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1996 / August | View All Issues |

August 1996

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Untitled·

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Letters

4-7, 77-78 PDF

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Harper’s Index

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Readings

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One tough lama·

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Judge Ito goes shopping·

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Urban planning, the Army way·

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Halsey Street·

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California’s next disaster?·

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The screen berets·

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The deal behind bars·

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Regulatory reform·

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An uncalculated risk

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An idea with legs·

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Ferreting out big government·

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Workers’ rights, 1996·

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Disney’s head trips·

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Sympathy for the despot·

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Plague·

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Navigating the dark world·

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Les mille et une nuits·

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Docteur Honoris Causa·

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The wild ways of nature·

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[Poetry]

Coinages·

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A fairy tale

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Sweyer’s pool·

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Article

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Lights, camera, democracy! On the conventions of a make-believe republic·

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Should the clinics come to Davenport?·

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Collection

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Should the clinics come to Davenport?·

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Davenport, abortion, and Common Ground·

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The only girl in the car·

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A remembrance of promiscuity

Reviews

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Cliffhangers·

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The fatal descent of the mountain-climbing memoir

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Nothing by comparison·

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Double acrostic

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No. 164·

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Puzzle

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Abecedarian jigsaw·

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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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