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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 12:37 GMT
The Magazine Monitor

THE MAGAZINE MONITOR

Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:

  • Daily Mini-Quiz results
  • Paper Monitor
  • Your letters
  • Punorama (Weds)
  • Caption Comp (Thurs)
  • 10 things we didn't know (Sat)

10 THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW THIS TIME LAST WEEK

10 THINGS
Mooring balls
10 mooring balls on Wellington harbour wharf by Peter Lockwood

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

1. The smiley sun anti-nuclear badge was designed by a Danish pupil in a schools competition in the mid-1970s.

2. David Blunkett co-ordinates his clothes by asking the helper who does his laundry to hang his clothes in blocks of colour.

3. Road Safety Minister Stephen Ladyman has nine points on his driver's licence, as he told Top Gear.

4. Quicksand and custard share the same physical properties - both are non-Newtonian fluids that flow when treated gently but thicken when hit hard.

5. The Queen and Prince Philip send 850 Christmas cards a year.

6. The longest speech to the House of Commons lasted six hours, a record set in 1828.

7. The concept of Limbo dates from the 13th Century to explain what happened to children who died before being christened.

8. Residents of the remote Nedd Valley in the Brecon Beacons had no mains electricity until this week - the last community in England and Wales without it.

9. Fourteen percent of seven- and eight-year-olds have mobile phones.

10. Cicadas spend up to 17 years underground before emerging in their adult form.

[Sources, where stories are not linked: 5: Daily Telegraph, 2 Dec. 7: The Guardian, 30 Nov. 8: Guardian, 2 December. 9: Daily Telegraph, 29 Nov. ]

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

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

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


YOUR LETTERS FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 1555 GMT

It's good to see BBC News contributors taking note of Monitor readers - Julia Wheeler has ditched Hyde Park as a size comparison and reverted to good old football pitches in her article about Dubai's new snow park (Snow comes to the deserts of Dubai, 2 December).
Paul,
Manchester

Retail giant Wal-Mart is "bad for America", according to a poll carried out on behalf of a group campaigning against the store. I love unbiased polling
Basil Long,
Newark Notts

Mike Guest is wrong in labelling the sun "a giant nuclear reactor" (Monitor Letters, 1 December). The sun is a giant fusion reactor, and the distinction is an important one. Nobody has ever harnessed a fusion reaction for energy production, and because of the tremendous heat output it is doubtful anyone ever will (and yes, cold fusion is a complete crock.) Besides, if anyone wants to build a nuclear reactor 150,000,000 km away in empty space, I say let 'em go for it.
Dr Reece Walker

X-appeal turns on UK gamers. I don't think I wanted to know that.
Rick P,
Uganda

Re: The problem with paranoid parents, 2 December. "If you clip a bird's wings, it will never learn to fly." Or something.
Alexander Lewis Jones,
Nottingham, UK

Can any one explain to me why the rail companies have followed the US airline terms for disembarking by asking people to "detrain". Surely detraining would involve taking the train away from the people as opposed to the people out of the train?
Andrew Simpson,
London

Is now therefore Game ON for the 'Game On Watch' (Monitor Letters, 1 December)?
Andrew,
Brighton

In the article about the Dartford Crossing (Protest over Dartford toll charge, 2 December) the Transport Minister says that the tolls regulate the number of vehicles on the bridge. But the toll booths are *after* the bridge, so how does that work?
Mark,
Reading, UK

I'm sure I won't be the only person to point out to Pete Makings (Monitor Letters, 1 December) that a hide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hide_%28unit%29), from which the park (excluding Kensington Gardens) derrives its name, was a medieval unit of measurement first used in the 5th or 6th Century. Following my calculations from Wednesday 15 November, with the added information that Hyde Park is 1.4 km^2, we can work out that Hyde park is somewhere between 237 and 307 international fotball pitches in area. Does the Magazine require an 'Area comparison information officer'? If so, I'd like to volunteer.
Ray Lashley,
Bristol, UK

Re: Why are more men using prostitutes?. The psychologist attributed the rise in part to a growth in sales of 'lads' mags'. The survey results were initially published in the journal "Sexually Transmitted Infections". I know which I'd be more embarrassed to ask for in the newsagents.
Gus,
London

Phew! I found it! 10 minutes of sheer panic as I manically searched the BBC website for the magazine. And I have to say, what a stupid place to put it!
F,
London

CAPTION COMP ***UPDATED*** FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 1237 GMT


It's time for the caption competition.

