Bright Star

Just watched the International Space Station pass directly over the UK. It was 263 miles up, travelling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour. In and out of sight in only 6 minutes. Amazing sight.

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A Better Class of Vandal

The following graffiti has been scrawled on the bottom of a platform sign at Gunnersbury Underground station:

To be joyous is to be like a madman in a world of dead ghosts.

Turns out it’s a misquote of Henry Miller, who apparently stated:

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Silly mistake. Whoever heard of a dead ghost? Nevertheless, the scribe was obviously reasonably literate … for a vandal.

Red letter daze

Two years ago I suggested that the true nature of management was widely misunderstood in the UK (see Management is a dirty word). Last month a short, but revealing, comment in the Guardian provided more evidence that business may well be a victim of its own bad press.

In the last year or so, Rachel Elnaugh has become one of the most recognisable female entrepreneurs in Britain. She was one of five judges on a BBC television show called the Dragons’ Den in which aspiring entrepreneurs presented their business plan in the hope that the judges (aka the “Dragons”) would invest in the project.

Unfortunately for Ms Elnaugh, her own business (Red Letter Days) went into Administration this summer, and she became the subject of much criticism in the press.

Last month she was interviewed for the Guardian from which the following excerpt was taken :

There’s no such thing as a nice businessperson, she believes, although for the first time in the interview she’s aware she might be saying something controversial. “You’re not there to be namby-pamby and nice, you’re there to make the business work.”

It’s quite astonishing to hear a recognisable role model such as Elnaugh express such a negative view of her own occupation. The implications for her self-esteem are frightening, and you know the problem is serious when it so clearly comes from within.

Newspapers desperate to entertain

Newspaper advertisement for a free DVD
Newspaper advertisement for a free DVD

Newspapers are struggling these days. It seems fewer and fewer people read a newspaper regularly, and circulation revenue has decreased as a result. So the press is trying all kinds of ploys to attract “readers”, even going so far as to give away DVDs of full-length movies each week in the attempt.

Today, for example, the following papers are giving away the following films:

In keeping with the national trend, my wife and I rarely buy a weekend paper. However, in recent weeks we’ve been tempted to do so just to obtain the free DVD with which to improve our weekend viewing. Not long ago, your choice of newspaper was often seen as an expression of your political views. Now it’s more likely to reflect your taste in films!

You can read more about how these DVD offers are turning readers into “newspaper tarts” at the BBC’s web site (see How can papers afford to give away DVDs?).

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