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Archives for October 28, 2012 - November 3, 2012

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2012/11/10_things_we_didnt_know_last_w_248.shtml" rel="bookmark">10 things we didn't know last week

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/10_things/" rel="tag" title="">10_things17:05 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2012

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

1. It takes six hours to reset Big Ben from BST to GMT.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3582203.ece">More details (The Times)

2. Watching a horror film burns more calories than movies of other genres - about 200 calories.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/oct/29/horror-movies-help-burn-calories">More details (The Guardian)

3. Ikea has sold over 11 billion meatballs in the UK.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20123362">More details

4. Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal uses tampons as palate-cleansers.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/26/heston-blumenthal-tampon-taste-enhancer">More details (The Guardian)

5. Mars has soil similar to Hawaii's.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20151789">More details

6. New Scotland Yard is actually New New Scotland Yard.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20143967">More details

7. Cornwall has the world's largest witchcraft museum.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/48622bb4-1d6f-11e2-869b-00144feabdc0.html">More details (Financial Times)

8. "Sergeant" was spelt with a "j" in the Royal Air Force.
%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/archaeology/article3587631.ece">More details (The Times)

9. Norwegians spend the most on dog food.
%3Ca%20href="https://qz.com/21500/organic-diet-single-serve-norwegians-spend-a-lot-on-premium-dog-food/">More details (Quartz)

10. Clarks are the shoe of choice for Jamaica's musicians.
%3Ca%20href="%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/oct/28/clarks-shoes-reggae-jamaica-feature">More details (The Guardian)">More details (The Guardian)

Seen a thing? Tell @BBC_magazine on Twitter using the hashtag #thingIdidntknowlastweek

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/your_letters/" rel="tag" title="">your_letters14:28 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2012

Too embarassed to %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20043530">buy one? I was too embarassed to read the article!
Joseph, London

Would %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664">the psychics have passed the test if they'd walked in and said, "There's no point doing this - we're going to fail"? I'll get Bertrand Russell's coat.
David Richerby, Liverpool, UK

Re %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20123449">Bell's palsy, I had it on the left side if my face in 2002. I was 36. It was a little scary losing all expression on one side of my face but I made an almost 100% recovery over a three to six month period. As soon as I was diagnosed I took course of steroids for 5 days then sort holistic treatment - acupuncture and electro-acupuncture and I do believe that this treatment was instrumental to my full recovery. Facial exercises can also help. I recommend that John Sudworth should seek holistic remedy if possible.
Sue Rapley, Cambridge

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/caption_comp/" rel="tag" title="">caption_comp13:03 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2012

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2012/11/caption_competition_259.shtml" title="Comments made about this entry." rel="comments">Comments

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

The competition is now closed. %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/captioncompetitionrules22may.pdf"> Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

Group of friends travel on subway after Halloween parade in New York

This week, a group of friends dressed as Sesame Street characters travel on the subway after attending a Halloween Parade.

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

6. ARoseByAnyOther:
"No one could tell us how to get to Sesame Street, actually."

5. Catherine O:
She doesn't look pregnant but heads down just in case.

4. abz:
"To be honest, I preferred the old Guardian Angels uniform."

3. Woundedpride:
"OK guys, we're agreed. At the next stop we find someone who can undo all our broken zips."

2. MorningGlories:
No, Batman's the next carriage down.

1. essexbeancounter:
Passengers on the Central Line take the "all change" instruction a little too literally.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/paper_monitor/" rel="tag" title="">paper_monitor11:07 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The papers are full of snakes today. Well, one anaconda called Albert.

Paper Monitor has not seen THAT FILM set on a plane. But what is it about these reptilian slitherers that so gets under our skin?

The anaconda even died in the 19th Century. Turns out 20ft long Albert is stuffed, a fixture (or should that be fitting?) in the Foreign Office's HQ. Rumour has it he hangs from a library ceiling, ready to pounce on Whitehall mandarins and bean counters that incur his wrath.

Now Albert is %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9145272/William-Hague-a-mysterious-bishop-and-the-10000-snake.html">the subject of a media hissy fit (sorry) following William Hague's decision to spend £10,000 re-stuffing him. It has The Thick of It written all over it.

