In the UK, rightsholders have the power to demand arbitrary censorship of websites they dislike, and ISPs are required to block those sites. The Premier League -- the multibillion-dollar football organization -- carelessly added the IP address of a major web-host to its censorship list, and as a result blocked The Radio Times (the BBC's former listing service now operated by a private company), Galaxy Zoo (an important astronomical research project), and many other legitimate sites. People who tried to visit those sites instead saw a warning saying that the sites were devoted to copyright infringement and that anyone visiting them was also infringing copyright.
ISPs were flooded with complaints, and began to unblock the sites themselves. But the Premier League is outraged at this. They say that even if the Premier League censored the wrong sites, it isn't up to the ISPs to uncensor them -- the ISPs are supposed to comply with the lists they get from rightsholders, no questions asked.
Blake's 7, the classic BBC science fiction show, is coming back.
A Microsoft-funded reprise of the 1978-1981 series is headed to the Xbox Live service, according to The Financial Times (paywall), replacing earlier plans to revive the show on the SyFy channel. SyFy's choice of director, Martin Campbell, will still helm the new production.
"Paula White was removed after 30 minutes of her afternoon show on Friday, which was to be her last show in that slot. ... A BBC spokesman said she had been "unable to continue as she was under par". The spokesman would not say if any other action had been taken."
"I'm not drunk. I've had a couple of drinks, but I'm not drunk! [squeaks]"
An excellent recent episode of the BBC Radio 4 math/current affairs show "More or Less" dramatized "The Parable of the Ox," a short article by John Kay originally published in the Financial Times (paywalled, alas, or I'd link to itavailable from Kay's site). Fans of James Surowiecki's Wisdom of the Crowds will know the first part of this story -- wherein the average of several guesses about the weight of an ox was more accurate than the guesses of any of the experts in the crowd. What this podcast and the article adds is a coda about how the use of "guesses" (or stock trades) as a way of weighing the ox quickly departed from guesses about the weight of the ox (or the value of a firm) and turned into guesses about other peoples' guesses about other peoples' guesses -- a financialized system that soon has no connection to the real economy or the real ox. And it ends, predictably enough, when the ox dies.
BBC Radio 4's great math and science show "The Infinite Monkey Cage" did a great (and very funny) episode on crypto and Bletchley Park, with Robin Ince, Brian Cox, Dave Gorman, Simon Singh and Dr Sue Black.
Anthony from OpenDemocracy sez, "OurBeeb, hosted by openDemocracy, have launched a petition calling for all candidates to be head of the BBC to publish their vision and principles for taking it forward. They say the Trust must not carry on with its closed, old-boy secret appointments. If the BBC is to embrace new media and technology it's essential that there is an open debate, see for example, Tony Ageh's call for a digital commons."
We learned a while back that author Neil Gaiman would be returning to Doctor Who to write a follow-up to his Hugo Award-winning episode, "The Doctor's Wife." And now we know a little bit more about what he'll be writing about -- one of the series' most classic villains, the Cybermen, will be brought back by Gaiman for an episode later this season! Something else to keep in mind about the next time we see the Cybermen -- it will be the first time the Doctor's new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will meet them. (We will finally meet her on Christmas Day, when Doctor Who's Christmas special airs on BBC!)
The episode, which will air some time next spring, will be directed by Stephen Woolfenden and will feature appearances by Warwick Davis (Harry Potter), Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders), and Jason Watkins (Being Human). The trio will be playing, according to BBC, "a band of misfits on a mysterious planet."
I always found the Cybermen to be one of the most creepy, dangerous, and heartbreaking bad guys on Doctor Who, so I would imagine that Neil Gaiman's take on them will make all of us cry for hours if he does his job correctly.
The BBC World Service recently vacated its historic digs at Bush House in the Aldwych in London (a building I have fond memories of, as it's where my wife worked when we started courting). They're selling off all their superannuated, surplus and otherwise unneeded gear. The auction includes pretty much everything you need to build a radio studio, a ton of office furniture, and rather a lot of miscellaneous miscellanea.
Cassetteboy vs. The News: "There's been a shocked response around the world to video footage appearing to show U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urinating on Boris Johnson." [YouTube via Metafilter]
In this clip from BBC Newsnight, Boing Boing pal Laurie Penny (who's in NYC covering the Occupy demonstrations) takes on a former Goldman-Sachs partner who tries to concern-troll the #OWS movement, saying that they're flacid, decentralized, and have the wrong target, because the problem isn't banks, it's those damned liberal governments who incurred huge debts with their deuced social spending. Laurie wipes up the floor with the bloated plutocrat, without breaking a sweat.