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18/09/2019 17:16:02  

This week, contestants on the Channel 4 show all failed to make a decent curd tart – the first time everyone has flunked the technical. One armchair baker sees if she can better them

As an inveterate armchair baker, who laughs knowingly as raw dough gets the Paul Hollywood finger or unset fillings ooze, I watched enthusiastically as every single contestant failed the technical challenge in the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. Hollywood described the efforts to make maids of honour – a kind of curd-filled tart – as “awful”. But how would I get on when I gave this recipe – beloved of Henry VIII – a try?

I begin by boiling milk then adding vinegar: everyone’s favourite way to start a dessert. This lumpy horror should be separated using a muslin cloth. Obviously, I don’t have any muslins: it’s not the 1890s. I use a grubby cloth that came with a pot of cleanser. Perhaps any essential oils will enhance the flavour? The face cloth is definitively too small to hold 200g of hot, separated vinegar milk, but I catch it with a sieve.

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18/09/2019 11:15:14  

From looming political crisis to a leaky flat – a troubled year in the life of a great American punk poet

At the start of 2016, Patti Smith’s friend the producer, manager and rock critic Sandy Pearlman was hospitalised after suffering a brain haemorrhage. She first met him in 1971 when he attended one of her performances during which she read poetry against a backdrop of feedback, courtesy of guitarist Lenny Kaye. Pearlman approached Smith after the show and suggested she front a rock band, but, as she recalls in her new memoir: “I just laughed and told him I had a good job working in a bookstore.” Later she took his advice and went on to make the landmark punk album Horses. Their friendship endured, leading her and Kaye to his bedside nearly 50 years later as he lay in a coma. “We stood on either side of him, promising to mentally hold on to him, keep an open channel, ready to intercept and accept any signal,” Smith writes. But the signal never came; six months later, Pearlman died.

Her account of 2016 shows it was a difficult year all round. Along with the loss of friends, she is poleaxed by the rise of populism, the dirtiness of the US election battle and looming environmental catastrophe. She is also discomforted by her impending 70th birthday. And so, after a run of New Year gigs at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and a stretch back in her leaky New York flat, Smith engages in what she calls “passive wandering, a small respite from the clamouring, the cries of the world”. She travels to Arizona, California, Virginia and Kentucky.

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18/09/2019 08:15:36  

Channel 4’s head of news caused a storm with her extraordinarily frank MacTaggart lecture. She talks about sexism, ageism – and the surprising way she was trained to speak out

When Dorothy Byrne described Boris Johnson as “a known liar” and compared his media strategy to Vladimir Putin’s, she must have known she would get into a dispute with Downing Street. “Oh, I’m never in a dispute with anybody,” she answers with a speed that seems almost combative. “People can have a dispute with me. But I don’t have disputes with other people.” This sounds like the beginning of a dispute in itself, but perhaps she thinks I am having one with her.

Byrne, the head of news and current affairs at Channel 4, made headlines herself last month when the prime minister’s office cancelled an interview with one of her teams following her outspoken comments during Edinburgh television festival’s annual MacTaggart lecture. According to the editor of Channel 4 News, Ben de Pear, a team of journalists was invited to Biarritz to interview Johnson during the G7 summit – only to find access denied.

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18/09/2019 06:15:46  

Greenland’s ice melt has been adopted by the world as a bellwether for climate crisis, but the impact on biodiversity has been overlooked. At an ice station on a remote Arctic glacier, scientists are looking to the smallest of life forms to predict the pace of species extinction

Behind the remote research huts of Sermilik ice station, a vast sheet of ice stretches north for 1,480 miles, spanning an area three times the size of France.

It is holding 10% of the world’s freshwater, water that has been frozen solid for millions of years. It’s glacier calving season in the south-eastern reaches of Greenland, and the adjacent channel is full of the thunderous roars and cracks of a flotilla of icebergs breaking apart.

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18/09/2019 06:15:44  

Exclusive: Nick Pollard’s resignation could hit CGTN’s UK expansion plans

China’s state-owned global news channel CGTN has been dealt a blow to its UK expansion plans following the resignation of a former regulator hired in the wake of Ofcom’s investigation into allegations the broadcaster aired prisoners’ forced confessions.

