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Preview: BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor: Housekeeping

BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor: Housekeeping

The Magazine's recommended daily allowance of news, culture and your letters.

Last Build Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 14:30:39 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2013

And it's goodbye from...

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 14:30:39 +0000

This is our last entry on this page. Just as Monitor Towers has moved, so the Monitor itself is relocating to a new home, with a fresh format. Visit our new page to keep up with Paper Monitor, Caption Competition, your letters and some other things too. This version of the Monitor will no longer be updated, but it will remain here for posterity. You might like to follow the Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with offerings from the Monitor.

Popular Elsewhere

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 14:48:57 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. Friday means one thing for online readers of broadsheets - they allow themselves to catch up on the celebrity gossip usually reserved for tabloids. Both Guardian and Times readers are turning to their papers' resident celebrity spotter.   For the Guardian Marina Hyde's rant on the celebrity goings on is on the theme of not feeling sorry for Adrian Chiles and Christina Bleakley after they were sacked from presenting ITV's Daybreak: "As for Adrian and Christine's combined £10m worth of contracts, perhaps they explained the decision to hike up the phone lines from a quid to £1.50. It certainly wasn't based on the quizzes becoming more exclusive. Thursday's question was 'How many wheels has a unicycle got?'"     Keeping watch of all things celebrity at the Times is Caitlin Moran. She watches I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! so her readers don't have to. And in the mix of soap actors and people who were famous in the 1980s out in the jungle, she has found her protagonist of the series. DJ and former presenter of children's game show Fun House, Pat Sharp, has fearlessly put his head in a polytunnel and been blasted with maggots in order to win food for his team mates. But in order to get the chance to show off his bravery, the public had to vote for him to do a bush tucker trial. For Moran this brings up the question of whether he mercilessly burnt a teddy bear owned by a woman from the Campari ads so that he would be voted to do the trial. And after digesting all that, The Times readers can safely go back to reading about the eurozone crisis for another week.   The title of the New York Times' most popular article - The Children of the Hyphens - hints at a new cult or so-bad-it's-good horror film. Alas, it's about double barrelled names. While some associate hyphenated surnames with class, for the writer Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow's mother it was about fighting against a patriarchal tradition. But as Tuhus-Dubrow discovers, that method doesn't work one generation on. There are a few suggestions for what can be done when parents with hyphenated names have children - one being that the man can forego giving his name to his children, or if there are two children one gets the mother's name and the other gets the father's name. Unfortunately Tuhus-Dubrow's own parents don't any good advice, saying "We figured that was your problem".   Squeezed middle has squeezed out occupy according to Slate's most read article. If this makes no sense then you haven't been paying attention to the buzz words of the year. Oxford University Press has given Ed Miliband's phrase squeezed middle the title of "global phrase of the year". But talking from across the pond David Haglund says people in the US won't know what it is. Actually, he points out even Ed Miliband himself has found it difficult to define. He suspects Occupy wasn't chosen because it was too politically pointed.

Popular Elsewhere

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 14:40:09 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   Bulldogs are in trouble as a breed. They are too short and stocky to mate without help and need assistance to give birth because their heads are so big. But a popular New York Times article says this is down to humans breeding them to "play up the cute effect". Their proof is a mock up of what the bulldog would have looked like in the 1800s. It's much slimmer and doesn't have that telltale flat face or huge eyes.   It's 24 November. Not even December. Yet Time readers are flocking to Christmas stories. Their second most popular Christmas story picks out the magazine's 10 favourite Christmas light displays. Many come from the UK, but the US and Germany are well represented too. Even the Philippines makes an appearance in the gallery. In one street in Baltimore every resident out of 700 blocks puts up lights, locally known as "The Miracle on 34th Street."   NPR listeners are gearing up for Thanksgiving day spats today. Shelley Moore Capito plays agony aunt to listeners' family disputes. As a Republican congresswoman with Democrats in her family her key is to avoid talking about politics at all. But her top thanksgiving suggestion for when the racist uncle started droning on is to attempt to change the subject by bringing more food into the room.   Rarely do you see an article so neatly crafted to appeal to its target audience than this one from the Guardian. In their Guide to the NME cool list it is assumed that their readership will not know of almost anyone. Most are in bands but only one they take for granted that their readership will know is Jarvis Cocker.

