Alex Collier asks:

Excuse me, but I don’t read Weekend for clever-clever interviews with politicians and that. Where’s the in-depth feature on Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus?

Alex didn’t miss these in-depth features – there simply weren’t any last week, and he may have been disappointed by this week’s haul as well. The Weekend magazine covers a wide range of subjects, and although celebrity features are frequent, they’re aren’t guaranteed to appear in any given issue.

But there’s no need to fret! If Alex wants certain access to features on modern-day musicians and actors, there are dedicated periodicals that deal with this subject. Or if Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus are his particular interests, he might enjoy Caitlin Moran’s Gaga profile in the Times, or the Observer’s analysis of Cyrus’s transition from child star to adult singer.

Niall O’Brien asks:

The writer of the 4 December Experience worked in an animal testing lab, yet says she told people she was an “administrator”. She left that job and now works in “administration”. Does that mean she really works in an abattoir now?

Not necessarily. Niall’s question rests on a logical fallacy known as “affirming the consequent”. Affirming the consequent is like hearing the statement “cats have tails”, then looking at something with a tail and concluding that it must be a cat. Of course, it might be a cat – but it might also be a cow, a mouse, an elephant, even a tailcoat.

So the writer might have claimed to be “in administration” because she works in an abbatoir, certainly! However, it’s just as possible that she works in a different field that she wishes to keep secret (for example, spying), or that she does work in administration as suggested.

Ian West asks:

Why, week after week, are the only paints to grace the walls in the Space section Farrow & Ball and, very occasionally, Fired Earth?

It may be partly confirmation bias – that is, it’s possible that Ian believes that Farrow & Ball paint is disproportionately represented in the magazine, and therefore notices it whenever it appears, while other paints pass him by. In the last month, the Weekend has featured only one Farrow & Ball paint (Black Blue), along with three from Fired Earth (Fountains Blue, Tyrian Rose, Amethyst), and one from Barbara Hulanicki (Vampire), so it’s not quite the all-Farrow-&-Ball-all-the-time trend that Ian describes.

However, it’s certainly true that Fired Earth and Farrow & Ball come up very frequently as paint providers! This may be because the rooms in Space are set up by designers, and the companies in question are the country’s largest manufacturers of “designer paint”.

Emma Pickard asks:

Is it just me, or do others get a warm feeling inside when a Blind Date goes “right”? You don’t need to read between the lines on 4 December. They’ve even made plans. Lovely!

It’s not just Emma: the Blind Date can provoke strong feelings. Over the course of 2010, it’s been discussed on the letters page twenty times, more often than any other feature. At least five of those twenty letters expressed pleasure at a date that went well, or sadness at a date that didn’t. This makes Emma’s warm feeling the second-most widely expressed sentiment of the letters page for 2010, beaten only by mild dismay at Alexis Petridis’ clothes.

As a popular topic of discussion, it’s closely followed by the fact that men often receive lower Blind Date scores than women (four letters), and the perceived failings of of individual Blind Daters (three letters).

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