Showing posts from 2009

The Law Actually 2009 Review

2009 has been a good year for the Michael all told. I completed my LLM, landed a great legal job (and did so just before handing in my dissertation, so the timing was perfect), earned more money than I’d expected overall, and generally survived yet another year in this miserable world. OK, perhaps that’s a touch harsh, but it’s not all been sweetness and light along the way.2009 high-point:- completing my LLM exams- erm ……There are probably a load more but I like to focus on the negative! ;-)2009 low-points:

- being stuck in my stuffy home office during the summer, slaving away on my dissertation. As readers of my blawg are aware, that quickly degenerated into a DVD-fest as I chain-watched my way through series 1 and 2 of Spooks, series 1 – 4 of the Office - An American Workplace and a bunch of other stuff too. I really loved my LLM but the dissertation process really took the sparkle off of it, sadly.
- Realising the best internet connection I could receive in the new house wa…

December’s Wacky Search Terms

There have been rich pickings for weird and wonderful search terms over the last month.  Here are some of my favourites.“formula on how to benchmark high attrition of lawyers” - I think it's called the credit crunch... don't ask me for the formula though.

“just minxy models” - Just?

“perv chat” - oh you dirty web-surfer, you.

“fu*k you” – Charming.  Just charming.  Why would somebody search for this?  I guess that's the typical user for you!  :p"santa claus sample" - oh boy... a sample of what, exactly?“what to revise for property equity and trusts exam” – try your syllabus for starters.  But aren't property law and equity and trusts usually split?!  

“shenanigans law” - ....I smell a sitcom brewing!!

“send-a-smile office 2010 turn off” - it certainly turned me off from the beta until I disabled it.

“facebook sex” - I get about half of dozen of this searches on Law Actually most days.  Shocking, isn't it?

“grandpas porn” - oh..…

Santa Claus: Legal Risk Assessment

Following on from my post last week regarding Santa setting a bad example, I've got a few more suggestions for making Santa Claus a touch more politically correct (plus a bunch of concerns for potential liability and steps that could be taken to mitigate those risks).He’s an older gent – so tick the box for heading-off allegations of ageism. He’s white and male though, so he’ll need plenty of female elves (and ideally those from ethnic minority backgrounds) - see the Race Relations Act 1996 (as amended).  Perhaps Santa should morph into some kind of androgynous character, just to make doubly-sure the anti-sexism box is checked.Using reindeer as his means of transport puts a bit fat tick in the 'watching his carbon footprint' box - should keep Greenpeace happy - (score one for Santa).  :-)This is negated, though, by potential allegations of animal cruelty.  Also, watch the food-miles of the reindeer’s fodder.As much as I like Christmas and the concept of Santa, the lawyer i…

The Christmas Crapper

Found this via digg earlier.Crapping.  Cracking!  :D

Christmas Eve versus Boxing Day

Whether you’re counting today as Boxing Day or the Bank Holiday on Monday, I think the point’s equally valid.So true!

My Xmas Eve Journey Nightmare

Christmas Eve proved a touch eventful for the Michael and what should have been a 4 hour journey down to Cornwall took well over double that. The fact I’m nursing the onset of a cold, only made matters worse. I’d been feeling a touch rough in the last few days with a pathetic tickly cough (with curiously few other symptoms) but on Wednesday night and all of Thursday, I was sounding more like a dirty old man with throat cancer. Whenever I spoke on my mobile in public, I found I was attracting curious glances (some bordering on stares) from nearby travellers.Having driven halfway down to Cornwall with my GF, I initially missed the train I had intended to catch after stupidly following our Sat-Nav’s advice which took us on an off-piste adventure through the twisty and icy roads running through the Cheddar Gorge. I returned to my GF’s parents’ house in Exeter while I waited for the next non-stopping train down to Cornwall.When I finally returned to the station some two hours later, it tra…

