BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for March 25, 2007 - March 31, 2007

10 things we didn't know last week

17:51 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

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Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. The UK's national time signal is accurate to within 1,000th of a second of Co-ordinated Universal Time.
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2. Drinking, drug-taking teenagers are in the decline, according to a survey by the Information Centre.
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3. The average water temperature of the UK's rivers and lakes is 5C in winter, 18C in summer.

4. Eight of the 10 most crowded train journeys in the UK are outside London.

5. The average duvet is home to 20,000 live dust mites.
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6. Designer discount retailer TK Maxx is called TJ Maxx in the US.
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7. Having a baby can cost you up to two months sleep in the first year.
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8. Chimps and bonobos differ from humans by only 1% of DNA and could accept a blood transfusion or a kidney.
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9. Britain's peat bogs store carbon that is equivalent to 20 years' worth of national industrial emissions.
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10. Dogs can seemingly perform the Heimlich manoeuvre – a technique for helping someone who is choking.
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Sources: 3 - the Times, 26 March; 4 - the Times, 26 March.

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Charlie Grant of Nottingham for this week's picture of 10 garages).

How to say: Bao Xishun

15:45 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

A weekly guide to the words and names in the news from Eva Liina Asu-Garcia of the BBC Pronunciation Unit

The world’s tallest man Bao Xishun (pronounced: BOW (to rhyme with "now") SHEE SHUUN (to rhyme with "book")) has married a woman 25 years his junior and about two-thirds his height. Mr Bao’s bride Xia Shujian (pronounced: shi-AA shoo ji-ENN) comes from his hometown Chifeng (pronounced as: CHUH (to rhyme with "the") FUNG (to rhyme with "rung")) in Inner Mongolia.

Mr Bao was in the news last December after he used his long arms to save two dolphins by pulling out plastic from their stomachs in Liaoning (LYOW (to rhyme with "now") NING) province, North East China.

It has to be noted that Chinese is a tone language and every syllable in Mandarin Chinese, for instance, can have four different pitched tones (high level, high rising, low falling-rising, and high falling) and a neutral tone. The meaning of a syllable changes depending on the tone used. The rendering of Chinese tones in English is of course impossible since English is not a tone language.

(For a guide to our phonetic pronunciations, click here.)

Your Letters

15:18 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

Rob from Cambridge trots out the old urban myth about the origin of 'back to square one' in radio soccer commentaries. It's true that the pitch was divided into eight nominal squares (in a diagram in Radio Times) but square 1 was a corner square (obviously) so the ball went "back to square one" no more often than it did to any of the seven other squares. The phrase certainly didn't mean going back to the start since the centre spot was on the cross point between the four middle squares. 'Back to square one' just comes from Snakes-and-Ladders-style board games.
MJ Simpson, Leicester, UK

Re: Prisoners held in record numbers. Aren't they being held in cells anymore?
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

Re: Cameron rapped over fundraising. For a moment I thought the Tory leader was following up his webCam with an attempt to get in the charts with an mp3 download. Only to be disappointed when I clicked the link.
George Shaw, UK

Jamie - Ichthyosaurs and pleasiosaurs are not dinosaurs, though you are right about the Iguanodon. If you want to include other prehistoric reptiles, you've got to go back at least to the "beast of Maastricht" - an 18th century Mosasaur discovery - anyway.
James Dignan, Dunedin, New Zealand

Jamie in East Sussex says he's "a qualified geologist not some pedantic loser". Having once (briefly) been out with a geologist I can assure Jamie that the two are not mutually exclusive.
Sarah, Dartmouth, NS

Dear Sir, I note with some concern that you are publishing letters from qualified experts. I believe this goes against not only the MMs remit but against the whole ethos of the BBC. The BBC is here to represent the British public - and I think you will find pedantic losers out-number qualified experts in every area. P.s. I think you'll find ps requires two periods.
Andrew, Malvern, UK

I am a small farm labourer of low social rank and I have a blocked nose. Do you consider me a pedant?
John Thompson, Southport, UK

I would just like to report an incident that happened at work yesterday. One of my colleagues, in an incredible act of sucking up, creating a page on Wikipedia on our boss. Can anyone beat that?
Gareth, Tokyo, Japan

Caption competition results

13:18 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

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It's time for the winning entries in the caption comp.

