Topic: United Kingdom

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πŸ”— Shit Life Syndrome

πŸ”— Medicine πŸ”— Economics πŸ”— Psychology πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Sociology

Shit life syndrome (SLS) is a phrase used by physicians in the United Kingdom and the United States for the effect that a variety of poverty or abuse-induced disorders can have on patients.

Sarah O'Connor's 2018 article for the Financial Times "Left behind: can anyone save the towns the economy forgot?" on shit life syndrome in the English coastal town of Blackpool won the 2018 Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils. O'Connor wrote that

Blackpool exports healthy skilled people and imports the unskilled, the unemployed and the unwell. As people overlooked by the modern economy wash up in a place that has also been left behind, the result is a quietly unfolding health crisis. More than a tenth of the town's working-age inhabitants live on state benefits paid to those deemed too sick to work. Antidepressant prescription rates are among the highest in the country. Life expectancy, already the lowest in England, has recently started to fall. Doctors in places such as this have a private diagnosis for what ails some of their patients: "Shit Life Syndrome"Β ... People with SLS really do have mental or physical health problems, doctors say. But they believe the causes are a tangled mix of economic, social and emotional problems that they β€” with 10- to 15-minute slots per patient β€” feel powerless to fix. The relationship between economics and health is blurry, complex and politically fraught. But it is too important to ignore.

In a column for The Irish Times, writer John McManus questioned whether Ireland had developed shit life syndrome in the wake of a recent fall in life expectancy.

A 2018 article in The Quietus on the films of the British director Mike Leigh identified shit life syndrome in Leigh's 2002 film All or Nothing. Kinney wrote that "The film asks questions about poverty – what does poverty do to people? How do you react when the chips are down?Β ... The rise of populism in this country has been analysed through the lens of the 'left behind' – in a less crude way, this is exactly what All or Nothing was observing sixteen years ago."

Rosemary Rizq, in an essay in the 2016 collection The Future of Psychological Therapy, questioned the origin of the term shit life syndrome, writing that "The phrase seemed to denote a level of long-standing poverty, family breakdown, lack of stability, unemployment and potential risk factors common to many of the predominately young, working class patients referred to the [psychotherapeutic] service" for shit is "something that we continually reject, get rid of or hide. At the same time it is something we cannot completely repudiate, it is part of us, something we need" and that the individuals with SLS have problems so "terrible, so untouchable" that they "quite literally cannot be thought about, cannot be handled by the service", yet a therapeutic organisation is "obliged to do so".

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πŸ”— Toast sandwich

πŸ”— Food and drink πŸ”— United Kingdom

A toast sandwich is a sandwich made with two slices of bread in which the filling is a thin slice of toasted bread, which can be heavily buttered. An 1861 recipe says to add salt and pepper to taste.

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πŸ”— Otokichi

πŸ”— Biography πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Japan πŸ”— Japan/History πŸ”— Japan/Biography

Otokichi (ιŸ³ε‰ or 乙吉), also known as Yamamoto Otokichi and later known as John Matthew Ottoson (1818 – January 1867), was a Japanese castaway originally from the area of Onoura near modern-day Mihama, on the west coast of the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture.

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πŸ”— British Post Office Scandal

πŸ”— Human rights πŸ”— Computing πŸ”— Finance & Investment πŸ”— Law πŸ”— Computing/Software πŸ”— Software πŸ”— Software/Computing πŸ”— United Kingdom

The British Post Office scandal is a widespread and long-lasting series of individual miscarriages of justice which, between 1999 and 2015, involved over 700 subpostmasters being wrongly convicted of theft, false accounting and fraud when shortfalls at their branches were in fact due to errors of the Post Office's Horizon accounting software. In 2019, the High Court ruled that the Horizon system was faulty and in 2020 the government established a public inquiry. Courts began to quash convictions from 2010. As of January 2024, some victims are still fighting to have their convictions overturned and receive compensation, the public inquiry is ongoing, and the Metropolitan Police is investigating the Post Office for potential fraud offences.

