The Null Device
An Essex insurance company has cancelled what may have been the most bizarre insurance policy in Britain. In the policy, three sisters in the Scottish highlands, who apparently were members of a "Christian group" of some sort, had insured their virginity for £1 million, against the event of any of them immaculately conceiving the second coming of Jesus Christ:
Mr Burgess said: "The people were concerned about having sufficient funds if they immaculately conceived. It was for caring and bringing up the Christ. "We sometimes get weird requests and this is the weirdest we have had."
The burden of proof that it was Christ had rested with the women and any premium on the insurance was donated to charity, said Mr Burgess.
The siblings had paid £100 annually since 2000. If they had secured a payout, they stood to receive £1m.The policy was apparently cancelled partly because of complaints from the Catholic Church, which doesn't look kindly on unauthorised immaculate conceptions.
Guerilla artist Banksy's latest effort: a piece on the wall of a building in Bristol, depicting a naked adulterer hanging from a window ledge by his fingers whilst the cuckolded husband searches for him.
The Bristol City Council, whose offices overlook the unsolicited artwork, is taking an uncommonly enlightened approach to it: rather than automatically obliterating it and citing Giuliani and the broken-windows theory of public order as justification, it is asking the public whether it is art or vandalism.
It is rumoured that glamorous-romantic-nihilist-bard-of-contemporary-British-life and/or drug-addled waste of oxygen Pete Doherty, whose sole raison d'etre seems to be solely to provide the tabloids with "outrageous" antics of human depravity like some kind of Carling-sponsored Sid Vicious clone, has been signed by Domino Records. Which, if it is true, suggests that the once credible label (they put out the likes of post-rock obscurantists Hood) is in the final stages of its transition into late Creation Records, just before it was swallowed by Sony. Domino's Oasis is, of course, Franz Ferdinand.
A former university lecturer from the US, dissatisfied with the quality of student cheating, has written a guide on how to cheat better:
5. Malaprop big words
Make sure you pick a word that sounds impervious and use it incorrigibly, or inventorate words. We'll be udderly convinced of your genuinity (not to mention your precedential potential).
8. Edit > Paste Special > Unformatted TextMeanwhile, in China, where demand for university places exceeds supply by several times, cheaters are turning to extreme measures to get in:
This is my Number 1 piece of advice, even if it is numbered eight. When you copy things from the web into Word, ignoring #3 above, don't just "Edit > Paste" it into your document. When I am reading a document in black, Times New Roman, 12pt, and it suddenly changes to blue, Helvetica, 10pt (yes, really), I'm going to guess that something odd may be going on. This seems to happen in about 1% of student work turned in, and periodically makes me feel like becoming a hermit.
A student in Wuhan, capital of China's central province of Hubei, used earphones so small that they slipped into his aural canal and perforated his eardrum, the China Daily newspaper said.
Another student's earphones required an operation for their removal, the paper said, while an electronic device connected to headphones and strapped to a third student's body exploded, leaving a bleeding hole in his abdomen.
Apparently Hamas, the hardline Islamist group forming the Palestinian government, is on the verge of recognising Israel's right to exist, a huge concession coming from a group vowed to annihilate the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamic theocracy. While this won't immediately bring peace to the Middle East, it could be the latest in a long line of initially promising first steps.