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Collecting things My Grandmother's elephant

By Chris Wilson
My grandmother had a beautiful elephant carved out of sandalwood on her dressing
table which I secretly used to covet. I wanted it more than anything in the world. It was
about the size of a football and had a cheeky smile. It was inlaid with tiny circular
mirrors and mother of pearl, and had real ivory tusks and toenails. One day my sister
said Oh Grandma, please can I have it? and, to my fury and disbelief, she just gave it
to her! I immediately made two resolutions: 1) never to speak to either of them ever
again. 2) To find another elephant just like it.
Ever since I have been scouring the world. I have rummaged round junk shops and
antique shops all over Europe, I have been to garage sales and flea markets in
America, I have hung about in Arab souks and Indian bazaars, but I have never seen
anything quite the same.
Along the way, however, I have acquired all sorts of other elephants and my collection
has grown and grown. I have got black ebony elephants from Malawi, and a couple of
ivory all, I hasten to add, made a long time ago, before the ebony trees were chopped
down and the ivory trade was made illegal. I also have soap stone elephants from
Zimbabwe, and an exotic Congolese one carved out of bright green malachite. I have a
whole family of wooden Thai elephants marching along the top of my piano
sometimes when I sit and play I could swear they are marching in time to the music. I
have two very heavy, long legged elephants which I bought in Khan el Khalili, in Cairo,
which I use as bookends, and an enormous fat one from the Sudan which I use as a
coffee table. My search goes on, but it gets more and more difficult to find really good
pieces. On recent trips to Africa I have noticed how the quality of the workmanship has
deteriorated. In craft markets all over the continent you can find thousands of elephants,
but they are nearly all shoddily made, churned out for tourists by people who probably
have never seen a real elephant in their lives.
Why do people collect things? Probably many, like me, dont set out to do so. You just
acquire something, then another and another and then, once youve got a small
collection you just keep adding to it. I have an uncle who collects key rings he has
hundreds of them from all over the world but he cant remember how it started. Other

people collect stamps, stones, beer cans, beer mats, match boxes, all sorts of things.
For some it can become a total obsession and they will go to any lengths to get
something. One of my colleagues collects Royal memorabilia, which to me is the
ultimate in bad taste! Her house is crammed full of kitsch things like Coronation mugs,
ashtrays with pictures of Charles and Diana, British flags, tea towels printed with
Windsor Castle and even a toilet seat cover with Prince Andrew grinning widely up at
you. What is this urge to possess all these things?
I recently discussed this question with a group of students in Mozambique and what
rapidly became evident was that few of them had such an urge. Why not? I asked. I
dont know said Anotonio. Its just not in our culture.Does that mean youre not as
materialistic as Europeans?Antonio laughed. No way! We want cars and houses and
fancy things just like anyone else, but we dont collect knick knacks, things we cant
use.I think its because of our recent war said Maria and the state of the economy.
For many years there was nothing to collect, except shells off the beach perhaps.
collect shoes said Teresa, who comes from Angola. I have over seventy pairs. But I
buy them to wear, not just for the sake of having them.Oh come on! laughed Antonio.
Anything you dont actually need you have for the sake of having it, and you cant
possibly need seventy pairs!I do, I need every single pair! she insisted.So you are a
collector!No Im not!Yes you are! shouted the whole class.
Paula stuck up her hand. Im a collector she said. am a fan of Julio Iglesias and I
have all his CDs, every one, even the latest which, I have to admit, isnt very good at
all. So why did you buy it? I asked. Well, because Ive got all the others of course
she said. And my son collects those little plastic dinosaurs you find inside cereal
packets. Hes only got to get T Rex and then hes got the whole set.They are exploiting
you said Antonio. They encourage children to become collectors so that you keep
buying more and more. This is something new in our country. Soon we will all be
fanatically collecting things, just like everyone else in the world.
Harshill, who is of Indian origin, had been silent all this time. He cleared his throat. One
good reason to collect things is that a collection is worth more - how do you say in
English? More than the sum of its parts. If you sold your elephants one by one you
wouldnt get nearly as much as if you sold the whole collection. So it is a way of saving
money, a good investment.

