AS a weary columnist trawling for humorous subject matter, it always pays to ask: what did Elon Musk do this week? The chronicles of the self-styled maverick billionaire never fail to fascinate.

The latest instalment in what is already a lengthy series centring on his outlandish adventures and madcap musings (see also: Elon and the space car; Elon and the Thai cave rescue; Elon and the dead gorilla novelty rap), it transpires that the bold Musk has a hankering to nuke Mars.

What has poor Mars ever done to him, I hear you cry? Well, nothing. Elon loves Mars. He wants to live there. Hence, why the SpaceX boss would like to detonate nuclear bombs at its poles to melt the ice caps and allow it to sufficiently heat up for humans to dwell there.

Last week, his private space company began selling T-shirts on its website with the slogan "Nuke Mars". Musk also reckons a system of giant mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the red planet's surface might do the trick (although not quite catchy enough to warrant their own T-shirt line).

Musk describes Mars as "a fixer upper of a planet." Which sounds like an elevator pitch for a new TV show, Changing Rooms: Planetary Edition, where he travels round the solar system sprucing up barren outcrops of rock, gas and ice.

Bling up Saturn's rings. A spritz of tea tree oil on Jupiter's Great Red Spot. You'll notice I didn't mention Uranus. What? I'm classy like that.

Sex symbols

WHEN wooing a would-be mate in this modern, tech-savvy world, it appears that emojis are an important part of the dance of love.

A study claims that prolific use of the symbols in texts has allowed people to reach a deeper level of intimacy with one another. The findings suggest that those who pepper their messages with emojis may have more first dates – and sex – because they are better at communicating desire.

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Researchers at the Kinsey Institute in Indiana surveyed 5,327 single people, aged 18 to 94, in the US with around a third saying they regularly used the icons when messaging people they were dating.

Let's back up for a second. What emojis specifically? Is it all hearts, flowers and kisses? Or are we talking the dubious realms of peach and aubergine, where the first one looks like an unfeasibly pert bottom and the other, well, you can probably work that out.

Sending a slew of texts equals more dates and more sex? There's a word for that: player.

Socks appeal

THERE are times when the penny drops leaving you rocked to the core. Such as the epiphany of realising that, being the wrong side of 40, you no longer need to worry about becoming a teen mum.

Or the jarring moment when you plonk yourself down in the chair at the hairdressers, plastic cape draped around the shoulders, only to catch sight of your reflection in the mirror and immediately fret: "Have I always looked like a startled, ugly gecko?"

I have long believed that David Icke's secret lizard illuminati conspiracy theory was coined after he stumbled into an upmarket salon and saw the glitterati getting cut-and-blow dries.

The latest bombshell: I may be a legit style guru. Also: socks worn with sandals are no longer a sartorial faux pas. I first got a hint of this earlier in the summer when I stepped out in public with rainbow-striped socks beneath my trusty Birkenstocks.

It wasn't a deliberate move at being fashion forward. Rather, I had foolishly developed blisters after not building up my bare-toes-scraping-against-leather-straps-tolerance, merrily schlepping for miles until the chaffed skin resembled week-old chopped pork. What an amateur.

Afterwards my feet had to be painstakingly swaddled in a thick cushion of Compeed, adding socks as an extra precautionary layer, before I hobbled off braced for humiliation and myriad pitying looks. Yet, to my surprise, I began garnering approving nods and admiring glances.

And not just from German tourists with camper vans and walking poles. From younger people, the kind who wear bum bags strapped across their torsos like a mini, off-kilter baby papoose.

Last week Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner was spotted in New York sporting a pair of slide sandals and graphic checkerboard socks. According to Vogue, she was not breaking a cardinal rule of style, rather had turned it into "a discreet fashion statement".

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Esquire has published a piece in recent days hailing socks and sandals as "a legitimately cool combo". The rapper Tyler, the Creator (nope, I can't name any of his songs either) apparently regularly posts pictures of his favoured socks and sandals ensembles on Instagram.

Then there's me. Honestly, this feels like last year and the yellow anorak all over again. I do not wish to be a fashion icon. Please don't foist this mantle upon me. The responsibility is too great.