“There are sharks munching on seals (filmed at 2,000 frames per second and slowed down to capture every bone-crunching detail), sharks attacking people and sharks chewing cameras.”—Peril sells for the Discovery Channel, which is going from strength to strength.
“Sending someone to prison at a cost to the taxpayer of some $50,000 a year for trying to steal $29 worth of plumbing supplies is not only a daft idea; it is strictly a bull-market approach to criminal justice.”—A new book examines why America finds it so hard to reform its faltering justice system
“Last month in the northern state of Durango, a group of prisoners was apparently released from jail for the night to murder 18 partygoers in a next-door state. A few days later, 14 inmates were murdered in a prison in Tamaulipas.”—Amid ever-worsening carnage, Mexico thinks the unthinkable - legalising the drugs trade.
“For tasks that don’t require constant monitoring of live data productivity seems to soar when the constant bright shiny ball of the internet is nowhere to be seen.”—Why turning-off in coffee shops is a a turn-on for casual customers
“Twitter is good for real-time search; Facebook is capturing social search; if Blekko does well, perhaps it will claim vertical search.”—Our technology team trial a new search engine with an innovative twist. Will we all be blekko-ing soon?
“Five people in a single-engined Piper crash-landed on a glacier on Sunday and spent days in the plane before being rescued. (The first rescue helicopter sent to pick them up flipped over and crashed, too.)”—Gulliver asks why planes keep crashing in Alaska
“Be careful how you pour wine for an Argentinian. The whole process involves a number of social taboos and unless you understand them you could insult someone.”—A UK government agency teaches Britons to welcome tourists
“Let me stand up for the journalists here: Most people read The Economist because it’s a great magazine and the single best place to keep up on what’s going on in the world. They don’t read it because it’s been cleverly marketed to them.”—Columbia Journalism Review rebuts an NYT article about our advertising strategy - and is extraordinarily kind about us in the process. Thanks folks.
“It’s a question that’s bothered cultural critics for decades: while we know more than ever, are we getting dumber as a result of the increasing amount of technology at our disposal?”—Babbage wonders if our brains are being rewired
“"Crunch", a card game launched last year, is pure parody. As the boss of a global bank, players have to trouser as much cash as possible by leveraging up, awarding themselves bonuses and stealing (literally) others’ cards.”—Game-makers inspired by economic disaster devise new ways to take your friends and family to the cleaners.
“Beijing confectioners built a 33ft replica of the Great Wall and the terracotta army with 80 tons of chocolate earlier this year, a sign of the country’s new-found enthusiasm for the bean.”—The new “black gold” is not oil, but cocoa.
“Non-scientists can be cajoled into doing useful scientific work if it is packaged as an online computer game. And many of them are actually rather good at it.”—Scientists are using you to help them change the world…
“Oberammergau’s devotion to the play is undimmed, and not just because it brings in money and tourists. Nearly half the population takes part in the 5½-hour-long production, staged in a hangar-like auditorium partly open to the elements.”—The politics behind the world’s most famous Passion play, held once every decade for 400 years.