When Iranian national Golshifteh Farahani decided to take a stand against Iran's notoriously strict rules for women, she wanted maximun exposure. So what better way for the Paris based actress to show Ahmedinejad the finger than to show a whole lot more than than, by posing naked for a French magazine. Well it certainly got their attention (plus the attention of a many others judging by the huge upsurge in visitors to her Facebook page from her home country), the Iranian government has banned her from ever returning home. According to Ms. Farahani, an official from Iran's Ministry of Culture told her that Iran didn't need any actors or actresses, which was especially ironic since Iran won it's first ever Golden Globe award this year for the film "A Separation" (The Independent).
From the nude to the rude now, as popular British daytime quiz “Countdown” stirred up a bit of controversy this week when a contestant won one round with the word “wanker”. The object of the game is to make the longest possible word from a random selection of vowels and consonants in just 30 seconds, and in this particular round this meant the letters RAEPKWAEN. Mark Murphy’s six letter offering left host Nick Hewer at a loss for words, but was the longest and is in the dictionary, hence took the round after his opponent could do no better than 5. Clearly though “wanker” shouldn’t have netted Mark the points, he could have had “reawaken” for eight (Orange).
A slightly more pleasant shock greeted teacher Parijat Saha from Dinajpur in India when he checked his bank account online one evening. In a classic Monopoly moment, a bank error in his favour gave him a balance of 490 billion rupees (about $9.7 billion). Mr. Saha promptly rang the State Bank of India to report the mistake, joking that the bank appeared to have so much money it was overflowing into his account. A bank spokesman later claimed that the funds were uncleared, and in any case couldn’t have been withdrawn (Digital Spy).
Finally, a three-night astronomy special on British television scored two spectacular successes this week. The BBC show “Stargazing Live”, hosted physicist Brian Cox and comedian Dara O’Briain live from Jodrell Bank, encouraged viewers to get more involved with astronomy, both from their gardens and online, and has led to a 500% surge in telescope sales in the UK in the last few days, but more spectacularly, one viewer may have actually discovered a new exo-planet after visiting a website featured on the show. Chris Holmes was one of sixty thousand people who were inspired to visit planethunter.org after watching the show, and despite having no more than a passing interest before, he identified a possible eclipse of the star SPH10066540 by a Neptune sized object in a 90 day orbit (BBC News).