Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

16 August

In the headlines

The UK annual inflation rate dropped sharply to 6.8% last month, down from 7.9% in June. However, the Bank of England is still expected to increase interest rates to a high of 6%, due to greater-than-expected wage growth putting upward pressure on prices. Three alleged Russian spies who have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police are said to have posed as journalists to scope out targets in London and Europe. All Bulgarian nationals, the suspected spooks have been charged with possessing fake passports and other forged documents. A new species of snake has been named after Harrison Ford. Discovered in Peru, Tachymenoides harrisonfordi (pictured), measures a modest 16 inches and is not harmful to humans. “He spends most of the day sunning himself by a pool of dirty water,” says the actor. “We probably would’ve been friends in the early ‘60s.”


Slovakian artist Tomáš Libertíny works with bees to produce “collaborative sculptures” of human skulls. He creates a skull-shaped framework and places it in the beehive, whereupon the insects cover it with wax to create the final piece. Libertíny tells My Modern Met the process is a reversal of death, because the structure is “covered in flesh with the help of nature”.


America’s southern states are unbearably hot right now, says The Atlantic. Toddlers are suffering second-degree burns from stepping on concrete; gardeners are being scalded by water from hosepipes. Yet still people are flocking to live there. Twelve of the 15 fastest-growing US cities are in the Sun Belt; of the 50 zip codes with the largest post-pandemic influxes, 86% are in “blazing-hot” Texas, Florida and Arizona. The appeal of places like Phoenix and Austin is simple: “less expensive housing, lots of jobs and warm winters”. It appears to be no deterrent that they are also “approaching the approximate ambient temperature of Venus”.


Hailey Bieber is back with another viral beauty trend, says Hannah Coates in Vogue: “strawberry girl” make-up. It’s all about flushed, freckled cheeks that look as though you’ve been basking in sunshine all day – perfect for the warmer months. The key is applying your products to the places the sun would hit if you’d been “outdoors for real”: the apples of your cheeks for faux freckles; the bridge of your nose for tint. Then it’s just a case of “channelling your inner prairie girl, et voilà”: strawberry girl summer.

Quirk of history

The expression “parting shot” comes from the Parthians, who ruled Persia for around 500 years until 224AD, says The Times. Whereas their long-term enemies the Romans liked to fight face to face, the Parthians used horse-archers to “dart about, delivering a fatal shot while galloping away”. This was known as the Parthian shot, which, over time, became the “parting shot”.


The Guardian has compiled a list of the best one-liners from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. They include: “Getting mythology wrong is my Hercules ankle” (Olaf Falafel); “What does Kylie sing while counting sheep? I can’t get ewe out of my head” (Alison Spittle); and “Last year, I had a great joke about inflation. But it’s hardly worth it now” (Amos Gill). See the rest of the top 10 here.


It’s supposedly a photo of a large panther-like cat living wild in the UK. Discovered in the files of a zoology organisation, the picture was accompanied by an unsigned note saying it had been taken in Smallthorne, Staffordshire. The letter was dated 17 March, but, rather unhelpfully, didn’t provide a year. Carl Marshall, who discovered the snap, tells the Panthera Britannia Declassified documentary that if it’s genuine, it’s “probably the best photo of a British big cat that exists”.



“Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.”

Oscar Wilde