england

11 articles
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The Business of Lords

On systemic corrpution in the upper house of British Parliament, where lawmakers have the freedom to work for any business—banks, oil companies, Facebook—willing to pay for their “expertise.”

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One Saturday Morning

A day in the life of a child in 1960s England.

"Carrie’s father was studying, in the evenings and on weekends, for a degree in politics, but on the day of a party he had to leave his books and submit to the different laws of the female domain, obeying the instructions that his wife rapped out, vacuuming and tidying, setting up the drinks tray. She followed impatiently after him, because he had no feeling for arranging the cushions or the flowers; he thought these things were not worth having a feeling for. The children exchanged sly looks and jokes with their father behind their mother’s back, conspiring against her remorselessness. But as soon as the guests arrived she relaxed into smiles, as if that other, sterner self had never existed."

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The Spy Who Loved Me

In 1984, Jacqui met Bob Lambert at an animal-rights protest. They fell in love, had a son. Then Bob disappeared. It would take 25 years for Jacqui to learn that he had been working undercover.

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Storm In a Teacup

Workers and diners in a British cafe experience a small act of weather-related magic.

"None of the others notice Tommy pull up a chair and seat himself next to the counter, his eyes level with the cup. The furious churn of the storm grips him. He hears a hurried tinkling as tiny fists of hail sugar the bottom of the cup. For the first time in years he does not think of Alice. The storm’s rumble elongates, thunder and lightening overlapping. A tinny crescendo rattles inside the ceramic shelter of the cup."

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In the Eye of the Whirlpool

Searching for a mysterious whirpool on an obscure map.

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The World of Charles Dickens, Complete With Pizza Hut

On literary tourism:

Dickens World, in other words, sounded less like a viable business than it did a mockumentary, or a George Saunders short story, or the thought experiment of a radical Marxist seeking to expose the terminal bankruptcy at the heart of consumerism. And yet it was real.

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Epidemiology: Study of a Lifetime

A group of scientists started tracking thousands of British children born during one cold March week in 1946. Those children are now 65 and the data generated through careful tracking of their life history has become extremely valuable.

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The Search for the Securitas Millions

In 2006, seven men stole £53m. Six were caught, but more than half the money remains at large. On modern money laundering best practices.

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Ray Gosling: “I Just Said It”

Why did a veteran BBC on-air personality confess on camera to a mercy killing he did not commit?

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The King of the Ferret Leggers

In the British sport of “ferret legging,” underwear-less competitors tie their trousers at the ankles, stuff a pair of the carnivores down there, and hold on for as long as possible. Reg Mellor is the world’s best.

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Double Blind

Kevin Fulton, a spy planted in the IRA, thought he was dead when he faced interrogation by a notorious IRA enforcer. But, it turned out, the enforcer was also an agent. How British intelligence undermined the IRA.