Online Insights on FIVEaa Sunday January 1 2012

January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012 and the first edition of Online Insights for another year. This month we take a different approach to resolutions involving food, give ourselves some tricks for spelling better, correct some of the common myths we all believe and finish with a way to play book publisher.

What’s more, most of tonight’s links may prove helpful on this sweltering, 41 degree day.

Food list challenge

Frogs' legs anybody? (Image: David Reber's Hammer Photography via Flickr)
Frogs' legs anybody?

Could this be your New Year’s Resolution for 2012?

The food list challenge is a list of 100 foods and the authors believe your score determines how much of a ‘foodie’ you are. Turns out I am Mr Average with 47 out of the 100.

The list includes:

  • Aligator
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Frogs’ Legs
  • Goulash
  • Pistachio Ice Cream
  • Rabbit Stew

They’re all from my COMPLETED list. Some still to conquer include:

  • Absinthe
  • Black Pudding
  • Crickets
  • Eel
  • Haggis
  • Squirrel

However, I am in NO rush.

One observation, though. If you struggle with New Year’s Resolutions for giving things up, you might do better with this because it is about putting things in your mouth.

Take the challenge yourself and share your results on Facebook, if you wish.

10 words you need to stop misspelling

All of us have words we misspell often. I seem to struggle with ‘separate’. Every time I write it I need to force myself not to write ‘seperate’.

Meanwhile, some of us keep getting tripped up by some of the fundamental building blocks of English, such as its and it’s, and their, they’re and there.

Oatmeal has come to the rescue with a simple chart that captures 10 of the most commonly misspelled words, along with tips for avoiding the error in the future.

Here are a couple:

  • Its and it’s: One of these is a contraction of it is (the one with the apostrophe), the other, without the apostrophe, is the possessive of ‘it’, ie, something belonging to ‘it’. The tip Oatmeal gives you is this: If can replace the term ‘its’ with ‘it is’ then you should be using the apostrophe.
  • Definitely: It seems many people put an ‘a’ into this word. The solution from Oatmeal: If you put an A into Definitely, you are definitely an A-hole. Not classy, by it might help you remember.
  • A lot and alot: Need help with this one? Firstly, ‘alot’ is not a word and secondly, the Oatmeal tip is to remember you need ‘a lot’ of space between ‘a’ and ‘lot’.

While this small, educational artwork is not the complete answer to life, the universe and everything, it is a start and has lots of links to other resources.

10 facts that everyone gets wrong

This article is from the Washington Post and is available to newspaper subscribers OR people who log in to the paper’s Social Reading App on Facebook. Basically, if you follow the link, below, you will be asked to log in to Facebook, if not already, and then agree to the App being part of your experience. After that, you get plenty of access to Washington Post material, in return for your friends seeing what you are reading in the Facebook news feed AND you being able to see what they are reading.

That aside, here are some of the questionable facts outlined in the story (sure to stoke up some New Year’s Day discussions):

  • Cracking Your Knuckles Won’t Give You Arthritis – As it turns out, this is anecdotally true, after a doctor cracked one of his thumbs every day for 60 years, while leaving the other one uncracked. No arthritis in either thumb.
  • We Only Use 10 per cent of Our Brains – This is false. Or rather, this is a myth. We actually use 100 per cent of our brains. Whether the statement started with a misquote of Albert Einstein or other luminaries, we now know that destruction of even small areas of the human brain can have devastating effects on behavior.
  • Fans Can’t Kill You – This is right, sleeping with your electric fan on overnight is safe, despite the hysterical beliefs of Koreans. In fact, the hysteria is so great in Korea that fans sold there have timers so they can turn themselves off.

You can log in and read through some of the other argument starters. Enjoy.


Mrs Stephen Fry's Frynch
Mrs Stephen Fry's Frynch

Here is a ‘novel’ way to create books you would like to read.

Unbound is a site where established and new authors pitch books they would like to write. We can then pledge money towards the projects, or books, and in return become part of this publishing journey.

Depending on how much you pledge you could end up with your name in the back of the book, you could even have lunch with the author.

What happens is that when a book project has raised enough pledges, the author is given the go ahead to produce the work.

Fascinating project and I wish it every success.

Some of the titles being pitched at the moment include:

  • How to Have an Almost Perfect Marriage –  Mrs Stephen Fry’s guide to an almost perfect marriage. Just like hers.
  • News from Gardenia –  A sci-fi novel by Robert Llewellyn, the star of Red Dwarf, set 200 years in the future in a Britain where we’ve somehow got things right.
  • Evil Machines –  A darkly funny set of linked tales about vengeful phones and hoovers by the legendary Terry Jones.

And I discovered this because Stephen Fry’s tweet last week to a small poem he wrote under his long-running pseudonym of Mrs Stephen Fry. It is called How The Frynch Stole Twitmas.

Every Twit down in Twitville

Liked Twitter a lot,

But the Frynch,

Who lived just North of London,

Did NOT!


The Frynch hated Twitter!

The whole Twitmas season.

Now please don’t ask why,

No-one quite knows the reason.


It could be his laptop

Wasn’t plugged in quite right,

It could be perhaps

That his pants were too tight.


But I think the most likely reason of all,

May have been that his dongle was two sizes too small.

You can read the rest online.