- A politician gets caught fiddling their expenses
- A company that has been bailed out by taxpayers' money has just paid large bonuses to its senior managers
- Someone has decided to secure their place in paradise by blowing up several dozen strangers
- 'Swine flu' is now at an epidemic/pandemic/plague/total annihilation of humanity level (followed by the muted acknowledgement that most people have actually recovered)
- A soldier has been shot in Afghanistan.
But even worse than the news is the irritating, banal chat of the 'drivetime' presenters. Even Radio Three - once a glorious bastion of elitism - now has a limerick competition during its morning programme. I do not want to listen to puns about Liszt written by someone who wears leather elbow patches on their tweed jacket and hasn't had sex for 37 years, if ever.
Fortunately, the BBC now makes podcasts available of some of their best programmes and I no longer have to endure inane presenters and depressing news stories. I can now listen to clever people talking about fascinating subjects and by the time I get to work I feel invogorated.
Here are five things I learned from last week's podcasts:
- Cancer drugs aren't expensive because of the research and development. They are simply priced at a level that 'the market will bear', according to Adam Wishart, who made a documentary about the ethics and economics of cancer treatment.
- Companies that bottle and sell spring water are, arguably, violating the United Nations article that defines drinking water as a human right, not a commodity.
- The BBC is working on a new project nicknamed Canvas that will incorporate digital and broadband services into a new, free service, available to all.
- John Bradshaw, the Chief Judge who tried King Charles I for treason, wore a hat with metal inside it to protect him in the event of an attack.
- Russell T Davis believes that the nature of writing for film and television is about to change significantly, as a new generation of writers are appearing who have grown up in the computer game era.