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Talent for tripping up

Poor Sion Simon. The further education minister was only trying to keep up with the times and communicate with the public in a new way by micro- blogging on Twitter, the internet site of the moment.

However, he seems to have blasphemed against the Blessed Virgin and brought down the wrath of the Inquisition. I refer, of course, to fans of singer Susan Boyle, who caused a stir on Britain's Got Talent.

"I am not saying Susan Boyle caused swine flu. I am just saying that nobody had swine flu, she sang on TV, people got swine flu," he wrote, re- posting a joke that was spreading around the world faster than the H1N1 virus.

The backlash prompted a swift apology. "Earlier I repeated a joke that was in poor taste, which I now regret. I apologise wholeheartedly for any distress or embarrassment caused," he tweeted forlornly.

It is not the first time the Birmingham MP has embarrassed himself on the internet, having posed as David Cameron pimping out his wife in an excruciating YouTube spoof.

PWNed again, as the kids today might put it.

Best part of living .

FErret has many fond memories as a kit of watching Children's BBC, with presenter Philippa Forrester and Edd the Duck in the broom cupboard.

So it was good to see her lending support to adult learners' week, as someone who studied for an ecology degree while presenting Tomorrow's World. (Edd the Duck, despite his achievements in training for such diverse roles as a chef and a pilot, was sadly overlooked by the organisers.)

A carpentry course is next for her, she announced. "Learning is one of the best parts of living. It is just so much more interesting than sitting in front of the TV night after night," she said.

As a ferret, FErret wholeheartedly endorses biting the hand that feeds you. But if too many people take her at her word, she will need the carpentry skills.

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