Popular Elsewhere

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:13:50 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   Among the conspiracy theories surrounding John F Kennedy's assassination was that of Umbrella Man. This was the man who was filmed on the day as "the only man in Texas" with an umbrella open as JFK's car passed him on a beautiful day. A book was even published with a diagram of how an umbrella could be modified to be used as a gun. The New York Times' most popular article, however, has a cautionary tale about such conspiracy theories. Except the Umbrella Man, Louie Steven Witte, came forward years later to explain. The umbrella turned out to be a protest against JFK's father's policies in 1938. The umbrella was a reference to Neville Chamberlain. "It was so wacky it had to be true" says Josiah Thompson who wrote a book about the assassination. “If you have any fact which you think is really sinister, is obviously a fact which can only point to some sinister underpinnings, forget it man. Because  you can never on your own think up all the non-sinister, perfectly valid explanations for that fact.”   There's taking things into your own hands and there's painting a massive speed limit sign on your house. Daily Mail readers are clicking on the story of this way to get drivers to slow down: just paint a speed limit sign over the entire side of your house. The piece explains that that's what Tim Backhouse did to the side wall of his end-of-terrace in the Dorset village of Bow. Although the picture says it all, the article doesn't skimp on detail saying the 30 mile-per-hour sign is "the size of a double decker bus and required specialist ladders".   Slate readers want to know if pilots are telling porkies when they say they will try and make up the delay to a flight. It turns out that although a pilot can go faster they are unlikely to because it could prove very costly in fuel. However, shortcuts are possible as long as the control tower gives permission to leave the flight path.   Daniel Radcliffe was very nearly not the face of Harry Potter, according to a popular Telegraph story. The article says his parents turned down the role. It was because it would have meant him living for long periods in Hollywood. But, luckily for Mr Radcliffe's future bank account, the filming schedule was adapted, and the boy wizard was born.

Popular Elsewhere

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 15:59:50 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   There is criticism of a new Bill in the US for seemingly classifying pizza as a vegetable. The legislation passed by Congress has been rubbished by commentators for being based on the idea that a pizza contains two tablespoons of tomato paste. But a popular Slate article goes one step further with the labeling of foods - saying that, to a botanist at least, there's no such thing as a "vegetable". In fact, it says, the word has no scientific meaning. Vegetables can be fruits, roots, stems, stalks, seeds, or any part of a plant that we find edible.   It's become a film cliche to mock up a Time magazine front cover. The most recent is for the promotional pictures for George Clooney's latest film Ides of March. In honour of this, a popular Time magazine gallery counts down their staff's favourite mock covers, from Ghostbusters to Zoolander. Possibly the most surprising is that this isn't a new device used in films - the first known fake Time cover is from the 1950 film Woman of Distinction.   Psychology professor Alexandra Horowitz says an old favourite of her students is to claim that dogs are more intelligent than two-year-olds. So to put this to the test, she compares her two-year-old son and four-year-old dog in a popular New York Times article. In her, admittedly unscientific, experiment she concludes there are striking similarities. But she warns that you wouldn't be doing your dog or child any good if you treated them like each other "unless your child is really into liver treats".   The ever-popular Charlie Brooker is urging calm in the Guardian following reported blubbing at a John Lewis Christmas advert. "It's just an advert for a shop," he reasons. "Given the fuss they were making, the tears they shed, you'd think they were watching footage of shoeless orphans being kicked face-first into a propeller," he says. And he's at pains to point out that failing to cry at an advert doesn't make him cold: "I have cried at films from ET to Waltz with Bashir, at news coverage of disasters, at sad songs, and at the final paragraph of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. I cried at these things because they were heartbreaking. And because none of them was an advert for a shop."

