Newsletter 176 – April 2012
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 176 – April 2012 – ISSN 1470-1863
Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK
MICROSOFT MANUAL OF STYLE
If you want to improve your technical writing and
the look of your business documents, you could do
worse than look at Microsoft’s house style guide.
I expected it to be authoritarian and geeky – but
it wasn’t. They say in more or less every case
“This is how we do it at Microsoft. You might
find this useful.” I did.
0— Pub Quiz Question #01
Which is England’s oldest daily newspaper?
MORE GREAT SHORT STORIES
‘The Death of the Lion’ – A talented novelist in his
fading years has his reputation guarded by two lone
enthusiasts, whilst fashionable society fails to notice.
‘The Coxon Fund’ – A charismatic writer and talker sponges
off a series of rich patrons, and eventually secures for
himself a literary endowment – whereupon he never writes
‘The Middle Years’ – An elderly novelist feels he
can produce his greatest work if he is given an extra
lease on life – but dies realising that there is no
‘The Altar of the Dead’ – A man devotes himself to
the memory of dead friends, but misses out on life
and love whilst doing so.
0— Pub Quiz Question #02
Which common disease was known as ‘The White Death’?
THE LIFE OF SLANG
Linguist Julie Coleman takes a fresh look at
how slang gets into the system of English language.
She covers where it comes from, who invents it, and
how words can be slang in one period then change
into Standard English another.
She strikes a good balance between readability
and scholarship. Terrific bibliography.
0— Pub Quiz Question #03
Which calendar did Britain adopt in 1752?
AFTER EASTER – REVISING FOR EXAMS
Schools, colleges, and universities all have
exams in the coming weeks.
Now’s the time to brush up on your revision
and exam skills, plus the study skills of
your own particular subject.
We’ve got downloadable PDF eBooks to cover
all these requirements.
Plus a software program that combines the two:
0— Pub Quiz Question #04
Which term is used to describe the fineness of yarns?
If you are employed as a teacher in a school,
a college, or a university – then the government
pays your wages, from tax payers’ money.
Since this is the case, why shouldn’t the results
of any research be made freely available?
The case for Open Source Research is made in this
This whole subject is also explored in more detail by
Kathleen Fitzpatrick in her book ‘Planned Obsolescence’ –
which is available in open source format here.
0— Pub Quiz Question #05
Which was the world’s first commercial jet aircraft?
THE DEATH OF THE BOOK – AGAIN
Is there a future for the book? That was
the big question at a recent Bath Literature
More on the death of the book here as Guardian
art critic Jonathan Jones compares books with
paintings – and paintings win.
0— Pub Quiz Question #06
To which Indian tribe did Crazy Horse belong?
Faber and Faber have developed an interesting
offshoot to their core business of publishing books.
They are now offering courses that show you how
to write novels, stories, and poetry.
Courses range from one day events to six months spent
learning how to write a novel. Have a well-stocked
cheque book ready.
0— Pub Quiz Question #07
What is another name for Wild Marjoram?
WOMEN AND EROTIC FICTION
Have you noticed that most big bookshops these
days have a section called ‘Erotica’?
And it’s mainly s.e.x pulp fiction produced by
women – or men pretending to be women.
This is all a long way from the days when
Mary Anne Evans pretended to be a man when she
wrote ‘Middlemarch’ (see below)
0— Pub Quiz Question #08
Which animal is the symbol for the World Wildlife Fund?
CHEATING AT UNIVERSITY
The number of people caught cheating in
universities is on the rise. 45,000 in the
last three years, apparently.
Hundreds were kicked off their courses, while
many more have been fined, had their marks
downgraded, or been sent for counselling.
The two chief problems are cut-and-paste
plagiarism, and unscrupulous essay farms.
As it happens, we have the (ahem) answer
to both these issues. And they’re available
f.r.e.e of charge to you guvnor.
#01 – Learn how to avoid plagiarism
#02 – Learn how to write essays
0— Pub Quiz Question #09
What is the currency of Thailand?
R.I.P. Encyclopedia Britannica
Just think – people used to take out hire
purchase agreements to buy their family a
set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
Now after nearly 250 years it is dropping
the print version and concentrating on
its on-line spinoffs.
If you want to read more about the business
model on which it was founded (and foundered)
have a look at ‘Blown to Bits’
0— Pub Quiz Question #10
Which two US cities were linked by Route 66?
ILLEGITIMACY IN LITERATURE
The latest special features page at Abe Books is
on ‘children born out of wedlock’ – in other words
Titles range from ‘Richard III’ via ‘Tom Jones’ and
‘The Scarlet Letter’ to ‘Bleak House’, ‘Adam Bede’,
and ‘Anna Karenina’.
‘Middlemarch’ on Facebook
Good for a larf – especially if you know
the original. I especially liked the comment
that ‘Casaubon came third last out of 100+
males in UK Lit in order of Bangability.’
Excellent spoof by Lindsay Veenstra.
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#01. Which is England’s oldest daily newspaper?
ANSWER: The Times
#02 Which common disease was known as ‘The White Death’?
#03 Which calendar did Britain adopt in 1752?
#04 Which term is used to describe the fineness of yarns?
#05 Which was the world’s first commercial jet aircraft?
#06 To which Indian tribe did Crazy Horse belong?
#07 What is another name for Wild Marjoram?
#08 Which animal is the symbol for the World Wildlife Fund?
ANSWER: The Giant Panda
#09 What is the currency of Thailand?
ANSWER: The Baht
#10 Which two US cities were linked by Route 66?
ANSWER: Chicago and Santa Monica
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