This week, the Queen looks on as forensic science students demonstrate the collecting of evidence at a simulated crime scene during a visit to East Berkshire College, Windsor. But what's being said?

1. Robin, Edinburgh
"I think it was Helen Mirren, in the kitchen, with the statuette."

2. Colin Cunnington
"Hmmm... I'd say from the nature of the head wound that he had been hit with a black leather handbag by an elderly lady..."

3. Mary Faulkner
"How fortunate one remembered to keep one's gloves on."

4. John
"He does this a lot when he leaves the pub, but this is the first time he's done it on an official engagement..."

5. Chris Dodgson
"Well, pass me the scissors and I can officially declare this crime scene open."

6. Rob Falconer
"Philip was right. Playing Cluedo with real people is much more fun."

Thanks to all who entered. What a week, you really excelled yourselves. Bravo.

Paper Monitor

12:07 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The fragrant Kate Middleton is a bit upset with the papers - well, one in particular. She has filed a complaint over alleged harassment after the Daily Mirror ran a paparazzi snap of her heading to work, vat o' coffee and car keys in hand. The accompanying article speculated that the "stony-faced" Kate was unhappy that her boyfriend had been photographed partying with other women.

Needless to say, her appeal to the Press Complaints Commission has been pounced on with some glee by the other papers. Not only does it allow the Times - stable mate of the Mirror's bitter rival, the Sun - to come over a bit "holier than thou" that News International papers refuse to use paparazzi snaps of her, it's the only excuse a picture editor needs to dig out a (legitimate) photo of the lovely young thing.

The Daily Telegraph - always fond of adorning its front page with a comely filly - opts for a (smiley and very flattering) photo of her at the recent Cheltenham festival, as does the Guardian. The Times has a similar photo on its inside pages, with the caption "Kate Middleton at the Cheltenham festival, a public event..."

The Mirror itself makes no mention of the complaint in Paper Monitor's edition.

But it does continue to build up the column inches written about the Beckhams' joint decision to sport new 'dos, with the Punorama-worthy headline "SHORT BECK AND SIDES".

Funny, Victoria's looks familiar... it is only on turning to the page three timeline of David's hairstyles over the ages that all becomes clear - she has recycled one of his from 1998.

Daily Mini-Quiz

09:25 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

Yesterday we asked how tall is the bride of Bao Xishun, at 7ft 9in the world's tallest man - she comes up to his stomach. She's 5ft 6, or 167cm, tall - which 48% of you got right. Another 36% said 5ft 2 (157cm) and the rest said 5ft 8. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine homepage now.

Your Letters

17:23 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

Regarding your news article “Golden age of dino finds forecast”. You've stated that the first fossil find was Megalosaur in 1824. The first fossilised dinosaur finds were, in fact of the Icthyosaur in 1811 and the Plesiosaur in 1819 by Mary Anning. The first land-based dinosaur fossil find was the Iguanodon by Lewes based geologist Gideon Mantell in 1822. Prior to this many smaller fossilised plants and other organisms were regularly discovered. Another character worthy of note is William Smith (another local geologist, from Hastings) who came up with “the principle of faunal succession” in 1815, a law used to determine the relative age of rocks. ps - I'm a qualified geologist not some pedantic loser with nothing better to do than pick through news articles!
Jamie, East Sussex

Oh dear - I think I am about to disclose the most anally retentive I have ever been but here goes: Re today's DMQ - Bao Xishun is 7ft 9in - which is (7x12)+9=93 ins. If his fiancee is 2/3 his height that makes her 93/3 x 2= 62ins - which in my book is 5ft 2ins - not 5ft 6ins as stated. If she IS 5ft 6in then this makes her 66/93 x 100= 71% (rounded up) of his height - not 2/3 (which is, rounded up 67%). Either this displays an appalling grasp of Maths on my part (quite likely) or else indicates I am a bad loser as I picked 5ft 2 ins. Or maybe it all got lost in the metrification.
Christina, Bath

