Friday, October 24, 2014

The last of a dining breed

The last of a dining breed: "Whenever office-bound workers drag themselves away from the desk for midday food these days, it’s likely to be eaten on the run. As for the long, boozy lunch – once a staple of the journalistic profession, among others – that’s dead. Even if people do make it to a restaurant, the meal will usually be both abstemious and short.
It’s an international trend, begun by latter-day puritans in the US but now spreading everywhere in the western world. Even Paris has succumbed. Although apparently some people do still eat in the daytime there, I’m told that many Parisian waiters don’t even bother offering them the wine menu any more. Quelle horreur.
My colleague on Monday couldn’t drink, as it happened, because he was driving. So to take the bad look off it, I had a single glass for us both. And over this we marvelled, not for the first time, at the prandial feats of our predecessors.
Journalism has a rich folklore relating the heroics of former editors and reporters who spent half-days over lunch, draining cellars, and still managed to get back to the office (often armed with indiscretions leaked by inebriated guests) in sufficient shape to get a newspaper out."

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Urban light pollution: why we're all living with permanent 'mini jetlag' | Cities | The Guardian

Urban light pollution: why we're all living with permanent 'mini jetlag' | Cities | The Guardian: "Astronomer Dr Jason Pun of the Hong Kong University department of physics has been studying light pollution for nearly a decade. He says people often ask him if he’s crazy. “‘Hong Kong is supposed to be bright,’ they say. ‘Why are you even talking about light being some kind of pollution?’”

This is a city that is famous for its nightscape: neon signs advertising market stalls, pawn shops and steakhouses; illuminated skyscrapers; swanky malls that stay open – and stay lit – well into the night. “When I walk at night around some of these commercial centres, it’s so bright you almost want to wear your sunglasses,” Pun says.

Indeed, in our collective imaginations, cities are meant to be bright. But as studies begin to show that too much light can be detrimental to health, and fewer of us are able to see the stars when we look up, are cities getting too bright for our own good?

Hong Kong isn’t alone in celebrating light. Paris is still known as the City of Light; only slightly less glamorous Blackpool relies for tourism on its annual illuminations, when more than 1 million bulbs light a distance of 10km."

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rubber bandits

Rubber bandits: "Word of the tyre-based landscaping quickly reached the ears of street urchins from a neighbouring suburb who had a plan of their own – for a giant Halloween bonfire up at the back of St James’s Hospital somewhere. So even though the tyres were behind security fencing, there followed nightly attempts to liberate them, some successful.
This looked like one of the successes. And as two tyres were wheeled past the pub, the men in the doorway looked on, more or less amused. “Where’s the guards?” asked somebody. “Out fitting water meters,” quipped another.
But in general, the onlookers were indulgent. “We did worse ourselves,” said one. “We did of course,” said another. And with that, they were off on down Memory Lane, while the tyres headed up Bow Lane, in the opposite direction.
There’s a certain phrase that, in my opinion, is vastly overused these days in the context of corporate plans. Even so, in this case, it would have been fully justified, both for the landscapers and the pyromaniacs.
In fact, if the bonfire planners were in the habit of issuing press releases, they would surely have predicted the “roll-out” of all the remaining tractor tyres by October 31st. But a bit like Irish water, which had a similar deadline, they ran into logistical difficulties."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Guardian overtakes New York Times in comScore traffic figures | Media |

The Guardian overtakes New York Times in comScore traffic figures | Media | "The Guardian has passed the New York Times to become the world’s second most popular English-language newspaper website, according to the latest monthly traffic figures from comScore.

Last month website network recorded 42.6 million worldwide unique visitors, a 12.3% month-on-month increase, according to the latest comScore report on desktop web usage. The New York Times drew 41.6 million worldwide unique visitors, up 8% month on month.

The Guardian ranks 5th biggest in comScore’s newspaper category, behind the Daily Mail’s Mail Online, which drew 55.8 million worldwide unique users last month.

The top three slots are taken by Chinese newspaper websites: Xinhua News Agency (90.2 million uniques), People’s Daily Online (89.1 million) and China Daily Sites (56.4 million)."

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