I used OSMnx, Geoff Boeing’s amazing Python library for analysing street networks, to look at how orderly the streets are in various UK towns and cities.
Sacha Baron Cohen has a problem: his best tricks – assuming the persona of a wacky character to confuse unsuspecting interviewees, have self-limiting lifespans. If, as with Ali G, Borat and Bruno, they’re hits, they become useless, since there’s no longer anyone to fool.
The New Statesman asked me to write about crisps, so I went on YouTube instead:
2018 marks 70 years since Walkers, a butcher’s firm from Leicester, decided to beat post-war rationing by slicing potatoes instead of meat, and ended up creating the most popular brand of crisps in the UK. And while there have been dozen of variations of flavour and tweaks to the recipe, they’re still basically just the same old crisps.
The story of the origin of Eurovision, via Talented Mr Ripley fan-fiction for some reason:
Did you know: there’s a scene in the film The Talented Mr Ripley where, if you squint, you can see the Eurovision Song Contest being born? Admittedly you to have squint really very hard indeed, because it was made by Anthony Minghella, and not say, me.
What a gift Charlie Brooker’s dystopian series has been to journalists: any time a reporter covers a story about even vaguely dystopian technology, the main thing they have to do is determine which episode of Black Mirror it’s like, saving everyone the bother of finding out what’s really going on.
A 1973 episode of sitcom Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads concerns the lads in question spending a day trying to avoid learning the result of a football match in order to be able to enjoy watching the highlights that evening.
I then performed a live version of the piece at the British Library.
There are about 790,000 roads with names in Great Britain – I got a list of all them from Ordnance Survey and did some number-crunching. Then stopped number-crunching and looked for the rude ones.