Review: Robert Peston – The Party’s Over, How the West Went Bust (BBC iPlayer)

Review: Robert Peston - The Party's Over, How the West Went Bust (image copyright BBC)The Party’s Over: How the West Went Bust
On BBC iPlayer, duration: 2 times 1 hour episodes

It may not be a new show, but believe me, the the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the US debt crisis and pervasive economic doom and gloom, this is a finance show that will prove you’re not going insane and may broaden your understanding of how we got here.

Love or hate his peculiar delivery, the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston (Britain’s own cross between William Shatner and Allan Whicker) takes a sane look back over the events of the International financial sector meltdown, the one that some of us saw coming. Peston produces a string of experts who all say: “nobody saw the downturn coming.” Which is to say that none of the so-called ‘experts’ saw it coming through the shiny rainbow wall of the financial bubble, when the rest of us outside it clearly did. And these bozos are running banks and universities because…? Continue reading

News: BBC Click on Internet Banking Fraud

BBC Click on Internet BankingClick, the BBC’s flagship technology show on BBC News and BBC2 (when you can find it), ran an in-depth piece on Internet security last week (4 Feb 2012) and it actually imparted more than two pieces of information! You could tell presenter Spencer Kelly was enjoying getting his teeth in to a proper story as a change from all the fluffy surface-skimming items he usually has to grin his way through.

The focus was on Internet banking, with a detailed explanation of the current technology and an intelligent assessment not only of the present and future threats but of the available remedies. Spencer writes a lengthy post on the BBC technology blog.

Hackers outwit on-line banking identity security systems, despite the official figures showing fraud fell significantly. Acknowledged on-line banking fraud losses were reported as £16.9 million in the first six months of 2011, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Knowing the banking industry, with its reputation built on confidence, this is likely to be much higher. Continue reading

News: EDF Staff Jailed for Spying on Greenpeace

French Nuclear plant“Who’s paying you? It’s the French isn’t it? I can smell the garlic!”
(Michael Caine, Water)

Plus ca change… “a French court has fined energy giant EDF 1.5 million euros (£1.3 million) and sent two of its staff to jail for spying on Greenpeace campaigners.”

EDF employed security firm Kargus to spy on Greenpeace as it campaigned against new reactors in France, sending two Kargus employees to jail and awarding Greenpeace 500,000 euros (£428,000) in damages. Greenpeace currently opposes new European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) that EDF hopes to bring to the UK. Adelaide Colin, communications director for Greenpeace in France, said the decision “sends a strong signal to the nuclear industry: no-one is above the law”. Continue reading

Review: Outriders BBC Radio 5 Live

Outriders BBC Radio 5 LiveOutriders is BBC Radio 5 live’s programme dedicated to exploring the frontiers of the web. It is broadcast on Tuesdays at 03.00 as a segment of the Up All Night show.

Hidden away in the 5 Live schedule, 3am Tuesdays, this tidy, well-judged technology show deserves a better profile for it’s diverse coverage and entertainment value.

Fortunately, you can trawl the Outriders podcast archive, which is stored indefinitely. Continue reading

Review: The Food Programme BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 Food ProgrammeA Special (Food) Relationship (Mon, 21 Nov 11) Available as a podcast for a limited time

“Mark Bittman, chief food writer at the New York Times, journeys to the UK to see what he can learn from campaigning chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Arthur Potts Dawson.”

Not something I normally follow, BBC Radio 4’s rather earnest, self-congratulatory, middle-class sop for the food trendy is typically a little too rich for me. However, this special show, triggered by NYT food writer Bittman’s research trip to the UK departed the usual track, focusing on the food campaigners influencing both commercial practices and public policy.

Bittman had covered Jamie Oliver’s healthy eating campaign, transplanted from the UK to the US, where he met with an intense level of vitriol. Inspired by that campaign and aware of the lead Oliver and others had set, Bittman tapped the BBC for contacts with Oliver and fellow campaigner HF-W which Radio 4 then recorded. Continue reading

Review: Stephen Fry on the Phone

Stphen Fry on the Phone“I am the kind of tragic (and inexcusably proudly tragic) figure who just has to have the first version of every toy technology can devise.”

A self-confessed technology junkie and ‘early adopter’, Fry is the front-man for this gentle history of the mobile phone for the general consumption of the afternoon audience, in what is now the “narrative history” slot.

To help soften the blow of Radio 4’s recent schedule changes, the BBC evidently decided that a bit of Fry in the afternoon is a good thing. The opening programme outlined the technical challenges in setting up mobile networks, our heroes the American engineers who devised the cellular transmission system in the 1960s. Skirting the idiot’s guide to radio spectrum, much of the show concerned the intervention of the US telecoms companies spouting “it’s wasteful and it’ll never catch on warnings” to defend their existing radio business from mobile telephony. Continue reading