World's beautiful women deny the law of averages

BABY-FACED women are considered beautiful because of Darwinian evolution rather than the influence of Hollywood, a study by psychologists suggests.

Please adjust your mind set: It may look like the news but it's just hi-tech wizardry. These days parody is as real as TV fact

THREE bodies lie in the street, shot by police in pursuit of an IRA 'dog bomb'. 'Being old,' says the voice-over as the camera pans across the corpses, 'they would have died soon anyway.' The Sinn Fein spokesman, when questioned about the outrage, is obliged to take large gulps of helium to make his voice sound funny and 'subtract from the credibility of his statement'. Meanwhile, US reporter Barbara Wintergreen enthuses about a new disc-shaped plastic foetus that provides all the joy of pregnancy without the fuss of a baby; and, finally, there is an international ban on the hunting of waves.

REVIEW / The unnecessarily messy business of the truth

BY AN odd irony the offices of South Coast Shipping are in Canute House. South Coast Shipping was the owner and operator of the Bowbelle, the sand dredger which sank the Marchioness pleasure boat in the Thames, leaving 51 people dead, and ever since the accident it has tried to hold off a rising tide of criticism. With the Government insisting that no public inquiry is necessary, it seemed as if the company had succeeded but Dispatches' (C 4) methodical and detailed report on the incident left the water lapping at its chin.

TELEVISION / Beggars for human kindness can't be choosy

SEASONAL Affective Depression is a condition that begins to strike at about this time of year - brought on by the shorter daylight hours and the absence of sunshine. By the weekend we were all sufferers: the cloud of the Bulger trial hung so low over Thursday and Friday that you had to use a torch to get about. Whenever a ray of light appeared to be breaking through it was promptly blocked by politicians trying to capitalise on murder (as I recall, it wasn't the Archbishop of Canterbury who said 'There's no such thing as society').

TELEVISION / Winning by its head: Thomas Sutcliffe stands Measure for Measure back to back with Tales from the Map Room

ON THE face of it, Tales from the Map Room (broadcast Thursday on BBC 2) and Measure for Measure (BBC 2 last night) are virtually identical products. Both are excursions into the relatively new genre of primer television for adults (we have already had series on colour and furniture), both use elegant pans across prop-littered tables, elaborate video-effects, computer graphics and costume re-enactments to present information. But there is a difference between them, an important one for a corporation recently re-dedicated to the principle that its programmes should 'inform, educate and entertain'. The difference might be summed up as that between the phrases 'I'd like to change the way you think about maps' and 'here's a bunch of weird things I know about measurement'.

TV watchdog acts after commercial causes fits

THE Independent Television Commission is seeking advice on guidelines for advertisers who may want to use flashing lights and flickering, high-contrast backgrounds in commercials after three people suffered epileptic fits while watching one advertisement.

Special Report on Conferences and Exhibitions: Technological changes present opportunities to communicate: Computers can help, but with all the gadgets in the world the most important thing is to see and hear properly, says Steve Homer

ONCE UPON a time, if you wanted to stage a conference you found a room that was big enough, got some tables and chairs and a flip chart and that was about it. Today things have changed but with all the gadgets in the world there is one thing the experts agree on - conferences are about communication; lose sight of that and you are heading for trouble.

TELEVISION / Shot in the dark

IS THERE any being on earth more gullible than an investigative reporter with the scent of a scoop in his nostrils? The question is prompted by Secret History's (C 4) report on the assassination of Robert Kennedy, which, despite turning up some unsettling discrepancies in the official account of the killing, marred its case by its blinkered attitude to contradictory evidence.
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