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  1. Charting the 5 live Hit List

    Friday 7 November 2014, 14:19

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    Emma Barnett Emma Barnett

    By Rob Procter, Professor of Social Informatics at Warwick University and Alex Voss, Lecturer in Software Engineering, University of St Andrews

    The use of social media has grown at an astonishing rate over the past decade. Daily, Twitter users now post 500 million tweets, Facebook users communicate over 120 million messages and YouTube users upload 140,000 hours of video. This all adds up to a huge amount of interesting content. Most importantly, social media has given ordinary people a way of expressing their own interests and sharing them with their peers. The desire to discover and report on what is popular in social media is what lies behind the 5 live Hit List.

    Every week, using specially developed algorithms for analyzing social media data streams to identify each story, evaluate and rank its impact, members of Collaborative Online Social Media Observatory (COSMOS), an interdisciplinary team of sociologists and computer scientists at Cardiff, Warwick and St Andrews universities, are producing a chart based on the most popular stories in social media in the UK.

    This involves analysing data from the Twitter Streaming API, which makes available a 1% sample of all...

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  2. Democracy in the UK: Has the fuse been lit?

    Wednesday 5 November 2014, 11:15

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    By Tim Levell, editor of the evening and overnight programmes on 5 live

    Four hundred and nine years ago a plot to blow up Parliament, kill James I and overturn the existing political regime was thwarted in the early hours of the morning of 5 November.

    A search party found Guy Fawkes hiding in an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, together with a number of barrels of gunpowder and several slow matches. One of the biggest threats to British democracy in the nation’s history had been averted.

    In 2014, after Scotland rejected independence, the Prime Minister David Cameron stood outside Downing Street to propose some of the biggest changes to the UK constitution for decades. He talked about a “new and fair” constitutional settlement for the whole of the United Kingdom – partly in response to the idea of “English votes for English laws”.

    Speaking to 5 live on 31 October, the Labour leader Ed Miliband agreed that the the issues thrown up by devolution needed to be looked at. “I want a proper constitutional convention which brings people together… to say, let’s be governed in the right way.”

    So change is coming. But what could it look like?

    On Phil Williams’ programme from...

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  3. The ‘Inactivity Timebomb’

    Monday 13 October 2014, 12:12

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    by Adam Brimelow, Health and Science correspondent

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    I spend a lot of time reporting on the devastating impact of problems such as obesity, smoking and excessive drinking. By comparison the threat posed by inactivity gets a lot less airtime, even though it leads to millions of deaths around the world every year from heart disease, cancer and diabetes*.

    It's been called the ‘Inactivity Timebomb’ by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Official figures from the Department of Health show about a quarter of men and half of women are missing the government's target for activity.

    However, these are self-reported. Research monitoring peoples’ movements electronically, published by the British Heart Foundation, found only one in 25 of women, and one in 15 men were meeting the mark. 

    We often like to think of ourselves as a sporting nation. We certainly produce a lot of champions, coming in third place in the 2012 Olympic medal table. But when it comes to activity levels we’re down near the bottom of the chart*.

    Research published in the Lancet suggests lack of exercise kills as many people as smoking*. As well as increasing peoples' chances of conditions such as heart...

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  4. Interstellar Development

    Tuesday 7 October 2014, 12:33

    Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

    I’m already very excited about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and now there’s been some news about release of the film that really pleases me...

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  5. Sexting amongst children 'epidemic'

    Monday 6 October 2014, 07:35

    David Lewis David Lewis Producer 5 live

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    Former Culture Secretary Maria Miller said sexting is an ‘epidemic’ which is on the increase and is spreading to primary schools.

    “It’s now frankly something that children accept as part of their everyday life right from primary school age and all the research shows it’s a growing trend,”  said Mrs Miller.

    The MP also said more has to be done to help young people understand the impact of sexting, such as distribution. Mrs Miller also said there needs to be more support for children when sexting does go wrong and that schools are struggling to cope with the problem.

    On Sunday...

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  6. ‘People think disability hate crime doesn’t exist – but it’s truly awful’

    Friday 19 September 2014, 17:22

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    Simon Green is a 38-year-old wheelchair user from Bridgend. He explains why he feels disabled people are being failed by the justice system.

    While the tragic deaths of people like Steven Simpson from Barnsley make the news and the very nasty incidents of bullying, verbal abuse and physical attacks can often be investigated, it is low level incidents that affect people more often.

    I was born with a condition called neurofibromatosis – a genetic condition that causes tumours to grow along my nerves. In 2003 it got so bad that I lost the ability to walk. I’ve been a wheelchair user ever...

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  7. Scottish referendum 'not like a normal election'

    Monday 15 September 2014, 11:22

    James Shaw James Shaw

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    Yes and Better Together campaigners in Glasgow


    Yes or no, which are you? That's the only question in Scotland at the moment. I get asked it a lot myself when I interview referendum campaigners from both sides. I was even asked it by our own Richard Bacon.


    When it happens, I make like Zippy  -  the kids' tv character who has a zip instead of a mouth. Honestly I'm glad my job demands strict neutrality. This story of high passion combined with huge historic significance couldn't be done any other way.


    My moment of the week was standing between Yes and No campaigners on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. I turned my microphone one way and...

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  8. Should we be worried about Icelandic volcano?

    Thursday 21 August 2014, 11:22

    Simon King Simon King Broadcast Meteorologist

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    Will a new volcanic eruption in Iceland cause travel chaos for air passengers in the UK? In 2010 the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull led to flights across northern Europe being grounded for several days due to the hazard to engines from volcanic dust. Could a new eruption have the same impact? Broadcast meteorologist Simon King on how much we should worry...

    The Icelandic Met Office have recorded an increase in earthquake activity around the Bardarbunga volcano over the last few days – the countries second largest volcano, which last erupted in 1903. About 300 earthquakes had been detected...

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  9. A glorious Scottish summer

    Friday 15 August 2014, 09:39

    James Shaw James Shaw

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    What a summer it has been in Scotland - like no other that I can remember over the last 20 years. It started with the Commonwealth Games in July. It will end with the Scottish Independence Referendum in September.

    And when it's all over, we'll look back and realise that we've seen and witnessed things that have never happened before in Scotland, and might never happen again.

    So we set out from Glasgow last Monday - that's me and 5 live producer Helen Thomas - with the idea of capturing as many of the sights and sounds of this unique Scottish summer as we could. We wanted to talk to as many...

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  10. A summer of sport, news and remembrance

    Tuesday 15 July 2014, 15:00

    Jonathan Wall Jonathan Wall Controller, Radio 5 Live


    It’s been a very busy period on-air at BBC Radio 5 live with both the World Cup and Wimbledon. We are now putting the finishing touches to our plans for the Commonwealth Games, which starts on Wednesday 23 July with the opening ceremony. Then, the day after the closing ceremony there will be a poignant change of focus across Britain, as Monday 4 August is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. More detail to follow below about our planned coverage. We also have the Open Golf Championship this week and the first ever BBC Sport Prom this weekend.

    Presenter changes

    It’s also been...

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