May 18, 2022


Technology Loves You

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Digested week: Teslas strip BMW drivers of proud title of worst on road | Emma Brockes

5 min read


A collective sigh of relief on Monday as news is verified that Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected as president of France, viewing off a danger from the significantly-suitable applicant Maritime Le Pen, and, soon afterwards, tomato-throwing crowds in a suburb of Paris. Macron, who captured 58.6% of the vote, took his initially walkabout publish-election and was met with a barrage of squishy missiles, resulting in his security detail to unleash an Inspector Gadget-fashion gadget, after squealing the heads-up: “Projectile!” (It might not have been a squeal.)

The full thing could’ve been a scene from James Bond, remarked commentators, while deployment of the loss of life brolly has additional of a Mr Bean ring to it. The gadget, named the ParaPactum and made in France by Le Parapluie de Cherbourg, was invented in 2011 and is supposed, in the words and phrases of its makers, for the “protection des hautes personnalités”, together with the president of the republic. It weighs much more than 2 times a frequent umbrella, is made of Kevlar, costs €10,000 (£8,400), and when brandished can ward off knife, pet, acid and fruit attacks. It is also water-proof.

Outside the house of France, the ParaPactum has been witnessed in the palms of protection officers strolling along with Vladimir Putin, and lest an umbrella must feel an insufficiently rugged piece of package, arrives in a special circumstance that seems like it was built for a sniper. Pure jingoism, this, but specified the lengthy, pretty much spiritual partnership among the British men and women and their umbrellas, a single imagines no modern technological innovation is vital for the regular British protection officer to weaponise a typical-situation design with a picket deal with – cracked more than-the-head, Grandma Giles-model.


Ladies really do not like physics since it involves “difficult maths” is a assertion I uncover simultaneously appalling and also identify with. I never like really hard maths, or any maths, but that is not, obviously, because I’m a girl. Mid-7 days, the government’s social mobility commissioner chose to frame the very low quantities of girls relative to boys having physics A-Amount in phrases accessible only to these who’ve presented the issue exactly seven minutes considered. Appearing right before the Commons science and technologies committee, Katharine Birbalsingh pulled phrases from her mind to the outcome that, “physics isn’t anything that ladies are likely to extravagant. They really do not want to do it, they really do not like it.” Birbalsingh is headteacher at a faculty in Wembley exactly where ladies consider physics A-Amount at an even reduce level than the national average. Pressed to develop on her level, she took up a greater shovel and resumed digging, continuing: “I just assume they never like it. There is a lot of hard maths in there that I assume they would instead not do. The investigation normally … just states which is a normal thing.” Per Birbalsingh’s instance, a facility for evolutionary biology is not a girl’s most effective mate, possibly.


On the other hand, Brownies are finding out to code, which is great, whilst it will not rescue me from the chill of my Brownie pack memories. The acquisition of badges still left me so defeated I graduated from Wendover Second pack with a one badge (the hostess badge). Even then, I in no way achieved the focus on of discovering to make a cup of tea – my mother, scandalously, signing the variety to say she’d witnessed the event when she’d done no these kinds of issue. I hated Brownies, the uniform, the singing, the “mission”, whatsoever that was the feral pack from Milton Keynes with whom we had been designed to go on camp. And though I rose to the heady top of Seconder in Gnomes, it by no means gave me any joy. You’d feel it would be not possible to fall short a Brownie badge, but I did, above-reaching a single Thursday night in the course of the Collectors Badge. Other Brownies introduced in shells, and dolls, and rocks. I introduced in my assortment of lolly sticks, washed and dried, and the appear on the facial area of Tawny Owl has in no way totally remaining me. Twist me and convert me and display me the elf …


Two touching tales of the ultra-aged this week, one about the French nun Sister Andrew, who grew to become, at 118, the oldest person in the world right after the loss of life earlier in the 7 days of 119-12 months-old Kane Tanaka from Japan. Sister Andrew lived by means of the Spanish flu of 1918 and in January past 12 months grew to become the oldest recognised survivor of Covid-19. She told reporters this 7 days she drinks a glass of wine each working day, whilst Tanaka, soon prior to her death, cheerfully instructed site visitors she ascribed her good longevity to “being myself”, and her like of eating chocolate and drinking Coke. Specified the mould these stories tend to acquire, it’s incredible neither of them smoked 40 a day or lived completely on a food plan of bacon.

Fascination encouraged by the particularly outdated may well reduce as their quantities increase. Japan has the oldest population in the globe, with an common existence span of 87.7 for ladies and 81.6 for adult males, and with 86,000 people today now more than the age of 100. The considered of carrying on for 110-additionally decades, even in the evidently sprightly guise of Sister Andrew and the late Japanese document-holder, fills a person with existential dread, significantly in the US where the logistics of funding a 30-furthermore-12 months retirement are really terrifying. If 50 is the new 40, and 70 the new 60, a person awaits, with weary resignation, the arrival of 90-moreover as a advertising demographic, with all the attendant anticipations of jauntiness.


In the aged times, it was BMW motorists who had been reliably the worst on the highway. Occasions transform. We have a rental motor vehicle this 7 days and it is recognizable that every time an individual cuts in front, carves us up, or glides up the tough shoulder to bounce the line, it is extra typically than not the very same car or truck. Mercedes motorists are arrogant but rule-abiding. The mild sorts in a Subaru generally give way. A Honda Accord could drift over its lane-markings, but will not give you any major difficulties. It is Tesla drivers – on the road, on the online, in authentic and in notional form – who are the complete horror present, a model affiliation that, no one particular demands reminding this 7 days, goes all the way to the prime.

Sajid Javid and Angela Rayner
Sajid Javid distracts the opposition with his floury baps. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA
‘I’d be thrilled to meet us, too!’
‘I’d be thrilled to fulfill us, also!’ Photograph: Hannah McKay/AFP/Getty Images

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