Word has it the English language is set to pass the one-million mark – Scotsman

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The English language – spoken by more than one billion people worldwide – will celebrate its one millionth word within a year, linguistic experts have revealed.
A new word is created every 98 minutes and the current number of official words stands at 995,844 with experts predicting the millionth word to arrive on 29 April, 2009.

Word has it the English language is set to pass the one-million mark - Scotsman

Hunting for oil in Britain’s gardens and estates – Times.

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At least 144 production wells and 157 exploration wells have so far been sunk across a region of southern England between Dorset and Kent. One expert reckons there could be 200m barrels of oil under this stretch worth approximately £14.5 billion at current prices. There are no gushers, as in Hollywood films, because the oil is not under pressure.

Such is the need to boost supplies that the government has this summer approved a record 97 licences to 54 applicants to explore for gas and oil on land. Five years ago there were only eight applications involving six companies. There is even a licence to sink wells in Wells in Somerset.

Star Energy, one of the leading onshore operators, is applying to Guildford council this week to erect a 95ft high rig to drill for gas on the Albury Park estate owned by the Duke of Northumberland.

Hunting for oil in Britain’s gardens and estates - Times.

Why small prizes make it easier to win (FT).

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Just as with Yerkes’ and Dodson’s rats, the participants were offered low, medium and high incentives. Some of the participants stood to win up to a day’s income, others about two weeks’ income, and those with most to gain could, in theory, have scooped about six months’ income. But they didn’t: instead, they choked under the pressure.Those on low or medium incentives managed to win just over 35 per cent of the available money, while those on the highest incentives cracked, winning less than 20 per cent. (If hell was designed by behavioural economists, sinners would be forced to play Simon for their souls.)

Not sure about FT’s headline — but apply to poker: bet big to put on maximum pressure.
Why small prizes make it easier to win (FT.com)

Roman Abramovich admits paying out billions on political favours – Times Online

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“In return for the defendant agreeing to provide Mr
Berezovsky with funds he required in connection with the cash flow of [his
TV company] ORT, Mr Berezovsky agreed he would use his personal and
political influence to support the project and assist in the passage of the
necessary legislative steps leading to the creation of Sibneft.”

Or to put it bluntly, Roman confirmed (allegedly) confirmed corrupt.
Roman Abramovich admits paying out billions on political favours - Times Online.

G8 summit: solution to Africa’s problems no longer just a matter of aid – Times Online

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But Chinese deals with African governments do more than just build railways.
They come without strings – no awkward demands about good governance, of the
kind that the World Bank or Western governments try to attach to aid. They
may even bring the bonus of China’s help in keeping other countries’
criticism at bay in the UN Security Council, as Zimbabwe and Sudan found
until recently. Most of all, it gives African governments a sense of an
alternative suitor in any deals with the West.

That is not to say that everything has gone badly. There is widespread praise for many local education projects, and for aid-backed assaults on particular diseases, such as the World Health Organisation’s near-miss in eradicating polio. There is, too, for efforts by Bill Gates’s foundation to tackle Aids and HIV (although some say that it diverts attention and cash from other causes).

G8 summit: solution to Africa’s problems no longer just a matter of aid - Times Online

Only one drugged East German got caught (Times).

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Despite more than 10,000 athletes being systematically doped by the East
German regime over a 20-year period, only one athlete was caught by sport’s
antidrugs authorities. This happened at the European Cup in 1977, when Ilona
Slupianek, a shot putter from the Berlin Dynamo Club, was stripped of her
gold medal after testing positive for steroids.

Only one drugged East German got caught (Times).

The race debate: nothing to do with race | Kenan Malik – Times Online

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Such genetic differences are, however, not the same as racial differences. Race divides human beings into a small set of discrete groups, defined usually by skin colour, appearance or descent. Each race is seen as possessing a fixed set of traits and abilities and the differences between these groups is regarded as the defining feature of humanity. Yet none of these ideas make scientific sense.

But if the idea of race doesn’t make scientific sense, why have scientists suddenly become so keen to talk about racial categories? They haven’t. What they have done is become much more adept at defining genetic differences between populations.

