BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for July 3, 2011 - July 9, 2011

Popular Elsewhere

15:27 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

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

The on-going News of the World hacking saga dominates the attention of Guardian and Telegraph readers but is not the only story readers are clicking on.

Harry Potter fans needn't cry into their pillows tonight. Just because JK Rowling has said she won't be writing any more books in the series, doesn't mean no more will be written. Time's most popular article says fan fiction is coming in to save the day. These stories are based on the already established characters and written by fans for the love of it. In terms of volume written, fan fiction already wins hands down against JK Rowling. While fan fiction has got a reputation for being pornographic, Potter fans are far more diverse than just imagining the characters getting overly friendly with each other. There's even a whole sub genre called Alternity which imagines the stories around if, instead of trying to kill baby Harry, Voldemort adopted him, raised him as Harry Marvolo and conquered the entire British Isles.

Time adds that Harry Potter's fandom should consider themselves lucky - while other authors don't like their characters being used, Rowling has given her blessing.

The promise of a story on unjustified parking fines is sure to get Daily Mail fans clicking on an article. And itdoesn't come much better than a fine being issued whilst stuck in a traffic jam. Christopher Barham says in the article that he was so angered that he was prepared to go to prison rather than pay. He needn't worry as Havering council have now cancelled the charge.

When naval gazing is done by a microbiologist, instead of existential angst, it comes up with 1,400 different strains of bacteria. The Independent's popular article says a study analysing the contents of volunteers belly buttons added 662 unrecognised strains to their database. Science writer Carl Zimmer took part in the study only to find he may need to get out the cotton buds. "Several species I've got, such as Marimonas, have only been found in the ocean before. I am particularly baffled that I carry a species called Georgenia. Before me, scientists had only found it living in the soil. In Japan."

Times columnist Caitlin Moran says she has finally been baffled. Her weekly column Celebrity Watch normally deciphers the celebrity culture but the latest issue of Heat seems to have really tested her. This week's edition of the magazine had an exclusive with Lauren Pope and Kirk Norcross, from the reality TV series The Only Way is Essex, on their his'n'hers nose jobs. She says it has created another stage of intimacy for celebrity couples. "Before you commit to an exclusive engagement photoshoot, but after you've done the exclusive 'Yes! We're in love!' photoshoot, you can now, thanks to an enterprising manager somewhere, wedge in the exclusive 'We had matching rhinoplasty!' photoshoot, cash-in-hand. Sweet." Moran adds that the couple never got far enough to sell anymore photos as they announced their split before the edition came out.

As if he is a regular reader of Caitlin Moran's column and also feels the malaise, Robert Skidelsky asks on Al Jazeera's popular article 'do we spend the next century wallowing in triviality?" But, Al Jazeera being a site yet to comment on his 'n' her nose jobs, it turns out he is talking about what to do when everyone has enough stuff. "Does it just go on producing more of the same, stimulating jaded appetites with new gadgets, thrills, and excitements?" he asks.
After writing the book Beyond Communism at the collapse of the Soviet Union, he now wonders whether the fundamental flaw with capitalism is that once people have enough wealth there's nowhere else to go but to carry on building their wealth.


10 things we didn't know last week

15:09 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Lakes can be given village green status.
More details

2. Bad oral hygiene can delay conception by two months.
More details

3. Polar bears have Irish ancestry.
More details

4. California has drawn up a legal definition for the hot dog.
More details (Daily Mail)

5. All ladybirds start out bright yellow.
More details

6. The Queen wore dresses from a wholesaler for her tour of the Commonwealth in 1953-4.
More details

7. The human body can accept a synthetic windpipe.
More details

8. Oxbridge entrance is dominated by just five schools.
More details

9. Reporters in the 1940s and 50s paid the legal defence costs of accused killers to get their exclusive stories.
More details

10. Cows have best friends.
More details (Daily Mail)

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week.

