The Daily: Writing
Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Daily: August 22

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Stephanie Rihon
Churchill & the power of the speech
'Success is not final, failure is not fatal': one of the many examples of Winston Churchill's poetic words that stand the test of time to make it into the 50 best one liner compilations. However, a new book by Exeter University's history professor, Richard Toye, named 'Roar of the Lion' exposes the power of the speech-making myth. That it is only, in fact, a mask or myth. Toye argues that, for example, in Churchill's 'finest hour' speech, all the 'rhetorical flourishes' that sounded beautiful on the radio, did not have as great an effect on the British will to fight as people think. In fact, Labour MP Harold Nicholson said it sounded 'ghastly'.

There is great myth surrounding the art of speech-making which Toye wishes to reveal with his new book. In his view, a speech is not necessarily born great but it becomes so once the public attaches a level of importance to it. This usually occurs after the said subject has died to become an image frozen in time. An example used was that of President John F. Kennedy. His choice of words during his 1960 inaugural address of 'ask not what your country can do for you' was only properly elevated to the Speeches Hall of Fame until after his death in 1963. Perhaps, these words become part of history because they represent values and ideals that we cherish today so they continue to strike a chord and become louder as the years pass.

What Toye seems to be asking his readers with this new somewhat controversial publication is to question whether a politician's words will be remembered for what they are or for a set of emotions they incite within. Think about that next time Cameron delivers his speeches.

Going, going, gone!
Auction houses have been kept busy this week with two starkly contrasted sales occurring in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, a selection of cigars belonging to Hermann Goering was sold in Lincoln for £1,300. The cigars were removed from his home shortly after the end of the Second World War. The box contained the inscription 'Sondernfetigung Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering' translating to 'Specially made for Reichsmarshall Hermann Georing'. It also included his personal coat of arms and cigar supplier's name, Gildeman Ltd. Goering was known to indulge in the luxurious lifestyle holding lavish parties at his Schorfheide Forest home in Brandenburg in Berlin; he even had a pet lion. The auction house, Golding Young and Mawer, said that the 'unusual items' were in an 'untouched condition' and sold to an international online buyer.

Additionally, one of John Lennon's famous coats is to be auctioned today. The teal blue Nehru jacket that was owned by Jo Jo John's, The Beatles personal assistant, is to be sold for an estimated £12,000. Junior valuer Elizabeth Bailey said that the coat's history made the 'whole room drop into a stunned silence'. The coat was worn by the musical legend several times and shows slight signs of wear. Unfortunately, the chance to own the Reichsmarshall's cigars has passed but you can still be the lucky recipient of the Beatles creators' 1960s coat. 'Imagine' that!

So long handwriting, hello twitter
Remember the days of writing letters to your pen pal, practicising your handwriting with those long 'g's', and those handwriting lessons? Those are all long gone with the daily technological advancements that occur bringing us all one step further away from the days of perfect handwriting. Many are becoming alarmed by the severity of this problem, so much so that the death of penmanship could be upon us. A survey by 'Docmail' suggests that 1 in 3 of the population cannot even read their own handwriting let alone anyone else's. North Carolina congresswoman Pat Hurley is trying to combat this problem. She recently passed a bill requiring all primary schools to teach written script. Other than being practical, scientists have discovered that handwriting forms an important part of our development allowing fine motor skills and good hand-eye coordination to develop.

However, two German entrepreneurs seem to have found the solution to this, ironically with another technological invention. A new digital pen named 'Lenstift' (translated as learning pen) has been created to vibrate when it senses poor writing or letter formations. The aim is to help society write more legibly so as not to completely lose the art of penmanship. The double edged sword of advancing technology strikes again: the increase in texting and tweeting could lead to the death of handwriting.

Desk Rage
With the current road rage fiasco occurring in New York, researchers have conducted their own experiment over the pond documenting occurrences of desk rage. Gavin Herbert, who works at an alcohol company commissioned the survey finding some startling results. Almost 51% are affected by desk rage that put it down to having no time for lunch-breaks or bust-ups over who makes the next round of tea. A further 42% found that desk rage was particularly common on Monday's boiling over to complete frustration by noon.

Interestingly, however, approximately 64% try to ignore the rage to have a peaceful existence in their offices despite the anger bubbling up inside them. The other 13% confront the object of their annoyance even causing physical fights in the workplace. Herbert continues to defend his findings saying that 'British adults are renowned for their work hard, play hard attitude' which means that high stress offices are the norm. In these pressured environments, 'smaller niggles' are exaggerated causing the infamous desk rages. Further to this, the researchers compiled a list of the top 20 office nuisances including the obvious computer or printer crashing and lack of praise from superiors. One of the most fascinating findings of this study was that gossiping colleagues trumped refusal of pay rises on the top 20 list. Think about that next time you have a natter by the water cooler.

New health benefits of caffeine
New research by Professor Paul Yen of North Carolina's Duke University has shown that an increase in caffeine intake could provide positive health effects on the liver. The results are particularly targeted at those suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which affects the 70% of the population who are diagnosed with diabetes or prone to obesity. Professor Yen used mice models and cell cultures to demonstrate that caffeine catalyses the metabolisation of lipids stored in the liver. This causes the fatty cells to diminish and reduces the effects of NAFLD. Yen argues that the optimum amount should be approximately four cups of tea or coffee.
Interestingly, research usually shows the opposite of this but Yen hopes that this will decrease the negative image of caffeine. It may lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs. There you have it, that cup o' joe in the morning will do more than perk you up!


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