The race debate: nothing to do with race | Kenan Malik - Times Online

Price of restaurant grease has risen tenfold over the past five years (Times).

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The price of restaurant grease has risen more than tenfold over the past five
years, driven by soaring demand for homemade biodiesel and high petrol

The price of waste cooking oil reached £550 per tonne this month, according to
Keith Coldrick, the managing director of Pelican Food Services, one of
Britain’s most established waste oil collection companies. That compares
with about £50 per tonne in 2003.

Price of restaurant grease has risen tenfold over the past five years (Times).

Giles Coren gives Cha Cha Moon a kicking (2/10 restaurant review, Times).

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XO Cheung Fun (rice noodle cannelloni) didn’t specify the filling, so I asked
the waiter what it was. Unfortunately, he said, there was no cheung fun of
any kind, nor any beancurd roll, both having been removed from the menu
personally by Alan Yau on grounds of “quality control” – which is odd,
because on that basis he should have taken everything else off the menu too.

Giles Coren gives Cha Cha Moon a kicking (2/10 restaurant review, Times).

Games industry now four times as big as music as Space Invaders celebrate 30 years(Times Online)

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The Mario games alone have sold nearly 300
million copies, and in a recent report, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated
that the global sales of video games will be worth $68.3 billion in 2012, up
from $41.9 billion in 2007. For comparison, music industry sales were worth
$11.5 billion last year. And it all started with Space Invaders.

Games industry now four times as big as music as Space Invaders celebrate 30 years(Times Online)

EU bureaucrat goodie bags designed by Philippe Starck (Guardian)

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“There are lots of things that traditionally are given to journalists, ministers, delegates,” Starck has explained to the news agency AFP. “For the first time in the history of the EU, everything produced will be of high quality.”Starck, famous for interiors that included the private apartments of former Socialist president François Mitterrand, will style select interiors and exteriors of buildings for some events.He has also produced more than a dozen EU presidency items, including pens, notebooks and small bags which will be given out to delegates. The stylish goodie bags have already caused ructions when a Starck-designed European briefcase was sent to all French MPs, featuring stationery, a towel rail and a pale grey tie. Some of the women MPs, who all received the ties, denounced it as the height of male chauvinism.

EU bureaucrat goodie bags designed by Philippe Starck (Guardian).
No pictures yet.

Cabbages and carrots could replace flowers in London’s royal parks (Guardian).

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Designed for the Prince Regent by the architect John Nash, Regent’s Park is noted for its lovingly tended blooms. But soon the flower beds of that - and other London royal parks - could make way for rows of humble carrots, cabbages and globe artichokes.In a plan inspired by American cities, the royal parks are pondering the creation of a string of model allotments to give the public a living, ripening illustration of the virtues of growing your own fruit and vegetables.

Cabbages and carrots could replace flowers in London’s royal parks (Guardian).

Battersea Power Station Public Tours – this week (skyscrapernews.com)

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If you’ve fancied getting up close and personal with Battersea Power Station before the contractors move in and change it forever now could be your chance.

As part of an exhibition being held to look at the new plans for the power station which includes a 300 metre tall structure, guided tours will be given between Wednesday the 25th of June and Saturday the 5th of July.

Its recommended that you wear practical shoes, so no high heels for the women. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their cameras if they want whilst the disabled will get tours provided by vehicular access although sadly the lazy wont be able to enjoy these.

Battersea Power Station Public Tours (skyscrapernews.com)

A to Z of the Olympics (well S,T,V) – Observer.

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S is for Speedo and the swimsuit war.

Speedo’s LZR Racer has lived up to billing as ‘the world’s fastest swim suit’ - athletes wearing the hi-tech outfit have set 38 new world records (out of 42) since its February launch. Chaos has followed: sponsorship contracts have been broken, coaches have complained of ‘technological doping’, and Speedo’s rivals have rushed to create their own competitive outfits in time for Beijing. Here are the major players.

Speedo LZR Racer. The new benchmark in swimsuit technology, with a ‘compression zone’ around the torso that counters muscle vibration, Speedo’s is the suit to beat. See it on Michael Phelps, among others.

