Cure for photo red eye just around the corner

Scientists at King’s College London have announced that they are just days away from finding a cure for photo red eye, a hitherto incurable condition that leaves sufferers, in the main people posing for photographs, with bright, glowing red eyes.

Until recently the disorder could only be alleviated with expensive and time-consuming photoshop treatment, or by wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats as a pre-posing precaution. However, thanks to Professor Mulligan and his team of researchers, this widespread affliction will soon become a thing of the past.

“We have discovered a light-sensitive substance that, when applied via an eye dropper, subtly alters the retina, causing it to black out when exposed to sudden bursts of bright light.” explains Professor Mullins. “Therefore, if someone takes a flash photo, the light of the flash will no longer reflect from the retina, which causes the characteristic red eye effect.” His team have also tested the substance on family pets, resulting in a marked reduction of scary-looking cats.

The discovery has been hailed as a miracle cure by photographers and medical professionals alike, although road safety campaigners are calling for further trials before the substance is released onto the market. “We still don’t know what will happen to motorists who are snapped by speed cameras. If I’m bombing down the A1, I could easily get flashed and suddenly lose sight of the road.” cautioned a spokesman for RoSPA.

However Mullins’ team are determined to press on and develop their breakthrough, investigating possible cures for other photographic ailments. “The next step is to examine the sources of blurriness, over-exposure and apparent weight gain.” they announced. “We also have an extensive series of tests lined up to probe the cause and effect of inaccurate cropping and are calling for volunteers to visit our laboratory to have their heads cut off.”

(Written 6 May 2009)

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Department of Extra-Terrestrial Relations releases identifiable flying object files

The government’s Department of Extra-Terrestrial Relations has released another tranche of recently declassified documents, detailing a number of sightings of, and close encounters with, identifiable flying objects.

The documents range from hysterical reports of aircraft vapour trails, prototype stealth bombers and strange cloud formations, to an official Royal Airforce communiqué chastising a pilot for confusing a Cyberoid invasion fleet for a flock of starlings.

Commenting on the release, DETR spokesman Colin Rafferty explains how the frequency of such sightings increases with certain media broadcasts. ‘It is no coincidence that the number of reported IFO incidents almost doubled following a documentary on WWII barrage balloons on the Discovery Channel in 2004.’

Rafferty also points out how some reports are simply the result of wishful-thinking fantasists: ‘When Dirty Den sexually assaulted Angie in 1987 the switchboards went crazy. But when you point out that a Neptunian hybrid breeding programme was being carried out at the same time you get accused of covering up a conspiracy – you can’t win with these weirdoes.’

One of the files details how the Ministry of Defence received reports of a large, globular IFO hovering in the sky above former Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard’s home near Folkestone, Kent, on 8 March 1997. Believed by one ‘excitable’ eye-witness to be a weather balloon, a subsequent investigation revealed the craft to nothing more than a Nova-class ambassadorial star cruiser bringing election fund donations from the ex-pat abductee population of Zelqon VII.

However even the DETR admit that some of the files still remain unexplained, such as the rash of sightings of a mysterious object floating over Gateshead in 1993. ‘We still can’t pin down this one,’ Rafferty admits, ‘a strange blimp-like vehicle, bearing the weird alien message: ‘DFS Sofa Sale Ends Today!’ We’ve spoken to all our galactic contacts and none of them can explain that one…’ 

(Written 18 Feb 2010)

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Trading Standards slam shoddy ‘build-a-burger’ companies

Following a raft of complaints, the Trading Standards Institute has issued a damning ‘name and shame’ list of disreputable companies cashing in on the ‘build-a-burger’ business.

The list, which contains details of over 100 fly-by-night businesses, serves as a warning to overly hungry people to do their research before hiring someone to construct their burger. ‘Check that the builder uses industry standard mince beef,’ said an Institute spokesperson, ‘make sure that they are fully accredited by the Burger Builders Federation and if possible get some feedback from previous customers.’

The move follows a number of headline horror stories of burger lovers being conned by ‘cowboy’ fast food chefs. ‘I paid a fortune up-front,’ admitted one victim, ‘but after three weeks all I had was the bottom bun and a piece of lettuce. They keep telling me that they’re waiting for a delivery of onion rings but that’s no good to me when I’m still bloody starving!’

Other tales include that of a Northampton family who found their supper was missing a whole storey of cheese slices, a Cheltenham man who discovered that builders had substituted his beef patty for a breaded chicken burger and a Powys woman who was left with a pile of gherkins in a bap and a bill to the tune of GBP3,000.

