Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thicker Than Water: out now in Oz

Thicker Than Water is now available to buy in bookshops in Australia. I spoke to ABC Radio National’s Cassie McCullagh on Tuesday (Wednesday there) about the book, and what it felt like to learn and research these terrible events, which is available to listen to here.

The Weekend Australian published an extract of the book on Saturday, which is available online to subscribers here. An Australian friend was kind enough to send me a photo so I could see what it looked like in print (thanks Evie!).


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A Cuckoo’s Calling: the reaction

There has been a staggering response to our story last weekend that revealed JK Rowling to have authored and published a second novel for adults under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

It made headlines around the world, and signed first editions of the book are now changing hands for more than £2,500 online.

The New York Times wrote an interesting article about how we broke the story, which you may be interested to read. It can be found here.

The initial tip came via Twitter, from a woman called Jude Callegari. Her identity and motivation was a mystery until this week, when she was revealed to be a friend of one of Rowling’s solicitors.

During our investigation,  I approached two academics who had developed their own ‘stylometric’ computer programs, which aim to distinguish between authors’ writing styles. They were Patrick Juola of Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and Peter Millican of Oxford University. Both found strong similarities between the books, strengthening our case.

The National Geographic has written an interesting blog outlining the principles of stylometrics (or, forensic linguistics), which can be found here. Similarly, a Wall Street Journal write up can be found here.

Caroline Flyn | 25 Jan 2010

What We’re Reading

1. Alan Rusbridger Hugh Cudlipp memorial speech. Paywalls are only a “hunch”, we must consider other business models.

2. The top 10 government data visualisations and applications

3. Ethical considerations of contacting extraterrestrials“I dislike seeing my children’s destiny being gambled with by a couple of dozen arrogant people who cling to one image of the alien”. (See also, the New Scientist’s short history of ET communication attempts. Quite alarmed at idea of ‘vaginal contractions’ broadcast to the galaxy, but perhaps it will break the ice.)

4. I am delighted about this zoomable paper map of London. It’s pretty and also slightly nerdy, I love it.

5. High School Musical: The College Years.

6. Haiti 360 degree video.

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Caroline Flyn | 21 January 2010

What We’re Reading

1. Where have you been all my life? #12. Highbrow false dust-jackets (“Perfect for the aspirational reader”)

2. Rickets makes a comeback among the computer generation. (Also, interestingly: “Half of all adults in the UK have Vitamin D deficiency in the winter and spring, one in six having severe deficiency.”)

3. If money were no object: luxury treehouses. Swiss Family Robinson-style; spherical tree-dens, straight out of Where the Wild Things Are; ten-storey treehouse; spiral staircases one and two; around an invisible tree.

4. American football fans can look forward to 11 minutes of action and three seconds of cheerleaders each game.

5. HP to enter the 3D printer market. Watch the video, it’s pretty exciting.

6. Gift ideas for nerds #33: new parents. Prenatal music systemNom nom nom bib; ‘Why Cry’ analyser; ‘loading…’ maternity shirt; Sci-fi baby names book.

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Caroline Flyn – 11 January 2010

What We're Reading

1. Evgeny Morozov: New law being debated in France that would allow online users to have information about themselves deleted from public domain after certain time period. Already small industry in salvaging online reputations.

2. The desaturated Santa, for when Photoshop is just too simple.

3. Michel de Broin has an excellent online portfolio of conceptual art. I love his burglar alarm silencer, socialising fridges and bicycle with exhaust pipe.

4. Comment central: competition for most pedantic graffiti. My personal favourite, in a pub toilet in Oxford:

"Fuck the Polis"
(the above crossed out and written underneath) 'Fuck the POLICE'
(the above crossed out in turn and written underneath) 'Perhaps they do mean 'polis' and are in fact refering to the Graeco-Roman concept of city state?'

5. Collection of Victorian infographics, h/t Kottke.

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Caroline Flyn – 10 January 2010

What We're Reading

1. "Why I don't have a girlfriend": An application of the Drake equation to love in the UK

2. Fantastic aerial shot of extreme weather conditions across UK – remind you of anything?

3. Don't stop getting flu jabs or anything, but this is one of the most terrifying neurological conditions I've seen.

4. Tauntaun costume. (Even better than the tauntaun sleeping bag)

5. The Americanization of mental illness.

6. One year in 120 seconds – almost seamless timelapse.

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Caroline Flyn – 4 January 2010

What We're Reading

1. Placebos for sale. Get that placebo effect at a very affordable price!

2. The Awl's 'End of the Noughties' project, collected. I like the illustrated 'Tiny Moments of Varying Significance' and the 'Debt-Regret Matrix' ("Oh hai, it's me! The girl Suze Orman warned you about.").

3. Decoder card for Gibberish English-Chinese tattoo font

4. The most important events of the decade, as recorded in the comics

5. Portrait of the Decade 'infographic' from the BBC

6. Gift ideas for nerds #31: toasters. Printer/toaster, transparent toaster (the end of burnt toast), dot-matrix toaster, headlines on toast, Darth Vader toast, USB toaster, hot-dog toaster, hood toaster, flying toasters!

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Caroline Flyn – 30 December 2009

What We're Reading

1. Alice in Wonderland tries her hand at hip hop. (Similarly, Miss Piggy gets steamy rehashing Peaches, NSFW)

2. Ebay highlights #2: a rash of unwanted gifts from ex-lovers (unopened). One, two, three (sold for £350). Suitable for use with the ex-boyfriend voodoo doll, the ex-boyfriend spell book ('turn that prince back into a toad') and ex-boyfriend candle ('melt away the wicked one!')

3. World's first Twitter pantomime courtesy of the Birmingham Hippodrome.Press replay and the script unfolds between the curtains. The audience are the unruly lot at the bottom

4. Great infographic from Appfrica: "There are more people currently alive in Asia, Africa and Latin America than the total number of people who died—anywhere, and for any reason—during the entire 20th century." H/t Boing Boing

5. The Register's list of top patent claims of 2009. I particularly like the system to tackle the "arbitrary hour-based scheduling paradigm" which plans to increase productivity by shortening the hour and therefore hour-long meetings.

6. CMYK spraycan set to revolutionize grafitti.

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Caroline Flyn – 24 December 2009

What We're Reading

1. Cheering animal stories for Christmas Eve: a seal called Rudolph, Christmas time at the zoo, record puppy delivery at Battersea, okay that's enough

2. Car magazine suggests new up-to-date sleigh models for Santa: Aston Martin, Land Rover, Rolls Royce,

3. Christmas ideas for nerds: Star Trek tree ornaments, Tux the Linux penguin ornament, Star Wars Christmas cards, reindeer mounts for WoW,

4. Brilliant G'Brown rap from the Impressions Show ("Brown like that/ Brown like that/ No-one knew house prices would go down like that")

5. Life on a container ship. H/t Dysonology

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Caroline Flyn | 16 December 2009

What We're Reading

1. "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, was a quadrillion times worse than it was in Weimar Germany." H/T Kottke.

2. The Moustache Calendar 2010. "Just imagine images of sex-confident men gracing the walls of your home and office."

3. Imagined Washington Post corrections: hashtag feed and background.

4. BBC poll: Should homosexuals be executed? (Not kidding)

5. It's snowing in London! Cue panic.

6. Live webcams from around the world

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