Science: Ancient Giraffes, MAVEN Spacecraft, Mars Rover Rock Collection

A headbashing relative gives insights into giraffe evolution – How the giraffe got its long neck is a longstanding question in science. One possibility is that giraffes evolved longer necks for sexual competition, with males engaging in violent neck-swinging fights.

Now, a team have described fossils of an ancient giraffoid species with a thick headpiece adapted for fighting, which could add weight to this hypothesis.

Nature News: How the giraffe got its neck: ‘unicorn’ fossil could shed light on puzzle

05:18 A wave of resignations signals discontent in academia

Around the world, the ‘great resignation’ has seen huge numbers of workers re-evaluating their careers and lifestyles and choosing to leave their jobs following the pandemic. Academia is no exception, with many scientists deciding to leave the sector in the face of increased workloads, systemic biases and pressure to publish.

Nature Careers: Has the ‘great resignation’ hit academia?

10:34 An emergency fix gets MAVEN back on track

Earlier this year, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since 2014, developed some serious equipment issues that prevented it from keeping its correct orientation in space. In a race against time, a team on Earth fixed the problem by developing a system that allowed the spacecraft to navigate by the stars. NASA’s Mars MAVEN spacecraft spent 3 months on the brink of disaster

14:28 The Perseverance rovers continues its rock collection

NASA’s Perseverance rover has arrived at an ancient Martian river delta where it will spend the next few months exploring, while scientists assess where to drill and extract rock samples. It’s thought that rocks from this region have the best chance of containing evidence of Martian life, and plans are being developed to return them to Earth in the future.

Nature News: NASA’s Perseverance rover begins key search for life on Mars


Cover Preview: Nature Magazine – June 9, 2022

Hidden treasure

The Casarabe people lived in southwest Amazonia around AD 500–1400, but understanding of this culture has been limited because the archaeological remains are covered in dense forest. In this week’s issue, Heiko Prümers and his colleagues reveal the discovery of new Casarabe settlements in the Bolivian Amazon. The researchers used lidar to scan the forest, revealing 2 large settlements (each covering more than 100 hectares) and 24 smaller sites, 15 of which had previously been known to exist.

Volume 606 Issue 7913

The cover image shows Cotoca, one of the two large settlements,  in which earthen mounds (one more than 20 metres high) and long causeways can clearly be seen. The team suggests that these results are the first evidence of agrarian-based, low-density urbanism in western Amazonia. They conclude that the region was not as sparsely populated in pre-Hispanic times as was previously thought.

Cover image: Heiko Prümers/DAI.

Art: 17th Century French Classical Painter Michel Corneille The Elder

This remarkable painting by Michel Corneille the Elder has been hidden away from view for at least the past 110 years and is a truly exceptional rediscovery for French painting of the 17th century. After a recent restoration, the artist’s signature has been re-exposed so that now this impressive work can be confidently attributed to the early  French  Classicist.

This episode of Anatomy of a work of art, discover The Death of Virginia, taken from Roman historian Livy and recounts the death of Virginia, daughter of a centurion in the Roman army. This rediscovery will be one of the highlights of our sale Tableaux Dessins Sculptures 1300-1900, Session I, Including Treasures from the Antony Embden Collection.

Home Tour: Brighton East 4 In Melbourne, Australia

Complementing the Australian climate, Brighton East 4 is a mid-century inspired home crafted to meet the demands of a young family. Designed and built by Inform with architecture by Pleysier Perkins, the house takes inspiration from Palm Springs.

00:00 – Introduction to the Mid-Century Inspired Home 00:56 – The Client Brief 01:20 – Walking Through the Home 02:02 – Interior Design Style 02:43 – The Island Bench 03:04 – Colour Palette and Materiality 03:36 – Collaboration between the Client, Architect and Builder 04:06 – The Feel of the Home 04:41 – Successfully Meeting the Client Brief

Settled into the same-named Melbourne suburb, Brighton East 4 articulates quintessential Australian living. As a mid-century inspired home, the residence has an informal, open-plan layout and natural materiality, including the use of stone and timber.

Architecturally, Brighton East 4 curves, further evidencing its existence as a mid-century inspired home. Present in both the external and internal architecture, curves effortlessly unify the outdoor and indoor aspects of the home, creating fluidity and softness. Natural materials are a key feature of a mid-century inspired home and are incorporated throughout the project.

Behind the staircase sits a feature wall of stack-bond brickwork, whilst the bathroom sees terrazzo used generously. In the kitchen, the island bench sports an elegant stone top, with slatted timber battens at its base. Showcasing their proficiency in architecture and interiors, Inform and Pleysier Perkins craft a comfortable residence with a strong sense of spatial flow. As a mid-century inspired home, Brighton East 4 testifies to its Palm Springs influence through a natural and restrained materiality.

Preview: Times Literary Supplement – June 10, 2022

Times Literary Supplement (TLS), June 10, 2022 – This week’s @TheTLS, featuring @ianground on Wittgenstein’s notebooks; @CaroDuttlinger on Kafka’s drawings; @wander2wonder on Budapest; Emily Barton on Mieko Kawakami; @sophieolive on fabric; @TobyLichtig on Jarvis Cocker – and more.

Morning News: Turmoil In Pakistan, Ukraine Seed Bank, Words For Family

Pakistan’s government faces an unpleasant choice between doing what’s popular and what is economically necessary, as Imran Khan, the former prime minister, exploits widespread discontent for his own ends. 

Russia’s invasion is threatening Ukraine’s unique seed bank. And why so many languages have such a rich variety of words to describe family members and relationships.