Archive for October, 2008

More British Values Day

October 28th, 2008

As Simon points out in the comments to the post immediately below this one, there is confusion in ministerial ranks as to whether we are, in fact, going to be having a British Values Day after all. This page of the BBC is currently headlined “British Day idea ‘is still alive'”, but yesterday the same page was far gloomier about the future of British Values Day (more in line with this kind of report). Perhaps confusion about whether to have a Day on which to celebrate British Values is, in fact, a British Value? In other British-Values-Day-related news, I’m delighted to report that the Virtual Stoa is the top Google hit on the entire interweb for those searching for information about BVD, which is as it should be.

If you’re looking for adventure of a new and different kind / And you come across a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined / Don’t be nervous, don’t be flustered, don’t be scared — Be prepared!

October 20th, 2008

There’s nothing new about Scouts getting sex education; Baden Powell wanted to include a passage on “continence” in the first edition of Scouting for Boys, but it was removed on the advice of the publisher. I’ve transcribed it from the appendix to Elleke Boehmer’s edition over the fold.


Cum Quirites Americani ad rallias Republicanas audiunt nomen Baraci Husseini Obamae, clamant “Mortem!” “Amator terroris!” “Socialiste!” “Bomba Obamam!” “Obama est Arabus!”…

October 13th, 2008

Maureen Dowd does Latin; Mary Beard comments [via PR].

Thursday Cat Blogging: Enkidu, TV star!

October 9th, 2008

Enkidu was on the local news today, filmed trotting across the boatyard site, and looking magnificent.

You can see him, for a bit at least, over at the BBC South Today page: click to watch the “BBC Oxford News”, and he appears one minute and seven seconds into the report. Philip Pullman is on immediately after Enkidu, but it’s a bit of a let down as he lacks the natural screen presence of the black-and-white cat.

Boatyard Appeal Rejected

October 8th, 2008

Good news. Oxford Mail, here; full decision (not too long) here. Roughly speaking, the inspector agreed that it was reasonable to think that the 50% affordable housing requirement should have been relaxed on the development site, but wasn’t entirely happy with what would be available on the waterside, and really didn’t like the designs.

Twenty Five Years Later

October 8th, 2008

Gordon Brown was first elected to Parliament in 1983.

Here’s what the Labour Party’s manifesto that year had to say about the banks… [via]


I Still Miss Someone

October 3rd, 2008

The second annual Ewen Green Memorial Lecture, “Empire and the turn to collectivism in English social policy, c. 1880-1914”, will be given by Professor Miles Taylor (Director, The Institute of Historical Research, London) on Tuesday 14 October 2008 at 5.00pm, Magdalen College Auditorium (entrance in Longwall Street). Drinks afterwards.

(In a different and better world, Thursday 16th would have been Ewen’s 50th birthday.)

Ig Nobel Prize for Oxford!

October 3rd, 2008

NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.

REFERENCE: “The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips,” Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence, Journal of Sensory Studies, vol. 19, October 2004,  pp. 347-63.

The full list of winners is here.

Sarah Palin VP Debate Bingo!

October 2nd, 2008

Get your cards over here! [thanks JQ/DA]