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6 October

In the headlines

Keir Starmer says Labour “blew the doors off” with its landslide win in yesterday’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. Scottish Labour candidate Michael Shanks took 58.5% to the SNP’s 27.6%, a 20.4% swing since 2019. “Whisper it,” says Politico, “but some are now wondering aloud if Labour can regain the primacy over the SNP it lost so disastrously in 2015.” Taylor Swift’s forthcoming movie has become a blockbuster a week before anyone has even seen it. Taylor Swift: Eras Tour, which will be released next Friday, has racked up $100m in advance ticket sales, meaning it is already the most profitable concert film in history. A giant albino rat and a baby otter (below) sparked panic on board a flight from Bangkok to Taiwan after escaping from a passenger’s hand luggage in mid-air. When the plane landed in Taipei, officials found “28 star turtles, one marmot, two otters and two other as-yet-unidentified rodents”.


The Melting Giants is a sombre collection charting the short life of icebergs. These “magnificent creatures” are born in Greenland, says photographer Cole Thompson in Peta Pixel, then spend a year “wandering the seas”. Eventually, on the coast of Newfoundland, they “run aground, rock in the surf, and melt on the shore as 30,000-year-old ice cubes”. See the rest here.


Merriam-Webster has added a bumper crop of 690 new words and terms to its dictionary this year, including “thirst trap” (an attempt to gain attention online by posting sexy pics); “doomscrolling” (spending excessive time trawling gloomy news sites); “jorts” (jean shorts); “rizz” (charisma); and “zhuzh” (a “small improvement” that completes the overall taste or look of something). If done right, the “zhuzh” might even warrant that well-known gesture of “satisfaction or approval” which has also made its way into this year’s edition: “chef’s kiss”.

Gone viral

The new Netflix documentary about David Beckham is enjoying rave reviews, but one moment in particular has been picked up online. Describing the early days of their romance, Victoria Beckham explains that part of the attraction was that she and David were both “very working class”. At which point David pops his head through the door and asks her repeatedly what car her father drove her to school in, not stopping until he gets his answer (above). Watch the full clip here.

Inside politics

After Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in 2011, says The Washington Post, millions of people saw the famous photo of President Obama and his aides tensely watching the raid. He was much more relaxed once the job was done. A recently filed freedom of information request has uncovered another picture, taken a day later, showing the president laughing at a printed-out meme of himself. Referring to the conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, the meme reads: “Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden.”


The elusive African dwarf crocodile has a surprising way of communicating, says New Scientist: mooing. Boffins from a Polish university recorded 97 sounds from a pair of the “big-eyed”, “tiny-bodied” reptiles at Bristol Zoo. As well as “drums”, “rumbles” and “gusts” – sounds unlike anything produced by other members of the crocodile family – the creatures were recorded making a noise “uncannily reminiscent of a cow”.


It’s a sticker – an emoji-like cartoon – of Karl Marx with large breasts, as imagined by Facebook Messenger’s new inbuilt AI. Other user-created examples of the feature, where you can type whatever you want to create your own sticker, include a pregnant Shrek, Donald Trump smooching Vladimir Putin, and a nude Justin Trudeau. As one user on X (formerly Twitter) put it: “We really do live in the stupidest future imaginable.”


“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Textile designer William Morris