English resort town to get giant white palm tree sculpture

Cleethorpes is a faded northern English resort town whose inherent grimness is leavened by low rainfall and a nice sandy beach. And now it is to become home to a giant white metal palm tree, to the dismay of some locals.

Artist Wolfgang Weileder has said the sculpture will serve as a "warning for the future" on climate change. It will feature a black shadow underneath, partly made from recycled material collected from Cleethorpes beach. The project, due to be installed by the end of the year, attracted mixed reactions from residents, with some describing the sculpture as a "laughing stock". North East Lincolnshire Council's planning committee approved the sculpture by six votes to four, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

They should call it The Tree of Brexit as it will warn off invading Danes.

Illustration: North East Lincolnshire Council Read the rest

New road markings in English town suspiciously wobbly

The town of Cheltenham, England, is ablaze with speculation among locals scandalized by "wobbly" road markings on a local street corner. Gloucestershire Live reports that mystery surrounds the yellow lines, ineptly applied using the wrong kind of paint on the corner where Tivoli Walk and Saddlers Lane meet. Their authenticity is in question; meanwhile, everyone suffers.

A spokesperson at Gloucestershire County Council said: "The county council hasn’t carried out work to add yellow lines in Saddlers Lane. There are no parking restrictions in place for this part of Saddlers Lane in Cheltenham. We are aware of this matter and will visit the area to look into this." Simon Jackson, who runs a business on the tarnished lane, claims to have seen CCTV footage of an individual in a high-vis jacket and safety helmet painting the lines at 4.32am.

THE TARNISHED LANE. Read the rest

Congregants allegedly pressured to to sell their own blood and donate the funds to their church

For all the good that many organized religions try to do in the world (albeit, often with ulterior motives,) there's no end to the amount of greasy shit that individual preachers and congregations get up too. Every creed has its assholes. Many are worse than others. If the allegations against SPAC Nation—a UK-based Christian organization, praised for working with young men and women in London to reduce the amount of knife violence that the city has been plagued by of late—are true, they'll have positioned themselves pretty high up there in the scummy religious ranks.

From The Telegram:

A scandal-hit church is being investigated by the charity watchdog over claims that pastors pressured young congregants into selling their blood for money to donate to the church.

The Charity Commission today announced that it had opened an inquiry into SPAC Nation, based in London, to probe financial and safeguarding concerns.

The commission, which describes the church as a charity set up to "advance Christianity" and that works particularly with young people, has ordered it to bank all cash while the investigation takes place.

The announcement comes after HuffPost UK reported allegations that some members of the church had been taking teenagers to donate blood for medical trials in a practice known as "bleeding for seed".

The publication reported that that some members go to donate blood and are paid up to £100 by medical trial companies. This money is then handed by the young people over to the church’s pastors.

I mean, is it on the same level as torturing and robbing native children of their cultural heritage in a residential school, marginalizing the rights of women or sexually abusing defenseless congregants? Read the rest

Help wanted: Social media manager for Queen Elizabeth II

Buckingham Palace is seeking a Head of Digital Engagement to manage the social media accounts of Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family. It's a full-time job and the annual pay is £45,000 - £50,000, depending on experience of course. Perks include free lunch at the Palace! From The Royal Household job listing:

It's about never standing still and finding new ways to maintain The Queen's presence in the public eye and on the world stage. This is what makes working for the Royal Household exceptional.

The role of Royal Communications is to engage a worldwide audience with the public role and work of The Royal Family. Joining this fast paced and dynamic team, your challenge will be to lead on and develop our digital communications strategy, and ensure that we make effective use of a range of digital platforms to support these aims...

Whether you're covering a State Visit, award ceremony or Royal engagement, you'll make sure our digital channels consistently spark interest and reach a range of audiences.

(via Neatorama)

image: "The British royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, June 2013" by Carfax2 (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Woman killed by metal drinking straw

I'm all for stainless steel straws of the sort that we sell in the Boing Boing Store. They're an environmentally-friendly way to stop yourself from making the idiot-stick move (unless you need to use a straw, due to medical issues, then we're cool) of using one of the 175 million plastic straws that end up in landfills each year. If you opt for a metal straw, fair warning: don't pop it into your drink until you're seated and ready to sit and sip.