The Horizon accounting system was developed by ICL Pathway, owned by the Japanese company Fujitsu. In 1999, the Post Office started to roll out the new software to its branch and sub-offices, the latter managed by subpostmasters on a self-employed basis under contracts with the Post Office. Almost immediately, some subpostmasters noticed the new system reporting false shortfalls, sometimes for thousands of pounds. The Post Office insisted that the system was robust and, when shortfalls occurred, prosecuted the subpostmasters or forced them to make up the amount. The impact of court cases, criminal convictions, imprisonment, loss of livelihood and homes, debt and bankruptcy took a heavy toll on victims and their families, leading to stress, illness, divorce and, in at least four cases, suicide. In May 2009, Computer Weekly broke the story about problems with Horizon software and in September 2009 subpostmaster Alan Bates set up the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA). In 2012, as a result of pressure from campaigners and Members of Parliament, the Post Office appointed forensic accountants Second Sight to conduct an investigation into Horizon. The investigators concluded that Horizon contained faults that could result in accounting discrepancies, but the Post Office insisted that there were no system-wide problems with the software.

In 2019 a group of 555 subpostmasters led by Bates won a group action brought in court against the Post Office, with the judge ruling that Horizon contained bugs, errors and defects. The Post Office agreed to settle out of court for Β£58 million. The subpostmasters' legal costs amounted to Β£47 million of, leaving them with only about Β£20,000 each. The government later agreed to supplement the settlement, as they were excluded from the compensation scheme set up by the Post Office for other victims of the scandal. The first convictions to be quashed were those of six subpostmasters who had been convicted in magistrates' courts and whose appeals were heard at Southwark Crown Court in December 2020. In allowing the appeal by 39 subpostmasters in April 2021, the Court of Appeal judges ruled that in cases that relied on Horizon data a fair trial was not possible. Further appeal cases followed.

In September 2020, the government established the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Wyn Williams, to look into the implementation and failings of the Horizon system that led to the prosecution of subpostmasters and termination of their contracts. Evidence was due to be heard from subpostmasters, the Post Office, UK Government Investment, the Department for Business and Trade, and others.

A four-part television drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, was broadcast on ITV in January 2024, after which the scandal became a major news story and political issue.

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πŸ”— Pykrete

πŸ”— Technology πŸ”— Military history πŸ”— Military history/North American military history πŸ”— Military history/Military science, technology, and theory πŸ”— Architecture πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Transport πŸ”— Military history/Maritime warfare πŸ”— Military history/World War II πŸ”— Civil engineering πŸ”— Engineering πŸ”— Transport/Maritime πŸ”— Military history/Canadian military history πŸ”— Military history/European military history πŸ”— Military history/British military history

Pykrete is a frozen ice alloy , originally made of approximately 14 percent sawdust or some other form of wood pulp (such as paper) and 86 percent ice by weight (6 to 1 by weight). During World War II, Geoffrey Pyke proposed it as a candidate material for a supersized aircraft carrier for the British Royal Navy. Pykrete features unusual properties, including a relatively slow melting rate due to its low thermal conductivity, as well as a vastly improved strength and toughness compared to ordinary ice. These physical properties can make the material comparable to concrete, as long as the material is kept frozen.

Pykrete is slightly more difficult to form than concrete, as it expands during the freezing process. However, it can be repaired and maintained using seawater as a raw material. The mixture can be moulded into any shape and frozen, and it will be tough and durable, as long as it is kept at or below freezing temperature. Resistance to gradual creep or sagging is improved by lowering the temperature further, to βˆ’15Β Β°C (5Β Β°F).

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πŸ”— WWII: Failed novelist becomes a spy for Germany, makes up a fake spy network

πŸ”— Biography πŸ”— Espionage πŸ”— Military history πŸ”— Military history/Military biography πŸ”— Biography/military biography πŸ”— Military history/Intelligence πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Military history/World War II πŸ”— Military history/German military history πŸ”— Military history/Spanish military history πŸ”— Spain πŸ”— Military history/European military history πŸ”— Military history/British military history

Juan Pujol GarcΓ­a (Spanish: [ˈxwan puˈʝol Ι£aɾˈθi.a]; 14 February 1912 – 10 October 1988), also known as Joan Pujol i GarcΓ­a (Catalan: [Κ’uˈan puΛˆΚ’Ι”l i Ι£Ι™ΙΎΛˆsi.Ι™]), was a Spanish spy who acted as a double agent loyal to Great Britain against Nazi Germany during World War II, when he relocated to Britain to carry out fictitious spying activities for the Germans. He was given the codename Garbo by the British; their German counterparts codenamed him Alaric and referred to his non-existent spy network as "Arabal".

