Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

11-12 June

Tomorrow’s world

Elon Musk’s “lifeline” for Ukraine

Starlink has become an “unexpected lifeline” for Ukraine, says Politico. Elon Musk’s communication system – made up of a cluster of table-sized satellites flying as low as 130 miles above the country, and backpack-sized satellite stations on the ground – has thwarted Russia’s efforts to cut Ukraine off from the outside world. With Starlink’s high-speed internet access and encrypted phone network, troops can call in artillery strikes on Russian positions, civilians can stay in touch with loved ones, and Volodymyr Zelensky can keep his social media updates and Zoom calls with world leaders going.


Boris is Britain’s Berlusconi

Boris Johnson’s critics often compare him to Donald Trump, says Jeremy Cliffe in The New Statesman, but a better comparison would be Silvio Berlusconi. Over his four terms as Italy’s prime minister, “the Cavalier” substituted boosterish posturing for action. Amid “lurid palace intrigue”, political norms were eroded and problems were ignored – and the country stagnated. The same fate awaits Britain if Johnson clings on. Starting in 2016, Brexit drama began monopolising the energy of the UK’s political brains. When Johnson came to power three years later, “the definitive deoxygenation of British politics” was complete.


Getting chewed up by a lion

When a 400lb lion took a “fist-sized hole” out of Tony Fitzjohn’s neck in 1975, the Kenya-based conservationist worried his time was up, says The Times. “Am I dying?” he asked his boss, George Adamson. “I think you probably are,” came the reply, “but I’ll do my best.” Treated initially with just Savlon, whisky and Valium, Fitzjohn made a miraculous recovery. During his convalescence, he received a cheering letter from Adamson. “There is nothing for you to blame yourself for,” he wrote. “Getting chewed up by a lion is one of our occupational hazards.”


Quoted 12.6.22

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


Last year’s so-called “hot girl summer” has been ditched for a wilder seasonal aspiration in 2022, says Indy100: #feralgirlsummer, which has racked up over seven million views on TikTok. It’s a universal celebration of being untamed and imperfect – a feral girl will tap into her “innermost desires, healthy or not”. Instead of waking up at 7am to drink green juices, she rolls out of bed late morning and gets a Diet Coke. She bums around in sweatpants and no makeup binging on reality TV, or parties to her heart’s desire. One advocate’s feral manifesto for the coming months includes “fistfuls of raw pasta as a snack”, “4am Reddit holes”, and three weeks of not responding to a romantic interest, “followed by an unhinged 12-page rant”.


A lewd luxury for Brigitte Bardot?

Desert Island Discs was thought up by Roy Plomley, “an unsuccessful actor turned slightly more successful radio broadcaster”, in November 1941, says Miranda Carter in the London Review of Books. “It was brilliantly timed.” The BBC was desperate for good light entertainment, and what could be more appealing in the middle of wartime than escaping to a quiet, sunny desert island? Plomley duly became the first host of what is now the world’s longest-running interview show. Desert Island Discs even has its own urban myth, in which Brigitte Bardot, who never actually appeared on the programme, says she wants “a peenis” for her luxury. “Choking on his microphone,” Plomley eventually realises she means “’appiness”.

From the archives

The Queen’s common touch

I have a little theory as to why the Queen has been so successful, says Zadie Smith in Vogue. She seems “distinctly lower middle-class”. It’s strange: her children seem aristocratic, the grandchildren terribly posh, “yet around the Queen there hangs this persistent aura of Mrs Windsor”. Think about it. Did any resident of Buckingham Palace – “replete as it surely is with bone china and silver serving dishes” – ever before have their breakfast delivered in Tupperware alongside a copy of the Racing Post? We’re told her taste in culture is ordinary: she likes Benny Hill re-runs, TV quiz shows and Question Time (“but only if there’s a good bust up”). And of all the dogs she could have chosen, the Queen “opted for those squat little corgis with their stubby legs, bush tails and uninspired faces, who are the very doggy definition of ‘nothing to see here’”.



This Victorian home is positioned on a quiet, leafy street a short walk from London Fields in east London. Set across three storeys, it has three bedrooms and a bright living area, with restored period features including a shuttered triple-sash window. Sliding glass doors open on to an expansive south-facing garden, complete with a terrace perfect for alfresco dining. Haggerston and Dalston Junction stations are both a 10-minute walk away. £1.8m.


This five-bedroom property is nestled into a hillside next to Sandgate beach in Kent. It has a sun-drenched open-plan kitchen and dining area, and French doors leading to a terrace overlooking the sea. The bedrooms are south facing, so you can watch the sun both rise and set over the water. Trains to London from nearby Folkestone West station take under an hour. £1.35m.



Quoted 11.6.22

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”

Warren Buffett