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Colonel Meow, the cat with the longest fur in the world and the brooding face of an evil genius, has sadly passed away.

Huge rise in cruelty convictions pushing RSPCA to 'breaking point'

A huge rise in the number of pet owners convicted of animal cruelty is pushing the RSPCA to “breaking point”, the charity said.

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science, By Professor Jim Al-Khalili

The curiousness of the dark in the night time

Rebecca Armstrong: Why do bidders go bonkers for celebrity ephemera?

Earplugs for sale. One careful owner. It's not quite Ernest Hemingway's famous, poignant six-word story ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn") but when the owner in question is Sir Winston Churchill, there's a strange level of excitement about auctioning a set of sleeping aids. The wax pellets in question were sold in an auction on Friday for the prime-ministerial sum of £1,650, having had a reserve price of £2,000.

<p>1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down</p>
<p>£150, johnlewis.com</p>
<p>A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.</p>

The 10 Best pillows

1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down

£150, johnlewis.com

A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.

'George III' and 'Queen Charlotte' at the RA – both painted by Johan Zoffany in 1771

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed, Royal Academy, London

A German-born observer of British society is eclipsed today by Gainsborough and Reynolds, but his pictures, decoded, are revealing

On reflection: Henrietta Lidchi, world cultures keeper, with one of Ankhhor’s coffins at Fascinating Mummies, which advances our knowledge of the Egyptians

Fascinating Mummies, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The wonders of ancient science – it's amazing what you can learn from a cat scan ...

DVD: Lady and the Tramp (U)

"He's a self-confessed chicken thief, and all-around sleazeball," is how scoffing Josh described the Tramp in The Last Days of Disco.

Whatever killed Gloucestershire deer, it wasn't a panther...

DNA tests have concluded that a mystery beast lurking in the Gloucestershire countryside, suspected of being responsible for grisly attacks on deer, is not the "big cat" that locals feared.

I Married You For Happiness, By Lily Tuck

The professor and the painter:a marriage made in heaven

Get with the beasts: a big game hunter's guide to modern Britain

Reports of a big cat going wild near Stroud only scratch the surface. Tom Peck and Joshua Carroll investigate

The carcass of this deer bears the hallmarks of a killing by a big cat

Will DNA tests solve the mystery of Gloucestershire big cat sightings?

It began with dark mutterings in the local pub, that a strange beast might be stalking the woods around the little village of Woodchester, savaging the local wildlife and frightening local dog walkers.

Ex-councillor jailed for cat deaths

A former councillor who killed four kittens in "appalling scenes" of "unimaginable cruelty" has been jailed.

Glenn Tilbrook, Blackheath Halls, London

Back in 2004 Glenn Tilbrook, his wild hair sticking out like Christopher Lloyd's Doc in Back to the Future, cheerfully tore through a short set of Squeeze classics in support of an awed Fountains of Wayne, the US equivalent of Squeeze.

1. Terry Pratchett Discworldforbiddenplanet.com

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The 10 best Calendars

Whether you like poetry, pop stars or polar bears, with this selection you can make 2012 the year you get organised

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'At least Billie Piper never threw a cat in a wheelie bin'

Who knew that, before she became a child pop sensation at 15, Billie Piper's guilty pleasure was throwing animals? For a while in the early 1990s, it was literally raining cats and dogs in Swindon. "I used to pick up animals on the street," she confessed in a questionnaire, "and launch them as far as I could."

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