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As clever as Einstein at age 12, but tears and tantrums in fight for a genius crown

I assure you the following is kids’ stuff: Which empire did Selim 1 take control of in 1512?

In your head, calculate 22 x 8, then subtract 19, multiply by 8 and divide by 2.

In revolutionary France, who led the Committee of Public Safety?

CONTEST
These were three questions from the final of a popular, once-a-year TV show, Child Genius, in which 20 children, aged between eight and 12, competed for the title of the cleverest child in Britain.

It was screened every evening for a week, winning huge viewing figures.

Questions covered history, mathematics, spelling, anagrams, science, memory, general knowledge, art and culture.

The winning question was: “Of which artistic brotherhood were William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais?”

UNDUE PRESSURE
When Rahul, a 12-year-old boy from Barnet, London, correctly replied, “The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”, he was declared Child Genius of 2017.

Rahul beat a nine-year-old opponent, Ronan, in the final round; Dylan, 12, came third, with Joshua, who looked like winning at one point, in fourth place. The only girl in the final, Aliyah, aged 10, was fifth.

The gruelling competition saw various children freeze, stumble away from the podium, burst into tears and quit the contest, and there was criticism that the youngsters were subjected to undue pressure.

The programme’s genial host, Richard Osman, responded: “I don’t mind people crying. That happens in life.”

APPRECIATION
Rahul, with an IQ of 162, thought to rival Einstein, was gracious in victory, congratulating his defeated opponents, but some viewers were critical of his father, IT manager Minesh.

They complained that Rahul’s dad appeared to smirk when Ronan got a maths question wrong by one digit and when he seized the trophy it was like he, not his son, had won it.

Oh yes, the three questions above. Answers were: The Ottoman Empire, 628, Maximilien Robespierre.
***
The government is finally taking action on those pesky little remote-controlled aircraft known as drones.

Although there has not been a significant accident yet involving a drone, there have been numerous reports of near misses with commercial aircraft.

Drones are also known to have delivered drugs to prison inmates by flying contraband to the convict’s cell window.

SAFETY

New rules will require anyone who owns a drone weighing more than 250 grams (eight ounces) to register their vehicle.

They must also take a safety awareness course.

The usefulness of the tiny aircraft was emphasised by Aviation Minister Lord Callanan, who noted that they are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure and aiding police and fire services in search-and-rescue operations.

Drones of varying sizes are offered by British retailers at prices ranging between £70 and £6,000.

***
There are medications and services that older people can get free under our National Health Service.

People with diabetes, for example, can have their toenails cut by an NHS medic.

A high street chiropodist would charge £40.

As for medications, most people buy common tablets such as paracetamol from a chemist’s shop or supermarket, but some folks, determined to get their money’s worth from the NHS, order them on prescription.

After all, they say, it’s just a packet of painkillers!

PARACETAMOL
A leaflet I picked up recently put the matter in perspective.

It said the NHS in the two northern towns of Newcastle and Gateshead spent £1.24 million last year on products like paracetamol, which could easily be bought elsewhere.

This sum, it said, would pay for 41 community nurses, or 81 drug courses for breast cancer, or 175 hip replacements, or 1,226 drug courses for Alzheimer’s or 1,275 cataract operations.

***
Robbie Savage, a recently retired professional footballer, told a nice story against himself in his recent autobiography.

He said doctors examining him after he received a blow to the head determined he had a concussion because he could not remember the name of the prime minister.

The truth: He didn’t know it.

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A Scottish painter and decorator, Jock MacGregor, liked to make a penny where he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further.

One day the local church decided on a big outside repainting project.

Jock put in a bid and because his price was the lowest, he got the job.

So he set about erecting scaffolding, planks and ladders, and, sorry to say, thinning the paint with turpentine.

DISHONEST
A week later, Jock was up on the scaffolding, with the job nearly completed, when there was a huge clap of thunder and rain poured from the heavens, washing the thinned paint from the church walls and pitching the painter into the church graveyard.

Jock was no fool. He knew this was judgement from the Almighty, so he got down on his knees and cried: “Oh Lord, forgive me. What should I do?”

And a mighty voice replied: “Repaint! Repaint” And thin no more!”

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There was criticism that the youngsters were subjected to undue pressure.

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