But then it doesn't. For we're all a bit too postmodern and knowing to take it seriously. As the Foreign Office spokesman says: "We will not be constricted, nor will we scale back, in our dedication to preserve this historic national treasure".

Ah so it's one of those nice stories, then, like the Downing Street catfights. We all play our role. Officials deliver punning statements, journalists enthusiastically scribble them down and the reader laps it up and tells their colleague at the mythical watercooler, which is probably a machine dispensing cuppa soup and milky tea.

Paper Monitor got out of bed the wrong side today. This story is all so jolly cosy. It sucks. Over to Neville in Snakes on a Plane.

"Enough is ENOUGH! I have had it with these mother(something) snakes on this mother(something) plane! Everybody strap in!"

Couldn't have put it better myself.

PS No new developments on the paper poppy count. Indy and Guardian still going without. How long can they hold out?

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/your_letters/" rel="tag" title="">your_letters17:24 UK time, Thursday, 1 November 2012

It's certainly very tricky to completely remove %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20165466">all trace of a criminal. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus - a Wonder of the Ancient World - was burned down purely so its arsonist could get his name into the history books. The authorities reacted by making it a crime punishable by death to repeat his name. That name being Herostratus. You see how well it worked.
Edward Green, London, UK

Monitor: And, of course, in German, a herostrat is someone who commits a crime to gain notoriety.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-20151566">Hedgehog trapped in crisp packet in Weston-super-Mare. Flavour? Please let it be prickled onion.
Aqua Suliser, Bath

Is %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-20151566">this a revival of hedgehog flavour crisps?
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lovely backronym: %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20165345">The Centre for Automotive Research at Stanford University (Cars).
Basil Long, Nottingham

Would you %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20143969">drive in a car which monitored your every move? I do. I'm married.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

I've been trying to think of a way women might contribute to the fundraising efforts of Movember. I've decided on something I call call Pitstop: we could go sleeveless for a month, raising our hands in meetings, raising our glasses in the pub and strap-hanging on public transport. And it absolutely reflects my attitude to facial hair. Any takers?
Diane, Sutton

Why doesn't everyone have an expensive, easily stolen device that's designed to be left unsupervised in their garden? Honestly, I'm stumped. Anyone else have any ideas?
David Richerby, Liverpool, UK

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20072338">Most of the states in America are so solid in their support for the Republicans or the Democrats that the candidates do not bother campaigning there.Oh, you lucky, lucky people.
Jill B, Detroit, Michigan (still, could be worse - could be Ohio)

Matt (%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2012/10/your_letters_1516.shtml">Wednesday letters) - thank you for drawing my attention to the impending wine shortage. I'd missed that story, just imagine if I hadn't had an opportunity to stock up? In fact I think I'd better start now - I'll get my crate...
HB, Birmingham

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/paper_monitor/" rel="tag" title="">paper_monitor11:07 UK time, Thursday, 1 November 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

So it's 1 November, the season for poppy-wearing is well and truly upon us, and we've got some poppy developments to report.

A quick recap of the first appearances of remembrance flowers on the front pages as it stood a couple of days ago:

Daily Mirror - small poppy
Daily Star - medium poppy
The Sun - medium poppy, no stalk
Daily Express - big poppy

And now we have a flurry of new ones to add:

The Times - small poppy
Daily Mail - big poppy
Daily Telegraph - big poppy

We'll keep you posted if the Guardian and Independent follow suit.

Meanwhile, the papers seem keen to push another season upon us with news of what's topping the Christmas toy lists.

Somewhat surprisingly, hi-tech gadgets are out, and nostalgia is in.

Cabbage Patch Kids, Twister, Lego and Furbys are all expected to be bestsellers, the Daily Mail reports.

