“Lord of the Rings is racist about orcs” is not an important new front in the Culture War (New Statesman)

“Lord of the Rings is racist about orcs” is not an important new front in the Culture War

Call the police, a nerd has said something about Lord of the Rings on a podcast. Excellent news for everyone who thinks “political correctness has gone mad” can be considered a hot take in 2018, a group that apparently includes several national newspapers.

Are budget airlines really charging families to sit with their own children? (New Statesman)

Are budget airlines really charging families to sit with their own children?

Are algorithms trying to steal our children? That’s the question at the heart of the latest airline ticket pricing scandal. Are budget airlines trying to squeeze more money out of families by deliberately allocating them seats in separate parts of the plane, then forcing them to pay a fee so that children can be seated next to their responsible adult?

How (not) to write a sequel to Lord of the Rings (New Statesman)

Adapted from a live performance, I explain why you shouldn’t write a sequel to Lord of the Rings, with reference to various people who’ve tried and failed in different ways.

How (not) to write a sequel to Lord of the Rings

Let’s start at the end: “‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.” And with that, thousand-page long fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings is finally over – J.R.R. Tolkien drops the mic, and the history of Middle Earth is done.

14 things we learned from a list of every bus stop in London (CityMetric)

Another part of an irregular series in which I attempt to drive myself mad using huge databases about public infrastructure:

14 things we learned from a list of every bus stop in London

If you visited one per day, for some reason, it would take you nearly 54 years. I’ve just worked out that statistically I’d probably be dead before I finished, so I’m not going to bother. There are 1,759 stops labelled “A” in the capital.

The Best Day For Your Big Day (Distilled/Bloomingdale’s)

What’s the perfect day to get married on? If you live in the USA, I’ve worked it out (maybe).

I crunched data about the typical weather for each calendar date in different US cities, which was then used to power a tool to find the day with closest to ideal weather conditions for a wedding.

Best Wedding Dates in 2017 & 2018 by State (US) – Bloomingdale’s

Want to take down the stress of picking the perfect wedding date? Bloomingdale’s can help! Check out our new interactive WEDDING WEATHER PLANNER!