This week, giant panda cub Tai Shan plays with bamboo inside his den at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. But what's being said?

6. Christian Cook, UK
"I really need to get this tooth seen to."

5. Simon Stroud, Plymouth, UK
Eats, shoots, smokes and leaves.

4. John, Oxford, UK
"... and if this doesn't work, I'm trying patches."

3. Tony Doyle, Wilmslow, UK
"And they wonder why we have trouble mating..."

2. Jonathan, Toronto, Canada
Ladies and Gentleman, the mascot for the 2008 Olympics.

1. Christian Cook, UK
Polar bear: "You think this is funny? Have you read the lid? It's flamin' permanent!"

PAPER MONITOR FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 1100 GMT

Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's been 14 years since In Bed With Madonna, the star's first "visualised journal". And last night Channel 4 screened her second, I'm Going to Tell You a Secret. Paper Monitor had much fun with the reviews of her husband's risible Revolver; what of Mrs R's efforts?

"The opening credits immediately scuppered any hope of an unguarded portrait - her executive producer credit said it all: 'Myself'," said the Times. "Even [die-hard fans] might regard their idol's current pseudo-mystical take on the world as the Yoko Ono of her career."

Between on-stage extravaganzas, Madonna traded "you're great, you are" compliments with Michael Moore, prayed with her dancers, delivered peace messages in Tel Aviv, and badgered a make-up man into voting.

"Mama don't preach... please" - Times
"Take on board the advice [you] once directed at papa - don't preach" - Daily Telegraph

But her grand gestures pleased the Guardian. "I didn't notice many other international mega-stars doing it in 2004. I don't count Bono, because whenever he tells me to do something, I long to do the exact opposite."

And how did Mr Madonna fare? Pretty well, aside from his Mockney accent, cab driver dress sense and Irish folk singing, says the Independent. "He has managed to remain a pain in the arse. In the circumstances, that takes nerve and determination."

And what say the tabloids? Nothing, content with having run glowing previews of the film.

FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER

In Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked which Hollywood actress commands the biggest fees? Well you lot certainly know your showbiz trivia! A whopping 79% got it right. It's Julia Roberts, who earns 11.6m pre film. A new question is on the index today.


YOUR LETTERS THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 1715 GMT

Letters logo
Refering to the story "The story of THAT badge" in the magazine. Does anyone else find it ironic that the symbol of the anti-nuclear campaign in the '70s is a giant nuclear reactor (the Sun)? Or was it meant to be?
Mike Guest,
Bristol

Nobody outside Scotland could rhyme "bumf" with "month".
Charlene, Calgary, Canada

Always believed that 'bumf' was an army abbreviation of 'bum fodder' - the only useful purpose for unwanted paper.
MMB,
Vale of Glamorgan

Alasdair Morrison suggests 'bumf' to rhyme with 'month'. South of the border it rhymes with "mumph", which is the onomatopoeic word used to describe what you say when a colleague asks you a question one second after you've taken a large bite of cake.
Valerie,
Wigan, UK

Has no-one else realised that the new Westlife song is a blatant rip off of When a Child is Born?!
Adam,
Isle of Man

To Matt Folwell: if a milli-Helen launches one ship, I can but surmise that a micro-Helen may be the amount of beauty required to motivate one sailor: on the other hand a mega-Helen must then surely be the amount of beauty required to make the sailor think in any other terms than a one-night stand.
Jel,
Swansea

Is there a need to institute "Game on"-Watch? The presenter on BBC One used it superfluously this morning and I notice that even HSBC are using it on their corporate site...
Hayley Smith,
London, UK

How frustrating do other Monitorees find it when reading the monthly obituary column? You mention a lot of famous people who have died in the previous month, but only show a few of their faces, and I am constantly wracking my brain to picture those that aren't shown. I look forward to another headache next month!
Owen,
Stevenage Herts UK

I notice in the article about striking T5 workers, the terminal 5 site is referred to as being the size of Hyde Park. When did Hyde Park sneek in as size comparison and exactly how many football pitches is it?
Pete Makings,
Nottingham

I'm with Alan Collier on this debate. Humans used paths for thousands of years before mechanised transport came along. Pedestrians are also classed as road users under Road Traffic Law. This has been proved in court, where a driver was convicted of driving without due care or consideration for other road users, when he drove through a puddle and soaked a pedestrian.
Owen,
Stevenage Herts UK

I think it is Herbert from Leeds who is wrong really. Pedestrians do not by law need a licence to use the road. The state in its benevolence allows motorists licence to use to the roads, but reserves the right to revoke that licence in appropriate circumstances.
Martin Hollywood, St Samson-sur-Rance,
France

PUNORAMA ***UPDATED*** THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 1311 GMT

Smashed Lotus. Picture: Apex
The smashed Lotus
It's time for Punorama.

