Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

14 March

In the headlines

Britain, Australia and America revealed new details of the Aukus military alliance in San Diego yesterday, including plans to build a fleet of cutting-edge nuclear-powered submarines with UK-made Rolls-Royce reactors. A spokesman for China, whose activity in the Indo-Pacific the pact is designed to counter, said the countries were treading a “path of error and danger”. Tomorrow’s Budget will raise the amount people can save tax-free in their pension pot from £1.07m to £1.8m. The move is designed to stop workers retiring early. Royal Mail will next week release the first batch of stamps featuring King Charles’s head – a special set displaying different flowers. Those with his full-sized profile won’t go into circulation until next month.


Theatre audiences have forgotten how to behave, says Nick Curtis in the Evening Standard. Staff are reporting an uptick in everything from drunkenness and bad manners to verbal and physical abuse. One usher at Jersey Boys was punched after asking someone to stop singing; others tell me they’ve had ice cream containers hurled at them, and even been “grinded on”. During a performance of Life of Pi, before the protagonist had taken to the ocean, one man was thrown out for repeatedly shouting: “He’s meant to be at sea!”

Inside politics

Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is “learning a hard lesson in Kremlin politics”, says Mark Galeotti in The Spectator: “It doesn’t matter how useful you were yesterday, what matters is how useful you may be tomorrow.” After being outmanoeuvred by political rivals including Russia’s “ruthless” defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Prigozhin can’t get his hands on enough ammo and weapons for his men to be effective. What’s more, those mercenaries are being “deliberately expended by the regular military as cannon fodder” in the bloody battle for Bakhmut. If he wants to survive, Prigozhin may need to find some new way to be useful to the Kremlin – and fast.


For the first 72 years of the modern Olympics, says Athletics Weekly, competitors all jumped forwards in the high jump. It wasn’t until the Mexico Games in 1968 that Dick Fosbury – who died on Sunday aged 76 – came up with the “Fosbury flop”: hurling yourself over the bar backwards. He immediately set a new Olympic record of 2.24m – and changed the sport forever.

Gone viral

TikTokers have a new culinary fad, says Eater: sticking unlikely foods in waffle irons. Creators have stuffed in everything from hot dogs and battered chicken wings to pure Nutella. One user, @BelleMeows, has racked up more than 550,000 likes on her videos “waffling” items including frozen dumplings and Pot Noodles. There’s an “obvious appeal”: a small waffle maker costs only around £10, cooks food quickly, and gives it an “even crunch” – perfect for either quick nutritional meals like a frittata, or “outlandish prank foods” that will get you millions of views online.


William Wilberforce had a hell of a thirst, says Henry Jeffreys on The Moon Under Water podcast. After a religious moment, the abolitionist decided to “leave behind his dissolute life” and reduce his gambling and drinking. “So he cut down to only six glasses of port a day.”


It’s a detailed diagram of the neurons and connections that make up a fruit fly’s brain – “by far the most complex map of a whole brain ever made,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. The tiny organ is no bigger than a grain of salt, so has a relatively modest 3,016 neurons and 548,000 synapses. Human brains, by contrast, have an estimated 86 billion neurons and hundreds of trillions of synapses – “vastly more neural connections than the number of stars in the Milky Way”. Still, it’s a start. 🧠


Quoted 14.3.23

“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.”

Ronald Reagan