After developing a loathing of political extremism of all sorts during the Spanish Civil War, Pujol decided to become a spy for Britain as a way to do something "for the good of humanity". Pujol and his wife contacted the British Embassy in Madrid, which rejected his offer.

Undeterred, he created a false identity as a fanatically pro-Nazi Spanish government official and successfully became a German agent. He was instructed to travel to Britain and recruit additional agents; instead he moved to Lisbon and created bogus reports about Britain from a variety of public sources, including a tourist guide to Britain, train timetables, cinema newsreels and magazine advertisements.

Although the information would not have withstood close examination, Pujol soon established himself as a trustworthy agent. He began inventing fictitious sub-agents who could be blamed for false information and mistakes. The Allies finally accepted Pujol when the Germans expended considerable resources attempting to hunt down a fictitious convoy. Following interviews by Desmond Bristow of Section V MI6 Iberian Section, Juan Pujol was taken on. The family were moved to Britain and Pujol was given the code name "Garbo". Pujol and his handler TomΓ‘s Harris spent the rest of the war expanding the fictitious network, communicating to the German handlers at first by letters and later by radio. Eventually the Germans were funding a network of 27 agents, all fictitious.

Pujol had a key role in the success of Operation Fortitude, the deception operation intended to mislead the Germans about the timing, location and scale of the invasion of Normandy in 1944. The false information Pujol supplied helped persuade the Germans that the main attack would be in the Pas de Calais, so that they kept large forces there before and even after the invasion. Pujol had the distinction of receiving military decorations from both sides of the war – being awarded the Iron Cross and becoming a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

πŸ”— Andrews and Arnold is xkcd 806-compliant (2010)

πŸ”— Companies πŸ”— Computing πŸ”— United Kingdom

Andrews & Arnold Ltd (also known as AAISP) is an Internet service provider based in Bracknell in the United Kingdom founded in 1997 and launched in 1998, primarily serving businesses and "technical" home users.

In 2009 the company was judged the best niche provider in the Thinkbroadband Customer Service Awards, based on customer ratings and again in 2010.

The company's owner, Adrian Kennard (RevK), stated in a blog post that as of October 2010 the company is "xkcd/806" compliant, referring to xkcd comic number 806. This means that technical support callers who say the code word "shibboleet" will be transferred to a technical support representative who knows at least two programming languages, and presumably can offer more useful advice than a standard tech support script.

Andrews & Arnold provides IPv6 to all customers, for no additional charge.

Andrews & Arnold provides optional bonded multiple-link internet access. This allows multiple links to be used together to vastly increase speed and reliability. Special routers distribute individual IP packets between the available links in such a way that even one single download or upload operation will benefit fully from multiple speed, and it is not necessary to have several users, several running programs or computers to gain the speed benefit. Links can be of different types, each needs only to be a pipe that can carry IP packets. Multiple links can either be used together all the time, or some can be brought up as a back up if other links fail, so-called 'failover', or a combination of the two approaches can be set up.

Andrews & Arnold are strong advocates of not censoring Internet connections. Adrian Kennard has several blog posts discussing why Internet censorship as discussed in the UK is not workable, providing background for AAISP's decision.

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πŸ”— Shrinkflation

πŸ”— Economics πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Retailing

In economics, shrinkflation is the process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality while their prices remain the same or increase. The word is a portmanteau of the words shrink and inflation. First usage of the term has been attributed to both Pippa Malmgren and Brian Domitrovic.

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πŸ”— British Pet Massacre

πŸ”— Military history πŸ”— United Kingdom πŸ”— Military history/World War II πŸ”— Animal rights πŸ”— Animals πŸ”— Military history/European military history πŸ”— Military history/British military history

The British pet massacre was an event in 1939 in the United Kingdom where over 750,000 pets were killed in preparation for food shortages during World War II. It was referred to at the time as the September Holocaust, and later sources describe it as a "holocaust of pets". In London alone, during the first week of the Second World War around 400,000 companion animals, about 26% of all cats and dogs were killed.

No bombs were to fall on the UK mainland until April 1940.

Similar events happened in mainland Europe, for example, the killing of millions of farm animals in Denmark due to the lack of imported fodder for them.

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