Your Letters

14:42 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

Oo-er BBC, Mary Whitehouse would never have let you get away with so many pictures of ladybirds doing what ladybirds do best!
Di, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked! Yet another informative article marred by the filth that is insect porn!
Shocked of (Royal) Tunbridge Wells, (Royal) Tunbridge Wells

If you can launch a rocket underwater, why does a bit of rain stop a Shuttle launch?
Rik Alewijnse, Feering, UK

So Julian Assange's book deal has fallen through. Never mind - I think I know of a website which will leak the whole text of it...
Dave, Folkestone, Kent

"I'd have this terrible headache and hallucinations - I did weird things on eggs." Surely this has to be Quote of the Day?
K Morrison, Lowestoft

Nominative determinism at work again - Mr Strong hauls the Bracklinn Falls Bridge into position by hand.
Toby Speight, Lochcarron, Wester Ross

Caption Competition

13:38 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

The competition is now closed. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

This week it was chef Antony Worrall Thompson celebrating 50 years of the Chorleywood Bread Process by serving builders bacon sandwiches. The process is a method that makes bread production possible on a large scale.

Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. Pendragon
Britain unveils its Olympic Synchronised Sarnie Team

5. MuteJoe
Health & Safety's robust response to the dangers of sandwich eating.

4. Edmund Crispin
Hi-viz? I thought you said Hovis!

3. Gray Gable
And then the Union demanded that Nigella Lawson did the pudding and Beyonce did the sing-along. A spokesman said "Well, do you want the Olympic site finished in time or not?"

2. Nick Fowler
After the photo opportunity, the lads went back to their usual cucumber sandwiches, neatly cut into quarters.

1. Rob Falconer
Poor Ethel had to endure an Identity Parade after she was attacked by a man with a sandwich.

Paper Monitor

10:31 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Hacked to death - the headline in the Times and the Daily Mirror would have made the News of the World's subs proud. Many of the papers also make the point that one red top has been sacrificed to save another ie Rebekah Brooks, or rather the "flame-haired Rebekah Brooks" as she is often described.

It's pretty much wall-to-wall coverage of the News of the World's demise, but there is already a wealth of speculation that News International will soon plug the gap by printing the Sun on a Sunday as well.

While the Sun becoming a seven-day operation is still very much hypothetical, three domain names, including, have been registered by somebody, somewhere (cue Twilight Zone theme tune).

Back to the task in hand - the Sun on Sunday. When it first started, way back in the mid- 19th Century, the News of the World was a bit more of a mix of the serious and the tittle-tattle of the day.

The News of the World of several decades ago would have had a front-page story about a crisis in Sudan, as opposed to exclusives about the latest exploits of Jordan.

It was also a broadsheet, back when that was the norm.

It's hard to see any "Sun on Sunday" turning back the clock too much, and media pundits suggest it will stick with the same kiss-and-tell stories, top-heavy celebrity gossip and punning headlines.

After all, it's not as if the News of the World was a failing paper.

But News International executives will be keen to herald in a new dawn with the Sun on Sunday, so will it retain columnists such as Carole Malone, Fraser Nelson and Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis?

And what about Mazher Mahmood, the fake sheikh, who was the undoing of so many over the years? He is probably one of the most famous journalists in the UK but he's very much associated with the News of the World. Maybe he could be replaced by the phoney priest or the bogus baron?

However, one paper's downfall is another's opportunity. With the Sunday Sport and now the News of the World out of the picture, the Sunday People could rise to become the sleazy-does-it chief of the red tops. The circulation of other papers is bound to receive a boost too.

But it has to be pointed out that a Sunday Sun will be nothing new. Far from being a trailblazer, it would actually be stealing the thunder of the original Sunday Sun, the regional Sunday for the North East.

It is the sister paper of the weekday newspapers the Evening Chronicle and The Journal. It is totally unconnected to the Sun but it might find itself even more in the shade if a Sun on Sunday emerges from the flames.

By the way, its domain name is - not one of the three domain names registered this week. And so the plot thickens.

