UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget is a tricky one in terms of timing. Having announced a set of steadying measures in the autumn statement after the Truss/Kwarteng debacle, this budget is likely to be the last but one before a 2024 general election. This makes it a little early for eye-catching tax cuts or business boosts.
Tanya* is telling me just how important her Methodist Christianity is to her. We’re chatting over a video call, and I can see Tanya’s living room in the background. This also happens to be her workspace because Tanya, who is 50, is a full-time phone and cam sex worker. For Tanya, earning her living through sex work does not conflict with her religious beliefs at all. Tanya tells me that she had a client who talked to her about his enjoyment of wearing women’s clothing. He confided in her because they both shared the same religious identity.
You’re walking down a busy street on your way to work. You pass a busker playing a song you haven’t heard in years. Now suddenly, instead of noticing all the goings on in the city around you, you’re mentally reliving the first time you heard the song. Hearing that piece of music takes you right back to where you were, who you were with and the feelings associated with that memory.
De La Soul is one of the most significant and iconic groups in the history of hip hop. Comprising three members, Trugoy The Dove, Posdnous and Maseo, De La Soul worked together for 35 years releasing innovative music, touring and collaborating with artists from a range of genres until Trugoy’s death in February 2023.
There’s a common perception that artificial intelligence (AI) will help streamline our work. There are even fears that it could wipe out the need for some jobs altogether.
But in a study of science laboratories I carried out with three colleagues at the University of Manchester, the introduction of automated processes that aim to simplify work — and free people’s time — can also make that work more complex, generating new tasks that many workers might perceive as mundane.
As English dialects go, cockney is one of the most influential. Long considered the preserve of working-class communities in east London, it has shaped the way people speak across the country, from Reading, Milton Keynes and even Hull all the way to Glasgow.
You’re sitting on the plane, staring out of the window at the clouds and all of a sudden, you think back to how a few months ago, you had a heart-to-heart with a good colleague about the pressure you experience at work. How do thoughts seemingly completely unrelated to the present pop into our heads? Why do we remember certain things and not others? Why does our mind go off on tangents and why do we have daydreams?
Conspiracy theories aren’t a new thing, and for as long as they’ve been around they’ve ranged from the benign to the absurd. From the six moon landings being faked to the Earth being flat, or our ruling class being lizards, we’ve all probably come across them in one form or another.
Yet, in a surprise twist, the hottest conspiracy theory of 2023 comes from an unlikely corner: town planning. This relates to the idea of “the 15-minute city” and has even gone so far as to be mentioned in UK parliament by an MP who called the idea “an international socialist concept” that will “cost us our personal freedom”.
As an undergraduate, on a tour of Europe, I happened to step into the church where Saint Valentine’s head was kept. The tour guide told us a (likely fictitious) story about Saint Valentine performing forbidden marriages for persecuted Christians under the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (possibly 269-270 AD). Valentine was then imprisoned and beheaded in Rome.
His saint’s day has since become a celebration of romance. But earlier medieval accounts of Valentine’s life contain no mention of his association with love.