Schumi Returns – (for real this time!!) :D

Today it was announced that the legendary Michael Schumacher would be a making a much-anticipated return to F1 with Mercedes. When the possibility of Schumi returning to deputise for the injured Felipe Massa after the Hungarian grand prix this year, I became incredibly, uncontrollably excited. And believe me, that doesn’t happen very often – I’m quite a low-voltage kind of guy.As I infamously tweeted at the time:“No matter how excited you might think I am at the prospect of Schumi returning, I’m a little bit more!”And that pretty much sums it up this time, too. I’m absolutely thrilled that Michael’s returning and 2010 promises to be a great season. You can’t help wondering whether Mercedes didn’t have this planned all along and wanted shot of the mediocre Button in favour of a true (and German) great. McLaren, of course, were labelling the signing of Button as a massive coup over Mercedes – I guess the joke’s on them now!Michael, of course, started his professional motorsport career …

Santa Claus sets a bad example

From the Chicago Tribune 18/12/09:Santa Claus should get off his sleigh and walk, run or bike, according to a cheeky public health doctor, who says Santa’s commercial image promotes obesity, reckless air travel and a general unhealthy lifestyle. “His popularity should be used to promote healthy living,” Dr. Nathan Grills from Monash University in Australia argued in a light-hearted "analysis" in the Christmas issue of In 2007 acting U.S. surgeon general Steven K. Gallson declared that Santa should be thinner. Despite the public outrage, Grills has jumped on the bandwagon. He wants Santa to lose his belly fat (the most dangerous kind), to eat carrots instead of energy-dense cookies and to don a helmet while participating in “extreme sports such as roof surfing and chimney jumping.”I tweeted earlier this month that I’d seen a new safety-conscious Santa doing the rounds in the neighbourhood who had ditched the reindeer and donned on a hi-visibility jacket.  To be fair…

Horse Fair Victim's Claim Against Council Rejected

From CPD Webinars 14/12/09:Geoffrey Glaister a County Durham man left with brain damage after being kicked by a horse at the 2004 Appleby Horse fair, has been blocked from claiming compensation.
Earlier this year a county court ruled his family could seek compensation from Appleby Town Council.   The court heard Mr Glaister, tried to grab hold of the untethered horse's rein because he feared it posed a risk to his wife and daughter. He suffered "catastrophic" injuries when the horse kicked him as he bent down, leaving him with permanent disabilities and "greatly reduced earning power".In March, he was awarded the right to seek compensation by a Middlesbrough County Court judge, who said the town council had negligently failed to arrange public liability insurance for the event.

But Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Toulson, said the county court decision was "wrong in law" and the town council owed no duty of care to ensure the safe segregati…

Brucie Baby loves a courtroom drama

No, I wouldn’t have thought it either. Still, it turns out that when travelling, Brucie loves nothing more than settling down with a legal thriller (when he's not playing golf or doing those famous daily stretches of his).Despite growing up against a backdrop of my Father constantly proclaiming that Brucie’s ‘dead but won’t lie down’ whenever he appeared on TV, Brucie’s still going strong. Anybody who witnessed his performance with Alesha Dixon last night on Strictly Come Dancing can certainly testify to that: he was waggling those hips like a 17 year old!!! (And yes, they were his own hips, before you ask).Thankfully, unlike previous years, both myself and my GF have been far too busy for her to insist that we watch much of Strictly – a show which has traditionally held about as much entertainment value for me as watching paint dry.But I actually really like Brucie – if only for his imitable style, cheeky demeanour and thirst for life. Plus, with a wife some 30 odd years his jun…

What to get the law student (or graduate) who has everything?