On the way back to my hotel a young boy was selling a badly carved elephant by the
side of the road. I didnt want it but I bought it because I felt sorry for him. Later I thought
I should just have given him some money and let him try to sell it to someone else. It
would never be part of my collection, each in its own special place in a different part of
my house. I imagined walking round looking at them all and thought about what Harshill
had said its a way of increasing the value of what you already have - but as usual
there was that niggling feeling that my collection, not matter how valuable, would never
be complete. Not without my Grandmothers elephant! What a waste for it to be with my
sister when it could be, should be, with me!Oh well, never mind, try not to be
obsessed I told myself.
Ever since though, I have been lying awake at night, thinking of it standing there on a
brass table in her hallway, next to the window she always leaves open for her cat. Her
dogs know me, so they wont be a problem when I climb over the wall in my gloves and
balaclava. The whole operation will be over in less than five minutes. The only problem
is, having acquired it, what will I do when my sister comes barging in to nose around, as
she periodically does, and sees it in pride of place in my house? Ill have to keep it
hidden and then what will be the point of having it? Oh dear. Perhaps I could have a
special alarm that would only ring when my sister is on her way. No thats silly. Ill just
have to move. To another country, under another name, far, far away. But even then,
knowing her, shell track me down. Oh dear Reader, what would you do if you were


by Richard Sidaway

Are you convinced that your government is in contact with UFOs? Do you think that
President Kennedy was the victim of more than one assassin? Do you get the feeling
that we are being watched? Then you are probably a believer in conspiracy theories.
The success of the Da Vinci Code alleging that the Catholic Church has suppressed
the truth about the death of Jesus shows how such theories can take hold of the popular
Everyone loves a conspiracy

They say that there are two basic explanations for dramatic or world-changing events.
The conspiracy theory assumes that tragedies such as the death of Princess Diana in
Paris were not just accidents but were carefully planned and carried out by a group of
powerful people operating behind the scenes for various sinister motives. The cock-up
theory of history says that such events are probably caused by a combination of human
incompetence and bad timing.
The conspiracy theory is, naturally, much more attractive because humans can be seen
as powerful shapers of their own destiny, rather than the weak and fallible creatures
they are. And because they are usually impossible to prove either one way or the other,
conspiracy theories are limited only by the human imagination.
The real thing

Of course, there have been some real conspiracies through the ages. The Gunpowder
Plot in England in 1605 to get rid of the King of England, or the July 20th plot to kill
Hitler in 1944, were taken seriously enough at the time - the conspirators confessed
after being tortured and they were then executed.
Secret societies are a matter of historical record too, with their initiation rites, hierarchy,
secret signs and elaborate rituals. Some, like the Brotherhood of the Rosicrucians, were
mystical or religious in nature. Others are more social or political in character like the
Freemasons, whose members have included writers, generals, politicians and even

kings. They formed the opposition to the Catholic Church in Southern Europe, for
example, and supported the pursuit of rational thought, scientific endeavour and liberal
Verging on the paranoid

But just because you say you have discovered a plot and brought some people to trial
doesnt mean that a conspiracy really existed. In the dying days of Stalins regime, a
group of Jewish medical professionals were accused of conspiring to poison Soviet
leaders and overthrow the state. Hundreds were arrested and executed. The Doctors
Plot of 1953 was just one in a long line of purges necessary to maintain the climate of
fear by which the Communist Party ruled. It was more a symptom of Stalins antisemitism and paranoia than a real conspiracy.
Tragic consequences

The longest-running conspiracy theory is probably the one about the Jews wanting to
take over the world. Such ideas have served as the justification for acts of random,
irrational violence against Jewish communities over the centuries, and led to their
systematic persecution by the Inquisition. A book was published in the 1920s
supposedly giving documentary proof of such a world conspiracy, but it was later
exposed as a fraud. This didnt prevent the horrific attempt by the Nazis to exterminate
the entire Jewish population of Europe during the Second World War.
The downright silly

Some conspiracy theories can be quite entertaining. Take the case of the humble light
bulb. Who would believe that companies had known for years how to make one that
lasts for much longer than normal, but formed a cartel to suppress it from the market
because it would mean their profits would be drastically affected.
And what about the carburettor that can make a car run 300 miles on a single gallon of
petrol but has been kept from consumers deliberately? Or the automobile company that
tried to get control of trams in cities so that people would buy more cars instead of using
public transport?

