Archive for June, 2007

If you were to praise the Knackered Hack for the frequency of his posts of late, you would most likely be employing sarcasm.

Just in case you have difficulty distinguishing genuine praise from the less-than-heartfelt variety, here’s a handy guide. We hope that it revolutionises your relationships with friends, colleagues and family members. Please let us know.


Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic

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If you live in a competitive family and are a middle child, the news that first-born children are the cleverest is not good. A study conducted at the University of Oslo, and reported in the New Scientist, states that first-borns have an average 2.3 point IQ advantage over their dopey siblings.

I’ve never fancied IQ as a real measure of intelligence. And 2.3 points difference I could probably make up with better nutrition and all this flaxseed oil I’m consuming.

But then that is sort of the point that the Norwegian research is making. That some of the difference in intelligence within families is social, not genetic. It probably results from the fact that parents have more time for the first-born. The older children have been progressively more exposed to the sophisticated vocabulary of the parents. It suggests more powerfully that we should not overstate — as too many people prefer to these days — nature over the complex circumstances of individual nurture, which can produce heavily path-dependent outcomes.

The Knackered parenting experience would bear that out. Continue reading ‘curse of the second-born’

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I have recently been over-eating and putting on weight, despite a lot of exercise and the flaxseed oil (which in the past seemed to have helped contain appetite). The following video explains a large part of the problem. But I don’t suffer from the savoury-sweet dilemma that stymies Shuttleworth.

You can buy the record here.

However, today I instigated a strict left-over avoidance protocol, and the pounds have literally been not yet falling off.

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Diligent readers will know that “hack” (short for “hackney”) originally meant “horse for hire”.

I’d no intention, when adopting the title, of any involvement with real horses. Indeed, the last time I was on the back of a hoofed mammal was in 1969, aged four at Longleat House. A donkey “race” ended abruptly with my mount deciding halfway round that it was going no further. It lay down in the paddock, trapping my leg and filling my special lucky blue nylon shorts with sand. Not so lucky after all, nor the last time I would feel stymied in my competitive efforts by being allied to a complete ass.

I must have silently vowed to never get on an animal again. But that changed at the weekend, when I found myself £80 the poorer, with the hack family on four real hacks of various sizes heading across a river bed and up a rocky path in Exmoor’s Doone Valley (home of Lorna Doone). This was the first of our deliberate attempts to Continue reading ‘back in the saddle’

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We’re probably some of the last to notice it here, but 64-year-old Sir Paul McCartney has upped sticks and joined the digital music revolution.

He has left EMI after 45 years and gone to Starbucks’ Hear Music label as its first major signing. Yes, Memory Almost Full, McCartney’s 21st studio album since the Beatles, can be found nestling temptingly alongside the biscotti. As McCartney explained recently to the LA Times:-

I was bored with the old record company’s jaded view…They’re very confused, and they will admit it themselves: that this is a new world, and they’re a little bit at a loss as to what to do. So they’ve got millions of dollars and X budget … for them to come up with boring ways — because they’ve been at it for so long — to what they call ‘market’ it. And I find that all a bit disturbing. Continue reading ‘macca flees record industry dinosaurs’

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