In the 1993 Bill Murray movie, a weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Now astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope say they have been watching the same star blow itself to smithereens in a supernova explosion over and over again, thanks to a trick of Einsteinian optics. The star exploded more than nine billion years ago on the other side of the universe, too far for even the Hubble to see without special help from the cosmos. In this case, however, light rays from the star have been bent and magnified by the gravity of an intervening cluster of galaxies so that multiple images of it appear.
People that have worn the Watch say that they take their phones out of their pockets far, far less than they used to. A simple tap to reply or glance on the wrist or dictation is a massively different interaction model than pulling out an iPhone, unlocking it and being pulled into its merciless vortex of attention suck. One user told me that they nearly “stopped” using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don’t, period. That’s insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.
“They wanted him to be James Bond [who] ironically is a very promiscuous character who kills people. So I don’t know who is worse of the two.” She said she “agreed to disagree” with the school.
A new show in London gathers the boldest, brightest poster art, book covers, adverts and agitprop of the past century. Expect peace signs, redacted Orwell covers and the end of bad breath
Near the end of last year, the Labour MP Emily Thornberry was sacked from the shadow cabinet after tweeting a picture of a house draped in English flags with the words “Image from #Rochester”. Not long afterwards, the Twitter account of Ukip’s South Thanet branch berated the BBC for filming a vox pop in front of “a mosque in London”. The building in question was actually Westminster Cathedral. No one was ejected from Ukip as a result. So it’s OK to say that a cathedral is a mosque, but if you say that a house is in a particular town, you must be fired.
Something similar has happened to driving. It’s possible to hurtle down a road at 50 miles an hour without thinking at all – until it’s too late. One of the most successful safety design campaigns of recent years aimed to tackle this. The shared space movement puts ambiguity back into road use, for pedestrians and drivers alike. In South Kensington, all street furniture and crossings have been removed and replaced with ambiguous regions where it isn’t clear who has right of way. Drivers and pedestrians snap out of their trances, cars slow down and the accident rate has fallen by 43%.
A prototype toilet has been launched on a UK university campus to prove that urine can generate electricity, and show its potential for helping to light cubicles in international refugee camps. Students and staff at the Bristol-based University of the West of England are being asked to use the working urinal to feed microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power indoor lighting.
“The problem is there are just too many of them – and some are a little bit garish, they don’t fit in,” said Stuart Le Fevre, a trustee for Wayford woods, near Crewkerne. He said doors were being screwed into living trees, which could be damaging. “And some have been added to trees far away from the paths so children have been trampling over the bluebells. We don’t want to discourage children and we certainly are not anti-fairy – but we have to take some sort of action.”