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Isabelle Aron | Vice | 1st September 2021
Oral history of a bizarre yet beloved British cultural property: the seven-foot tall pink and yellow spotted shape that is Mr Blobby. Originally introduced as a minor character for a prank segment on a 1990s gameshow, he soon had a life of his own and the country was swamped with Mr Blobby merchandise. Best of all: for 20 years the man in the suit was a serious Shakespearean actor (2,649 words)
F. Gerald Phillips | Air & Space | 16th July 2021
Thrilling tale of an aeroplane mishap in 1926. A pilot took off on a photographic mission before a mechanic had finished securing one of the wheels. To avoid a crash landing, another plane with a stuntman flew alongside to do a mid-air repair. "At 1,500 feet and 70 mph, Al made an extremely difficult job look easy," but he still had to hold the wheel on with his foot as they came into land (1,525 words)
Orlando Gibbs | Antigone | 28th August 2021
With its stock characters, punch-lines, reversals and running gags, ancient humour worked in much the same way as its modern counterpart. "The structure of the jokes bears a striking resemblance to modern joke-telling. A set-up introduces some incongruity or tension. The punchline defuses, clarifies, or blasts through that tension with a secondary proposition or idea" (2,540 words)
Video: Inside A New York City Micro Apartment | Erik Conover. Tour of three progressively smaller apartments for rent in NYC, with discussion of the trade offs and practicalities of each (14m 10s)
Podcast: The Unsilencing | Radiolab. Autoimmune disorders disproportionately affect women, but tend to disappear during pregnancy. The reasons for this can be traced back to the evolution of the placenta (28m 56s)
Interview: Browser Publisher Uri Bram talks to three Stanford professors – philosopher Rob Reich, political scientist Jeremy Weinstein and computer scientist Mehran Sahami – about their brand new book System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot, discussing sensible regulation, democratic values and the future of technology in under ten words each (video: 26m 39s, podcast: 26m 34s, transcript: 4,136 words)
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