April issue:
Time Exposures: The Hubble Telescope Views the Universe From Space  | Traveling the Australian Dog Fence
Borneo’s Strangler Fig Trees | The Yellowstone: The Last Best River
Moscow, the New Revolution | Oil on Ice
Coming Next Month

Time Exposures: The Hubble Telescope Views the Universe From Space
The stars of earth’s night sky appear as tranquil lanterns—the violence of their births, lives, and deaths obscured by vast distances. In the seven years since its launch, the Hubble Space Telescope has done more than perhaps any other astronomical device to reveal the secret lives of stars. In an introductory essay, writer William R. Newcott explores Hubble’s place in astronomical history and the telescope’s own eventful story, including the infamous misshapen mirror that required a space shuttle repair mission. A spectacular gallery of Hubble images illustrates star birth, star death, and a black hole; an awe-inspiring Deep Field image shows galaxies dating nearly from the beginning of the universe. Thanks to Hubble’s unprecedented images of unthinkably distant places, Newcott writes, “we can begin to register the notion that while earth is our local address, we have an entire universe that we can call home.” See our online feature, Star Journey.
Time Exposures
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Traveling the Australian Dog Fence Traveling the Australian Dog Fence
The world’s longest fence stretches unbroken for 3,307 miles (5,320 kilometers) across the Australian bush and exists for a single reason: to stop dingoes, the wild dogs of Australia, from killing sheep. As writer Thomas O’Neill and photographer Medford Taylor traveled the remote route by four-wheel drive, they met an eccentric cast of characters: sheep ranchers, dog trappers, fence patrollers and repairers. They saw the fence under siege—from sandstorms and flash floods to digging wombats and foxes to hard-charging emus and kangaroos. Meanwhile, dingoes prowled on the outside, waiting for holes to appear.
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Borneo’s Strangler Fig Trees
Society research grantee Tim Laman of Harvard University takes GEOGRAPHIC readers to Borneo, Indonesia, where he studies strangler fig trees in the rain forest canopy. Uniquely adapted to their environment, strangler figs have devised a shortcut to essential sunlight by sprouting high in the canopy and then sending their roots down to the ground. They bind the host tree in a grip so tight that it may eventually die. Strangler figs also provide habitat and sustenance for a whole range of canopy dwellers, from fig wasps and “stinging” ants to some 50 species of fruit-eating birds.
Borneo’s Strangler Fig Trees
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The Yellowstone
The Yellowstone: The Last Best River
We celebrate the glories of the Yellowstone River, which flows free for 670 miles (1,078 kilometers) from its source near Yellowstone Lake to its confluence with the Missouri River, as part of the magazine’s series of special places in America. Photographer Annie Griffiths Belt paints vivid scenes along the river: a golden palette of autumn willows and cottonwoods, a hungry coyote digging for mice in the winter snow, the fantastic sand and clay shapes of eastern Montana’s badlands. Writer Steve Chapple, a Montanan who grew up in Billings, recently kayaked much of the Yellowstone with his family—an experience that made him hope the river will remain undammed forever. “The Yellowstone,” Chapple writes, “is the soul of the last best place.”

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Moscow, the New Revolution
“To visit Moscow in the five years since the collapse of communism and the Soviet state is to be thunderstruck on a daily basis,” writes David Remnick, for four years the Washington Post’s Moscow correspondent. In the summer of 1991, during the final months of Soviet rule, Remnick suggested to Russian friends that it wouldn’t be long before the city was overrun with shopping malls. Returning since then, even Remnick was flabbergasted by the pervasiveness of the new emblems of capitalism—not only shopping malls but also billboards, finishing schools, fancy restaurants, and gated mansions. But, Remnick reports, this gold rush is also attended by increased homelessness and violent crime at the hands of an entrenched mafia. Photographer Gerd Ludwig captures the essence of change: a main street clogged with cars, a high-volume outdoor market for electronic goods, and the looming hulk of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, an extravagant recollection of bygone days masterminded by Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow’s hugely popular mayor.
The Magic of Paper
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Oil on Ice
Oil on Ice
In the 20 years since the valves of the trans-Alaska pipeline were thrown open, North Slope oil has lubricated this nation with a quarter of domestic petroleum supply and the state of Alaska with about three-quarters of its annual revenue. Oil money has brought high-rises to Anchorage, superhighways to Fairbanks, and the 20th century to bush villages north of the Yukon. But, as photographer Karen Kasmauski and Senior Assistant Editor John G. Mitchell discovered in their sorties across the Great Land, the plush times could soon be winding down. Production is declining in the older oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. And that is why Governor Tony Knowles and the state’s powerful congressional delegation are eager to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration and development. So far, the White House has opposed them. To drill or not to drill? In their travels Kasmauski and Mitchell encountered individuals on both sides of the question—oil company employees, sourdough environmentalists, Gwich’in Indians, Inupiat Eskimos. “This is going to be a win-lose situation,” said one of them, “because there isn’t any room here for compromise.”

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In Next Month’s Issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC:
India: Fifty Years of Independence; Iceland’s Volcano, Trial by Fire; La Salle’s Last Voyage; The Dawn of Humans: Expanding Worlds; Hunting the Mighty Python; Biking Across the Alaska Range.
 
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