there are a whole host of controls that limit free expression. Nevertheless most of […]

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Please may I draw your attention to this report on civility

October 10th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

The Young Foundation has today published a report entitled “Charm Offensive: Cultivating Civility In 21st Century Britain” [full text here]. The report states: “The available statistics confirm that Britain ranks either positively or average in international surveys of inter-personal trust, tolerance and politeness.” The report concludes: “First, civility is an issue that matters hugely to […]

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Who will run against Obama?

October 9th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

About five years ago, sections of the American media speculated that the election battle for the US Presidency could be an all-female affair: Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Condoleezza Rice for the Republicans. In the event, neither was a candidate. We seem to be in a similar state of excitement now in parts of […]

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The wonderful world of graphene

October 8th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

My former University of Manchester was thrilled last year when the Nobel Prize for Physics when to two of its researchers Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov who discovered graphene in 2004. The university was delighted with this week’s announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that graphene research will receive a £50 million […]

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Remembering Karel Kuttelwascher (2)

October 7th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

I did an earlier posting explaining how my wife Vee and sister-in-law Mari had gone over to the Czech Republic to attend an event to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the birth of their father. He was the Czech wartime night intruder ace Karel Kuttelwascher. There is now available online a 15-minute video of the […]

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The campaign to save Gaby’s Deli

October 7th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

A few weeks ago, I did a posting about the threatened closure of my favourite London cafe, a great place near Leicester Square called “Gaby’s”. I was there recently, enjoying their delicious baklava and talking to the owner about the plan to close the place at the end of April. Roger lends support to Gaby […]

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What’s it like to be on benefits?

October 6th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

I wrote in this posting about a friend of mine who is seeking the Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and has been refused it (he has appealed). He has drawn my attention to this posting by a specialist benefits adviser working for the Citizens Advice Bureaux which gives a different perspective from the line in […]

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Where have all the atoms that constitute “you” been since the creation of the Earth?

October 5th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

“All of the atoms that make up your body were once parts of stars – the phrase “we are stardust” is not just poetic fancy. After that, they were part of the sterile planet (later to be called Earth) for some billions of years, and when life appeared, bits that were later to become “us”, […]

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A review of “The Debt”

October 4th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

So often, films are either entertaining or intelligent but rarely both in equal measure. “The Debt” is an exception, combining both qualities in satisfactory fashion – my review here.

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The strange case of Amanda Knox

October 4th, 2011 by Roger Darlington

I don’t know whether Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent or guilty of the murder of Londoner Meredith Kercher. What is clear is that, on the basis of the evidence, it was an unsafe conviction and that Knox’s character has been represented by the prosecution in terms that are almost medieval. There’s masses of material […]

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