Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

13 July

In the headlines

The Covid “exit wave” could lead to more than 200 deaths per day as UK restrictions end on July 19, according to new modelling by government scientists. “Freedom … ” says the Daily Mail, “but for how long?” England football star Tyrone Mings has accused home secretary Priti Patel of pretending to oppose the racist abuse of England footballers, tweeting that she had “stoked the fire” by undermining the team’s anti-racist stance of taking the knee before matches. David Cameron was paid $1 million a year by disgraced finance firm Greensill for just 25 days’ work, reports the Financial Times.

Comment of the day


Fortress Australia is a pandemic disaster

It will be looked on as “one of the great policy disasters of the pandemic”, say Marc Stears and Tim Soutphommasane in the New Statesman. As London and New York open up, Sydney has gone into lockdown while Australia deals with an outbreak of the Delta variant. The country’s early Covid response was “magnificent” – it locked down and shut its borders while other countries “dithered” – but success led to “devastating” hubris. When the rest of the world began to vaccinate, “Fortress Australia” thought it could afford to dawdle. By the end of June, Australia had fully vaccinated just 5% of its population, one of the lowest rates in the developed world.

Culture wars

The millennials are a “lost generation”

“Culture wars are long wars,” says Tanner Greer on his blog The Scholar’s Stage. It takes time to transform a culture – “usually two to three generations”. Ideas “fester” among the young, but their impact is often limited by the “inability and inexperience of youth”. Then the young grow up and older generations suddenly find themselves outnumbered – “swept up in a flood” that previously seemed a “mere trickle”.


Thoughts on England’s defeat by Marcus Rashford

“I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I’m feeling at this exact time. I’ve had a difficult season, I think that’s been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence … I felt as though I had let my teammates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry.

Staying young

Don’t drink your coffee first thing in the morning, says Leigh Weingus in HuffPost. Cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, spikes when we wake up, giving us energy and focus. Supplementing that with caffeine is a “waste” and can leave many people feeling jittery. Hold off on the espresso for an hour or so and allow each source of alertness to do its stuff, which will leave you with “a prolonged period of calmer energy”.


It’s handshake “bedlam” out there, says Pilita Clark in the FT. “The uneven state of vaccinations, plus wildly divergent views about what safe behaviour looks like, has divided us into an awkward mix of shakers, bumpers and fist knockers.” The results can be excruciating. A colleague of a friend was fist-bumping acquaintances at a bar when a committed handshaker joined the group. The result was the newcomer shaking his “protruded arm stump like a ball and socket joint”.

Eating in

The best way to eat a chocolate digestive is with the chocolate side down, an Oxford University study has found. But for maximum pleasure, first bring the biscuit towards your mouth chocolate side up, so that your brain can register the coating. Then turn it over so the chocolate melts on your tongue.


Quoted 13.7

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.”

Arthur C Clarke

Data update

Stealth taxes could give millions of overweight Brits more years of healthy life “without people even noticing”, says Ravi Gurumurthy in the Financial Times. When a UK sugary drinks tax was introduced in 2018, Coca-Cola reformulated its drinks (“except chancellor Rishi Sunak’s beloved classic coke”) to contain less sugar and thus avoid the tax. It worked: sugar consumption from fizzy drinks fell by 30%. Good news for the 64% of the UK classed as overweight or obese.

Tomorrow’s world

Wildlife authorities in Utah are dropping thousands of young fish from aeroplanes to restock more than 200 high-altitude lakes that are inaccessible by road. Officials at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say the fish, which are 1-3in long and released in batches of up to 35,000, “flutter down slowly to the water”, and that their survival rate is “incredibly high”.