Popular Elsewhere

14:37 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

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

If you're wondering whatever happened to the US homes repossessed by mortgage lenders that began the financial crisis, here's what - they created a huge lawn mowing bill. NPR's popular article calculates a whopping $36.7m (£23m) bill to Fannie Mac for mowing lawns. But that's what happens when you own 153,000 homes.

Carole Midgley manages to link up Ashley Cole and spotty necks in a popular Times article. Midgley feels for Cheryl's friends after rumours that the two may be getting back together. She imagines they'll be going through an age old dilemma - what to do after you've slagged off your friend's recent ex, only for them to get back together again. As for the spotty neck - that seems to be in Midgley's repertoire when a character assassination is needed.

The Guardian popular story reports rumours that Wikileaks' Julian Assange's deal with publishers on a memoir may have fallen through. Mr Assange had promised that the ghost-written book "would become one of the unifying documents of our generation". The paper says he has now decided the only people the ghost-written book would "unify" is US prosecutors needing evidence to forces an extradition on terrorist charges.

The New York Times' popular story on flash mob dinner parties gives off a distinct feeling of inadequacy when comparing themselves to Parisians. These secret parties where everybody carries their own tables and chairs to meet up outside Paris landmarks have happened annually since 1988. But, the secrecy and surprise element has been assured as all diners have been friends of friends, invited by word of mouth. As such, despite over 10,000 people turning up at this summer's dinner party the article says it has "remained discreetly under the radar". None of that slow and steady build-up for the first of New York's attempts to emulate the event - they just went for announcing it on Facebook and Twitter.

Slate's popular article seems like it is trying to get a fight going between teenagers and their own grandparents. It's arguing that after retiring, grandparents are taking the jobs their grandchildren would previously have had as summer jobs. That's the less-taxing, lower-paying, part-time positions. Now only one in four teenagers are taking up these "lousy and formative" jobs - the lowest since records began.

Over on the Australian they are not happy at all about the newest chair of the UN Conference on Disarmament - North Korea. The idea of the group is to stop the nuclear arms race and prevent nuclear war. But the paper points the country "constantly violates the UN's nuclear controls" and adds it is the target of UN sanctions. The country assumed the position because the agreement is that every member country gets a go for "only" four weeks.

Paper Monitor

13:11 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's a story to warm the cockles of the heart in the Daily Mail.

Cheryl Holden was 15 when she became pregnant after a schoolyard relationship with Michael Fernandes, then 13.

But a decade later... *some more ellipsis for effect*... they're still together. They've had two more kids, are hoping to get married soon, and dad supports the family by getting up at dawn every day to work as a landscape gardener.

The story is given an extra dose of piquancy by a Mail drop intro: "It was an announcement that carried with it all the depressing hallmarks of a feckless broken family in the making."

Yup. That's the kind of thing that gets written about teenage parents. Watch out for the next Mail story on the subject ending with the caveat: "Of course, it could all turn into a beautiful, happy family story."

Over in the Sun, Paper Monitor finds itself slightly surprised to find Rod Liddle is the guest columnist. His usual gig is the Sunday Times, but he gets into it quickly with an "elf 'n' safety" reference (copyright R Littlejohn).

One is always minded in these circumstances to find out what the newspaper said about the columnist before they were a columnist.

The answer is that they once referred to him as an "ageing Lothario" , a "permanently dishevelled Lefty" but also the "admirable Rod Liddle".

So, a mixed bag.

Your Letters

16:58 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

It's a shame the 3D printer couldn't spell chocolate.
Joe, Rustington, West Sussex, UK

Monitor: Sundry other correspondents also noted this error.