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.

The story for this week is how a man trying to sell his 32,000 sports car took it to be cleaned - only for the super-charged Lotus to be written off after the owner of the valeting firm crashed while out for a spin.

Supercar... valet... Lotus... that means only one thing - it's supercalafragilisticexpialladocious o-clock!

Supercar is fragile isn't it? Exit pre-valet'd Lotus by Maggie, South London.
Super valet fragile gearstick oops I've crashed your Lotus by Luke L, London.
Supercar in fragile plastic ended all atrocious by Hedley Russell, Morecambe.
Supercar is total write-off used to be a Lotus by Michael Pearson, Kendal.
Super valet fumbles gear stick, wrecks the lovely Lotus by Joel Hodes, UK.
Supercar man went ballistic expecting valeted Lotus by Erol Fehim, London.
Super valet; fragile Exige; ex-one's gorgeous Lotus by Shiz, Cheshire.
Supercar is fragile innit? Valets are atrocious! By Tim, London.

We also liked Re-wax don't do it (Sean Smith, Bucks), Car via temptor (Anthony, London) and Into the Valet of Death drove the 600 hp (Stephen Buxton, Coventry).

PAPER MONITOR THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 1047 GMT

Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Yesterday the Sun introduced its latest signing, David Blunkett; today he's off the bench in his first column.

And he's quick to make an impression, straight in with "what is it about Britain that turns us into a mawkish nation pouring out oceans of emotion over George Best?"

Going in to tackle with his studs showing, Blunkett says that although Best was a genius on the pitch, he "robbed his fans of years of pleasure because he could not control his demons".

Testing the referee's patience, he muses on how past detractors turned sentimental as Best lay dying. "As I know to my cost, those who build up celebrities soon get with them - and are the first to knock them from their pedestals."

There's a cheeky shot at goal as he muses on the outpourings at the death of an icon. "Loss is what a nation feels. But grief should only be experienced by loved ones."

Off the pitch, he pays tribute to others on the team - but not those who self-destruct. Playing to the crowd, he says that real heroes are those who put lives back together. "Sun readers do it day in, day out... and you don't expect the tears of the nation. You just get on with it."

PS: Which puts Paper Monitor in mind of Bridget Jones. In last week's Independent she told the father of her unborn child that she was pregnant. He hung up on her. Now she's broken it to the man who thinks he's the daddy, and is told to leave. Then she spies the father, squiring a half-dressed brunette. Remember Bridg, tears of the nation etc etc...

THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER

In Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked how many seven and eight-year-olds had mobile phones. The answer was 14%, which a third of you got right. Half of you thought it was 21%. A new question is on the index today.


YOUR LETTERS WEDNESDAY 30 NOVEMBER 1530 GMT

Re: a rhyme for month (Monitor Letters, Tuesday). Not sure if it's purely a Scottish word or not, but 'bumf' describes any unwanted literature which accompanies a bank statement or a newspaper. For example the 'Innovations' catalogue, or an advert for a stairlift.
Alasdair Morrison, Glasgow

To LH of Utah, In Dublin the accent is such that the word 'month' would be pronounced 'munt' so... no shortage of rhymes..
Eric, Seattle (ex Dublin)

LH says there's no rhyme for "month"
I say there's the Sikh book of Grunth
I've said it before
That's the n'th time I'm sure
Next time will be the n-plus-oneth!
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Re Mike from Bristol's question in Formula Won:, the SI unit of beauty is the helen. One millihelen is the quantity of beauty required to launch one ship.
Matt Folwell, Cambridge

For the sake of efficiency, wouldn't it be easier to just reprint the Have Your Say debates regarding pensions instead of giving people another chance to cover old ground?
Andy, Epsom, UK

Alan Collier is wrong (Monitor Letters, Tuesday). It is the motorists who have a right to use the road, because they have paid for it. It is the cyclists and horses that are getting something for nothing. And the pedestrians should use the pavement, where possible.
Herbert G., Leeds, UK

PAPER MONITOR WEDNESDAY 30 NOVEMBER 1020 GMT

Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Sun has a new columnist, a man of the people to give voice to its readers' concerns, a man renowned for his "frankness and tough talking". It is one D Blunkett, until last month a cabinet minister and member of Tony Blair's inner circle.

