Arts and Entertainment

Despite my obsession with Game of Thrones and Lucy Worsley’s The First Georgians right now, I am still televisually smitten with MTV’s Catfish. The show that exposes online love fraudsters. The throwaway youth TV show that one’s mind just cannot throw away. Instead, one sits post- episode genuinely saddened that our human need to love and be loved is so destructive. Or that  the earth’s supply of gullible optimists may well be infinite.

Howard Jacobson: Too wired to have a relaxing holiday

Outside, the waves broke; inside, two adults, tired from travel, hammered at dead computer keys

John Ross: Journalist and activist who became the first person to be arrested for refusing the US draft

The American reporter John Ross was a tireless fighter for social justice.

Tom Hodgkinson: 'Why is cleverness frowned upon?'

Having three children in the state primary system, I've seen the results of New Labour's Brave New World anti-intellectualism up close. Academic work has been largely dropped. Times tables, spelling, grammar and good handwriting are not taught. One teacher told us that correcting spelling might interrupt "the creative flow". In the playground, age-old games such as conkers and It are banned, as they might upset someone. The local authority, we are told, has also banned the ancient game of football, because it encourages competitive behaviour. Instead, pupils are treated to lavish praise, sex education and colouring in, plus a big dose of television via the whiteboards. The place is awash with laptops. There is a therapeutic ethos, and in "circle time", pupils are encouraged to talk about their problems at home. Cleverness is frowned upon: yesterday my daughter said she didn't like being clever and was considering doing bad work so she would be moved down a set.

Dom Joly: Welcome to my glass menagerie

I'm in Indonesia, on the island of Sulawesi, on a two-week trip to teach my daughter to scuba dive. I have a friend, Kaj, who is a scuba dive master and, whenever he moves to a new job we go and visit him. "You'll love this new place," he told me on Skype. "It's world-famous for muck diving and there are loads of weird creatures totally unique to here."

Sydney to Hobart protests dismissed

An international jury in Tasmania dismissed a protest by the organising race committee against Bob Oatley’s 100-foot Wild Oats and confirmed its fifth line honours win in six years of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. A similar protest against Britain’s 72-foot Rán, owned by Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom and skippered by Tim Powell, about a failure to meet a radio reporting schedule, was also dismissed.

Cancelled trains and icy roads stall the mass getaway

Freezing temperatures are forecast to continue for days, with Boxing Day blizzards likely in the West Country, Wales and Scotland.

'Net neutrality' rules to protect web competition

Internet providers are barred from restricting how customers use their service even if it means allowing competitors to run rival services under new rules adopted by US Federal communications regulators.

Boring? The number 23 bus? Never!

A conference finds unlikely fascination in bus routes, breakfasts, car parks, and even in the humble pint of milk. Susie Mesure at the Boring Conference, London.

Polanski's 'The Ghost' wins best film at European Film Awards

Roman Polanski's The Ghost – the story of a journalist hired to write the memoirs of a British prime minister – has won the prize for best film at the European Film Awards.

The English Concert, Barbican, London</br>Orpheus in the Underworld, Britten Theatre, London </br>La voix humaine, Kings Place, London

Even with a last-minute change of soloist, a choral society staple is sung with outstanding poise and poignancy

Matt Baker tipped for One Show as Jason Manford quits

Strictly Come Dancing star Matt Baker has become favourite to take over as The One Show host after Jason Manford quit over his online "flirting" with fans.

Changes for America's Cup and Audi MedCup

The revolving doors of the America’s Cup and the Audi MedCup, two of the top six pinnacles in world yacht racing, are spinning merrily as two directors join the board of America’s Cup Race Management and the man who founded the internet telecoms system, Skype, joins the TP52 class and the Audi MedCup circuit.

Cisco executive is Skyped as competition heats up

Skype, the pioneering internet phone and video conferencing company, is switching chief executives, in a move designed to improve prospects for its multibillion dollar stock market flotation.

Facebook and Skype 'exploring partnership'

Social networking website Facebook and Internet telephone company Skype are in talks to establish a partnership that is aimed at integrating their communication services, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Rhodri Marsden: Why we all hate website redesigns

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there