Hat tip to Katie Luper for this one but her post got me thinking.What would make a good Christmas gift for a law student/grad? Ideas so far:- Post it notes?  Statute books, or a bumper collection of biros?  - An expensive, pretentious pen?  An expensive and pretentious moleskine notebook or diary to go with said pen?  - A DVD boxset of This Life, or Ally MacBeal etc. ..... funny how you don't hear those mentioned much now!  Thank God they seem to have finally died their death. - I should imagine that a pupillage or training contract (or a means of fast-forwarding your way through your law degree and into a job) is at the top of a lot of our lists. - For the more traditional or conservative, what about legally-themed ties or socks or maybe something a touch more frivolous?   For instance, for that special legal lady in your life, what about legally-themed lingerie - perhaps not with horsehair wigs, though.Any other ideas?

Demise of the Christmas card?

This is a call for the distinguished and learned members of the blawgosphere to share with me their Christmas card sending/receiving experiences: have you sent or received any this year and if so, are the numbers lower than in previous years?  I'm itching to know.Not so much because I'm nosy, but more that I'm wondering whether I'm alone in sensing that the sending of Christmas cards just seems to be a tradition that edges closer towards extinction as each year passes.  I was going to order myself another bunch from the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company again, as I have in previous years. Still, I'm kind of glad I didn't bother; no one at work seems to be exchanging them, though there is a Secret Santa organised for later this week to coincide with the works Christmas do - so I hope everyone doesn't start exchanging them with one another then. It also coincides somewhat awkwardly for me with a flying trip up to London for meeting, and I'm only due to arrive …

How was it for you?

I was amused to see on Friday that the poll, “2009: Was it good for you?” on the Junior Lawyers site recorded a greater number of negative than positive responses. I’ve just checked again and the same proportion of yeses and noes holds sway:BTW: two of the yeses are mine so I guess there’s quite a lot of misery out there.

How’s that for an explosive court case?

From The Times Online – Weird Cases 04/12/09:The principal weapon of advocates is language. Sam Kepfield, however, recently sought to extend his options in a Kansas courtroom when he put a hand grenade on the jury box ledge and pulled out the pin. Kepfield, a defence attorney, was representing a woman charged with forgery and theft. Her defence was duress. She claimed that her co-defendant had forced her into committing crimes by threatening to kill her pet dog and hurt her daughter unless she cooperated. In an effort to convey to the jurors what it feels like to face an imminent threat, Kepfield took the view that simple verbal descriptions would not suffice and that something dramatic was required. So he acquired a dud grenade and then, during a speech about fear and the experience of being intimidated, without notice to the judge or the prosecutors, he brandished the grenade, pulled the pin, placed it on the jury ledge and asked the jurors, “Are you afraid now?” This was certainly…

Panic Button Added to Social Networking Sites

From Tech Watch 07/12/09:Facebook and other social networking sites have agreed to adopt recommendations drawn up by the government to provide a panic button on their web pages.Bebo has already introduced this measure, which basically consists of a highly visible button that kids can click on to report offensive or inappropriate material.The idea, which is something that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has been recommending for some time, was put forward by the government’s adviser on online safety, Tanya Byron.Other guidelines will stress the need for sites to provide parental control options to better supervise their offspring’s online activities, and will also apply to chat rooms, instant messaging services and the like.I’ve been advocating something along these lines for years. However, in my opinion, a butt which simply provides a means of reporting abuse does not go far enough and it should constitute more of a ‘stop-this-and-get-me-out-of-here-now’ function …

Office 2010 Beta

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying out the public beta of the next version of Microsoft Office, just as I did back in summer 2006 for the second beta of what was to be Office 2007. So far my experiences are positive, but this isn’t the quantum leap (from the perspective of UI and, to a certain extent, functionality) as Office 2007 proved over  its predecessors.I’m not going to run through all of the new stuff in there; I just intend commenting on the new features that I’ve encountered or those which I have particular opinions of - based on my (rather limited) experience with the beta.I should point out at this stage, I guess, that as Office has matured over the years, certain additions have just felt like change for change’s sake. I get that feeling with Office 2010 – possibly more than ever.· Pretty new icons for each application and a nice new orange Office logo. Still, I’m not sure how much your average Office user will care about this stuff.· Stronger colour ‘branding’

