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Posted by: The Conversation Global highlights

Date: Friday, 21 June 2024

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I had dinner last night with a former colleague, who heads up an investigative journalism collaborative called Lighthouse Reports. We shared thoughts on what we do now compared to what we did when we met 20 years ago at The Independent newspaper. One of the great pleasures of working at The Conversation, I said, was the regular engagement I have with researchers from around the world who focus on an unbelievably wide range of topics. It’s a daily learning experience.

Hopefully, as a subscriber to this newsletter, you too value being taken to areas of research you may previously have had little knowledge of. If so, please forward it to friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up.

We’re always on the lookout for new authors, from across the academy. We seek diverse perspectives and insights, grounded in knowledge derived from study. But opportunities sometimes arise for us to work with researchers whose expertise flows both from the university sector and previous experience gained in other realms.

A fine example of such a scholar is Ian Parmeter at the centre for Arab and Islamic studies at the Australian National University. Ian is also a former Australian ambassador to Lebanon. So, he’s an ideal author as speculation mounts that the conflict in the Middle East could be about to escalate on that very front. Here’s what he has to say.

Stephen Khan

Global Executive Editor, London

Hussein Malla/AP

Does Israel really want to open a two-front war by attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon?

Ian Parmeter, Australian National University

Israel has cogent reasons for wanting to eliminate the threat from Hezbollah, but previous interventions in Lebanon have come at a cost.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Hollywood didn’t know exactly what to do with Donald Sutherland – so they did everything with him

Daryl Sparkes, University of Southern Queensland

From M*A*S*H to the Hunger Games, Donald Sutherland, who has died at 88, always sat well in the eccentric, peculiar or ‘quirky’ roles.

The new research into the grasping force of the two fingers at the tip of the elephant’s trunk will enhance robotics. Manoj Shah/GettyImages

Elephants use the tips of their trunks to grasp things with great precision – how this can help robotic design

Pauline Costes, Sorbonne Université

New research has found that the two ‘fingers’ on the tip of an elephant’s trunk exert different forces. The finding will be used to improve the abilities of bio-inspired robots.

 
 
 
 

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