Weekend Edition: The week's best reads

  • 12 February 2016
Fairey Rotodyne in action Image copyright Getty Images

A collection of some of the best features from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

"Good story," tweeted The Aviation Historian. The Rotodyne was once described as a "new way of flying" and the Government had hoped it would become a mass mode of transport. After much tinkering, it first flew abroad to Paris from Heathrow, via Dover and Brussels, in June 1959. However, the half-helicopter, half-plane never really took off and it was scrapped in 1962.

Why did the half-plane, half-helicopter not work?

Red hot mama

Image copyright Getty Images

"Move over Beyonce. The fascinating story of the original queen of celeb PR," tweeted Claire Bonfante. This is the story of the jazz singer who was friends with gangsters and presidents and was proud to be "fat". Sophie Tucker wrote down the names and addresses of fans in her binder, and before her next tour she sent postcards to let them know she'd be in town. By the time she died, she had collected over 10,000 addresses in this way. "She was an incredible woman - so strong," says Sue Kelvin, who played Tucker in a one-woman show in the UK.

The 'fat girl' everybody loved

Mao's mangoes

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10 things we didn't know last week

  • 12 February 2016
Image copyright iStock

1. At least 49 people have died in accidents involving selfies since 2014.

Find out more (CNN)

Read full article 10 things we didn't know last week

Go Figure: The week in numbers

  • 12 February 2016

Look back at the week in numbers with our Go Figure images, which are posted daily on social media.

Monday: Online malware museum shows how computer viruses used to be more playful

Read full article Go Figure: The week in numbers

The Vocabularist: When is a theory 'just a theory'?

  • 9 February 2016
Charles Darwin Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Charles Darwin said a single discovery could "annihilate my theory"

A Lancashire headmistress attracted fury with a tweet in which she said "evolution is not a fact; that's why it's called a theory".

In ancient Greece theoroi meant something like "observers". They were envoys sent by city-states to consult oracles, to give offerings at famous shrines or attend festivals.

Read full article The Vocabularist: When is a theory 'just a theory'?

10 things we didn't know last week

  • 5 February 2016
Image copyright Getty Images

1. It is illegal to possess more than 120 playing cards in Thailand.

Find out more

Read full article 10 things we didn't know last week

Weekend Edition: The week's best reads

  • 5 February 2016
Tom Gregory on the beach Image copyright Sam Atkins

A collection of some of the best features from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

"This is extraordinary," tweeted Louise. "Astounding story," added Elon Dann. No-one has swum the English Channel younger, and no-one ever will. In 1988, 11-year-old Tom Gregory did something few children of his age would even contemplate. And he attributes his successful swim to his inspirational coach John Bullet, the beating heart of Eltham Training and Swimming Club in south-east London. "I loved it," Tom says. "That club changed people's lives."

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The Vocabularist: What's the root of the word computer?

  • 2 February 2016
Go board

The defeat by a computer of a human champion at the game of Go has caused much excitement. But computers used to be human themselves, writes Trevor Timpson.

"Computer" comes from the Latin "putare" which means both to think and to prune. Virgil's Georgics - depictions of country life - speak of tidying vines by pruning (fingitque putando).

Read full article The Vocabularist: What's the root of the word computer?

10 things we didn't know last week

  • 29 January 2016
Image copyright Getty Images

1. You could probably outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Find out more (Science)

Read full article 10 things we didn't know last week

Weekend Edition: The week's best reads

  • 29 January 2016
A room in a property protected by property guardians Image copyright Charlie Clemoes

A collection of some of the best features from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

"Sounds risky, but strangely exciting!" posted Caroline Jessop. Property guardians live in buildings including disused police stations, garages, office blocks and pubs. But some come with a catch, namely rats, flies and no hot water. We look at the practice which is the setting for Channel 4's new sitcom, Crashing. "The room I moved into was strewn with clothes and heroin paraphernalia and I had to clean it up alone," says one guardian.

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The Vocabularist: Have we reached peak "peak"?

  • 26 January 2016
Mountain peak in Chamonix Image copyright iStock

Ikea's sustainability director says people in the West have reached "peak stuff". It's a new peak in the use of the word "peak" itself, writes Trevor Timpson.

Steve Howard, from the Swedish furniture firm, said we might have arrived at "peak home furnishings".

Read full article The Vocabularist: Have we reached peak "peak"?