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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the all-on-one-page home for some of our most popular features, including the Caption Comp, 10 Things, and your letters. The Monitor is updated every weekday, with new stuff at the top.


10 bales by Bryce Cooke

Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

1. A select group of people, nicknamed wizards, can nearly always tell when someone is lying. In a study of 13,000 people, 31 had the ability.

2. Since 9/11 the UK has frozen the assets of more than 100 terror groups and individuals, netting between £500,000 and £1m.

3. Kopi luwak coffee, the most expensive blend in the world at £420 per kg, is made from beans partially digested and then excreted by civet cats in Sumatra.

4. Porn users in Australia are more than twice as likely as the rest of the population to vote Green, a study suggests.

5. A new diet growing in popularity in the US tells weight watchers to count the mouthfuls, not the calories. You can eat anything, cake included, if you stick to 85 bites a day, it says.

6. You can suffer from "sleep sex". One Australian woman with the condition, which is similar to sleep walking, sometimes left home during the night and had sex with strangers without waking up.

7. Long term bed rest has the same effect on the body's muscles as the zero gravity experienced in space

8. After returning from space, female astronauts are more likely to faint from the effects of re-entering the Earth's atmosphere than men.

9. The remains of thousands of mammoths have been found by fishermen in the North Sea, Alan Titchmarsh's British Isles: A Natural History told us.

10. The Sydney Harbour Bridge contains just 16 nuts and bolts. The rest is held together by rivets, because it doesn't need to be dismantled.

If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks this week to Wil Davies.

Add your comments to this story using the form below:

Your e-mail address
Your thing and where you saw it

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


Your challenge should you choose to accept it...

Experience, fresh ideas and a CV full of interesting hobbies are not the key to getting that new job, a study suggests.

"Apple polishing or bootlicking" may well be far more useful skills for the prospective employee, says Timothy Judge, of the University of Florida.

"Kissing up, being nice and agreeing more than disagreeing do seem to be effective tactics for people to use when looking for a job," suggests the management professor.

Your challenge, therefore, is to put yourself in the position of an interviewee and come up with the killer lines to secure that post. "I've always been fascinated by data entry", that kind of thing.

Is it compulsory to take all ones leave?
Pete Nightingale, Reading UK

Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 4pm and then bring it in to me. The challenge of a deadline is refreshing.
Louisa Hibble, Leicester, UK

I like nothing better than to complete a large project on time and within budget and then to be laid off so that I can enjoy some time in my garden.
Catherine O, Maidenhead, UK

Oh, I make a great scapegoat
Martin, Leeds

Stunned! (No, I mean REALLY STUNNED!) There's no better way for me to describe the sensation that ran right through me when I read your advertisement in Everyday Accounting ... it was truly as if you were speaking DIRECTLY to ME! Boy, have you got me nailed! Love of numbers? Gotcha! Dedication? Only for the past ** 35 YEARS **! Attention to detaiil? Nobody better! Willing to work weekends? What are THEY!? No need to re-run that Want ad - I'm your new numbers man. When do I start?
Charles Frean, Bedford, Massachusetts

...and, actually, I do this at home in my spare time as well.
Matt, London

I am never happier than when giving extra time working at the weekend to complete a task.
Sarah D, Didcot

Yes, teamwork and getting the done given the strain of limited resources and a pressing schedule should be a welcome challenge. A strong offense is the best defense for leveling the playing field and scoring the winning goal. Your remarks at the last conference were brilliant and thought provoking, and I do agree that color particularly suits you.
Candace, New Jersey, US

...yes the fact that I have got absolutly no social life and a unique ability to require very little sleep means that I am able to work the ridiculously long hours you ask of me ...
You mean Sundays too? Well my deeply religious convictions and absolute adherence to the Christian work ethic means of course I will gladly work Sundays as well
malcolm, warsaw

"I honestly don't mind being dumped upon from a great height or overlooked in favour of those far less talented than myself"
Graham, Poole

I find that the satisfaction of cleaning my bosses car and mowing his lawn on sunday morning allows me the intellectual relaxation to prepare myself for the challenge of a really early start on Monday morning
Brian, Kingsley

"I never spend precious company time entering the Friday Challenge..."
Tom C, Aberystwyth, Wales

I have always been drawn towards quantity surveying (44 letters; 16 vowels, 28 consonants; 1 uppercase, 43 lowercase).
Brian Saxby, Gateshead, UK

Well Mr Lloyd-Webber, I believe that mass produced musicals have the power to transform the lives of an audience and teach them the differences between right, wrong & corny lyrics.
David M, London

Are you sure you're not a model?
Phil Welch, London

(Thanks, that's quite enough crawling. Entries are now closed.)


