BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for November 27, 2011 - December 3, 2011

10 things we didn't know last week

15:31 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

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

1. Ravens are the only species other than apes who can "point" and share objects like humans.
More details (Daily Mail)

2. You are not allowed to take conkers from Royal parks.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

3. More than one in every 10 banknotes in circulation in Britain is contaminated with cocaine.
More details (Guardian)

4. The world's only sex school is in Austria.
More details (Daily Mail)

5. The FTSE, the London stock market measure of leading share prices, was the most popular Yahoo search this year, ahead of the likes of Justin Bieber and Katie Price.
More details (This Is Money)

6. Turtles communicate with each other before hatching.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

7. Having a shed can lower your blood pressure.
More details (Daily Mail)

8. The 12 days of Christmas now cost: $101,119, the most expensive item being seven swans a swimming, which would cost $6,300.
More details (The Consumerist)

9. Wasps recognise each other's faces.
More details (Nature)

10. Swearing really can relieve pain.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

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

Your Letters

15:28 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

"Sooty puppet to go under hammer". Seems harsh?
Simon, Edinburgh

Curse you Paper Monitor! I'll be singing Mahna Mahna for the rest of the weekend! Ha ha ha. But you are right. It has made me smile, and giggle, and look slightly foolish in the office.
Clare McMenemy @BBC News Magazine

Do doooo do do do.
Sharon Barrett @BBC News Magazine

Mahna mahna.
Clare McMenemy @BBC News Magazine

Monitor note: Do do do do.

Reason to be cheerful No. 51 - Remembering the night MM and I drank Dry Martinis in a cliff-top bar overlooking the Pacific. When we were young, eh?
Lewis Graham, Hitchin

Monitor note: Treasured memories Lewis.

I was hoping to brag about my 0/7 score for the magazine 7 days quiz, but then I guessed the last one right. Oh well.
Kay, London, UK

Al? AL? Has anyone seen Al? Popped out for some milk on Thursday's Letters and hasn't been seen since.
Vicky S, East London

Caption Competition

13:02 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011


It's the Caption Competition.

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

This week it was German artists Evo's replica of the estate where he lives in East Berlin. It's on display at his first British exhibition, being held in London.

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

6. Rob Falconer wrote:
And they pulled down a row of Lego Georgian town-houses for this?

5. SkarloeyLine wrote:
Estate Modern

4. eattherich wrote:
The stage is set for this year's Annual Architect's Christmas Shakespeare Production. This year, Tower Hamlet.

3. Candace9839 wrote:
And I see the gent in 1307 has forgotten to draw the shades again.

2. Steve-0 wrote:
The Richard Dawkin's advent calendar somwehat lacked the Christmas spirit.

1. Kieran Boyle wrote:
On her return to Wonderland Alice just couldn't believe what the planners had allowed.

Paper Monitor

11:43 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's Friday, and if that isn't a good enough reason to be cheerful then the Times gives us 50 more today.

Why? Who cares.

So what have we got? It all starts rather slowly, but by number six Paper Monitor's mouth is starting to form a smile. The days will start getting longer again in only three weeks. This comes courtesy of Times columnist Robert Crampton. Nice.

Number 10 will bring cheer for six million people. These are the six million who will be informed over the coming months that they are to receive tax rebates, averaging £400. A rare windfall.

Number 32 should really be called "a reason why novelist Louis de Bernieres should be cheerful".

There has been a good crop of pears and the best ever crop of walnuts in the garden of Louis de Bernieres, and he grew the fattest carrot that anyone has ever seen."

But in the spirit of goodwill to all men, we can all try to be happy for him - and his carrot.

Number 36 doesn't start well. Pop group Steps have re-formed. No cheer here. But it redeems itself by also reminding us that Westlife have split up. Paper Monitor is much happier now.

Number 38 comes courtesy of Times columnist Caitlin Moran - the Mahna Mahna song from The Muppet Show. See, we're all beaming now.

But Paper Monitor's real favourite is number 33. Just watch the Fenton YouTube video again. Then again. And then once more.

Best. Video. Ever.

Your Letters

15:56 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

Much more effective than a 24-hour strike.
Henri, Sidcup

"Only the size of the mobile indicates this photo was taken in the 1980s". What? Seriously? Are you having a laugh BBC?
Rob, London, UK

Monitor note: Yes. Tee-hee.

