Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Things learnt on the plane this morning

Sitting on the red eye flight to Heathrow, reading the papers, and wishing for an extra hour or two in bed rather than the early start.

The pilot has just announced that there's low cloud at Heathrow - just 100 feet above the ground - which puts our destination into low visibility mode, and slows down the rate of landing. So we'll not be taking off for another hour or so.

Only compensation is reading through the morning papers. So this morning, what did I learn?

As well as swiping their Oyster travel cards, some passengers at Canary Wharf tube station will have their fingers scanned for explosives in a security trial.

The world's longest international non-stop rail journey set off from London Waterloo station yesterday - transporting actors and film buffs on the 833-mile journey to Cannes for the film festival. The special Eurostar train was sporting Da Vinci Code branding to mark the opening of the film based on Dan Brown's novel.

Guardian newspapers bought in Norther Ireland continue to be published in Portadown on a press that doesn't support the full colour printing enjoyed by the rest of the UK. Shame.

Affirmative action to reserve just under 50% of Indian university places for lower-caste, indigenous and dalits (untouchable) people is causing street demonstrations and widespread disruption to hospitals as people protest against the extension to the quota system. "Student intake should be based on merit, not on birth" explained Sajanjiv Singh, a 20 year old medical student on hunger strike. "We do not even know what caste people are here, yet the politicians want to label us ... It will mean few places for the talented."

Missouri (US) high school teacher Michael Maxwell was suspended after asking his pupils to write an essay about who they would kill and how they would carry out the crime.

Today's freebie in the Guardian was a huge wallchart about butterflies! Tomorrow there will be another one - this time on fungi. Why? I think it was the Daily Mail that was giving away Learning Spanish in a Week CDs ("no reading, no writing, no effort"). Are we really in a market that requires something free each day - so the papers are responding with cheap wallcharts? Do Guardian readers really study butterflies, sharks, sea fish, fungi etc?

Thanks to for keeping me awake. Air traffic control are letting us start up and taxi in a minute. Off at last!

1 comment:

John Self said...

My take on the Guardian wallcharts this week is that they know a large proportion of their readers are teachers...

As well as not having full colour, we NI Guardian readers also don't get Last Night's TV review (what we get in its place I have no idea) - which is often by the great genius that is Nancy Banks Smith - or radio listings, except on Fridays. I emailed them about this back in September when the Berliner was launched and they told me they were 'working on it.' Not very quickly then.