The winning entries in this week's caption competition.

The Magazine asked what is being said as flamboyant former Tory health minister Edwina Currie grapples with a giant egg?

6. Tom Rowe, Reading
Advances in GM technology really changed the traditional egg and spoon race.

5. Fi, Bristol
Edwina in latest "chick lit" misunderstanding.

4. Aidan, Thaxted
The chicken god smites another unbeliever.

3. Mark, Paignton
In her second autobiographical volume, Edwina kept in the spicy details of the affair with Humpty Dumpty.

2. Dave B, Stevenage
"Get this ridiculous thing off me" - shouted the egg.

1. Chris, Bracknell
As election fever hots up, Edwina tries to bait John Prescott into another punching incident.


Re: The yellow brick road to righteousness, 14 October, in which a vicar claims people learn more from show tunes than they do from hymns, I would suggest that Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is doubly enlightening. It teaches us both the value of choosing a decent barber and (courtesy of Mrs Miggins' pie shop) the importance of not eating cats. Or people.
Tony Ramsay

How about Cabaret! Dance in a sleazy nightclub, avoid the Nazis, have an abortion, end up alone.

I suggest Singing in the Rain. When you're in love, you don't care about catching cold through getting soaking wet. And people without squeeky voices triumph eventually.
Dave Godfrey

Grease teaches us that even if you are comfortable with who you are, you'll be far happier by changing so you can fit in with the crowd.
Rob, Sheffield

The song Springtime for Hitler in The Producers shows us that trying to defraud the public by rewriting history will only come back to haunt you.
Mike Eagling

According to Harry Hill, the moral of Starlight Express is "don't eat too much cheese before going to bed". Andrew Lloyd Webber had one too many cheese slices and ended up dreaming about Bonnie Langford on rollerskates dressed as a train - scary stuff.
Bath, England

In the Magazine yesterday, you ran a poll asking if people thought they had wasted too much of their lives drinking. I don't wish to be too pedantic (but I will), how is one supposed to tell? Surely one can only judge the answer to such a question after you have finished your life, which makes taking part in the survey rather tricky?
Phil Mason, Macclesfield, UK

By now everyone knows the competition is closed for the funniest shop name. But where I used to live, there was a barber's shop run by a man called Allan. The shop was located in a building that had been converted from an old block of public toilets. The sign above the barbers' proudly stated, "Ur In Al's".
Chrissie Nyssen, Aberdeen


Tony Blair says, "We stand ready to make sure the Department of Work and Pensions will give help to anybody who is made redundant." Shouldn't they be doing that already? ('Help ready' over P&O job losses, 13 October).
Catherine O
Maidenhead (ex Dover), UK

Simon from Devon's confusion as to why a British film festival would be staged in France, (Monitor letters, Wednesday). It is possibly correct to call it British on three counts. The first is that Dinard is a quintessentially British seaside resort, much favoured by British Royals in the past. But also, Brittany is in fact the "Lesser Britain" to the "Great Britain" to the north. Therefore, while perhaps misleading, it may be correct to describe the festival as British. Finally, the festival is actually a showcase of British (as in Great Britain) films.
Martin Hollywood
St Samson-sur-Rance, Brittany, France

Here's one NOT to be including in 10 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Week. In Cold winter due, says forecaster, 13 October, you say: "When asked what the Met Office forecast could be for winter, he said: 'We expect temperatures to drop in winter'." I believe the correct term in the language of youth is, dur!
Gladstone Anthony
Chelmsford, England

Scrolling to the bottom of the Wales News page, I noticed the 'News in Brief story' of Woman smuggled drugs in bra, 13 October. A brief story indeed.

I too know that entries are now closed, but there used to be a health food shop in Oban, called Oban Sesame.


It's time for Punorama, our pun-writing competition. The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it. Originality is what counts.

So set your phrasers to pun on the story about the 17-year-old student from North Carolina who is facing 30 days in jail after swearing at a teacher during a row at school.

Judges' verdict

Off to prison with the lot of you. Especially Graeme Dixon of Surrey, for Four-letter word kid faces whole sentence, James Fidler of Leicester for Cusstody!, and Philip Lickley, UK with This time pupil gives teacher a 'F'.

Less literally we had old friend Candace, New Jersey, with Ribald without a clue, Jon, UK with Prisoner of swore, Keith, Herts, with I was a teenage swearwolf, and Craig, Essex, with Cursery school.