On the other hand, if Rob of London's (Monday letters) anxiety about the water boatman is as well-founded as he fears, it may be that he won't find any gondolas available for a ride!
Ray, Farnham, UK

Andy (Monday letters), would that be "Accusative Determinism"?
Richard, London

I like the new unit of measurement in this article, but I am a bit troubled by the use of the words "first indigenous people" to describe what appear to be new immigrants (and I wonder how long you have to live somewhere to become indigenous?). Wait for the Daily Mail to pick up on the "Immigrants may have caused mass extinction" story.
David, Romford, UK

If you can launch a rocket underwater, why does a bit of rain stop a Shuttle launch?
Rik Alewijnse, Feering, UK

Re your piece on "Bachmann", do you have any views on how "burg" and "berg" should be pronounced, when they occur in German place names. Most English people seem to use the half-way house vowel sound that occurs, for example, in the word "earth". I have just had to endure everyone on 5Live Sport mispronouncing Hamburg (the boxing) and Augsburg (Women's World Cup). It drives me mad... especially as in the past I had to go through the process of learning German - voluntarily.

This lazy habit on the part of the English just leads to confusion. Try searching the BBC's own website for Nuremberg and Nuremburg: one might easily conclude that two major war-crimes trials took place simultaneously in two separate locations.
James Reid, Stockport

Popular Elsewhere

15:10 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

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

A popular New Scientist article brings up a chilling prospect for poker players: "social X-ray specs". The glasses analyse "micro expressions" on our faces using a tiny camera and a headphone whispering into the ear the analysed data of the person they are looking at. So if you are trying to hide confusion with astonishment your game may be up. But don't fear if you are planning to go to a poker match soon - the main clients for expression recognition software are businesses running focus groups to get feedback on adverts and films.

We're currently in coffee's third wave according to More Intelligent Life's most popular article. But it's not a good wave to be in as the review of the state of coffee drinking concluded that the norms is a "vat of milk flavoured with burnt espresso; and both the milk and the espresso are usually too hot, which makes the coffee bitter and the milk sulphurous". That may be, but where would we get our mid-morning entertainment if we were without mysterious coffee names - from skinny latte with wings to flat white, short black and the equally baffling microfoam.

Coming in at number three on the Daily Beast's most-read list is Kate Moss's controversial wedding gown. With no picture on the front page to give us an idea we dutifully click on the story to find what could be so controversial about it, images of Lady Gaga's meat dress flying around in the mind. But it turns out the designer of her wedding dress is at the source of the contention - John Galiano - the designer who hit the headlines for his anti-Semitic remarks. "It demands dissection" says Robin Givhan. That's before she dissects it and decides, actually, aside from making a statement, Moss probably just wore the dress because she's been friends with the designer for 20 years.

It's almost obligatory to have a story of Chinese economic growth in Time's most-read list. Three of today's top ten feature the country. China is supposed to be the land of cheap labour, Time declares. But despite a population of 1.3 billion people, companies are reporting a 50% rise in wage costs over the last two years. So in comes Cambodia, Laos, India and Vietnam to pick up some of the cheapest labour manufacturing left by the Chinese. But globally, Time says this is good news because as the Chinese worker gets richer, they'll be buying more generally. "For them, and pretty much everyone else concerned, that's the rarest of commodities in a troubled global economy: good news."

Paper Monitor

13:07 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Firstly Paper Monitor would like to make it clear that today's review of the papers was assembled in an entirely legitimate way.

Paper Monitor read all the papers itself and the views expressed here are definitely Paper Monitor's own. Any telling observations were conceived on the premises and definitely not culled from the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities.

Moving on, we start in the Daily Mail. Sandra Parsons is away. Who is Sandra Parsons you may ask? Well, she is arguably the least controversial of the Daily Mail's columnists.

But it is her holiday substitute we are interested in. It's only Brian Sewell. Yes, the man who makes the Queen sound like, well, a pearly queen. Only he could knock out a couple of thousands words on the prevalence of gay themes in Coronation Street and make you read it.

His erudition is supreme. Only he could arrange for references to Audrey Roberts and the following phrase - "Armenians exiled in the Twenties were notorious for assisting other Armenians" - into the same piece.