Now go on! That first picture of Doctor Who's Companions surely shows a young Cherie Blair, no?
JennyT, NY Brit

Two adjacent headlines this afternoon: "Fewer teens using drink and drugs" and "School truancy worse than thought". There must be a missing story here - possibly "Truants less delinquent than previously assumed"?
Ian Rutt, Bristol, UK

Dear Thursday Paper Monitor, "Back to square one" is a phrase which originated from the early days of football commentary, when the pitch was divided into imaginary numbered squares to help the listener follow what was going on. Nothing to do with Roulette.
Rob, Cambridge

PM asks if the FT's 'back to square one' has anything to do with Roulette - no, but it has everything to do with Snakes and Ladders which is much more exciting (and not to be played on a first date as I once found out)
basil Long, Newark Notts

Thanks a bunch Paper Monitor! I taped last night's Apprentice and you've ruined it for me.
I'm just glad you don't watch Desperate Housewives too.
Ewan, Doncaster

Re Keith from Loughborough's query about how Casino Royale could be the best film, but not best British film, the Baftas did exactly the same. The Queen won best film, while Last King of Scotland won best British Film (they were both nominated for both awards).
Robin, Edinburgh

Re Keith from Loughborough, it could be because a film can't be entered in more than one category, or only win one award. Many motorsports events work this way.
Rhydian Edwards, Wrexham

In response to John Airey's comment about the escalators at Angel and the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel, those on the Tyne Tunnel have a rise of 85 feet, against 90 feet for those at Angel.
Barry Salter, London, UK

Paper Monitor

10:55 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Gambling – like it or not, is one thing to be said for it is its rich pun potential. So when the Lords threw out the government's plans for a super casino, on Wednesday evening, the BBC's 10 O'Clock News immediately raised the stakes... with "all bets are off".

Could the papers do better? Paper Monitor has teamed up with its stablemate and loyal friend Punorama to cast judgement:

Full marks to the Daily Mail for its offering – "A busted flush" – pithy and to the point.

The Daily Mirror and Sun exhibit a disappointing show of unanimity – both giving us "Casino" with the "no" in a different shade of grey to the "Casi". Frankly boys, it would have had far more impact on a colour page, but the Sun at least adds some drop shadow to the last two letters.

"All bets off as Labour's casino law kicked out" runs the Express offering. Hmm… rather derivative.

"Supercasino plan is deal a new blow in narrow Lords defeat" – the Times. Not a classic by any means but marks are awarded for the fact it’s the only quality paper to invoke a pun, although the FT, which goes big on the story, does have a line about casino operators going "back to square one". Could it be a very weak allusion to roulette?

Paper Monitor, meanwhile, is mildly irked by the patronising tone of Metro's take on Faye Turney, one of the British sailors captured by the Iranians.

"A prisoner, a pawn – but above all a mother". Er, did they forget that she is also a dedicated career woman? And what about the other 14 captives – are none of them fathers?

Finally, it's back to the Apprentice. The waiting is over, and the Mirror has once again signed up Sir Alan for his exclusive nuggets of wisdom vis-a-vis the latest victim, in this case Andy "I'll give you 110% Sir Alan" Jackson.

Today's lesson from Big Al is "position, position, position" – the point being that if you're going to shift something, you've got to find the right location from which to do it.

It's maybe worth banking this thought and at the same time noting Sir Alan's tendency to contradict himself in the course of a series, or across two series even. Such as last night when he said that anyone trying to play up their humble roots in a bid to compare themselves to Sir Alan would get short shrift. Er, wasn't that specifically what Sir Alan said he liked about last year's winner Michelle Dewberry?

Daily Mini-Quiz

10:20 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

Yesterday we asked, with hotel prices rising sharply, in which city will a hotel set you back the most to find a bed for the night. It's Moscow (£172), which 22% of you got right, then New York (26%), Cancun (7%), Bath (37%) and Bangkok (7%). Today's mini-question - which asks the height of the tallest man's new bride - is on the Magazine homepage now.

