image problems

One of the advantages of starting a blog post by choosing a photograph or two and then finding something to write that can go alongside, is that the whole issue of images is sorted.

If you start with the words, though, however vast your archive of photos, there may not be anything that fits and it’s not always easy to take a bespoke photo, even if you have an idea that would work.
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a new dawn

Perhaps it’s just me, but the headline below (on the BBC website the other day) conjured some bizarre images.

BBC headline: DNA project 'to make UK world leader'

As I wondered what a “UK world leader” would be like and whose dna the scientists would mix and match, there was one name that kept recurring.

Fortunately, the somewhat depressing image of the UK taking over the world with Churchill at the helm was brightened by a mental soundtrack of Tim Curry singing “I can make you a man.”

(For those who want to know the real story of the UK’s genetic research project, it’s here. As for me, I think I’ll go and re-watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show.)

news at the cutting edge

swiss army knife and pearl-handled penknife
There’s been a lot of talk this past week about “Tory knife crime plans”. (The plans under discussion are for mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted twice for carrying a knife.)

News websites change rapidly, so one headline that particularly caught my attention – “Clegg attacks Tory knife crime plan” – is no longer to be found. I’d made a note of it, though, as that badly chosen verb “attack” bothered me.

For a bored subeditor, making up punny headlines can be fun, but I think there’s a point when serious news should be treated seriously. (True, my post title is slightly frivolous, but this is a personal blog not an official news provider.)
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news and views

Two snippets from the news have caught my eye this week.

Firstly, I gather from this tweet from the Independent that I must have missed something about new government policies on euthanasia:

Tweet: "pensioners to be told how long they have left to live"
I wonder how much warning they intend to give before carting us off to be processed into Soylent Green.
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pedantry & poetry

"James Anderson becomes only the fourth England player to take 300 Test wickets during the first Test against New Zealand."

Cricket Tests are renowned for how long they last, but the BBC news to the right seems to imply they might go on for weeks: if Anderson was the fourth to take 300 wickets in the first Test, then three others had done so before him.

Just how long does it take for 1200+ wickets to be taken?

Elsewhere on the BBC last week I read their College of Journalism blog post: We all love lists, but are they all journalism?
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of death and celandines

The past week has been less than positive in many ways and, judging from the screenshot below, I’m not the only person to feel that way.

BBC headlines May 3 2013 -  it's all about death
Of the headlines for the top ten most popular stories, five contain a variant of the word ‘death’.

Whether the local election results (stories 1 and 2) have anything to do with the BBC readers’ apparent morbid obsession, I don’t know.

Perhaps they’ve been unable to get through to the new NHS 111 service (story 10) and while waiting for their urgent but non-life-threatening health problems to be attended to they have felt the need to console themselves with reading how things could be worse.

The screenshot is from a couple of days ago (“thanks!” to the reader who sent it to me) and it suited this week’s aura of negativity.

I was beginning to feel things were never going to improve.
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socket it to me

EDIT: Of course the title should say socket to me. Having posted it with the typo in, though, I shall be honest and leave it “as is.”

When I travel, I still try and keep working, so am pleased that many trains now provide electrical sockets where I can plug in my computer.

The labelling of this one intrigued me, though:

power socket in train: "laptops and mobile phones only"
Can someone please enlighten me as to what other appliances people carry with them that they might be tempted to use while travelling by train?
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