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10 July

In the headlines

Representatives from the BBC will meet with the Met Police today to discuss allegations that a top presenter paid a teenager £35,000 for explicit images. The corporation confirmed that an unnamed man has been suspended, as several top stars took to Twitter to deny their involvement. Joe Biden is in the UK today meeting Rishi Sunak and the King. In a 40-minute chat in the Downing Street garden, the President and PM discussed America’s decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs, as the UK is one of 123 signatories to an international treaty banning the production and use of the weapons. A 14th-century note requesting time off work has been identified as the only surviving handwriting of Geoffrey Chaucer. The message was long dismissed as the work of a clerk, as it was, in the words of one academic, “short, simply worded and carelessly written”.

Gone viral

This video of a pool of burning tar has been viewed almost 100,000 times on Twitter. “Looks like a portal to hell,” writes one user.


Private art advisors are no longer the preserve of the very rich, says The Times. For a consultancy fee or a cut of the sale price, a new generation of curators will source unique pieces that cost as little as £100 to “fill that intimidatingly important spot above the sofa”. They usually begin by asking clients about their tastes and encouraging them to trust their instincts – a trip to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is often prescribed. For those wanting to transform their home into a mini gallery, a company called Interrupted Art charges a monthly subscription (starting at £66) to provide a new set of works every 10 weeks.

From the archives

Joan Rivers had no time for Wimbledon, says Diaries of Note. The late comedian wrote in her journal in 2007 that she hated watching tennis because of “all that head turning”, watching the ball go back and forth. “It can loosen even a good facelift.” Instead, she just stared in one direction, usually at the player who grunted less. “If the ball doesn’t come back,” she added, “obviously the other idiot missed it.”


The Utrecht Overvecht train station in the Netherlands has a “transfer accelerator” to speed passage through the station, says QI on Twitter. “Also known as an adult-sized slide.”


It’s an interstellar “spherule” that Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb believes may be evidence of an alien civilisation. After a kitchen sink-sized asteroid crashed off the coast of Papua New Guinea in 2014, the eccentric professsor and his team trawled the ocean floor with a giant magnet – and pulled up dozens of tiny beads that originated outside our solar system. He is now testing whether the metallic droplets are remnants of a million-year-old spacecraft, and has already booked a slot on the giant billboard in Times Square to flash up: “We are not alone.”


quoted 10.07.23

“Fortune knocks but once. Misfortune has much more patience.”

Canadian writer Laurence Peter