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1990 / February | View All Issues |

February 1990

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Le cueur d’amours espris·

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Wind from the East·

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Harper’s Index

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Language, lies, and Latin democracy·

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Gift mugs for near-total strangers·

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A little neighborly advice·

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The last patriot·

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Avoiding the Temple of Doom·

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Any questions?·

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My mother posing for me·

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Reunion duds·

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Buy fur! Save lives!·

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How he earned his wings·

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This just in·

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Can Perestroika be salvaged?·

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A hand is a terrible thing to waste·

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The stones of Jerusalem·

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Automatic psychoanalysis·

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The writer’s reader·

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A uniform to die for·

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What’s the word for . . . ?·

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The varieties of romantic experience·

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Double acrostic

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Puzzle

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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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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

Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:

2:1

Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.

Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.

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