September 8, 2019

The Political Butterfly Effect: Did a drunken headbutt cause Brexit?

In episode one, Jim asks whether a Labour MP headbutting a fellow politician in the House of Commons led the UK to vote for Brexit. He traces the events that were set in motion by the fracas in 2012. Does the trail lead all the way to Britain’s exit from the EU?

The entire series is excellent.

August 9, 2019

The Baffling Origin of London Stone

As architects began reconstructing the city, surveyors found that much like an iceberg, the visible stone was only a small portion of a much larger structure. The ‘root’ of the stone extended around 3m down into the earth. It could have been “a kind of Obelisque,” noted Robert Hooke, from the Royal Society, the UK’s science academy, at the time of excavation.

August 3, 2019
July 27, 2019

Mudlarking: finders keepers

We quickly hit pay-dirt and we stop to examine the discovery more closely. Then, much to my dismay, Smith casually tosses aside our find, the sole of a Tudor shoe. “You get blasé,” he says. “You get to see a lot of things over the years. But finds like that do help point you towards other things.

The article is from 2010, by by all accounts, mudlarking on the banks of the Thames continues. You need a permit — currently at £85 a year if you wish to dig beneath the top soil.

July 21, 2019

Britain’s Brexit Crisis

The first task of our new prime minister will be to try to solve Britain’s Brexit crisis. But how did we get here? For the first time, the politicians and negotiators on both sides of the channel tell the story of the key events, the mistakes and the miscalculations that made Theresa May postpone Brexit and forced her from office. As the final candidates in the Tory leadership race battle it out, this film is a salutary warning of what lies ahead for the winner.

A fantastic behind the scenes documentary on the process thus far.

July 12, 2019

Apollo in 50 numbers

“I’m not that interested in space,” John F Kennedy told the head of Nasa, James Webb, in a private meeting at the White House in 1962. “I think it’s good, I think we ought to know about it, we’re ready to spend reasonable amounts of money but we’re talking about these fantastic expenditures which wreck our budget.”