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16 June

In the headlines

Boris Johnson’s ethics chief resigned last night – but not, as many had assumed, over Partygate. Lord Geidt, whose predecessor also quit under Johnson, said he had been placed in an “impossible and odious position” after being asked for advice on a “deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code”. The details are still unclear, but the PM says it relates to the use of tariffs to protect the British steel industry. The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the fifth time in a row, to 1.25%, as it seeks to curb inflation. Food prices alone are expected to rise by up to 15% over the summer and autumn. “Good news alert,” says the Daily Star: boffins have concluded that drinking one bottle of lager a day could keep men healthy by boosting the bacteria in their gut. “We’ll drink to that, doc.”


Tomorrow’s world

Punctures may soon be a thing of the past, says the BBC, as the Michelins and Goodyears of the world turn their hand to making “airless tyres”. Michelin’s version are made of “high-strength resin embedded with fiberglass and composite rubber” – for which the firm has filed 50 patents. Longer term, the company aims to create an airless tyre that is 3D-printed and made entirely of materials that can be melted down and reused.

On the way in

Inner city slang could become Britain’s dominant dialect within a century, according to academics. They claim “Multicultural London English” is spreading faster than previous dialects because of social media, leading to the widespread adoption of slang terms like “wagwan” (what’s going on), “peng” (good/attractive), and “bare” (very/a lot), along with the use of “man” instead of “I”, “you” or “he”. But it’s nothing to worry about, says Oxford professor Matt Gardner. “We don’t speak in the same way people did in the time of Shakespeare or Chaucer.”


Since 1935, New York’s Metropolitan Museum has hosted a secret biennial exhibition of artwork by the gallery’s staff. This year, for the first time, the underground show is being opened to the public, says Smithsonian Magazine. More than 450 security guards, librarians and other workers have contributed to the exhibition, which features everything from an atmospheric oil painting of a partially frozen pond to a series of jars and cans painted to look like miniature monsters.

Quirk of history

When English soldier Peter Robinson (above) returned to the Falklands 15 years after invading the country, he had to fill out an “arrival card thingy”, says historian Dan Snow on Twitter. Robinson filled his out as follows:
Previous visit to the islands: Yes
Duration of stay: Six weeks
Purpose of visit: Amphibious Assault


The stress of Covid has created a booming market for video games based on “mundane chores”, says The Economist. More than seven million people have watched a YouTube review of “PowerWash simulator” (above), which the reviewer calls “the greatest game ever made”. Other recent hits include “Best Forklift Operator”, “Espresso Tycoon” and “Gas Station Simulator”.


It’s Ryan Gosling as Ken in the upcoming Barbie movie. While co-star Margot Robbie “looks like a regular human” as Barbie, says Olivia Truffaut-Wong in The Cut, Gosling’s Ken is “definitely giving off a more ‘life in plastic’ vibe”. With his spray tan and “perfectly contoured muscles”, he looks like the result of someone wishing their Ken doll could come to life. “Even his arms look like they don’t bend past 90 degrees.”


quoted 16.6.22

“The more wrong a man does, the more indignant is he at wrong done to him.”

Anthony Trollope