"Now his forthright and outspoken views on life and politics will echo around the country once again," the Sun trumpets.

By way of introduction, he tells another of the paper's star columnists, Jane Moore, that he won't just be writing about politics, "but also about Britain today and what's going on about me, my own experiences".

Hurrah! The truth about his friendship with a blonde estate agent half his age, the trysts with married publisher Kimberley Quinn, the court battle over access to their "little lad"...

He will not be drawn - much. He admits that he fell deeply in love, adding: "We are what we are at the time because we're human beings, not automatons. We have hindsight but we don't have 'move forward' - unfortunately."

But not all his private life is off-limits: "I ask the person who washes my clothes to put them back in the wardrobe in blocks of colour so I can put the right shirt with the right suit. I get it wrong sometimes but I think lots of men do anyway."

Not even a word about why he felt he had to step down for a second time? The Sun's interviewer points out that now is as good a time as any for him to set out his reasons.

"Temptress, go away!" he laughs. Which, it occurs to Paper Monitor, might be a useful phrase for him to remember.

WEDNESDAY 30 NOVEMBER 0918 GMT

In Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked which nationality is least likely to discuss emotional problems? The Samaritans - and 45% of you - say it's the Scots; a third have never had anyone share an emotional problem with them. But 28% of you said it was the English, 17% the Welsh and 10% the Irish. A new mini-question is on the Magazine index today.

YOUR LETTERS TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER 1645 GMT

Letters logo
To Michael Hodgson (Monitor Letters, Monday): According to Department of Transport statistics, 42 pedestrians were killed on footpaths in 2004. Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders have a right to use the road. Vehicle drivers are only there under privilege. Those getting a driving licence need to remember that there are other people out there.
Alan Collier,
Kent, UK

Congratulations to Nicola (Monitor Letters, Monday) and her colleagues for setting out with good intentions on the road to a card-free office this Christmas for the benefit of charity. I am willing to bet though that by the middle of December there'll be someone who says "But I just HAVE to send you one..." to one of their friends, which prompts a reply, then those two people stick their cards up, and off we go...! The motto - get collecting those charitable donations now!
Adrian,
Manchester, UK

There are a number of articles about nuclear energy on the site today. The article at Wired from September 2004 I found interesting, regarding a safer, cheaper type of reactor being developed in China. Perhaps we could look at something similar in this country rather than the high pressure gas cooled types.
Ed Loach,
Clacton, UK

Ha-ha, BBC. Brent watch alert! Thinking you can get away with sneakily tucking a story on organisational hierarchy at the bottom of your Business section and hoping no-one will pick up on your gratuitous use of two separate David Brent/Office shots! At least it's vaguely relevant I suppose. Still. The Brentophiliacs are on the march again.
Sally,
London

Another not-so-imperceptible witticism from the BBC News website: "Obesity experts said the warnings gave added weight to the argument" (Obese teens' liver damage warning', 29 November).
Chris R,
Cambridge, UK

So the Daily Express said Euan Blair couldn't decide if he wanted to look like Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp (Paper Monitor, Tuesday). Have they not seen these three astonishingly similar-looking men recently? That Euan is compared to them is a huge compliment, not the 'identity crisis' knocking they intended. I am sure Euan is delighted!
Jacqui,
Hertfordshire

So four million have inhibitions about peeing in public (Monitor letters, Monday). If the distribution is symmetrical then four million people have no inhibitions at all about it. So that's who the binge drinkers are!!
Geoff Harrison,
Alsager

Now we have established a rhyme for "orange", I'd like to find another word to stump the poets with. Is there any rhyme for "month"? (lisping doesn't count!)
LH,
Utah (ex-pat)

FORMULA WON? TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER 1620 GMT

On Monday, the Monitor invited mathematically-minded readers to have a close look at the formula devised to describe the operation of beer goggles. Here is the verdict:

