Monday 29 February 2016

Current Awareness for 29th February 2016

For the past twenty years or so I've read the papers on every week day morning. Given that it is a special day today - there is even a Google doodle - I thought I'd treat everyone to a bulletin. This is the sort of stuff I'd put in the current awareness, if I was truly uncaring about what work wanted to read. The sound of me reading the Times will probably reach London, as I go apoplectic with the bullshit propaganda.

BBC* Current Awareness for 29th February 2016

Art & Leisure

It's been Milan Fashion Week and the country of dreamy imagination continues selling its clothing concepts to the world. I'm surprised the reporter made such a big of deal of a wardrobe malfunction. As a cynical marketing ploy, it would seem that breasts falling out of minimal clothing would work quite well. Also hugely important for some name's instagram account.

Oh dear god, one article suggests that you can now contour your hair, as well as your face - everyone is turning into a Ordnance Survey map...

Now this is cool; Among Lancelot “Capability” Brown’s gardens are those at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Bowood House in Wiltshire, Prior Park in Bath and Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. His contribution to the landscape will be commemorated by the Capability Brown Festival 2016, a series of events to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth. Everyone should appreciate a good contoured landscape.

Artists are fighting over the colour black. This will not end well.


Apparently car insurance will drop for women. EU referendum: Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland want to stay, as Priti Patel says Brexit will cut car insurance for women That's a nice bit of Telegraph clickbait.

I seriously can't be bothered with Brexit. If we weren't part of a union, this trip away would be a serious headache, with requirement for visas, travel permits.

The headline that caught my eye was the story about police officers trained to tackle extremism being sent into a school after a pupil was seen reading UKIP’s website. Joe Taylor, 15, and his father Mick were called to the office of Wildern School, in Hedge End, Hampshire, to be questioned about their political beliefs after teachers reported “safeguarding concerns” to the police.

I'm sorry, what? Safeguarding concerns? Was the boy questioning political issues; how the heck are the young supposed to learn critical analysis and debating skills. Let's just let them read Peter & Jane books and how to colour in. It's all anyone needs these days. Adult. Colouring. Books. Just saying.


The Times says that charities have to clean up their acts regarding commercial operations. I couldn't agree more, and frankly, if you have any sort of commercial basis and highly paid executives, you should not be called a charity. So there.


There is a plan to reform and expand Sunday trading laws. The whole thing is ridiculous; if you want to open, open, if you don't, don't. It was Sunday in Italy yesterday, we could still have bought basics at any time we liked. Tourist shops were open in the morning, then closed for the afternoon. It's all about choice and customer preference, innit?

The state of your office desk can reveal lot about your personality - My desk is currently a c15th palazzo but I'm running out of clean underwear.


This one made me pull out the world's tiniest violin; Did the financial crisis hit the rich hardest? The net incomes of the top fifth of households fell the most between 2007-08 and 2012-13, by an average of £4,400, or 7.9 per cent in real terms. Pardon me for not giving a rat's arse - I wonder if the world's poorest received the benefit? 'Wealth inequality in the UK is much starker, and has recently risen on the back of house price inflation in London and the Southeast'. Oh so clearly not then. Imaginary money clearly disappeared into a black hole. Let the artists figure that one out.

And since when did banks - or any large corporation - every understand empathy? Banks ordered to treat vulnerable customers with empathy Ever since we lost branches and personal service, the computer can never be argued with, so if you don't have an address, a job, a conventional life, how would you get an account? Even the FCA recognises dealing with vulnerable people FCA encourages firms to do more to support ageing population


A wonderful collection of stuff, as ever from the FT. 'Little sign of life stirring at virtual cemeteries'. What to do when your dead, how will your ancestors remember you on social media?, from California, promises “virtual immortality” in “a library that has people instead of books”. And from Italy, there’s, which is launching in London next month.

Now this is something we could all benefit from. 'App seeks to bridge language gap for migrants in Germany' - Duolingo, a platform used by 110m people around the world, plans to launch a test version of a German for Arabic speakers course next week. Anything that helps people learn a language is good but it doesn't address true integration and actually speaking to one another.

The Times says 'The Investigatory Powers Bill, known as the “snooper’s charter”, is expected to attract controversy when it is introduced to the Commons this week.' Let's hope that the rebels in the backbenches really scupper it. How about all MPs turning up and actually debating it?

And a wonderful nannying app from the government; Sugar Smart app gives small drinks and snacks firms a toothache - the telegraph reckons that consumers are 'panicking' after Government app fails to take into account portion sizes and brands natural sweeteners as bad as refined sugar. Forgive me if I don't panic, and don't download it. Sugar - bad. Every dick knows this.

The rest is all the usual stuff about house prices, badgers, and the economy being buggered. So a week away and nothing has actually changed. How reassuring.

*Bring Back Clare

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