Chasing a comet

In 2004, the European Space Agency launched a tiny probe into space. Its objective: chase down, orbit, and land on an ancient space rock travelling at 38km/second.

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When the great Jewish-Italian writer, Primo Levi, wrote in his memoir If This is a Man that Germans “love order, systems, bureaucracy; even more, although rough and irascible blockheads, they cherish an infantile delight in glittering, many-coloured objects”, he wasn’t simply roasting his captors.

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In the early 19th century, during his second term as Governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry approved a new set of senate districts. But something was fishy. The shape of one of the districts, Essex County, closely resembled a humble salamander.

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