By rearranging the equation we can logically(!?) deduce that both the darkness and smokiness of a room is directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed, one's visual activity, how near people are to you and how attractive those people are. Therefore, in reality, the lighting and air-con level in all pubs should be continuously varying depending upon the actions of its occupants.
Stephen Marjoribanks, Harrogate

A quick calculation (and probably wrong) leads me to the conclusion that attractiveness is measured in seconds per meters cubed per Joule. Is there an SI unit for this?
Mike, Bristol

My first impression is that the formula goes like (An/Vo) squared, so someone with twice the "visual acuity" can drink twice as many pints and get the same value! So next time I'm in a Pub, I'll just say "Pour me another, my eyes are feeling VERY SHARP tonight!"
Rick Phelps, Burlington, VT, US

Teetotallers (An=0) will not be attracted to anyone; and everyone else will be most attracted to someone they can't see at all (L=1)!
Brian Ritchie, Oxford, UK

I have invented the "beer monacle". Once you get your "beta" up to a decent level, by squinting through one eye you can turn a boring pub into a field of dreams.
Jon, London

What happens if you're closer than 50cm?
Stuart Moore, Cambridge, UK

The "beer goggles" formula given expresses nothing more than how clearly one sees the other person. The formula needs to be multiplied by G (a 0 - 1 judgment of the gender of the person viewed in relation to the gender one usually fancies) divided by An cubed, to factor in the additional latitude in preference that alcohol provides, multiplied by K (the comeliness of the person in relation to one's usual taste) to give how distorted one's view of the other's appeal has become. Then divide D by An (to establish whether alcohol has rendered the distance to the target too far to walk), and multiply by R/An (ones natural restraint reduced by alcohol consumption) and by C/An cubed (ones capacity for drink in relation to the amount drunk) to establish whether one is in a fit state to make the approach. Perform a similar calculation for the target. By this time, the target ought to have moved, hence removing the risk of an embarrassing breakfast.
Gus, London

It seems to me that all I have to do to make someone appear more alluring is to take my specs off - thus also saving the cost of a couple of drinks. However, I detect a flaw in this. It might turn out to be the coat stand.
Stig, London, UK

Regarding the "Formula Won?" section, the trick would appear to be this: Find someone whose beauty, for whatever reason, remains unaffected by your alcohol consumption, and spend the night both standing in the same places, away from fluctuating light sources. The formula then implies that your visual acuity will improve as you drink more - brilliant!
David Smith, Bristol, UK

The use of Greek letters in the formula seems a bit suspect; little delta (δ) normally implies that a change is microscopically small, while simply 'd' would work fine in this situation. But overall, for once, the formula seems pretty good.
S Murray, Chester, UK


PAPER MONITOR TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER 0930 GMT

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A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Acid words in the papers today about Euan Blair's goatee.

The Sun: "Tony Blair's son Euan tries to be cool - by turning up to an awards ceremony with face fluff. But his goatee made him look more like Shaggy from Scooby Doo or Billy Connolly than hunks like David Beckham and F1's Jensen Button."

The Daily Mail: "This style is definitely more Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio than Prescott or Brown."

The Daily Mirror: "Tony Blair's son Euan has clearly inherited his dad's head for fashion... sadly.

The Daily Express: "Euan seemed to be undergoing an identity crisis. He couldn't make up his mind if he wanted to be a cross between pin-ups Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp."

TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER

In Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked how much the country's oldest windmill was on sale for. You were fairly evenly split on the answers, but only 30% picked the right answer, which was 650,000. A new question is on the index today.


YOUR LETTERS MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1640 GMT

Letters logo
With regard to the article about Charitable Christmas Cards (How charitable is your Christmas card?, 25 November), at work we have decided to NOT send Christmas Cards around the office this year but to each donate a nominal amount which will go to a selected charity. In a large company such as ours this means that a sizable donation goes to a deserving charity - and we know that 100% of it is received.
Nicola,
Blackburn, Lancs

Re: (Driving the argument home, 22 November) in which traffic campaigner Ted Dewan says: "With the living room, it was the most direct way of saying 'We live here. This is our living space." This is an interesting concept, but like all such concepts familiarity will breed contempt. Surely, the best way to ensure that children and vehicles do not suffer from fatal collisions is to ensure that the two are kept mutually exclusive? Why should children be on the road? Roads should be for traffic, just as pavements are not. There are few stories, (at least outside of Japan) where cars mow down children who are safely on the pavement. Surely we should keep the roads for cars. Fewer distractions, not more, is the way to improve road safety.
Michael Hodgson,
Aberdeen

