Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

18 July

In the headlines

The government’s migration bill, which gives the home secretary an obligation to expel anyone entering the UK illegally, has been approved by the House of Lords. Plans to house 500 asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge are also under way: this morning, the ship docked in the Dorset port where it’s to be stationed. A new Alzheimer’s drug can slow cognitive decline by over a year, according to a recent clinical trial. Donanemab, which targets the buildup of the harmful protein amyloid in the brain, could help the disease eventually be treated like diabetes or asthma. Cocaine use is up by a quarter in British cities including London and Birmingham, according to a National Crime Agency analysis of urban wastewater. The large bump in the drug’s consumption is likely due to a supply glut last year, lowering prices.


The Comedy Pet Photo Awards have unveiled this year’s shortlist, which includes snaps of two cats, one of which is sticking its tongue out at the camera; a border collie captured mid-jump in a New York park; a porky moggy known as “Big Boss” sitting by a Japanese port; and a Russian dog owner and her pooch, who have strikingly similar hair, posing nose-to-nose. See the rest here.



It’s a historic moment, says The Times. America’s most famous newspaper has done the unthinkable: “said something positive about Britain”. The New York Times – which normally prefers to report on our alleged diet of “porridge and boiled mutton”, and our depraved pagan ritual of “cavorting in swamps” – sent a correspondent to the Dorset town of Poole. She came back full of praise. A landlord there has waived rent for ten shops on a once down-at-heel street, rejuvenating the area and attracting new businesses and customers. That in a nutshell, says The Times, is the British character the NYT “too often overlooks for clichéd tales of warm beer and imperial nostalgia”: entrepreneurialism, municipal pride and community spirit. “They ought to acquaint themselves with it more often.”

Quirk of history

At his home in Hertfordshire, George Bernard Shaw had a writing shed that he called “London”, says QI on Twitter. The idea was that unwanted visitors could be honestly told by staff that he was “in London”.


Gone viral

A video made by tower climber Kevin Schmidt, showing what it’s like to change a lightbulb at the top of a 1,500 ft TV antenna over the South Dakota plains, has racked up almost five million views on Twitter. See a longer version on YouTube here.

Staying young

The idea that sea air is good for you has been around since the Victorian era, says the Daily Mail. Now, new research has proved that it really is true. According to a leading neuroscientist, coastal air includes ions that boost the “electrical functionality” of the brain by 47%, which helps you think more clearly. Dr Rachel Taylor adds that just one walk along the beach kickstarts the production of oxytocin – a feel-good hormone – making people feel energised and stimulating a sense of belonging. 💙🌊


It’s a nearby star, which Australian astronomers have found is no hotter than a campfire. The ultra-cool brown dwarf – catchily named T8 Dwarf WISE J062309.94−045624.6 – simmers away at a mild 425C some 37 light-years away. For comparison, the nuclear inferno that is our sun burns at 5,600C.



quoted 18.07.23

“The first 80 years are tough. Life gets better after that.”

Novelist Len Deighton