Friday, October 17, 2014

Justice in the land of the Toblerone

Say what you like about the Guardian (and people generally do), but they can cover instances of over-zealous policing particularly well.

The latest comes from a rather unlikely quarter though, with business editor Andrew Clark starting the day as an accredited correspondent covering George Osborne's speech at the Davos summit, but somehow managing to end it with his hands tied behind his back in an underground car park detained by Swiss riot police.

Andrew Clark clearly isn't used to the Paul Lewis cop-baiting routine - his surreptitious Blackberry shots came out decidedly blurry - but when push came to shove, he knew what to do.

One by one, we were taken upstairs to the police station, at a rate of perhaps one every 15 minutes. After an hour or so, a policeman finally listened to my appeals and, examining my passport and press card, took me upstairs. I was photographed, mugshot-style, holding a number. & nbsp;
Then an English-speaking senior officer ordered me to delete any pictures taken on the train, and to rip out any pages from my notebook relating to the incident. I declined, asking him whether it was truly illegal in Switzerland to take pictures of the police.
He replied that policing the World Economic Forum was a ""special zone"" and that ""special rules"" applied. ""You have one minute. You can do this and go or, if you don't, you stay here,"" he said. & nbsp;
Again demurring, I asked to make a phone call – which prompted the assembled police to go into a huddle. Instead, the senior officer reached for his phone himself and made a long, animated call in German. More discussion ensued when he had hung up. Then he strolled over and he snapped: ""You can go back to your country.""
Well played.

The most depressing story of 2011: five thoughts on phone-hacking

There's been just one media story in 2011 so far - but to date, we've done our level best to avoid writing anything about the whole phone-hacking mess.

It is, self-evidently, a huge story, but it's one we find it hard to get excited about. The Guardian's dogged pursuit of the story should be admirable, but their holier-than-thou attitude just comes off as plain irritating. And the long-term implications are profoundly depressing.

There's also the very real risk that with acres of newsprint and hundreds of online articles already having been devoted to the topic, we won't have anything new to say on it. So, rather than attempting to offer a wise and balanced verdict on the whole sorry affair (for which you'd do much better to read this piece by Simon Jenkins), we'll offer just the five following thoughts:

1) The legal issues are not quite as black and white as some would have you believe. & nbsp;Yes, intercepting someone else's calls & nbsp;is a criminal offence according to Section 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and there is no public interest defence (quite why, we're not sure...). But as the Independent reports, initial legal advice received by the Crown Prosecution Service suggested that 'if intercepted phone messages had already been heard by its intended recipient, then listening in wasn't a crime'. That's now changed - 'the DPP's new interpretation is broader', we're told - but the whole area is murky at best. And while journalists may have been clear that accessing voicemails was against the law, other common journalistic practices which may come under scrutiny - recording phone calls, accessing databases, publishing leaked information - clearly exist in a very grey legal area.

2) It's hard to feel sorry for the 'victims'. Sorry, but it is. Actors, pop stars, footballers, politicians... they're all entitled to a degree of privacy, it's true. But in the wider scheme of things, if you look through the annals of journalistic transgressions and count up all the awful things hacks have done to people over the years - and there are a few of them - listening in to Andy Gray's voicemail messages probably isn't at the top.

3) It's not just about the News of the World. If you haven't already heard the tales, then to get an idea of how prevalent 'screwing' used to be, have a glance at this Press Gazette article from back in 2006. It happened everywhere - on other red-tops, on Sunday broadsheets - and all the time. Our favourite quote? The former News of the World staffer who told the Press Gazette: 'When I was on the paper there was a war between the features department and news. Features would hack into the phone of somebody who was on the newsdesk to see what story they might be working on.'

4) It's not just about phone hacking anymore. The story the whole phone hacking scandal most reminds us of is the MPs' expenses brouhaha, where what started off as a targeted critique of politicians' expense-claiming became a general free-for-all and an excuse to give the political class a good kicking. There are key differences here, of course - it's smaller scale, there's no smoking gun disk to drip-feed new angles from and the media itself is much less willing to fan the flames. But the keenest critics of the media - and some of them are in fact MPs perhaps relishing a bit of post-expenses payback - want to make this about much more than phone-hacking, and broaden it into a wider debate about journalistic ethics. Remember 'blagging' and Operation Motorman? Well, everything dodgy a newspaper has ever done is now fair game. Which leads us to the fifth and final point...

5) & nbsp;No good will come of it all. There will be no satisfactory outcome or happy conclusion to the phone-hacking affair, for journalists at least. Our public reputation has fallen still lower (good news for estate agents...). The Government is now planning to bypass the Press Complaints Commission and 'tighten up on the activities of newspapers'. And while the Guardian may have been celebrated claiming the scalp of Andy Coulson, they may live to regret their victory. Others have already pointed out the apparent disconnect between the Guardian's respect for privacy when it comes to phone hacking and their respect for supposedly private information obtained via Wikileaks. As Stephen Glover put it in the Mail on Sunday: 'There is surely a gulf in standards between the newspaper's sense of self-congratulation in publishing these private cables and its excoriation of the News of the World for doing something that in many respects was very similar.'

That's not to say he's right, of course. There is a clear difference between hacking into someone's phone to chase a Sienna Miller scoop and using leaked cables to lift the lid on international diplomacy. But not everyone sees it that way - and the & nbsp;Guardian is unlikely to be spared in any crackdown on aggressive, grey-area journalism which results from the phone-hacking furore it helped to create.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

""Real"" Italian Calzones

Let me preface this by saying that I am not Italian, and I do not really know if this is the ""real"" way that Italians do their calzones. That is just what my recipe said - and I am a trusting person, so naturally, I believed the recipe. It states that a true calzone does not have the marinara sauce in the calzone, but instead it is served alongside the calzone for dipping. If anyone out there reading this blog is a true Italian and knows if this is true, I would really like to know!!

Authentic or not, this was a great way to serve a calzone. This came as a request from my husband, and he rarely requests things to eat - he usually just goes along with what I make (or pours a bowl of cereal if he doesn't want what I make!!) The dough was very straightforward and simple to make. I basically followed the fillings, except I did part pepperoni and part sausage. I just used mozzarella and some sharp cheddar that I had in the fridge instead of using all cheddar. The original recipe says that it makes 2 larg
e calzones - feeding 8, but I made 4 smaller calzones, and one calzone a person seemed just about perfect. The one thing I would do differently next time would be to saute the mushrooms first. I filled the calzones full, but once they baked and the mushrooms cooked down, there wasn't a whole lot of filling in each. If I would have sauteed the mushrooms first, I think they would have stayed full - like a calzone should be!! I had a lot of extra filling, but I just put it in the freezer for next time we want to do calzones or pizza. This would be a good recipe to have fun with - the fillings could be endless!

Real Italian Calzones

adapted from


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup sausage
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Marinara or spaghetti sauce


  1. To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.
  2. To Make Filling: While dough is rising, combine the ricotta cheese, cheese, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and basil leaves in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl and refrigerate to chill.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 4 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 1/4 of the cheese/meat filling and fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

IBM Watch : The making of a champion: Deep Blue

Interesting brief column on chess, Garry Kasparov, and IBM's Deep Blue computer.

IBM Watch : The making of a champion: Deep Blue: "The making of a champion: Deep Blue
IBM is a vast subject, and even an expert is bound to have a gap or two in his or her knowledge of the company. One of such gaps for me was in just how the so-called "Deep Blue" computer was programmed with the necessary expertise to beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

During a recent visit to IBM's Somers, New York, offices, I met with Bill Pulleyblank, vice-president of the center for business optimization for IBM Global Services. His job is to make connections between IBM Global Services and its clients, and IBM research.

Before he took his present position, Pulleyblank was the brains behind Deep Blue, if that's the right way of putting it. And to hear him talk about it is to understand that computers are the object of passion in their creators in much the way that sportscars are in theirs.

Pulleyblank recounted how Kasparov beat Deep Blue in their first match. The computers' designers took the lessons of the defeat back to their workshop and made some crucial tweaks."

Read all about it: 30 January 2011

In no particular order, here's some of the things we've been reading in the past 48 hours:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

a composite of our favourites from 2005 by Alex, Dan, Miranda, Jack & Sara

a composite of our favourites from 2005 by Alex, Dan, Miranda, Jack & Sara

>bass snare high hat (Jack)

>Skepta! Grime superstar of the year. One producer-gone-MC who suddenly seems like our brightest hope. In his own words, the clearest voice on the mic and also a top producer still: Duppy with its 4x4 revival and the midi all-in-one riddim that all the merkege went down on this Autumn are two of my favourite instrumentals of the year. (Alex)Skepta's catchphrases: 'Oh my diddy!', 'it's Skepta the African hotty', 'oooonnnnnghhhhhhh I would kick you ooooutttta!', 'Gowonen gowonen!', 'if you're single, then mingle'. Most of these are lyrics not catchphrases, but when you hear things that often… we even started playing 'count the diddys' at FWD>> and got as high as five one night.(Dan)

>Ruff Sqwad! (Sara) The bittersweet 80s Vice-style productions and the tinny drum breakdowns on Guns And Roses volume 1. Slicks' voice (Alex)

>Young Dot. This kid came out of nowhere with his Bonanza/Bazooka riddim, which found its way everywhere really fast, mainly due to being the freshest, roughest, spazziest instrumental the scene has had in ages! He's now an Essentials mainstay and we're expecting big tings to come! The great thing about Young Dot, appart from the way he crams in more sounds into a space than even mentor Davinche, is his sense of humour. Take the aforementioned Bonanza - it takes a riddim-making genius to stick that retarded 'ungh' sound on the end of the most immediate instrumental of the year. Same sort of thing on new track Erh No - 'yr not a badboy urh no / yr a nobody erh yeah' goes the vocal hook - the hook says that! (Alex)

>Heartbreakingly sweet r'n'b, chipmunked (it's a verb now) into grime riddims: Wizzbit's 'Nicole's Groove', Ruff Sqwad's 'I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight' [and Music To Yr Ears (Alex)], Davinche's 'Sometimes' and Low Deep's 'Jedi'. These are actually probably my four favourite tunes of the year.(Dan)

>the tail end of Rawblaze / Raw 90.00 FM last winter (Alex)

>other faves: Bossman doubling up the Bongos on Bongo Eyes VIP; Davinche exploring slower dubby territory on Phaze, Countdown Riddim and Countdown Remix, man like Plasticman and Kode9 respectively mixing up grime and dubstep like they're two halves of a greater whole (duh), Risky Roadz volume 1 radio sets, South Of The Thames volume 1, Wiley's tunes: outburst + sidewinder + firefly, Terror Danjah's piano madness + green street + sonar, Team Shadetek getting involved, Doctor's twin flows: yard/english, Riko & Godsgift double team, Skepta - Private Caller with guests (Alex)


>bass bass bass (Jack)

>Dubstep's explosion into my life. DMZ's 'Neverland', Loefah's mix of Skream's 'Monsoon', the Vex'd album, all of these made my head rumble like an old washing machine in the best, best possible way (Dan)

>Skream - Midnight Request Line (Alex & Dan). I remember how good this tune first sounded at FWD because it still sounds that good more than a year later! Given a new lease of life after being excepted into grime rotation by all the big DJs, Request Line has that rare bruckout quality absent in most of the rest of dubstep, which is what makes it such awkward, occasionally frigid dance music. I hear that Request Line might chart in the UK after finally seeing a release on Tempa this autumn. Undisputed tune of the year. (Alex)

>Digital Mystikz - Anti War Dub. I'm really seeing what Blackdown is on about with the 'up' tunes these guys make. Here, they isolate one heart-rendering micro-melody and give it enormous non-stop momentum with marching snares, double-time analog clicks and steel pan pops. Combined with the vocal, this is another tune that has the bruckout factor (Alex)

>Loefah - Goat Stare et al. How Loefah has moved on this year! He's achieved the perfect formula for causing mad shockouts with the most minimal of ingredients. There's nothing still about his half-step which is VITAL. Good halfstep, to me, is all about causing the most impact with the least ingredients. Loefah traces around the outlines of that congaline skank, your feet fill in the rest. (Alex)

>Kode9 + Space Ape's drumless specials cover. Yet again more dub than step but makes for a blissful moment inna dance. (Alex)

>Hyperdub. I feel like Kode9 takes an approach with his label that is slightly sideways of the rest of the dubstep scene. Two big favourites to drop this year are Pressure (aka the bug) + Warrior Queen's delicate but potent Money Honey and Burial's murky wood-block heavy dubbed-out-2step South London Boroughs (Alex)

>Joe Nice - he's lovely he is (Alex)


>the Resonance FM nigh loop: specifically, the vintage American radio plays circa 1950s they put on where characters are 2-dimentional cornballs and product placements are heavy-handed (Alex)

>Inklink and my Inklink screencaps (Sara)

>refreshing Audioscrobbler (Sara)

>Sky Mangel from Neighbours. Ridiculously hot anyway, she then compounds my love by becoming a rabid anti-capitalist activist on a mission to expose Paul 'Satan' Robinson, and namedrops Roots Manuva and TTC. Hot damn. (Dan)

>Family Guy (Sara)

>'The Thick of It' on BBC4. Apart from The Office this is the best sitcom ever made. (Dan)


>getting Audioscrobbler changed my life. No hyperbole - it's an amazing way to track the passing of time in the form of mp3 statistics. (Alex)

>Audioscrobbler becoming and me hating it
>getting back in to Audioscrobbler even if it is I forgive you (Sara)

>GTA: San Andreas. POP POP POP POP POP!!!! Best game ever made, so worth losing 2 entire weeks to (Alex)

>getting rly rly back in to lucas arts games like Monkey Island 1 and 2, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Day of the Tentacle (Sara)

>the recent Myspace resurgence, since the grime scene realised about it. Now it's fun again. Did i meet u @ FWD??


>the public Pillow Fight outside St Paul's Cathedral. That was this year right? It feels like this year (Alex)

>Labour getting re-elected in May. Because otherwise we would have a Tory government now. And if you even think about saying 'it would make no difference if we did, they're all the same' man will slap you in the chops with your own self-satisfied, self-imposed detachment from the political process. Like people never heard the expression 'the lesser of two evils', let alone understood it. (Dan)

>DMZ @ 3rd Base, Brixton. Rare enough to feel truly special, not to mention the amount of new dubs that get built specifically to have their debut here. Hugely warm 12k PA helps too. The last soundsystem in London? (Alex)

>Duracell at the Spreadeagle, London. Merzbow at ATP, Camber Sands.Exile at Resonance FM, London. Radio kamerorkest + Mum meets Xenakis at the Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam. Battles at Sonar, Barcelona. Rolf Hind playing Morton Feldman at the RFH, London. (Miranda)

>FWD>> the best club night of the year hands down. Fresh and surprising every time, 2 thursdays a month. Natural home to the dubstep scene, somehow FWD had also become a safe haven for true grime, maybe because it's about as far from Top Of The Pops as it gets. Where else would you get everyone you want to see from Roll Deep spitting over a Geeneus mix, in an 'arena' the size of a bedsit. Nowhere else, trust me. Plasticpeople also gets the prize for best PA, maybe ever. (Alex) Kode9 @ FWD (Miranda). Bossman dropping 'God Save The Queen' at FWD>>: an awful song to have as our national anthem, but in his Midas-like hands turned into pure brilliance. The two Essentials sets at FWD>> this winter were the two live highlights of the year by about a mile. Southman it's about time we slew!! (Dan) *Five rewinds in a row of 'Request Line' during Tubby's set at FWD>>, especially the desperate, needle-busting way it was done. (Dan)

Christian Marclay at the Barbican, London. For the pillow. Dots and Lines at the Jerwood Space, London. For the Raster-noton microfilm, stickered walldrawing, and Golan Levin's Messa di Voce. the KW, Berlin, for the slide, the VHS archive, the independently published archive, the cowboy history + karaoke. M/M Paris at the Toyko Palais, Paris, for the alphabet. Barry McGee at Modern Art, London, for the cubes, and the squeaking hinges of the hooded boy. Her Noise, at the South London Gallery, London, for Kaffe's bed, the yurt, the performances, the archive, and countless funny recordings. Tapies Foundation, Barcelona, for this:

>Cesky Sen (Alex, Dan, Miranda) - aka Czech Dream) – it had Prague, it had anti-capitalist art stunts on a massive, flawed scale, and the wit and cynicism that comes from 50 years of oppression by Nazis and Commies respectively. What more do you want? (Dan)

>Barcelona (Alex)

>the woods (Sara)
>beaches (Jack)
>Odessa (Alex)

>KRUNK (Jack)
>is it cheesy to include Missy Elliott in an end of year chart? Is it cheesy to resurrect an old-skool electro anthem in modern hiphop? Not if you crunkify it as much as Missy did to that crazy Cybotron produckie on Lose Control. TUNE! (Alex)
>Animal Collective & the Paw Tracks mandem (Jack)
>great superproduced 'urban' pop - Amerie's 1 Thing, Ying Yang Twinz - Wait, Ciara - Goodies
>Ariel Pink - Worn Copy (Alex & Miranda). What made this a special album for me, rather than just an interesting one like his previous ones, is that it seems he learned to use that 70s-tape-melted-in-car sound to write incredible timeless songs. Not at all as cynical as it might seem at first. (Alex)
>Alva Noto - transall series & Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - insen (Miranda)

>Kanye West - Late Registration. Kanye refines his thing. He's on Jay-Z levels of making timeless pop from a rap perspective now and making it seem just as effortless as Jigga himself (Alex).

>The Books - lost and safe (Miranda)

>bass bass snare (Jack)

>it's been kind of a slow year for Constellation Records (Alex), but, silver mt. zion memorial orchestra + tra la la band - horses in the sky (Miranda)

>Black Dice - Broken Ear Record: they keep it moving. As many others have pointed out, it's so easy to follow the trend of making dark and gloomy experimental music. That they manage to invent new sounds that are wondrous and joyous is a mark of genius (Alex)
>Autechre - untilted (Miranda) Wow, is a fun Autechre record?? (Alex)

>Rinsessions volume 1 mix CD pack - just a very very good pack of mixes! (Alex)
>Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Alatt Szuletett (Alex & Miranda). Here's a man that knows when breakcore is dead, so instead moves on to, um, morose Hungarian(?) string arrangements about winged rats. Brilliant (Alex)
>Why and 65dos moving on with their new LPs. The former to poppy indie, the latter to more sophisticated glitchy post-rock. (Dan)
>Aim High volume 2 - while lethal, kano and -admittedly- roll deep are busy putting out shit albums, there's Target quietly dropping what is essentially a end-to-end grime-pop masterpiece of a long-player. Every track is an exclusive which makes this an album not a mixtape. (Alex)