Britain was right to ignore the WHO and let Covid spread in a “semi-controlled fashion” over the summer, says the Telegraph. Whether by “foresight or serendipity”, pulling infections forward to avoid clashing with the flu season should “spread the strain” on health services. Meanwhile, Europe faces a “winter of hell” as a fourth Covid wave rips across the continent. Boris Johnson is “on great form”, insists Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, after the PM was branded “shambolic” for giving a speech on Monday in which he impersonated a car, quoted Lenin and lost his place. Reports that disillusioned MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in Johnson are “Westminster tittle-tattle”, says Raab. Parliament will review rules barring babies from the House of Commons after Labour MP Stella Creasy was reprimanded for bringing her three-month-old son to work. Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended the status quo, but told Creasy he wanted to “congratulate her on the impeccable behaviour of her infant”.
In a world first, freestyle motocross rider Tom Pagès has launched himself off a 23ft ramp on the edge of a cliff in the French ski resort of Avoriaz. After completing two front flips, the 36-year-old Frenchman released a specially designed parachute and glided to safety over the ravine below. “What’s going to get me stoked after that?” Pagès said afterwards. “I’m going to have to find something even more stupid to have fun.”
An asteroid once wiped out the dinosaurs. There are now thousands of near-Earth asteroids, and Nasa today launched a spacecraft towards one to see if it can be blasted off course. It’s due to hit the space rock next September, and Nasa says it’s a technique that could one day save humanity. “What if it changes its course towards Earth?” asks one Twitter user. “Are Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis gonna save us?”
A brothel in Vienna is offering customers a free half-hour session with a “lady of their choice” if they agree to have a Covid jab. Only 64% of Austrians are fully vaccinated, so the owners of Fun Palast are doing their bit to help. The jabs will be administered on site until the end of November.
Cloud seeding – when aircraft release “plumes of silver iodine” into clouds, causing ice crystals to form and snow to fall – is being ramped up in Idaho to target the state’s severe drought. The snow, which melts and flows downstream from the Rocky Mountains in spring, already boosts hydroelectric power production and produces about a million “acre-feet” (1.25 billion cubic metres) of water every year, says Maddie Stone in The Washington Post. And it’s cheap: the state of Utah says its cloud-seeding programme costs $2.18 per acre-foot of water produced. In some urban areas, water can cost hundreds of dollars per acre-foot.
“The best conversations are with yourself. At least there’s no risk of a misunderstanding.”
Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk
On the way back
Earbuds with wires, which are now retro and cool compared to wireless AirPods, says Rory Satran in The Wall Street Journal. Fashionable young celebrities such as Lily-Rose Depp, Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, above, have been seen “strutting around town” with wires trailing from their ears to their phones. An Instagram account called @wireditgirls has sprung up to document them.
It’s one of 23 golden swords awarded to naval captains who survived the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Worth £100 when it was forged, it has an ivory grip and a gilt bronze hilt, and is decorated with filigree flowers and entwined dolphins. It was sold at Bonhams in London this morning for £150,250.