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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
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