Weekendish: Birdman and bound feet

A collection of some of the best reads from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

Fait maison

Image copyright AFP

French cuisine was awarded world heritage status by Unesco a few years back, but it seems that all is not well in the restaurant kitchens across the country. The number that simply reheat pre-prepared food, rather than cooking it from scratch, has prompted a new law which came into effect this week. From now on, any restaurant that serves a home-made dish can indicate it on the menu with a new logo - a rather natty saucepan with a lid designed to look like the roof of a house. Next year it will be compulsory for all menus to carry the logo to indicate whether something is "fait maison". But there are some exceptions - raw products that have been frozen, refrigerated, chopped, ground, smoked, or peeled, not including oven chips - and food writers have been getting into a bit of a tizzy over them. Lauraine Jacobs says: "By next year all French restaurants will be forced to declare this. Let's do it here in NZ." Andy Hayler adds: "I wonder how the UK figures would compare to France on 'home made' restaurant food?". The logo itself seemed popular, as Jamie Ellul ‏tweets: "French restaurants to use new logo to communicate 'home made' - and it's not terrible."

The new sign on French menus

The Tooting circle

Image copyright Reuters

Babar Ahmad, a British man from south London, has been sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison in the US after he admitted conspiracy and providing material support to the Taliban. BBC reporter Dominic Casciani tells the story of a young man who, in between studying at one of the best universities in the UK, fought with the Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs, before returning home to run an Islamic study group from a fast-food outlet in Tooting, south London, and then going on to set up the first English-language jihadist website. Ahmad became enormously influential and his audio tapes were discovered among the possessions of the 7/7 London suicide attackers. Read the story of how a young man from an upwardly mobile British-Pakistani home became to the voice of young Muslims with an identity crisis, and what it says about our understanding of jihad.

The godfather of internet jihad?

The Birdman

Image copyright eddie mitchell

"I want everybody on the beach cheering and I want to cause a sensation." This was Tony Hughes ahead of the Worthing International Birdman competition. It's an annual event that has been running for more than three decades. The competitors make their own craft - Tony's took "hundreds of hours" to make for what he described as a flight that will last around 16 seconds. "I can't tell you how that 16 seconds makes you feel," Tony tells the BBC's Dan Curtis. The challenge is to glide for more 100 metres from a 10m high pier down a prescribed course. Tony is extremely competitive and there's a £10,000 cash prize. No one so far has been able to do it - can Tony? Watch the footage from his on-board camera. Caroline Tyler tweets: ‏"I love this silly and yet inspiring competition."

Worthing International Birdman: One man's quest to win

Bound feet

Image copyright Jo Farrell

The painful practice of binding the feet of girls in China may have been outlawed in 1911, but for some girls the ancient tradition continued illegally until the 1949 Communist revolution. Photographer Jo Farrell has tracked down a small group of survivors, women in their 80s and 90s, and has been documenting this legacy of "old China". Farrell develops and prints the black and white film that passes through her Hasselblad camera. Take a look at a small selection of her work in picture editor Phil Coomes' blog.

Chinese foot binding

The new revolutionaries?

Image copyright Reuters

Is Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) a revolutionary force or a reactionary one interested in reviving a traditional Islamic system of government? Philosopher and author John Gray argues that Isis is thoroughly modern, resembling a 20th Century totalitarian state. It's organised itself like efficient company, and has become the wealthiest jihadi organisation in the world, he says. "There's nothing mediaeval about [its] mix of ruthless business enterprise, well-publicised savagery and transnational organised crime." Gray argues that it is part of the revolutionary turmoil of modern times and that until the West grasps that uncomfortable fact, it won't be able to deal with the dangers Isis presents.

Isis: A thoroughly modern caliphate

Chaotic British walkers

Image copyright Getty Images

The British have little sense of pavement etiquette, writes Mark Easton. While many tourists have to quickly adjust to cars driving on the left, there doesn't seem to be much they can do to make sense of the mayhem on Britain's pavements. The British tend to prefer a slalom approach to weaving through throngs of determined shoppers, rushing office workers and ambling tourists, or else they take to jaywalking - legally - across the street. Telling people how to walk is simply not British, says Easton. But it's clearly a bugbear for some. Travel2much finds fault in the people "so engrossed in their phone, they walk with their head down in their own world expecting everyone else to dodge". Jesus is unapologetic: "I walk down the path looking at my phone, so what? I have important emails to check. You can see me coming so get out of my way! If you walk in to me, I will shout at you for being so ignorant."

Pedestrian etiquette in Britain

Here are some things we've enjoyed this week from elsewhere around the web:

Visualizing Waste: Klaus Pichler's Gorgeous, Rotting Food National Geographic

Even the Gorillas and Bears in Our Zoos Are Hooked on Prozac Wired

One of a kind: What do you do if your child has a condition that is new to science? New Yorker

The Hunt for the Best Ballpark Hot Dog Smithsonian Magazine

What 19th-Century Germans Thought Life Would Be Like in 2000 Mental Floss

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