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Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

BBC criticised for using fake orgasm clip on show

The BBC was criticised today after a radio presenter played a clip of Meg Ryan faking an orgasm during a show broadcast during the time of the school run.

Jeremy Laurance: Are we expecting too much from medicalised sex?

The launch of Viagra in 1998 was a landmark. Within weeks it became the world's fastest-selling drug, within four years it was being used by 20 million men worldwide, and within a decade it had spawned a dozen rivals.

Leading article: Sexual revolution

"Love is the answer," said Woody Allen, "but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions." Indeed. And in that particular field, few subjects have inspired quite so much inquiry as the female orgasm. Some of the greatest male minds, from Sigmund Freud to Billy Chrystal, have wrestled with the subject. Does it exist? What is its evolutionary purpose? Can it be faked?

Judge bans pensioner paedophile from Viagra

A judge has banned a 71-year-old paedophile from being in possession of Viagra, a court heard.

The Girlfriend Experience, Young Vic, London

Turned off by the brothel creepers

Editor-At-Large: The class rift at the heart of the expenses debacle

I laughed and laughed when a hapless MP moaned last week about the hypocrisy of journalists attacking MPs for creative work with their expenses. Well, if only I could claim that my work for this newspaper required my Aga being serviced or my garden weeded, and that charity wreaths, comedy wigs, flapjacks and hair straighteners were essential to carrying out my duties, I'd be thrilled. If I could charge for food against tax, you'd all be invited round on a rotating basis. Even now, MPs just don't get it, do they? On the radio on Friday, someone was trying to justify the expenses debacle by waffling, "They work in a palace, so this kind of grand behaviour has just rubbed off on them." I'm sure that the Queen's footmen can't claim for duck ponds, second homes or crisps, so that argument clearly doesn't wash. Another commentator called it "a sickness" – well, it's a pretty attractive disease that's got them a lot of property, big tellies, and a grandiose sense of their own importance.

Pygmy, By Chuck Palahniuk

It all gets a tad convoluted when 13-year-old Agent 67 infiltrates the US on a terrorist mission

Obits in Brief: Robert Furchgott

Robert Furchgott, who died on 19 May at the age of 92, was a Nobel Prize-winning pharmacologist whose work with the gas nitric oxide helped develop the anti-impotency drug Viagra.

Man jailed over erectile dysfunction drugs

A former bankrupt businessman who funded a luxury lifestyle by selling millions of pounds worth of unlicensed Viagra-like drugs over the internet was jailed for two years yesterday.

Donizetti L’elisir d’amore, Royal Opera House

Laurent Pelly’s incurably cute 2006 staging of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore adds a whole new dimension to that well-worn phrase “make hay while the sun shines”.

How the smell of rotten eggs makes men randy

Scientists take eight transsexuals and a whiff of hydrogen sulphide to begin making an alternative to Viagra

The facts of life: love and age

A comprehensive study by Swedish researchers, published this summer, found that 68 per cent of married men in their seventies and 56 per cent of married women in their seventies were having sex, with almost a third of those surveyed (31 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women) having it once a week.

The trouble with sex

One major cause of misunderstanding between men and women is the awkward fact that sexual intercourse, which we imagine will bring us closer together, is poorly designed to give pleasure to both parties. Jeremy Laurance goes back to physiological basics

Inside China: Beijing changes its spitting image

There are just 33 days to go before it all kicks off, and all Beijing needs is a bit of spit and polish. Well, perhaps not quite so much spit. That's something which the Chinese government is trying hard to eradicate. It's an old Chinese custom to clear the throat lustily and let fly with the sputum but, conscious of the sensitivity of visiting westerners – not to mention hygiene issues – a campaign to put a stop to public expectoration seems to be working. As for the polish, well there's barely a venue remaining that needs more than a final lick of paint before what is certain to be the most lavish and spectacular of Olympic Games begins. But not all is plain sailing. A frantic clean-up operation is going on out at sea in Qingdao, where Britain's yachties are expected to win a fistful of medals. The competition is threatened by an invasion of green algae. And while the lattice-like Bird's Nest Stadium is ready for the opening ceremony, the atmosphere around it remains suspiciously smog-like, despite intense efforts to clear the pollution. Will we be asking if this is what they mean by Bird's Nest soup?

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried