Before we look at today's offerings, I'd like to draw your attention to an item that appeared in the news earlier this week. It was suggested that the IQ of internet users who choose to use Internet Explorer was lower than those users who used Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. It can be read here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/8674678/Internet-Explorer-users-have-below-average-IQ.html as well as in other places. I saw this item and didn't really take much notice (thinking "who comes up with this rubbish?" and not because I hardly ever use IE!) but the follow-up story was of greater interest to me and it can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14389430. Allow me to quote:
Internet Explorer story was bogus
A number of media organisations, including the BBC, reported on the research, put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant.
Questions about the authenticity of the story were raised by readers of the BBC website who established that the company which put out the research - ApTiquant - appeared to have only set up its website in the past month.
Now, there's a thing. What this tells me is that the BBC - again - failed to check the facts of the situation and spread misinformation to its viewers, readers and listeners. It appears that nobody from the BBC questioned the validity of the original story UNTIL those members of the public questioned what they were reading. Remember what I was saying about having to work out a Bollocks To Truth ratio for every news story I read? This has made that calculation a little bit easier, but not in Truth's or the BBC's favour.
So why were those same doubts not raised in the minds of BBC editorial staff? Why did nobody think to check the facts? Why did nobody do the job that I pay them to do? All rhetorical questions as I already know the answer to all three: It was easier not to bother, and because somebody out there will believe it. The more important question it raises in my mind is: How can I believe anything the BBC tells me to be truthful and accurate? The answer is: I can't. No change there then.
So, on with today's irrelevancies...
1) E-PETITIONS - One hundred thousand names on an online petition may be all that's required to get your cause debated in parliament - and the return of the death penalty is expected to be a front-runner. Jeremy chats to Priti Patel, Conservative MP for Witham, and Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West : Democracy in action, or is it? Those in favour of forcing a debate on the return of the death penalty can sign the petition. Those against can do ... well, nothing at all as the only petition I found (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/138) is for those in favour of a return. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in parliament, but for the moment your discussion can ONLY increase the number of signatures on the e-petitions. I do not need to be told what to do so I'll leave it to you to guess whether I will sign or not, as you're good at guessing. Next...
2) BUILDERS - Research suggests that 2.5 million of us have had a dispute with a builder. Builders tell us what every householder should know before hiring one. Jeremy is joined by James Foy, a builder who owns James Foy Construction in Liverpool. Find out more in this Daily Mail article : A story from the Daily Mail ... fantastic. Is reading the Mail the first thing you do every day? Why do you never feature a story from the Daily Express? We had a new bathroom fitted a couple of years ago which involved knocking down walls and building new ones. I was delighted with the work that my builder did. I knew he would do a good job as before I engaged him I obtained several references from other customers of his, followed them up and was pleased to find that they were all good. It is not rocket science, is it? On the basis that I already know what to do I feel that there is no need to listen to all of the shouting and screaming that this item might cause today. Next...
3) HOSNI MUBARAK'S TRIAL - We discuss the opening of the trial of Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president who was forced out of power by a wave of protest. What do Egyptians think of the extraordinary spectacle of their ex-leader being wheeled into court on a hospital bed? : Not being an Egyptian I don't have an opinion on the "extraordinary spectacle", as you put it. I wonder what Egyptians think of the UK phone-hacking scandal, and have no doubt that it is a hot topic on Radio Cairo's lunchtime phone-in show. Or perhaps not. Next...
4) SMARTPHONES - And have you ended a friendship because of someone's addiction to their smartphone? Jeremy talks to Kate Mulvey, journalist and broadcaster, and Christina Patterson, writer and columnist for the Independent : Oooohhh... tricky question... let me think... got it! The answer is: No. However, I shall give it serious consideration in the future. I can make phone calls and send texts on my phone, but I still don't understand how it works without a visible aerial, like my old one had.
And a final quick and genuine question for you, based on a comment left on my blog earlier: What is the difference between a journalist, a writer and a columnist? I thought they were all the same thing, but would love to be educated.
We went to see the latest and last Harry Potter film last night, driving the 60-odd miles to Llandudno (our nearest cinema) to do so. It was brilliant, but I couldn't help but feel that Mr Potter's world was somewhat closer to reality than your own.
The BBC - Broadcasting Bollocks Continuously