Some people even believe barcodes are a population-control device used by a secret
unnamed organisation intent on world domination and that the numbers hide the mark
of the devil
And the death of Diana? Well, apparently the driver wasnt really drunk and there was a
lot of carbon monoxide in his blood. A letter had been written by the Princess just before
the accident happened claiming that someone wanted to get rid of her, and the French
authorities never carried out a post-mortem to find out the cause of her death. These
isolated facts supposedly add up to a secret plot by intelligence agencies to prevent the
destruction of the British monarchy.
An awful warning

Whatever you do, though, dont let your life be dominated by conspiracy theories or you
could end up like the former footballer and TV sports commentator who currently
believes that the world is going to be taken over by a secret brotherhood of reptiles, and
has published various books giving details. His writings sell very well in some parts of
the world, but there must be easier ways of being popular in Canada

Consumer society
by Julie Bray
There is enough on earth for everybodys need, but not for everyones greed. Gandhi
If we only bought things we needed, there would be enough for everybody. What do we
need? What you need depends on how old you are and your way of life. Rearrange the
list of things you can buy and put the things you think we most need at the top of the list.

A coat
A pair of trainers
Levis jeans
A CD player
A pair of jeans
A dental check-up
A restaurant meal
A telephone
Gold-coloured laces in your trainers
An appointment at the hair salon
An iPod
A packet of M&Ms
Cushion covers
Table mats which match the curtains

If we dont need to buy so much, we dont need to work so much. We can take part-time
jobs or reduce our working day from 8 hours to 6 hours. Some people are leaving very

well-paid jobs to live a healthier life in the countryside or a more exciting life abroad.
This is called downshifting. Parents can spend more time with their children and the
unemployed are given more opportunities to work.
If we start to respect saving the earth more than spending money, we will become
conservers. When we are conservers, we try to choose environmentally friendly
products which are durable and last a long time. We may find growing our own
vegetables or making our own clothes more rewarding than buying them.
What was the best thing you bought last week?
Could you choose from lots of different types? We like having a choice of what to buy.
People who buy things are called consumers. Consumers have choices. We usually
choose the colour, taste, smell or size of what we buy, but there are other choices we
can make. The following questions will help you to consider these choices.
Where was it made?
If you dont like the place it was made, you might decide not to buy that particular
product. A lot of people dont buy products from certain countries when they dont like
the way the country is run. Was it made in a factory or on a local farm? If the product
was unbelievably cheap, the people who made it might not have been paid much.
Who made it?
Do you know? If a friend made it, you probably like it more and you will want to keep it
for a long time. If it was made by somebody who enjoyed making it, the quality and the
design are probably better. Or does it look like it might have been assembled in a large
There are children in Asia who make Santa Claus dolls for European children to play
with. The children who make the toys dont celebrate Christmas because they are not
Christian; they think of the dolls as work. Would it be better if the children in Europe
made their own Christmas dolls?
What is it made from?

One of the places where we want to buy expensive luxuries is at the airports duty-free
shop. Next to the chocolate and cigarettes, there are beautifully shaped bottles and
compact boxes full of perfumes and creams which promise to make you look and feel
more beautiful. If you look at the ingredients you will find that the perfumes are mainly
alcohol and the creams are mainly made of petroleum!
Almost all products are sold in packaging. Some products have too much packaging,
creating more rubbish and using up resources. Some use recycled packaging, which is
better for the environment.
Next time you go shopping, think about what you really need to buy. Dont deprive
yourself of things you like, but decide what you should buy before you go out, so that
you wont be influenced by advertisements or promotions. If it is more expensive to buy
goods which dont have much packaging and things which are more durable, buy less. If
you can choose to work less, decide which things you would like to make, do or grow
yourself. Even though you have less money, your life will become richer!

