JK Rowling has been in the news of late for various reasons. The play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a sell-out as Harry Potter fans thronged the theatre, though there was a sense of disappointment as several critics thought the play did not quite have the magic expected. Then came the news of the script of her eighth book being published. The author did indeed clarify it was the “script” which was not strictly written by her. She and the play's director John Tiffany collaborated with playwright Jack Thorne, and he was the one who brought her story to the stage. Nevertheless, it angered her enthusiastic fans who felt they had ended up with a play instead of a book.
But following the sale of her book, Rowling, 51, has been locked in a battle of words with US scientists over research on the origins of the female orgasm. In a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology, the authors, Mihaela Pavlicev and Gunter Wagner, said: “In males, orgasm is invariably required for ejaculation and transfer of sperm, but in females its function is unclear.”
Rowling tweeted a sarcastic comment: “Yes, the prospect of pushing an eight-pound object out of your vagina should be more than enough incentive for sex.”
She was blasted by one of the authors of the study, who was clearly unimpressed by her comment which was 'favourited' 13,000 times by Twitter followers.
Dr Pavlicev said: “Our work is on the evolutionary origin of female orgasm, very much pre-dating the 8lb babies, and in fact pre-dating human lineage.”
“Functions of the traits change in evolution and what may sound plausible opinion to us, including Miss Rowling, may not be what evolution is about. I think the opinion is not generated with very much thought, and I would suggest actually reading the paper might help.”
Rowling was also slammed by the author of the media article Carl Zimmer, who said: “Obviously, you did not read my story.”
While the battle ensues, Rowling, has nevertheless sparked off an online debate.
Clear and present danger
These are uncertain times we are living in. European countries, be it Germany or France, are on the edge with fears of fresh terror attacks. France has been cancelling various festivals and sports events for security reasons. The Braderie de Lille, which was due to take place onSeptember 3 and 4, was cancelled by the city’s Mayor. The European Road Cycling Championships, scheduled for September 14-18, was cancelled by Nice's Mayor Philippe Pradal. It came as the Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated by mistake after an employee mistook a safety drill for a real incident.
London is also beefing up its security. Although the security level in London remains at “severe”, an additional 600 armed officers have been deployed by Metropolitan Police to protect against the threat of attacks, across the capital.
This move doesn’t come as a surprise following the events in Europe. In keeping with British policing methods, most London police officers do not carry firearms, and in these times of real and present danger, firearms officers are needed to stop attacks, the police have justified.
These armed officers will be visible to the public both on foot and in vehicles. In last week’s Russell Square knife attack by 19-year-old mentally ill Norwegian Somalian Zakaria Bulhan which killed an American, the police response was prompt and Londoners felt reassured that instead of bullets, officers used taser guns to overpower the attacker.
But times are tense and we have to learn to live with this new reality.
This is a serious matter. Politicians are known for their battle strategies against their rivals but now 10 Downing Street is involved in a raging battle of a different kind. The social media is abuzz with angry citizens expressing their unhappiness that though former Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been severely criticised for filling his resignation honours list with his chums, he did not include Larry the famous Downing Street cat in the list.
But there is a different battle going on between 10 Downing Street’s Larry and the Foreign Office’s chief mouser Palmerston. These days fur is flying and the two have taken their fight to the streets. Last week, Larry was seen with a chunk of fur missing and needed veterinary care for an injury to his paw. At one point, armed police were forced to break them up.
The crisis is so intense that animal behaviour experts were approached for their opinion. They opine that the cats would be feeling unsettled after the departure of Cameron and George Osborne and would be fighting for territory and attention from the new Downing Street inhabitants.
If the two don’t call a truce soon, the situation will probably worsen with the arrival of the new Treasury cat, Gladstone, who will also be seen prowling around. Larry and Palmerston were both adopted from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. While Larry took residence in 2011, Palmerston came earlier this year.
Gladstone’s charm has already won the hearts of Treasury staff. He currently lives in an office where six members of staff have voluntarily added cat care to their daily duties. And he is being pampered with cat toys, until he is allowed out to hunt for mice. Some staff members have been regularly visiting him on their lunch breaks and after work.
Gladstone, it seems, is becoming the country’s most pampered cat and has even been receiving fan mail. Although he is yet to meet the Chancellor Philip Hammond, there may be more trouble brewing for the three famous mousers once he moves into Number 11 with his dog. That could be a clear war!
It’s the old Government buildings which have a mice issue, and now they all have their residential mousers. So does it mean that the government will not be overrun by cats? Well, MPs have already suggested the parliament is in need of a mouser. So will it be a Cromwell the cat, next?