But the winner of this week's pun-ishment is Kevin Williams, Norwich, with Profanity fair?. Shame on you all.

(Entries now closed.)


There is a more obvious explanation for our increasing tendency to jump red lights (Caught red handed, 11 October). As a rule, it is considered acceptable for a pedestrian to cross the road wherever and whenever they like. Why is it a surprise when the same behaviour applies behind the wheel of a car?
Russell Simpson

I know that Biblical knowledge is sinking lower and lower in the UK but isn't explaining what the Ten Commandments are (Court takes on Commandment case, 12 October) a bit much?
John Airey
Peterborough, UK

Rolling my cursor over the picture of Jim Royle (The 10,000-step guide to fitness, 12 October), I never knew that Ipswich Town was, in fact, managed by Ricky Tomlinson.
Hornchurch, UK

Surely the story about Gazza changing his name (The name game, 12 October) is crying out for a Magazine competition! I can certainly think of a few names for him.

In Christopher Lee on the making of legends, 11 October, the first paragraph says "Iconic British actor Christopher Lee was recently the subject of a special tribute at the British Film Festival in Dinard, Brittany." Did I miss something? Is France now part of the UK?
Devon, UK

I know entries are closed, but there used to be a camera shop in New York called F stop Fitzgerald.


Good things to read on other websites.

  • If you liked that, why not try this.... that's the kind of recommendation customers of online shops are used to. But here Wired magazine reports that it's actually created a new economic model where obscure books, films or songs, can more easily hit the big time.

  • Talking of obscure songs, the plinky-plonky zither music famous as the music to the film of The Third Man had another outing last week as Graham Greene's classic novel was serialised on Radio 4. This article on the British Film Institute's Screen online site records the fascinating story of that familiar piece of music.

  • And finally a debate between an Iraqi mother and a former US marine on Opendemocracy.net. This is their first exchange - they will continue corresponding until the US presidential election.

    If you spot something good to read elsewhere on the web, let us know using the form on the right hand side of this page. But you know by now that the BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.


    The photojournal of the Brighton bomb, 20 years on could perhaps be a reminder to the US that there was a war on terrorism going on before 9/11.
    Arnold Powis

    Re: Dot.life: Technology's gender balancing act, 11 October. Someone is missing the point here. Technology did not leave women behind - the whole point of technology is that it constantly advances, it does not wait for people who choose to lag behind.
    Owain Williams

    In Caught Red Handed, 11 October, your story about people jumping red lights, maybe we could learn from other countries - for instance in certain parts of Amsterdam, you would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't pause for at least a minute or so in front of a red light.

    In regard to your article Bill could divide UK time zones, 11 October. I see that an MP wants Scotland to have its own time zone. A ploy to keep pubs open later?
    Chris Hunter
    Bedford, England

    In your survey of the most popular equations, 8 October, you mention that quantumBEAM had found a clever use of Scrodinger's equation. It wasn't clever enough to convince the venture capitalists - quantumBEAM closed in May 2003.
    Alan Green
    Former CTO, quantumBEAM Ltd


    Announcing our hunt for crazy shop names.

    Tourist shop in Edinburgh - Thistle do nicely
    Tourist shop in Edinburgh
    A Yellow Pages survey has awarded ironing company Crease Lightning the title of best business name, beating off entertainment suppliers Amp & Decks and photographer Flash Gordon.

    But this is too rich a seam not to mine further. Kicking off the fun, Monitor reader Rob Turville says: "My favourites here in Guernsey are a rubbish-removals firm, Hump and Dump, a gardening company, Daylight Shrubbery, and a landscape gardener - The Greatest Scape."

    So your nominations, please, of your own local favourites, using the form on the right hand side of this page. Bonus points if you can supply photographs from your nifty cameraphone.

    Your suggestions so far:

    My fave is a window cleaning company in Surrey called Spruce Springclean
    Paul, UK

    There's a firm from Hastings which supplies concrete which is called William The Concreter
    Andy Martin, Heathfield, East Sussex

    There was a telemarketing company that I worked with once called The Heroes of Telemart.
    Bernie Flint, Brighton

    There is an off-licence and general dealers in Heaton, Newcastle called Heaton Drink
    Dave, Newcastle UK

    In Stoke there is a barbers called Alias Quiff & Combs
    Dolly, Stoke on Trent

    A sandwich shop in Macclesfield called Nosh & Breks (perhaps not so obvious now they're in Spain).
    Sphagnum, Macclesfield

    A chippy in Repton, Derbyshire called "Good buy Mr Chips" - especially apt as the original film was set in Repton.
    Gavin, UK