Your Letters

16:05 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Re the man who skied down the Tube escalator: years ago when I lived in London and regularly had a drink or two after work, I sat, side-saddle style, on the escalator handrail and slid down - much like you would on a banister. I remember gaining a lot of speed and would have been fine except for hitting the raised sign at the bottom which from memory says "Stand on the right, dogs must be carried". I flew through the air and crashed spectacularly, breaking my watch and ending up with a bruise the size and colour of a pizza on my upper thigh. The follies of youth.
Joe, Somerset

Sorry, but the escalators at Angel station are three feet shorter than those on the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel between Jarrow and Howdon. These are also the longest wooden escalators in the world.
John Airey, Peterborough, UK

Scientists claim to have produced a "healthier pizza" by cooking it for longer at higher temperatures. That sounds like my recipe for a burnt offering... perhaps it's healthier because you eat less?
QJ, Stafford, UK

I'm not sure I camembert to watch the cheese-cam.
Judy Cabbages, Peebles, Scotland

Re Caroline’s answer to the triangular sandwich debate (Tuesday's letters) - I thought it was hip to be square?
Kirk Northrop, Manchester, England

Paper Monitor, is saying "Your fired" a bit like saying "Your mum"?
Bridget, Slough, UK
Monitor note: Yes.

It strikes me as somewhat odd that Empire can think that Casino Royale, a British film, is the best film this year, but not the best British film. That honour went to United 93. Can anyone think of a reason how this is possible? (That the best film is not also the best British film, when it is in fact British, that is...)
Keith, Loughborough

After Lucy's disappointment yesterday with the dog-sized toad picture (Tuesday's letters), she can take heart with the story of the world's tallest man getting married. That IS an enlarged image.
Stoo, Lancashire, UK

Punorama results

15:02 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

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It's time for the Punorama results.

As ever, we gave you a story and you sent us some stunning punning headlines.

The story this week was the Royal Air Force launching a new clothing range to raise the profile of the RAF and "inspire a sense of Britishness" with a bikini based on the world-famous "target" logo, hoodies, jeans and flying jackets.

First up, and not a pun but what the hey, was Bummer of a trademark (with apologies to Larsen) from Norm Brown. OK, so he didn't quite grasp the intricacies of the rules, but it reminded the Monitor of an oldie but a goodie from Larsen's stable of gags. (Just don't let this happen again, Norm. And the rest of you.)

And Muhammad Isa made us chuckle with not one but two small but perfectly formed gems - Plane clothes and Bomber jackets. Thinking along the same lines was Brian Ritchie with Plane clothes please men.

Gareth Jones chimed in with Civvies treat, Colin Cunnington with Royal Wear Force and Air Force Worn by Ben Gunn, who also sent in Airmani.

Great minds thought alike when it came to submitting The Glambustiers (Jayne Lilley, Helene Parry and Giles). We also liked Ready, Aim, Attire! from Stacey Zoo and Who flares, wins from Bruce.

But best of the bunch was Heroine chic from Phil, Cardiff. Thanks to all who entered.

Paper Monitor

12:11 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's here, the interview the world has been waiting for - well Paper Monitor at least. The Guardian's Sam Wollaston has managed to get an audience with the most enigmatic, elusive and mysterious double act Britain has produced in a very, very long time - Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer.

If you're still none the wiser about who they are, they're Sir Alan Sugar's grey-haired, steely sidekicks on The Apprentice. They're his "eyes and ears" as he says. Paper Monitor hasn't been so excited in years and couldn't get to the page quick enough this morning and was left... shattered.

It's not Wollaston's fault, he did well with two very reluctant interviewees. It is Ms Mountford who brought tears to one's eyes. She reveals that she is "appalled by the number of bright young things with degrees running around making teas... hoping for a career in the media".

That was Paper Monitor once - young, keen, enthusiastic and always boiling a kettle. That working in the media is not a career choice she approves of is most upsetting. Basically, if she had her way all us media types would be fired. One can only assume she hasn't seen this column or she would think very differently about the importance of the industry.

But maybe she has a point? A quick flick through today's papers throws up any number of stories that leave you with one question - why? The Daily Mail devotes a double page to a picture spread of what scooter riders in Vietnam carry on their bikes. People, pipes, pigs, chickens and goldfish, to name a few.

