Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

Say cheese!

An investigation into why we so seldomly see people smiling in painted portraits.

DIY apocalypse

A different angle in which to see Albrecht Dürer: self-publishing pioneer.

Undead photos

Artist uses historic archival photographs from the Library of Congress to create funny—and sometimes creepy—animated GIFs.

And we were torn about this one: the cute and horrifying tableaux of an amateur Victorian taxidermist.

Better than the waiting room

A visit to a museum dedicated to art and medical objects in St. John’s Hospital in Bruges.

Artistic evidence

Scientists have used ancient Egypt’s highly decorated tombs and funerary objects to map out the rise and fall of the region’s large mammals and match those patterns to changes in climate and human interactions.

No hurry

A dictionary of Medieval Latin started in 1913 has finally been completed. Appropriately enough, its last entry is for a fermented malt drink, which the researchers clearly deserve.