Popular Elsewhere

Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:31:41 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   Guardian readers are clicking on Stuart Jeffries piece concluding that boring popular culture has crushed the spirit of the nation. Just in case your spirit hasn't been crushed yet, he helpfully talks at length about the yawn inducers. And in keeping with the theme, here are his culprits, laid out in a boring list form: Downton Abbey, Adele, home-baking, crafts a la Kirstie Allsopp, novelty knitwear, dull interviews, dressing gowns, National Trust season tickets, butler-length eyebrow extensions, Adele, Mumford and Sons, "cathedral-blighting folk simperer" Laura Marling, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Leona Lewis, polo necks, sensible jumpers, pencil skirts, loafers, brogues, X Factor, Champions' League group stages, Pippa Middleton's "insufferably posh bum", Julian Barnes winning the Booker Prize, spending from now until Christmas watching footballer Robbie Savage bare his torso and, as a sign that more boredom is to come, the Olympics.   As Jeffries points out, dull interviews are on the rise. Given this, it may be unsurprising that Caitlin Moran's Times column, which sorts the nuggets from the drearyness, is regularly at the top of the paper's most read list. This week we hear that former Celebrity Big Brother winner Chantelle Houghton revealed in OK! Magazine what she and her cagefighter fiancee Alex Reid talk about. She told the magazine "he was laughing at me earlier because I thought the Sun and the Moon were the same thing. Turns out they're not!"   Tom Sykes provides a caveat to his popular Daily Beast article on the speculation that Kate Middleton may be pregnant: "Trying to divine whether or not the wife of the heir to the throne is expecting a child has been a well-established British tradition for hundreds of years." But that doesn't let that stop him. He proceeds to note all the clues that could signal a baby is on its way. This turns out to be pretty useful if you want to gossip about closer friends as well: is she avoiding both peanut paste and champagne? Are the in-laws invited round at the last minute for the weekend? Is a law allowing girls equal succession to the throne as boys, being rushed through? Although maybe the last one is only useful for royal watchers.   And finally, Telegraph readers are expressing a sigh of empathetic embarrassment (or are we being too kind?) for the pilot who got locked in his plane's toilet. The cringe continues as the article reveals the plane was in flight during the incident and the pilot's loud knocking on the door triggered a terrorist alert.

Popular Elsewhere

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 14:44:40 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   There's an obesity epidemic challenging our health. That we already know, but Slate's most read article suggests the epidemic among lab rats is the one we should be concerned about. By their nature - not getting out of the lab that much - they have sedentary lifestyles and can eat whenever they want. This means that as a rule lab mice and rats are overweight. This, the article suggests, means that they may not be all that useful in testing out medicines. But it also says the dominance of the rodent in biomedical research is unlikely to wane, as they are cheap, efficient, and highly standardised.   Mention Medicare in the US and you'll soon hear the mention of broccoli. Why? A popular New York Times article explains this vegetable has unwittingly become caught up in the long drawn out debate about whether US citizens should be required to pay for healthcare insurance. The argument from opponents of Medicare goes that Congress might also one day require people to buy broccoli in order to make them healthier. Why this has become the broccoli test and not the cabbage test is less than clear.   Analysing body language of world leaders when they meet is nothing new. But a popular Guardian article has gone one step further by describing relations between the US president and Australian prime minister as "cosy". The paper says Australian media have decided to use another description for the way Barack Obama and Julia Gillard act towards each other: "a little handsy". Cue many pictures of them looking at each other while laughing. Even a picture of them both stroking their own hair is analysed as mirroring behaviour.   Telegraph readers prefer to catch up on the love life of Pippa Middleton. As it seems compulsory when talking about Miss Middleton, Allison Pearson quickly gets to the butt of the issue: her behind. But, Pearson insists, it is relevant. The "bum envy" which has supposedly grasped the nation ever since Pippa was a bridesmaid could say a lot about why she has split up with her former boyfriend Alex Loudon, she says. "This is not a tale of new money versus old," she claims. "Rather it is the new aristocracy of celebrity coming up against the old aristocracy of noblesse oblige and discretion," and everybody talking about your behind doesn't help.

Popular Elsewhere

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 14:43:08 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   A popular article in the Guardian reports what could at first glance be understood as a massive ice cube being constructed to cool down a whole city. The trial in Ulan Bator is slightly more complicated but no less incredible. The plan is to drill down below ice to make water come to the surface and freeze. The aim is to cool the city during summer and if it works could be used in other cities where the winters are very cold and summers very warm. The biggest surprise may be that this experiment will cost just £460,000.   Time readers are keen to know why research suggests people with higher IQs are more likely to take illegal drugs. The University of Cardiff’s James White even admits in the piece the research is “not what we thought we would find”. But he still has some theories for why this might be. For one, he says, people with high IQs are more likely to be open to new experiences. But he also hints that Grange Hill may be to blame. That’s because the sample group grew up in the 1980s, when anti-drug campaigns, like Grange Hill’s Just Say No song “weren’t exactly known for their subtlety”. This, it’s suggested, “may not have targeted the smarter group well”.   Car manufacturers may spend millions on projecting a certain image but in the end they may have little control over who becomes the stereotypical owner. A New York Times article says this is not better illustrated that in China. Among foreign cars, if you drive a Mercedes, you are assumed to be retired. Meanwhile the Audi A6 has become the choice of Chinese bureaucrats. The tinted windows, the article suggests, exude an “aura of state privilege” and a “whiff of corruption”.   Prompted by early snow in Washington, readers of the Washington post are clicking on a story questioning that old adage about no two snow flakes being the same. It turns out it isn’t a law of nature. But given the possible combinations of water molecules, the probability is incredibly unlikely. The piece finishes with a challenge: “If you’re skeptical, you’re more than welcome to undertake your own study. But you might want to block off a pretty big chunk of time.”

