Archive for December, 2006


The 100 most inspiring films

December 24th, 2006 by Roger Darlington

Our son Richard and his fiancee Emily joined us today to celebrate Christmas and we spent much of the evening watching a special programme on the 100 most inspiring films as selected by the members of the American Film Institute. Since I’m a massive movie fan, I’ve seen many of these films – but certainly […]

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The trouble with atheism

December 24th, 2006 by Roger Darlington

This was the title of an interesting, if irritating, programme shown earlier this week on Channel 4 which was presented by the supercilious Rod Liddle. In fact, in my view, there is no problem with atheism and all the programme demonstrated was that there is a problem with a small number of atheists who tend […]

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“The History Boys”

December 23rd, 2006 by Roger Darlington

It wasn’t planned like this, but yesterday I managed to see two media productions set in education institutions in the 1980s. The first was a film located in Bristol University and focused around the “University Challenge” television show: “Starter For Ten” [my review here]. The second was a play situated in a school in the […]

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Most popular baby names

December 22nd, 2006 by Roger Darlington

The Office of National Statistics has just published its annual analysis of the most popular names for boys and girls born in England and Wales in the past year. You can check out the details here. There are several patterns in this information. First of all, it is striking how traditional most of the names […]

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Forgotten world (55): Antarctica

December 22nd, 2006 by Roger Darlington

Antarctica is 14.425 million kmĀ², making it the third-smallest continent after Europe and Australia. On average, it is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Some 98% of it is covered in ice, there has never been an indigenous population and there are no permanent human […]

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Can you believe it?

December 21st, 2006 by Roger Darlington

What a week for bizarre news: A woman gives birth to three babies in two wombs – more here. Kimomo dragons give birth without mating – more here. A Japanese hiker survives 24 days by ‘hibernating’ – more here. A skydiver in New Zealand survives a fall of a 4,500 metre (15,000ft) – more here. […]

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How important is spelling?

December 21st, 2006 by Roger Darlington

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset […]

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Forgotten World (54): New Zealand

December 21st, 2006 by Roger Darlington

Most people know more about New Zealand from its appearance in “The Lord Of The Rings” film trilogy than they do by hearing about it in the news. Certainly the country is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2000 kilometres (1250 miles) across. Its […]

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What is conjoint analysis?

December 20th, 2006 by Roger Darlington

I spent three hours today at the offices of the postal regulator Postcomm in my capacity as a Council member of Postwatch, the consumer watchdog for postal services. We were hearing the results of a piece of research which we jointly commissioned with Royal Mail. The presenters threw me when they started to use the […]

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Santa’s jigsaw

December 20th, 2006 by Roger Darlington

For a little bit of seasonal fun, click here.

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