Status check on the blawgosphere

This post is an update to a couple of others I wrote earlier this year. First and foremost, I guess, it serves as a qualification to the post I published entitled ‘Yet More New Growth in the Blawgosphere’ back on 1st September. Of the 4 blogs I reviewed then, 2 have faltered entirely, and one can no longer be regarded as a ‘blawg’.Dottie/Kim AKA ‘pink pop polka dot’ – while this blog is still updated, the content is given-over entirely to make-up tips, cosmetic product reviews and the like. Last time I checked, Kim doesn’t link to any blawgs either - which more or less cements the fate of her blog for me.  I’ve nothing against Dottie’s blog per se, only I have little interest reading about make-up tips. Oh well. 
Law Actually blog-roll status: Struck off.Mad Law Student – it was always a tentative, ‘I’m-not-really-sure-about-this’ start but it finally looks like this blog has fallen by the wayside with only two or three posts to its name.  Still, a comeback isn’t impossible.
Law A…

Storm in a teacup / rat in a risotto

From BBC News 06/12/09:I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! winner Gino D'Acampo and Stuart Manning face charges of animal cruelty after cooking and eating a rat in the show.The RSPCA in New South Wales, Australia, said it was "not acceptable" that a rat had been killed by the pair as part of a performance. Police confirmed they had issued court attendance notices for 3 February 2010. The Italian chef and actor ate the rat after they were "exiled" and reduced to rations of rice and beans on the show. D'Acampo, 33, told the show's video diary room, the Bush Telegraph: "I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up." The "exiled" group, including 30-year-old Manning, ate the rat as part of a meal. Ch Insp David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA in New South Wales, told BBC Radio 5 live there was a "code of practice" which dictated how animals could be used in theatrical productions an…

Annoying new verb for office-based communication

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed a rather disturbing new trend in everyday office-speak. It seems that a new verb has descended into common parlance over the last few weeks to describe the sending of emails and faxes and making phone calls - 'to drop'.I realise that the phrase to 'drop a line' has been around for decades to describe the act of writing a letter but the fact that it seems to have been now rolled out to cover all other forms of communication strikes me as a touch grating.  I have to endure the increasingly stale expressions, "Oh, I'll just drop you an email", I'll drop them a text now", "I'll just drop you a voicemail later on" countless times each day.  And of course, being the habitual contrarian that I am, I make a point of never using the phrase.  I’ve heard it muttered recently on the train, too, but I’m curious to know whether it’s more of southern thing or if it’s spread across the UK like a…

Poole’s Christmas Tree / Astroturf Cone

From the Times 27/11/09: Shoppers stared in bemusement at the mysterious object that landed in a shopping precinct in Poole, Dorset, this week. Some compared it to a giant traffic cone, a witch’s hat or a cheap special effect from an early episode of Doctor Who. The 33ft structure turned out to be their Christmas tree, designed according to the principles of health and safety, circa 2009. Thus it has no trunk so it won’t blow over, no branches to break off and land on someone’s head, no pine needles to poke a passer-by in the eye, no decorations for drunken teenagers to steal and no angel, presumably because it would need a dangerously long ladder to place it at the top. Last year Poole boasted a Norwegian fir draped with strings of coloured lights. It cost £500 and continued a decades-old tradition. The replacement, which is constructed on a metal frame overlaid with what appears to be artificial grass, cost £14,000 and comes with built-in fairy lights and hidden speakers to play Chr…

A Problem in Briefs

From The Times – Garry Slapper’s Weird Cases 6/11/09:In Florida, Judge Patricia Kinsey ruled recently in the case of Albert Freed who sued a men’s briefs manufacturer claiming he was injured on holiday by their badly designed underwear. In a judgement she probably did not anticipate making while at law school, Judge Kinsey was required to engage in a detailed analysis of the relationship between male anatomy and male underwear. An alleged design defect supposedly exposed Freed to beach sand that had accumulated in swimming trunks he was wearing over his briefs. Judge Kinsey doubted the contention that the briefs had opened “whereupon the edges of the opening abraded his penis like “’sandpaper belts’”.Ouch! More intriguingly: Why had Freed spent two weeks on holiday aggravating the problem without reporting it to his wife? He said he was so excited about this holiday to Hawaii – which he had won – that he did not want to complain about his debilitating pain until they got home. [Edit –…