The Mirror informs us that a road verge was slightly covered with mash potato yesterday when a lorry lost its load. The Independent reveals comedian Vic Reeves is writing some short stories and the Daily Telegraph that smaller chocolate bars could "help reduce obesity". Well, would you ever?

Forget Ms Mountford, Paper Monitor is pointing a finger and saying: "You're fired."

Daily Mini-Quiz

09:09 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

In Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked how many drivers on average had been caught each day using a mobile phone, since the law changed one month ago. The answer is 240, which 35% of you correctly picked, but slightly more of you (37%) erroneously thought it was 96 drivers a day. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index.

Your Letters

16:09 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Reading reports that the England players are fully behind Steve McClaren leads me to wonder whether he is wearing one of the coats featured in this week's Punorama?
Rory, Sutton Coldfield UK

Re: Alan Johnson interview. Intro to the article: "The education secretary, one of six contenders to become the next Labour deputy leader, told the BBC News website: 'We come from a similar background. He left school at 16 to go to university. I did the same, at 15, but it was to start stacking shelves in Tesco.'" So not similar backgrounds at all then? Completely opposite in fact!
Johnny Lyttle, Leeds, UK

Re: Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'. What's the chance that this research was done by scientists who are single and are thinking "well if I'm not getting any, then no one is".
James Hayward, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

With reference to Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'. "Each couple was asked to spend 10 nights sleeping together and 10 apart while the scientists assessed their rest patterns with questionnaires and wrist activity monitors". Duh! It doesn't take monitor to work out the effect on their wrists surely?
Steve, TW

Re: Dog-sized toad found in Australia. Anyone else disappointed after clicking on "enlarge image"?
Lucy Jones, Manchester

Peter MK, should not be so hasty. According to the US Census Bureau, the current world population is 6,584,907,152. So the police have already eliminated 1,584,907,152 people, which is about the same as the combined populations of China and Japan. So only another 192 countries to go...
John Whapshott, Chippenham, Wiltshire, England

Re: Andy from London asks about triangular sandwiches tasting better. It's a hippy thing, square = boring.
Caroline, Rochester, UK

Regarding Andy in London and triangular sandwiches. Assuming a sandwich consists of 2 slices of bread one upon the other with a filling between, triangulating (for this is surely the name for cutting bread from corner to corner) once to produce two halves reduces the number of crust corners (where the volume of dry crust far outweighs the soft and luscious centre) from 4 to 2, a further triangulation (creating 4 parts in total) brings about the total destruction of all these crusty gatherings and should, in my opinion, bring about the potential for the perfect sandwich, assuming the filling is ham, cheese and tomato with a thing spread of hot English mustard. Please don't mention crusty continental breads (whose names I cannot spell and often bring about unfortunate mispronunciation that is taken for swearing), these have their place in sandwich making but can only be considered as a bit snooty when taken into the office (maybe not in Metropolitan London but certainly in inferior Derby).
Kieran, Derby

Paper Monitor

10:15 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

So how do Her Majesty's Front Pages record the truly historic sights and sounds of yesterday? Does the astounding picture of Messrs Paisley and Adams sitting together make it to the front pages? Er... no not really.

Here's what's more important:
Daily Mail: "IT'S NOT ALWAYS RAPE IF A WOMAN IS DRUNK"
Daily Express: "ASPIRIN CUTS RISK OF DYING BY 25%"
Guardian:
"Bullying: calls for national inquiry"
Sun: "Where's there a Wills there's a... WAHEY"
Mirror: "WANTED by Woolmer cops"

The Daily Telegraph has a story about David Cameron saying that parents need to regain control of their children, though it does use the Paisley/Adams picture. Only two papers give the story the full treatment - the Indy and the Times.

The Indy's idea is to mark the moment by showing famous landmark handshakes. Reagan/Gorbachev, Mandela/De Klerk, Rabin/Arafat, with Paisley and Adams just the latest in the line. Except, somewhat inconveniently, the two didn't actually shake hands for the camera.

For Paper Monitor's money, only the Times comes anywhere near giving the story justice.