Popular Elsewhere

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 14:55:23 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. The Times' most read article is an intrepid investigation of a masked ball for married people looking for affairs. Although the setting is a Soho champagne bar it is described both as like a Blackpool hen party and a school disco. It's set up by a website for married people looking to have affairs which, the article points out, provides the kind of data sociologists would dream of. Data like where there is demand for extra-marital affairs across the country. London has a low membership, unlike Manchester and Devon. Reading is described as a hotbed. Secrecy is also in the mix for New York Time's most read article. It says Google has a "clandestine lab" so secret that many employees don't even know it exists. Well, not anymore. Given the nature of the article, there is little concrete being said about what is produced in this mysterious lab - just a hint of a liking for robotics, similar to the driverless car created two years ago. Other products suggested are objects that are connected to the web - things like lightbulbs or water planters that can be operated from far away. Researchers use what you put on Facebook in surprising ways, according to a popular Time article. The investigations using Facebook ranges from public health researchers targeting people who put up excessive boozy pictures to police researching neo-Nazis. In, what the article describes as a twist, it says recent research has shown that those who combine their online Nazi activism with off-line activism are "more reasonable, more democratic and less violent than those who just remain behind the computer screen". But, the warning goes, just because people write something on Facebook doesn't mean they are telling the truth. Stories on why and how we make decisions make a regular appearance on magazines' most read lists. And the New Scientist popular article admits it's a subject which should have been all sewn up as long ago as the 17th Century. The problem is, we're not rational but, as the article puts it, just "rather clever apes with a brain shaped by natural selection to see us through this messy world". That's not the only reason why so-called decision theory doesn't add up. Throw in our emotions and sway towards conformity and it all starts to get a bit messier.

Popular Elsewhere

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 15:16:09 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. Remember the email from the "mother-in-law from hell" listing what was wrong with the manners of her daughter-in-law to be? Newspapers reported the email went viral. It complained of everything from lying in bed too long to getting married in a castle. Well, a popular Daily Mail article reports the couple did eventually get married this weekend albeit without the mother-in law present. But then the article is not so polite itself about the appearance of the bride: "To make doubly sure her traditional white strapless dress was not visible, she carried a bizarre white parasol with a veil which covered her entire head and torso and left her resembling a bee-keeper." Never mind the Occupy Wall Street campaigners. The New York Times' most read article says a more unusual set of corporate campaigners have got the ear of Goldman Sachs and the like: nuns. The Sisters of St Francis are getting into the boardroom because of how they are investing for their retirement fund. The nuns buy the minimum number of shares that allow them to submit resolutions at companies' annual shareholder meetings. They then make sure they are heard, which is easy, as Sister Nora puts it "You're not going to get any sympathy for cutting off a nun at your annual meeting". Susan Watts explains in the New Scientist's most read article why she decided to try the cognition enhancing drug Modafinil. She wanted to see why people are using the drug - which is uncontrolled and so can be bought on the internet. And it did improve her memory and planning skills. But while these kind of drugs seem to be here to stay, she says they create all sorts of dilemmas about fairness. The Wall Street Journal's most read story claims to have found the food which could solve world hunger: breadfruit. The article explains one tree can produce 450 pounds of fruit per season. The fruit is rich in fibre, potassium, phosphorous and calcium. EBay's founder, Pierre Omidyar has even been convinced by the promise of the food that he funded a meeting of breadfruit experts to work out how to get more people to eat it. That's because there is one problem with it - as one horticulturalist put it, the food tastes "Like undercooked potatoes".

