Sir Francis Galton

Francis Galton was a flawed Victorian genius responsible for the introduction of forensic fingerprinting, the weather map, the originator of the nurture versus nature debate and of both sane and silly inventions.

He was born in 1822 and was a cousin of Charles Darwin. The two families were very close with the Darwins being the scientists while the Galtons were Quaker bankers. Both had produced members of the Royal Society and helped found the influential Lunar Society. Read more ›››

Bouncy Kitchens R Us

We get lots of unsolicited rubbish pushed through our letterbox, mostly from our local LibDems telling us what a cracking job they’re making of running both the country and the crematorium, which I suppose amounts to much the same thing.

I’ve thought about installing a shredder behind the post flap or a more postman-friendly recycling bin I’ve thought about installing a shredder behind the post flap or a more postman-friendly recycling bin because that’s where it all ends up…. Read more ›››

There can’t be anyone who lived through the 1980s in the UK who doesn’t remember Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney character, the loathsome Cockney plasterer who was forever boasting about how much cash he could earn.

He made us laugh because he epitomised the crude greed of Thatcher’s Britain. We thought it had gone away, what with the economy going belly up… Read more ›››

My heart skipped a beat when I spotted this front page headline from yesterday’s Daily Mail. At last I thought, the Mail has owned up that most of the stuff in its Good Health supplement is a load of scaremongering rubbish.

Then my hopes were dashed by the secondary which explains that it’s actually health supplements that are a con, but then they can give you cancer you know… Read more ›››

Arthur Furguson

This week’s figure from the past is Arthur Furguson who is either one of the foremost fraudsters and flimflammers in history or the figment of someone’s febrile fantasies.

Born in Scotland in 1883, Furguson was an actor and like many in his profession, he was natural born salesman a talent he was to put to good use later in his life… Read more ›››

Can't Write

Im begining to feal that Im definately on a role with all this Inglish spellin, punktashun and grammer stuff. It all goes to pot when you is under preshure.

If you don’t believe me, you need to try your hand at You Can’t Write Proper English Under Pressure which starts easily enough but soon has a pedant’s heart pounding as the time limit speeds up… Read more ›››

Edith Sitwell

One of the scary things about the information is just how poor the information can be, or at least what the retailers think they know about our wishes, wants and tastes.

I was looking at Trevor’s comment on my little rantlet about the watered down definition of ‘literally’ and it made me think of A Plum in Your Mouth by Andrew Taylor which is an interesting romp through the changes in the English language. Read more ›››

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