On newsstands Nov. 30
E-magazine available Dec. 1 on iTunes
Writers and photographers are available for interviews Nov. 16-Dec. 14 (see specifics below):
DAVID AND SOLOMON (cover), by Robert Draper, photographed by Greg Girard (Page 66) Archaeologist Eilat Mazar’s announcement in 2005 that she believed she’d unearthed the palace of King David in Jerusalem fueled controversy on whether the Bible’s depiction of the empire established under David and continued by his son Solomon is historically accurate. Despite decades of searching, archaeologists have found no solid evidence that David or Solomon ever built anything. Many sites originally attributed to Solomon may be from 100 years later, meaning that Jerusalem might have been little more than a small cow town during David and Solomon’s time. Other archaeologists, however, have unveiled finds that suggest complex economic activity during the time these two kings reigned. Writer Robert Draper and photographer Greg Girard examine the archaeological debate, which runs deep into issues of Israeli and Palestine territory and the truth of the Bible itself. Draper is available for interviews.
VEILED REBELLION, by Elizabeth Rubin, photographed by Lynsey Addario (Page 28) Twenty-five years ago, a young Afghan refugee with stunning green eyes haunted the cover of National Geographic. Today’s iconic image of Afghanistan’s plight is also a young girl, named Bibi Aisha, whose husband slashed off her nose and ears as a punishment for running away. Writer Elizabeth Rubin and photographer Lynsey Addario report on the violence some Afghan women face as a result of tribalism, poverty and war. Yet amid the suffering emerge women writing poems and novels, making documentaries and feature films, running for parliament, telling their own story. Addario and Rubin are available for interviews.
A SONG OF SWANS, by Cathy Newman, photographed by Stefano Unterthiner (Page 54) To the ancients, the swan represented evanescence and evoked immortal longings. For centuries, the swan has provided a muse for writers of poems and fairy tales. Photographer Stefano Unterthiner captures the graceful whooper swans with their eight-foot wingspans, whose breeding grounds range from Iceland to the Aleutians. Yet the swans’ loveliness masks the toll exacted by the gravitational pull of their large bodies and the strain of daily survival; labored takeoffs, frantic paddling of webbed feet, a heavy beating of wings before take-off and a territorial aggressiveness. As National Geographic Editor at Large Cathy Newman writes, “Beauty does not come as easily or kindly as we might wish.” Unterthiner is available for interviews.
MIGHTY MILKY WAY, by Ken Croswell (Page 92) Author Ken Croswell marvels at the Milky Way galaxy, which spans 120,000 light-years, has a total mass one to two trillion times that of the sun and at least one planet with intelligent life. Because we reside within the Milky Way, we know less about its overall appearance than we do about distant galaxies; just as without a mirror, one knows more about one’s friends’ faces than one’s own. Yet astronomers have made numerous discoveries about our galaxy in the past decade, including revelations about the huge black hole at the galaxy’s heart. Croswell is available for interviews.
ALASKA’S CHOICE, by Edwin Dobb, photographed by Michael Melford (Page 100) “Abounding with natural marvels and largely untouched by human ambition, it strikes the newcomer as a land of endless prospect,” writes Edwin Dobb of Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. Absent are dams, deforestation, highways, power plants and housing divisions, explaining why it is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon runs and one of North America’s largest chinook salmon runs. Yet the discovery of a geological anomaly that could hold the world’s largest deposit of gold and one of the largest deposits of copper may bring an open-pit mine as large as two miles wide and 1,700 feet deep, and an underground mine of similar scale, to the area. Many fear such mines would destroy the salmon fishery and the livelihood of people in the region, while supporters argue the industry and wildlife can coexist and bring much-needed economic benefit. Photographer Michael Melford documents the Bristol Bay way of life; one that is bound to change for better or for worse. Photographer Michael Melfod and writer Edwin Dobb are available for interviews.
BAT CRASH, by David Quammen, photographed by Stephen Alvarez (Page 126) White fuzz on the snout of a bat is never a good sign. The filamentous white fungus Geomyces destructans, known as “white nose syndrome,” first appeared among North American bats in 2006. Biologists estimate that a million or more hibernating bats were lost in three years, with populations at some sites eliminated. Writer David Quammen examines the vulnerability of hibernating bats, when their body temperatures, breathing rate and heart rate drop; ideal conditions for fungal growth. Photographer Stephen Alvarez captures the creature under attack, one that is crucial to ecosystems as it devours insects, disperses seeds and pollinates flowers. Quammen and Alvarez are available for interviews.
December’s Departments section looks at how one keeps time at the place where the world’s 24 time zones converge; a proposed highway that could endanger Tanzanian wildlife; and a bee that builds nests from flower petals. Details can be found on NGM Blog Central.
National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photography to inform people about life on our planet. It has won 11 National Magazine Awards in the past four years: for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Essays and two inaugural Digital Media Awards for Best Photography and Best Community in 2010; for Photojournalism in 2009; for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Reporting in 2008; and for General Excellence and Photography in 2007.
The magazine is the official journal of the The National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations. Published in English and 33 local-language editions, the magazine has a global circulation of around 8 million. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is available on newsstands for $5.99 a copy. Single copies can be ordered by calling (800) NGS-LINE, also the number to call for membership in the Society.