Some of the most popular types of lightbulbs are to be phased out across Europe from this week in an attempt to improve energy efficiency in the home. But not everyone thinks the move is a bright idea - as Emma Birchley now reports.
SCRIPT REPORTER : Demand for 100-watt bulbs has been so great at Roger King’s hardware store in Hampton Hill that he’s almost sold out. Customers, he says, have been stockpiling them in tens and twenties while they still have the chance. Soon the only ones available will be the pricier, low-energy variety.
ROGER KING: They don’t like being told what to do, for a start. Many of them don’t feel that it’s actually going to help the situation of energy conservation. Many are concerned that they are not going to be able to see properly with the new type of light because it rapidly diminishes in effectiveness. REPORTER: But from Tuesday it’ll be illegal to import most traditional-style lightbulbs and once wholesalers' current stocks are gone, that’s that.
MAN: There’s no time limit on when people have to replace their bulbs but the question will be: Why wouldn’t you? They save you money, they save energy, they could save a million tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 70,000 cars off the road. There’s no reason not to.
REPORTER: Lighting makes up around a fifth of the cost of our electricity bills. But low-energy bulbs use up to 80% less electricity than standard bulbs, are said to last around ten times longer and save as much as £40 each before they need replacing. B&Q has seen a significant increase in sales since the beginning of the year. It’s about to double the range it sells. The ban means it won’t be long before all frosted and pearl lightbulbs like this disappear from shop shelves altogether. It’s also your last chance to buy 100-watt clear lightbulbs. Lower wattage versions will be around for a while, but they are being phased out by 2012. But despite evidence that the new bulbs are safe, as bright as conventional bulbs and worth the price, not everyone is convinced. CUSTOMER 1: You know, the Big Brother attitude, everybody trying to tell each other what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and the message hasn’t really got out there, to be honest. CUSTOMER 2: There are a lot of people who are very selfish and just think about their lifetime but we’ve got to think about our children and their children’s children. CUSTOMER 3: The bulb seemed to be very long and stuck up above my lampshade and looked a bit peculiar, and I bought some once that had a very cold light. I didn’t like that, but if those problems are sorted out, then I’m happy with it. REPORTER: The range is larger these days, and while some bulbs are a strange shape, many look more conventional. But there’s no denying they’re expensive. Sceptical shoppers will just have to swallow the cost and accept that maybe it’s a price worth paying to save the planet. Emma Birchley, Sky News.
This cartoon by Trumble in The Sun is based on Goya's famous painting The Third of May 1808. The cartoon shows Conservative Party leader David Cameron as a soldier in a firing squad. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (in the white shirt) is kneeling with his arms outstretched. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is clinging to Brown. A dead body lies on the ground in a pool of blood.
COMMENTARY The smoke from the rifle and the bullet holes in the rock behind Brown show that shots have been fired. However, Brown and Mandelson are miraculously unscathed—hence Cameron's question mark (How can this be?). The cartoon seems to be a metaphor for the political situation, in which Gordon Brown has (so far) managed to survive everything Cameron has thrown at him (not to mention a succession of scandals, MP revolts and resignations, and electoral disasters).
The Daily Express claims that a new pill could cut the risk of strokes by up to a third. Full story >>
VOCABULARY 1. Pills are small solid round masses of medicine or vitamins that you swallow without chewing. The pill (with the definite article and sometimes a capital 'p') refers to the contraceptive pill. • Teenage girls on the pill forget to take it an average of three times per month. 2. If someone has a stroke, a blood vessel in their brain bursts or becomes blocked, which may kill them or make them unable to move one side of their body. • He had a minor stroke in 1987, which left him partly paralysed.
Last night I went to see Inglourious Basterds, the new movie from Quentin Tarantino. Reviews have been generally positive (89% on Rotten Tomatoes) but some critics panned it, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The film, set in the Second World War, involves a Jewish-American revenge squad (led by Brad Pitt) intent on killing (and scalping) as many Nazis as possible in German occupied France. Historical realism is not a concern!
WHAT I THOUGHT At two and a half hours the film is far too long and very uneven, but I can't say I was bored. Christoph Waltz is brilliant as the evil, polyglot, Jew-hunting SS Colonel Hans Lander (he won the Best Actor award at Cannes for this role), and there's plenty of trademark Tarantino humour and dialogue. There are also some very gruesome scenes—be prepared to close your eyes if you are squeamish. So it's no Pulp Fiction, but it's certainly not a total disaster either. Here's the trailer:
FOOTNOTES 1. One interesting feature of the film is that the actors speak the language they would 'in real life'. So we hear English, French, German and even Italian. The use of these different languages is integral to the plot, especially in the gripping opening chapter (the best part of the film). 2. The title of the film was inspired by Italian director Enzo Castellari's 1978 Dirty Dozen-like war film The Inglorious Bastards. However, Tarantino's film is not a remake. (Source: Wikipedia) 3. To date, there has been little explanation of the title spelling (in English, the correct spelling would be "Inglorious Bastards", without the extra u in Inglourious and with an a instead of an e in Basterds). When asked, Tarantino would not explain the u and said, "But the 'Basterds'? That's just the way you say it: Basterds." He commented on The Late Show with David Letterman that "Inglourious Basterds" is the "Tarantino way of spelling it." (Source: Wikipedia)
Council staff are being issued with an "idiot's guide" on how to use apostrophes and other punctuation marks correctly in a bid to stem their misuse in street signs and official notices.
