“Brexit” by Joseph Heller

This unpublished work, believed to be a sequel to Joseph Heller’s great satirical novel Catch-22, was recently found in the late author’s papers. It is recreated here with permission of absolutely nobody. “It’s simple,” said Doc Daneeka. “Corbyn says if they want to have meaningful discussions about where we go from here, they simply have…

Be grateful for the Met Office. It basically gets stuff right

It’s actually very easy to predict the weather. You can look out of the window, see what the weather is doing, and say “tomorrow will be like today”. In much of the world – southern California, the Mediterranean – that will be pretty reliable. It’s called the “persistence method” and works fairly well in places…

Why diamonds will always be everyone’s best friend

Nearly three years ago, I got down on one knee on a beach in Gaansbai, South Africa, and proposed to the woman who is now my wife. Owing to a retrospectively hilarious series of cock-ups, I had failed to bring my late grandmother’s ring with me; I’d only found some bizarre brassy thing with huge…

Naming the hostage: how should we cover the Isil murders?

Steven Sotloff, a second American hostage of the sorry fantasists of Isil, has been murdered, we read this morning. And a third man, a Briton, is currently held and will, we are warned, be the next to die. The question of how to report these disgusting acts of propaganda is a difficult one for news…

Save us from the office that follows you home

There is a certain kind of person for whom the phrase “work-life balance” is meaningless, because work is life, and life is work. The body may be home with the dog and the Great British Bake Off, but the mind is still a whirr of stock options and invoices and client meetings; the clock may…

The day the internet broke

This week a technical hitch caused websites to wobble worldwide. Tom Chivers discovers the net is held together with chewing gum and string On Tuesday, at 8.48am British Summer Time, Verizon, a major US internet service provider (ISP), did something relatively mundane and technical: it took some big groups of IP addresses, which we can…

Fifteen things I love about Scotland, in a hopefully non-patronising way

A disclaimer: I know there’s nothing worse than English people patronisingly telling Scotland how much they love whisky and haggis, so let’s stay together guys. I know English lists of what they love about Scotland are always “oh they’re so friendly” and “I love the seafood” and “aww, Highland cows look like teddy bears”. But…

A robot that’s smarter than us? There’s one big problem with that…

[ooyala id=”Y1cmhjMjogL5tMsqt4VkddB7rgzUu_fa” ] The day I realised that machines were going to take over the world was March 29 2011, when I saw a YouTube video of two quadcopter drones playing ping-pong. Yes, I know, ping-pong is an unlikely choice of combat technique. But it was creepy. They were obviously tracking the movement of the…