Four stories the EU would like the right to have forgotten

Memory holes The EU wants to introduce a law which would force Google to delete from its searches old information that individuals and organisations would prefer forgotten. Some things that… Read more

The Bench

When judges go to jail

Judges in jail Barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe was jailed for 16 months for perverting the course of justice in charges related to the Chris Huhne affair. She is… Read more

Are pigeons braver than dogs?

Animal spirit A labrador blown up with her handler while sniffing for bombs in Afghanistan in 2008 became the 64th animal to be awarded the PDSA’s Dickin medal for ‘gallantry’… Read more

Runaway runners and other other sporting refugees

Done a runner Mami Konneh Lahun, a 24-year-old athlete from Sierra Leone, went missing after finishing as the 20th-placed woman in the London Marathon. She is not the first athlete… Read more

The rise and fall of the Red Road flats

Flat pack Some facts about Glasgow’s Red Road Flats, built in 1968, which are to be demolished as part of the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games. — The original… Read more

The not-so-great escapes

Escapology This week marked the 70th anniversary of the Great Escape, when 76 Allied servicemen tunnelled out of Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp in Poland. Fifty of them… Read more

MH370 isn't the only flight that's still missing

Plane vanished Some other planes, besides Flight MH370, which have disappeared without trace: — A Boeing 727 cargo plane that was being prepared for a flight in Luana, Angola, on… Read more

Do wars always start in years ending ‘14’?

Years of war Imaginative souls have tried to compared the situation in Ukraine with that which preceded the first world war 100 years ago. Are years ending in 14 especially… Read more

Where to open your brothel: an international comparison

The best places to open a brothel The Commons all-party group on prostitution has called for a Scandinavian-style law where selling sex would not be illegal but buying it would… Read more

A looter's guide to presidential palaces

Palace coups The people of Ukraine enjoyed a peek inside President Yanukovych’s palace, complete with petting zoo and collection of motorcycles. Who has the biggest and best presidential palace? —… Read more

Barometer: The kamikaze pilot who retired after three missions

A kamikaze pilot at 80 The Japanese city of Minami-Kyushu was attacked for wanting to add the letters of 1,036 kamikaze pilots who died on suicide missions in the second… Read more

Barometer: When Britain was good at the Winter Olympics

Our first winter Hopes will not be high for a big haul of British medals in Sochi, but we have not always been Cinderellas at winter sports. In the first… Read more

The political lives of Walter Mitty

The political life of Walter Mitty Nigel Farage attacked the ‘Walter Mittys’ in his own party. A few of the many uses of James Thurber’s daydreaming character in politics: —… Read more

When they warned you about eight for the road

One for the road Road safety campaigners were angered by the opening of the first pub at a motorway service station, on the M40 in Buckinghamshire. — Drink-driving campaigns pre-date… Read more

A successful obesity campaign? Fat chance

Fat chances The National Obesity Forum said that Britain is reaching a ‘doomsday scenario’ where half the population is obese. What happened to previous government campaigns to tackle obesity? —… Read more

Barometer: Storm waves? It could be three times worse

The test of a wave Waves measuring 27ft from peak to trough were seen off Land’s End as the stormy weather continued. How do these compare with the highest waves… Read more

The first world war in numbers

Centuries of conflict 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the war which was supposed to end all wars. Has the toll of war since 1918 been lesser or greater than… Read more

14 December 2013

Whose year is it anyway? Some things which 2014 has been declared to be the year of: — Year of the Horse (China) — International Year of Family Farming (World… Read more

Barometer: Who snorts more cocaine — the rich or the poor? 

The darkest day Several people were injured on ‘Black Friday’, a day of retail discounting imported from the US, where the fourth Thursday of November is the Thanksgiving holiday and… Read more

30 November 2013

Third-class thinking A report by the Institute of Economic Affairs recommended standing-room-only third-class carriages as an alternative to longer trains and platforms. What was third-class rail travel originally like? —… Read more

Barometer: How many of today's Ukippers voted Tory in 2010? 

Brave new words ‘Selfie’ was declared to be Oxford Dictionaries’ ‘word of the year’. It hasn’t, however, yet been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. These are some of the… Read more

Barometer: David Dimbleby is not alone (unfortunately)

Whose tattoos? David Dimbleby, 75, has had a scorpion tattooed on his right shoulder. Some more tattoo-wearers who perhaps ought to know better: —  Lady Steel, 71, wife of former… Read more

Barometer: Who eats dogs?

Dog’s dinner A Canadian hiker rescued in Quebec was reported to have killed and eaten his German shepherd dog in spite of it having saved him from a bear. Who… Read more

Which NHS staff have enjoyed the biggest salary increases? 

What can they do? Saudi women took to the wheel in defiance of laws preventing them from driving. Some recent freedoms Saudi women have gained: — From this year they… Read more

Barometer: How is the National Theatre like Tesco? 

National statistics Some lesser-known facts about the National Theatre: — 26 per cent of its income comes from box office sales on the South Bank, 33 per cent from commercial… Read more