The Gist: Courting reporters, Martian robots
Here at The Gist, we like to squeeze things down for you. So, imagine how helpful it is to find that a whole set of unrelated but proximate stories suddenly crammed themselves together. On the day that saw a new set of reporting restrictions to limit reporting/tweeting of court proceedings to 'bona fide' journalists (triggering an existential question of what such a thing might be, and how to assess it) the High Court saw a five day rape trial collapse following publication of a newspaper report on it- while the jury was deliberating- which the court felt was so prejudicial as to require the jury to be discharged.
Here's a thing- Court reporting is a difficult skill. Even legal practitioners, familiar with the details of a case in advance, have to concentrate to work out which statements, amongst the many words spoken, are the key points. A Court reporter will come to a case cold, and has to work things out as they go. While everyone in a court has experienced the dislocation of a news report that bears no resemblance to the event they participated in, Irish court reporting remains a valued and valuable skill. And, significantly, the piece in the Indo which triggered the trial collapse wasn't by a court reporter. But, as the seriously bad consequences of that condemned piece shows, the value of journalism on court proceedings should be defined by what is done- not by who is doing it.
Intellects vast and cool and stop-motion
NASA is demonstrably good at landing robots on planets. Mars, our nearest neighbour, is currently inhabited by a 100% robot population. They're mostly tooling around, poking rocks and testing sand for wetness. I mean some of them are also probably stuck on their side like paniced tortoises, but you can't win 'em all. Today saw the addition of a new robot. The InSight intends to examine how Mars' innards work. Most pleasingly, for those like me with only an abstract interest in Martian lava, is that it appears to have been designed by the 1970s Doctor Who props department, complete with classic BBC spacefaring features, the 'upturned colander of science', a 'paint can in tin foil' and, most radically, the actual box Camberwick Green lives in.