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11 May

In the headlines

After three years of frenzied build-up, the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial got under way at London’s High Court yesterday. The case, which has already racked up £1.3m in legal fees, centres on whether footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy leaked stories about footballer’s wife Coleen Rooney to The Sun. The dispute should really be settled with “a family penalty shootout”, tweets Gary Lineker. “Cheaper and way more fun.” Elon Musk says he will reverse Twitter’s “permaban” on Donald Trump if his takeover of the company goes through, calling it “morally wrong” and criticising the “strong left bias” of the firm’s workers. “The iPod is dead,” says The Independent. Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the iconic product, of which an estimated 450 million have been sold since its launch 21 years ago.


Italy’s Russian romance

In the “complicated uncoupling” taking place between the West and Russia, there’s probably no country as entangled as Italy, says Tobias Jones in Engelsberg Ideas. The Italians import about 40% of their gas from Moscow, and exported $9bn worth of goods to Russia last year. There are deep cultural ties, too. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Italian architects constructed most of the iconic buildings in Moscow and St Petersburg. Plenty of Russian artists were staunch Italophiles. “Who has been in Italy can forget all other regions,” wrote the 19th-century Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol. “Who has been in Heaven does not desire the Earth.”


Bimbos are back

In a somewhat surprising “twist of girl power”, Gen Zs have identified a new pop culture hero, says Deborah Linton in Vogue: the bimbo. On TikTok, #bimbo videos have been viewed more than a billion times. Some give bimbo-y fashion advice, others offer tutorials on how to live a more carefree, ditsy existence. In one bimbo-based video, the caption reads: “No one can out-bimbo me, I’m literally brain dead.” The pro-bimbo movement has captured Hollywood too. Next year Margot Robbie will star in an updated Barbie film with a “feminist edge”.

Quirk of history

During the state opening of parliament, an MP is effectively held hostage in Buckingham Palace – the idea being that if anything untoward happens to the king or queen during the ceremony, the same fate would befall the MP. “They didn’t actually lock me up, but they made it quite clear that I wasn’t going anywhere,” Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick said of his experience as the hostage in 2014. “When I [later] expressed my anxiety to the head of the Armed Forces, he said, ‘If anything happened to Her Majesty, Jim, we would have made it quick. We would have just shot you.’ And I don’t think he was kidding.”

Gone viral

A sheep farmer’s son in Australia has taught his Jack Russell how to steer a pick-up truck across the family’s fields, says ABC News. Cam Zschech, 21, puts the vehicle in gear and lets Lexie take the wheel. Because it’s an automatic, the pick-up slowly moves forward – while Zschech sits in the back distributing feed to the sheep and cattle. “Every time we go driving, she will jump on my lap and up on the steering wheel,” says Zschech. “She’s a good sheepdog.”


Hidden away behind Google Search and Google Maps is another, rather sweet pocket of the online giant’s site: Google Arts and Culture. Here, users can design their own ancient pottery, play a game where AI guesses what you’ve drawn, and colour in great works of art. Try for yourself here.


It’s a quirk of geology found by researchers last month as they trawled the ocean floor around Hawaii. Not the “road to Atlantis”, as one sea boffin said on a live stream of the exploration – but a hyaloclastite, a type of glassy rock formed through the cooling of lava that’s come into contact with water or ice. It’s one of many kooky findings the team have spotted thousands of feet below sea level, says Vice, including “sea pigs, sea stars noshing on coral, and dancing sea cucumbers”.

Eating in

Sardinia’s larvae-infested casu marzu is the world’s most dangerous cheese, says CNN. Skipper flies lay their eggs inside the cheese’s cracks, and when maggots hatch, they burrow through the paste transforming it into a soft, creamy texture. The cheesemonger then cracks open the top, revealing the writhing worms, and can either blend the concoction or serve it au naturel. It’s illegal to sell the funky fromage, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Gordon Ramsay from travelling to the island for a taste. Locals say the cheese is spicy with “reminders of the Mediterranean pastures”, and has an aftertaste that, unsurprisingly, “stays for hours”.


Ukraine has captured 236 Russian tanks since the start of the war, many of which they can reuse. The British Army has only 227 tanks operational in all of its armoured regiments.


quoted 11.5.22

“After many years in which the world has afforded me many experiences, what I know most surely in the long run about morality and obligations, I owe to football.”

Albert Camus