From the coruscating to the, er, slightly less coruscating, it's over to the i paper. Simon Kelner has recently been replaced as editor of the Indy by Chris Blackhurst.

He's now editor-in-chief, a position which usually suggests you are neither editor nor chief of the editors. But he still has a column, although yesterday's poignantly notes: "We can get used to anything, even moving from page 3 to page 16."

Paper Monitor never wants to find out it's being made Paper-Monitor-in-chief, or be metaphorically moved to page 16.

Popular Elsewhere

17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

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

The New Statesman's most popular article reminds us that the allegations made by the Guardian that Milly Dowler's phone messages were hacked by the News of the World started with that most unlikely of investigative journalists - Hugh Grant. Back in April, Grant was commissioned by the New Statesman to spark up conversation with former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan whom he had previously met after his car broke down. Here's Grant's question:

Hugh Grant: "Ah . . . I think that was one of the questions asked last week at one of the parliamentary committees. They asked Yates [John Yates, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police] if it was true that he thought that the NoW had been hacking the phones of friends and family of those girls who were murdered...the Soham murder and the Milly girl [Milly Dowler]."
Paul McMullan: "Yeah. Yeah. It's more than likely. Yeah...It was quite routine. Yeah - friends and family is something that's not as easy to justify as the other things."

Meanwhile, in News International's The Times every single story on the most-read list is about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Canada. They tell us Prince William landed his helicopter on water, took part in a dragon boat race with his wife, ignored protesters, instead meeting punks and Kate revealed she wants children. Phew!

While a Guardian investigation accusing News of the World of hacking into Milly Dowler's phone records occupies the top stop on the Guardian's most read list, a lighter story is in the number two spot. It declares the newest set of wildlife photographs are being snapped by monkeys themselves. The word "apparently" appears suspiciously high up on the article, indicating the paper is apprehensive. It is closely followed by a reminder of the scientific theory that a monkey hitting random keys on a typewriter will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Photographer David Slater insisted the photos are genuine saying that Indonesia's black macaques already "look strange anyway because of their punk hairdo and their reddish eyes".

What's the opposite of Schadenfreude? Because that's what people clicking on the Independent's top stories will be having right now when reading "what's it like to grow up in Russia's power elite?" Well, for one, when a photographer asks you to take a picture of them you start making diva-like demands. Only as a pre-teen the demands are slightly different. Take Antoshka. He only agreed to do the shoot if the girl he had a crush on was photographed too. They met in school and acted in the same school play. He even insisted on wearing the same outfit he wore in that play. Priceless. There may be a lot of similar rich kids out there as the Independent points out Russia now has more billionaires than anywhere else in the world.

The superlatives continue, as Daily Mail readers click on a report that architects' plans to build the narrowest property in the world. It will be between two blocks of flats in Poland and reach a width of 60in. Once built, it will steal the official title of world's narrowest house from "the wedge" in Scotland as although the Scottish hosue is only 47in at the front it spreads to 22ft at the back.

Your Letters

16:04 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Re: Rifle refusal Royal Navy medic Michael Lyons detained. Whilst the medic's moral standing may be commended, perhaps joining the armed forces was not the most logical career path? I eagerly await the story about the butcher making a stand against eating meat.
Graeme, Guildford, Surrey UK

What is the term for the opposite of nominative determinism? I think the chap in this article is a prime candidate .
Andy Simpson, London

"They believe the underlying cause is inflammation." I believe the cause is somewhere between not touching with a barge-pole and beer-goggles.
Louis Roederer, Crepy, France

Re: Where is Sodor by Trevor Timpson. Trevor has missed a major influence on the Rev WV Awdry, The Longmoor Military Railway. Until it closed in 1970 this closed loop railway system in miniature was used to train British soldiers in the operation of railways. There livery was blue with red piping (ring any bells) and the also had an engine called Gordon.
Google it and all will be revealed.
David Kellock, Manchester