Former Ofcom executive and ex-Sky News boss Nick Pollard was taken by CGTN last year as a consultant to help it abide by television rules as it built a new European base, but has left due to his concerns about the impartiality of the broadcaster’s coverage of the protests in Hong Kong.

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17/09/2019 10:15:38  

American Sarah Thomas, 37, tests limits of endurance by swimming 215km in 54 hours

An American woman has become the first person to swim the Channel four times non-stop, dedicating her achievement to fellow survivors of breast cancer.

Sarah Thomas, 37, began her marathon feat at 12.07am BST on Sunday morning and finished just over 54 hours later at 6.30am on Tuesday.

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17/09/2019 09:15:51  

(OVO Sound / Warner Records)
The Drake-abetted return of gang drama Top Boy extends to this collection of music inspired by the show, with strong showings from Headie One and Dave

There is seemingly no end to Drake’s adoration of UK rap culture. Beginning with his impromptu features at Skepta’s London shows in 2015 and an effusive back-and-forth on social media, the Canadian rapper was soon bringing up obscure references to smoking a blem and wearing Hermès in “Gyalchester” on 2017’s More Life. Yet the pinnacle of his grime fascination came with the Channel 4 series Top Boy. Consistently posting stills of the show on his Instagram, featuring clumsy captions like “real bod man”, he couldn’t get enough of the east London drug gang drama.

Cancelled after two seasons, Drake has now been pivotal in bringing the show back to life on Netflix. It’s apt, then, that with grime’s ascension into the mainstream since Top Boy went off-air in 2013 that music is central to the new series. This compilation isn’t strictly a soundtrack but a collection of tracks loosely inspired by the show, featuring some of its newest onscreen stars like Dave and Little Simz, as well as standout talents from the wider scene like AJ Tracey, Ghetts and Headie One.

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17/09/2019 09:12:36  
17/09/2019 08:11:51  

American woman Sarah Thomas has become the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop.
17/09/2019 06:15:47  

Sara Cox helps seven singles find romance in the midst of running busy farms. Plus: the Bake Off rises once more. Here’s what to watch this evening

It is time for the titular swim in this final episode of the charitable series where non-swimming celebrities really are thrown in the deep end (of the Channel) – and one hopes (as do the producers) that they don’t sink. Following 12 weeks of training, the cohort, which includes Olympians Linford Christie and Tessa Sanderson, seem relay-ready, although the brutal realities of the freezing cold, murky water might spell failure. Despite the concept, it is strangely emotional viewing. Ammar Kalia

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17/09/2019 06:11:39  

Sarah Thomas, a 37-year-old American cancer survivor, began the marathon swim on Sunday.
16/09/2019 22:15:14  

Two years in the making, this heavyweight new series starts by meeting prisoners with deeply controversial indeterminate sentences – and the damage done is crystal clear

When Pandora gave in to temptation and opened the boxful of ills that humanity had until then been spared, she managed to keep just one from escaping. Out flew disease and death and destruction, but hope was saved because, the ancient Greeks knew, it was the one thing without which mortals cannot survive.

It is this eternal truth that lies at the heart of Channel 4’s heavyweight documentary series Crime and Punishment, which was filmed over two years and sets out to explore every aspect of the criminal justice system.

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16/09/2019 12:15:30  

Just five main ingredients make up this delicious spanakopita – a classic Greek filo pie of spinach and feta

I once made a Channel 4 show called The Wild Gourmets. We travelled the length and breadth of the country, foraging, fishing and hunting for food, and I was allowed to cook only with what we found – plus a few sparse ingredients. It can be incredibly liberating, cutting out too much choice from the cooking equation and forcing oneself to limit the number of ingredients thrown in. Here is a midweek feast: a classic spinach and feta pie from Greece that could have more ingredients, but is totally delicious with just these.

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15/09/2019 21:11:58  
15/09/2019 20:15:06  

This show should have been a soothing sweet treat ... instead, it was an hour of tedium that led to a long dark night of the soul

Inside Cadbury: Chocolate Secrets Unwrapped (Channel 4) was clearly intended as a jolly puff piece. It would offer us, it promised, “unique access inside its secretive Willy Wonka world” – a tenuous relationship with standard grammar and immediate recourse to the laziest of cliches being the twin poles around which such creations are traditionally strung.