Paper Monitor wonders whether it might be time to rummage through the attic.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/your_letters/" rel="tag" title="">your_letters17:15 UK time, Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Re %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664">Psychic pair fail test: We all saw that coming.
GDW, Edinburgh

Re %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20126452">Bananas could be future staple: Well that stapler wouldn't fit in my desk drawer.
Di, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

The short title for %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20126452">this article was "Bananas could be new staple". I already use bananas to keep my papers together - I have a couple on my desk that I use as paperweights.
Basil Long, Nottingham

Has anyone else noticed how almost every article about Curiosity (the Mars rover) uses %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/62045000/jpg/_62045548_mars_science_lab_624in.jpg">this graphic? Has this image overtaken Drunk Girl as the most used this year or is she just getting warmed up for the Christmas party season?
Howard Gees, Nottingham

I wonder how many people, after reading %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20153309">this story performed a search on their name to see what activity they might be linked with?
Ray Lashley (not a Cowboy Poet), Colchester, UK

Having painstakingly saved the wrappers from a box of Ferrero Rocher, they have now been carefully refilled with chocolate-coated sprouts (some raw, some over-cooked for that added element of surprise). Trick or treaters? Bring 'em on. MWAAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAAAAA!
Fi, Gloucestershire, UK

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20152231">Hectolitres? Unhelpful visualisation. If I can offer the equivelant of a little over 111,000,000 standard bath tubs, or enough to fill the London Olympic swimming pool 6,666 times or if you want inclusion of London Buses, enough for the Christmas party for all the drivers and their extended family for the next 500,000 years. I could be a couple of glasses out though.
Matt, Hove

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/paper_monitor/" rel="tag" title="">paper_monitor11:24 UK time, Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

No new poppy developments to report.

Meanwhile, Pippa Middleton has her first ever book out - Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends. It has received a fair bit of media attention (well it would, wouldn't it), not least because the fragrant Ms Middleton has been paid nigh on half a million squid to bash out tips that are... how to put this diplomatically... a little obvious.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/30/celebrate-pippa-middleton-celebrity-sister">Hadley Freeman of the Guardian has helpfully reproduced a few in her article about said book:

  • "For Halloween, a pointy hat, fake hair and a broom [make] a witch's outfit."
  • "When hosting a party, move any clutter from the space where you're entertaining."
  • "Nearly any breakfast becomes special when it's brought to you in bed."
  • "Tea bags should go in the teapot, rather than individually in mugs."

While Paper Monitor cannot argue with a single one of these tips - especially when it comes to breakfast-in-bed - it would have happily taken an advance half, or even a quarter, the size of Pippa's to bash out such truisms.

Over to Freeman, who worries that Pippa may need a spot of career advice:

One can question whether she is truly in the right career if, after years of hacking it out at the coalface of her parents' party-planning company, Party Pieces, the most she can offer is tea-making tips.

Ever-helpful with advice, as regular readers of her %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/series/ask-hadley">fashion Q&A column will attest, Freeman goes on to offer alternative career paths for the sister of the now-more-royal Catherine, such as:

a) Be a designer's muse
I worked on this newspaper's fashion desk for almost a decade and I still don't know what a designer's muse does. But whatever it is, I feel certain Pippa could do it with aplomb.
b) Be a consultant
Again, no idea what this is. But it sounds bland and boring and is the kind of thing posh people tend to do.

For starters, Pips could source a teapot suitable for an office environment - ours was lost in the move from Television Centre to Broadcasting House, and since then the denizens of Magazine Towers have been forced to make do with teabags in mugs.

Oh, the humanity...

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/your_letters/" rel="tag" title="">your_letters15:49 UK time, Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Perhaps Paper Monitor has been busy, but %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20050483">you seem to have missed Clark Kent handing in his notice. Parker is still gainfully employed, it is believed.
Jonathan Barnes, Bridgend

%3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/bbcmarkeaston">Mark Easton tweeted "How many babies were born in UK last year to Polish mums? 23,000 #ons"... I misread the hash as a T and thought this was a strange unit to use. At the very least it ought to have the metric equivalent.
Tim Evans, Hanwell, UK

Would I lose all my carefully guarded kudos as being an occasionally-published Monitorite by stating that I have %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20123362">never in been in an Ikea shop?
Fee Lock, Hastings, East Sussex

I have a large and very unwanted ash tree at the end of my garden; its sole purpose seems to be to plant hundreds of seedlings in my garden every year. It doesn't seem to have any disease symptoms yet, but I wonder whether %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20128643">the expert tree disease taskforce would like to pop round and chop it down just as a precaution.
David, Romford, UK

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/paper_monitor/" rel="tag" title="">paper_monitor13:11 UK time, Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

No new poppy developments to report.