A gritty problem: motorist sues Highway Agency

From the Telegraph 10/11/09: A motorist who spent two days on a life support machine after crashing on black ice is suing the Highways Agency for failing to grit the road properly. The 47-year-old man, who is a member of the Royal Navy, sustained serious injuries after his car was involved in a three-vehicle collision at Trewint, near Launceston, Cornwall on Jan 21. He spent three weeks in hospital and is still suffering health problems as a result of the crash. The victim, from Liskeard, Cornwall, was one of 30 drivers whose cars crashed on a 40-mile stretch of the A30, which runs running from Okehampton in Devon to Bodmin, Cornwall. No motorist has mounted a successful claim against the agency. While minor roads are the responsibility of local authorities, the burden of maintaining trunk routes rests with the Highways Agency. The accident took place more than a week before Britain was hit by the worst blizzards in decades, which led to a shortage of grit and salt throughout the coun…

The ethical lawyer: a contradiction in terms

From the Law Gazette 23/11/09: The earliest surviving records of medieval principles of ethical conduct for lawyers concern the advocates and proctors who appeared before the church courts. One very early record is a book written in 1239 by William of Drogheda, an Oxford priest and lawyer, advising the reader how to be a successful advocate. The text reveals something of an ironic disconnect between the ethical standards of these two professions on the important subject of remuneration: the author recommends that advocates should ensure payment in advance – 'Get your money while the patient is ill.'For those who mistakenly thought that the legal profession has only recently given cause for garnering a reputation of consisting solely of ruthless, money-grapping, Machiavellian chancers.

Tech Support Cheat-Sheet

I found this brilliant flowchart via Digg a few weeks ago and what with the house move, limited internet connectivity etc. I hadn’t got around to posting it.  So true.

Overdue library books returned 50 years late!

From Miami Herald 14/11/09:A high school librarian in Phoenix says a former student at the school returned two overdue books checked out 51 years ago along with a $1,000 money order to cover the fines.Camelback High School librarian Georgette Bordine says the two Audubon Society books checked out in 1959 and the money order were sent by someone who wanted to remain anonymous.Bordine says the letter explained that the borrower's family moved to another state and the books were mistakenly packed. The letter said the money order was to cover fines of 2 cents per day for each book. That would total about $745. The letter says the extra money was added in case the rates had changed.Bordine says the money will buy more books, and the overdue books will be returned to the shelves. I found this rather cute story via Digg earlier and it reminded me of the time when, rooting around in old boxes of books in the loft at home, I found a few old school and college textbooks that had somehow co…

November’s Wacky Search Terms

While my lack of internet connectivity has hampered my blogging activities somewhat over the past month or so, I’ve still been keeping up with the bizarre searches through which people find Law Actually. As ever, we’ve got some real brarmers in there!“where as a barrister can you get tattooed and pierced” – shoulders and back for men; inner forearms and the trusty ‘tramp-stamp’ zone for women. As for piercings, well - bellybuttons all the way.  :-/“didn't like looe – I’m not particularly enamoured with it myself.“london hotel travel fun post a comment -crap –sh*t -murder -killed- I’ve stayed in a dodgy London hotel before but nothing quite like this!“letch – I’m on the front page on Google for this. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.“firework accident compensation claim – well, I did warn you all.“fireworks uk law time – How about ‘never’ as a piece of possible legal reform?“uk law student moved to be a US attorney” – Wow. I’m not sure if that qualifies as an upgrade or…

Blogging is for life, not just for ......