Arena R-evolution+. The Italian firm’s new seamless suit has calmed the fears of France’s 400m Olympic champion Laure Manaudou, who burst into tears after losing to a Speedo-clad rival in April.

Mizuno Swim. So unpopular with the Japanese team that they have been allowed to break their contract and choose their own suits; 100m breaststroke champ Kosuke Kitajima went straight to Speedo.

Adidas. Members of the Adidas-sponsored German team - which includes Britta Steffen - begged to switch to the LZR Racer in April, but were appeased by the company’s new suit after tests in June.

T is for timekeeping.

At the ancient Olympics, the Greeks measured seconds using ropes attached to wooden beams. Things have moved on a bit - this year’s equipment, provided by Omega, will be the most exact so far, thanks to such new technologies as micro-lightweight transponders in every athlete’s bib, and the Scan’O’Vision Star photo-finish camera, which takes more than 2,000 images each second (the starting pistol is recorded visually because races can be won by margins smaller than the time taken for its sound to cover the distance). A false start registers if the footpad underneath an athlete’s shoe registers the slightest change in pressure within 0.1sec of the gun, because it is physically impossible to react in less time. Omega have also introduced GPS technology to monitor the positions of canoeists, sailors and rowers, while the scoreboards will display results in English and Chinese characters.

V is for Victory Spike.

At 93 grams, each Nike Zoom Victory Spike weighs less than a half-eaten chocolate bar and is the lightest running spike ever produced. The secret of the shoe, which could be worn in Beijing by Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, lies in the attractive red-and-black crisscross design - ‘flywire’ supports, modelled on the chords of a suspension bridge, that keep the thing together without the need for any excess material. An everyday-wear version without the spikes, available for £85, is titled the Nike Zoom Victory Plus.

A to Z of the Olympics. Sport — The Observer


AS Byatt on football (Observer).

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The things I watch are all contained in quadrilaterals, concern the movement of round balls, and the shifting lines of force and energy made by the players’ movements. The games I care about are snooker, tennis, and football. The rules of rugby have changed to make the movements more fluid and exciting for the TV viewer so sometimes I watch that too. But I cannot get interested in, say, motor racing or golf.

AS Byatt on football (Observer)

This while UEFA shamefully are increasing the number of nations to 24 from 2016 (no doubt to give the home nations a chance) and Spain wins 1-0 over a disappointing Germany in the final.

People like chronicles of small beer more than the Daily Moan (Media, The Observer)

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Nor can Polly Toynbee of the Guardian, who knows where her ancient foe resides. ‘No one tries harder to foster national anger, despair and fear than the Mail. No one paints a grimmer daily portrait of a nation that’s been in terminal moral decline since Lord Northcliffe rolled the first edition off the presses in 1896. When asked at the end of his life for his magic formula, Northcliffe wheezed: “I give them a daily hate.” So no wonder they were incensed that anyone might challenge the national gloom they have wrought.’

Peter Preston: People like chronicles of small beer more than the Daily Moan (Media, The Observe

A liking for Kate Nash, why Rob Da Bank never could be the next John Peel (Times)

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We’ve got Kate Nash and Chuck Berry coming this year. It’s all very
selfish — it’s what me and Josie like, and we just hope other people will
love it too.

A Life in the Day: Rob da Bank likes Kate Nash - Times Online

Quote by Rip-off Britain: The hidden cost of a night on the town – Times Online

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These insidious surcharges can add as much as 30% to the cost of a ticket.
Although made aware of them by small print, consumers are confused by what
they actually cover, and infuriated by their scale.

Typically, having decided to go to a show, you go online to book some tickets.
Ploughing through all the boxes to fill in your details, you finally get to
reserve the tickets and make it through to the payment page. Only at this
point is the true price revealed, with the delivery charges being tacked on,
together with a booking fee. And you have only moments to accept or decline
before the system logs you out.

Rip-off Britain: The hidden cost of a night on the town - Times Online

Dov Charney of American Apparel profiled in The Times.

