I thought M*A*S*H answered the laughter-track question in the Eighties?

Apart from the curious fact that Lucille Ball’s mother is the ‘Wilhelm Scream’ of chuckles on US TV’s canned laughter track, it still surprises me that the debate about whether a laughter track is a good idea continues to this day in America. Anthony Crupi on AdAge is the latest voice: There’s actually very little research to justify the practice. The last comprehensive study to suggest that a laugh track could precipitate genuine peals of merriment was published in 1974, or a good three years before DeDe Ball chortled her last. A far more recent inquiry into the matter arrived at a

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Tracking Your Phone’s Tube Journey

During November and December last year, Transport For London used the London Underground’s Wi-fi network to track the hashes of MAC numbers as they moved through the system. Although tracking the start and end points of a journey is relatively easy, how a large volume of people move between stations has been harder to understand. Perhaps the number one reason to do the trial was to better understand the journeys that people actually make on the Tube. At the moment, TfL can tell what station you started and ended your journey at based on your Oyster card – but it can’t tell how

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What if The Doctor had always been black?

A delightful counter-historical for the entertainment world, as Peter Judge’s post has been brought back to the wold. What if the BBC had cast a black actor in Doctor Who in 1963, through all the regenerations, and into the new series? One thing’s clear. The fourth Doctor would still be everyone’s favourite: 4: Derek Griffiths The most outlandish and best-loved Doctor, Derek Griffiths was the first to be born in Britain, His previous TV work included Play School and Please Sir! but Doctor Who gave him somewhere to express himself. He made the character something of a hippy, with flamboyant clothes,

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The New Yorker’s differnt approach to print and online

The only constant in publishing today is change. While many print empires have passed away, others are working through the transition towards digital. The New Yorker has been smart and adapted for the new environment while preserving its identity. Benjamin Mullin for Poynter looks at how it’s working out: In those days, the print schedule reigned supreme, which meant that the magazine’s famously rigorous system of copy editing and fact-checking held sway over The New Yorker’s metabolism. In the years since, The New Yorker has undergone a massive digital remaking. It’s established a separate web operation that’s unchained writers and editors

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Is this not the end of the Voicemail?

Podcasts should, like people making a Terminator TV series, plan for a final episode. Even if it’s ‘go on hiatus’ think about what you leave if it is the last one. As it is with genre TV, as it is with The Voicemail: This isn’t the last episode of The Voicemail, but it’ll be the last one you’ll hear for a while. In it, James and Stefan discuss what’s been happening in their respective lives since the last time they recorded, what news items caught there eyes during the show’s brief hiatus, and what they’re looking forward to in 2017. Goodnight,

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