Boing Boing 

House of Lords demands its own caterer because Parliament's Champagne isn't good enough


A move to save money by merging the Lords' and Parliament's catering has come under fire because some Lords fear that the quality of the free Champagne will decline as a result.

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Englandland: BBC plans a theme-park


The BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, is in plans to build a themepark in the Thames estuary, in cooperation with a Kuwaiti property developer and Paramount Pictures.

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LISTEN: Systems thinking and medicine -- brilliant lecture on systemic problem-solving

The lecturer for the BBC's 2014 Reith lectures is Dr Atul Gawande, a celebrated author and MD whose book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is a classic on how to think about systemic problem solving (which pays attention to how different people and activities come together to make and solve problems).

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Stats-based response to UK Tories' call for social media terrorism policing


David Cameron wants social media companies to invent a terrorism-detection algorithm and send all the "bad guys" it detects to the police -- but this will fall prey to the well-known (to statisticians) "paradox of the false positive," producing tens of thousands of false leads that will drown the cops.

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CCC website censored in the UK

The Great Firewall of Cameron is supposed to block "extremist" websites, and somehow, the website of the respected, excellent Chaos Computer Club, one of Germany's foremost centers for technology research and political analysis, has been blocked.

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High court rules that English/Welsh prisoners should be allowed to read books


Tory justice secretary Chris Grayling enacted a ban on sending reading material for prisoners as a way of throwing red meat to his base, who bay for maximum cruelty to "bad people" -- but a high court judge agreed with English PEN and the John Howard society and struck down the ban.

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UK police arrest man built anti-immigrant nail-bomb, decline to press terrorism charges

Ryan McGee came from a multi-generational white supremacist dynasty and told police he built his nail-bomb because he didn't like immigrants, the Crown Prosecution Service said that "it was never McGee’s intention to use the device for any terrorist or violent purpose."

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Boutique jeans-maker hiring "breakers" to wear in denim


You have to promise to wear the jeans for six months without washing them and upload regular photos you breaking them in to the Historytag site, keyed to each pair's unique identifier; in return, you get 20% of the jeans' sale price.

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Song for Shaker: free the last UK Gitmo prisoner!

Andy writes, "This is the promotional video for a new campaign, We Stand with Shaker, aimed at securing the release from Guantanamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who is still held despite being approved for release in 2007 and 2009."

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Street Fighter ugly Christmas jumper


The realisation that knitting (and cross-stitch) is pixel-based has been dawning on the crafty gamer world for more than a decade, and I've enjoyed chronicling the rise of 8-bit nostalgia textiles. Case in point: the £40 Street Fighter Christmas Jumper.

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Blackpool's Broadway Hotel fines guests £100 for negative review


The hotel had no running water, miswired electrical outlets, and a contract with fine-print that said that they'd charge your credit card £100 if you posted a negative review on the Web.

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London council threatens freedom of information site for "leaking" info they say doesn't exist

A reader writes sez, "Can you leak a decision that has not yet been made? The local council at the London Borough of Enfield seem to think so, and sent a takedown notice to British Freedom of Information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com run by the non-profit mySociety."

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Plush Minecraft blocks


The 20cm^3 plush Minecraft TNT block is covered in suede-effect polyester and stuffed with soft foam; for something less explosive, try the Chest or the Log (or get the 10cm set with Grass, TNT, Diamond and Creeper blocks).

(via Geeky Merch)

UK Tories demand a "ban this terrorist filth" button for the Web, ISPs comply

David Cameron says that the reason Britons are fighting with IS is that they were hypnotised by unstoppable sorcerous "extremist" words on the net and that the best way to fight this is to get the big UK ISPs to agree to block any "extremist" content that's reported by the eagle-eyed public and added to (yet another) secret, unaccountable, extrajudicial list of websites that can't be reached from behind the Great Firewall of Cameron -- and the big ISPs agree with him!

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Hackney hackathon in London this weekend


Christian writes, "Come and participate in 24 hours to hack for Hackney: we will be doing the first Hack-ney-thon to try and improve how the council works and life in the borough. To help with this the council has started a Github account.

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Network as though it was the first days of a better nation

To celebrate the release of my new book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, I’ve invited some of my favorite creators and thinkers to write about their philosophy on the arts and the Internet. Today, Martha Lane Fox, founder of lastminute.com and UK Champion for Digital Inclusion, talks about the promise of an Internet-enabled fairer world. -Cory

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UK spies secretly granted power to spy on journalists and lawyers

The UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal secretly granted permission to MI5 and MI6 to spy on journalists and lawyers, in ways that violate attorney-client privilege.

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Surgical sim dinner: food made to look like entrails of writhing "patient"


It's another one from the twisted and brilliant imagination of London's Miss Cakehead: diners were given surgical gowns and gloves, and feasted on trompe l'oeil dishes the they dug out of a rib-cage that appeared to be connected to a screaming victim.

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Hulk and Wolverine cushion


From UK Etsy seller This Shop Really Rocks, available with stuffing or without, the Hulk Wolverine Cushion (with art directly printed on the fabric) -- also noteworthy: Princess Bubblegum, Alice finds a TARDIS; Beemo faces. (via Geeky Merch)

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UK launch of In Real Life at Orbital Comics, London, Nov 12


I've just come back to the UK from my US tour for In Real Life, the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Jen Wang and I made; I'll be launching it in London at the incomparable Orbital Comics, near Leicester Square, on the evening of Weds, 12 Nov.

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Chip-and-PIN cards let nearby fraudsters steal $1M at a time

Visa's new Paywave chip-and-PIN credit-cards have a $1M limit on foreign-currency transactions that can be verified "in-card," meaning that someone who gets close enough to your UK wallet can simply wave a phone at it and charge a megabuck to it without raising any realtime security alerts.

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Some tickets still available for ORG Con, London, Nov 15


Ruth from Open Rights Group sez, "Tickets are selling fast for Open Rights Group's annual digital rights conference, all about debating civil liberties and the Internet: Get yours here.

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UK cultural institutions leave their WWI cases empty to protest insane copyright


They want the term of copyright changed to life plus 70 years, instead of 2039 for unpublished works of uncertain date, a standard that makes it impossible to reproduce or display things like letters home from the front.

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Indispensable BBC/OU series on cybercrime starts tomorrow

Mike from the Open University sez, "The OU and the BBC have created a new six part series about cybercrime, presented by the technology journalist Ben Hammersley."

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UK military slang from Afghanistan


"ALLY Term for a battlefield fashionista - desirables include having a beard, using a different rifle, carrying vast amounts of ammunition, being dusty and having obscene amounts of tattoos and hair. Special forces are automatically Ally."

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Potato-chip surveillance: once you start, you just can't stop

The ongoing revelations about UK domestic spying on political activists, continued in some case for decades, and which included an incident in which an undercover police officer fathered a child with the woman he was spying on, illustrate an important point: once you decide someone is suspicious enough to follow around, there's no evidence that you can gather to dispel that suspicion.

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Payday loans for kids


Pocket Money Loans is the latest from prankster/artist Darren Cullen (previously), offering 5000% APR loans to children so that they can "get out of debt with a loan" and "spend each day like it's your last."

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UK Tories propose life sentences for using a computer to "damage the economy"

Under a proposed "computer crime bill," if you use a computer in the commission of an offense that damages "national security, human welfare, the economy or the environment" you could face a life sentence.

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Anti-corporatist protesters seize town hall, citing Magna Carta

Joly sez, "On October 10 2014 UK activists, concerned about EU-US TTIP and EU-Canada CETA agreements that could make it possible for corporations to sue governments for banning fracking, invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta to temporarily seize control of Glastonbury Town Hall. They claim that the 1215 Magna Carta's Article 61 - the Lawful Rebellion clause, which some say was later was later revoked in 1297, was validated by 25 Barons in 2001. A full video, including negotiations with the police, is posted on Youtube."

Writers condemn UK book censorship order

A large group of writers, including Stephen Fry, Jeffrey Archer, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, and others (include me!) have signed onto an open letter condemning a UK court decision that banned publication of a memoir because it felt that the child might be psychologically harmed by learning about their parent's life.

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