October 11th, 2006


Making a vaguely topical post, I've been aware of some recent controversy over two related incidents. Firstly, Jack Straw vs Muslim women wearing veils. Secondly, the armed policeman who didn't guard the embassy that he was initially assigned to. In both of these cases, I think that the way they've been reported seems to vary according to the agenda of the news organisation, so I'm reluctant to take sides without knowing the facts. Essentially, the question is whether the people concerned were asking a favour or insisting on a particular action.

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And finally, coming back to what I said about dubious grammar, the BBC journalists still have room for improvement. I was amused by the article I read last month about healthy eating: Chips down as school term starts. Quoting from that article: "The Department for Education guidelines mean meals must include at least two portions of fruit and vegetables and deep-fried foods are restricted." I suspect that pozorvlak and totherme will immediately spot the ambiguity in that sentence, as fellow computer scientists! Basically, you can interpret it in two ways:
a) Meals must contain two items of fruit, but vegetables/deep-fried foods are restricted.
b) Meals must contain two items of fruit/vegetables, but deep-fried foods are restricted.
So, C- I think - could do better if they tried...