Crazy Festivals
There are many famous festivals around the world. The Carnivals in Rio de Janeiro and
Venice, Munich's Oktoberfest and London's Notting Hill Carnival are three examples.
There are, however, festivals going on somewhere in the world every day of the year.
These range from very large events which involve whole cities to local celebrations in
tiny villages or neighbourhoods of towns or cities. We have selected a few of the more
unusual, colourful festivals from around the world.
Australia Day Cockroach Races: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
"Racing is simple....the races are held in a circular track and roaches are then let go
from an upturned bucket in the middle...first to the edge is a winner. Things are made a
little more difficult in the steeplechase events where a circular fence (garden hose) is
used to enhance the spectacle and test the roach talent."See more
Canberra Sled Dog Classic: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Dog sledding is one of the fastest growing sports on the east coast of Australia. As
there's no snow (the trail is earth and sand and is smooth and wide with a few hills and
turns), the sleds have wheels instead of runners, but the excitement is the same.
Darwin Beer Can Regatta: Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
This local charity event brings together great engineers and great drinkers. Participants
construct everything from life-size beer-can canoes to beer-can Viking warships
(complete with fire hoses) during this off-the-wall regatta.
Festival of Snakes, Abruzzo, Italy
"Each year in the tiny hamlet of Cocullo, surrounded by some of Italy's most
undomesticated forests, the villagers prove their devotion by getting down and dirty with
as many fork-tongued reptiles as they can."

Henley-on-Todd Regatta: Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

"This multi-event program attracts many local and international participants from the
audience who often finish up on world TV news paddling canoes with sand shovels and
in land lubber events like filling empty 44 gallon drums with sand. The Henley-on-Todd
is run entirely on a volunteer basis by the three Rotary Clubs based in the Alice. The
entire proceeds - over a million dollars in the 30 plus years of the event - are allocated
to local, national and international humanitarian projects."
Text from Festivals.com
International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest: Eau Claire, MI, USA
"A nutritious sport - is there a better way to dispose of the pit once you have eaten the
cherry? Entrants eat a cherry and then spit the pit as far as possible on a blacktop
surface. The pit that goes the farthest including the roll is the champ."
Interstate Mullet Toss: Pensacola, Florida, USA
"Pensacola locals and tourists alike have been trying to perfect the art of mullet-tossing
for more than 15 years. Ok -- so what exactly is a mullet? A mullet is a bottom-feeding,
saltwater fish that people go nuts about every April. Competitors from far and wide
come to the Florida and Alabama border town for this head-to-head competition to see
who, while standing on the Florida side, can toss the one and a half pound fish into the
Alabama side the farthest. Prizes are awarded and all entries receive a free T-shirt
exclaiming, "Dear Ma, thanks for the college education!" More than 300 pounds of
mullet are used each year. Sounds like a lot of fish? They are recycled! After
contestants throw their fish they must retrieve it, and if it's not too mangled they put it
back in the bucket. Other festivities include the Mullet Man Triathlon, Mullet Swing Golf
Classic, Ms. Mullet Bikini Contest, a wet T-shirt contest, volleyball, skeet shooting, a keg
toss, three bandstands and seven bar stations."
La Tomatina: Buol, Spain
"The tomato battle is in honor of Saint Luis Beltran, the patron saint of Buol. Residents
and visitors take part in a tomato-throwing battle that decimates more than 88,000

pounds of tomatoes. This wacky event began with a serious aim as a symbolic protest
against Franco. But the Tomatina is now firmly entrenched as an amusing way to end
the summer."
Mighty Mud Mania: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
"Children's dreams really do come true in the City of Scottsdale. Children aged 1 to 13,
get to participate in a mud race to end all mud races. During the running of the Mighty
Mud Obstacle course, several mud pits strategically placed, provide wet and really dirty
obstacles as kids compete for the fastest time in each heat. There are also mud puddle
pools for the tiny tots, and a mini mud course for those six and younger. In addition,
Mighty Mudway features water and mud games. There are also water slides, sandcastle
buildings and fun for all ages. Moms and dads, remember to send your kids out with old
clothes and shoes that lace up or Velcro closures. And have no fear, Rural Metro Fire
Department is on hand to literally hose down the muddy children."
Songkran Festival, Thailand
What better way to celebrate the "start of the return of rains" than with a country-wide
water fight? Thais celebrate their festival officially from April 13th until April 15th. These
three days represent the last day of the old year, the day of transition, and the first day
of the New Year. These are days of cleaning the houses and the body, days of merry
making, and renewal. Nothing evil has to be taken into the New Year. Formerly one
sprinkled or spilled a bit of scented water over the hands or shoulders of elders and
friends to ask them forgiveness for coarse or wicked speaking. But in modern times
these traditions, which still are held in family celebrations, are hidden behind water
battles fought out for days in the streets of every town and city over the country.
The New Straits Times Million Ringgit Charity Duck Race: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thirteen years ago, Eric Schechter and his friends were brainstorming to find new ways
of raising money for local charities when they came up with the idea of rubber duck
races. The event, crazy as it may sound, involves racing "cool" rubber ducks down a
local waterway and having members of the community "adopt" the ducks for a chance
to win valuable donated prizes, possibly even $1 million bucks.

