Getty Museum (May 17, 2023) – Imagine a menagerie of over 500 life-sized porcelain animals long gallery in a palace in Dresden. A Fox with a Chicken was a part of this new creation commissioned by Augustus II “The Strong” in the 18th century to share his love for Japanese porcelain with others.
Johann Gottlieb Kirchner produced the model for this life-size porcelain sculpture of a fox-looking a little guiltily around the chicken it is about to devour-as part of an extraordinary commission from Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, who envisioned a life-size porcelain menagerie for his Japanese Palace in Dresden. The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory had been operating for only twenty years when Augustus commissioned this series of porcelain animals to be rendered “in their natural sizes and colors.” The production of porcelain models of this size had never been attempted before in Europe.
nature Magazine – May 18, 2023 issue: The cover shows an artist’s impression of two male mammoths fighting. During episodes of musth, adult male elephants undergo periods of elevated testosterone levels associated with aggression and competition for mating. In this week’s issue, Michael Cherney and his colleagues show that male woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) experienced similar episodes of musth.
Record temperature combined with an anticipated El Niño could devastate marine life and increase the chances of extreme weather.
The global ocean hit a new record temperature of 21.1 ºC in early April, 0.1 ºC higher than the last record in March 2016. Although striking, the figure (see ‘How the ocean is warming’) is in line with the ocean warming anticipated from climate change. What is remarkable is its occurrence ahead of — rather than during — the El Niño climate event that is expected to bring warmer, wetter weather to the eastern Pacific region later this year.
Machine-learning systems in chemistry need accurate and accessible training data. Until they get it, they won’t achieve their potential.
Many people are expressing fears that artificial intelligence (AI) has gone too far — or risks doing so. Take Geoffrey Hinton, a prominent figure in AI, who recently resigned from his position at Google, citing the desire to speak out about the technology’s potential risks to society and human well-being.
Tourist Channel (May 17, 2023) – Nestling between the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and the Maures Massif, Grimaud is a charming village whose medieval character is still very much in evidence. Perched on a hill, the first thing you see when you arrive is its castle. Built in the 11th century, this feudal structure (of which some imposing ruins remain) offers a stunning view of the coast and the wooded hills of the Maures Massif.
Boasting some well-preserved heritage, Grimaud contains a plethora of pretty little cobbled streets in bloom, village squares, archways and restored period homes. In the old village, you can also see the beautiful Church of St. Michael, built in the late 12th century in the Provençal Romanesque style. It houses a fresco from 1850 depicting St. Michael, St. Peter and St. Bartholomew, as well as contemporary stained glass windows made in 1975 by the jeweller Jacques Gautier.
DW Travel (May 17, 2023) – Mont-Saint-Michel is steeped in mystery: Its construction alone is perplexing – a monastery built atop a steep crag in the middle of a bay.
Video timeline: Intro 01:01 How to get there and when is the best time? 01:34 How they built it 02:21 Dangerous surrounding 03:08 The architecture of Mont-Saint-Michel 04:39 Inhabitants: monks and nuns 05:19 The darkest secret of the abbey 06:07 A deeply mysterious place
Surrounded by water at high tide, at low tide you can walk across the tidal flats to visit it. Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France’s most visited locations, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have you ever been there?
The Guardian Weekly (May 19, 2023) – This week’s issue considered the end of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s long political career. But it soon became clear that predictions of the Turkish president’s demise had been greatly misjudged. A first-round victory over his secular opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, did not come by a wide enough margin to prevent a runoff vote on 28 May. But, barring a remarkable swing back to Kılıçdaroğlu, the indications are that Erdoğan will further extend his 20-year authoritarian brand of rule over Turkey.
As Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, toured European capitals to drum up support this week, speculation continued over when and where Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces would begin – or if indeed it had already done so. From Kherson, Luke Harding hears from a frontline commander why Kyiv is happy to bide its time, while defence editor Dan Sabbagh outlines four possible scenarios in which a Ukrainian counterattack might develop.
Two environmentally slanted features bring fascinating insights into very different parts of the world. From Kenya there’s the uplifting story of the waste picker who is lobbying for his colleagues’ working rights to be enshrined in a UN treaty. Then, John Bartlett reports from Antarctica on how the climate crisis, geopolitical tensions and booming tourism are straining relations at a remote scientific research station.
Dezeen Films (May 17, 2023) – In this video produced by Dezeen for Holcim, Norman Foster introduces a housing prototype for displaced people that the Norman Foster Foundation developed with the building materials company and unveiled in Venice during the launch of the Architecture Biennale.
The Essential Homes Research Project is a housing concept designed to sustainably provide rapidly assembled housing for people displaced by natural and manmade disasters. The prototype was designed by the Norman Foster Foundation and realised by Holcim using its materials. The homes have been designed to offer a durable alternative to tent shelters in order to withstand the elements.
They can be built on-site in order to expedite construction during emergencies. The project responds to the fact that displaced people often end up living in temporary accommodation for more than a decade, and require homes that offer safety and dignity. “Disasters lead to the need for instant accommodation and camps – mostly tented – offering scant protection from the elements,” Foster said in an exclusive video interview with Dezeen.
“What if there would be something that would be more permanent, more durable, offering greater protection from the elements, but which could be realised very quickly?”
The Globalist, May 17, 2023: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in South Korea for a meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Thailand progressive Move Forward party won more votes than any other but faces an uphill struggle to form government.