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Web Monitor

14:50 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: A new space mission from an old spaceman, turning a negative into a positive and answering the phone like a sailor.

Buzz Aldrin4.jpgIn the Huffington Post Buzz Aldrin is getting hot under the collar about Nasa's new spaceships. Accidents and budget constraints mean Nasa are going back to capsule-shaped spaceships instead of shuttles with wings. Aldrin says this is going back a generation:

"It seems we have decided to throw away our Shuttle experience and go 'back to the future'."

Instead of retiring the shuttles Aldrin wants to use them for the next five years and get private businesses to help along the way. He's calling it his Unified Space Vision and is promising more snippets of his plan in the future.

Christopher Beam in Slate asks if the reviews plastered over film posters are ever true.

In amongst the examples of positive words plucked out of negative reviews is a nugget of a negative review interpretation:

"Companies will occasionally use negative quotes in promoting a film. When Siskel & Ebert gave 1997's Lost Highway 'two thumbs down,' director David Lynch proudly ran the quote along the top of newspaper ads, calling it 'two more great reasons to see' the film."

• Saying hello was not always the conventional way to answer the telephone Nate Barksdale finds in Cardus. He started his look at how we answer the phone after finding in the language site Omniglot that in many languages there is a separate word for hello on the phone. Predecessors of hello include "are you there" in the UK. Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone's inventor, wanted ahoy to be the conventional answer. This really tickles Barksdale:

"This tidbit opens up in me a great deep pool of longing for a pop-cultural world that might have been: Ahoy Kitty pencil cases, Jim Morrison crooning 'Ahoy, I love you, won't you tell me your name,' Renée Zellweger shutting up Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire with a tearful 'You had me at ahoy!'"

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