A 2,400-year-old ship has been found in the Black Sea. It “features elements of ship construction, including the mast and rowing benches, that until now have not been preserved on ships of this age.”

In a recent survey, nearly one third of British secondary students failed to identify Shakespeare as a playwright.

Police have a new lead in the case of a lost Caravaggio masterpiece that disappeared nearly 50 years ago. They believe it may be hidden “somewhere in Eastern Europe.”

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of our best novelists, but his latest work, Red Moon, is a disappointment, writes Adam Roberts. “There’s no sense here of the buzzing interplay of concepts and analysis that characterized Robinson’s last novel, the masterly New York 2140—amounting to a comprehensive blueprint for the renovation of humanity’s economic and social logic. Red Moon is a novel with basically three ideas in it: one (that China will likely dominate the coming century) over-obvious; one (that complex computers might become self-aware) second-hand—for Robinson told precisely this story much more effectively in his 2015 novel Aurora; and one borderline woo-woo (that the economic future belongs to cryptocurrency, the fiduciary mirage beloved of libertarians and drug dealers).”

Looking for some classic television on the ancient world? Take in a showing of Chris Marker’s The Owl’s Legacy (1989) at the Metrograph in New York in November, or buy it at Icarus films. Watch a preview here.

Something is terribly wrong with peer-reviewed publications, writes Tim Crane: “Researchers in universities – most of whom in Britain and other European countries are paid by the taxpayer, charities, foundations or the EU – explain their discoveries or ideas in academic papers, which they submit for publication in their preferred journal. The journal requests the opinions of other experts throughout the world – this is ‘peer review’ – and these experts do this time-consuming work for no fee, as one of their normal professional duties. The journal then decides which of these papers to publish, prepares them for physical and/or electronic publication, and sells the journals back to the hundreds of libraries of state-funded (and private) institutions across the world.”

Essay of the Day:

In Bloomberg Businessweek, Matthew Campbell writes about a Canadian billionaire and his wife who were murdered in their home. “No one knows who did it or why, but everyone has a theory”:

“Last Dec. 15, two real estate agents arrived at a sprawling modern house near the northern edge of Toronto. They were accompanied by a couple who were considering buying the 12,000-square-foot mansion at 50 Old Colony Rd., recently listed for just shy of C$7 million. With five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a gym, a sauna, a tennis court, and underground parking for six cars, it was one of the more impressive properties on a street lined with grand homes. The sellers, pharmaceuticals billionaire Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife, Honey, 70, had lived there for more than two decades but were preparing to build a house closer to the center of the city.

“The Shermans weren’t supposed to be home that day. It was midmorning, and a housekeeper was doing her semiweekly cleaning while another woman watered the plants. The tour took in the hexagonal entrance foyer, with its chandelier and black tile floors, and the spacious kitchen, soaked in natural light from a broad conservatory window over the sink. In the basement, the Shermans’ agent had something more unusual to show off: a lap pool and hot tub, handy in a city where winter weather can drag into April.

“The pool was at the rear of the house, adjacent to a sunken garage and accessible from the rest of the basement by a long, narrow hallway. The agent, entering first, was the one who found them. Barry and Honey, spouses of more than 40 years, were side by side on the floor, their necks tied with men’s leather belts to a metal railing, about three and a half feet high, that ran around one end of the pool.”

Read the rest.

Photos: Libraries (I’ve linked to a number of photographs of libraries over the years, but they never get old, so here’s another set.)

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