Newsletter 122 – November 2006


Number 122 – November 2006 – ISSN 1470-1863

Online learning – Architecture – Pronunciation

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0— Pub quiz – Question #1

Who died at the battle of Bosworth Field?

0— Did you know that …

Minnows have teeth in their throat.

0— Penguin book cover design

A guy called Joe Kral has a collection of old
Penguin book covers scanned into Flikr. They
are inspired by Phil Baines’ book on the subject –
‘Penguin by Design: A Cover Story’.

It’s a visual treat. Choose the ‘view as
slideshow’ option for the best effect.

Penguin have employed some of the very best
graphic designers and typographists since they
began in 1935. Look and learn.

Penguin book covers

A review of Phil Baines’ book will follow in the next issue

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

What can be a pole with a foot rest, or a wading bird?

0— Did you know that …

You have no sense of smell when you’re asleep

0— ‘Lytton Strachey by Himself’

This is small item for those who like me are
Bloomsbury anoraks. Lytton Strachey was one
of its most talented luminaries who poured a lot
of himself into his voluminous correspondence
– details of which will be coming shortly.

Michael Holroyd (his biographer) has assembled
some of his diaries, journals, and personal
memoirs – documents written largely for himself.

These start with his schoolboy crushes, go
through holiday recollections, and are topped
and tailed by two compositions which Strachey
wrote for the Bloomsbury Memoir Club.

Lytton Strachey by Himself

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

Which is the largest lake in the USA?

0— Did you know that …

The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.

0— ‘Using Moodle’ – new book

What’s ‘Moodle’ I hear you asking. Well, the
long answer to that question is that it’s an
acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic
Learning Environment.

In layman’s terms, it’s software which allows
teachers to put their online learning materials
into a management system. This provides them
with all sorts of tools for enhancing their
course materials: quizzes, discussion forums,
student journals, email chatrooms (if you think
that’s a good thing) glossaries, and it’s even
got its own built-in Wiki.

The main reason it’s featured here is that
Moodle is another product of the Open Source
Software movement. In other words, it’s f.r.e.e
of charge.

And for that reason alone, it is currently
knocking spots off established software such
as Blackboard and WebCT – with schools, colleges,
and universities making *huge* savings on their

This is a simple user’s manual written by
Jason Cole, an American academic now based at
the Open University – which has just adopted Moodle.

Using Moodle

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

How many sheets of A4 paper can be cut
from one sheet of A0?

0— Did you know that …

Contrary to popular belief, hair does not
grow thicker or darker after it has been shaved.

0— ‘Oxford Dictionary of Phrase & Fable’ – new book

Do you know what the expression ‘jumping the shark’
means – and where it comes from?

This is a crossword puzzler’s or a quiz fan’s dream –
a book which offers explanations, definitions, and
the origins of words, phrases, sayings, and obscure
terms from throughout cultural history.

It ranges from names in ancient Greece and Rome,
through famous people and events, to problematic
and obscure terms such as ‘hyperborean’, and
‘quadrivian’. Get from Aaron (of rod fame) via
Lohengrin and the Missouri Compromise, to Diego
de la Velda – better known to those of us who
used to go to the cinema as kids on Saturday
mornings as Zorro!

Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

How is architect and designer
Charles Edward Jeanneret better known?

0— Did you know that …

Worcestershire sauce is basically an anchovy ketchup.

0— ‘BBC Guide to Pronunciation’ – new book

Would you know how to pronounce the English
family name Featherstonehaugh? Be careful! –
because there are several options, and none
of them sounds remotely what the word *looks*

And how about the term ‘controversy’ – is it
CONtroVERsey or conTROVersey?

This guide has been written by people working
at the BBC speech unit. They advise announcers
on how to pronounce unusual and foreign words,
get names right, and establish a standard which
used to be called ‘The Queen’s English’. But
times have moved on – which is why the monarch
now sounds a bit dated. Get the latest here:

Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

Which two countries border on Uruguay?

0— Did you know that …

Your brain is 80% water

0— ‘Mediterranean Modern’ – new book

If you would like to die of envy, just
glance at the homes pictured in this
lavishly illustrated book from Thames
and Hudson.

It’s a collection of very modern buildings
set in the most beautiful locations, dotted
around the Mediterranean coastline.

They capture a style of architecture and
interior design that emphasizes clean lines,
open floor plans, and seamless indoor-outdoor
living spaces. Full review here at –

Mediterranean Modern

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

What colour is malachite?

0— Did you know that …

If you shake a can of mixed nuts,
the larger ones will rise to the top.

0— Plagiarism Wars

Students are downloading work from the Internet,
doing a cut and paste job – and submitting work
which is not their own, but plagiarised.

[You might recall that the UK government did
the same thing for its ‘dodgy dossier’ in the
leadup to the war on Iraq.]

Universities are countering this by installing
software programs which will check against
databases – though how on earth these can be
kept up to date I have yet to see explained.

Meanwhile, the number of commercial companies
offering essays for sale is growing exponentially.
Of course they claim that these essays are only
available as “examples of good work” – and are
not to be submitted.

Why then do many of them claim that each work
will be written to order? And they even quote
prices per page or 1,000 words.

The universities are saying “if your essays
are merely examples, show them to us” – and
one company,, is doing just

They claim that they are “Strongly anti-plagiarism”,
and their site does look a bit less tacky than most.

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

What are the main ingredients of kedgeree?

0— Did you know that ..

George Bush and Hugh Hefner are cousins.

DELETED ITEM [out of date]

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

How many British monarchs have there been since 1900?

0— Did you know that …?

Tug of war was an Olympic event prior to 1920

0— ‘Talk to the Hand’ – new book

Lynne Truss is the author of the recent
surprise best-seller on punctuation,
‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’.

This is her latest – which is a rant about
the decline in modern manners and behaviour.
Learn how to get angry about bad service in
restaurants and supermarkets. It’s written
in her usual witty and self-deprecating style.

Talk to the Hand

And if you missed ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’
first time round, have a look at –

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Who built the first successful helicopter?

0— Did you know that …?

Vincent van Gogh only ever sold one of his paintings.

0— Corrections

Clark Richardson emailed from Tokyo to point
out that the links to Amazon in our review of
Michael Quinion’s ‘Gallimauphry’ were not working.

Apologies to Clark and anyone else who tried to
get through. All is well again now. Go to –


The web address we gave for Michael Quinion’s
World Wide Words site in the last issue should be

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Who died at the battle of Bosworth Field?

#2 What can be a pole with a foot rest, or a wading bird?

#3 Which is the largest lake in the USA?
ANSWER: Lake Superior

#4 How many sheets of A4 paper can be cut
from one sheet of A0?
ANSWER: Sixteen

#5 How is architect and designer
Charles Edward Jeanneret better known?
ANSWER: Le Corbusier

#6 Which two countries border on Uruguay?
ANSWER: Brazil and Argentina

#7 What colour is malachite?

#8 What are the main ingredients of kedgeree?
ANSWER: Rice and fish

#9 How many British monarchs have there been since 1900?

#10 Who built the first successful helicopter?
ANSWER: Igor Sikorsky


Natural Selection

Leonard Woolf’s Diaries

Web Design: Flash Sites

Web Services Essentials

Lytton Strachey – Letters

eBay – The Missing Manual

Yahoo! Hacks

(c) Copyright 2006, MANTEX
All Rights Reserved

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ISSN 1470-1863
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