The cover shows an artistic impression of marine life in Indonesia’s coral reefs. The question of whether there are limits to biodiversity in the seas is typically addressed by examining the fossil record. In this week’s issue, Pedro Cermeño and his colleagues present a model that combines the fossil record with plate tectonics and Earth’s environmental conditions to offer insight into regional diversification of marine invertebrates. The researchers used the model to examine how biodiversity recovered after mass extinctions during the Phanerozoic eon, covering
some 500 million years of Earth’s history. They found that throughout the Phanerozoic, less than 2% of area of the globe covered by water showed signs of diversity levels reaching saturation. The team also note that as Pangaea broke up into continents, the stability of Earth’s environmental conditions allowed the development of diversity hotspots that helped to drive an increase in biodiversity in the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
Hotel barge L’Impressionniste glides gently through the picturesque Ouche Valley in Southern Burgundy through locks with their charming lock houses. You will see medieval villages perched on hilltops and have the opportunity to discover a region famed for its history and viticulture, with visits to such places as Beaune, the regions ‘wine capital’, and the elegant city of Dijon.
What is hotel barging? Despite the growing popularity of cruising, especially on large river vessels, hotel barging is still a little known niche concept. Most hotel barges started life as cargo vessels but have since been painstakingly converted to offer luxury boutique accommodation for small groups of up to 20 passengers. This is cruising, but in a very different style to ships plying the big rivers or oceans.
The pace is slow, with a 6 day cruise covering maybe just 50 miles along a rural canal. Passengers can walk or bike the towpaths as their floating hotel glides gently along. Guests enjoy an intimate atmosphere, high levels of personal service and immersion into the culture, history and gastronomy of regions of Europe such as Burgundy, the Midi, or the Italian Veneto. Every day there is an excursion, perhaps to a chateau, a vineyard for a wine tasting, or some other ‘off the beaten track’ location.
About half of European Waterways’ bookings are for whole boat charters, ideal for families. Otherwise, clients book a cabin to join other like-minded people. A ‘slow boat’ European Waterways barge cruise offers the ultimate in experiential travel. A truly unique experience! European Waterways offer luxury hotel barge cruises on the beautiful canals and rivers of Europe, such as through Burgundy, the Midi, Alsace, the Po Valley, Holland and the Scottish Highlands.
The exclusive collection of hotel barges accommodate up to 20 passengers who may charter a whole barge with family or friends, or join a small group of like-minded travellers on an individual cabin basis. Each barge is fully crewed with a Captain, chef, hostesses, deck-hand and tour guide. The 6-night cruises include gourmet meals, fine wines, open bar, excursions and the use of facilities such as bicycles and spa pools.
We humans may think of ourselves, or possibly beetles, as typical Earthlings, but to a first approximation, life on Earth exists in the sea. And what spectacular life! Our special package on the oceans is teeming with images of eerie, delicate, elaborate, glowing and occasionally kind of frightening creatures that have rarely been seen by terrestrial species. The in-depth report was guided by sustainability senior editor Mark Fischetti along three main themes: mystery, discovery and surprise.
With nearly 1,500 artworks on display, there is a lot to see at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) Summer Exhibition 2022. If you want a taste of what’s on show then here is a quick tour. The theme chosen by the exhibition’s coordinator, Alison Wilding RA, is Climate. It begins outside, where a large-scale immersive installation by Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias brings nature and water to the courtyard. Inside, the artworks are spread over 11 rooms, including two galleries of prints selected by Grayson Perry RA.
Read by: Jennifer Kim and Julian Cihi Length: 13 hrs, 52 mins. Speed I listened: 1.7x–1.8x
I haven’t savored listening to a book in recent memory quite as much as I did this novel. It’s about two friends — Sadie Green and Sam Masur — who meet as kids in Los Angeles and then reconnect at MIT, where they begin developing experimental video games together. The lead characters (and let’s throw in the supporting ones too) are at times completely relatable, at times bittersweet, and almost always completely heartwarming. The book is mostly read by Kim except for a short fever dream by Cihi. Kim’s delivery might be monotone in places, but I found it steady, deliberate, and clear, so I didn’t have to miss a moment.
Read by: The author Length: 8 hrs, 12 mins. Speed I listened: 1.75x
Does there have to be a book about the making of 1988’s Bull Durham? Probably not. Did I get a kick out of this trip down memory lane with the movie’s writer-director? I did. It’s rare you get a glimpse into the making of a Hollywood movie in minute detail, and this one’s pretty soup to nuts, down to Shelton hiring the on-set script supervisor. These kind of books always start and end with the idea that everyone in Hollywood is crazy, and it’s good to be reminded of that. To that end, here, Kevin Costner’s agents tried to prevent him from starring as Minor League Baseball star Crash Davis, which turned out to be one of his most iconic roles. Shelton has a knowing but aw-shucks vibe that makes great company even if his performance of dialogue scenes from the original script could use more oomph.
Read by: Jonathan Coleman Length: 19 hrs, 41 mins Speed I listened: 2x
A darker addition to July’s “Hollywood Is Crazy Files” is this gripping account of Harvey Weinstein’s rise to and fall from power. You’re probably familiar with many of the sordid details in this book, and at 20 hours, it isn’t short. Still, I couldn’t turn off this compendium of the disgraced movie producer’s unbelievable behavior, from his rampant spending on hotel rooms to his truly despicable treatment of so many women. Auletta’s reporting is mostly firsthand, and hearing it cumulatively is jaw-dropping. As the narrator, Coleman is deadpan and direct enough to sometimes make you forget you aren’t listening to an actual thriller. Also kudos to the drippingly ironic title.
Geiranger is a village in western Norway, at the head of Geirangerfjord. The Norwegian Fjord Center has multimedia on the history of the region and its inhabitants.
Video timeline: 00:00 Opening 00:28 Best view of the geiranger Fjord 01:04 Waterfalls and Mountain all around the Village 02:48 The Seven Sisters Waterfall 04:51 Farm Villages 06:16 Aerial View of Geiranger
Part of the steep Trollstigen mountain road weaves through the village, connecting to Flydalsjuvet lookout, which has views over the fjord. The fjord’s waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters, the Suitor and the Bridal Veil, are visible by boat.