Without wanting to be accused of scaremongering (or simply being full of doom and gloom) I think it’s time I wrote up another post in which I bemoan the general ‘state of the blawgosphere’. I wrote up a particularly negative entry last December in which I prophesied that the end of the blawgosphere (as we knew it) was nigh. Happily, that proved to be incorrect, as the sphere welcomed a bevy of new blawgs into the fray in the subsequent months. There’s no denying that some of the newbies have carved out excellent reputations for themselves – relating both to the quality of the posts and the frequency of the entries. However, since this Spring, the rate at which the new blawgs have sprung up has flat-lined and a number of those new entries have more or less died their death, descending into perpetual silence.  Any ideas about Lacunae, Obiter or Templar anyone?  Anyone?I read somewhere recently that new blogs are somewhat like new businesses in the sense that close to half of them fail i…

The Firework-Fun Fallacy

From P&C Express 05/11/09:
A health chief has warned that fireworks can have "devastating consequences" if they are not used safely.Ian Walton, accident and emergency operations director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS), said its ambulance crews will treat a number of patients with burns to more serious, life-threatening injuries on bonfire night.He said: "Fireworks used properly are safe are accidents are avoidable. However, they can cause devastating injuries if safety precautions are not followed."We recommend people attend one of the professionally-organised public displays. However, if you are planning to host your own event, we ask you exercise caution and make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.While it’s true that, used properly, fireworks can be safe, a significant section of the general public illustrate annually that they’re simply not capable of following safety directions and employing a litt…

Technical Problems

Contrary to popular belief, the Michael has not disappeared off the face of the earth, nor ducked out of the blawgosphere either. No, the reason for my lack of posting is based on the utter incompetence of certain third parties.After a huge bodge-up of meteoric proportions by my ISP (yes, I’m looking at you, Tiscali), I still don’t have internet access at my new house.Almost worse still is that when I do receive it, the best connection I can expect is an unacceptably paltry 512kbs. This is going to cause a massive lifestyle change – at least from an entertainment standpoint – in that we won’t be able to stream content as we’ve gotton comfortably used to. Just to make sure I'm utterly left without other viable options, I'm not in a cable broadband area and it's also a blackspot for mobile broadband. Note to self: make sure you check these things out BEFORE you move next time, Michael. So other than being royally pis*ed at the prospect of a sub-standard internet experience, …


My trip ‘up North’ went reasonably smoothly, all things considered, and am hoping that I’ll be able to say the same after my trip to London on Thursday.  It’s certainly shaping up to be a busy week as we’re picking the new house keys up on Friday and moving the bulk of our stuff on Saturday. I’ve got to get the 6.30 train on Thursday morning so expect to have the energy levels of a torpid slug by the time we reach the weekend. Perfect timing as ever, of course.After Friday, I expect to be incommunicado for the next couple of weeks while my internet account gets transferred to the new house.  Quite why it takes so long is beyond me; it would probably be quicker to tie a reel of new cabling to a mouse and let him scurry off laying new fibre optic as he went.  The last time I was without the internet for any length of time was in June 2008 and I remember remarking afterwards that I found being internet-less for a fortnight or so somewhat trying. I guess I’ll have the net at work this ti…

New Month, New Job, New House,

This week has marked the first working week of my ‘proper job’, which probably explains my lack of blog posts. I’m not that optimistic that I’ll be throwing many more posts up in the immediate future either, as I’ve a spell of business travel coming up next week before our impending house move next weekend.My new job has, for the most part, been an enjoyable, if challenging, experience although the daily commute of a bus and 2 trains has been killing me. The fact I’ve got an absolutely terrible sense of direction and managed to get on the wrong train on Monday evening which took me back to the station I’d just travelled from, just rubbed salt in the wounds. As ever, the frustrations seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. For example, we were warned yesterday of a couple wanting to come around and view our property this afternoon around 4pm ish, only to told about 4.15 that they cancelled at the last minute. The fact that the estate agent had walked down from their offices hal…

Strawberry Fields Forever? Think Again!

