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The [BBC news website] has limited space to fit in its headlines.  It also seems to employ people who have a sense of humour.  Note down the ensuing effects here, new ones at the top.



Bloomberg headline: [Spain Deposits Rose in November, Easing Pressure on Bank Funding]. One wonders which exotic material the rose was made of.
[Middle class parents drink fears] - Mmm, claustrophobia... (link from front page, main headline is sensible)
[Police murders accused in court]
[Furry maths: Can we count how many species are becoming extinct?] - if not, we really are in trouble!
[Unnamed page] on the BBC side-bar.
[Iranian TV shows downed US drone]. Did they now?
"Electronic interference", natch. -MoonShadow
[Curb on foreign studenys 'biting']. About time too!
[Fracking protesters target tower]. Cylons, the lot of them.
[Dog helps lightning strike Redruth mayor] Thor, dog of thunder
[Pregnant Lily Allen marries village church], on the main BBC news page (probably not for much longer).
[Laws suspended over MP expenses]. It's okay if we break laws, we can just suspend them anyway.
Spain's air traffic controllers are returning to work after a "wildcat strike" - currently [here]  (can't find a BBC permalink with it on) and [here]. I'd never heard of that kind of strike, and thought it meant an attack by actual wildcats.
["Stoner on pole at Phillip Island"] : perhaps more suggestive of a hippie stylite revival
[This story] has a sensible headline. But the front page link, presumably forced to be shorter, reads "How flies help murder detectives".
Edinburgh News, via [Language Log]: "Number of Lothian patients made ill by drinking rockets"
[Angry Ryanair passenger eats his winning scratchcard] Cheaper than the sandwiches... DDD
Telegraph headline: [Pushy parents 'should devote less time to their children and more to their marriage']. The article makes it obvious, if it wasn't already, that it refers to the parents' own marriage. But the headline in the hyperlink from the [lifestyle page] says "Pushy parents 'should worry more about children's marriage'".
[Bodies find sparks murder inquiry] - garden-path-tastic.
Also from the department of garden paths, a recent article started "Government plans to open marriage to gay couples by 2015 could undermine its status as the state church, it said."
[Architect charged with creating police station] It's an outrage. Do these architects know how much police time it takes to investigate the sudden appearance of a new police station?
[Oxford Street is the new Tokyo] Boris Johnson and cosplay in London.  ARRGGHHH....
[Experts develop new body parts]
[Sooooon...]  - DDD
[Tenth person with swine flue dies] (under Scotland), at 1 October, 20.46... I assume this was caused by a build-up of carbon monoxide due to a pig stuck in the chimney? (Direct link, now fixed). (NB I saw it on the headline on the homepage, but not the article's headline itself. I took a screenshot and may put that up when I get a RoundTuit --B)
Associated Press headline via [Language Log]: "McDonald's fries the holy grail for potato farmers" --Rachael
[Man held after kissing daughter] - daughter says "I didn't mind giving him a hug". --CH
[Not a headline, but very funny] (Video, can read text transcription underneath) --qqzm
['Zombie' insurer Pearl to appoint Ron Sandler] (from Telegraph) - premiums to be based on how much the insured parties crave braaaaaaains. --CH
[Video gamers 'older than thought'] - Research is now ongoing to find out how old thought is. --CH
Dinosaurs are also "older than thought", according to the [Telegraph]. Now that one might even be accurate.
[China babies sold for adoption] - There are always china babies for sale in the jeweller's. Oh, wait. (Any reason not to put "Chinese"?) --Rachael
[Council loses £1m sickness case] - They really should hang on to their cases. They could have caused a security alert! --B
[The UK's first wine flu death] --Admiral
[Airbus advice to pilots on speed] don't take it while piloting, obviously! --Tsunami
[Ten Evangelical students face uncertainty] - Not BBC, but still - the horror! --M-A
[Tories romp home in Lincolnshire] One hopes they're not romping _my_ home, nor romping _at_ my home!
Is 'romp' a transitive verb then? --no-reverse
I could sort of see a joke there about having a 'romp home' but apparently that wasn't it. -- SGB
OK they're both rather tenuous. But, yes, "Tories' romp home in Lincolnshire" was also a (mis-)parse. --B
[Brown due in court after arrest] Oh, I so wish. While you're there, get Blair along too.
[Legal threats over rape support] "Yeah, I don't think you're allowed to support that..."
[Mammoth-killing comet questioned] "Where were you on the evening of November 8th, 40,000 BC?"
[Absent parents may lose passports] Even parents who are present tend to lose passports from time to time, I've found... --M-A
Hasn't the headline writer missed out the word "minded"? --Nat
[Britain's South into Aussie Open] What, all of it?
[Church gives birth to baby boy].  Yep, that's the nativity story. --M-A surely that would be the other way around?
[Ambulance shake-up poses risks]. Well, yeah, the patients will fall out of their stretchers, and if they've got broken bones it could be very nasty.
Actually, I believe they tend to strap people into the stretcher. It could still be quite painful, though. --PT
[UK 'needs to be in space'] --M-A
Not a headline, but said by the presenter this morning: "China's east coast under threat from a huge tycoon"
[Flood replaces Noon at World Cup] (ah, surnames)
[Rescuers are called to bat phone], Robin!
[Pair charged with stabbing murder] Well, it's been asking for it.  --Vitenka
[Tiny wind engines cool computers]. Yes. They're called "fans".
That's actually really cool, and shouldn't be anywhere near the BBCHeadlines page. Try SiteOfTheMoment, except I'm probably the only person actually interested. *goes to look for the J. Appl. Phys paper* --SF
Oh, I know (although I haven't read it meself). But they could use a different headline. --CH
I suppose it should be in the future tense, but...it's not that bad, is it? --SF
I hope it's not too tasteless to remark on this subheadline I saw on BBC News 24 about the 7/7 bombings: "52 people killed in 2005 attacks". That's quite an inefficient death/attack ratio on the terrorists' part.
[Girl overdoses on espresso coffee]
Why's that on here? --Rachael, puzzled
Move it to Coffee. --SF
[Napoli towed away for recycling] - also spotted by Magazine Monitor's correspondents.
[Dinosaurs given protected status] - as a commenter on the  [Magazine Monitor] says, it's a bit late now.
[1] Not in the headline, and not particularly amusing either, but it's bringing me out in significant figures... "Being only about seven million km (4.5 million miles) from its parent star, the planet is also very hot, about 1,327C (1,600 K; 2,300F)." --B

[Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty].  Not a typo, or even similar.  But someone has at last found a good use to put that cat to! --MJ
[Many Asians 'do not feel British'] - well, the vast majority of them aren't, having never so much as visited the place.
Not a headline, but a caption to a picture in [Life in the fast lane]. "Speed was blamed for 28% of UK roads last year". --Admiral
Not a headline and not the BBC so hopefully a classification faerie like M-A will archive it correctly; but marvellous nonetheless. The [Guardian] has confirmed that Michael Howard is indeed undead. About eight paragraphs in it refers to the "former Michael Howard, the former Tory leader". -- Nat

Tagline on today's [BBC News Magazine]: 'Immigration officers should deport families wearing "pastel uniforms"'. I honestly read it as the families that would be wearing the uniforms.
[Alan Sillitoe: My life as a smoker audio slideshow] (headline applies to the link from the [Monitor] front page - the article itself is somewhat more sane).
[Sinn Fein driver u-turn demanded]
[Birds breed again after 400 years] --Admiral
[Taxpayers should build Galileo] - OK, so there are some inverted commas, but this is still delightfully surreal.
[Tesco pays more to milk farmers] - We all know farmers have been milked shamefully. Now at least someone's making a little more money out of it?
[اتفاق "تاريخي" بشأن ايرلندا الشمالية] - no, that's not a mistake.  Not mine, anyway.  This was under "Europe".
Is that because the page is in Arabic? --RobHu
[A380 prepares for tour around US] - I didn't know trunk roads did tours.
Come on. That's illustrated with a photograph of the Airbus A380 and there's no particular reason to expect the BBC to write an article about a road between Torquay and the M5 as opposed to an aircraft they've been writing about for some time. --SF
The link from the front page was text only - my honest reaction when I read it was of complete confusion, so I had to click on the link to find out what it was about.  I must have missed the name of th plane before - I just knew there was some big new Airbus plane, nothing else. --M-A
[Bridge undergoes knee operation] - Is it a hinged bridge, then?
[Primary school tests 'negative'] - No primary schools here, must be an infection of Grammars
[Army 'targeting poorer schools']
"Chelsea 'tapped players' " on the front page directing to [here]. Are they using the players abilities or just attacking with them?
Not a headline, but a delightful BBC subject-object ambiguity, from [here]: "Gordon Brown ... is just as committed to replacing Trident as Tony Blair."
[New powers over death considered] - now amended to "'Powers over death' form proposed".
[Mexico mine missing declared dead] - now amended to "Mexico mine rescue is abandoned".
[How should parties be funded?] - Well, you work out the number of guests, how much they're likely to eat and drink, then use the money from your bank account to buy the supplies needed...
(PeterTaylor) If the figure exceeds the contents of your bank account, look for corporate sponsorship.
[Bring back Woodward to fix English ruby, says Johnson] Does english curry need work (Pedants may say it is a Reuters headline --Garbled says close nuff)
[Analysis: Are illegals countable?] - if [not], the UK is infinitely overcrowded... - now amended to "The thorny issue of illegal migrants"
[US shares flat after tricky week]
Similarly, from the Guardian: [Sainsburys shares rocket]
[State pension age to rise to 2044] - changed very rapidly to State pension age to rise to 68
[Thames Water misses leak target]
[Inflatable artwork deaths probed]. I know, there's an element of seriousness involved (two people died) but for sheer randomness... --Admiral
[India struggles to catch China]
From the 10 o'clock news, 17/08/2006 [paraphrased]: "An airport in America is on terror alert after suspicious explosives were found...". Is there any other kind of explosive? --CH
[Teen held over alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners in court.] (title as linked from BBC News front page): That'd need a huge court! --M-A
Now amended (boringly) to "Teenager remanded over 'air plot'" --Tsunami
[Stars tipped for MTV award glory]: And there was me thinking they were going to give them to the kind of unrecognisable, unemployable losers you find on Love Island.
I hear Alpha Centauri is hotly tipped to take a few --Androidkiller
Nonono. They mean that, in order to acquire glory for MTV awards, people have been going out and knocking over (celebrities|astral objects). --CH
On the same theme, to win a very hot planet you have to go and push over primates [Monkeys tipped for Mercury prize]. -- Nat
I think Rowan and Benedict would probably appreciate being left alone though. --Admiral
[Blind man was 'dangerous driver'] You don't say! --M-A
The astonishing thing is that the BBC meant exactly what they said! --CH
[Beauty of Swedish model disputed] (spotted by someone else, but too good to let pass -- and this one is so contrived that I think it counts as final proof that these are deliberate.)
Odd, I showed up in recent changes as having written that, but I didn't. --Edwin
There was a bug. It's fixed.
[Dinosaur's reputation challenged] --Admiral
In what way is that funny or misleading as a result of phrasing? It looks to me like a perfectly accurate description of the story to which it is attached.
To me, at least, it sounds as if a dinosaur was in a public debate or similar, or being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, or a politician made a statement insulting the academic achievements of said dinosaur, or suchlike. I like it. --AlexChurchill
[Iraq war fuels terror] - as well as being arguably a "duh, really?" kind of headline, it contains the incredibly ambiguous sentence "[Bush] said he disagreed with those who guessed at what was in the report and concluded invading Iraq was an error." --Rachael
[Child obesity solution not simple] vs [Children 'need hour of exercise'] - both stories on the same day. --M-A
Ah, but the former story is Scotland-specific. So, everywhere except Scotland knows that children need an hour of exercise, but Scotland says it isn't that simple. --Admiral
[Organist gives home to abbey] - Poor little homeless abbey! --M-A
[Striker quizzed over wife assault] - Pre-judging?
"Britain is lagging behind other European countries in terms of obesity" (radio 2 headline). - er, no, because that would be a good thing. --CH
Similarly, [UK "lags behind" on cancer deaths]
[Alcohol advice for attack victims] - It's not so much the headline that caught my attention as the sentence "Half of all facial injuries seen by doctors are associated with alcohol and almost a quarter with violence." Only a quarter of facial injuries are associated with violence. Wow. What causes the other three quarters? --Admiral
Falling over, I suspect. --CH
And what about the quarter associated with alcohol, but not with violence?  Unless a champagne cork in the eye doesn't count as violence. --AmyRobinson
The medical shorthand is 'AGA' - Acute Gravity Attack. --Requiem
"[The poppy] is worn to honour the men and women who risk their lives in service for the country in return for a donation to the Royal British Legion." from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6085132.stm
"Hospital pilots spot fines" (title of video clip on front page, 03/11/2006). TallyHo?, there's another one!
[Blind pupils 'denied text books'] --Admiral
[Track sex offenders "from space"] --CH

It's more the news stories I'm commenting on here (although they do both have mildly entertaining headlines), so feel free to move to more appropriate place. The juxtaposition of [Flight ban for anti-Bush T-shirt] and [Australian outrage at flag controls] is rather scary. Yet another blatant example of picking and choosing when freedom of expression is allowed. --Nat
Fire!
If that's supposed to be a reference to the counter-example of shouting 'Fire' in a CrowdedTheatre? (when there is no fire), it's a bit silly. [T-shirts] are common methods of expressing political and other views, and (I assert) are not confused by sober and reasonable people with alarms. Similarly for waving national flags (as opposed to semaphore flags). --B
Thanks Bobacus. You've written the reply I was about to write, but probably expressed it more clearly. --Nat

From [here]: "Those who enjoy cigarettes after a meal or after making love can still do so. It's just that you won't necessarily be able to do so in a restaurant or cafe any more."  Goodness me, what these exhibitionist French get up to in their restaurants.

[Blame for warming pinned on man] - Who is he? I demand to know! (now changed to "Humans blamed for climate change")
[Letter bombs accused in court] - there are at least two ways I can mis-parse this.
[Rapper West flies in Welsh curry] - is this something like Cleopatra bathing in milk, except on an airplane? --Admiral
Of course not - food hygiene inspectors have found that tikka masala in Wales is infested with a rare species of Drosophila called the Rapper West fly. --Rachael
From [here]: "But contrary to the common perception of benign hippies growing marijuana in their lofts, the vast bulk of the industry is in the grip of criminals." Surely if it's illegal then they're all technically criminals, even the benign hippies?
[Guardian] as opposed to BBC:
"The medical profession needs to be much blunter about the dangers of malaria," says Jo. "They need to say, 'This thing can kill you if you don't take your medication. At the moment, that's not happening nearly enough.'" I think they should have closed the inner quotes one sentence earlier. --Rachael
Not a headline, but [The BBC has been told the group are being held at an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps base in Tehran, where Iranian officials are said to be being treated "humanely".] I think they meant that the prisoners were being treated humanely. --Admiral
From [here]: "Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds." What - they'll even develop features?
ItsNotABugIts?... --SF
[Lords issue landmark abuse ruling] - that'll stop those pigeons abusing Nelson's column.
Marginal, but [Is five too soon to start school?] Well, yes. Most don't start until at least 8:50. --CH
From [here]: "[Self-healing rubber] could profoundly change the world as we know it – no more puncture repair kits, kids, or broken toys come to that" - although I can think of a way it could prevent kids, I don't think that's what they meant. --Rachael
[Shannon police at uncle's house] - some strange Irish variant of Mother's'* day? --CH (*: delete apostrophe as desired)
[China in Olympics pollution drive] - too easy a target to snark at...
[Green sports car set for launch]. Now they're working on the red and blue pigments.
[Sad story], but: "he met Mrs Samuels in the summer of 2005 - a year after she broke up with the father of her children's father."
Now amended to "the father of her children."
[Conservatives win Iran election] - Ayatollah Cameron said to be pleased with majority.
[UK drug crime strategy criticised] - they're just not hiding it well enough or charging the users enough!
Not BBC, but [Hair can reveal regions where you drank water and can determine whether murder victims lived prior to death] - I can determine whether murder victims lived prior to death without a hair sample.
[First poll results in Zimbabwe] - at first I parsed it as being a story about a poll, which resulted in Zimbabwe coming into being. --Rachael
[Police find second hand on beach] - from an analogue clock? Or do they mean previously-owned items?
[Nato denies Georgia and Ukraine] - Nato should probably re-examine the evidence, there's quite compelling data that they do actually exist.
[Think tank to counter extremism] - OK then. Tank. Tank tank. Tank tank tank tank tank tank tank...
[Snipes imprisoned for three years] - Why? What have [they] done?
[Scuffles at S Korea torch leg] - they did? What had it done to them? Wasn't it a bit too soggy to burn? Didn't the owner mind? ... *re-parse* Ohh.
[Great tits cope well with warming] - so good, it was jumped on by TheRegister. --Admiral
[Frigid robot eyes top tech prize] - why, yes, I would rather have the robot eyes. --Requiem
[Bamber told he will die in prison] - at first I thought they meant the University Challenge guy.
[Inspectors push "stalled" schools] - a somewhat more physical mental image than is warranted, there. --CH
[Puerto Rico win buoys Clinton] - yes, there's nothing like a satisfying BoardGame victory to raise your spirits. --CH
[Angry brides left without dresses]
Tim Evans from Oxford writes on the Monitor [letters page]: "Did the headline [Bury elected mayor plan rejected] trick anybody else? There was me imagining the London Assembly sadly shaking their heads at the realisation that that they couldn't get away with interring the (reformed) lovable fop."
[China 'could reach Moon by 2020'] - spotted by another Monitor letters correspondent.
[Woman left brain damaged by detox] - Where?
My initial take was a LeftBrain? / RightBrain? issue. I thought there was a missing "'s". --PT
[A mature student choked to death after an "impromptu" challenge by a friend to see who could eat the most fairy cakes]. I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh, but ... that doesn't sound very "mature" to me. --Rachael
[Eat kangaroo to 'save the planet'] - weird enough in itself, but it's filed under 'UK', and in the related links is the Royal Institute of British Architects! --B
[Back pain relieved by good posture] - in other news, Pope Catholic, bears sometimes defecate in woods, sky often a blue colour. --Requiem
The first two consecutive headlines on the BBC's Top Stories at the moment are "Man convicted over Shia flogging" and "Horses dead in missing family probe", which I misread as one story about flogging a dead horse. --Rachael
Jinja from Edinburgh, on the BBC Magazine letters page, says: "[Twins may be separated at school]: For a second, I thought school biology lessons were getting a whole lot more technical."
PeterTaylor wonders whether the twins in question will be separated later anyway. He spent at least one year of primary school in a different year-group to his twin sister.

[Paralympic gold 'for dead mother'] - my first thought was 'that's taking disability to a new level' and my second was 'they really do give these events stupid names' -- SGB
[Body exhumed in fight against flu] - sounds like the patient may have lost the fight some time ago. --Rachael
Today's quite good for these - this morning we had [Foreigners prop up universities], though they've added quotes to that now, and [Lib Dems to outline crime plans], and now we have [Stroke patients to test sensors] -- SGB
[Drinkers fall into 'nine groups']
[UK suspect 'key Al-Qaeda member'] - yes, well, membership in high-profile terrorist organisations is bound to make people suspicious of you...
[Silent calls fine for Barclaycard] - but they're a problem for other credit card providers.
[Student claims deadline extended] - The BBC reports on a misunderstanding between undergrad and supervisor. -- Nat
[Rich Flanders seeks more autonomy] - set to move away from neighbour Homer. Hi-diddly! --CH
[Italian car designer unveils electric power] - world goes "we've known about it for around 300 years, at least". --CH
Not BBC, but TheFinancialTimes? on 16th Oct 08 has the headline story 'Slump fears cloud markets' with a picture of a cloud. I read 'fears' as a verb and obtained a wonderful image of the only surviving stock markets being conducted on Laputa-esque castles in the sky. --Requiem
[Stuffed toy foxes 'saved my life'] - I thought this might be some strange new religion, but no, it does exactly what it ways on the tin... --MJ
[Jamaica puzzled by theft of beach] (spotted by my brother) Looks like a headline from The Onion, but no, it's exactly like it appears.
[Sony cuts profit forecast in half] - in an act of defiance? --B

[Royal demands French vote re-run] - didn't they have a revolution so that sort of thing wouldn't happen any more?  Oh... -- SGB
[Group therapy 'beats depression'] - actually, I'd probably rather be depressed. --CH
[Government confirms Jaguar talks]. Denies rumours that it merely roars. --Rachael
[Balding is 'positive' over cancer] - hence why people choose chemo --SGB
["members of the working class at that time thought it completely natural to eat five o'clock in the afternoon."] Understandable, I often eat thyme myself. --Rachael
["Internet 'may be changing brains'"]. Because it doesn't like the one it has now. --MJ


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SeeAlso: BBC?, TodayIAmMostly, YesterdayILearnt, SiteOfTheMoment

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