Wife Carrying World Championships: Sonkajarvi, Finland

"The idea of the Wife Carrying Competition is Sonkajrvi's very own and, in spite of its
humorous aspects, it has deep roots in the local history. In the late 1800's there was in
the area a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen, who is said to have accepted in his troops
only those men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, it was also
a common practice to steal women from the neighbouring villages."
World Bog Snorkeling Championships and Mountain Bike Bog Leaping:
Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
"It's the muckiest dip you've ever taken! Swim two lengths of a bog wearing a snorkel, or
jump on a mountain bike and leap the bogs over a 20-mile course. If bog snorkeling's
your game, get ready to flounder your way through 120 yards of peat bog in the
quickest possible time. Your attire? A snorkel and flippers, of course. Uhhh - and maybe
some swim trunks. And you can't use any conventional swimming strokes. This battle of
wills in a dirty, smelly, wet Welsh peat bog trench is not for the faint of heart! If you'd
rather be above the bog (though there's no guarantee you won't end up in it), try taking
your mountain bike through 20 miles of boggy terrain, in the bog-leaping event. It's your
chance to show off your bike-in-a-bog maneuvering abilities! Following your adventures,
kind folks are on hand to hose you down. Goodness knows, you'll need it! Happy

Creepy Crawlies

By Alison Driver

When you read in English, sometimes you will meet new words. It is a good idea to try
to guess the meaning of the unknown words by looking at the context in which they
appear before using a dictionary. This way you can become a more proficient reader.
What is a creepy crawly?

Well, it isnt easy to give a straight definition so Ill tell you a couple of stories to try to
explain. A few years ago I was on holiday in Holland. I was on a bicycle trip and at the
very first sign of a hill, I got off my bike for a rest. I sat down by the side of the road on
the grass. A few seconds later, I was covered in ants. They were swarming all over me
so I quickly got up and brushed them off. I had obviously sat near an anthill and they
were protecting their territory from an invader. It was a strange experience but I soon
forgot about it, got back on my bike and tackled the hill.
A couple of years later, I was living in Jordan. I had just moved into a modern flat and
was unpacking plates and saucepans, when I saw something move out of the corner of
my eye. I looked over at the kitchen drawer, where I had put the knives and forks, and
there was a cockroach crawling out of it. I screamed. Then, my heart pounding, and
probably still screaming, I grabbed a handy can of insecticide and sprayed half of it on
the very hardy cockroach. He ran at me but I jumped out of the way and he scuttled out
of the kitchen and under the nearby toilet door. It took me three days before I found the
courage to open the toilet door (luckily there was another bathroom in the house!) to
see if he was still alive. He wasnt.
Why did I react so violently to one lone insect when a closer encounter with hundreds of
ants hardly affected me? The answer is easy: because cockroaches are creepy crawlies
and ants arent.
Creepy crawlies are those little bugs which provoke feelings such as apprehension,
anxiety or aversion they make your skin crawl. Flies arent creepy crawlies but spiders
are. Ladybirds are rather sweet but centipedes are scary. Guess which is a creepy

