Album: Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima/Popcorn Superhet Receiver/Polymorphia/48 Responses to Polymorphia (Nonesuch)

Jonny Greenwood's debt to Penderecki is clearly acknowledged in this pairing of the two composers' works.

Fossils of giant fleas discovered

Giant Jurassic fleas measuring more than two centimetres (about an inch) may have fed on feathered dinosaurs, say scientists.

Last night's viewing - How to Grow a Planet, BBC2; Jo Brand on Kissing, BBC4

There's an obvious machismo problem if you're going to move from presenting a programme about tectonic forces to a series about botany. With the former you can abseil off the lip of an active volcano or do a piece to camera while diving into the flooded rift between two continental plates. It's positively Action Man compared to wandering through a wood and looking at flowers. So, kudos to Iain Stewart and the How to Grow a Planet production team for coming up with the most aggressively blokey way possible to convey the evolutionary advantage that toughened seeds confer on those plants that have them. Load up an empty shotgun cartridge with canna indica seeds and blast away at a plywood target. Excellent. You can do the slow-motion footage of the muzzle-flash. You can get your presenter to prod his finger through the smashed bull's-eye. And then you can plant the recovered "ammunition" and show how they can still do what seeds are meant to. If Guy Ritchie had been asked to film a GCSE biology module this is what it might have looked like. Except Vinnie Jones would have been wielding the shotgun, obviously.

Low property prices are the key to recovery in the rental market

Buy-to-let booms despite faltering property market

Investing in houses and flats to rent is on its way back according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Harlequin ladybird: First seen in the UK in 2004, the harlequin is now the most populous species of ladybird. It feasts on aphids, other ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies. It is rapidly spreading across the country

Invading cannibal ladybirds take over Britain's homes

Asian interlopers devour native insect populations and exude chemical that could ruin your curtains

Female Golden Orb Weaver spider in web

Well, it worked for Peter Parker: genetic scientists unleash power of the spider web

Breakthrough may pave way for new biomaterials that could be used in medicine and engineering

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria This yellow star is normally the first spring flower (snowdrops being winter flowers) and normally appears in early March, but parts of December were so mild that it was flowering in the west country

The year of strange weather

From a baking-hot spring to a chilly summer, 2011 played havoc with our plans, our wardrobes – and our native wildlife.

Gold: Prices have soared as the economic crisis rumbles on. The current price is £1,029.20 an ounce

Who'd be a wise man? Gold's gone through the roof, frankincense is 'doomed', and as for myrrh...

They journeyed from the East to pay homage to the boy king bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But they would struggle to complete the feat today. Times for wise men have never been tougher. Gold prices are soaring on commodity markets, myrrh crops have been hit by drought – and now frankincense could soon be no more.

DVD: The Killing II (15)

She's back, sporting a new red jumper and tasked with solving another gruesome crime.

DVD: The Killing II (15)

She's back, sporting a new red jumper and tasked with solving another gruesome crime.

The end of that buttercup myth

Scientists have discovered why buttercups glow yellow under people's chins – and it has nothing to do with liking butter.

Sarah Hall celebrates the untamed freedom of the runaway horse

The Beautiful Indifference, By Sarah Hall

I'm nervous just writing the title of one of the stories in Sarah Hall's collection – "She Murdered Mortal He" – for fear of music copyright lawyers breathing down my neck. But they should breathe down Hall's first. Knowing my luck and ignorance, this could be the moment I'll discover that Bob Dylan didn't coin the phrase and instead lifted it from, inevitably, either Shakespeare or the Bible.

Great Works: Single Lily with Red, 1928 (30.5cm x 15.9cm), Georgia O'Keeffe

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Government cuts a threat to butterflies

The continuing survival of Britain's most-threatened butterflies has been put at risk by swingeing government cuts, conservationists are warning.

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The loveliest living creature

What's Britain's most beautiful creature? Many people would name a bird: the kingfisher springs to mind at once, and there'd be a raft of other candidates from the goldfinch to the roseate tern, all plausible. Some might name a mammal: I can see how the pine marten might have its supporters, all sleek deadly elegance in fur; and the common dolphin, with that great pale stripe along its side, is a heartstopping animal when you see it surging around your boat. But I'm going to name an insect.

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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum