Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

14 November

In the headlines

David Cameron returned to the Cabinet table “for the first time in 2,681 days” this morning, says Politico, as yesterday’s reshuffle was “interpreted by MPs and hacks alike as a major shift by Rishi Sunak towards the centre”. The Daily Mail claims Suella Braverman’s sacking could ignite a “civil war” within the party, and former minister Andrea Jenkyns has already filed a letter of no-confidence in the PM. Iceland is bracing itself for a major volcanic eruption, after around 900 earthquakes were detected in the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula. Thousands of residents have been evacuated from the town of Grindavik, where a 10-mile-long fissure has opened up. The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is creating the world’s first marine protected area for sperm whales. Officials say the 300 sq mile reserve will be used by around 35 whale families as nursing and feeding grounds. 🐳🥰


Frumpy fashion is in, says Hannah Bertolino in Dazed. In contrast to the “glow-up” plots you get in films – where the nerdy girl has a makeover that reveals she was actually beautiful all along – stars are posting Instagram pictures of them effectively doing the opposite. Supermodel Bella Hadid has her librarian glasses and grandma skirt; Iris Law (Jude’s daughter) has accessorised puffy sports shorts with long-hanging rat-tails; and Gen Z It-girl Emma Chamberlain was spotted tucking up a baggy Maison Margiela bodysuit into fishnet tights. We’ve entered an era of “ugly dressing”.


One of the “most daunting challenges” for Israeli forces in Gaza is Hamas’s labyrinth of underground tunnels, says The New York Times. One technique they use is known as “purple hair”: soldiers drop coloured smoke grenades into the tunnels, then watch for the purple plumes drifting out of any nearby houses – a telltale sign that the property has a tunnel entrance, and needs securing. Other methods are less subtle. When Egypt was trying to destroy Hamas tunnels along its border a decade ago, it dumped sewage into some of them and levelled houses that concealed entrances.

Gone viral

This video of Hot Wheels toy cars zooming down an empty waterslide has been watched nearly two million times on YouTube. “I wish this was a life-sized ride at a theme park,” says one viewer. It “made me feel like a kid again”. Watch the full clip here.

On the money

The world’s largest bank was forced to complete trades in US government debt via USB stick last Thursday, after being hit by a cyberattack. The American division of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is believed to have been targeted by Lockbit, says Bloomberg, “a prolific criminal gang with ties to Russia”. The bank’s “stricken systems” were taken offline to stop the attack spreading, so a messenger had to race around Manhattan carrying deal data on a thumb drive.


It’s the largest musical instrument in the world, says NPR: “the Great Stalacpipe Organ”. Located deep inside the Luray Caverns in Virginia, it consists of a keyboard rigged up via “miles of cables” to tiny electric hammers that strike stalactites around the caves, causing vibrations that give off musical notes. The soft tap of these mallets creates “bewitching, almost otherworldly melodies that linger, reverberating in the still, damp air”.



“A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”

Kurt Vonnegut