We all know the routine by heart: “Please ensure your seats are in the upright position, tray tables stowed, window shades are up, laptops are stored in the overhead bins and electronic devices are set to flight mode”.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II after 70 years on the throne has, of course, been met with widespread sadness and mourning. For most people in Britain, she is the only monarch they have known. Yet, inevitably, the mourning of her passing will be followed by a discussion about the future of the monarchy as an institution. After all, much has changed since 1951.
Although it may have provided the head of state for over a thousand years, in a modern democracy like Britain the monarchy will need to retain public consent if it is to survive.
Even the most devoted cat owners wonder at some point, perhaps waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, whether their cat really loves them. Dog people like to smugly point out dogs’ long history as humankind’s best friend.
But research shows cats’ reputation as a cold and aloof pet is undeserved.
A ‘network state’ is ideologically aligned but geographically decentralised. The people are spread around the world in clusters of varying size, but their hearts are in one place.
In June 2022 Balaji Srinivasan, former chief technology officer of the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange, published an ebook entitled The Network State: How To Start a New Country. It is the latest in a flurry of utopian visions by self-styled digital visionaries, crypto believers and web 3.0 evangelists who are lining up to declare the death of the traditional concept of countries and nationhood.
It’s a crime story fit for the digital era. It was recently reported that a number of restaurants in New York had been targeted by internet scammers threatening to leave unfavourable “one-star” reviews unless they received gift certificates. The same threats were made to eateries in Chicago and San Francisco and it appears that a vegan restaurant received as many as eight one-star reviews in the space of a week before being approached for money.
Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister comes to an end next week, giving us all a chance to consider what his legacy will be. More than his predecessors, Johnson owed his premiership to his reputed ability to persuade audiences other Conservatives couldn’t, through his charisma, unpredictability and energetic campaigning.
On average, happiness declines as we approach middle age, bottoming out in our 40s but then picking back up as we head into retirement, according to a number of studies. This so-called U-shaped curve of happiness is reassuring but, unfortunately, probably not true.
Frogs once lived alongside dinosaurs. About 45 million years ago, the North Sea covered half of Germany. It’s incredible to think these little creatures survived the dinosaurs’ extinction. But a lower level mass death did take place in what is now called the Geiseltal region in central Germany and the cause has long remained a mystery.
In the digital age, online dating and swiping right are the status quo for romance. Practically gone are the days of meeting “the one” in a pub. But what about flirting by the water cooler or over Zoom? The consensual office relationship has been both a romance trope and a taboo for decades.