April 2006 Archives

Who would have thought owls could have such an effect on crime rates?

More than just parroting?

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There's a parrot called N'kisi that apparently has learnt 950 words. Impressive, huh? He probably knows more by now, actually. I'm not totally convinced by the claims made for him, though, with word fabrication being one of the simplest claims and telepathy being the most extraordinary. If I weren't for the telepathy bit, I'd be more convinced...

The first I've seen on the web. I hear it's got a little way to go before becoming wholly reliable, but it's a good first start.

All those diseases we thought we'd eradicated, like mumps, rickets and whooping cough, are making a comeback, thanks to parents getting a lax with vaccination regimes for their kids.

Also on Slate today, handy hints for journalists worried that the government is out to get them.

Don't get me wrong - the articles are actually pretty interesting. Who knew Peter Bazalgette, the man behind BIg Brother in the UK, was so into sewers or that there's such outstanding architecture at sewage treatment works? But why is there a daily series on London's sewers on Slate this week? Are US readers really fascinated by London's sewage system? Sewage systems in general? All aspects of UK or London life?

Odd. Very odd.

Tom and Katie: whoops

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What is it about celebrities? They pick some foreign-sounding name for their kid or get a tattoo in a foreign language, and every time they get it wrong. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes chose to call their baby Suri and guess what? It means nothing like what they thought it meant. Is it really so hard to call someone before making these life-ruining choices? It's all thoroughly amusing, anyway...

The Umlaut is artistic

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Möben, the Manchester-based kitchen appliance maker, should be able to keep its Umlaut according to the Advertising Standards Authority. Apparently, some people thought that they were trying to mislead consumers into thinking they were a German company.

Möben's stout defence: the Umlaut doesn't represent anything - it's artistic.

Do you believe that for even a second? Me, neither. But fair do's to them. If the most research you're going to do before buying a product from a company is to check to see if there are accents on its name, you've only got yourself to blame if your purchase isn't as good as you thought it was. Besides, if you're going to go after Möben, you're going to have to take down Häagen Dazs as well.

Hexus.gaming (ed: who they?) is “spitting blood” and wonders how the “so-called” journalists at Imagine's Play and Future's PSW can sleep at night after claiming to have played on the new PlayStation 3, even though they haven't.

I'm guessing pretty well. But don't you just love it when mags start questioning each other's journalistic integrity?

UPDATE: Already, Hexus.gaming's forums have started to froth with amusing gamer indignation in response to the article.


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I've been summonsed for jury service. Wonder if I can defer it from the oh-so-busy June to the oh-so-quiet January?

Salon's regular Ask the Pilot feature highlights some of the best features from airports around the world that should be made universal.

The Beeb reports that those who are good at languages tend to have more white matter in the part of the brain that processes sound.

The New York Times has a piece of interest to web subs on how various newspapers are ditching clever headlines in favour of the prosaic, since Google News and various other bots can't cope with nuance. It's basic search engine optimisation theory, of course, but it's interesting to see it having an effect on sites such as the BBC's and older school newspapers.

The survivors at Imagine

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Press Gazette has more details on how many Highbury people survived the transition to Imagine.

SMD's contact details

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In case you want to get in touch with the new owners of Hotdog and DVD World, you can give them a call on 020 7608 6500. The accounts department, however, is at Remnant Media. Tel: 0845 225 9743

Poor old Press Gazette

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You've got to feel sorry for Press Gazette. A bunch of journalists all subjecting your work to analysis and thinking they could do better? Horrific.

Yet, all the same, you know there's something wrong when one article on desk lamps gets the headline “Light fanastic” (I don't think there's supposed to be a pun in the second word, but let me know if you can spot one), a quote in a house ad on the appointments page gets an attribution twice and, on the same page, this collection of little beauties slips through in 18 point:

Journlsim Training supplement FREE in next weeks issue.
Featuring Jon Snow, Adrian Monck and Vin Ray. Includs information on how to choose the right course, surviving your first year and 'Tips of the Trade'.

Let he who is without error cast the first stone.

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