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Embrace a snogometer

Thanks to the Pathe archives being posted online, FErret has rediscovered a lost college invention: ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Snogometer.

This "fantastic contraption", as the newsreel called it, was created by 16-year-old Malcolm Pickard in 1965 while he was studying at Trowbridge College, now part of Wiltshire College.

"I was interested in electronics and I was also interested in kissing girls. So I put the two together," he said. (In reality, this is impossible: positively charged "interest in electronics" ions create a powerful forcefield which repulses girls.)

Footage shows him demonstrating the machine measuring the snog-intensity of a couple of friends in a "passionate mashing session", while his mother looks on, knitting.

His invention brought him brief fame - letters from Australia addressed simply to "Malcolm Pickard, Snogometer", taking taxis to college - but the idea of hooking yourself up to electrodes of dubious safety inexplicably failed to catch on. Nevertheless, inventors of today, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

Literacy Trust blooper

Red faces at the National Literacy Trust, which. in publicising its call for the Government to preserve funding for reading and writing initiatives, slipped in a grocer's apostrophe.

"Having announced this autumn's Spending Review, the Coalition Government has signalled it's intention to embark on public expenditure cuts in order to tackle the deficit," it said.

After a colleague pointed out the error, they moved swiftly to correct it and apologise. Which is all very well, but FErret thinks they should have left it up: if things are so bad that even the National Literacy Trust can't get its grammar right, what better argument could there be for more funding?

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