The move comes amid growing exasperation about the increasing numbers of grammatical errors appearing on documents and signboards throughout Britain.
Readers of The Sunday Telegraph have submitted dozens of examples of poor grammar following our report of one man's campaign to restore the correct use of the apostrophe in his home town.
Last Sunday we told how Stefan Gatward, who has become known as the Apostrophe Man of Royal Tunbridge Wells, has identified several examples of street signs which have either an apostrophe missing or one in the wrong place.
Local authorities around the country have now resorted to issuing GCSE-style crib sheets to their staff in a bid to raise standards of grammar in their organisations. Full story >>
The Sunday Express says a record number of British children are being treated in hospital for weight problems. Full story >>
VOCABULARY 1. If someone is obese, they are extremely fat. Obesity is the corresponding noun. • The number of people having surgery on the NHS for obesity has rocketed, new figures show. 2. If you describe something as a time bomb, it is likely to have a serious effect on a person or situation at a later date, especially if you think it will cause a lot of damage. • The rise in the elderly population has created a demographic time bomb of unfunded liabilities.
Chinese people are becoming more and more obsessed with speaking English, and efforts to improve their proficiency mean that at some stage this year, the world's most populous nation will become the world's largest English-speaking country. Two billion people are learning English worldwide, and a huge proportion of them are in China.
And sometimes it seems like most of these eager students are learning from Li Yang, who is the true folk hero of the English-language-training business. Li founded the "Crazy English" movement, which now involves him visiting a dozen cities a month and lecturing in English to crowds of up to 30,000 people. His books sell in the millions.
The principle is that "you can't learn to swim in a classroom" – so "Crazy English" teaches language learning as a form of mass activity. At a recent tutorial in Beijing, students passed large banners saying, "I can realize all my dreams" before entering the classroom to sample Li's inimitable mixture of English-language teaching and motivational speaking. There is even a touch of the evangelist about him – though he is preaching to the converted – and the enthusiasm of the response is amazing, with plenty of arm-waving, fist-raising and punching the air. Full story >>
COMMENT I featured Crazy English in an earlier post. What strikes me is how motivated the Chinese are to learn English. This is in sharp contrast with many French students, who seem to regard learning English as a chore. Perhaps it has something to do with the way they've been taught.
This cartoon by Adam Zyglis from The Buffalo News made me smile. Mothers—you gotta love 'em.
VOCABULARY The French have a word "la rentrée", which can be loosely translated as "the back-to-school season". Here in France, "la rentrée" is a huge national event, which, of course, has been thoroughly commercialised. Stores start advertising and selling items (bags, clothes, stationery, etc.) for "la rentrée" as early as July, and supermarkets create whole departments just for school equipment. It's a bit like Christmas—without the lights.
The Financial Times leads with the news that the number of homes sold for more than £1m in London rose in August. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A leap is a large and important change, increase or advance. • Students across Wales celebrated yesterday as GCSE results showed another leap in the numbers receiving the highest grades. Leap is also a verb. • Experts predict that China's auto imports will leap 10 percent this year.
An 11-year-old girl kidnapped nearly 20 years ago in California may have turned up at a police station. Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted from outside her house in 1991. Police are '99% sure' the woman is Miss Dugard. Sky's Alistair Bunkall reports.
A new baby boom in the UK has fuelled the biggest population increase in nearly 50 years. It is the first time in a decade that an increasing birth rate has contributed more to population growth than the rate of immigration. Sky's James Matthews reports.
From "staycations" to knitting clubs, frugal living is increasingly in vogue as families look to cut costs during the economic downturn.
Supermarkets expand their budget lines and two-for-one deals, while magazines offer tips and sewing templates to help people make clothes at home.
Now, 70 years after the outbreak of World War II, High Street department chain John Lewis is getting in on the act - by turning the clock back to days of the Blitz.
It is publishing what it calls a "modern reworking" of the famous 1943 government booklet on making the most of minimal resources - Make Do And Mend. Full story >>
Click on the image below to see some make do and mend tips.
VOCABULARY If you make do with something, you use or have it instead of something else you do not have, although it is not as good. • I couldn't find any organic yoghurt, so we'll just have to make do with this supermarket brand.