Basil (Wednesday's Letters), a notch of wind is the amount of wind to blow one double decker bus the length of one football pitch.
Eric, Bristol

Jack (Wednesday's Letters), i've just scored my first ever 7 out of 7, and for the first time had to guess every answer. Can you use your Matrix style abilities to work out the odds of that? (I'm desperately trying to think of something pedantic to say so i can get my long black leather coat on the way out).
Ed, Wakefield

Excuse monitorites, I just need to pop out to get some milk. Won't be long - help yourself to whatever is in the fridge.
Al, Wellington

Paper Monitor

15:21 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

So, the day after and splashed all over the newspaper, who is the face of the public sector strike?

We all know the face of A-levels, it's female, pretty and, more often than not, blonde. We all know the face of binge-drinking Britain, it's also female, usually wearing something skimpy on a very cold night and lying in a heap on the pavement. The face of feckless Britain is usually male and wearing a hooded top.

But what about striking Britain? There are a few contenders.

One - surprise, surprise - is female, pretty and brunette, as seen on the front page of the Guardian, in the Daily Mail, Daily Star and the Daily Express.

Another is female, still a child and standing up for her parent and their pensions, as seen in the front page of the Daily Mirror and in the Daily Telegraph.

The third is canine and standing up for its owner's pensions, as seen in the Sun.

We're spoilt for choice. But the strikers do not make the picture on the front page of the Daily Telegraph. That goes to another pretty brunette, Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey.

In a frenzy the paper covers page four in NINE shots from the programme's Christmas special. There's picture of the characters reading, starring into the distance, standing, dancing and, er, did Paper Monitor mention reading.

The paper calls them "teasing", Paper Monitor calls them boring. To spice things up a bit it adds captions like "if looks could kill" and "a man of means". All very cryptic and ultimately useless, but what pretty pictures they are.

Your Letters

15:54 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Can anyone tell me what a notch of wind is?
Basil Long, Nottingham

According to your "latest" ticker, a woman has been arrested in Northumbria in relation to the News of the World hacking scandal. It surprises me that phone hacking was a problem in the Middle Ages. If the woman had lived today, she might possibly live in the modern county of Northumberland - but would still have been arrested by Northumbria Police. I'll get my tunic.
Mike , Newcastle upon Tyne

My family could easily live on £40k a year. Two adults, two children, easy peasy. However, as our youngest is only two, I stay at home to look after her which means I am not earning. I would LOVE to have a joint income of £40k once she is at school. That would enable us to live comfortably and actually save up for a house, but in reality that's not going to happen.
Sharon Barrett, via Facebook

Hooray! I got 7/7 on a Magazine quiz. Mind you, it was the one on computer programming and I am a software engineer. But it still counts.
Jack "Neo was an amateur" Cave

Ray, (Tuesday's letters), wait up a sec... You forgot your (lab) coat, old boy!
Joseph, London

Re: Wednesday's random stat. I only think about sex once a day - admittedly it is continuously...
Andrew, Malvern, UK

Paper Monitor

10:28 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

You'd think there was enough troubling news around, what with the chancellor's grim economic forecast and acrimonious public sector strikes.

But the papers still find plenty of other unsettling stories to fill their pages.

Take the tale of Ross Dance, who bit into his Nando's chicken wrap to find a live frog (or, as the Sun's inimitable house style has it, "a live FROG").

"I felt really ill," Mr Dance tells the paper, entirely understandably. And just so we can share his nausea, the article is accompanied by a large photograph of the semi-chewed amphibian.

Or there is the disturbing story, covered by Metro and the Daily Mail's online edition, about a woman whose boyfriend tattooed a large steaming mound of excrement on her back after she was allegedly unfaithful.

But sometimes from tragedy, or at least farce, comes comedy. The story about a lorry load of Marmite being spread across the M1 motorway is, predictably, a goldmine for headline writers.

Paper Monitor enjoyed the Independent's "Yeastbound carriageway". But this column's favourite is the Daily Mirror's more straightforward (but sadly not replicated online) "Hate it".

Your Letters

17:37 UK time, Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Best. Nominative. Determinism. EVER!
Jo K, London

Re:Random stat - 1,200 the distance in kilometres (730 miles) a wolf has travelled across the US to find a mate - that's nothing. You should see the distance covered by greyhounds.
John Thompson, Kirkby Lonsdale

Robin (Monday's letters), the article in question clearly states that it is a previously unknown type of plasma, hundreds to 10,000 times as dense as that produced in nuclear fusion experiments. Presumably this form of matter has in fact existed for as long, or almost as long, as the universe itself, so it can't really be called new. Likewise, since sonoluminescence was first observed in the 1930s, you can't really say it was newly discovered. It's more newly discovered to have been something not previously recognised. Is it me, or is the fact that much denser plasma does not produce fusion further confirmation that billions poured into fusion research over the last 50 years could have been more profiatbly invested in other energy technologies?
Ray, Turku, Finland

Defence cuts: Carrier 'fully operational in 2030'. Seems pretty quick to me. Ready by half past eight.
Clive DuPort, Vale, Guernsey

The article about American diners claims that "fluffy pancakes are now global fast food staples". The only pancakes I've seen on sale outside America owe much more to France or the Netherlands than US diners. Am I missing something or is this a misinterpretation of the name of a certain US restaurant chain, IHOP?
Michael, Edinburgh, UK

Paper Monitor

13:41 UK time, Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

One of the strange processes in the UK is the way controversial figures are eligible to become universally loved if they can keep hanging around long enough.

