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30 June

In the headlines

Britain will give £1bn to Ukraine to boost its war effort, Boris Johnson announced this morning, almost doubling the £1.3bn already provided. Downing Street says the money will fund a “new phase” in Kyiv’s war effort, giving it the tech needed to drive Vladimir Putin’s troops out. “Saducanu,” says Metro, after Emma Raducanu crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round. Andy Murray is also heading home, in his earliest-ever exit from the competition. “Achtung, surrender!” says The Times: the UK’s longest-running war comic, Commando, is binning chauvinistic content. Historically full of “plucky British soldiers and lantern-jawed Americans” overcoming enemies who say little more than “Gott im Himmel!” and “Aieee!”, the comic will replace the stereotypes with more “nuanced and compassionate depictions of wartime life”.

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Gone viral

If you want to give up cocaine, says Fiona Apple, spend an evening with Quentin Tarantino. An old video of the singer nodding along blankly while the notoriously chatty director wangs on about something has resurfaced on Twitter, racking up more than three million views. Apple had to hang out with Tarantino when she was dating fellow director Paul Thomas Anderson. It was “excruciating”, she once told The New Yorker. “Every addict should just get locked in a private movie theatre with QT and PTA on coke, and they’ll never want to do it again.”


Country Life’s advice column is just as you’d expect. One reader recently asked agony aunt “Mrs Hudson” about how to write a thank-you letter to an earl and viscountess, worrying that it might seem “overly stuffy and formal” to address the envelope to “The Right Honourable, The Lord and Lady”. “I don’t see any problem with using their correct titles,” came the reply. “The most offensive thing you could do is not to thank them at all, so I would suggest that you stop overthinking it and get the thing in the post.”


This video of an unusual putt in the third round of the US Senior Open Championship has almost 900,000 views on Twitter. “The gallery was as stunned as I was,” says the golfer responsible, Tim Petrovic. “I’d probably try it 100 times and not make it again.”


Making Fifty Shades of Grey was a nightmare, the film’s lead actress Dakota Johnson tells Vanity Fair. Originally, the playwright Patrick Marber had written a lot of the script, but he was constantly overruled by the book’s meddling author, EL James. To get around it, the team essentially shot two versions of the film: the version that James wanted to make, and the version that everyone else wanted to make. In the end, only one Marber-written scene (above) made the cut. “And it’s the best scene in the whole movie.”

Tomorrow’s world

Plants, as every schoolchild knows, need sunlight to photosynthesise and grow. But green-fingered boffins have created an artificial version of the reaction that allows plants to live quite happily in complete darkness. The new chemical process uses electricity to convert carbon dioxide and water into acetate, a salt that helps organisms grow. This acetate is so pure that – unlike with previous versions – the plants don’t need any sunlight at all.


You’re at the North Pole. That was apparently Elon Musk’s favourite interview question for engineers applying to work at SpaceX, says The Guardian. For the real brainboxes, he would then ask a follow-up question: where else could you be? Click here if you want the (rather complicated) answer to that one.


quoted 30.6.22

“Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.”

TS Eliot