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Every last neon T-shirt and retro swimsuit is manufactured in his Los Angeles factory, where the staff are paid twice the minimum wage and enjoy untold benefits, including full family medical insurance and shares in the company.

Dov Charney of American Apparel profiled in The Times.


Tories and North-Korean rulers have similar views on shoes.

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Warned in advance that jacket and tie were required, I wore a smart navy suit, white shirt, slim tie and suede sneakers. At one point during the evening, I stepped outside to chat to some acquaintances smoking on the steps. Through the corner of my eye, I could see three Tory boys - not new-look, hoodie-hugging Tory boys, but old-school wannabe toffs (a curious ambition for anyone under 50). They were all in their twenties, and they were all staring at my feet. I waited for the inevitable and wasn’t disappointed: ‘Excuse me, are you a member?’ honked the youngest.

Jeremy Langmead: Why the Tories still make me feel queasy,The Observer

You cannot judge a man’s social status by his clothes, but only by his shoes.

Ye Yonglie (Times)

Energy and global warming roundup.

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That’s less than an inch – but represents the meltwater from only 4% of the
world’s glaciers. Even those amounts are tiny compared with the Greenland
ice sheet. It contains enough water to raise global sea levels by 23ft and
it too is showing signs of instability.

Some researchers believe the loss of the Arctic ice cap could have profound effects
on Greenland and the surrounding Arctic lands. “We can’t be certain of the
exact impacts but if temperatures rise then that melts ice and permafrost
over a wide area,” said Serreze.

Meltdown: how long does the Arctic have? - Times Online"

OIL-PRODUCING nations are getting a double benefit from the soaring price of crude, according to experts. Not only are revenues booming, but their sovereign-wealth funds have been pumping money into commodity index futures, helping to boost the price.

Crude rose to nearly $143 a barrel on Friday, before closing just above $140, after another wild week of fluctuations.

Sounds a but like Enron, but on even larger scale. Although the sovereign fund managers surely are also hedging on energy prices falling.

Sixteen drill ships are scheduled to be delivered to oil companies this year, more than double the number delivered in the past six years combined. Indeed, 75 ultra-deep-water rigs are expected to be delivered from 2008 to 2011, according to ODS-Petrodata, a firm that tracks drilling rigs.

Shipyards from South Korea to Norway are working overtime to meet a huge influx of orders.

A big challenge in deep-sea drilling is to stay over the same spot on the seafloor as the vessel is buffeted by winds, currents and waves. Because water depths can reach up to 10,000 feet, far too deep for traditional rigs that are moored to the seafloor, deep-sea drill ships rely on high-speed computers that use GPS satellites to control six swiveling propellers on the hull’s bottom.

Last month, Samsung said it had received a $942 million contract to build a drill ship made for Arctic conditions. The vessel, ordered by Stena Offshore, a Swedish company, will have a hull strong enough to break through ice, withstand 50-foot waves and insulate the people and machinery inside from outside temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero.

Samsung’s sales of all types of offshore drilling vessels jumped to $7.8 billion last year, up from $1.5 billion in 2005.

There is a lack of oil drill-ships (Seattle Times)

And this is what makes the events of 2006, when Finnish inspectors found the concrete being poured to be too watery, so surprising. The steel sheath which lines the reactor chamber was also found to be sub-specification. Naturally, environmentalist groups like Greenpeace had a field day, the more so because similar problems were discovered at Flamanville, where French inspectors shut construction down. When I ask the French site manager at Olkiluoto, Rémi Sénac, about this, he looks as though I’ve punched him in the face. An engineer and construction manager who might have been pressed into retirement 10 years ago, Sénac now finds his experience of working on nuclear power plants in the 1970s is highly prized. He explains that the nuclear hiatus following Chernobyl left a severe shortage of engineers and sub-contractors with the “necessary competency”. On top of this, the Finnish government and TVO required as many local firms as possible, but no one had ever made concrete to the volume and specification necessary for OL3.

and also a lack of qualified nuclear plant engineers. (Guardian)

Who would have thought when it came out in theaters that the movie “Mad Max” would someday look so eerily prescient?

