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Popular Elsewhere

14:13 UK time, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

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

Among the conspiracy theories surrounding John F Kennedy's assassination was that of Umbrella Man. This was the man who was filmed on the day as "the only man in Texas" with an umbrella open as JFK's car passed him on a beautiful day. A book was even published with a diagram of how an umbrella could be modified to be used as a gun. The New York Times' most popular article, however, has a cautionary tale about such conspiracy theories.

Except the Umbrella Man, Louie Steven Witte, came forward years later to explain. The umbrella turned out to be a protest against JFK's father's policies in 1938. The umbrella was a reference to Neville Chamberlain.
"It was so wacky it had to be true" says Josiah Thompson who wrote a book about the assassination.

“If you have any fact which you think is really sinister, is obviously a fact which can only point to some sinister underpinnings, forget it man. Because  you can never on your own think up all the non-sinister, perfectly valid explanations for that fact.”

Daily Mail headline


There's taking things into your own hands and there's painting a massive speed limit sign on your house. Daily Mail readers are clicking on the story of this way to get drivers to slow down: just paint a speed limit sign over the entire side of your house. The piece explains that that's what Tim Backhouse did to the side wall of his end-of-terrace in the Dorset village of Bow. Although the picture says it all, the article doesn't skimp on detail saying the 30 mile-per-hour sign is "the size of a double decker bus and required specialist ladders".

Slate readers want to know if pilots are telling porkies when they say they will try and make up the delay to a flight. It turns out that although a pilot can go faster they are unlikely to because it could prove very costly in fuel. However, shortcuts are possible as long as the control tower gives permission to leave the flight path.

Daniel Radcliffe was very nearly not the face of Harry Potter, according to a popular Telegraph story. The article says his parents turned down the role. It was because it would have meant him living for long periods in Hollywood. But, luckily for Mr Radcliffe's future bank account, the filming schedule was adapted, and the boy wizard was born.

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