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Web Monitor

15:12 UK time, Monday, 5 October 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: a cautionary tale urging you to think before you start saving up your lunch money, a novel approach to the pensions crisis and a rumination on the role of a beauty ambassador. If you find a surprising view on the web, share it by sending the link via letters box to the right of this page.

Jessica and Joe Simpson• US singer Jessica Simpson is on a mission to explore the different perceptions of beauty for her show The Price of Beauty. She has been criticised more than most for her fluctuating weight. Thankfully, according to her father Joe Simpson in US Magazine, help is at hand:

"We were just in Uganda, and a beauty ambassador [there] knew Jessica's total story about her weight and blah, blah, blah. [She said] to Jessica that it's about who you are inside, which is the message of our show."

Web Monitor wonders is "beauty ambassador" an official UN role, flown out to doubting celebrities? Answers on an e-mail please.


• Designer Stefan Sagmeister isn't wasting his retirement on when he's old. He takes one year off every seven. In Sagmeister's lecture recorded for TED he explained his thinking:

"We spend about 25 years of our lives learning and another 40 years are reserved for working. Then tacked on the end is 15 years of retirement. I thought it might be helpful to cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them in the working years."

• Solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur is probably one of the few guests on Desert Island Discs who could have a real sense of being castaway. MacArthur insists to Kirsty Young on the show that her determination to save for her first boat - an eight foot blue dinghy costing £535 - didn't make her obsessive:
Ellen Macarthur

"I would save all the school dinner money I could. At secondary school I would have either no lunch or mashed potato and baked beans. Mash was 4p, beans were 4p and gravy was free. I consumed an awful lot of gravy - I think the dinner ladies thought I was mad...
Before I knew it, it [the boat] was there, in the garden. I put the mast in, got all the sails and I was sitting there in my buoyancy aid in the garden with a little pet chicken sat on the boom. But the sea wasn't there and what I realised then was, although I saved up money for a boat, it cost money to put it on a reservoir. I didn't have that money so I had to make do with playing with it in the garden."

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