Worth Reading 117: The missing of Roanoke

Richard Hofstadter and America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism – Not just limited to America, of course.
Robert Reich: “Paid-what-you’re-worth” is a toxic myth – “Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker got paid $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, and the typical Walmart workers earns $8.80 an hour.”
Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa – It might not sound that interesting, but here’s a look behind the scenes at how regulation has affected food production differently on both sides of the Atlantic.
Good Riddance, Fred Phelps – And that’s how you write an obituary for a repulsive individual.
A nation of slaves – “Today, in the political discourse of the west, it is almost unthinkably hard to ask a very simple question: why should we work?”

Latest Castle Ward planning applications

142469 & 142925: Variation of planning conditions, Greens Yard.
142583: Advertisement consent for new signage, Angel Court, High Street.
142868: Advertisement consent for rebranding, Crouch Street.
142890: Advertisement consent for new signs, High Street.
142913: Change of use to class A5 (hot food takeaway), High Street.
142923: Rear and front porch extensions, Kings Meadow Road.
142940: Alterations and part demolition, High Street.
143208: Advertisement consent for signage, Trinity Street.
143372: Change of use from offices to hotel and restaurant, North Hill.

You can make a statement in favour or against any of these applications on the Council website, or if you want to discuss it further with one of your councillors then please contact me or my ward colleagues Bill Frame and Jo Hayes.

Latest Castle Ward planning applications

142128 – New one bedroom dwelling, Walters Yard
140344 – Listed building consent for painting window frames, East Hill
142440 and 142441 – Single story extension and garage, Maidenburgh Street
142462 – First floor extension and garage reconstruction, Carlisle Close
140527 – Change of use to A5 (restaurant/cafe), St Botolph’s Street
142523 – Change of use from office to out-patient clinic, High Street

You can make a statement in favour or against any of these applications on the Council website, or if you want to discuss it further with one of your councillors then please contact me or my ward colleagues Bill Frame and Jo Hayes.

Worth Reading 116: The star to every wandering bark

The dark power of fraternities – It’s been doing the rounds because of an interesting opening, but the meat of this article on the influence of fraternities within the US higher education system is interesting.
The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda – “That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”
America: Not a small business country – “There is almost no measure on which America’s small business sector stands out from those of other advanced countries.”
The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia – It’s unlikely that it would have worked, but an interesting look at the work that would have been needed to launch an emergency rescue once it was realised Columbia couldn’t return to Earth.
The Luton Peace Riots (1919) – ‘Can you have a riot for peace?’ asks Jim Jepps. Probably not, but this is a bit of British history I’d never heard before.

Worth Reading 115: Sixtus the seventh

George Lakoff: ‘Conservatives don’t follow the polls, they want to change them … Liberals do everything wrong’ – Interesting perspective from a psychologist, which is in line with some of the comments Drew Westen made in The Political Brain.
Remarks on climate change – A speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, where he appears to be committing the US to action.
Of wind farms, birds and global warming – Guess what’s mozt hazardous to birds: wind turbines or habitat destruction from climate change?
Recent developments in the United States vividly illustrate inequality’s threat to democracy – from Democratic Audit.
In World’s Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling — Because That’s What House Prices Are Supposed To Do – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find this article isn’t about Britain.

The end of all-male panels on the BBC?

Quick trivia question: What connects Richard Osman, Dan Snow and Mark Steel?

They’re the last all-male line-up of guests on Have I Got News For You, if Danny Cohen delivers on his promise:

“We’re not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them. You can’t do that. It’s not acceptable.”

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been collecting data on the gender bias on Have I Got News For You for a while and so this is welcome news. As I’ve got almost bored of pointing out, there have been only seven episodes of HIGNFY where all the guests have been female, with the last one of those being back in 1997 (Sue Perkins and Eve Pollard) and 181 where all the guests were male, with over a hundred of those happening since 1997 (Osman, Snow and Steel were in October last year).

So, if that number now freezes at 181 for good then there’s a cheer or two for Cohen, as it guarantees that female representation on HIGNFY will rise above the 23.72% of guests they currently make up, and a minimum of 33% female guests will make the next series one of the highest ever. It might even reach or surpass the record giddy heights of 37.5% female guests, which was achieved back in the very first series in 1990.

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for an episode where there’ll be all-female guests again (and hence more women than men on screen for the first time ever in the series history), but I will wager that when it does the time between it being announced and some moron complaining how awful it is that they can’t have all-male guests will be measured in nanoseconds.

Latest Castle Ward planning applications

140021: Listed building consent for replacement signage, Head Street and Culver Street.
140046: Listed Building consent for signage, Head Street.
140218: Two-storey front extension, Kings Meadow Road.
140226: Change of use from A1 (Retail) to B1 (offices) on upper floor, Osborne Street.
140332 and 140333: Change of use from A1 (retail) to A2 (Bureau de Change), High Street.
140337: Removal of condition, Red Lion Yard.
140355: Listed building consent for refurbishment of public house, East Hill.
140357: Listed building consent for internal alterations, High Street.
140379: Single-story rear extension, Causton Road.
140382: Listed building application for blue plaque, East Hill.
140389: Removal of condition, High Street.
140390: Installation of plant area on roof, Culver Square.
140394: Variation of condition, Head Street.
140446: Advertisement consent for signage, Cowdray Avenue.
140448: Change of use to travel shop and offices, St Botolph’s Street.
140454: Removal of condition, Manor Road.
140473 and 140474: Shopfront alterations and advertisement consent, High Street.

You can make a statement in favour or against any of these applications on the Council website, or if you want to discuss it further with one of your councillors then please contact me or my ward colleagues Bill Frame and Jo Hayes.

Worth Reading 114: Hasta and Vopiscus

Oh look it’s a new year, so I must be trying to blog more and not leave this site fallow. Here’s some interesting things I’ve read recently:

Where will we live? – A long but fascinating and informative article on Britain’s housing issues from James Meek in the London Review of Books.
Seeming Female: Gender In Digital Spaces – Some interesting data on how men react to female characters in online gaming, regardless of whether or not their players are women.
Reds Under The Archive Table – “Charitably, the article can be put down to youthful hubris. But it is also complete bollocks.” Academic history is not a conspiracy of leftists, despite what certain Tory activists think.
Dear James Delingpole: You Are The Problem – I’m pretty sure we all knew that already, but this Foz Meadows piece shows why.
Sorry, I actually don’t want a “digital firepower onslaught”. I’d prefer better politics. – A short, but accurate, piece from Jon Worth on how doing more online isn’t changing politics.

And only taken me a month to gather these…

Gender bias on Have I Got News For You – updated

I was reminded about this by a Twitter conversation this morning, and realised that I hadn’t updated my spreadsheet about the gender of guests on Have I Got News For You since the last series ended. That the last series was pretty underwhelming may have had something to do with it, but if you’re the sort of person who wants to see a lot of statistics about how many men and women have been on the show in its 46(!) seasons, then you can find it by clicking here.

The main points (I hesitate to use ‘highlights’) are:

  • We still have to look back to 1997 for the last time all the guests on a show were women.
  • There have now been 181 times during the show’s history where all the guests (and hence, everyone on screen) was a man.
  • The last series managed to have 30% of women hosts and guests, which meant there was a very slight upturn in the overall percentages of both – 23.27% (guests) and 23.72% (hosts).
  • And it’s very depressing to compile these figures and see that there’s been basically no change since 1990.