Gas and diesel theft has become rampant in the age of $4 gas. Although specific statistics on fuel theft are difficult to track down, the anecdotal evidence is abundant.

It’s Mad Max out there, fuel theft on the rise (cars.com),

but not to worry, Exxon got some spare cash

Little did I know in 1989 that I would be sitting at a keyboard nearly 20 years later reflecting on the failures of the U.S. justice system. Little did I know that, as the years went by and I attended funerals of many of my fishermen friends who passed away without seeing closure to this agony, that I would grow to be so angry and disheartened by the success that Exxon has had with their methodical manipulation of the justice system.

Way back in 1989, it was rumored that Lee Raymond, the CEO of Exxon at that time, was saying privately that he would dedicate every resource of the corporation to making sure that fishermen never received a dime in compensation.

I find it interesting to note that Raymond’s severance package when he retired from Exxon some years ago was about $400 million. Now, nearly 33,000 plaintiffs must split an amount only slightly higher than that!

Frank Mullen, Seattle Times

On colour: Hammershøi, Superman’s hair and a drab North Korea

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A restricted palette: “I’m utterly convinced that a painting has the best effect in terms of its colour the fewer colours there are.” And a clear pictorial structure: “What makes me choose a motif are … the lines, what I like to call the architectural content of an image. And then there’s the light, of course. Obviously, that’s also very important, but I think it’s the lines that have the greatest significance for me.”
Vilhelm Hammershøi

Speaking of colour, why is Superman’s hair blue? Sin City’s creator, Frank Miller, who is promoting his new movie, The Spirit, explains. The 1930s comics on which the films are based were printed on cheap paper. Not only did every superhero have a chest logo to identify him amid the blur, black ink lost its tone and came out blue. So, the hair isn’t a Kryptonian DNA trait, after all.
Times, Frank Miller

North Koreans work six days a week, with Saturdays reserved for study of Kim Il-sung’s political theory of Juche, or self-reliance.

There is no advertising and the few taxis charge huge fares beyond the means of most North Koreans – twice as much as a taxi in Shanghai, for instance. All cars are black and allocated to high officials.

Only four colours of clothes are permitted: black, green, blue and white. The government distributes clothing fabric by rank, with an ordinary official receiving enough to tailor one new jacket a year. However, they may buy their own shoes.


Guardian on Vilhelm Hammershøi

The North Korean four colour palette (Times)

On the eve of the anniversary of 7/7 Peter Millar examines thriller writers’ knack for anticipating world-shaking events (Times).

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AS THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY of the London bombings approaches, the author Stephen
Leather is among those with cause to reflect on the uncomfortable
relationship between the real world and fiction - particularly when the plot
of a thriller becomes horribly true.

In February 2005, five months before the 7/7 suicide attacks on the London
Tube, Leather’s thriller Soft Target detailed a plot by four British-born
Muslims to explode bombs on the Underground.

On the eve of the anniversary of 7/7 Peter Millar examines thriller writers’ knack for anticipating world-shaking events (Times).

City of London’s banking quarter becomes battlefield for drug gangs (Times)

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The City of London is becoming a magnet at the weekends for vicious gangs
involved in shootings, drug dealing and extortion.

Where once the Square Mile would be deserted at the end of the working week,
now tens of thousands of party-goers travel to clubs that hold more than
1,000 people.

Among them are rival gangs, who over the past two years have been attracted by
lax parking restrictions and the relatively low number of officers available
to patrol the area. Some are drug dealers seeking to take control of
valuable new markets, while others are looking to settle scores.

Each gang follows a different DJ and because each club can book several DJs
they overlap, as do their followers, leading to violent clashes.

City of London’s banking quarter becomes battlefield for drug gangs

Quote by The war on photographers – you’re all al Qaeda suspects now | The Register

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As Austin Mitchell puts it: “We are seeing a lot of isolated incidents creating a pattern that will in time lead to an inhibition on taking photos. Photographers need to assert their rights under the law as it stands. Or they will lose them.”

