Archive for September, 2010

The most recent and much discussed artwork by Maurizio Cattelan arrived today in Milan’s Piazza Affari, in front of the Italian Stock Exchange building. The controversial monument is made in marble, about 4 metres high and has been allocated on a base that brings the sculpture to a total height of 11 metres. During construction, the famed italian artist changed the title from ‘Omnia munda mundis’ – literally meaning ‘to the pure [men], all things [are] pure’, a latin sentence that has entered a relatively common usage in many countries – to ‘L.O.V. E.’

By Martin Robbins (The Guardian)
In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?

In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.

If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like “the scientists say” to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist.

In this paragraph I will state in which journal the research will be published. I won’t provide a link because either a) the concept of adding links to web pages is alien to the editors, b) I can’t be bothered, or c) the journal inexplicably set the embargo on the press release to expire before the paper was actually published.

“Basically, this is a brief soundbite,” the scientist will say, from a department and university that I will give brief credit to. “The existing science is a bit dodgy, whereas my conclusion seems bang on” she or he will continue.

I will then briefly state how many years the scientist spent leading the study, to reinforce the fact that this is a serious study and worthy of being published by the website.

This is a sub-heading that gives the impression I am about to add useful context.
Here I will state that whatever was being researched was first discovered in some year, presenting a vague timeline in a token gesture toward establishing context for the reader.

To pad out this section I will include a variety of inane facts about the subject of the research that I gathered by Googling the topic and reading the Wikipedia article that appeared as the first link.

I will preface them with “it is believed” or “scientists think” to avoid giving the impression of passing any sort of personal judgement on even the most inane facts.

This fragment will be put on its own line for no obvious reason.

In this paragraph I will reference or quote some minor celebrity, historical figure, eccentric, or a group of sufferers; because my editors are ideologically committed to the idea that all news stories need a “human interest”, and I’m not convinced that the scientists are interesting enough.

At this point I will include a picture, because our search engine optimisation experts have determined that humans are incapable of reading more than 400 words without one.

This picture has been optimised by SEO experts to appeal to our key target demographics.

This subheading hints at controversy with a curt phrase and a question mark?
This paragraph will explain that while some scientists believe one thing to be true, other people believe another, different thing to be true.

In this paragraph I will provide balance with a quote from another scientist in the field. Since I picked their name at random from a Google search, and since the research probably hasn’t even been published yet for them to see it, their response to my e-mail will be bland and non-committal.

“The research is useful”, they will say, “and gives us new information. However, we need more research before we can say if the conclusions are correct, so I would advise caution for now.”

If the subject is politically sensitive this paragraph will contain quotes from some fringe special interest group of people who, though having no apparent understanding of the subject, help to give the impression that genuine public “controversy” exists.

This paragraph will provide more comments from the author restating their beliefs about the research by basically repeating the same stuff they said in the earlier quotes but with slightly different words. They won’t address any of the criticisms above because I only had time to send out one round of e-mails.

This paragraph contained useful information or context, but was removed by the sub-editor to keep the article within an arbitrary word limit in case the internet runs out of space.

The final paragraph will state that some part of the result is still ambiguous, and that research will continue.

Related Links:
The Journal (not the actual paper, we don’t link to papers)
The University Home Page (finding the researcher’s page would be too much effort).
Unrelated story from 2007 matched by keyword analysis.
Special interest group linked to for balance

Cursebird is a real–time feed of swearing on Twitter. The aim of Cursebird is to provide an insight into what frustrates, excites or otherwise prompts people to swear, curse and cuss. It is also a tech demo for Factory, a proprietary engine built by Fantastic for streaming, parsing, generating statistics from, categorizing and archiving huge volumes of tweets.

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South Park Elementary is a few roads from where I live…mmmkay?

“Individuals don’t simply choose, they compete against practically all friends, foes, and strangers, buffeted by the tides of history, and mostly they are defeated. The lie that goes by the name of ‘settling’ disguises this defeat as a matter of choice.” — Christian Lorentzen

Turn the light out say goodnight
no thinking for a little while
lets not try to figure out everything at once
It’s hard to keep track of you falling through the sky
we’re half-awake in a fake empire

Hardcore DJ Omar Santana’s daughter eating chili and listening to The Speaker Tweakerz’ new track during a mastering session.

Dylan and Lauren perform their favourite track ‘Everlong’ (Foo Fighters) in the OxJam tent at Electric Picnic Festival 2010. Lauren spotted the ‘open mic’ sign outside the Oxjam tent, grabbed her brother and barrelled over …within barely a minute I heard them announce ‘next up a brother and sister combo…’ and I barely had time to get in with the camera, thankfully it took Dylan a minute to retune the borrowed guitar to drop-D.”

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”

Today Lindsay’s bail was revoked, she was cuffed and taken into custody. THERE IS NO BAIL! Breaking reports say she cannot get out of jail, she will be in prison until her court date, Oct 22. She will be taken from court immediately back to Lynwood, the same jail where she was last time. Why is this all happening again? Well, Firecrotch tested positive twice for narcotics and violated her probabtion in the few weeks since getting out of jail.

Reports from inside the court say Lohan’s attorney asked about bail and Judge Elden Fox interrupted her and said, “No”. They say Lindsay was very stoic this time, no crying, no thrashing about. This is as harsh as the judge could have possibly been. She will be processed again today, meaning a new booking photo.

There is no possibility of early release for this, the sheriff CANNOT let her out. The judge can change her mind but no she won’t…unless…no, she won’t.
To celebrate, here are some recent pics of Lindsay out in public showing off her breasts. You’re welcome.

What takes a song from bad to one of the worst songs of all time? Well, it takes all sorts of half-baked musical ideas, crimes of imaging over talent or reliance on quickly burned-out trends to land on our list. We know we’re gonna take some flak from people who love some of these songs, and truth is we’re sure we missed some real stinkers. So check out AOL Radio’s 100 Worst Songs Ever!”
This is all backed up with full mp3s and scientific evidence. Fact.

CLICK HERE to get the 100 Worst Songs Ever!

A sneak peek behind the scenes of the new CW show, All That Glitters, from acclaimed writer of “American Psycho” and “Less Than Zero”, Bret Easton Ellis. All That Glitters takes us into the lives of the hot, young, sexy and rich crowd that struggles with everyday life.” Okay, I did a double take too when I read the title and that Bret Easton Ellis was behind this. It’s Funny or Die. A spoof. For a brief moment, I imagined a world where a cool show like this, written by one of the most important modern authors, would actually be made.

Ellis’s popular novels are about vapid rich people doing horrible things: drugs, meaningless sex, models, serial murders, etc. While many of the stories have elements of humour, it is the kind of black comedy that is so realistic the audience almost forgets it’s satire. But not many of the adaptations of Ellis’s works are very good, or rather anywhere near as good as the written word. That’s why this Funny Or Die spoof rings so true — you can see the CW putting ‘All That Glitters’ in their line-up alongside ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘90210.’ However, unless Ellis falls on really hard times, it’s doubtful you’ll ever see him produce a TV series for any network beside HBO or Showtime, but I can dream.