Spider-Man is showing our boys that normal guys can be heroes too | Gaby Hinsliff

Youngsters are growing up with a much broader concept of masculinity and even Hollywood is catching up, says Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff Not all superheroes wear capes. But if they come in many guises, what they tend to have in common is a desire to save the world. And thats what makes the new not to run for the Tory leadership because she didnt want to leave Scotland and has just had a baby. He is the Prince William of superheroes, visibly conflicted about the prospect of becoming king. Welcome to Work-Life Balance Man, who isnt sure he wants to make it to the top of the Avengers pantheon if that means theres no time left for anything else; a …

How an app made hiking easier with unintended consequences

Guthook Guides maps and crowdsourced information have made outdoor adventures far less wild In March 2012, the Pacific Crest Trail changed for good when Hollywood version. From 2013 to 2018, PCT applications nearly quadrupled. But Wild wasnt the only thing that transformed the trail that March. The same month, a thru-hiker named Ryan Linn quietly released an iPhone application thru-hiking a map, compass, guidebook and water reports and consolidated them into a single virtual location. It functioned offline and crowdsourced updated information about trail conditions and campsites when online. Such an app might have been inevitable, but for ultralight-obsessed thru-hikers, it was a revolution. Linns timing couldnt have been more perfect. In the last three years, the app has been …

Dioramas of death: cleaner recreates rooms where people died alone

Miyu Kojima creates scenes based on rooms she has cleaned after solitary deaths It was at a trade show for the funeral industry that Miyu Kojima had what might seem at first like a macabre idea. Kojima, 27, works for To-Do Company, a cleaning firm that specialises in the apartments of the recently deceased. Many of their jobs involve kodokushi (solitary deaths), where people die alone and are not found for days, a phenomenon that has recently gripped the Japanese imagination. The company was advertising its services at the trade show by displaying photos of the rooms theyd cleaned. But the photos are gruesome to look at, Kojima said. I felt they lacked respect for the deceased and for their …

Today I have to talk to three of my patients about dying. This is how I do it

Its tempting to put these all-important conversations off but the consequences can be dire Its 9.15am. The medical team is full of energy and caffeine. We have patients to see, some of whom are on the road to recovery, others who have already been recognised as dying, and some who have uncertain futures. There are three new patients whose condition could worsen at any time. Given their frailty I believe cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) would be futile. It is now my job to start a discussion about their future care. Three conversations. I take a deep breath. The trainee doctors are attentive and still learning how to do this. I complete my assessment for the first patient, pause, then open the …

No plastic please, Mum: my quest to make waste-free packed lunches

The average lunchbox contains lots of needless wrapping. So how easy is to create eco-friendly alternatives and will children eat them? A couple of months ago my sons dislike of school dinners reached the tipping point, and outweighed his parents refusal to find an extra 10 minutes each morning. We did the unthinkable and switched to packed lunches. A shelf in the kitchen quickly filled with colourful packages, each containing smaller packages. The drink cartons came with plastic straws, in tiny film sleeves stuck to the composite carton with a dab of glue. We bought them in trios, swathed in more plastic.And all the while the calls to cut plastic waste were growing and growing. Our treat shelf began to …

‘I wouldn’t be the refugee, I’d be the girl who kicked ass’: how taekwondo made me

The long read: When she arrived in the US as a 10-year-old refugee, Dina Nayeri found it hard to fit in. But that all changed when she hatched a plan to get into Harvard by becoming a taekwondo champion When I was 13, three years after arriving in the US with my mother and brother, I devised a plan to get into the Ivy League. I was a refugee kid with no money and I lived in Iran, she had done horse-riding and tennis. But then the revolution happened, and her sporty body was draped and forgotten. Banned from public exercise, she took to pounding her ass against walls to get that chic, saddle-flattened effect of the late 70s. Sometimes …

Dr Ruth: ‘Nobody has any business being naked in bed if they havent decided to have sex’

Sex therapist, child of the Holocaust, former sniper Dr Ruth Westheimer has lived more than most. Now 90, shes as busy as ever and still has strong opinions on pornography and consent Early this spring, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, famous as a time capsule of American history and culture, reached out to Dr Ruth Westheimer and asked her to donate an object to its vast collection. Its there that you can find such iconic totems of Americana as the glittery red shoes Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, or influential TV cook Julia Childs kitchen, fully reassembled. Soon you will also be able to find the microphone that Westheimer used at WYNY, the New York radio …

Wes Anderson gets a wallpaper collection let the over-decorating begin!