Meanwhile, it's newsmagedon in the papers. The first rule of reporting is that if it happens in New York, it's bigger, bolder and more newsier than if it happens pretty much anywhere else. (That, no doubt, is why Spider-Man's alter-ego Peter Parker is a photographer for the fictional Daily Bugle in New York, and Clark "Superman" Kent works for the Daily Planet in smells-like-NYC Metropolis.)

So while Storm Sandy has been slamming into towns, cities, villages and, indeed, swathes of wilderness up and down the north-east coast of the United States, it is events in the city that never sleeps that dominate the papers.

The Times has a photo of the Hudson River spilling over its banks, washing around a sign that reads "NO skate boarding in Sinatra Park". Sinatra Park. Could it be any more New York if it tried? Why yes - that's the Empire State Building across the water.

The top half of the Guardian's front page is given over to a rain-lashed tugboat chugging past the Statue of Liberty.

The Sun has pun with the headline "N.Y. Sea".

The Daily Telegraph has a panoramic shot of an unusually dark Manhattan skyline, made dim by power cuts and looming storm clouds.

And on the front page of the Daily Mail, there's a quite different and altogether less traumatic type of storm:

"Twitter frenzy as BBC Emily 'dresses like a Doctor Who baddie'"

"Stern-faced Sontarans" to be exact. Unimpressed viewers "flooded Twitter" to make jokes about newsreader Emily Maitlis in a dress with a large cowl neckline.

Which brings Paper Monitor to the second rule of reporting. Once the adage went "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."

Today it can be interpreted as: "Woman wears dress is not news; dress wears woman is news."

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/your_letters/" rel="tag" title="">your_letters16:46 UK time, Monday, 29 October 2012

Call me old-fashioned, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-2008640">but I'll stick with salt and vinegar, thanks all the same.
Matt, Hove

"Huge boost for nanotubes on chips"? I prefer vinegar myself.
Sarah, Basel, Switzerland


This story is being promoted as %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20122355">Two-tier Road tax plan considered. The cyclist in me feels compelled to point out that there is no such thing as road-tax in the UK; it's a duty on vehicles. The real issue it raises though is whether the top tier or the bottom one would be the better to travel on.
Ray Lashley, Colchester


I was SO hoping for %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20120485">Random Penguin.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/paper_monitor/" rel="tag" title="">paper_monitor12:34 UK time, Monday, 29 October 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The clocks have gone back. The gloves and scarf have come out of storage. It's almost November. 'Tis the season for poppy-wearing, and your humble columnist brings news of the first appearance of remembrance flowers on the front pages:

Daily Mirror - small poppy
Daily Star - medium poppy
The Sun - medium poppy, no stalk
Daily Express - big poppy
Daily Mail - no poppy yet

Ditto the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and the Times. Although Paper Monitor should probably correct that to no poppy yet for the Telegraph, Times and Guardian. The Indie, if memory serves, is the Jon Snow of Fleet Street.

Meanwhile, the Mail gets stuck into the latest Bond film for its product placement - just days after the Guardian's reviewer noted that in Skyfall it was less ostentatious than in previous 007 outings (see %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2012/10/paper_monitor_1579.shtml">Friday's Paper Monitor).

In the spy's latest outing, however, it begins long before the opening credits. The thousands packing cinemas across the country to watch Skyfall have to first sit through 30 minutes of adverts and previews, which appear to serve as little more than plugs for the film and its sponsors. Five of the adverts feature the secret agent, including ones for Heineken, Omega watches and a Bond aftershave.

%3Ca%20href=https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2224574/The-s-Brand-James-Brand-Film-fans-forced-sit-30-minutes-adverts-movie-starts.html>The article is illustrated with a film still. Bond gazes moodily into the middle distance, hand nonchalantly in pocket - a pose in which his jacket sleeve hitches up just enough to show off his watch.

Hmmm. Wonder what brand it is?

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