Nick Cohen, Blogger:

Over here, as the Observer launches its blog.

Have any established British journalists successfully made the transition from journalism to blogging yet? There’s the comedy squad of Mel P and Pollard, but I’m not sure whether anyone sensible has yet started to run a regular blog, and/or made a good job of it.

Apart from Johann Hari and his sort-of blog. He’s borderline sensible, I suppose, and occasionally quite good.

(Am I missing anyone? There’s Paul Anderson, but he doesn’t post often and when he does it’s usually just copies of his articles for Tribune. Andrew Sullivan, obviously, but he’s far more rooted in a US context, and not just because he lives there.)

No Compassion

I’ve just spent a part of the morning at home reading the first hundred pages or so of Caroline Elkins’ new book, Britain’s Gulag, which describes, among other things, the “screening” of Mau Mau suspects in Kenya during the Emergency in the 1950s, which involved, among other things, the stubbing out of cigarettes on Kenyans’ bodies, savage beatings, hot eggs being inserted in rectums and vaginas, and suspects being forced to eat their own testicles after mutilation with pliers.

Earlier this week we could read in the newspapers about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of British troops, not of the same level of savagery, to be sure, but intolerable nevertheless.

And now I turn up at my office and read on the BBC website that the Heir to the Throne — in whose mother’s name these degradations were carried out in both Kenya and Iraq — has been whining again:

Prince Charles claimed the British people “tortured” him over his relationship with Mrs Parker Bowles in a 1998 interview, it has been revealed.”I thought the British people were supposed to be compassionate. I don’t see much of it,” he is said to have told BBC journalist Gavin Hewitt.

Yup. No compassion at all. Certainly none from me.

Not Worth It

Some japester has put Brasenose College up for sale on eBay. Screenshot here. [via Oxblog].

Later this evening I’ll be joining Marc Mulholland for a birthday drink at the King’s Arms pub, where they have framed on the wall a poster from a much earlier, mid-1990s attempt by Balliol’s Lime Society to auction off Trinity College and its contents to the highest bidder in an Everything Must Go Closing Down Sale. Which just goes to show that there’s nothing new under the sun, etc.

End of Day Miscellany

Class Worrier Raj is back from Northern Zululand and is posting again on the travails of the South African universities. Go and read what he has to say.

And, as people who know me will know, I’m generally secular and occasionally quite anti-clerical. But there are four different religious impulses that I experience from time to time — let’s call them the Quaker, the Shaker, the Anglican and the Jansenist — and all six of us think that Stephen Green of Christian Voice is a complete shit. That’s rare unanimity of opinion. [For details, see here and here.]

Splendid Rubbish Nonsense

Mel P rises to the occasion (as ever) with praise for IDS and his insightful views about blogs [see below].

For IDS, apparently, “has understood that the web has the power finally to topple not just individual journalists caught with their hands in the ethical till, but the whole wretched hegemony of insidious and civilisation-threatening views that has driven Britsh society off the rails…”

UPDATE [3pm]: Tim Lambert has been thinking about Mel P’s thinking on science and global warming:

Next, we have Melanie Philips, who is sure that global warming is a scam because (quoting McIntyre and McKitrick):

[Mann et al�s method], when tested on persistent red noise, nearly always produces a hockey stick shaped first principal component (PC1) and overstates the first eigenvalue.

According to her biography Philips is a journalist with a degree in English. Back when I was an undergraduate learning about stuff like eigenvalues and mathematical physics, my friends studying English didn’t learn about eigenvalues. Maybe it was different for Philips, or maybe she’s done some postgrad course in advanced statistical analysis, so I emailed her, asking her if she knew what red noise, principal components, or eigenvalues were. No reply. My guess is that she doesn’t know what any of them are. (Oh, and M&M’s “always produces a hockey stick” argument is a red herring.)

More over here, at the ever-excellent Deltoid blog.