23 November 2010

The front cover of the December 2010 issue of one of my favorite magazines. Life, now, alas, defunct, and National Geographic were significant sources of my early education. The latter is still being received and avidly read, or at least the pictures are carefully examined. In the 40s and 50s the editors were always very gentle and careful when they visited Communist countries. Even a child would call this biased but they published great pictures and maps.

Nowadays their particular bias is environmental and they are not careful or gentle with the "warmist" conspirators; rather they are arrogant bed-wetters and proselytizers for this pseudo-religious cult. I think it was G K Chesterton who reckoned that those who lose their Christian faith do not opt for none but rather they are susceptible to anything.

But they still have great pictures and maps, and at least in this issue some pretty good articles on archaeology in Israel, though they seem to have overlooked the excavations near to the Golan Heights, the town of Bethsaida, the elusive and long-lost home town of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew, when they were still completely unknown fishermen, and perhaps other future apostles. Even so, it is a nice summary of some of the interesting characters, some older and others more recent, some who laugh at the Bible and others who treat it with more respect, who have been trying to unearth the truth for some decades now, though perhaps it is still hiding in the Israeli desert, or who knows, maybe some "rough beast, . . . slouching towards Bethlehem, to be born."

There are other good articles too: David Quammen writes on the problem of bats with fungal infections in this country and the almost incredible Gaudi basilica in Barcelona. They have been working on it for about 120 years. To the right National Geographic contributes one of their iconic and incredibly detailed foldouts. After reading this article I had to move Barcelona up on the priorities of my bucket list.

There is an interesting story about some uppity Afghan women. I hope they survive.

And another on the trade-offs between a gold mine and a salmon run in Alaska. Fascinating story and reasonably balanced though the possibility of both phenomena happening at the same time and in the same place was apparently never seriously considered.

And there is a great story on the Black Hole at the Center of our Galaxy.

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