Today's Links

Orwell was hailed a hero for fighting in Spain. Today he’d be guilty of terrorism

If George Orwell and Laurie Lee were to return from the Spanish civil war today, they would be arrested under section five of the Terrorism Act 2006. If convicted of fighting abroad with a “political, ideological, religious or racial motive” – a charge they would find hard to contest – they would face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

How Iowa Flattened Literature

With CIA help, writers were enlisted to battle both Communism and eggheaded abstraction. The damage to writing lingers.

See also the creative writing post-grad course at UEA (in terms of flattening, not CIA involvement!)

Mark Steel’s in Town

Mark visits Birkenhead, Wirral, where the local life has included monks and a Bantam Army.

The ‘mobility scooter strip-tease in Moodz’ anecdote is just sublime. On the downside, half the audience seem to think it’s acceptable to refer to the Wirral as ‘Wirral’. Dickheads.

You’re not going to read this

Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, which measures real-time traffic for sites like Upworthy, dropped a bomb: “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading”.

Losing graciously
Ubuntu in squabble-free systemd adoption shocker!
The Public Voice of Women
Mary Beard on the ‘well-known deafness that’s nicely parodied in the old Punch cartoon: “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”’
Facebook Diversity

When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook.

MetaFilter got this right a decade or so ago: no options to choose from, just a text field labelled ‘this is free-form, go nuts’.

The incredible hulks: Jonathan Meades’ A-Z of brutalism

It was mocked and misunderstood. But it produced some of the most sublime, awe-inspiring buildings on the planet. Jonathan Meades, maker of a new TV series about brutalism, gives his A-Z