Friday High Five: Writing Royalty and Weird Spiders

We bring you our pick of the internet each week.

Winners of National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo contest have been announced, and In Focus is hosting some of the best images online. Well worth a Friday afternoon browse, over your umpteenth coffee.

Second place winner, Max Seigal: Thunderstorm at False Kiva.

Second place winner, Max Seigal: Thunderstorm at False Kiva.

Merit winner, Graham McGeorge: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl.

Merit winner, Graham McGeorge: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl.

Stephen King’s family of writers

They grew up reading and recording books on tape for their father to listen to (not all of them age appropriate); at bedtime, they were expected to tell their parents stories, rather than the other way around. So it’s not surprising that two of the three children of novelists Stephen and Tabitha King became writers. And one of those children, Owen, married a writer - who had grown up a huge Stephen King fan; she says it took two years before she felt comfortable talking to her partner’s famous parents.

The King family, as pictured in the *New York Times*.

The King family, as pictured in the New York Times.

How do we keep caring about TV’s villains?

TV is now the home of the dark, edgy dramas and comedies that were once regular features on the big screen. Audiences are loving it … but what are the challenges of making an audience continue to care about reprehensible characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Mad Men’s Don Draper and The Sopranos‘ Tony Soprano? Heather Havrilesky looks at how to walk that fine line, season after season, without toppling over.

Bryan Cranston as Walter White.

Bryan Cranston as Walter White.

Keeping cool in China’s heatwave

As we’re cowering under umbrellas and before heaters in the Melbourne winter, spare a thought for those at the opposite weather extreme. China is in the midst of a heatwave. Most homes are not air-conditioned, so citizens are taking extreme measures to keep cool, from cramming into swimming pools as packed as a VW full of clowns to sleeping in the air-conditioned subway. The Atlantic has the images.

Weird spiders

Wired looks at some of the world’s weirdest spiders, from the Bird Dung Spider, named for its evolutionary ability to resemble bird dung, to the Ladybird Mimic and the beautiful, seemingly jewel-studded Mirror Spider. All these spiders hail from Singapore.

The Mirror Spider: Spider bling.

The Mirror Spider: Spider bling.

The Bird Dung Spider

The Bird Dung Spider

A Bird Dung Spider under UV light

A Bird Dung Spider under UV light

The Ladybird Mimic: An adorable spider.

The Ladybird Mimic: An adorable spider.

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