The Null Device
US satellite radio network Sirius is about to start broadcasting BBC Radio 1 in the US, time delayed to sync up with local time. Now Americans frustrated with the Clear Channel monoculture will be able to catch John Peel's heirs playing all sorts of eclectic music at odd times of the night.
Meanwhile, back in Britain, Xfm (which, for the Australians in the audience, was once the closest thing Britain had to 3RRR, but now has turned into a Carling-flavoured Nova FM, playing the latest NME darlings on heavy rotation) is shedding one of the last vestiges of its alternative heritage, by merging with Kerrang-style hard-rock station Storm; both stations are owned by the Capital Radio group.
An investigation by the Evening Standard has found that the London Underground is hotter and more humid than Miami or Hong Kong, with commuters enduring worse conditions than residents in subtropical zones.
Our investigation found the worst conditions on the Northern line, where relative humidity - at 58 per cent - sent the apparent temperature soaring to 46C. Around the world, only the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, had a higher apparent temperature, at 48C.
The temperatures are officially dangerous-The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - America's version of the Met Office - classifies any apparent temperature above 41C as carrying the risk of heat exhaustion.
The controversial redevelopment of Camden Town station, which would have replaced the station buildings, as well as the Buck St. Market (that's the Doc-Martens-and-T-shirts one) and the Electric Ballroom (considered a sacred site by many who were teens in the 1980s) with a wedge of glass and chrome containing shops and offices, has been scrapped, after the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, rejected the plans. Opposition to the plans attracted prominent supporters, including Dame Judi Dench, Bob Geldof and Nick Cave, who described the Electric Ballroom as "part of the lifeblood of Camden Town".
According to a study at Flinders University, good social networks of close friends are more beneficial to a long life than family members:
The new study followed almost 1500 Australians, initially aged over 70. Those who at the start reported regular close personal or phone contact with five or more friends were 22% less likely to die in the next decade than those who had reported fewer, more-distant friends. But the presence or absence of close ties with children or other relatives had no impact on survival.Which all flies in the face of conventional wisdom, that supportive, tightly-knit families are the key to health and happiness. Though the explanation for this could be that it is not so much a truth as a manifestation of an evolved cultural response to the environment, a mantra of family-values repeatedly recited to counterbalance the ambient irritation of interaction with family members and reinforce stable social structures.
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out a return to the 40-hour work week as part of the Tories' industrial-relations reforms. Which could mean (a) that Australia gets to keep its socialistically inefficient 38-hour week (Oh, the lost productivity!), or possibly that working hours will be deregulated, as they are in the UK (where employment contracts routinely include clauses waiving the EU's 48-hour work week limit).