Guidelines have been negotiated with a number of Police Forces (Nottingham and the Met) as well as ACPO. In theory, Police should be well aware that they have no powers to remove cameras or take film without a court order.

Campaigners on the other side are far blunter and increasingly bitter. They point out that Police who seize items are guilty of theft - a criminal offence. Where journalists and members of the public come into contact with the police, they are urged always to keep their cool. The bottom line, however, is that attempts to remove film or camera should always be resisted.

The war on photographers - you’re all al Qaeda suspects now | The Register

thelondonpaper closing down? (Observer).

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Going down the tubes?

Rumours are rife that News International may be closing down thelondonpaper, Rupert Murdoch’s evening freesheet. The group’s ill-fated magazine venture has already been shelved and there are signs that Associated, which launched London Lite in an attempt to kill off the title at birth and protect its flagship evening paper the Evening Standard, may be winning its rearguard action; thelondonpaper is no longer being handed out at several tube stations. If it is shut, that would be a huge propaganda coup for Associated, of course.

Better than the Lite, but won’t miss it.

thelondonpaper closing down? (Observer)

Gordon Brown falls foul of contextomy (Observer).

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For the paperback edition of the book, a new cover has been designed, incorporating three words from a review by Simon Jenkins - refreshing, readable and intelligent . This is not, however, what Jenkins really thought of the book. Indeed, his review, published in the Sunday Times, begins: Gordon Brown on courage? What next: Tony Blair on humility? David Cameron on my struggle ? Courage must be the last quality suggested by Brown s career. It goes on to say that 95 per cent of the book - the biographical essays themselves - was allegedly written by other people and that the introduction and conclusion are platitude-packed . Even the sentence used on the cover is not as straightforward as the new edition makes out: This approach self-sacrifice is refreshing and is honoured in the biographical essays, which are readable and intelligent if not especially original, it says.

Just a month ago, the Office of Fair Trading took on the responsibility of the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which outlaws selective quotation as a means of promotion. A spokesman explains that any complaint would be investigated. Last week, Jenkins could not be reached for comment, but I understand that the Sunday Times has been in touch with the publisher to suggest it prints a little more of the review if it wishes to quote it at all.

Gordon Brown falls foul of contextomy (Observer).

The Who, Springsteen on stadiums (quotes from the 70s).

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First John Entwistle (The Who) in the sleevenotes from “Live at Leeds”,

We don’t often play big places … the maximum in the States is about 5,000 people. Any larger than that and it is too unreal for a large part of the audience.

and then Springsteen indirectly quoted in The Observer’s “Great Lyricists” (before going to recycling) from a review from 1975,

… he’s hit back by deciding things he won’t do — like play in large halls (3,000 is the maximum, larger than that and he’ll walk out), eat anything else but “junk food” …

Quote by Britain is the world’s biggest arms exporter – Times Online

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UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that arms exporters had added £9.7 billion
in new business last year, giving them a larger share of global arms exports
than the United States.

“As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a
first-class defence industry, with some of the world’s most technologically
sophisticated companies,” Digby Jones, the Minister for Trade and
Investment, said.

UKTI said that the figures were boosted by orders for Eurofighter Typhoon jets
from Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest arms buyer, which has imported $31
billion (£16 million) in weapons over the past five years. There were also
orders from Oman and Trinidad and Tobago for offshore patrol vessels.

Britain is the world’s biggest arms exporter - Times Online .

£35m is cost of London’s free newspapers (Guardian).

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Free papers cost £35m

Can we start to put a figure on London’s great waste paper war? Possibly. News International’s annual accounts are a mystery inside an enigma, but reveal that thelondonpaper lost £16.8m in its first 10 months (September 2006 to June 2007). Add on July and August to make a full 12 months and reckon that high summer can only have turned £17m to £20m. Add in Associated’s London Lite, a slightly smaller, slightly cheaper enterprise, and score £10m more gone there. Then further assume that the Evening Standard, churning out free copies, has seen another £5m go west.

So: £35m in year one, with year two seeing advertising wilt with the economy. Savvy, profitable companies tend to sneer at smaller, loss-makers such as the Indy - but look what happens when pride drives out sense.

