Special Content for iPad Edition Includes:
- Twin Secrets video – Watch a behind-the-scenes video of photographer Martin Schoeller taking portraits of twins, including the magazine cover image.
- Panama’s Big Dig interactive – Explore three artifacts discovered at El Caño with an interactive 360-degree view.
- The Cold Patrol map – See the day-by-day routes of military dogsled patrollers on an interactive map of Greenland’s coast, and follow along with journal entries and snapshots from the author.
- Hyperactive Zones video – View an in-flight video of photographer George Steinmetz as he soars above Africa’s Afar Depression in a one-person motorized paraglider.
- Hi-Line, Hard Life video – Go behind the scenes with photographer William Albert Allard on assignment near Turner, Mont., in a one-room shack on a homestead.
Writers and photographers are available for interviews Dec. 15-Jan. 15 (See specifics below)
Twin Secrets, by Peter Miller, photographed by Jodi Cobb and Martin Schoeller (Page 38) Scientists believe twins could unlock the secret to how genes and the environment — nature and nurture — interact to make us who we are. By studying traits in identical and fraternal twins and then comparing the results, scientists can measure the role of inheritance and the influence of the environment. But now scientists realize a third factor may come into play: epigenetics. Epigenetic processes — chemical reactions tied to neither nature nor nurture — influence how our genetic code is expressed. This factor in some cases serves as a bridge between the environment and our genes, and in others operates on its own to shape who we are. Miller, Cobb and Schoeller are available for interviews.
Panama’s Big Dig, by A. R. Williams, photographed by David Coventry (Page 66) “In a grassy, sun-parched field in central Panama, gold was coming out of the ground so fast that archaeologist Julia Mayo was tempted to yell, Stop, stop!,” writes author A.R. Williams. Determined to uncover new evidence of an ancient society, Mayo followed her instincts and has unearthed one of the richest discoveries in the Americas in decades. By 2010, Mayo had uncovered an ancient cemetery more than a thousand years old, with tombs of two warrior chieftains adorned in gold. The artifacts are shedding new light on the region’s little-known culture — and this is only the beginning, as Mayo believes her cemetery holds about 20 more tombs. Williams and Coventry are available for interviews.
The Cold Patrol, by Michael Finkel, photographed by Fritz Hoffmann (Page 82) In northern Greenland, an elite special forces unit patrols an 8,699-mile section of coastline and acts as the only rangers in Northeast Greenland National Park. In winter, this means braving brutal winds, no sunlight for three months and average temperatures of 25 below zero F. The 12-man team is the world’s only military dogsled patrol and supports scientific and sporting expeditions in the world’s largest park. Low pay, no holidays and stalkings by polar bears are part of the job, which entails journeying with a partner and a dog team for 26 months — away from family and friends — in some of the harshest conditions imaginable, yet the dozen members of Sirius proudly serve. Finkel and Hoffmann are available for interviews.
The Healing Fields, by Mark Jenkins, photographed by Lynn Johnson (Page 96) In the warfare that raged in Cambodia from 1970 to 1998, all sides used land mines. Unlike bullets and bombs, land mines are designed to maim rather than kill, and they remain in the ground long after a war ends, victimizing not only innocent people but the economy as well. Cambodia, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, has cleared about 270 square miles since 1992, but there are still some 250 square miles of contaminated land left. It will take another decade to rid Cambodia of mines, but the country now serves as a model for how to recover from this scourge. Jenkins and Johnson are available for interviews.
Hyperactive Zone, by Virginia Morell, photographed by George Steinmetz (Page 116) In Africa’s Afar depression, one of the world’s most geologically hyperactive regions, pastoral tribes and salt traders survive amid a surreal landscape of fissures, faults and a boiling lake of lava. Underground chambers of magma are prying apart tectonic plates and fueling 12 active volcanoes as well as steaming geysers, boiling cauldrons and the fiery lava lake. A massive 2005 earthquake split open the earth along a 30-mile stretch of desert, swallowing livestock. The Afar is one of the few places where an undersea ridge emerges on land, offering scientists the rare chance to study geologic processes that normally unfold far beneath the surface of the ocean. Over several million years, these processes will produce dramatic changes in the geography of Africa, including the cleaving of the Horn of Africa from the continent. Morell and Steinmetz are available for interviews.
Hi-Line, Hard Life,by David Quammen, photographed by William Albert Allard (Page 128) “The earnest saga of farming and ranching in northern Montana began with a misconception that verged on a lie: free land, enough to feed your family. But the land wasn’t quite free, and it was far from enough,” writes author David Quammen. The Homestead Act, passed by Congress in 1862, promised the title to 160 acres of unclaimed federal land in exchange for building a house, planting a crop and maintaining residence for five years. Captivated by the hype, settlers from all over made their way to northern Montana — to an area that became known as the Hi-Line — and were met by tough terrain, long droughts and harsh winters. Conditions were grim and many homesteaders gave up, but others, determined to make a new life, prevailed, and their tight-knit descendants show no less resolve. Quammen and Allard 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 13 National Magazine Awards in the past five years: 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.
The magazine is the official journal of 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 to the Society.