Popular Elsewhere

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 15:10:26 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   "I should have known better" is the sentiment coming from the popular New York Times' cautionary tale about how a financial advisor lost his house. After all, the article says, Carl Richards gets paid to help people make smart financial choices. His story doesn't start well: "I answered an ad in 1995 that I thought was for a job related to 'security' (as in security guard) but was in fact related to 'securities.' That's how little I knew about the stock market." Whizz through a few more years, an estate agent with a gold jaguar, a 100% mortgage and a stock market crash later and you get to the part where Richards had to give up his home.   Ricky Gervais tries to get to the bottom of the difference between US and British humour in a popular Time article. His insight from his own sitcom, The Office, being translated into American seems to suggest Americans are just kinder. But, in an effort to justify his willingness to insult, he explains that he's just being honest. However, it seems that Gervais may be coming round to the American way: "I'd rather a waiter say, 'Have a nice day' and not mean it, than ignore me and mean it."   As other most read lists are populated with speculation as to the reasons behind the departure of X Factor hopeful Frankie Cocozza, Independent readers are finding out about unimaginable rock star behaviour. The article says that Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi admits that "at the height of the band's hell raising days" Ozzy Osbourne decided to soak a hotel room with shark blood. According to the article it was because he was bored with drugs. This adds to the already known bad behaviour towards animals - biting off a bat's head on stage and doing the same to a dove in a meeting with record executives.   Vanity Fair readers are thinking about thinking. But be warned: it's a miserable game. That's if the life story of the "king of human error" is anything to go by. The article follows the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman who has tried to get to the bottom of why people make bad decisions and hated every minute of it. If his life choice seems like a bad decision itself, it might be because he decided early on in his research he wouldn't study anything unless he first detected it in himself.

Popular Elsewhere

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 15:15:37 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.   A popular World Crunch article translates La Stampa's exclusive interview with Silvio Berlusconi. Here's a tale of a man counting his blessings after resignation, only to be shot down again by his interviewer: "Berlusconi closes by saying he is consoled by knowing that he was 'the longest-serving (Italian) Prime Minister in history.' But I interrupt to correct him, pointing out that Giovanni Giolitti had served longer back in the 19th century... He is quiet for a moment, then adds. 'This (record) of Giolitti, I didn't know about. That's a pity, really a pity. Well, good night.'"   Guardian readers are clicking on an article which asks why the exchange of friendly insults - banter- is such a fixture of modern life. While it seems to be becoming a compulsory part of male friendships, the paper asks if it just an excuse for bullying. Only last month a postman sacked for bullying cited "a lot of banter" at the sorting office. But despite these dangers, the article warns there's bad news for people who prefer a relaxed discourse over "shallow verbal sparring": if the seemingly unstoppable rise of panel shows is anything to go by banter is going nowhere.   A popular Time Magazine article says two male African penguins in Toronto Zoo are being split up as part of a breeding programme. They have reportedly been inseparable, grooming and sleeping together. If the story of gay penguins feels familiar, that's because, as the magazine reminds us, in 2009, two male penguins at New York City's Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo, incubated an egg together. They ended up raising the chick called Tango. The article says even a children's book - And Tango Makes Three - was written based on the story.   Reality TV is fairly inconsequential right? Not according to a popular Daily Beast article which argues the divorce of reality star Kim Kardashian is good for women. If that wasn't enough, it goes one further and says it is good for the whole of America. And the view comes from a bit of an expert on reality TV. Jennifer Pozner spent 10 years ( "yes, seriously, a decade" she ensures) - monitoring more than 1,000 hours of unscripted dating, marriage, makeover, competition, and lifestyle series. And even she's surprised herself that a reality star could herself have an effect outside the TV screen. But she insists that Kardashian's divorce after only 72 days exposes the fakeness of reality TV. "The disconnect between blissful on-air bride and off-screen divorcee offers viewers proof, once and for all, that reality-TV fairy tales are nothing more than a farce," she says.

