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1954 / May | View All Issues |

May 1954

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Letters

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The easy chair

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Fantasy at noonday·

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Personal and otherwise

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The arithmetic of foreign affairs·

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Personal and otherwise

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Just friends·

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A bipartisan policy for Asia·

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Poetry

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Doomsday·

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Fiction

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The operator·

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A story

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Prose of champions·

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Or, the literary fist in the boxing glove

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Bargain·

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Helen Keller·

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What it costs to run for office·

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Sic semper . . .·

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De Voto’s New England·

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Collection

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Travel in northern America·

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Roads running west·

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Canada and the U.S.A.

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Wilderness north of Chicago·

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Tourists, stay away from my door·

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Montreal–and beyond·

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A young man of promise·

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After hours

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Man in a white shirt·

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Light-weight champion·

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After hours

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The way East·

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The new books

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Whales, gypsies, children·

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Books in brief

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The new recordings

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Worth looking into . . .·

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Discussed in this essay:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.

The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:

“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.

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“Now may be the unlikeliest time for us to grow a conscience about how our rapacity is endangering other species, since we’re now aware of how frightfully our rapacity is endangering us.”
Collage (detail) by David McLimans

Percentage of Americans who say they would not enjoy spending time with their own clone:

70

Astronomers recorded the most powerful pulse of radiation ever observed; the radiation was emitted from a pulsar 12,000 light-years from Earth and was “capable of totally vaporising and ionising all known materials, shredding them into hot plasma.”

Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. “Hopefully keep him away from drugs,” said Zuk, “but, you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt.”

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