However, despite the considerable disquiet among burger lovers, The Trading Standards Institute has also pointed out that the majority of eateries offering a build-a-burger service are still trustworthy. ‘Most firms offer a sound, honest service – some of which even throw in fizzy drink refills for free. The vast majority of consumers can have their weekly; or, if you’re American, twice-daily; towering stack of cholesterol treat without fear of getting ripped-off with inferior meat and flabby buns.’

(Written 15 Feb 2010)

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fears for fabric of reality after discovery of dog with nose the size of football pitch

Fears that the English languages ability to differentiate between real and imaginary terms could be compromised have increased today, after a group of Salford youths were discovered playing keepie-uppie on a dog’s nose the size of a football pitch.

Concerns that the very fabric of reality could be unravelling were first raised last week, when a man with a nose the size of a postage stamp was spotted in nearby Withington. ‘He might just have had a really small nose,’ revealed Dr. Alastair Brentfield, quantum linguist and chairman of the government’s emergency reality taskforce; ‘however this latest corresponding discovery is proof that something is amiss.’

A thorough examination by of the English language by trained, Welsh speaking engineers has revealed serious faults in the metaphorical filters: devices that separate metaphors and similes from actual nouns and literal descriptors. According to Dr. Brentfield, finding the budget to replace them is proving difficult: ‘these filters cost an arm and a leg, and it isn’t easy to find willing donors in this day and age.’

Some experts have criticized the government for awarding the maintenance contract of the English language to the cheapest tender. ‘If you pay peanuts you get monkeys,’ concedes Dr. Brentfield, ‘and no matter how close they are to us on the evolutionary ladder, giving chimpanzees access to state of the art syntax calibration equipment is just asking for trouble.’

In response to the crisis, Gordon Brown called an emergency session last night, with several MPs being treated for burns after hot-footing it to parliament. ‘Britain is facing a disaster of Titanic proportions,’ he told the House, ‘a disaster which, luckily, has hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and no longer threatens us.’ At this stage one opposition MP had to be physically ejected from the chamber on the ground of public decency, after telling the Prime Minister that he was ‘talking out of his arse’.

(Written 15 Feb 2010)

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Advertising Standards forces broadband providers to change advertisement wording from ‘up to’, to ‘nowhere near’*

The Advertising Standards Authority would like to advise consumers that, as of today, all broadband providers must replace the words ‘up to’, with the words ‘nowhere near’*, when advertising their products.

In other words, the advertising slogan ‘with up to 20Mb broadband speed’ will now read ‘with nowhere near* 20Mb broadband speed’.

*in fact, you’ll be lucky to get a tenth of that, and frankly, considering the state of the crappy old aluminium telephone cabling in your area, we’re surprised you can get any form of interconnectivity at all.** We could of course replace this cable with optical fibre, but that would cost us a bloody fortune, so, unless you can persuade your cash-strapped local authority to stump up the money, don’t hold your breath.

**unless you are one of the tiny percentage of the population who live in our trial fibre-to-premises zone in Surrey, in which case, fill your boots with as much illegally downloaded movies and porn as you can manage. Sir. 

(Written 12 Feb 2010)

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jack Bauer defects to China after promise of regular toilet breaks

Filming of the latest season of real-time thriller 24 has been plunged into jeopardy today, after Chinese intelligence officials revealed that hard-boiled American hero Jack Bauer had defected to the People’s Republic on the promise of regular toilet breaks.

According to studio insiders, TV bosses have been denying Bauer even daily comfort breaks during filming of the high-octane TV show since the first episode. ‘Viewers of 24 can follow Jack’s latest battle, minute for minute.  The action never lets up, so- pausing operations against Islamic terrorists in order to water the horse doesn’t exactly make for compelling drama,’ admitted one of the show’s producers.

24 is not the first long-running series to be hit by such problems: producers of the X-Files were famously forced to suspend production during series 4, after sinister government agent ‘Cancer Man’ refused to continue until provided with a properly covered, designated smoking area. Filming was also disrupted to accommodate Agent Mulder’s weekly acting lessons.

Actors union Equity has fully supported Bauer’s defection, despite the growing number of implausible plots against the western world by terrorists, rogue agents and evil agencies. ‘Expecting people, now matter how well-trained, to endure convoluted plotlines without giving them some kind of comfort break is simply too much to ask,’ said one shop-steward, ‘American producers are the worst offenders – recently the entire cast of Lost downed tools until they received concrete assurances from the writers that they weren’t just making it up as they went along.’

Currently premiering on Sky, the new series of 24, in which a South American drug cartel infiltrates the White House for some reason, will now continue without Bauer, who will be written out of the show. Meanwhile, 1970’s detective Frank Cannon will be brought out of retirement to join the ranks of CTU. ‘Frank might not be able to get around as quickly as Jack,’ explained a studio executive, ‘but with his metabolism, we’ll have at least four new series in the can before he needs to go there himself.’

(Written 8 Feb 2010)

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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