Campy wallpapers inspired by his films are now on sale. Which other directors, from JJ Abrams to David Lynch, should get their own lines? Wes Anderson turns 50 next week. Of all the ways you could mark such a momentous event, one stands head and shoulders above all others: you could deck out your entire house in whimsical wallpaper that will make you feel as if youve accidentally set foot inside one of Anderson Aesthetic collection by MuralsWallpaper is campy, meticulously designed wallpapers that are inspired by the set designs of his movies. Theres the Suzy, made up of row upon row of perfectly symmetrical butterflies. Theres the Margot, a headache-inducing tiki-style clash of green leaves and orange tigers. And …

Ode to Cologne: A German city full of views and brews

Gothic architecture, modern art and singing beer give this cultural city its liberal atmosphere You could think of Cologne as a sixth-form college to Berlins infinitely cooler art school. In comparison it feels as if it is all student cash bars and puppyish idealism, spider plants at every turn, and still a lot of love for the Beatles Germanys fourth largest city has been twinned with Liverpool since 1952. Go into any street in the centre and youll see a glorious muddle of architecture, 19th-century mansions next to 1950s tiled houses and new-builds in steel and glass. Very little feels sacred here, apart from the Romanesque churches and, of course, the Dom Gerhard Richters dreamy, pixelated, stained-glass windows. Built in …

From the joke shop to the high street: why poo is no longer taboo

Its celebrated in emojis, party bags and board games, piled on cup cakes and meringues and theres even a museum dedicated to it. How did we get here? I was a little hesitant about setting up the toilet plunger in the shape of a smiling poo. The pile of poop emoji may have peaked in cultural terms when Patrick Stewart voiced the cheery plop in 2017s Poop Troop set containing four brown pots promising squishy, poopy fun. how to create poop meringues. Theres fun for all the family with board games like Hook-A-Poop, Doggie Poo and Dont Step In It. Claires Accessories has sold poo-themed earrings and lip gloss. For a poo nightlight, find your local branch of The Entertainer. …

Could alcosynth provide all the joy of booze without the dangers?

Scientist David Nutt memorably said alcohol is more dangerous than crack. Now, he is trying to invent a healthy synthetic alternative, and the race is on to get it to market This is what my brain looks like, says David Nutt, showing me an intense abstract painting by a friend of his that is sitting on the windowsill in his office. Nutts base at Hammersmith hospital has a cosy, lived-in feel a stark contrast to the gleaming white laboratory he oversees as director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London. Lab coats hang on a hook by the door, an ancient kettle sits in the corner and next to the painting is an unruly collection of objects that offer …

Lets stop pretending exercise is fun. Like work, youve just got to do it | Barbara Ellen

Talk of endorphins simply builds up false expectations of the thrill of working out Heres a harsh truth about fitness that you dont often hear exercise sucks. For some of us anyway. I envy those people I see posting online about their completed half-marathons, with messianic zeal (I feel so alive!). For people like myself, theres no redemptive endorphin rush. Exercising is just a repetitive bore to be dreaded and endured. If a Slendertone-thingy machine actually did the same job with electronic pads, as I sprawled on the sofa watching Lindsay Lohans Beach Club, Id sell my childrens kidneys to buy it. Worst of all, tedious though it is, for most, exercise is beyond beneficial, its vital health, wellbeing, weight, …

Rose McGowan: Being sexually assaulted threw a wrench in my thinking’

The actor and activist, 45, on freeing herself from her family, growing up in a cult and the nature of celebrity The world tried to tell me I was worthless, but I always knew I was worth quite a lot and that I was destined for a really big life. My dad was the leader of the chapter of an Italian cult called the Children of God and my mum was one of his wives. We moved to a military base in America when I was 10 and my name was changed from Rosa to Rose. At school I had a detention every single day for insubordination and pointing out the teachers factual inaccuracies. I emancipated myself when I was …

Pete Davidson is dating an older woman – why is the world shocked?| Arwa Mahdawi

Misogyny is behind the criticism of the Saturday Night Live comedians relationship with Kate Beckinsale Quiz time! Put your calculators away, please, I have a maths problem designed to test every inch of your natural intelligence. Ready? Here we go: Pete Davidson is a 25-year-old comedian. He is dating Kate Beckinsale, a 45-year-old actor. Whats their age difference? Twenty years? Wrong. The correct answer, judging from popular responses, is: Too many years to be acceptable. While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted, we still seem to have a lot of hang-ups about women dating younger guys. There is a one-word explanation for this: misogyny. Davidson has addressed such double standards head-on. eople have a crazy …

Here’s my advice for teenage girls: don’t make the same mistakes I did

First off, get to know yourself, ideally before you are in your mid-30s Because Im so wise, Im sometimes asked to give careers advice to teenage girls at schools. And I love doing this, because the girls I meet are invariably excellent and I want to save them from making the same mistakes I did. (Kids, its not as funny as you think it is to take drugs at a music festival in front of your boss.) But, increasingly, I feel Ive been focusing on the wrong areas. Ive definitely made more mistakes in my personal than my professional life, and thats really saying something given I once caused an actual bomb scare in my office and had the entire …