From the Queen not walking out in a huff to the non-sighting of a great white shark off Cornwall, it has been a summer of controversy over media spin and fakery. But as always, China does things bigger and better - including cock-ups.

Xinhua, the state news agency, published a health report on its English-language website, China View, under the headline: 'Two new genes found for multiple sclerosis.' It was illustrated by an X-ray scan of a human head, presumably from the agency's picture library.

Unfortunately, it was a cartoon X-ray image of Homer Simpson, he of the domed head and doughnut-sized mouth - and walnut-sized brain.

The Simpsons image provided a field day for websites and blogs. Some noted that it is not the first time China has come a cropper for recycling stories. In 2002 the Beijing Evening News told how the US Congress was threatening to move from Washington to a new building in Memphis with a retractable roof, fountains and luxury hospitality boxes. The report had been lifted from The Onion, a satirical newspaper famed for its fictional articles. Doh!