BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor
« Previous | Main | Next »

Web Monitor

15:42 UK time, Monday, 21 December 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: the year in scientific nonsense, placing jokes and the history of canned laughter.

Ben Goldacre• The Year in Nonsense is Guardian columnist Dr Ben Goldacre's summary of his low points in science this year. In his blog Bad Science ,the GP looks back at the stories filled with dodgy science:

"Alongside the usual barrage of PR reviewed data, we saw that exercise makes you fat, coffee makes you see dead people, and Facebook causes cancer, while housework prevents it, in women."

• Location, location, location. Important in business, important for school catchment areas and now important for jokes. Well, that's according to the She Went of Her Own Accord blog. The blog takes the joke "My wife went to the Caribbean. Jamaica? No, she went of her own accord" and runs with it. Anyone can add a similar location-based joke, just as long as they peg them on a Google map to show the place does exist. Here's joke 439:

Would you like to come and play cricket with my friend, he lives near the airport?


No, but he's a really good batsmen.

• If that failed to make you chuckle, perhaps you could have done with some canned laughter in the background. Greg Beato in Reason magazine reveals the laughter track has been subject to more than one academic book and split opinions on whether it brings people together or is a form of coercion. Beato reports canned laughter has come back into fashion on internet comedy sketches:

"That the laugh track has fallen into the hands of upstart outsiders is the sort of irony that deserves a mechanical chuckle of its own. For most of its 60-year life, the eternally jovial chorus that graced so many of America's favorite sitcoms has been portrayed as a tool of monopolist coercion, favored by heavy-handed network executives attempting to orchestrate our responses to their force-fed fare."

Links in full

Bad ScienceBen Goldacre | Bad Science | The year in nonsense
see alsoShe went of her own accord
ReasonGreg Beato | Reason | Canned laughter lives

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.