From This is Cornwall 03/06/09:One of the traditional Westcountry summer's simple pleasures is under threat from health and safety rules which have already forced the closure of pick-your-own fields at one of the region's best-known fruit farms.For more than 40 years, the Boddington family has thrown open the gates of their farm near Mevagissey, Mid-Cornwall, for the public to pluck succulent strawberries fresh from the plant.But after being told to install safety features including handrails on drainage ditches and to cordon off potholes in the field in case errant pickers fall in, the family has decided it cannot afford to let people on to the farm.Phil Boddington, whose grandfather set up the farm 60 years ago and whose father helped pioneer pick-your-own in Cornwall, said it was a sad day."Unfortunately, it is seen to be a risk to let the public onto what's deemed to be a strawberry factory in the eyes of the insurers and the health and safety people," he sa…

Coming to a Cinema Near You – Law Student 2

Inspired by one of my oddest keyword searches yet, “law student 2”, I quickly found a film idea emerging in my mind. After all, I don’t think there are enough violent action movies featuring law students. :DThe plot:A small group of law students with superhuman powers enrolled at law school in 2007 and formed an alliance. They were called by a mysterious voice and were drawn from the far reaches of the UK to form a team combining the best superhuman strengths that a fictitious law student could possess. (Think a grown-up version of Captain Planet’s helpers, just without the environmental stuff)! During their first year they secretly upheld order and civility around campus using their mystical powers and superhuman strength. Known only as “the law students”, their identity was a closely guarded secret but could be relied upon to come to the aid of stricken law students. As well as porting answers to difficult questions via telepathy into the heads of students in seminars who hadn’t don…

Putting the Letch in Lecturing

From The Guardian 23/09/09:We've had a week of sex scandals in schools. Now Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, seems intent on stirring things up on the academic front.Female students, he declares, are a perk of the job for male university lecturers – though they should look, not touch.In an article for the Times Higher Education magazine on lust, part of a feature on the seven deadly sins of universities, Kealey wrote: "Normal girls – more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos – will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?"Enjoy her! She's a perk."Flashing a few literary allusions, he continued: "She doesn't yet know that you are only Casaubon to her Dorothea, Howard Kirk to her Fel…

Lily Allen calls it a day (… fronting filesharing debate)

From The Guardian 24/09/09:Just hours after saying she has no plans for a new album, Lily Allen has closed down her blog on music piracy, saying the "abuse" received had become too much to bear.The singer posted messages on Twitter saying she was not going to attend an emergency meeting of music artists this evening to hammer out a unified position on illegal filesharing.The star says: "Hello, there is a meeting today in London where artists are meeting to discuss Piracy. My job done."I wont [sic] be attending the meeting because it's going to be a press frenzy and I don't want to detract from the issues. I'm proud of the fact that I've been involved with this debate but I'm passing the baton on to other artists."And I've shut down the blog, the abuse was getting too much."Allen had set up a blog "It's Not Alright" (in reference to her first album Alright, Still) collating the views of artists after her comments that…

Oh Crumbs: Is it Time for Biscuit Injury Lawsuits?

From The Daily Record 08/09/09:Custard creams are Britain's most dangerous biscuits, it was revealed yesterday A study claimed an estimated 25million people in Britain had been injured by biscuits.Hidden dangers included flying fragments and daredevil dunking in scalding tea. And custard creams were the worst offenders, posing the biggest risk to innocent dunkers.Around 500 people a year need hospital treatment because of biscuit injuries.The study by Mindlab found 29 per cent of adults had been splashed or scalded by hot drinks while dunking or trying to fish the remnants from hot tea.They also found 28 per cent had choked on crumbs and 10 per cent had broken a tooth or filling biting a biccy.More unusually, three per cent had poked themselves in the eye with a biscuit and seven per cent were bitten by a pet or "other wild animal" trying to get their biscuit.Personally, I would have thought that Ginger Nuts would be the most dangerous biscuit owing to the hard and cris…