As the temperatures dip, the birds need our help. We round-up the most innovative (and occasionally bonkers) feeders and houses for our feathered friends

Ai Weiwei became the loudest arts story of the year and an internationally recognised symbol for China

Ten people who changed the world: Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist became a truly global force

Whether in the cut-throat field of politics or the fashion industry's corridors of power, this year they left our planet a better place. Celebrate 10 of the best, nominated by Independent writers

Professional grump: Rooney in 1978 at the desk from which he delivered his televised diatribe

Andy Rooney: Writer who found fame with his grumbles about modern life on CBS

Every American age has had its licenced curmudgeon. A century ago Mark Twain filled that role, then came Will Rogers and HL Mencken. The latest of that line was Andy Rooney, whose pungent television commentaries about life's myriad petty irritations made him a national institution.

Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name with a hologram of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Chris Levine: Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name when he created a hologram portrait of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Roman Opalka: Polish-French conceptual artist who explored the passing of time in an extraordinary series of canvases

The Polish-French conceptual artist Roman Opalka was best-known for his attempt to reflect and define the progression of time through his series of acrylic paintings of numerals titled Opalka: 1965/1-oo (one to infinity).

Tony Cragg, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Works by Tony Cragg may adorn many a company atrium, but that doesn't mean he has sold out

Von Ribbentrop in St Ives, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

Andrew Lanyon plays with his viewers in a show that gleefully sacrifices accuracy to imagination

Orpheus: The Song of Life, By Ann Wroe

Lyric poetry is poetry sung to a lyre; the figure of Orpheus embodies it. So what does his myth tell us about how lyric poetry connects to life and what poetry offers modern lives today? Orpheus emerged from a culture intensely aware of its own communality. Ancient Greeks wove into their poetry and philosophy what it means, politically and imaginatively, that different people play different roles in society. "Music", which meant poetry as well as melody, symbolised the way many different elements combined to make harmonia. Harmonia - from harmottein, "to join or fit together" - was an important concept in moral philosophy and medicine as well as music. It was the taut balance of different forces in one body, either our own bodies or the body politic.

At home with Betty Jackson

The iconic fashion designer shares interior tips, colour advice and a few home truths with Annie Deakin.

Beautiful and damned

The rich and famous of 1920s era Hollywood appeared to have it all - but artist Pam Glew's new exhibition examines the curse of the seemingly blessed

Cultural Life: Tim Minchin, comedian

Books: Christopher Hitchens's autobiography, 'Hitch 22', is a poignant read, and very interesting because I have a very poor knowledge of recent political history – or for that matter distant political history. I'm also reading 'Jasper Jones' by Craig Silvey, about an Aboriginal kid and a white kid who find a dead woman, hanging from a rope. I was completely sucked in.

Sport on TV: Olympic pastiche ticks all the boxes in race against time

One of the dilemmas of writing a topical comedy must be that your script can be overtaken by events. The makers of a new sitcom about the London Olympics, Twenty Twelve (BBC4, Monday) might have been bemused by the apparent ability of Locog, the real organising committee, to deliver on time and on budget. Not many laughs there.

Nancy Spero: Shocks to the system

Spero spent six decades 'making the personal political' with her feminist artworks, yet recognition came late. Arifa Akbar argues that the Serpentine Gallery's retrospective is a timely tribute to her talent

The Secret History Of: The Arco light

By Kate Watson-Smyth

Christie's uncovered: Anatomy of an auction

we all know how an auction ends – with a crash of gavel, a depleted wallet and a dented ego or two – but how do they begin? Christie's auction room in London's St James's has seen more action than most. It has been in use since 1823 and the blockbuster Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on Wednesday will be one of its busiest of the year. Dealers and collectors from all around the world will be donning their smartest suits and gathering to bid on landmark paintings by Monet, Picasso and Degas, spending millions during a frantic and dramatic evening. But this is merely the public climax to a project that is three months in the making. Long before a painting reaches the rostrum, it has to be sourced by Christie's multinational team headed by Giovanna Bertazzoni and Olivier Camu, and its owners persuaded to sell. Potential buyers across the globe are alerted. Paintings are restored, reframed, studied and valued. And throughout, the team must balance their visceral love of the art and the calculating demands of the market.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
three nights from £259pp Find out more
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice