What catches the eye

The problem with going offline for some days is the huge amount of unread e-mails and news that you have to deal with when you return.

Nevertheless, looking at a huge list of unread news through my RSS reader (I currently use Bloglines), can have a special interest. Some feeds have tons of items with no order other than the chronological, which means that the subjects of the news are completely mixed. This leads to yuxtapositions that a reader of ‘regular’ news (i. e. the dead-tree newspaper) would find not only preposterous, but possibly also obscene.

Let me show you what I mean.

I was offline four days. After my return, I decided to catch up with the latest events, according to BBC News. I had 200 unread items in their main feed. Scanning this feed, these were the news that caught my eye:

<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4196983.stm">Russian MPs go on hunger strike because of cuts in pensions</a></li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4196633.stm">Murdered German designer leaves his mansion to his yorkshire terrier</a></li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4197037.stm">Spain will compensate the 'war children'</a> (extremely interesting, this one, as I am a grandchild of 'war children')</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/4195177.stm">Gates talks about Microsoft's (his own?) vision of the future</a></li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4188677.stm">Scientists reverse Alzheimer in mice</a></li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4197889.stm">Irani electroral official denies having said that women can run for election</a> (women in politics, what a ridiculous idea)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4198633.stm">Austrian politician formally requests that Arnold Schwarzenegger lose his Austrian citizenship, because he broke Austrian law by letting a US convict be excecuted by lethal injection</a> (a Californian governor with a EU citizenship???)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4199935.stm">US army will send robots to Iraq that will "track and attack the enemy with relatively little risk to the lives of US soldiers"</a> (but they will rely on human orders to open fire)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4203087.stm">Microsoft will not appeal EU court decision that forces them to ship Windows without Media Player bundled</a>	</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4202837.stm">Secret Pentagon spies confirmed</a> (great headline, this one; inside it contains such pearls as <em>Donald Rumsfeld is known to have a special interest in getting better intelligence for US forces</em> and <em>Mr McCain said the setting up of the alleged unit appeared to have been "a product of the frustration with the CIA of a failure to have decent human intelligence".</em>)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4204425.stm">Gates gives $750m for a children vaccination programme</a> (yeah, that is right, <em>programme</em>, not <em>program</em>)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4204911.stm">Polish newspaper editor gets fined for making fun of the Pope</a> (the same country that saved us from software patents does not allow freedom of speech to its press; bizarre...)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4205267.stm">Google launches TV programmes search service</a> (but only available in the US, for the moment)</li>
<li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4205427.stm">Japanese government starts to debate if it would be possible to let a female inherit the Japanese throne</a> (due only to the problems of Princess Masako to 'produce' a male heir; otherwise, there would be no change at all)</li>

See what I mean? I read the news going from serious politics to funny trivia, back to politics and gender issues and then to some science, some antitrust and then some humour that was not intended as such, I finally jump to some technology to some more gender issues. And it seems a perfectly natural order. It is the order in which it was posted to the feed. Hence, it is the order in which I should read it.

Feed readers. Making your news reading more fun every day. ;-)

Tags: current affairs

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