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Popular Elsewhere

15:15 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

In the Guardian’s most read article Charlie Brooker hits out at “Twitter bullies”. It comes after the onslaught of insults directed at 13-year-old Rebecca Black for her YouTube song Friday which has been dubbed by some as the worst pop song ever made. Mr Brooker says that Twitter is great for disseminating news, trivia and practical instructions on when and where to meet up in order to overthrow the government, but, he adds it also “doubles as a hothouse in which viral outbreaks of witless bullying can be incubated and unleashed before anyone knows what's happening”. He says this is partly because it forces users to communicate in terse sentences, but mainly because it's public.

“Many tweeters end up performing their opinions, theatrically overstating their viewpoint to impress their friends. Just like newspaper columnists – but somehow even worse because there's no editor to keep their excesses in check or demand a basic level of wit or ability.”

The Dukan diet book has become the best-selling diet book in Britain since Kate Middleton’s Mother Carole said she was on the weight-loss programme, according to the Daily Mail’s most popular story. The paper says last October Mrs Middleton said: "I’ve been doing it for four days and I’ve lost four pounds." The diet has four phases, starting with the "attack" stage in which users eat only lean protein and zero-fat dairy products for up to a week. In the second stage dieters can add non-starchy vegetables on alternate days. Fruit and starchy foods are allowed only in the final two phases.

The background to sexting is proving popular with readers of the New York Times.
The article explains that around the US, law enforcement officials and educators are struggling with how to confront minors who sending sexual photos, videos or texts from their mobile phones. It says adults face a hard truth:

“For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the primary reason teenagers sext is to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive.”

"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless," says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University in Time’s most read article.

The article explains that the basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued.

More Intelligent Life’s readers are catching up on questions over whether dotage of Bob Dylan is worth it. The article points out that this is an age of live music trumping record sales, a field where “the oldies can dominate”. The story bills the singer as the hardest working of the sixties musicians, with his string of concerts known to some as the never-ending tour. However, it suggests quality is not always paramount:

“[H]e reserves the right to leave out any song. And often it’s a relief when he does, given the way he treats the songs he does play, which veers between indifference and outright sabotage.”

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