On Made in Britain last night an interviewee stated that the satellites where as wide as a red bus and as long as a football pitch (or it could have been the other way round, I was having my tea at the time) - this is what made Britain great - good old fashioned measurements!
Mel, London

Letchworth "the world's first garden city?" (Monday's Letters) What about Babylon?
Dave, Taunton

MF's letter (Monday's Letters) reminded me of the age old question regarding how far into the new year is it too late to wish someone 'Happy New Year' when seeing them for the first time? I once got HNY'd in late February!
Simon, Colchester, UK

MF (Monday's Letters), well last night on the evening news I heard them described as "young at heart". I'd have said they were still "young", let alone "young at heart", so maybe they've suddenly aged thirty years and no-one's told us. It'd certainly solve the "newly married" problem.
The Baroness, Australia

Paper Monitor

11:28 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Joyful juxtaposition is the order of the day today.

One of the most important jobs in newspapers is making sure inappropriate adverts don't appear next to stories - the classic example being an airline advert next to an air crash.

That something like this might happen is understandable. Different people place adverts and stories in the first place.

But when two news stories clash there is really no excuse, and it can easily seem like a bit of schoolboyish mischief.

Take the i paper today. Could it really have been accidental that the headline "Struggle to end the misery of forced marriage" appears directly above the story headlined "Princess Charlene 'tried to flee 3 times'".

Paper Monitor finds its credulity stretched. It's hard not to read about the nuptials of the unlikely Monegasque lothario without thinking of Mrs Merton's famous question to Debbie McGee: "What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

You might argue that the same juxtapositional issues are occurring in the Daily Mail. They have a full page of relationship advice from Amanda Platell to Cheryl Cole over the prospects of her getting back together with Ashley Cole.

A headline on the adjacent pages says "Understand your hound."

In fact, it's an extraordinary factbox on how to interpret your dog's thoughts. Really.

There are space issues in a few of the papers. The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and Daily Express seem unable to find space on their front pages for the allegation that the News of the World hacked into murdered Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

The Sun does manage to find space for six paragraphs inside, precisely the same amount of space given to a report that Kate Moss and her husband will spend their honeymoon on a yacht owned by Philip Green.

Your Letters

15:46 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Opera by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall cancelled over gay reference. "As a result of the cancellation, it is set to lose £15,000, the commissioning fee for the opera, as well as months of rehearsal time." Not to mention the thousands of children whose lives could have been enriched by watching and performing a new opera commission by a respected writer. This is petty, verging on criminal, discrimination.
JohnnyMooley, York UK

Is the British roundabout conquering the US? What no mention of the UK's first roundabout that every one else used as a model? It was in Letchworth Garden City, which is, of course, the worlds first garden city.
David Levett, Letchworth Garden City UK

Exactly when will William and Kate graduate from the 'newly married' to just being 'married' status?
MF, London

Paper Monitor flicking through newspapers in your teabreak, thought that was your job?
Jeremy, Aylesbury

"The male water boatman sings with its penis." (10 Things). Blimey! I'll never have a gondola ride again!
Rob, London, UK

Ian from Redditch (Friday's Letters): You're not alone in finding this confusing. The Royal Navy (and maybe other branches of the military as well for all I know) also can't cope with midnight, and so have decreed that it doesn't exist. Any reports of incidents in the Navy happening at midnight are recorded as happening at either 23.59 or at 00.01 to avoid precisely that confusion.
Adam, London, UK

Ian (Friday's Letters), the military avoid using 12:00 midnight as turning up a day late (or a day early) for a battle is considered bad form. (They plan things for 0001 hours, to avoid any confusion).
Moik, Gloucester

Popular Elsewhere

14:56 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

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

The New York Times' most e-mailed article tackles a common curse of digital communication! That is, the crushing guilt surrounding over using exclamation marks"! It desribes regular users as "on a slippery slope to smiley faces"!

