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1999 / August | View All Issues |

August 1999

Photography

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Fiction

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Forty-minute lunch·

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Letters

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Correction

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Notebook

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Tremendous trifles·

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Harper’s Index

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Readings

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Belgrade underground·

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Door-suburb, 1999·

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Reconstructing Dixie·

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A discouraging word·

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Principled uncertainty·

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Daydreaming·

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A celebration of flies·

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Office-plant politics·

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From Russia with lust·

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Yes, Virginia, there is a sodomy clause·

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The masked ball·

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The five sages·

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The man with the golden horde·

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In excelsis bombo·

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An American diary·

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Wheaties·

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Chasing the ripening harvest across America’s Great Plains

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My countryside, then and now·

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A study in American evolution

Puzzle

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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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