I was all up for it. The video doing the rounds on social media recently of a Wall’s Viennetta being made can only soothe for so long. I was looking forward to an even sweeter treat, something akin to an extended version of the Sesame Street segments that used to show products rolling through factory assembly lines. Because only sights of mass production can ever fill that howling, panicked void inside us all that craves order, uniformity and abundance. I wanted to feel again those few, fleeting moments of peace that they induce. You know?

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15/09/2019 17:15:02  

• Longchamp win was Italian’s 16th Group One win of the year
• John Gosden describes Dettori as a ‘genius’ after top-class ride

Frankie Dettori equalled his best ever season at the highest level and did so with a flawless front-running ride as Star Catcher added the Prix Vermeille to her win in the Irish Oaks in July. It was the jockey’s 16th Group One winner of 2019 but as a trial for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe it proved less significant, as Star Catcher is most unlikely to make the trip back across the Channel for the big one in three weeks’ time.

Instead, Star Catcher could head to Champions Day and the Breeders’ Cup in America while Enable, her stable companion at the John Gosden yard, attempts to win the Arc for the third year running. There could be no better moment for Dettori to register his 17th Group One win, though he is in such outstanding form at present, with four wins from his last five Group One starts, that his personal record may well be history already by 6 October.

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15/09/2019 12:11:19  

Three boats carrying suspected migrants are being dealt with off the Kent coast.
15/09/2019 09:15:27  

Beanie Feldstein nails the Wolverhampton accent as a lightly-fictionalised Moran/Julie Burchill hybrid in this warm hearted and acid tongued tale of growing up into a gunslinging music journalist

Some pure Caitlin Moran gold is to be had in this very funny and sometimes inspiring coming-of-age comedy, adapted by the columnist and author Moran from her bestselling autobiographical novel from 2014 and directed by Coky Giedroyc. The story takes us to Moran’s now legendary upbringing in a Midlands council house with many siblings: the same scenario she sketched out in her excellent (and scandalously cancelled) Channel 4 TV sitcom Raised By Wolves — and rapidly becoming as mythical as Billy Liar’s home-life in Keith Waterhouse’s novel. It is all, as ever, treated with hilarious and utterly unsentimental wit and affection.

The American star Beanie Feldstein plays nerdy, friendless sixth-former and bibliophile Johanna Korrigan, and moreover does so with a pretty decent Wolverhampton accent — this isn’t like the dodgy Yorkshire accent of Anne Hathaway in One Day or that of Josh Hartnett in the comedy Blow Dry about a sexy hairdresser in Keighley.

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15/09/2019 07:15:22  

Syrian film-maker Waad al-Kateab documents both the city’s violent siege and the birth of her daughter

There is a scene in the middle of this powerful, harrowing and deeply human documentary about life under siege in Aleppo, Syria, that perfectly encapsulates its mixture of horror and hope. In the terrible aftermath of yet another airstrike, a pregnant woman with broken limbs and shrapnel in her belly is brought into a makeshift theatre in al-Quds hospital. An emergency caesarean brings her critically unresponsive child into this world of carnage – a terrible, pitiable sight, made all the more unwatchable by the certainty that nothing so vulnerable could possibly survive such violence. Syrian citizen-journalist and mother Waad al-Kateab, whose frontline footage was seen in Channel 4 News’s Inside Aleppo reports, keeps filming, determined to bring such daily atrocities to the attention of the world. And then, as the spectacle seems too cruel to endure, a miracle occurs, offering a gasping glimpse of redemption amid this unfolding hell.

There are many moments in For Sama when audiences will want to look away, not least because so many of the victims being dragged out of ravaged buildings or laid out on blood-soaked floors are children. These are kids who have grown up amid a cacophony of deafening explosions to which they no longer react; whose earliest words include “air raid” and “cluster bomb”; who play among the wreckage of burnt-out buses; and whose young friends have either moved away or died. The documentary itself is addressed and dedicated to a child – Waad’s daughter, Sama – whom we first meet as smoke fills the corridors of the hospital in which she lives, while her mother cries: “Who’s got my girl? Where’s my girl?”