Did you know that some people can feel such a fear of bugs that it can even become a
phobia? I recognise that my reaction was exaggerated. I knew the cockroach wasnt
going to harm me, even though he did seem to be running straight for me even as I
sprayed, but I couldnt help myself. Why did I react the way I did to a relatively
innocuous creature?
Psychologists have offered many explanations. Some say it was an instinctive reaction
to a perceived threat, the idea being that these insects were harmful to us many
generations back and that this fear is harboured in our subconscious. Others explain it
by saying that we associate them with dirt and disease. Or that these are life forms that
are so alien to us, that we find them repulsive for their dissimilarity. A more culturalspecific reason proffered is that in Western philosophy the individual is held to be the
most important creature of all Gods creatures and other living creatures are
subordinate to him. Insects, instead, dont follow our rules they just do what they want
and invade our space. It is interesting to note that in China, where man is viewed as
only one element of the world and humans and nature are one and the same, aversion
to insects is not as common.
Whatever the cause, entomologists despair at this squeamish attitude towards their
object of study. They would like us to appreciate insects for the benefits they bring,
which are many. Pest control and waste decomposition to name a couple. Unfortunately,
although insects and bugs have been a very successful animal species up to now, many
of them, like many other species nowadays, are under threat of extinction.
Entomologists warn that this could upset entire ecosystems and lead to all kinds of
disastrous consequences.
So my plea to you is: the next time you feel the urge to stamp on, splatter or spray a
creepy crawly, give a thought to the planet and desist !


By Paul Millard

Dbo zpv sfbe uijt? Jut b tfdsfu dpef! If you dont understand that, it is because I wrote it
in a secret code. It isnt a very complicated code. I just changed every letter for the one
following it in the alphabet. So, b is c, c is d and so on. Fbtz
Secret codes are not a new idea. They are almost as old as writing itself. We know that
the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used them, as did the Arabs of a thousand years
ago. They were especially important in war. Commanders didnt want the enemy to
capture their messages and understand their plans, so they wrote them in code. Of
course, the enemy did want to understand the messages, so they would try to find the
code, or break it.
The Enigma code

As a result, codes became more and more complicated. One of the most famous is the
Enigma code, invented by the Germans and used in the Second World War. People
believed that it was impossible to break, because it was so clever. The amazing thing
about Enigma was that it was always changing. In one message, the letter e could be
f, but in another message it could be z. So, there were millions of possibilities in every
coded message.
The first people to attempt to break the code were the Polish, who were concerned
about Hitlers rise to power. A group of mathematicians worked on the Enigma problem.
They found out a lot about how it worked, but they couldnt understand it. When Hitler
attacked in 1939, the Poles told the British everything that they knew about the code.
Atlantic danger

Most of the British code-breakers thought that Enigma was unbreakable. They were
especially concerned about the Enigma variations used by the German navy. The
submarines sent by Hitler to attack ships in the Atlantic were probably the greatest
danger faced by the British and American allies in the war. Britain needed food and
other essentials from outside, and the Americans needed to send soldiers and supplies

safely across the ocean. Without breaking the code, there was little chance of defeating
the submarines. Without control of the Atlantic, there was little chance of victory.
Alan Turing, code-breaker

Almost alone, one man began to work on the problem. He was a brilliant young
mathematician called Alan Turing. He believed that he could break the code with
advanced logic and statistics. However, he needed to make a machine that could do a
very large number of calculations very quickly. By improving on the machines that the
Poles had made, he built a machine called the Bombe.
It worked. He broke the Enigma code. The British and Americans could read the
messages that were sent to and from Hitlers submarines. Slowly, the allies won the
Battle of the Atlantic. They had freedom to move at sea and could send their armies to
liberate Western Europe from Hitler and the Nazis. In 1943, they went to Italy and in
1944 they successfully landed in France. This was the landing shown in the film,
Saving Private Ryan. Without Turing and his code-breaking, the history of Europe and
the world could have been very different.
From code-breaking to computer-building

Turing continued working with machines and electronics and in 1944 he talked about
building a brain. Turing had an idea for an electronic universal machine that could do
any logical task. Soon after the war, he went to work at Manchester University and in
1948 the Manchester Baby was born. It was Turings second great invention and the
worlds first digital computer. When he sent a message from his computer to a telex
machine, Alan Turing wrote the first e-mail in history.
So, what happened next in the life of this highly talented man? His great achievements
in code-breaking and computing happened in his twenties and thirties. He was still a
young man - in the same year that his computer worked for the first time, he nearly ran
in the Olympic Games for Britain. We know that he had many ideas to develop in digital
computing, quantum physics, biology and philosophy. Sadly, he wasnt able to work fully
on these ideas. Turings personal life became more and more problematic.

