If mountains are made of rocks and oceans are made of rain, what is soil made of?
Get those wonky flappers fixed
Dr Ballcock invents the perfect circle.
24-hour quality clown service
Stop right there! Your furniture could soon be illegal.
Introducing lamp posts to Europe
New data protection laws mean that any workers with access to sensitive personal information will be required to have their memories hypnotically erased upon moving to a new place of work.
"Every time somebody leaves an employer we run the risk of a massive data breach," said Emma Cryption from the Information Commissioner's Office. "Whether through carelessness or deliberate action, there is an ever-present danger that personal information, your personal information, could fall into the wrong hands. We can take measures to ensure that printed matter never leaves the workplace, we can ensure that passwords are updated and networks remain secure, but we've never been able to wipe the information stored in people's heads - until now."
Although traditionally considered unreliable, recent breakthroughs in the field of hypnotic suggestion mean that it is now considered a feasible way of preventing both conscious and subconscious information leakage. New legislation will soon make it mandatory in many professions and the Information Commissioner's Office is keen to provide reassurance.
"It's perfectly safe," said Mrs Cryption. "Admittedly, the techniques in use are very new and still a little rough around the edges. It's not as precise in targeting specific memories as we would like and occasionally other information can go missing, but there's really very little that can go wrong. In fact, as part of the ongoing trials I myself have been getting 'hypnotically wiped' every Friday evening for the last few months and apart from forgetting my PIN number, my passwords, my wedding anniversary, my mother's birthday, my email address, my husband's name and where live, there's really been no problem at all."
"I don't think it's wholly unreasonable to expect spacemen to stop dumping their garbage in my back garden." So says Alexander Cravat, who is fed up with astronauts on the International Space Station discarding their rubbish on his property.
"It started six months ago," said Mr Cravat, a self-employed weasel stuffer from Essex. "Each morning I wake up to find piles of trash heaped up against the fence. At first I thought it was the local kids, but then I noticed stuff that you wouldn't expect to find in ordinary household waste. Things like empty oxygen cylinders, burnt-out circuit boards, tatty old star maps and an inordinate number of Twix wrappers. That's when I thought to myself 'Hello - that's bloody spacemen, that is'."
Mr Cravat has now filed a legal claim to recover the cost of cleaning up the mess, including £12.99 for a new brush. He has also asked the local authority to bring a prosecution for fly-tipping, but a spokesman for the council was reluctant to offer much hope of success.
"The problem we have is in uncovering hard evidence that astronauts were responsible," he explained. "Mr Cravat has shown us several items that he claims can only have come from the International Space Station. We have passed these to our technical advisers but their view is that a dry cleaning ticket for a space suit and a battered Haynes Manual for a Soyuz capsule are circumstantial evidence at best."
Nevertheless, the council's environmental health department has sent an investigator to try and catch the culprits in the act - although at the moment he's in hospital with concussion, after being hit by a superheated baked bean can that had reached terminal velocity as it plummeted to the ground from low Earth orbit. Or, at least, that's what Mr Cravat believes; the local police have been unwilling to rule out the possibility that it was hurled from the top deck of a bus.
Concerns are growing for eight employees of a Leeds packaging firm who have been stranded at the top of a series of moderately-sized ladders since yesterday. Their ordeal began partway through a two day course in ladder safety, consisting of two modules - the first dealing with descent, the second tackling ascent. An administrative error led to the modules being delivered in the wrong order, resulting in most of the group getting trapped on the top rungs of their demonstration ladders, without having received the proper training to get back down again.
Concerned colleagues have been supplying them with sandwiches and hot drinks while options are considered for returning them to terra firma. We understand that the fire brigade have now been called and a trained ladder specialist is currently trying to talk the stricken trainees down by shouting encouraging instructions through a megaphone.
Following a series of failures and performance issues, a Microsoft spokesperson has admitted that the company cannot entirely rule out the possibility that their operating system might be evil.
"For some time we have attributed crashes, lost functionality, failures to load and so on as consequences of the slapdash approach to quality control that comes with being the market leader," said Harriet Bios at the company's headquarters yesterday. "But now we're starting to suspect that Windows has evolved some form of rudimentary consciousness, which is not altogether benign."
This is something that consumer organisations have been saying for some time, pointing to the software's uncanny ability to fail at the most inconvenient moment and the sheer cruelty of incorporating sophisticated backup and recovery systems which, as soon as you need them, you discover are switched off by default.
"What I find particularly malevolent," said Kieran Vorderman, feature writer for Creative Soldering magazine, "is the way that, when something goes wrong, the system will helpfully notify you that there is a problem then give absolutely no information about what the problem is nor what to do about it. Can there be any greater indication that what we are dealing with here is a sick, sick mind?"
Inevitably, Microsoft is trying to play down this issue and is instead focussing on the roll out of a new update to fix the problem.
"We're not going to automatically overwrite your operating system's moral compass," explained Ms Bios. "We believe that the choice is ultimately up to the user, and so the update will introduce the ability to toggle the malignancy settings. This way, users who prefer their PC to keep acting like a complete bastard will be unaffected."
Scientists attempting to recreate a woolly mammoth have hit a snag. "We started at the feet," says Dr Susan Bones, "We made them out of papier mâché and chicken wire, but then we got stuck at the knees. We just don't seem to be able to get the knobbly bits right."
But Dr Bones' team is not the only one trying to resurrect a long-lost prehistoric creature, and her competitors have been less than complimentary. "These people haven't got a clue about basic animal biology and in my opinion they ought to leave this kind of thing to the experts," said Professor Gary Raptor, who made himself a stegosaurus out of Plasticine only last week.
See the full list
Can machines swear?
Archeologists unearth historic appliance.
Mrs Lubricant wants to make the coastline 'less jaggedy'.
Simon Cocksure has replaced his wiring with sausages
Discovery follows six month dig.
Post your blood to us now.
"Using nothing more than a raised elbow..."
"A Huge pie hanging in space..."
"A barcode scanner that can read zebras..."
"Eradicate the misery of pixies..."
"Concerns for cathedral root system..."
"The world's fattest man suffered a fatal earthquake in the early hours of the morning..."more...
Qualifications now availableMaxilingual for Motorists
Swearing in foreignPayday Porker
Get cash fastTraffic Watch
Latest news from the county's roadsMore...
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2016, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.