The Bank of England has raised interest rates from 4.5% to 5%, a bigger hike than anticipated, in a bid to curb inflation. Financial markets expect rates to hit 6% by the end of the year, says the FT, driving up the cost of mortgage payments and sparking a “backlash among core Conservative voters”. The search for the Titan submersible has reached a critical phase, with its oxygen supply estimated to have run out at around noon. Rescuers are scouring around 10,000 square miles of ocean in a bid to find the vehicle, which has five passengers aboard. Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have agreed to fight each other in a cage match. After Musk challenged his fellow tech billionaire to a bout, Zuckerberg replied: “Send me [the] location.” The Facebook founder has recently won several jiu-jitsu tournaments; Musk says he has a move called “the Walrus”, where “I just lie on top of my opponent and do nothing”.
The winners of the 2023 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition include a snow leopard chasing a similar-coloured Pallas’s cat in Tibet; a young wombat being nursed to health in Australia; an iridescent blanket octopus stretched out to reveal its natural symmetry; two Nubian ibexes gambolling on a cliff edge in Israel; and two orphaned chimps being cared for by a Congolese wildlife official. See the full list here.
On the money
What’s next for Harry and Meghan, asks Marina Hyde in The Guardian, now that their Spotify overlords have ditched them for being, as one executive put it, “f***ing grifters”? Rumours that the duo have been signed as the new faces of Dior have been batted away by the fashion house’s boss. Nobody seems eager to snap up the Duchess’s dismal podcast Archetypes. The couple have hit the problem they were always going to face: having divulged every grisly detail about their row with the royals, they have nothing else of interest to say.
One of the scariest risks of artificial intelligence is bioterrorism, says Axios. In an experiment at MIT, researchers asked AI chatbots to help them cause a pandemic. Within an hour, the machines had suggested “four potential pandemic pathogens” – including information “not commonly known among experts” – along with lists of companies that could synthesise the DNA and advice on how to trick them into doing it. According to MIT’s Kevin Esvelt, AI-assisted bioterror could be more dangerous than nukes: “Even relatively mild pandemic viruses can kill more people than any nuclear device.”
In the middle of the 20th century, says Moss and Fog, there was a “unique era of architecture” in America that embraced the themes of the space age by “blissfully leaning into a futuristic aesthetic”. Known as “Googie”, after a Los Angeles coffee shop built in the style, it incorporates vibrant colours, swooping cantilevers and futuristic motifs, including “starbursts, atomic shapes and rocket-like fins”.
With inflation remaining higher than expected, the Westminster gossip website Guido Fawkes has had a look back at Rishi Sunak’s much-touted “Five Priorities”, and listed them alongside a helpful report card:
1. Halving inflation: “it’s sticking”
2. Debt falling: “it’s increasing”
3. NHS waiting lists down: “they’re at an all-time high”
4. Stop the boats: “they’re coming thick and fast”
5. Grow the economy: “a measly 0.1%”, and with further rate rises on the cards, “even this looks unsustainable…”
It’s a lightning bolt on Jupiter’s north pole, in a newly released image taken by Nasa’s Juno probe in December 2020. The more we’ve explored the solar system, says CBS News, the more we’ve found that lightning on other planets is fairly common. In 1979, Voyager 1 captured lightning flashes on Jupiter that were 10 times more powerful than lightning on Earth. On Saturn, lightning can strike as much as 10 times a second.
“A good lawyer knows the law; an excellent lawyer knows the judge.”