Popular Elsewhere

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 15:06:48 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. Here's a classic Daily Mail elf 'n' safety story with a twist. The popular article explains a video posted on YouTube showed a Gateshead worker's demonstration of how to use ladder safely. Only he fell off the ladder. As Paul Cavanagh demonstrates how a harness can hold you, he loses his footing and the ladder falls sidewards. An onlooker shouts "You should have put the side tethers on" a bit too late. The statistics in Independent's popular look at the experiences of Muslim converts in the UK may surprise some. Three-quarters of Britons who become Muslims are female and the average age of conversion is 27. A study in Leicester also showed that "despite Western portraits of Islam casting it as oppressive to women", a quarter of female converts were attracted to the religion because of the status it affords them. In many most read lists reviews of the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are popping up. The Times, giving the game five stars, calls it the "media launch of the year". That's ahead of any film or book. The Guardian also gives it five stars but predicts an "inevitable tabloid storm" over a terrorist attack scene set in London. USA today suggests there may have been conflict not just in the game but between the makers of it, but says that doesn't affect the product. And at the top of the Telegraph's most read list is their review which says calls the killing game slick and awards it five stars.

Popular Elsewhere

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 15:23:49 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. A popular New York Times article hails the arrival of docu-soap The Only Way is Essex to the US, via online streaming stie Hulu. So how is the surprise hit described to a US audience - presumably unfamiliar with Essex stereotypes the characters play up to. Well it starts of with reporting the show has been "reviled in Britain as a pestilent example of depraved New World values and a leading indicator of the apocalypse". The show isn't wholly alien to the US audience. That's because, the article explains, it engages in the "Theatre of Superficiality" first seen in The Hills and Jersey Shore. There is one difference though: "dropping any pretense that the action has been accidentally captured on camera". This, the New York Times concludes, makes it more real. Johnny Depp smokes. But what he seems to do more than smoking is talk about smoking. In the most read Guardian story, while explaining in the interview - mostly about smoking - about why he started smoking again he inadvertently reveals a more glamorous aspect of his life. Half way through explaining to Decca Aitkenhead that he was trying to get director Bruce Robinson to give him a puff on his cigarette he let slip that the encounter happened on a plane. She must have looked confused as he explained "Well, it was a private plane. On a private plane you can smoke. It makes it an incredibly expensive habit, of course." Filmmakers might be taking into consideration Forbes' calculations in their most popular article before they audition their actors. The magazine has worked out which stars bring in the least money compared to how much they get paid. Coming in at number one if Drew Barrymore. For Every $1 (62p) Barrymore is paid, her films return an average 40 cents (25p). That's quite something when you consider that the second most overpaid actor - Eddie Murphy - is attracting $2.70 (£1.68) for every $1 he is paid. In 1975 there were three mega cities. Now, Slate's popular article says, there are 20 more. They are loosely defined as cities with over 10 million inhabitants. But the article explains that's where the clarity ends. Most arguments seem to be over whether or not they are a good thing. One the one hand they provide opportunities for poor people. But once they become richer, they start consuming more and putting more demands on the environment.

Popular Elsewhere

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 14:56:22 +0000

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites. My Little Pony has been attracting an unexpected cult following of young men, according to a popular Wall Street Journal article. It claims groups of grown men meet up, start bands, even cut back on college courses all in appreciation of the magnificence of a cartoon series meant for little girls. They even have their own moniker: bronies. And apparently there is a lot of appreciation for the complex characters portrayed. "They have flaws, they have backgrounds they're ashamed of," explains 15-year-old Christian Leisner. At a brony gathering in Berkley, 27-year-old Ohad Kanne said his sisters wonder what is wrong with him but "luckily, we have this community that understands". It’s nothing new for readers to flock to animal stories, rocketing them up most read lists of news sites. So it is unsurprising that Daily Mail readers are clicking on striking pictures of a gorilla getting a check up at the vets before moving to a new zoo. But what many may miss out on are the words written around these pictures. This is a shame (ahem) as the incredible detail like “they also took the opportunity to cut his nails” would be missed. Gripping. We’ve had Beckham studies and Madonna studies, now a popular Washington Post article hails Jay-Z studies. This time Georgetown University is offering a course called Sociology of Hip-Hop - Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z. The piece explains that Georgetown isn’t dumbing down - or as Michael Dyson who’s leading the course puts it: “This is not a class meant to sit around and go, ‘Oh man, those lyrics were dope’”. Instead, he says, he wants people to ask ““What’s the intellectual, theological, philosophical predicate for Jay-Z’s argument?” Too much for a Friday afternoon, surely. A popular Huffington Post article says a survey shows the number one issue couples argue in the winter is the temperature of the house. It claims that four out of 10 couples admit to having “two tiffs a day” about whether or not to turn on the heating. So who has done the survey? Thermostat company Honeywell. Hmmm