26 Sep 2014

The ideal Twitter diet: eat your way to better tweets

As someone who’s on Twitter, I get asked a lot about what’s the best diet to follow in order to tweet successfully. It’s a subject that I have thought about a lot during the past half an hour, and therefore decided to write a guide for people who are too busy to design their own diets. It’s a matter of common courtesy, you owe it to the people who follow you to eat properly in order to keep them informed and entertained. So here we go.

In many ways, the kind of Twitter diet that you should follow depends on what kind of Twitter person you want to be. There’s isn’t a one-size-fits-diet, and you should determine your priorities on Twitter before choosing the right diet for you. No amount of introspection in these matters is too much; your self-esteem is directly linked to the image you want to project on social media after all.


A vegetarian diet deprives people of vital proteins and makes eating more of a chore than an enjoyable experience, making people both lethargic and grumpy all the time. This is ideal for Twitter, grumpiness can contribute to effective rants which are valued highly on Twitter. Being lethargic also means that you are more likely to spend more time on Twitter, and less inclined to get up and do something else like cleaning the house or getting a job. This will ensure that you will dedicate whatever little energy you have to cultivating a Twitter following and interacting with them regularly.

20 Sep 2014

When the aliens met ISIS (because odds are)

It’s a hot summer evening in the Iraqi desert, the sun had finally disappeared behind the hills in the distance. Two Islamic State recruits are keeping guard on a remote outpost. They had finished their dinner and are sipping their sweet dark tea in silence. Abu Abdullah al-Inglizi is a convert from Birmingham and his companion is Abu Bakr al-Shishani, an engineering student from Chechnya who had quit his studies to fight for the Caliph. Abu Abdullah speaks only English, while Abu Bakr knows few Arabic phrases and even fewer English ones.

Abu Abdullah suddenly prods his companion and points to the sky. A disc-shaped object appears to be hovering in the distance, flashing its lights directly beneath. (It’s best not to stray too much from cinematic convention.) The hovering object is unlike any helicopter they had seen. They watch in awe as the object comes closer and begins its descent to the ground.

12 Sep 2014

We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article.

On Thursday the 18th of September, Scottish voters will be asked to vote in a referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The question they must answer is "Should Scotland be an independent country?" They must answer either ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, in accordance with one of the central tenets of Western culture known as ‘binary oppositions’. This handy guide will give you all the information you need to know about the referendum and what’s it likely to mean for you. (Not much really, aside from maybe needing to get an extra visa.)

8 Sep 2014

Incredible archive of ancient unseen photographs discovered in Lebanon

Julius Caesar at Place de l'Etoile, Beirut
While working at a soup kitchen in London a few months ago, I made a startling discovery that revealed a secret archive of photographs from Lebanon dating back for millennia that I am now sharing with the world. A very, very old man approached me and I detected a hint of a Phoenician accent in the way he spoke English and I quizzed him I realised he is also from Lebanon. Over the next few weeks I built a relationship with the man, Abdeshmun of Byblos, and he revealed to me his fascinating story, and in the process revealed the vast archive of six photographs that he possessed which today we are publishing for the first time.

I wasn't going to make the story public but the appearance of this similar story in the press (A lost Lebanon caught on camera) recently convinced me that people are much more willing to believe fantastic stories, especially if they are accompanied by old photographs. Obtaining the permission of the reluctant Abdeshmun, I convinced him to share this unprecedented trove of archival photographs which he clung onto throughout his travels in the ancient and modern worlds.

3 Sep 2014

The Top-Ten Single-Digit Numbers of All Time

Even before it was published, this post has been described as 'the ultimate listicle', 'the defining new media article' and 'silly but accurate' by major news organisations and well-known pundits. The buzz surrounding the anticipated publication of the post created waves of excitement on social media and other similar clichés usually used by SM types. So what's the fuss about?

In short, we decided to boil down the listicle to is Platonic ideal. How? By choosing and ranking the top-ten single-digit numbers of all time in collaboration with a panel of experts on the genre. The results are published below, in no particular order.

6 Aug 2014

Exclusive: ISIS internal memos from Lebanon

The following documents where retrieved from a building that was occupied by jihadis from the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) in Lebanon following the group's recent entry into the country. They paint a revealing picture of the group's operations there and the type of problems they faced with local recruits. Click on the images to zoom.

3 Jul 2014

The Caliph and His Psychiatrist, Exclusive Transcript

In an unrivalled scoop we have managed to obtain a transcript of a conversation between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his psychiatrist that reveals a hidden and complex side of the jihadi leader who recently declared himself Caliph. The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who now goes by the name of Caliph Ibrahim reveals his anxieties about the establishment of the caliphate and the toll the pressure is taking on him. For security reasons our sources shall remain unnamed.

12 Jun 2014

Four World Cups and One Long Civil War: A Football and War Memoir

Argentina 1978

In 1978 I was seven and I knew very little about football. But hearing the adults and my older cousins talk about the World Cup that summer made me curious. I remember trying to match their enthusiasm but it wasn’t easy, not least because we didn’t have a television in those days. My father, a military man both by profession and disposition, regarded them as unnecessary distractions.

28 May 2014

Combating voter apathy in the 21st century: Roundtable discussion with Sisi and Assad

The recent European elections highlighted the problems facing democratic systems today as a result of declining voter participation and political apathy. In order to explore solutions for this problem, we organised a roundtable discussion with two of the leading figures in encouraging voter participation, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Both men have organised presidential elections that they are going to win, and have resorted to innovative methods to encourage voting.

14 May 2014

Five Maps And Charts That Explain The White Saviour Complex

 Five Maps And Charts That Explain The White Saviour Complex. Click on the images to zoom.