A genius under attack

Alan Turing was a homosexual. Nowadays, this is legal and widely accepted in Britain
and most other Western countries. Fifty years ago, it was a very different story, and
people were sent to prison for homosexual acts. Turing had to stop doing code-breaking
work for the British government because his homosexuality was a security risk. This
hurt and angered him, especially as it hadnt been a problem in the war years.
Increasingly, Turing refused to hide his homosexuality, believing that there was nothing
wrong with him. Perhaps he felt that he deserved individual freedom, having done so
much for freedom in the world.
Finally, he was arrested by the police and in March 1952 he was found guilty at a
criminal trial. He wasnt sent to prison instead he was injected with the female
hormone, oestrogen, in an attempt to stop his homosexual behaviour.
A tragic end

Two years later, Alan Turing was dead. He killed himself by eating an apple containing
the poison, cyanide. The apple - the symbol of the physics of Newton, of forbidden love,
of knowledge itself - became the symbol of tragic death.
For many years, Turing was a forgotten hero. Now, more than fifty years after his death,
more and more people are learning of his work in war and in peace. The BBC made a
television programme about him. Some years ago, a statue designed by Glyn Hughes
was put up in a small park in Manchester. It is of Turing, sitting on a park bench, with an
apple in his hand. The money for the statue mostly came from individual people who
wanted to remember him. No money came from the British government or any major
computer company, despite the great work that Turing had done for them.
It is a wonderful memorial, but perhaps a greater memorial is that you are reading this
now because of Turings computing work, and that I could write it in a democratic
country in Western Europe.

Danger: Bird Bath!

by Andy Baxter
We all know that chainsaws are very dangerous. In Britain, 1207 people had to visit
hospitals after accidents with chainsaws in 1999. However, in the same year, 16,662
people, more than twelve times as many, were injured by their sofa!
In June 2001, the New Scientist reported that its favourite government report had been
published by Britain's Department of Trade and Industry . This was the annual Home
and Leisure Accident Surveillance System report for 1999. The report looks at what
people said had made them go to accident departments in certain British hospitals. It
then uses these figures to estimate causes of accidents over the whole country.
Some of the most harmless things prove to be extremely dangerous:
Clothes: the Times (07 June 2001) reported that there were 5945 trouser accidents
(compared with only 5,137 the previous year). Socks and tights caused 10,773
accidents. Most of these accidents were people falling over because they were getting
dressed too fast, and many other people fell over clothes left on the floor (you see, your
mother was right when she told you to tidy up your bedroom!)
Meanwhile, the garden also took its revenge. Tree trunks caused 1,810 accidents, and
bird baths went on the rampage, attacking 311 people - up from 117 victims in 1998. But
the biggest danger was your wellington boots: 5,615 accidents.
In films, people always hide from danger in the bathroom, but thats a dangerous option
in real life. Toilet-roll holders alone accounted for 329 victims, while 787 people had to
confront their sponge or loofah, and there were 73 talcum powder victims. But beware
the clothes basket, which claimed 3,421 victims nationwide.
But it was in the kitchen that most people got injured. Tea cosies woollen covers for
tea pots to keep the tea hot caused 37 injuries, compared with 20 the previous year;
while placemat accidents were up from 157 to 165. Vegetables caused 13,132
incidents, while 91 accidents were caused by bread bins.