Ken Russell fits the bill.

The Sun delights in his track record of filming naked wrestling and topless nuns. They call him an "old devil" in their story. Warning: Needless to say, the Sun story features images of naked wrestling and topless nuns.

The Daily Mail does a detailed number on Russell's private life. They call him an "old devil" in their story.

The authors show restraint, only allowing themselves one use each of "incorrigible" and "priapic". The piece does blot its copybook by going a little over the top about The Devils.

"To this day, the film has never been shown in its full uncut version because some of the scenes of sex and violence are so depraved."

Some Mail readers acidly point out that the film has not been released in its full version only because of the studio's lack of desire. The cut scenes would probably not shift the eyebrows of the man on the Clapham Omnibus these days.

In matters un-Russell related, Paper Monitor must tip its hat to a piece in the Times' 2 section about strokes making people take up art or change their sexual preferences. All rather interesting.

And with the same paper, Times 2 has launched a search for people shamed by their otherwise well-behaved pets (see Fenton etc).

They have a marvellous example:

"A colleague remains haunted by the memory of competing in the 200m final at a regional schools championship. The family dog bolted at the starting gun and the race became a sideshow to the spectacle of her father crashing through the undergrowth alongside the track bellowing for 'Muff!'"

Your Letters

17:28 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

The article, "Toilet gaming technology targets urinal boredom" states the following: "Trade paper Adweek calculates that on average men are rooted to the spot for 55 seconds while they relieve themselves - nine months over the course of their lifetimes."

If I live to be 77, I will have lived for a little over 900 months. That means I will spend approximately 1% of my day at the loo. With 1440 minutes in a day, and the quoted time for an average pee taking 55 seconds, Adweek reckons I take over 15 toilet breaks a day. Are they taking the...?
Iain Proctor, Edinburgh

I'm sure this'll never get past the censors, but I thought it might make them laugh...
Some nominative determinism here.
Jon, Bristol

The council said the yellow did "not meet expectations". So you mean the expectation that the yellow would, in fact, be blue?
Basil Long, Nottingham

Re this stat: "In a survey to be published later this year by Gartner, 46% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they would choose internet access over owning their own car. The figure was 15% among the generation that grew up in the 1950s and 60s - seen as the golden age of American motoring." Surely teenagers in the 50s and 60s did not have internet access to prioritise?! I'll get my vintage coat...
Catherine Hall, Angel, London

Re Friday's letters, I know both Stig and Candace, and can confirm they are both fit and well, but under-performing.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Ms Hinton clearly doesn't know who she's talking to. Had she known the Magazine properly, she wouldn't have apologised for the pun, she would have unnecessarily shoe-horned it in (pun definitely intended).

Paper Monitor

10:27 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily weekly press.

Finally! After taking what is an eternity for the newspapers, Fenton the dog has been tracked down and it's the Sun who got there first.

Time in media land works much the same as dog years, in that things move a lot faster than they do in ordinary life. So taking a few days to find the dog that became a global sensation last week means it must have been a pretty tough job. Pity the trainee reporters sent to parks every day looking for unwitting canine star.

Over two million people have now watched the YouTube video of Fenton chasing around 40 deer through Richmond Park, London. The incident was filmed by 13-year-old Jake Goodyear on his mobile phone. Arguably the real star of the show is his horrified owner who is trying - and failing - to control him.

The pair were tracked down to London's Wimbledon Common and this time Fenton was firmly on a lead. His owner, an architect and father of two called Max, was not keen to give any sort of comment, reportedly for fear of being prosecuted for failing to control his pet. Luckily, "a friend of the family" is on hand to sum up how he feels:

Max is mortified. Fenton's a lively dog, but he'd never done this before. Max won't be taking him back to Richmond Park any time soon and is considering giving him a new name if the fuss goes on"

Surely there's no need. Before you know it parks across the country will be full of Fentons, inspired by the deer chaser.

But in what must be one the most least-shocking exclusives the Sun has got in years, the newspaper "reveals" that Fenton was given up as "unsuitable" by Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Never mind. Their loss is definitely our gain.

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