Mad World

Top marks to Greater Manchester Police for staging a mock terrorist attack of the Trafford Centre Shopping Centre to test out, but zero out of ten for apologising for having the suicide bomber shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before setting off his fake bomb.

Apparently there have been complaints that this was racial stereotyping, plain and simple, and might fuel anti-Muslim prejudice. Read more ›››

Nat King Cole was fibbing when he sang Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer. Hazy possibly, crazy sometimes, but definitely not lazy in my opinion.

For months, I've led a fairly blameless existence, doing as I please, then out comes the sun, as it did last week, and suddenly it's all action. The grass is growing ten to the dozen and needs mowing twice a week, along with all the other gardening chores. Read more ›››

Things I didn't know last week: Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and morgue has a gift shop where you can buy personalised body bags, toe tags and beach towels with a chalk body outline design. Sadly the store is offline at the moment. (Via the Danny Baker Show podcast)

Things I didn't know last week 2: All the blue plaques in London commemorating the great and the good are made by husband and wife team, Sue and Frank Ashworth. Read more ›››

While looking for an entirely unrelated film, I came across the one below which is quite an eye opener if you're contemplating shuffling off this mortal coil. I hadn't realised that dying, or rather the aftermath, could be so complicated.

I doubt if the Co-op do the Mushroom Death Suit, designed to ‘help decompose and clean toxins from deceased bodies’ and can't imagine why toxicity should be a particular concern, given the deceased's deceased condition. Read more ›››

Sitting SATs

I've been trying to remember what tests I was taking when I was at infants and junior school. There were certainly quite a few.

We were tested every Friday morning and where you finished determined where you would sit for the following week. Top of the class would sit at the back beside the window, while the bottom of the class would end up at the front and nearest to the teacher. Read more ›››

I'm rapidly running out of likely candidates for the letter Q, but I have at least one to fall back on, Ludwig Quidde, the historian and pacifist whose opposition to German militarism spanned Bismarck to Hitler.

Quidde was born to wealthy parents in Bremen in 1858 and as a history student, he was a critic of Bismarck's policies as he became active in the German Peace Society. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Materialism of the week: Forget diamonds and works of art, the most expensive object on earth will be the Hinkley Point nuclear power station when and if it built. And as business objectives go, you'd think that the one at Hinkley shouldn't need carving in stone.

Intruder of the week: A weasel brought the Large Hadron Collider to a halt by gnawing through a high-voltage cable. Read more ›››

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