Life and Style
 
Fans include Anna Wintour and Natalie Portman – yet high art, not the red carpet, inspires their collections. Alex Fury meets Kate and Laura Mulleavy, creators of New York's hottest fashion label, Rodarte

House of Holes, By Nicholson Baker

When Nicholson Baker stopped writing about sex after Vox and The Fermata, I thought he'd lost his nerve; now he has returned to it with House of Holes, I fear he's lost his mind. What was so impressive about Baker's previous sexually explicit work (only part of a wide-ranging oeuvre) was that the transgression took place within a thought-out narrative structure. Vox, written entirely in dialogue, contained long male and female fantasies exchanged on a phone-line as they progressed towards mutual satisfaction (the book gained notoriety when Monica Lewinsky made a gift of it to Bill Clinton). The Fermata was a bawdy take on Wells's The Time Machine, featuring a narrator, Arno Stine, who stopped time to undress women without their consent - which he slowly realised was a bad idea.

Steven Seagal killed my puppy, says man seized in reality TV police raid

Steven Seagal killed my puppy. So says Jesus Sanchez Llovera, an Arizona man whose home was raided by armed detectives filming a reality TV programme in which the veteran actor works as a volunteer police officer.

Arizona: Man, 86, impaled on pruning shears

A man who accidentally impaled himself on pruning shears is lucky to be alive. Leroy Luetscher, 86, was working in his garden in Green Valley, Arizona, when he dropped the shears. As he went to pick them up, he lost his balance and fell face down on the handle. It penetrated his eye socket and went into his neck, coming to rest on the external carotid artery.

Susie Rushton: This is one tattoo too far

Notebook

Strauss-Kahn cleared after prosecutors admit doubts over maid's claim

Sex assault case a nightmare for my family, says former IMF chief

Video: Dust cloud engulfs Phoenix

For the third time in a month, hot weather has whipped up thick dust storms in Arizona, cutting power lines and delaying flights.

Silicon Valley: The anatomy of a cutting-edge start-up

The Andregg brothers might have the cure for all our illnesses in their grasp. But how do a pair of penniless science nerds raise the millions needed to unlock the very fabric of our DNA? Dream big - and get lucky...

Artificial heart is latest advance in a story of pioneering medical science

Hal Hodson explains why a good heart is hard to find

Mel B to give birth in same suite as Victoria Beckham

Mel B is going to give birth in the same delivery suite as her former Spice Girls bandmate Victoria Beckham.

Leading article: Is there life on Mars?

In 1878 the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio turned his telescope on a little red dot in the night sky and noted some features which he later described as canali. The word means "channels" in Italian, but it was mistranslated as "canals".

End of the road for the high priest of group sex with minors

The saga of Warren Jeffs' long-running trial shocked most of America – but many sects still hail him as a hero. Guy Adams reports

Streak marks on surface of Mars may be a sign of flowing water

Streams of salty water could be coursing their way down the steep sides of craters on Mars, scientists believe after identifying a series of dark lines in photographs.

Video: Shot Congresswoman gets standing ovation

Congresswoman and Arizona shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords is met with applause during her return to Washington.

Tea Party holds US – and the world – to ransom

Despite backing a two-stage debt deal last night, a rump of far-right Republicans is blocking progress on the budget deficit
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there