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13 February

In the headlines

US fighter jets have shot down a third flying object over North American airspace in three days. A military commander says the Pentagon is unsure what any of the mystery interlopers were, how they stayed aloft or where they were coming from – and hasn’t “ruled out” extra-terrestrial origin. Rescuers have pulled a seven-month-old baby from the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey, 139 hours after last week’s first deadly earthquake. A 13-year-old girl was also saved this weekend, with rescuers saying “You are a miracle”. More than 33,000 people are now confirmed to have died in the quake. Waitrose is offering an oyster delivery service for Valentine’s Day. Lotharios can order the aphrodisiac, priced at £8.40 for six, via Deliveroo. Expect an “evening of anticipation”, says The Times – “either of sex or of a bad reaction to molluscs”.


Leonardo DiCaprio’s habit of breaking up with his girlfriends when they reach 25 has long been a “tabloid joke”, says Hadley Freeman in The Sunday Times. “Ha-ha, Leo would rather go down with the Titanic than touch a decrepit hag of 30!” But the “ha” changed to “ew” last week, when it was reported that the 48-year-old’s latest squeeze, Eden Polani, is “all of 19 years old”. The reaction was so negative that DiCaprio’s people had to release a statement insisting the two weren’t dating. How things have changed. Lauren Bacall was 19 when she began her relationship with 44-year-old Humphrey Bogart on the set of To Have and Have Not. The only person who kicked up a fuss was the movie’s 48-year-old director, Howard Hawks – “because he’d had his eye on Bacall, too”.

On the money

There are many tell-tale signs that economists use to predict a recession, says The Guardian. One is the “lipstick index” – women tend to buy more of the beauty product during a downturn as it’s an “affordable luxury”. Another is men’s underwear, which is replaced less during tough times. Then, at least in the US, there are strippers’ tips. One dancer says America’s economic troubles last year hit her income hard. “I know girls who dance in Vegas and even they weren’t making money… If Vegas girls aren’t making money, no one’s making money.”

Quirk of history

Bluetooth is named after a 10th-century Viking king, says The Cultural Tutor. The wireless system was originally going to be called “Personal Area Networking”, but the tech wizards decided they needed a snappier “placeholder” name. One engineer, Jim Kardach, suggested “Bluetooth”, as he’d recently been reading about King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson of Denmark. Kardach said the monarch, who had one rotten tooth darker than the rest, was famous for uniting Scandinavia “just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries”. The term stuck, and the Bluetooth logo was designed by combining the Viking runes ᚼ (H) and ᛒ (B).


The website Worn on TV enables you to find almost any outfit you see on hit series. Watching The White Lotus and love one of the dresses Daphne wears to dinner? Wondering how much Kendall’s “casual” suit really costs in Succession? Simply search for the show, and the site will tell you the price of the garment and where to buy it. Browse for your favourite outfits here.


Our attention span is getting shorter, even for music, says The Economist. During the 1980s, the average chart-topping song had 21 seconds of introductory instrumentals before getting to the vocals. Today, when catchy lyrical hooks are crucial for grabbing attention on streaming services, intros last an average of just 12 seconds.


It’s a pink fairy armadillo, an exceptionally rare species in Argentina that experts are trying to learn more about. Roughly the size of a hamster, Chlamyphorus truncatus has a subterranean lifestyle that makes it famously hard to find. “Octogenarians who have lived all of their lives in these rural areas may have seen this animal only once or twice,” says park ranger Guillermo Ferraris. “But they never forget it.” In a bid to improve our understanding of the elusive mammals, armadillo expert Mariella Superina is hoping to retrain pangolin-tracking dogs to sniff them out.


quoted 13.2.23

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

Robert Louis Stevenson