    There's a restaurant in Montreal, specialising in omelettes and the like, called Planète Oeuf.
    Roy , Helsinki

    I'm always amused by a hairdressers in Sheffield named Hair Force One.
    Melissa, Barnsley, Yorkshire

    Get Stuffed in Islington - a taxidermists, of course. Added bonus is the 6ft angry bear in the window.
    Emily, London

    There's a DIY shop in Teignmouth, Devon, called Fork Handles (or was that Four Candles?)
    Roz, Manchester, UK

    One of our driving schools is called Carkey & Clutch.
    Ruth, Hull, East Yorkshire

    My all-time favourite shop name was a bakery in New Cross called Knead The Dough.
    Beowulf Mayfield, Watford

    There's a tattoo parlour here called Scarred For Life.
    Tim, Boulder, Colorado

    Two great names : an Indian Restaurant called Balti Towers and (surprise surprise) a hairdressers called Julia's Scissors.
    Chris Jones, Birmingham

    There's a fish and chip shop in Bristol called The Cod Almighty.
    Katy, Bristol

    There's a chain of kebab shops in Dublin called Abrakebabra which I find highly amusing. I've also heard there was a hair dresser in Derby named Curl Up and Dye.
    Lindsay Cooper, Derby

    There's a locksmiths in Wandsworth called Sure Lock Homes.
    Dr T. Bunny, Putney

    A Scottish chum of mine told me there's a baby clothing shop in Glasgow called Wee 'uns World.
    Garfaith, Plumstead Common

    An optometrist here calls his business For Eyes.
    Brian Ruddell, Perth, Australia

    There are a couple of chippies in Cardiff called The Cod Father and The Fryer Tuck and a cafe called the Tuck Inn.
    Sara, Cardiff

    I saw a sports shop in Crete aptly named "Athlete's Foot"...
    Helen , Cambridge

    My personal favourite is a hardware/DIY shop called S&M Supplies. I'm sure they must have had a few interesting phone calls.
    Colin Fieldhouse

    I once had dealings with a firm of solicitors called Wright Hassall.
    Michael, London

    There's a local lingerie retailer here called Booby Trap.
    Ralph, Cumbria

    I bought some great menswear in a fabulous shop in Auckland by the name of Brick Shirt House.
    Chris Pritchett, Bristol

    I saw a farm in New Zealand that traded under the name of The Star Sheep Enterprise.
    Jake, Canterbury

    (That's enough crazy names, thank you.)


    I think downloading music is a minor offence compared to what I originally thought the Friday Challenge, 8 October, link ("Imagine you're a pre-teen downloader. Now, what's your excuse?") was referring to.
    Brian Saxby
    Gateshead, UK

    In The physics hit parade, 8 October, you say that the joint top equation of all time - e^(i*pi) + 1 = 0 - by itself has no use. This may be true, but the more general version of the equation is vital to most of physics - it lets us switch between sin/cosine functions and exponentials like so: e^(ix) = cos(x) + i*sin(x). Solutions of both Maxwell's equations and Schrodinger's Equation use this property. For anyone who was wondering why e is special, it is the 'natural' number to use for exponential functions, because the gradient (rate of change) of the function e^x is ... e^x.
    Dave Taylor
    Leeds, UK

    Could I also leap to the defence of e(i*pi) +1 = 0: it is of some practical use, because it introduces the idea of "Imaginary" numbers, which are used in the description of waves' phases, for example in separating the carrier wave from the "information" in a radio receiver. Also, as a member of the Institute of Physics, and therefore a paid-up scientific pedant, I feel I have to point out that your guide to "The top 5 equations of all time" actually includes six.
    Candy Spillard
    York, UK

    Surely there were only nine items in Saturday's Ten Things? Items one (Herrings break wind to communicate) and eight (Michael Fish gets cross about repeating the "hurricane" clip) must count as one.


    Each Monday Si sets a riddle for you to puzzle over. Enter using the form below. The answer, and winner, will be revealed next Monday.


    Which of the following abridged words is the odd one out and why?


    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country

    Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.

    The winner of last week's riddle, chosen at random from the correct entries, was Helen Heekin of Glasgow. The answer was:

  • Gary was manager for 2 years and won 10 matches before getting a more lucrative offer
  • Ned was manager for 1 year and won 2 matches before being sacked due to foreign affairs
  • Steve was manager for 4 years and had 18 wins before being sacked because he had upset the FA
  • Ronnie was manager for 3 years and won 8 matches before being sacked for unacceptable results.

    Si is a contributor to the Puzzletome website.

  • Send your letters to the Magazine Monitor
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