Cleverest Woman

Feathers Are Evolution’s Cleverest Invention

Michael B. Habib | Scientific American | 16th April 2024 | U

Marvel at feathers. They are "skin appendages", modified by genes and molecules to take the specialised form that each part of a bird requires: narrow and asymmetrical for flight, dazzlingly coloured for display, bristled for protection. Owls have silent hunting feathers. Hummingbirds have extra stiff feathers because they flap so much. Penguins use tiny dense feathers for buoyancy (3,300 words)

The Woman Behind The Windows

Aliide Naylor | Meduza | 19th April 2024 | U

The career of Estonian stained glass artist Dolores Hoffmann tracks the evolving reputation of her medium. Self-taught via smuggled books — religious art not being popular under Soviet rule — she created robust secular works that even Soviet troops couldn't smash. Then stained glass was rehabilitated as an art form; now she receives commissions from Russian oil giants (2,600 words)

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