Re Porn Daleks (Paper Monitor, Monday): surely a missed opportunity for another blatant mention of The Office? Who can forget "Ex-sperm-inate!!"
Erol Fehim,
London

Re the Dalek porn... It's well-documented - on television - that Daleks do, in fact, chase after young women. Anyone who remembers Alan Bleasdale's brilliant TV series GBH might remember Robert Lindsay's character having ended up at a hotel which was running a Doctor Who convention... and a Dalek running around chasing women in the background shouting "Fornicate... fornicate..."
Ian Thomas,
Cardiff

Reading about the publication of Romantic love 'lasts just a year' (28 November) in The Psychoneuroendocrinology Journal, I realise that Big Issue vendors get off lightly.
Kieran Boyle,
Oxford, England

I don't know whether they new licensing laws have given rise to an increase in binge drinking, but judging from the papers and TV, they've certainly given rise to an increase in stories about binge drinking featuring pictures of young ladies in scanty attire or, worst of all, schoolgirl or nurses' uniforms.
John Whapshott,
Guildford, England

I liked the article about the spoof signs (In pictures: Spoof signs, 28 November). As a teenager I was known to do similar things with the public notices in our local supermarket. "Rottweiler bitch, free to good home, eats anything: fond of children" that sort of thing. They always got taken down very quickly, though.
Kate,
Oxford, UK

Apparently, some 4 million people have trouble peeing in public ((Millions 'cannot pee in public', 26 November). Just wait until 24-hour drinking becomes commonplace...
Paul Gitsham,
Manchester, UK

RG wrote last week (Monitor Letters, Friday) that jobhunting became easier when prospective employers did not know she was of child-bearing age. I have had one almost identical experience, the difference being that I had to drop any mention of my disability - hey presto, suddenly I'm employed.
Clay,
Beds, England, UK

FORMULA WON? MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1310 GMT

Formula Won is our occasional feature which examines unlikely formulas which make it into the news.

Thanks to those Magazine readers who drew our attention to this formula which, it is claimed, explains the "beer goggles" phenomenon.

The formula, we are told by the University of Manchester, operates when:

  • An = number of units of alcohol consumed
  • S = smokiness of the room (graded from 0-10, where 0 clear air; 10 extremely smoky)
  • L = luminance of 'person of interest' (candelas per square metre; typically 1 pitch black; 150 as seen in normal room lighting)
  • Vo = Snellen visual acuity (6/6 normal; 6/12 just meets driving standard)
  • d = distance from 'person of interest' (metres; 0.5 to 3 metres)

Regular readers will know our appreciation of these news formulas - and particularly on two particular grounds. One is how sciency/mathsy the formula looks - and this is obviously a winner here with all sorts of mathematical symbols.

The other is who has sponsored the work, and here again it is spot on target (Bausch & Lomb PureVision). More details available here.

The task, as ever, for mathematically-minded Magazine readers is to examine the formula closely and send your observations using the form on the right hand side of this page. (Non-mathematically minded readers can instead create a word for the Flexicon for this breed of news formula.)

PAPER MONITOR MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1030 GMT

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A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Sun reports today that there is outrage at the BBC (Paper Monitor must be out of the loop on these matters) that a porn movie has been made starring some Daleks.

"They chase the girls around their spaceship and grope them with their plungers," the paper says, before quoting a spokesman for the estate of the Dalek creator Terry Nation: "The reason the Daleks are the most sinister thing in the universe is because they do not make things like porn. They weren't ever intended to be sexual creatures. It's simple, Daleks do not do porn."

It adds: "Life-long fan Colin Brown, 44, said: 'It's outrageous to think of them touching up naked women - Daleks just don't behave like that.'"

And should anyone have any difficulty in thinking of them touching up naked women, the Sun is of course there to help. Four separate pictures of Daleks chasing girls and groping them with their plungers. Sexterminate is the headline, of course.

Meanwhile a tres amusant correction in the Guardian: "In our report about events at the Daily Telegraph, we referred to Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, and then to 'their' son Aidan Barclay. Aidan Barclay is the son of Sir David Barclay."

PS. Princess Diana is on the front of the Express. Again.

MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER

In Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked what was the second most costly period to raise a child, given that university is the most expensive at 11,696 per year. It's two to five, which costs 10,441 a year because of childcare. A new question is on the index today.

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