August 2012 NGM Highlights: View as PDF
Issue includes: Portrait of East London, site of the Summer Olympics; the quest to capture lightning by veteran storm-chaser Tim Samaras and the world’s fastest high-resolution camera; a look at modern life on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota; deep-diving North Atlantic birds; and high-priced fungus-infested moth larvae.
Special Content for iPad Edition Includes:
- “Do You Want to Be on the Cover of National Geographic?” video — See a video of the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota getting their moment inside the famous yellow border.
- The Lost Land map — Tap on the map to see how the Great Sioux Reservation has shrunk in size from 1851 to today.
- The Voices of Pine Ridge audio gallery — See a gallery of interviews from the reservation.
- East London photo gallery — See photos of the mixing bowl that is East London: the young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight and everything in between.
- The Anatomy of a Lightning Strike photo gallery — Tap to see how a lightning strike develops.
Writers and photographers are available for interviews July 15-Aug. 15 (see specifics below).
East Side Story , by Cathy Newman, photographed by Alex Webb (Page 76). London’s East End, gritty, graffitied, but with a rising cool index, is getting ready for its close-up as the venue of the 2012 Olympic Games. Once known mainly for its squalor, grime and graffiti, East London is now the city’s most diverse area, playing host to tech startup firms, titans of international finance and Michelin-starred bistros. The Summer Games gave the government an opportunity to invest in infrastructure and sustainable development with the intention of helping lower-income residents, but skeptics remain doubtful that the “legacy Olympics” will have a lasting, positive impact on the neediest residents. One thing is certain, however: With more than 200 languages spoken in the area and constant changes due to immigration, nothing in East London stays the same forever. Newman and Webb are available for interviews.
Chasing Lightning, by George Johnson, photographed by Carsten Peter (Page 98). Tim Samaras’s camera may be a relic of the Cold War, but it’s been given a digital-era makeover. The 1,600-pound, six-foot-tall behemoth — the world’s fastest high-resolution camera — was originally designed to photograph nuclear tests. Samaras, a 2005 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Society grantee, has repurposed it to try to do something that’s never been done before: capture an image of a lightning strike the moment it is born. The process usually begins when a descending zigzag of negatively charged electricity meets up with positive fingers of charge from the ground. The instant they meet, a dazzling surge of current leaps toward the sky with a burst of light. From beginning to end, the entire process takes as little as 200 milliseconds. Samaras’s camera has the ability to shoot nearly 1.5 million frames per second, and Samaras won’t stop his quest, which he began six years ago, to capture the birth of a bolt until he gets his picture. Johnson and Peter are available for interviews.
Life After Wounded Knee, by Alexandra Fuller, photographed by Aaron Huey (Page 30). Still carrying the scars from land seizures, broken treaties and one of the most brutal events in U.S. history, the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota are looking to the future, thanks to a powerful resurgence in traditional values. Although they remain distrustful of outsiders and are scourged by poverty, alcoholism and high rates of infant mortality and suicide, they are nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs, finding new hope in old ways and showing resilience in the face of hardship. This rare, intimate portrait by Alexandra Fuller and Aaron Huey shows how the Oglala are honoring their customs and instilling in the next generation the spirit of Oglala culture. Fuller and Huey are available for interviews.
What a Dive!, by Jeremy Berlin, photographed by Andrew Parkinson (Page 68). Northern gannets can plunge into the sea at 70 miles an hour and dive as deep as 50 feet. These far-foraging champion divers, who nest in crowded cliffside colonies in the North Atlantic, are built for life in cold, turbulent waters. They are one of conservation’s great success stories: By 1913, centuries of hunting had thinned their ranks to perhaps 100,000 birds. A hundred years of protection later, 40-odd sites around the North Atlantic harbor some 400,000 nesting pairs, plus tens of thousands of juveniles and nonbreeders. Today, with few natural enemies and abundant food sources, the northern gannet seems primed to thrive. Berlin and Parkinson are available for interviews.
Tibetan Gold, by Michael Finkel, photographed by Michael Yamashita (Page 114). What product that resembles “a faintly fishy-smelling Cheez Doodle-colored caterpillar with a strange growth emerging from its head” has been known to commands $50,000 per pound, or double its weight in gold? Yartsa gunbu, the Tibetan name for moth larvae that have been infected by a parasitic fungus, has been prized all over Asia for centuries for its alleged medicinal and libidinous powers. The “worms” as they’re colloquially known, have been prescribed by herbalists to treat back pain, jaundice, impotence, fatigue, bronchitis and many other maladies. As the Chinese economy soars, so has demand for the worms. This has transformed the lives of families along the Tibetan Plateau, where the caterpillar/fungus is found, and of entrepreneurs, as the annual harvest and trade of 400 million specimens yield hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Michael Finkel follows the trail of the worms, from field to consumer, and explores the wide-ranging effects on the lives of those who harvest and market this fascinating product. Finkel and Yamashita are available for interviews.
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 12 National Magazine Awards in the past five years: for best tablet edition in 2012; for Magazine of the Year and Single-Topic Issue in 2011; for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Essays, plus two 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.
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