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15/09/2019 06:15:10  

A quest to radically reduce sugar in the iconic Dairy Milk from the Channel 4 documentary. Plus: Stacey Dooley on Boko Haram. Here’s what to watch this evening

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14/09/2019 10:58:26  

Back for a fifth series, Channel 4’s late-night dating show is becoming more than just a naked novelty

It is important to acknowledge that, in Naked Attraction (Wednesdays, 10pm, Channel 4), the producers have created a show designed to make me hold my palms bone-to-the-eyes and shout: “OH, JESUS GOD” whenever literally any second of action happens.

Slow reveal of six ancient penises, stirring mutely like naked mole rats dropped on a barber’s shop floor? Oh, Jesus God. Host Anna Richardson turning sideface and saying: “Would you have a go on that?” like a Blue Peter presenter about to get stuck into some PVA glue? Oh, Jesus God. Three naked British people – naked! They have no clothes on! – sincerely praising each other’s bodies, standing there with the casual air of a half-forced smoking area chat, drily saying: “She has lovely boobs”? Oh, Jesus God. When I die I am going to hell, and when I go there I will be met by a file of nude people, every one of them sporting a crotch tattoo slightly overgrown with about four days’ worth of pubic hair, and I’ll have to stare them all in the eyes and go: “Yeah. It’s … interesting. I can see myself … I can definitely see myself going down there.” Every day for ever, until the abyss takes me.

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14/09/2019 07:57:41  

Hot power cables snake through tunnels and channel under cities all around the world. All it takes is a fan/air coil to capture that heat for buildings. Researchers and a power company in the UK calculate that the essentially free heat could warm thousands of London homes. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report from IEEE Spectrum: Underneath London's bustling streets lie several kilometers of 2.5-meter-wide concrete tunnels lined with power distribution cables that can reach blistering temperatures. To cool the tunnels, vertical shafts spaced out every kilometer or two supply fresh air and eject hot air out into the open. Researchers at London South Bank University (LSBU) want to put that waste heat to use. A typical 1.8-km tunnel stretch between ventilation shafts produces 400 kilowatts of heat, enough to heat 100 homes or a small commercial office, they have found in a preliminary analysis done with the city's electricity network operator UK Power Networks. This heat recovery scheme would have a third of the carbon emissions of a gas boiler delivering the same amount of heat. The researchers presented this work at the International Congress of Refrigeration in August. [...] A heat exchanger installed at the supply shaft reduced cable and tunnel air temperatures by 8 degrees Celsius, but the amount of heat recovered varied from about 100 kilowatts in colder months to 460 kW in high heat. Installed at the exhaust shaft, the system produced around 400 kW during all six months.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

14/09/2019 02:00:34  

mrwireless writes: YouTube channel Real Engineering has posted a great video on the potential (and downsides) of geothermal power. I think it would be great to discuss this video on Slashdot, since in discussions about climate change, geothermal rarely comes up as a viable alternative. The video mentions things like:- Could power our needs twice over- New technology makes it possible in more locations- Works night and day - Could be cost competitive (according to an MIT study) - Workers from the oil drilling industry could find new jobs in this sector So: why isn't geo-thermal energy getting as much attention as solar and wind?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13/09/2019 16:58:50  

Lo-fi videos about life on the road also fill blindspot travel industry has in catering for women of colour

The YouTube channel of a 21-year-old woman who lives in a van with her pet snake, Alfredo, is at the centre of a debate about race, travel and gender in the online world.

Jennelle Eliana’s channel, which documents her day-to-day existence as a “vanlifer”, has become an internet phenomenon after gaining 1.9 million subscribers since June.

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13/09/2019 13:58:26  

Judiciary committee requests tech giants hand over internal emails and other records in antitrust investigation – follow the latest

The details of this news will continue to flow out this morning, after a bipartisan congressional demand for internal documents from Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple as part of an anti-trust probe.

It remains to be seen to what extent blocking a shipping channel opens a dialogue channel. The climate crisis and the environment is top of many people’s agendas, to be sure, even if it wasn’t very high up the list at the Democratic debate in Houston last night.

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