Turkmenator 2: The cult of personality

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Getty Images How do you manage your public image if you’re the autocratic leader of a state Human Rights Watch describes as “among the world’s most repressive and closed countries”? If you’re Turkmenistan President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, part of the answer, it seems, lies in appearing on a state television channel playing basketball while [...]

Has the core message of the Poppy Appeal been diluted?

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Getty Images Has the core meaning of the Poppy Appeal – the annual charity drive in remembrance of those killed in conflict which supports The Royal British Legion – been diluted by crass uses and commercialisation? The person behind a viral Twitter account cataloguing extreme poppy examples thinks this might be the case. [...]

Russian officials face army ‘endurance’ tests

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright RBC video Image caption Training away day, Kremlin-style Two Russian officials say they were expected to lie down as armoured personnel carriers were driven over them as part of a new training programme for future regional governors. The two participants in the course, who wished to remain anonymous, told the RBC news portal [...]

Reddit bans ‘involuntarily celibate" community

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Reddit Image caption The /r/incels subreddit was banned on Tuesday Social website Reddit has banned a controversial subreddit dedicated to “involuntarily celibate” men, known as incels. The 41,000-strong community was ostensibly a support group for men who wanted to have sex, but found themselves unable to form romantic relationships. Over time, the group [...]

I made a film from my bed to show my illness is real

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Jason Frank Five years ago, Jennifer Brea was struck down by ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and found herself bed-bound, a prisoner in her own body. Now, she has invited the world on an intimate journey into a condition that some deny even exists, interviewing fellow patients from all over the world – from her [...]

Russian scientists take aim at paranormal TV shows

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright YouTube Image caption A million roubles to pass the Houdini test A group of Russian researchers have decided to call out TV shows about clairvoyants for promoting fake science. The group, led by scientist Alexander Panchin and sceptic Mikhail Lidin, say they will use the latter’s YouTube channel to “show viewers why they [...]

NHS appeal for black blood donors ‘drops straight knowledge’

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Only 1% of people who give blood in England are black, according to NHS Blood and Transplant NHS Blood and Transplant has posted an appeal for more black people to donate blood, while heading off possible accusations of racism, with a series of gif-laden tweets. “So, people keep asking [...]

Twitter: 280 characters, 350,000 bad jokes

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright @PolitiFact Image caption Fact-checking website PolitiFact was unimpressed with the slew of 280 character Twitter jokes No longer will Twitter users have to condense their thoughts to a mere 140 characters – the majority will now have double that to play with. Good news, right? While some have welcomed the rollout, which comes [...]

Student’s ‘sexual predator’ list names professors

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Facebook Image caption Raya Sarkar is a US based law student who published a list of alleged sexual harassers The ripples of the #MeToo movement have reached India, where one law student has published a list on Facebook accusing more than 50 Indian professors of sexual harassment – but it’s touched off a [...]

‘I decided not to reveal my disability on my applications’

Warren Fyfe

Image copyright Shani Dhanda Image caption Shani Dhanda says she has learned to be ‘very resilient’ Research by the charity Scope, which encourages equal opportunities for disabled people, has said many people “struggle to share information about their impairment or condition in the workplace”. But for some it’s a struggle to get an interview for [...]