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15-16 July


If only men were more like women…

Caitlin Moran’s much-anticipated new book, What About Men?, has the “admirable” intention of helping out lost young males, says Kathleen Stock in UnHerd. Unfortunately, reviewers seem to agree it does a pretty bad job of it. Moran believes not only that masculinity is “wholly cultural”, but that there’s only one version of it, “entirely based on her husband”. Every bloke in the world likes rock music, wears decrepit gym gear and won’t talk to his friends about fatherhood or relationships. Women, too, are apparently all just like she is – “dorky, warm, garrulous and funny” – and sit around drinking tea, having “super-deep conversations about anxiety and sorrow”.

Global update

Chinese authorities have been forced to adopt a pretty ghoulish measure to help people through its record-breaking heatwave, says Vice: re-opening bomb shelters. The underground hideaways, constructed in the run-up to World War II, are some of the only places to escape the 40C temperatures above ground. They’re rather more comfortable than they would have been back then; regional officials have kitted them out with Wi-Fi, restaurants and air con. But it still feels like an insight into “humanity’s uncertain future”: living underground in “climate controlled spaces” originally meant to keep us safe from nuclear devastation.


Having spent more than a decade studying different types of mosquito repellents, say Immo Hansen and Hailey Luker on The Conversation, we know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t bother with bracelets, coloured lights, ultrasonic devices and dietary supplements like vitamin B and garlic – all totally useless. Your best option, unsurprisingly, is Deet, the active ingredient in most shop-bought repellents. For a plant-based alternative, try oil of lemon eucalyptus, which has repellent properties that can last up to six hours. Other essential oils that work well in low concentrations include clove oil, which offers 90 minutes’ protection, and cinnamon oil, which lasts 60 minutes. Citronella oil is fine, but only works for about half an hour.


quoted Edison 15.7.23

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Thomas Edison

Quirk of history

There’s plenty of loose talk these days about “the world being constantly on fire”, says Cracked. But in a handful of places, this is no metaphor. Pennsylvania has a coal mine-turned-landfill that has been burning since 1962. In Turkmenistan there‘s the Darvaza gas crater – better known by its “cheery nickname”, The Gates of Hell – a 100-foot-deep crater that’s been on fire since the Soviet era. Turkey’s Yanartaş – thought to have inspired parts of Homer’s Iliad – features vents spewing out gases that have been burning like little campfires for at least 2,500 years. And in New South Wales, Australia, the aptly named Burning Mountain is home to a seam of coal that’s been smouldering away for an estimated 6,000 years.


The penthouse

This stunning three-bedroom top-floor flat is in Camberwell, south London. It has a breezy open-plan kitchen with an island, modern white lacquered cabinetry and a huge private terrace, perfect for sunbathing while looking out over the skyline. Denmark Hill Tube station is a 15-minute walk. £950,000.

The getaway

This four-bedroom villa is situated just a few minutes’ walk from the beaches of Juan-les-Pins on the Côte d’Azur. It has a heated swimming pool, an airy kitchen and a huge living room with a fireplace that opens out onto the terrace. Nice airport is a half-hour drive. £2.5m.



quoted 15.7.23 Ellerbee

“People are pretty much alike. It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.”

American journalist Linda Ellerbee