What’s the News: Radio and television broadcasters in France must soon abandon self-promoting messages like, “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.” The French equivalent of the FCC, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), is banning the mention of specific social-networking sites on the radio or TV. While this rule applies to all online social networks, the ruling was directed at the juggernauts Facebook and Twitter.
“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are other social networks that are struggling for recognition,” explains CSA spokeswoman Christine Kelly (via the Guardian).
What’s the News: Disconnecting people from the Internet or unduly restricting the flow of information online is a violation of human rights and goes against international law, according to a United Nations report (pdf) released Friday.
The report, written by UN special rapporteur Frank La Rue, highlights “the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole,” its summary says. Furthermore, the report specifies two dimensions of Internet acces: unrestricted access to online content and the availability of sufficient technology and infrastructure “to access the Internet in the first place.”
It’s a hard life (and death) being a French king. Even if you’re popular, you’re assassinated. Revolutionaries disinter your body long after your death and make off with your mummified head. And then finally, 400 years after your death, your head supposedly turns up in the garage of a collector.
This week a team led by Philippe Charlier reports to have identified the head of the monarch in this story, France’s King Henri IV. The researchers report their find in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, which is known for its tradition of bizarre topics and occasional spoof articles, but Charlier and company appear to be on the level about identifying the remains of the first Bourbon king.
Known as “the green gallant” in his time, Henri’s extraordinary popularity didn’t prevent him from being whacked in 1610—then having his remains ransacked by revolutionaries nearly 200 years later. Reports of his head passing between private hands have surfaced over the centuries, most recently after one collector bought it for three francs in 1919, then tried—and failed—to have it authenticated for display in French museums. It came into possession of an 84 year-old man who has kept it stashed in his garage since 1955. [TIME]
Charlier and colleagues say they could not recover uncontaminated samples of mitochondrial DNA, which would have allowed for genetic testing. So, as an alternative, they found several ways to compare what was left of the embalmed head to what historians know about Henri IV (not to be confused with Henry IV of England, subject of two Shakespeare plays).
As if soccer, wars of incredible length, and the relative worth of wine vs. beer didn’t account for enough disagreements between Britain and France, add another spat to the pile: whether or not the G-spot really exists.
A few weeks ago, a team of scientists from King’s College London joined the ongoing scientific fray by publishing a new study on the much-debated female erogenous zone. It was the biggest to date, involving 1,800 women – all of whom were pairs of identical or non-identical twins. If the G-spot did exist, it said, then genetically identical twins would have been expected to both report having one. However, no such pattern emerged [The Telegraph]. As a result of the study, coauthor Tim Spector said, the study “shows fairly conclusively that the idea of a G-spot is subjective.”