From The Boston Globe:

A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that warned about the dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states, and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws.

The woman, Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, who had a disability, fell and sustained a traumatic brain injury in November when the 10-inch straw pierced her eye, according to the coroner’s report.

“As a consequence of the fall, a stainless steel straw that was in a glass Kilner-style cup Mrs. Struthers-Gardner was carrying penetrated her left eye,” the report said.

Sadly, Mrs. Struthers-Gardner, died as a result of her injury.

Now, here's the thing and, don't ask me how I know, but you could very easily do the same thing with an OG plastic straw, so long as one end of the appliance has an air-tight seal. Are the odds as high of a plastic straw will fucking you up like stainless steel can? Read the rest

Poo found in pound store

The Bolton News, covering Bolton and other communities in the hinterlands of northwest Greater Manchester, England, between Wigan and Bury, reports that a poo was "discovered in Poundland" Wednesday.

Neil Brandwood reports:

HORRIFIED shoppers were aghast when excrement was found in a town centre store. Faeces was discovered on the exit mat at Poundland in Victoria Square shortly before 11am this morning.

One shopper, who asked not to be named, said: "I was appalled. It's not what you expect."

It was not confirmed by press time whether the excrement was human.

Photo: Google Street Poo. Read the rest

A modern mudlarker finds treasures washed up on the River Thames banks

In the 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were people who sifted through the mud on the banks of the River Thames to find things of value. Ted Sandling keeps the dream alive. He compiled his curious collection in a book, London in Fragments: A Mudlark's Treasures, and you can also follow his finds on Instagram. If you're inspired to dig yourself, new laws require mudlarkers (and metal detector users) to apply for a permit first and then report any treasures you uncover to the authorities.

View this post on Instagram

A couple of days ago I found this spoon, standing straight up in the gravel like a very small and shapely monolith. There was a symbolic significance to its position, as if it had been placed with deliberate purpose, probably to do with britishness, and tea. I picked it up (how could one not?) and brought it home for someone who is six and a half years old and likes spoons. The reverse tells all manner of stories to those who can decode the hallmarks (I can’t, but I know a google who can). It’s silver plate, made by James Deakin & Sons in the late nineteenth century and has what sophisticates know as ‘rather a lot of dings’ in the bowl. Also, for some ceremonial reason, most of the silver has come unplated. It’s their Sidney Silver brand, so called because it was made at the Sidney Works on Sidney Street, quite possibly by a man named Sidney.

Read the rest

Russian agents allegedly tried to hack lab associated with Skirpal poisoning investigation

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been elbows-deep in the investigation of the Novichok nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skirpal. As part of their investigation into where the nerve agent may have originated, the OPCW sent samples of the chemical weapon to a number of independent labs.

Using multiple labs provides a fail safe against false positive results and bias – two things you'd want to avoid considering the fact that the results of the tests could trigger a significant international incident. One of the labs that the OPCW may have used (I mean, they're not going to come right out and say that this is where they're sending dangerous shit) was Switzerland's Spiez Laboratory. Since Russia has denied that it had any role in the poisoning of the Skirpals and the other collateral victims of the Novichok attack, it's really really surprising to be surprised by the surprise expulsion of two Russian intelligence agents (surprise!) from The Hague, where OPCW is based. Apparently, they were trying to tinker with Spiez Laboratory's computers.

From NPR:

Swiss and Dutch authorities did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. Andreas Bucher, a spokesperson for Spiez Laboratory, also declined to comment on the deportations. However, he confirms the laboratory's computer systems have been probed by unknown hackers in recent months.

"We've had indications that we were in the crosshairs," Bucher says. No data has been stolen from the lab, he adds.

Although Spiez Laboratory has not officially acknowledged receiving a sample, it is widely believed to have done so, according to Jean Pascal Zanders, an independent chemical weapons expert based in France.

