if it’s news to me, it must be news to you!
Euphemism of the week: Ever wondered what a ‘mass animal deposition event’ is? It’s what you might expect to find on your lawn if you kept a herd of buffalo or sheep on it. But it has scientific and historical, as well as scatological significance. Scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast, are trailing a thin crust of horse excrement to solve the riddle of which route Hannibal took to cross the Alps 2,000 years ago.
Human sacrifice and Big Society: Researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, have concluded that the secret of our structured societies is all down to human sacrifice.
Blink and you’ll miss it: The secret skill shared by the great magicians isn’t sleight of hand or even smoke and mirrors, but knowing when their audience is going to blink and miss the prestidigitation and legerdemain.
Phobia of the week: Alistair Campbell struck fear into the hearts of media hacks and political friends and foes alike. If only they’d known that it wasn’t a silver bullet or wooden stake and mallet they needed, but a simple bottle of ketchup.
Phone number of the week: If you are stuck for something to do this weekend, why not call a random Swede for a chinwag.
Flasher of the week: Despite the disappointment of England losing in the final of the T20 World Cup, I did enjoy the spectacle of the flashing stumps as they broke. Here’s how they work. And how spectacle, speculation and despicable originate from Roman scouts and spies.
Tweet of the week: ‘Due to an IT issue, nominations for the UK Tech Awards will now open next Monday.’ The unintended irony of those celebrating the very best in UK tech.
Myth of the week: That there are 26,911 words of European Union regulation on the sale of cabbage, a myth that started life in wartime America.
Misheard headlines: News on Thursday that France has made it illegal to pay for sex is misheard by many that it is now ‘illegal to play cassettes’.
Brief lives: Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman who gave his name to the band whose Something in the Air (right) was an iconic sound of the 1960s; Cesare Madlini, one of the original defensive sweepers in football, later manager of the Italian national team and father of the great Paolo Maldini; Peggy Fortnum who created the iconic image of Paddington Bear; Douglas Wilmer, the first tv Sherlock Holmes; and country singer, Merle Haggard.