70s dinner party food: If only we’d had Instagram back then

This was the era of the showboat dinner party, where the upwardly mobile British family would invite peers and colleagues into their homes in a bid to wow them via high-voltage, brightly coloured three-course extravaganzas. It was a time of meals that didn’t just taste out of this world, they looked out of this world, […]

Old book, new look: why the classics are flying off the shelves

  This autumn, though, they’re offering something new: a range of hardbacks offering “unique content” – a collection of an author’s works that hasn’t been presented this way before, or a new translation of a classic. Their design is flamboyantly simple: no dust jacket but a cloth binding, a cream background on which title and […]

Review of Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products

Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products by Richard Banfield My rating: 3 of 5 stars There’s a lot of evidence to suggest the book wasn’t even proofed before it was published. There are spelling mistakes all over it and even an entire paragraph repeated on pages 158 and 162.  It’s a […]

Japan gives Harry Potter the manga treatment

  The Harry Potter franchise continues to enjoy huge success in Japan, 15 years after the release of first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The seven films in the series have grossed more than US$893 in the country and been seen in cinemas by more than 78 million people, while Philosopher’s Stone is […]

Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

The worst thing that ever happened to universities was when someone had the bright idea of creating disciplines, instead of allowing students to explore a range of subjects. Education is supposed to broaden the mind. Now it narrows it.

Walking the Tube

  Here’s an amusing trick you can play on people from Newfoundland or Lincolnshire. Take them to Bank Station and tell them to make their way to Mansion House. Using Beck’s map—which even people from Newfoundland can understand in a moment—they will gamely take a Central Line train to Liverpool Street, change to a Circle […]

In kids cartoons, 0% of princesses are engineers, 2.9% of characters are black, and Batman doesn’t recycle

News via The Guardian of a new Kickstarter campaign to tackle poor representation of girls/women in STEM subjects (or rather STEAM – they quite rightly include the arts where they belong, alongside the other disciplines). “In kids cartoons, 0% of princesses are engineers, 2.9% of characters are black, and Batman doesn’t recycle. And kids spend […]

Worktown: The Astonishing Story of the Project that launched Mass Observation, by David Hall

An interesting review of Worktown in The Guardian, the beginning of the Mass Observation project in inter-war Britain. You do not learn about birds by interviewing them, he insisted: you watch them, as closely as you can and without trying to guess in advance what the results might be. As for birds, so for the […]

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – fun, with footnotes

It’s twenty five years since Good Omens was published, as this Guardian article reminds us. I seem to have lost more copies of this than any other book, lending it out to friends and it’s probably my most recommended book. The BBC did a rather good radio adaptation of this last year which is worth […]