£35m is cost of London’s free newspapers (Guardian).

Jeremy Clarkson on Norway – Times Online

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I can’t imagine the whiteboard is for any sort of management meeting because in the whole of human history Norway’s only contributions have been the
paperclip and the cheese slicer. Only Australia has achieved less, with the rotary washing line.

Jeremy Clarkson on Norway - Times Online


“Contextomy” – a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

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It’s a familiar story. A new novel receives lukewarm reviews and slips into oblivion. But six months later the paperback arrives in shops, plastered with adulatory quotes from reviewers. Strange, you think - until you remember that publishers regularly pluck tiny positive phrases from otherwise critical notices. Whether “gripping”, “revelatory”, or “hilarious”, the combined impression can be that this book was universally adored.Does this mislead naive book buyers? We may be about to find out. The new EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive outlaws “contextomy” - a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. The directive targets companies who “falsely claim accreditation” for their products by “not being true to the terms of the [original] endorsement”. To be enforced in the UK by the Office of Fair Trading, it carries a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine or two years in prison. West End theatre companies are first in the firing line.

“Contextomy” - a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

Comparing The Third Reich and The British Empire.

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But it is the comparison between the British empire and the Nazi one that provides the most intriguing material in this book. Uncomfortable though it may be for us to hear, the fact is that the Nazis admired the British for
their empire. “It seems to us,” said Rosenberg, “that [it] too, is based on a racially defined claim of dominance.”

Time and again in the course of my own work on Nazism, former Nazis have told me that they thought it a “tragedy” that the British ended up fighting the Germans. “We should have cooperated,” one ex-SS officer said. “You with your
empire overseas, us with our empire in mainland Europe. We would have been unbeatable together!”

These sorts of comments force us to confront a question that is often overlooked - what were the real differences between the two realms? Mazower argues that the central difference was that the British promised “eventual
(if always tenuous) political redemption” to their imperial subjects, while “Nazism was a doctrine of perpetual empire”. But there remains, as Mazower acknowledges, the uncomfortable truth that the British did want “colonial
rule into the indefinite future” among the “savages” of Africa and the Pacific. And, one might add, the rhetoric of some of the early settlers in Australia was that the aborigines were less than human - not so very different from the belief of the Nazis about the inhabitants of the Slavic east.

Comparing The Third Reich and The British Empire (Review of Hitler’s Empire by Mark Mazower Times).

Another myth killed? Druids at Stonehenge (Times).

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Then there were the druids. In reality, there is not a shred of evidence that
a druid ever set foot in Stonehenge. Caesar and Tacitus both describe
druids, but do not site them there. Tacitus connects them with Anglesey
where, he says, a fanatical band of druids, shrieking curses, waylaid a
detachment of legionaries, but was chased off. It was the magpie-minded
antiquary John Aubrey who in the 1660s first connected Stonehenge with
druids, and it soon became an established fact that they built it as their
headquarters. It was there that they did solemn things with mistletoe, and
performed human sacrifice. Caesar had written that druids built wicker
effigies, placed living men inside, and set them on fire. It is just the
kind of atrocity story that conquerors have always invented about the
conquered, but it has been eagerly believed since the 17th century, and
inspired Robin Hardy’s classic 1973 horror film The Wicker Man.

Another myth killed? Druids at Stonehenge (Times).

Female board member quotas working well in Norway (Times).

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But we are sitting in the Stortinget to discuss what Gabrielsen calls the
“shock bombing” of Norway. As he tells it, the explosive formula was cooked
up during a secret meeting, just six months into his job as minister for
trade and industry, in association with one of the country’s most senior
political correspondents. Gabrielsen had bumped into Alf Bjarne Johnsen of
Norway’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, Verdens Gang “The Way of the
World”, or VG, in February 2002, and on the spur of the moment, he offered
the veteran journalist the biggest story of his career if he would come to
his office to meet with him within the hour.

The next day the people of Norway woke up to front-page headlines that rocked
the nation: tycoons blanched, boardrooms rumbled and Gabrielsen’s fellow
cabinet colleagues gasped in surprise and shock – he hadn’t deemed it
necessary to include the government in his plans.

