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1956 / December | View All Issues |

December 1956

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Untitled·

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Letters

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The editor’s easy chair

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God rest ye merry, gentlemen, ladies, and pests·

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Advertising supplement

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What’s new in aluminum?·

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Personal and otherwise

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The philosopher of action·

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[Coming in Harper’s]

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[Coming in Harper's]·

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Article

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The new super-highways·

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Blessing or blight?

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The girl from Sewickley, Pa.·

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Poetry

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A wooden darning egg·

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Who really runs the Senate? [(part I)]·

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A lesson in discipline·

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Television’s lords of creation·

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Part II

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France’s first discount house·

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Woodrow Wilson among his friends·

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Poetry

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Scrolls·

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Two graves in Oklahoma·

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Poetry

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White sowing·

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Trujillo·

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Little Caesar on our own front porch

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An experiment in reading·

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Causes beyond our control·

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After hours

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Toys for tots, for a change·

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Art on paper·

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The new books

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The ambiguities of success·

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Books in brief

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The new recordings

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For the holidays and after·

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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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