Britain

3739750449_86e3796b18Is this what will become of the highway? The Guardian dissects the bizarre spectacle of sold-out bus tours of outer London’s very bland M25 motorway:

Long in tedium and inescapably circular, the M25 is not so much The Road to Hell, as Chris Rea once sang, but life itself. However, Britain’s least loved motorway was almost beneficent on Monday when viewed from the seats of the first sell-out coach tour of the 117-mile London orbital.

There were several coach tours of the M25 in the 1980s and perhaps it is no coincidence that the 2012 version has proved so popular. The M25 was opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1986 and will endure as a monument to her era far longer than wars or broken unions. A visible symbol of individualism and the triumph of the car, the motorway was widened by the Blair government, building on the Iron Lady’s legacy in every way.


South West England’s This Is Somerset profiles a local celebrity who hurls pieces of asparagus and gleans the future by interpreting how they land. Think of it as a terrible alternative to reading tea leaves:

A fortune teller who predicts the future using ASPARAGUS unveiled her top tips for 2012 – including two Royal pregnancies, the collapse of the Euro, and British glory at the Olympics. Mystic Jemima Packington, 56, claims to be the world’s only Asparamancer. She has made dozens of accurate predictions in recent years, including the demise of Gordon Brown, the credit crunch, and Oscar glory for British film The King’s Speech.



Is 2012 starting off as it should? Several people filmed video of strange objects in the sky in Essex earlier in January. Via Phenomenica: Six suspected unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were reportedly…




The phenomenon of “crop circles” became widely known in the 1980s, but the eerie Old Crop Circles site collects similar reports and references from earlier periods — in some cases, far earlier….






The London Street Photography Festival had six photographers attempt to take pictures in various locations on public streets in Britain’s capital. Despite being perfectly within their rights, all six were stopped by private security forces who made vague allusions to “terrorism” and “security” and tried to intimidate them. The Festival filmed the encounters and what happened when the photographers politely refused to back down:


There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties in the UK – 650,000 in England alone. We should be seizing empty properties and giving them to people who need them, not locking…



Guess Crown counts for more than kin with some people. From Anissa Hadaddi at the International Business Times:

A dense cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano was being blown toward Scotland yesterday. While airlines started to cancel their flights, U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to cut short his visit to Ireland as fears of disruptions similar to those engendered by the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010 mounted.




British economist Guy Standing has coined the term “precariat” to refer to the fast-growing working-class caste of the 21st century. With labor markets now globalized and “flexiblized,” the risks and uncertainties of capitalism have been transferred almost completely away from capitalists and onto workers. Below, citizens discuss living and working in post-industrial England, where large numbers scrounge to obtain low-wage, unstable jobs.

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2010 had Greece and Ireland receiving financial help from the Internatioanl Monetary Fund and Eurozone nations. 2011 has Spain, Germany and Britain finding help from Chinese investors as Vice Premier Li Keqiang…