The deadly nature of these common household objects becomes clearer when you
compare it with items people normally think are dangerous. Only 329 injuries were
caused by meat cleavers, and only 439 caused by rat or mouse poison.
How can we explain all these horrors hiding in our homes? Perhaps the figures are
explained by the fact that most of the injured people were children under five. And we all
know that young children on wobbly legs will go to places and insert their fingers in
places that even Lara Croft would have thought twice about risking


by Katherine Bilsborough


There is evidence to suggest that even as far back as prehistoric times, Neanderthal
man buried their dead with flowers. This suggests a certain emotional concern for the
well being of the dead and might indicate a belief in an afterlife of some kind. Another
piece of evidence that backs up this theory is the fact that Neanderthals also buried
their dead in a curled position facing the sunrise. They probably believed that the dead
would eventually wake up into a new life.
Irish Catholics

In Ireland, Catholics hold a wake for the dead. The wake house is usually the house
where the deceased lived and died. The body is laid out in a room of the house in an
open coffin. Friends and family gather in a separate room to pay their respects. There is
usually an atmosphere of celebration with food, drink and music. Everybody talks about
the dead person and shares their fond memories. When it is time to carry the coffin to
the graveyard, a longer route is normally chosen. If anybody comes across the funeral
procession it is quite common to join in. After the funeral the men usually go to the pub
while the women return home.
Aborigine Tribes

Aborigines do not recognise any form of natural death and as a consequence they treat
all deaths as a type of murder. When a person dies, the rest of the tribe show their pain
and mourning by wailing. This is also a way of showing their innocence regarding the
murder. The dead body is covered with red earth and painted with yellow and white
tribal markings. The earth represents the blood of birth, indicating a belief in the afterlife.
The markings transform the dead body into a sacred being.


Muslims believe that their lives on earth are only a transition before entering a more
important afterlife. Islamic graveyards are often situated just outside the walls of a city
because of a superstitious fear of the dead.The Shahada is a prayer that is offered. It
is similar to the Last Rites of Catholics and other Christian religions. Muslims bury their
dead in white shrouds with their eyes closed and it is normal to hold the burial service
on the same day as the person dies. The body is always buried facing Mecca.
Dakota Indian Tribe

The Dakota Indians bury their dead with much wailing and mourning. It is common for
women to cut their arms and legs until they bleed. Meanwhile the men blacken their
face with ash.The deceased is dressed in fine clothes and the face is painted red to
symbolise life. The Dakota Indians believe that their dead will be reborn into a better life.
When the deceased has been dressed and painted, he is taken to a platform which has
been specially prepared for the occasion. The body is placed on the platform with all of
his favourite things in life so that he does not have to come back for anything that he
has forgotten.

By John Kuti
Why are there so many people in the world without food, water, schools and doctors?
For people living in the rich countries talking about development usually means feeling
sorry for poor people in poor countries, or feeling happy about pop stars or politicians
who say they have done something to help them. But, if you look at it another way, all of
the human race is developing
Twenty years ago the world was divided into three parts. The first world was the rich
countries of Western Europe, North America and Japan. The Soviet Union and countries
closely connected with it made another different world, and then there was the Third
World countries which had to choose which side they were on. The Third World did
not get its name for being poor but for being outside of the Cold War, or in fact the
places where the Cold War could turn into a real one.
Then the second world disappeared. This meant that poor countries were only left with
one choice if they wanted to get richer doing business with everyone else on the
planet. Many of the poorest countries got professional help to do this from the
International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and other organisations. These
organisations lent them money and told them what kind of political changes to make in
their country.
During the same period the economies of the rich countries have been changing. A lot
of industries have closed down or been moved abroad, There has been a big increase
in the employment of people who provide services complicated services like
investments or insurance and simple ones like sandwiches. Its clearly not true that that
these countries have finished developing, in fact they are changing faster and faster
with every new technology and fashion.
Development is happening everywhere around the world and it has started to be called
globalisation. There is a serious argument that this process is unfair and that it is
causing a lot of poverty in poor countries and in rich ones.

Some of the anti-globalists are really not interested about economics at all. However,
the economic parts of the argument go something like this:International trade is good for
a minority of people who receive the profits from big transactions. These rich people
tend to spend or save their money in the capitals of rich countries, so they dont do
much to help people in their own countries. The worst situation occurs in areas where
there are no resources that the rest of the world wants to buy. International trade cant
help these countries at all.
The worlds wealth ends up going to the richest organisations in the richest countries,
the banks and the big companies that are involved in international trade. It leaves the
poor countries either to pay back loans, or to buy expensive luxuries, weapons and
other things that only the First World produces.