Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grammar Police

The internet has proven itself to be a wonderful communication mechanism. However I am often appalled by the lack of basic language skills expressed on fora, blogs and even emails. Using acronyms to abbreviate common expressions is fine and even some of the SMS turbo shorthand makes its way onto the ´net. But when it comes to basic grammar skills I have seen too many blatant abuses of the English language. Now I´m not saying I´m well versed in any way, but I try to pay some degree of attention to the quality of English, not least because not everyone out there learns English as a first language. However the vast majority of these crimes are committed by native speakers and indicate a general disregard, indifference or even, dare I say it, lack of education. This YouTube video sums it all up quite nicely ;)

Exploding Egg Attacks Footballer

I know footballers aren´t supposed to be that clever, but I had to laugh at this one. The BBC reports on how Glasgow Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot was poaching an egg in the microwave, when it squirted in his face after he opened the door. The guy needed hospital treatment for burns to his cheek. I think there are some basic guidelines on how to use a microwave oven and hot liquids get a special mention if I´m not mistaken. Eggs in microwaves (unless they´re scrambled) are always risky. Don´t try this at home kids.

Don´t Leave Stuff On The Back Seat Of A Cabrio

The BBC reported on a young man from Germany who was taking a car out for a test drive. He had an envelope filled with cash to pay for the car on the back seat of the cabrio, which through natural displacement of air, took flight and spread bank notes all over the motorway near Hannover. The road had to be closed by police and although 20K of the 23K was recovered, police will probably have to pass the bill on to the gentleman concerned.
Maybe I´m just suspicious but when I read this I immediately thought, what is a 23 year old doing with an envelope stuffed with that much cash, how does someone that age have that much money and why is he paying in hard currency? All sounds a bit dodgy to me.

Noses Too Cold For Avian Flu

The world is in the grip of the Mexican swine flu at the moment, with many worried whether a pandemic will arise. But three years ago it was Avian flu variant H5N1 that was making headlines. Although the Mexican variant is basically a modified version of the human H1N1, H5N1 is inherently bird related. According to the Imperial College London in an article by the BBC, human noses are actually too cold to harbour H5N1 which requires a temperature of 40C and as a result there is less risk of them spreading to humans. H1N1 is already a human flu virus and operates at human body temperature allowing it to spread more easily, but a mutation of H5N1 would be required first before it would successfully spread in humans. Such a mutation was the subject of a Horizon special a couple of years ago in which the effects of a pandemic in the modern world were presented.

Local Boozer Not A Smoking Research Center

A funny article from The Register about a canny pub landlord in Yorkshire who tried to circumvent the smoking ban by designating a room as a smoking research centre. Apparently such a facility falls outside the general ban on smoking in enclosed spaces or in the workspace. Unfortunately the local council didn´t fall for it and neither did the pub chain´s owners. Got to give them credit for trying though, and it´s generated publicity for the place if nothing else.

Pirated Only If You Are Popular

The BBC reports on research conducted by PRS for Music, to see whether the wealth of material available on the web might lead to new trends or behaviour which could be useful for sales and marketing. However the study confirms that artists whose files are popular on file sharing sites are the same artists that are successful via legitimate music sites, artists that are already established and popular in general. New artists trying to use file sharing to get recognised or to get signed by labels are out of luck. An interesting conclusion that they draw is that file sharing should perhaps be regarded more like a broadcast medium such as radio or TV, serving to boost popularity of established artists.