"It's unusual for a punctuation mark to carry such infamy" it says, but come one guys! We're talking about the exclamation mark here!!  The article go on to expose the most discerning writers'  love-hate relationship with the punctuation point. It turns out, when it comes to writing e-mails it can be quite useful! The problem, it seems, is that the exclamation mark is tempting to use because it's "the quickest and easiest way to kick things up a notch". But the article cautions not to use it when you're angry - "Only happy exclamation points." Or should that be "Only happy exclamation points!"

Almost without fail, Charlie Brooker's articles make it onto the Guardian's most read list. And a Brooker article is not complete without a flourish of elaborate metaphors and similies. In an article where he criticises a recent Ed Miliband interview in which the Labour leader repeatedly said strikes were wrong, readers have been spoilt.
Not only is there

"It sounds like an interview with a satnav stuck on a roundabout."

He adds three more

"Or a novelty talking keyring with its most boring button held down."
"Or a character in a computer game with only one dialogue option."

It starts getting ridiculous with

"Or an Ed Miliband-shaped phone with an Ed Miliband-themed ringtone."

Before ending with

"Or George Osborne."

Remember the Chilean miners? What about the Chilean president? Oh dear, Time's popular article could be right - it has gone all Austin Powers and declared President Sebastián Piñera has "lost his mojo". His approval rating has gone down 30% as viewed by Chileans. It's not just down to plans for a hydroelectric dam in a "pristine" region but also his education policies that are getting him in trouble. But the article has two consoling thoughts for the president - one that he can't run for office in the next election anyway and second  that the casting has been done for the feature film of the miners' rescue.

Naomi Wolf asks in Al Jazeera if porn is driving men crazy. What she is actually asking is if over the last few years men's brains have been rewired to cause more difficulty controlling impulses. She says a body of evidence has built up over the last few years to confirm that porn releases dopamine in the brain which can be addictive and when it wears off, just like other drugs, makes people anxious and let-down. She says "rather than engage in pointless self-loathing or reactive collective judgments" people should take responsibility and get counselling.

And it being 4 July, many readers are clicking on American Independence Day stories. NPR hosts read out the full declaration of independence which has become something of a tradition for them.

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph's most popular story puts a dampener on the celebrations by issuing a reminder that the US economy really isn't doing that well on his article "United States of Gloom".

Paper Monitor

10:27 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's hard being a women sometimes. That's Paper Monitor's conclusion after reading the newspapers today.

Just keeping up with the lingo alone is a full-time job. Take the Daily Mail's Life & Style section today. In the space of just a few pages it has three new words and phrases aimed at women or about them.

Firstly, there is the "liarexic". Apparently this is a very slim woman who claims to love food and eat a lot of it when in fact she practically starves herself to maintain a very slim figure. Next, there's "ninkles" - wrinkles around the knees. Another pet hate of women apparently. And finally, there's "male makeover syndrome", when a woman gets a new boyfriend and tries to change his style. Think Liz Hurley and Shane Warne - the Mail is.

Then there's the major fashion crime of wearing "barely there" tights, the guilty party being the Duchess of Cambridge. She gets her wardrobe for her tour of Canada analysed item by item today in the Times . She may have wowed in Roland Mouret and Erdem dresses, but what apparently "undermined" her wardrobe was the £5 pair of non-slip tights from John Lewis. A stripe from the foot section of the tights was visible above her Tabitha Simmons shoes at one point. The horror.

And then there's getting old. Take singer Sinead O'Connor, she is features in the Mirror and Daily Mail today for committing the sin of not looking like she did 21 years ago. Pictured at a recent gig in Manchester, she looks a bit older and rounder than she did when Nothing Compare 2U was a massive hit in 1990. Paper Monitor doesn't think she's the only one guilty of that. Now squeeze in that stomach.

And finally, Paper Monitor would like it issue a news warning about a certain young female. According to the Mirror and Daily Star, David and Victoria Beckham will be welcoming their baby daughter into the world today. If this is the case, you know what's coming. Lots and lots of column inches about the little lady. Move over Suri Cruise and make way.

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