What the VG front-page story said, under the banner headline “Sick and Tired
of the Old Men’s Club”, was basically this: women would be wearing the
trousers in future. The story listed the country’s leading companies with
only men at the top of them. Out of 611 companies, 470 did not have one
female board member. Little more than 6% of all the board positions were
occupied by women.

Gabrielsen, the paper reported, was not just about to lift the glass lid on
the meritocracy – he was smashing it with his meaty government fist and with
all the force of the law.

Hundreds of men would be gradually removed from their positions as company
directors and replaced by women. A new global record in business management
would be achieved by making sure that 40% of all boardroom positions in
companies listed on the Oslo stock exchange would be held by women within
five years. If companies did not comply, the minister warned, he would
introduce legislation and they would be prosecuted.

His cabinet colleagues, the then-prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and his
centre-right coalition government, even Gabrielsen’s own Conservative party,
must have choked on their breakfast bran. The ebullient minister had
consulted none of them beforehand.

“If I had told them before, the initiative would have been killed by one
committee after another,” he says. “No, I had to employ terrorist tactics.
Sometimes you have to create an earthquake, a tsunami, to get things to
change,” he says, laughing at his own daring. “If a left-wing feminist had
come out with something like that it would have been dismissed as just
another scream in the night,” he continues. “But because I said it, I knew
that people would take notice.”

“What’s the point in pouring a fortune into educating girls, and then watching them exceed boys at almost every level, if, when it comes to appointing business leaders in top companies, these are drawn from just half the population – friends who have been recruited on fishing and hunting trips or from within a small circle of acquaintances?” he says. “It’s all about tapping into valuable under-utilised resources.”

Female board member quotas working well in Norway (Times)

Quincy Jones on being a jazz musician.

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A jazz musician can either be an artist and do progressive things or he can work on pleasing the people. I think a happy medium between the two can be reached.

Quincy Jones on being a jazz musician (Down Beat 1954, via The Guardian).

$10 to get your tune into iTunes, Amazon and five more digital stores

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Anyone can use TuneCore to distribute a single song to iTunes (Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States), AmazonMP3, eMusic, Napster, Rhapsody, LaLa, and Groupie Tunes. The company plans to add Amie Street and Shockhound to its distribution network soon.

$10 to get your tune into iTunes, Amazon and five more digital stores (Wired).

Quote by New hurdle for art forgers as A-bomb fallout is used to identify the fakes – Times Online

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Andrei Krusanov, a geochemist and art historian who has written books on the Russian avant-garde, said: “There cannot be any other way around it. Any oil painting made in the nuclear era will show traces of caesium-137 and strontium-90.”

Some forgers, such as Robert Thwaites, who was caught forging 19th-century paintings in 2004, use paints and canvasses from the relevant period, which would enable them to circumvent isotope analysis. “You would have to look at other factors,” Ms Kimbell said. “Provenance is the most important, although this can and has been faked too.”

New hurdle for art forgers as A-bomb fallout is used to identify the fakes - Times Online

The Chapmans journey to Hell and back (Januszczak, The Times)

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Hell, in its new, extra-large form, is so ambitious, so ghastly, so sick and so brilliant that I hereby nominate it as the key contemporary artwork of our times.

The Chapmans journey to Hell and back - Januszczak, Times Online


Gazundering is legal.

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The basic practice is for the buyer to wait until everybody is just about to change contracts and then reduce the offer. The seller then has the option of agreeing to the new price or risking the sale falling through.
This dastardly practice last raised its ugly head in the murky days of the early 90s recession when, as is the case now, the market strong favoured the buyer.

For anyone that is interested the origin of the word Gazundering is that it is an obvious play on the word Gazumping. Gazumping is thought to have originated from the Yiddish word gazumph, meaning to swindle. The term was used as gangster slang in the 1920s and became synonymous with poker games.

Gazundering is legal and there is little you can do to protect yourself if a buyer is determined to play dirty.

Gazundering is legal (actlegal.co.uk).