Read the rest

Simon Pegg & Nick Frost's Slaughterhouse Rulez looks great

After Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz (a movie that deserves a sequal more than any other film, ever) and The World's End, I'm willing to watch anything Nick Frost and Simon Pegg put in front of my eyeballs a go.

Slaughterhouse Rulez looks like more of the same sort of violent whimsy that I've come to expect from Frost and Pegg. That's just fine by me. Read the rest

Ghost Stories is available to download this week

I saw this trailer for Ghost Stories back in February and it grabbed hold of me immediately. Full of menace, glimpses of gorgeous cinematography and an aura of claustrophobia, it's everything I want in a horror film. I just learned that it'll be available to buy on iTunes, if you're in the United States, on July 17th. I am so stoked. Read the rest

Cat using a door knocker to be let in

Just when you think you've seen everything, a cat in Bootle, England has been captured on camera using a door knocker to be let inside. The 26-year-old man who got the footage, Daniel Richardson, had pulled over to the side of the road when he saw the cat.

He told the Liverpool Echo Saturday:

I was in my car and I caught a glimpse of it happening.

Then I watched and the cat started to climb up the door again so I whipped out my phone to record it.

I looked and wondered if that had just really happened - I was baffled.

It is not something you see everyday.

He added, "It would have only made it better if someone came out to let it in."

(Daily Mail) Read the rest

Friday Tunes: The Imagined Village

The Imagine Village is what you'd call a super group.

Over the years, its lineup has included members of the United Kingdom folk music royalty such as Billy Bragg, Eliza & Martin Carthy, Simon Emmerson, The Trans Global Underground, Chris Wood and dhol drum master Johnny Kalsi. Each of the musicians comes to the collective with decades of musical excellence under their belts and an extensive catalog of tunes of their own. The re-imagination of English folk standards is the Imagined Village's game: they color well-worn chestnuts with musical traditions from around the former British Empire, occasionally updating the lyrics to reflect the current conditions and mood of the United Kingdom's citizens.

If it sounds like a familiar formula, it's because you've maybe seen it done before by the Afro Celtic Soundsystem. Both bands share guitar/cittern player Simon Emmerson as a driving force behind their music. This isn't appropriated music. It's multicultural music that draws together players from a myriad of traditions to honor the music of the past in a manner that's both exciting and new.

While "Cold, Hailey, Rainy Night" comes from a long tradition of "Night Visit" songs – music that features some dude whinging to a young lady that everything is terrible outside so she should let him in to warm up and uh, have sex. You'll hear it being kicked about the folk world, under various regional titles, around the world. This version, recorded in 1971 by by Steeleye Span, is likely one of the most recognized versions of it. Read the rest

Video: How the Red Arrow Aerobatic Team does their thing

I used to go to a lot of air shows when I was a kid growing up in Canada. I used to love seeing the American, British and French air forces show off their aircraft. It was always a thrill to see Canada's Snowbird aerobatic team show up to strut their stuff. Now, thanks to this video, I have a little insight into how they and other elite flying teams do what they do. Read the rest

Britons struggle to walk up icy hill in Swanage

It's a silent video, but for a few chuckles from the camera operator. I recommend Maurice Ravel's Bolero as a soundtrack: Read the rest

Englishman takes emu for walk

If you're a fan of emus, or a fan of swearing in a northern English accent, this is the video for you. Read the rest

Ransomware hackers have stolen hospitals and doctors' offices across the UK, using a leaked NSA cyberweapon

25 NHS trusts and multiple doctors' practices in England and Scotland (but so far, not Northern Ireland or Wales) report that they have had to effectively shut down due to a massive Wcry ransomware infection that has stolen whole swathes of the English healthcare system in one go. The infection appears to exploit a bug that the NSA discovered and deliberately kept secret, only to have it revealed by the Shadow Brokers. Read the rest

Own a legit British sign for "Battle Station"

Battle is a town in East Sussex, England. Battle has a railway station. A pilfered road sign directing travelers to Battle Station is currently £23.95 on eBay. "This deserves a good home" writes Ben Goldacre. Read the rest

More posts