Britain

Spaghetti HarvestGood to discover that the BBC has a much better sense of humor than American news networks, even in 1957. Via Wikipedia:

The spaghetti tree hoax is a famous 3-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools’ Day 1957 by the BBC current affairs program Panorama. It told a tale of a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the fictitious spaghetti tree, broadcast at a time when this Italian dish was not widely eaten in the UK and some Britons were unaware spaghetti is a pasta made from wheat flour and water.

Hundreds of viewers phoned into the BBC, either to say the story was not true, or wondering about it, with some even asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees. Decades later CNN called this broadcast “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”



Authorities across Britain are introducing classical music in public places — not for citizens’ enjoyment, but as a social control device. The concept harkens back to scenes in A Clockwork Orange. From Reason:

In recent years Britain has become the Willy Wonka of social control, churning out increasingly creepy, bizarre, and fantastic methods for policing the populace.

Across the UK, local councils and other public institutions now play recorded classical music through speakers at bus-stops, in parking lots, outside department stores, and elsewhere…as a deterrent against bad behavior.

Tyne and Wear in the north of England was one of the first parts of the UK to weaponize classical music. In the early 2000s, the local railway company decided to do something about the “problem” of “youths hanging around” its train stations.





Mark Pothier for the Boston Globe: In the long and tortured debate over drug policy, one of the strangest episodes has been playing out this fall in the United Kingdom, where the…


Do the British know something Americans don’t? From Reuters: More than half of Britons being offered vaccination against pandemic H1N1 flu are turning it down because they fear side-effects or think the…