A survey conducted by the U.K. consumer watchdog Which? found that Teslas and Land Rovers were considered the least reliable automobiles. The Land Rover took top—well, bottom—honors, with onboard-computer software issues the main gripe among the more than 47,000 car owners polled. Elon Musk’s electric Tesla was deemed second-least-dependable: one in four owners sounded seriously tempted to simply unplug, citing “disastrously high fault rates and lengthy garage stays,” for starters. Most reliable brand? Lexus. And most reliable new car? The Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible.
Another survey, conducted by Perspectus Global, has identified some 20 words that are at risk of extinction because they tend to draw a blank among young Brits. Among them: “tosh,” “bonk,” “yonks,” “sozzled,” “cad,” “wally,” “betrothed,” “bounder,” and “balderdash.” Heartbreaking. (Even “disco” was unfamiliar to nearly one in five under-30s.) One word that is notably trending in the other direction among millennials: “nincompoop,” which is 373 percent more popular than it was 30 years ago. Well, let’s wait and see. A decade or two from now, how will “millennial” fare?
India this week confirmed six million cases of the coronavirus—second only to the exceptionalist United States—and understandably much of the country’s focus was on … well, on the Bollywood star Deepika Padukone, who is among several actors now being questioned by authorities investigating the apparent suicide in June of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Some fans and relatives believe it was no suicide, and The Times of London reported that “frenzied allegations of a celebrity ‘drug mafia’ [threaten] to rip the country’s entertainment industry apart.” Certainly the nation is rapt. “Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has reached the Narcotics Control Bureau office for the interrogation,” wrote the breathless Times of India, capturing for history the precise moment Padukone alighted from her car and began her riveting trek along the paved walkway—grass on the left, and on the right—drawing ever closer to the government building. “She will be questioned about her involvement in the alleged ‘drug chats’ with her manager Karishma Prakash. In the pictures, she can be seen sporting a traditional dress along with a mask. She can be seen with a police official. Have a look.” Sure, O.K. Meanwhile, the other Times (London), noted that three federal agencies are investigating, and this has led to accusations it’s all been “whipped up to distract from the mounting problems under Narendra Modi, the prime minister.” Padukone has not been charged with anything.
Down in the Keys, 30-year-old Andrew Eddy of Atlanta jumped off a boat near a reef and was instantly, viciously attacked by a bull shark measuring 8 to 10 feet. Sigh. His 29-year-old wife, Margot Dukes, pregnant, and setting a new high bar for spousal care, saw a dorsal fin and blood on the water, drew the correct conclusion, and dived in to save him. Eddy said the shark, which had gone for his shoulder, let go when he accidentally put his hand in its mouth. Dukes then pulled her husband out of the water, and he was airlifted to a hospital. A paramedic who was at the scene said that Eddy told him “it was the scariest thing that has happened to him,” which seems entirely plausible.
No Old Masters or precious emeralds for them: in Canada, pulling off a real state-of-the-art heist apparently requires the swiping of hot tubs and beef. (“Experts say the capers highlight a growing crime perpetrated by sophisticated culprits.” —The Canadian Press) Days apart, semi trucks with drivers waving forged “transport papers” made off with, first, hundreds of pounds of beef (valued at $175,000 U.S.) from a meatpacking plant in Brooks, and then with seven hot tubs ($113,000) from the Blue Falls Manufacturing loading dock in nearby Thorsby. How exactly do you dispose of seven hot hot tubs and all that stolen meat? The jokes aside, as Corporal Rob Gillies of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reminded The Guardian, “We’re a small town of about 1,050 people and [Blue Falls] is kind of the main industry here. There’s a lot of people that work hard to produce that stuff. Seven hot tubs go missing and that’s a lot of people’s hard work down the drain.”
Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas believe that anyone can be funny, and what’s more, can be taught to be funny: their Humor, Serious Business course, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, has led to a new book, Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And How Anyone Can Harness It. Even You.). (That’s the title. No, um, joke.) There are apparently four main types of humor, according to The Times of London: “There is the Stand-up (ruffles feathers, loves an audience), the Sweetheart (gentle, uplifting humour), the Magnet (an animated crowd-pleaser) and the Sniper (sarcastic, edgy and more interested in a one-liner than having friends).” Examples of each: Ricky Gervais, Miranda Hart, James Corden, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, respectively. So, choose your weapon. Or, more likely, it has already chosen you.
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for Air Mail