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Heroes and villains

Pointy shoes | Deliveroo | seagulls

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Medieval pointy shoes, which unleashed a plague of bunions on fashionable 14th- and 15th-century English men. A study of skeletons in Cambridge cemeteries revealed 27% had bony lumps on their feet, up from 6% in preceding centuries. The craze for pointy shoes – known as poulaines – also seems to have caused a spike in injuries from falling over face first.


Dave Eggers, who has refused to sell hardback copies of his new book, The Every, on Amazon. It’s a sequel to The Circle, a book about a pernicious technology company that takes over the world. “I don’t like bullies,” the author wrote in an email. “Amazon has been kicking sand in the face of independent bookstores for decades now.”

Hero or villain

Deliveroo, which is encouraging couriers to snitch on local citizens who flout the law. After heavy criticism for treating workers badly, the takeaway firm has teamed up with Neighbourhood Watch to turn its delivery network into “a force for good”. But watchdogs fear training couriers to spot crime will create a “quasi-police force”.


Wolbachia, a “miraculous” bacterium that scientists are using to fight dengue fever. It makes it harder for the virus to replicate in mosquitos without harming the insects. Cases plummeted by 77% in a trial, raising hope for the 400 million people infected with dengue fever every year. The disease causes excruciating muscle pain and high fever – it’s fatal in one in 10,000 cases.

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Seagulls in Carbis Bay, which have been identified as a security threat to world leaders at the G7 summit. Police fear the birds will go after their fleet of 18 drones. Local pest controller Keith Perks has seen them attack children and pensioners — and claims one killed a chihuahua. “Don’t go down the town eating fish and chips without a brolly,” he warns.