Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

9 October

In the headlines

Israel’s defence minister has ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza after Saturday’s deadly attack by the terrorist group Hamas. More than 700 Israelis are confirmed dead, and dozens more have been taken hostage, after what the country’s military leaders described as “Israel’s 9/11”. Retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza have killed more than 500 Palestinians. Afghanistan is reeling from its deadliest earthquake in two decades. The 6.3-magnitude quake, which struck the western province of Herat on Saturday, has killed almost 2,500 people and left more than 9,000 injured. France is “in the throes of national psychosis” over an outbreak of bedbugs, says The Daily Telegraph. Images of the blood-sucking insects crawling around on train seats have gone viral, and the government last week held an emergency meeting to discuss the rise of the dreaded punaises de lit. 🪳😱


Land artist Nikola Faller celebrates the arrival of autumn by raking fallen leaves into “charming, fleeting sculptures”, says Moss and Fog magazine. During the rest of the year, the Croatian craftsman – who also creates flammable sculptures out of hay – makes his macro masterpieces in grassy fields and sandy beaches. Check out his Instagram here.


Americans without college degrees have “staggeringly shorter life spans” than those who do, says The New York Times. In 2021, a 25-year-old who didn’t go to university could expect to live to around 75 – a decade less than someone with a degree. That gap was more than triple what it was in 1992, a scale of divergence only previously seen in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Gone viral

Kenya’s police officers have developed an innovative communications strategy, says The Economist: posting “breathless accounts” of their heroics on social media. “One [assailant] fired at the detective, missing his ear by a whisker,” reads one description. “But in a quick rejoinder, the detective… chambered a round and gave the thug a taste of his own medicine.” Another post, complete with comic-book illustrations (pictured), describes officers unleashing “an avalanche of fire” on armed cattle thieves. The cops need all the reputational help they can get: nearly 70% of Kenyans say that “most” or “all” the police are corrupt.


Dezeen has compiled a list of wacky, vibrant school campuses around the world, including the bright yellow extension at Portugal’s Artave Music School; the blue, yellow and copper-clad cubes adorning the old church buildings of the Elementary School Vřesovice in Czechia; the cantilevered classrooms, rooftop gardens and deep, nautical window nooks of the Fuqiang Elementary School in Shenzhen, China; the sharp, asymmetrical angles of the Thaden School in Arkansas, US; and the cheerful, boldly coloured steel sheds of a pre-school in India. See more here.

On the money

If you think Londoners have it hard with Ulez, spare a thought for drivers in Singapore. Back in 1990, says Sky News, the city-state capped the number of vehicles allowed on the road at about 950,000. To become one of those lucky few, drivers have to buy a 10-year “certificate of entitlement” – prices for which have quadrupled since 2020, to £88,000. Once you’ve also factored in registration fees and taxes, buying a Toyota Camry Hybrid will set you back £151,000 – twice the median annual household salary, and five times more than the vehicle would cost in the UK.


It’s the world’s heaviest cucumber, weighing a whopping 30lbs – about the same as a mountain bike. Vincent Sjodin, known to family and friends as Vince the Veg, grew his 4ft-long record-breaker in a polytunnel, and had to erect a hammock to stop it collapsing under its own weight. Vince, from the Vale of Glamorgan, also holds the record for the heaviest marrow (256lbs). He turned up at September’s UK National Giant Vegetables Championships with a 5lb potato, a tomato the size of a football, and a pumpkin that had to be driven there on a flatbed truck.


“I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

Winston Churchill