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8 September

In the headlines

Liz Truss unveiled her long-awaited plan to address soaring energy prices this morning. It includes capping average household bills at £2,500 a year until 2024 – a policy that could cost up to £170bn – and scrapping the ban on fracking for shale gas. The announcement came as the pound fell to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985. Oxford researchers have unveiled a malaria vaccine with what they call “world-changing” potential. The cheap-to-produce jab offers 80% protection against the deadly disease; more than 100 million doses will be manufactured and distributed next year. Jesus played cricket, says the Daily Star. A recently rediscovered ancient gospel features the Son of God taking part in some sort of bat and ball game – and running out onto the sea when He’s fielding. “Howzat for a story?”


The Venice premier of Don’t Worry Darling was the “most cinematic event of the year”, says Fran Hoepfner in Gawker. Amid her rumoured bust-up with director Olivia Wilde, lead actress Florence Pugh sacked off the film’s press conference to wander around Venice with her granny. Meanwhile, lead actor Harry Styles, who just happens to be dating Wilde, “could not for the life of him string together a coherent sentence” in press appearances. “What I like about acting,” mused the pop star-turned-thespian, as co-star Chris Pine sat beside him looking spectacularly unimpressed, “is I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.” The whole thing came to a “baffling, bombastic and hilarious” conclusion at the screening, when Styles appeared to spit on Pine’s lap (above). “Kudos one and all.”

Tomorrow’s world

If astronauts ever get to Mars, says Smithsonian Magazine, they’re going to need something to breathe. Sending up bottled oxygen from Earth would be expensive and lengthy. So Nasa boffins have invented a “lunchbox-sized instrument” that turns carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere into breathable O2. And it works: a prototype on the Perseverance rover has successfully produced oxygen in seven separate tests. Churning out enough of it to keep a human alive will require scaling things up “several hundred times”, but just proving the tech works is a giant stepping stone to expanding human life through the solar system.


Hong Kongers have come up with a novel solution to the problem of pedestrians walking out on to busy roads because they’re glued to their phones: LED lights that bathe crossing points in a red glow when it’s not safe to walk. Hong Kong is not the first city to address the scourge of “smombies” (smartphone-obsessed zombies), says Bloomberg. The German cities of Cologne and Augsburg have rows of LED lights on the ground at tram crossings, and the Hawaiian city of Honolulu has banned texting at pedestrian crossings altogether.


For the past few years, a Brazilian photographer known simply as Jeff has been documenting hairstyles in the barbershops of São Paulo, capturing the “fades and patterned shaves” of the young men who pass through. “Going to the barbershop here is sometimes compared to going to a therapy session,” Jeff tells Dazed. “I don’t want to diminish the importance of a psychologist, but self-esteem is very important here and having the right hair style and shave contributes a lot.”

Inside politics

The new Prime Minister has shown herself to be an “ally” of diversity, says Charles Moore in The Spectator, by appointing as chancellor a member of that “increasingly marginalised minority”: Old Etonians. When first a candidate in the 2010 election, Kwasi Kwarteng was approached by a tattooed, shaven-headed, middle-aged white man. “’ere,” the man said, “is it true you didn’t go to a normal school like us ordinary people: you was at Eton?” Kwasi nervously admitted that this was the case. “Good,” replied the man. “I don’t want the country run by bloody oiks.”


It’s Kim Kardashian, with her eyebrows and hair bleached blonde on the front cover of Interview magazine’s September issue. “It’s amazing how Kim Kardashian has managed to make most people’s stress nightmares become aspirational,” says Times columnist Caitlin Moran on Twitter. “If I were on the cover of a magazine with no eyebrows and my arse hanging out, I’d be on beta-blockers and planning to leave the country.”


quoted 08-09-22

“The best conversations are with yourself. At least there’s no risk of a misunderstanding.”

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk