Science

Our New Frontier and Best Hope

David Western— Over the course of barely two centuries, subsistence herding and farming societies tied to rainfall and the seasons have coalesced into a global society and interwoven economy. Amboseli, situated beneath the rising mass of Kilimanjaro in Kenya, gives a snapshot of the last vestiges of the Neolithic Age

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Venmo’s “Social Feed” as Financial Scrapbooking

Lana Swartz— In2017 New Yorker comic, Olivia de Recat presents a series of hand-drawn Venmo transactions and decodes what they really mean. Venmo, currently the most widespread person-to-person payment app in the United States, allows individuals to pay their friends directly. According to reporting in the business press, Venmo is

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The Pan-Asian Dream

Jonathan E. Hillman— In 1995, Mahathir revived a plan for a “pan-Asian” railway network. Versions of the idea have existed since the early 1900s, when British and French colonialists built some of the region’s first tracks and began drafting plans for more extensive networks. The concept resurfaced in an even

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Climate Change—No 0.5°C are the Same

James Ladyman & Karoline Wiesner— In 2015 representatives of 196 states agreed to hold the warming of average global atmospheric temperature above pre-industrial levels to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C—this is the Paris Agreement. However, just a few years later, in 2019, warming

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Improving Disaster Readiness Worldwide

Courtney Durham— Considering the current impediments to disaster risk reduction and growing risk from climate change, a number of policies can help nations shift the balance from reactivity to proactivity. First, disaster managers should build contingency plans for a variety of disaster scenarios, drawing on the Sendai Framework for Disaster

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Pandemic Grief

Dorothy P. Holinger— A friend recently told me, “I’m irritable, sad, and I get mad so easily. I can’t seem to get anything done. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. And it’s hard, scary to leave home. I think I must be depressed.” No, my friend is not

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The Endangered Species of the Polymath

Peter Burke— People are talking more and more about polymaths these days, but at the same time, living examples of this intellectual species are becoming more and more difficult to find. By polymath I mean, like the ancient Greeks who coined the term, someone who has mastered many intellectual disciplines,

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Grasses in the Northeast

Lauren Brown and Ted Elliman— In the countryside of the Northeastern United States, many of us take great pleasure in the sight of open meadows—shimmering waves of green, lavender, and gray that evoke nostalgic images of our agricultural past and provide space and sky in our otherwise forested northeastern landscape.

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Getting Lost in the Wilderness in the Digital Age

Jon T. Coleman— I was born in Boulder, Colorado, in the Age of Aquarius. My little sister arrived two years later, on the second anniversary of Earth Day. Geography and history predisposed the Coleman children to think like mountains. My parents furthered the cause by taking us hiking in the

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Diabetes among Native Americans

Arleen Marcia Tuchman— Like African Americans, Native Americans did not suffer from diabetes. At least, that was the nearly universal belief in the first decades of the twentieth century. Not that they were healthy. Tuberculosis was ravaging their communities. Trachoma, enteritis, and other infectious diseases were rampant as well. But

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