Newsletter 130 – July 2007


Number 130 – July 2007 – ISSN 1470-1863

Journalism – Technology – eLearning

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0— ‘The Myths of Innovation’ – new book

Scott Berkun was a member of the Microsoft
team which produced Internet Explorer, but
he’s now a best-selling author.

His latest book is about how discoveries
are made – and how they are NOT made.

His basic argument is that significant
developments don’t occur like light bulbs
being switched on, or apples falling on
someone’s head – even Isaac Newton’s.

Most breakthroughs in science, technology,
and business come about because of hard
work, patient slog, and even failed attempts.

It’s a lively, entertaining read which will
give you new approaches to thinking in a
creative and enterprising manner.

The Myths of Innovation

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

Who telephoned Neil Armstrong during his first moon walk?

0— ‘Metaphor’ – new book

The publishers Routledge have a series called
New Critical Idiom which look at basic concepts
and key terms used in literary, communication,
and media studies.

This one’s about metaphors – plus similes,
allegories, symbols, and any other case where
one thing is seen in terms of another.

David Punter’s examples are drawn from all
parts of life – literature, newspapers,
politics, and the spoken language we use.

The Crown, Fathers4Justice, ‘venture capital’,
and ‘front line services’ are all metaphors
which he analyses to show their hidden meanings.

This will appeal to students of literature,
but the implications of what he has to say
go much wider. Full review at –


0— Pub quiz – Question #2

Which vegetable flavours a Bordelaise sauce?

0— ‘Print Journalism’ – new book for freelancers

If you want to know what’s involved in the
business of newspapers, magazines, and journals,
this book has it all.

It’s a series of essays by professional
journalists who have since gone into
teaching. They describe everything – the
history of print journalism, how newsrooms
are run, who edits what, and how to become a
successful freelancer.

There are chapters on the politics of
newspaper ownership, what effect the Internet
is having, and issues of law, copyright,
and intellectual property rights.

Print Journalism

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

Where would you be looking at a Snellen Chart?

DELETED ITEM [out of date]

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

Who was John the Baptist’s father?

0— ‘eLearning: the key concepts’ – new book

This is a cross between a general introduction
to elearning and a work of reference.

The first part of the book is a long essay
that spells out all the latest issues connected
with eLearning – technological, pedagogical,
and ideological.

Then the rest of the book is devoted to an
A to Z explanation of all the main issues –
from ‘accessibility’ to ‘wireless networks’.

eLearning is a hot issue at the moment,
because schools, colleges, and universities
want to put their courses on line and make
them available at any time, in any place.

eLearning – the key concepts

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

How many strings are there on a double bass?

0— ‘The Basics of Essay Writing’ – new book

This book was written by a guy from the
Open University who was head of the team
that produced one of its most successful
writing skills courses – on which I’m a tutor.

It takes students through all the most
fundamental requirements for producing
academic essays. This goes from understanding
the question, through to writing the
essay, editing the results, and making
sure it’s presented in the best way.

His guidance is written in an amazingly
condensed manner. It’s a slim book, but
there’s nothing missing. Full review at –

The Basics of Essay Writing

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

Who played the title role in ‘The Wizard of Oz’?

0— ‘Preparing Dissertations and Theses’

Most students have problems when in comes
to writing a dissertation or a thesis.

After all, it’s not every day you have to
write something which could be anything up
to 100,000 words long – and which you might
labour over for three years or more.

This short guide covers every part of the
process. It starts from the first problem
of choosing a suitable subject for research.

Then it shows you how to gather information,
do the research, make notes, and keep track
of the work as it goes on.

It also shows you how to present the
finished work – plus how to use referencing,
footnotes, and bibliographies correctly.

It’s only a short book, but it will be
reassuring to anybody working on projects
at postgraduate level. Full review at –

Preparing Dissertations and Theses

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

Where is the county of Barsetshire?

0— ‘Virginia Woolf – Illustrated’

Some readers think there’s too much on
Bloomsbury in this newsletter – others
can’t get enough.

This is a book that will appeal both to
beginners and the well-informed.

It’s a short biography of Virginia Woolf
written by John Lehmann, who worked with
her and Leonard Woolf at the Hogarth Press.

It’s frank and revealing about her unusual
private life – but the main appeal is that
the book is so beautifully illustrated.

There are portraits of the main Bloomsbury
characters, paintings and sketches, photographs
of the places where they lived and wrote, book
jacket designs, and studies of interior design
which are now part of the National Trust.

It’s a very popular production. Full review at –

Virginia Woolf: illustrated biography

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

What is the common name for foxaemia?

0— Amazon Reviews – Is censorship at work?

A few subscribers wrote in last month to
point out that Amazon had removed the
ironic reviews of Richard Littlejohn’s
book from their site.

What’s happened since is that Amazon have
created a ‘Customer Discussions’ page called
‘Where have the customers reviews gone?’ –
and eventually, three weeks later, have
issued a statement saying that the original
reviews were outside their ‘guidelines’.

But the odd thing is that most of the satirical
reviews seem to have crept back into the main list.
You’ll have to scroll past the first few, but
from ‘Alan de Botton’ onwards, they get funnier.

Amazon reviews

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

What is Mesopotamia called today?

0— ‘Hyde Park Gate News’

This is great fun, and an amazing literary
find. It’s a compilation of family ‘newspapers’
written by Virginia Woolf with her sister Vanessa
and brother Thoby when they were children.

It deals with the small events of domestic life
out of which Woolf was later to make so much
imaginative use in her later work.

It’s a mixture of letters, stories, advice columns,
answers to questions, and reports on family events –
all retailed in a satirical and parodic fashion.

The style is modelled on Tit Bits, which had been
launched in 1881 and established a weekly
circulation of around 500,000.

Hyde Park Gate News

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Which report established the UK welfare state?

0— Wikipedia statistics – July 2007

Wikipedia is now twenty times bigger than the
entire seventeen volumes of the Encyclopaedia

It is the ninth most popular website in the world.

Jimmy Wales runs it as a charity on a budget of
UKP 700,000 a year provided by donations, mostly
of around UKP 20. It takes no advertising.

At the last count it carried pages on 1,799,000
subjects in English alone (and it exists, on a
smaller scale, in 252 other languages).

It is growing at a rate of 1,700 articles a day.
At peak times it has around 15,000 hits every second.


0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Who telephoned Neil Armstrong during his first moon walk?
ANSWER: Richard Nixon

#2 Which vegetable flavours a Bordelaise sauce?
ANSWER: Shallot

#3 Where would you be looking at a Snellen Chart?
ANSWER: An optician’s surgery

#4 Who was John the Baptist’s father?
ANSWER: Zacharias

#5 How many strings are there on a double bass?

#6 Who played the title role in ‘The Wizard of Oz’?
ANSWER: Frank Morgan

#7 Where is the county of Barsetshire?
ANSWER: In the novels of Anthony Trollope

#8 What is the common name for foxaemia?
ANSWER: Blood poisoning

#9 What is Mesopotamia called today?

#10 Which report established the UK welfare state?
ANSWER: Beveridge (1940)


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