"Old enemies agree to share the future" - above pictures of younger angrier Paisley and Adams both carrying coffins. "The words that nobody thought they would ever hear from the mouth of the Rev Ian Paisley came at 12 minutes past noon. 'We have agreed with Sinn Fein,' he said."

Nicely done.

But then... what does Paper Monitor know? Last October it got very excited about the Sun's headline How do you solve a problem like Korea (even though it turned out they'd nicked it from someone else). At last night's British Press Awards the headline was spurned as front page of the year, in favour of the Mirror's offering on Prezza (below left).

Further reason perhaps to shun award ceremonies of all types. (Until invited.)
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UPDATE 1325. Distinguished blogger Slugger O'Toole points out that the Sun's Northern Ireland edition has a different tone (click for evidence)

Daily Mini-Quiz

09:24 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2007

In Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked what Naomi Campbell wore while scrubbing floors, in her fifth day of community service, to accompany her 50K gown. The answer was a turquoise face mask, which only 30% of you got right. Today's DMQ can be found on the Magazine index.

Your Letters

17:32 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2007

My hands are shaking as I type this - I have more shocking news about Songs of Praise and I am hesitant to reveal it. I took part in a choir-only SoP that was shown a few weeks ago. The sound recording was done a couple of days the pictures. That's right folks, we were miming. Please print this before I am killed for knowing too much.
Kind regards,
I wish to remain anonymous.

Re Woolmer police "rule out no-one" - so, five billion suspects and counting.
PS: I was nowhere near the Caribbean the weekend before last.
Peter, MK

So anyone with any thoughts as to how we can clear our names?
Lester Mak, London

According to 10 things, "the legal limit for flying a plane is 20mg of alcohol". However, this won't even enable you to push back from the stand. I'd have thought the legal limit would be more a like a couple of tonnes of kerosene.
Steve, London

Of course Alan Sugar is a fan of Masterchef (10 things). So no doubt are Sean Bean and Jasper Carrott.
Herbert G, Leeds

It may be possible to map a 248-dimensional structure (10 things), but after looking at it, will it ever be folded the same way?
Ralph, Cumbria

Why do triangular sandwiches taste better?
Andy, London

Oh Paper Monitor, by claiming to be a great-nephew, don't think for one second that we believe you're male.
David, Jerusalem

Dear Monitor,
If you say 'fess up again, I will leave you.
Thank you.
Sue, London
Monitor note: Duly chastened.

Paper Monitor

10:32 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor has a small confession to make, regarding family matters. For some time rumours have been circulating regarding the uncanny similarity in surnames between it and that of its host publication, Magazine Monitor. It's time to deal with these suggestions of nepotism head on – and disclose that, yes, Paper Monitor is a great nephew of that distinguished weblog baron Lord Monitor of Magazine. But in 'fessing up, Paper Monitor also wishes to emphasise it earned its position fairly, having gone through a rigorous and competitive selection procedure.

Surnames after all can be confusing. Take the Times' page three story today by religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill, who reports that the BBC's Easter Songs of Praise was actually recorded at Lichfield cathedral in November. And who should be the bishop of Lichfield? None other than the Right Rev Jonathan Gledhill.

On reading this, Paper Monitor's mind was sent into a spin, leaping to the conclusion that the two Gledhills were surely related. In which case, why did it take the Times correspondent so long to uncover the story? But before committing type to screen, it felt duty bound to delve further. Alas, it seems that while the two Gledhills share the same moniker they are NOT RELATED – a point clarified by the Times hack here.

But it just goes to show what a potential burden a distinguished surname can be - a view doubtless shared by Paper Monitor's entirely un-related namesakes, Milk, Baby and Christian Science.

Daily Mini-Quiz

10:20 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2007

On Friday asked why animal rights activists said Knut the polar bear cub would be better off dead after his mother rejected him. They say it's wrong that Berlin Zoo keepers have been hand-feeding him, which 60% of you correctly answered. Another 29% said the fear was that he'd be lonely without other bears (the zoo says the bears are solitary creatures so being away from his family is no problem), and the rest said it was because polar bears' habitat is disappearing. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine homepage now.

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