Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Great Regulars: Hours after America stepped back

from the edge of the fiscal cliff, the phrase has been named as one of the worst cases of language abuse of the last year.

The annual list of "Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" is compiled each year by Lake Superior State University in Michigan from nominations received from readers throughout the year.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: 'Fiscal cliff' tops list of language abuses


A publisher has apologised for its "serious editorial error" after labelling Israel as "Occupied Palestine" in a textbook.The map was included in Skills in English Writing: Level 1 as part of an exercise for a "Jordanian student at Greenhill College". The book was printed in 2003, but is still in use in some institutions, and the error has only just been spotted by a teacher.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Publisher apologises for labelling Israel 'Occupied Palestine' in textbook


Although [John] Steinbeck was praised by the committee "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception" when his win was announced, the newly declassified documents show he was actually chosen as the best of a bad lot.

"There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation," wrote committee member Henry Olsson, according to a piece today by Swedish journalist Kaj Schueler in Svenska Dagbladet.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Swedish Academy reopens controversy surrounding Steinbeck's Nobel prize


Growing suspicious at [Roald] Dahl's claim that it took just 501 seagulls to lift James's giant peach into the air--"I shall simply go on hooking them up to the stem until we have enough to lift us. They'll be bound to lift us in the end," says James--the students decided to test the author's theory. Their scientific paper first calculated the potential weight of the peach--it is "as tall and wide, in fact, as a small house," writes Dahl in the children's novel--and then multiplied its density by its volume, concluding that 4,890,579 newtons of force would be needed to move the peach.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Think again, Roald Dahl: scientists hit on giant peach of a theory


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