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The Rich Tapestry of Life Page
I am aware that we get a bit sniffy about the media sometimes, especially “The Press”. On the previous Tapestry page we resorted to trolling  National Geographic Magazines. Possibly one of the best resources for checking what the press have been saying is “The Week”  which produces an amazing tapestry of life in its pages each week as it pulls together the writings of the Press at large over the past week. Here are a bunch of random snippets from just three copies.
This is PAGE TWENTY NINE - What a Mixed Bag
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American celebs talking about stuff from beyond their shores is always good for a laugh. My two recent favourites are these — the first a rather plaintive offering from the model Tila Tequila: 'I never said I hated anyone, but just because I feel sympathy, compassion and forgiveness for others such as Hitler means I am now a monster?' Then there's this: 'I've never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don't like eating fish. And I know that's very popular out there in Africa.' You just knew that was from Britney, didn't you?"
Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times

“Five times as much manuka honey is sold worldwide as is produced”

WH Smith is a cutting back on an honesty box scheme for buying newspapers because customers aren’t being honest enough. The company said it was removing a third of its 60 boxes because they were being “misused”

Only 16% of Britons say they are “very happy” with life, down from 19% in 2008. 63% say they are “rather happy”, 18% “not very happy”, and 2% “not happy at all”


Universities have had to ask prospective students to stop aping the egotistical hyper­bole of The Apprentice. Southampton University warned applicants that grand boasts – such as "my achievements at school were vast", or "I tackle the tasks presented to me with wisdom and sincerity" –might work on the BBC show, but wouldn't wash with admissions tutors. It cited one drama applicant who wrote that the first time he or she had been on stage was "inside my mother's womb".


"I must apologise to the Germans. They are about to suffer an avalanche of often sickening Great War memorabilia, often at their expense. The centenary of the War is already flooding the TV schedules before the date of its outbreak. History bestseller lists focus on little else: there are no fewer than 8,000 titles on the subject. War magazines cram newsstands. There are war poems, war propaganda, war nurses and war horses everywhere. And there are still four years of it to come... The essence of the outbreak of the Great War is that no one thought it was the start of anything. It was a sabre-rattling face-off expected to last a month or two. To revel in a final victory is one thing; to revel in these squalid miscalculations is gratuitous."

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian


Today's teenagers are not the feckless wasters they are often made out to be. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new report by the well-respected think tank Demos. Four out of five 14 to 17-year-olds said they felt their generation was more concerned than the previous one about social issues such as education and poverty — and 66% of their teachers agreed. When asked to describe today's teenagers, the most common words used by teachers were: "hard-working", "caring" and "enthusiastic".


To their proponents, flood defences are some of the best things that public money can buy. According to the Committee on Climate Change, the independent scientific body that advises the Government and Parliament on the likely impact of climate change, every El spent on flood prevention is likely to save £8 in the future. When hydrologists are trying everything from waterproof paints to plastic doors to natural inter­ventions such as widened ditches and "bunds" – mounds of earth, designed to soak water away – there is no shortage of options. But there is also a danger in believing that technology and drainage can keep back the waters forever. Building on hillsides, which inevitably entails interrupting unspoilt views, is one unpopular but effective way of making sure that floodplains can do their job – and stay as floodplains.


MPs voted last week in favour of a ban on smoking in cars in which children are present, it was billed as a clash between child protection and civil liberties. In reality, says Zoe Williams, the row was just a distraction from "more pressing concerns". Exposing children to smoke in the confines of a car is, of course, a terrible idea, but it's odd to make such a fuss over this issue when the health of poor children is compromised in so many other ways. What about the health risks of living in squalid b&bs or damp flats? Mould, like second-hand smoke, has been linked to cot death. What about food poverty? Hospital admissions as a result of malnutrition almost doubled between 2008 and 2012. The fact that children in this country are going hungry doesn't seem to bother the Government, but they throw up their hands in horror at the idea of a child in a smoky car. It's a "mawkish", "disingenuous" position, designed less to protect health than to stamp into "public lore an image that so fixates conservative opinion" – that of the negligent, working-class parent.


Crocodiles climb trees

If you're being chased by a crocodile, don't assume you can escape it by scrambling up a

tree. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered that some species of reptiles are surprisingly agile climbers, quite capable of getting themselves into high branches, reports The Huffington Post. One crocodile was seen climbing four metres (13ft) up the tree, and five metres (16.5ft) along a branch. Another was observed trying to scale a chain link fence. But it does not appear that the reptiles were in pursuit of prey, human or otherwise. The biologists, who monitored crocodiles in North America, Africa and Australia, noted that they become "skittish" in trees, and fall or jump into the water below when approached. This led them to theorise that the creatures climb trees to survey their territory for potential threats and prey. They may also use them to regulate their body temperature: if there is nowhere to bask on the ground, they'll hop onto a branch.


A team of British scientists believe they may have solved the problem of peanut allergies, reports the Daily Mail. For the STOP II trial, 99 children aged seven to 16 were given tiny doses of peanut protein every day, which were gradually increased over four to six months. By the end, 84% to 91% of the participants could safely tolerate 800mg of peanut protein, equivalent to five peanuts. "Children and their parents would check every food label and avoid eating out in restaurants," said study leader Dr Andrew Clark, of Cambridge University Hospitals. "Now most can safely eat at least five whole peanuts. The families involved in this study say it has changed their lives dramatically." However, the researcher said the findings needed to be tested further - and warned parents not to try the treatment at home. One in 50 children suffer from peanut allergies, which can be fatal.


Shiver yourself thin

It could be the world's easiest weight-loss plan, says The Daily Telegraph: it involves no running or dieting — you just need to turn down the thermostat. Last week it was widely reported that British homes are being kept far warmer than 30 years ago; and scientists believe that this may be causing us to pile on the pounds, because our bodies are no longer having to burn calories to keep us warm. As being colder raises the metabolic rate — the speed at which calories are burnt — by as much as 30%, researchers at Maastricht University advise that we turn down our thermo­stats to between 15°C (59°F) and 17°C (62°F) for a few hours each day., "Regular exposure to mild cold may provide a healthy and sustainable alternative strategy for increasing energy expenditure," said lead author Dr Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt.


Be glad that your child isn't a genius

I'm sorry to break it to you like this, says Alex Proud, but your child probably isn't a genius. And no amount of special schooling is going to turn him or her into one. That's a heretical thing to say, I know, in an age when everyone talks as if the purpose of school is to unleash the inner Einstein in every child in Britain. We fret about the reading levels of our pre-schoolers; we pore over the results of academic league tables; parents in the private sector are caught up in "an arms race" to buy their offspring ever more educational advantage. But the irony is that much of this activity is counterproductive. If the long working hours needed to pay the school fees result in divorce, that is going to "mess Jake up a whole lot more than not sending him to Eton". In any case, we shouldn't want our kids to be geniuses: study after study shows that child prodigies rarely go on to be successful. And for a very good reason: the attributes you need to thrive as an adult — charm, resilience, a well-rounded character — have nothing to do with academic brilliance. "So, as I say, your child is not a genius — and you should be thankful for it."


Wit &Wisdom

"Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government programme."
Milton Friedman, quoted in the New Statesman


"Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become
politicians in the process."
John E Kennedy, quoted on


"Any fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple."
Pete Seeger, quoted in The Times



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