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National Geographic Magazine June 2018

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

United States
National Geographic Society
$6.63(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
what’s coming

NAT GEO WILD Track the Inhabitants of Wild Russia Spanning 11 time zones and stretching halfway around the world, Russia is the largest country on Earth. From deserts and semiarid steppes to dense forests and Arctic tundra, it’s a land of dramatic contrasts. It’s also home to one of the last great wildernesses, where some of our planet’s rarest species carve out their existence. The four-part series Wild Russia will air on Fridays at 10/9c from June 1 to 22 on Nat Geo WILD. BOOKS Experience World War II as an Eyewitness Filled with searing photos and vivid maps, Eyewitness to World War II is the unforgettable story of WWII told by those who lived it, from Hitler and Patton to soldiers at the front and families at home. It’s available where books are sold…

2 min
the plastic apocalypse

SOME PEOPLE DENY CLIMATE CHANGE, BUT THERE ARE NO OCEAN PLASTIC DENIERS. THE PROBLEM’S IN PLAIN SIGHT. It’s hard to get your head around the story of plastic. The facts and figures are so staggering as to seem almost fantastical. Can it really be true that half the plastic ever made was produced in the past 15 years? That a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, with an average “working life” of just 15 minutes? And that estimates for how long plastic endures range from 450 years to forever? The answer, unfortunately, is yes—those grim facts, and more, are all true. That’s why we asked writer Laura Parker and photographer Randy Olson to put this global crisis in perspective. Plastics, of course, are a great thing. As Parker writes, they helped the…

1 min
pyongyang portraits

1 min
the backstory

THERE ARE 25 MILLION PEOPLE in North Korea, but the only visible portraits are of its leaders. Regular people are rarely photographed unless they are in a large group—even on their wedding day. In 2017 French photographer Stéphan Gladieu went to North Korea to discover its citizens’ individuality. At factories and farms the cleanest workers were trotted out for him. “In a country where ‘individuals’ don’t exist, I was doing something crazy by asking people to stand alone,” says Gladieu. He was repeatedly reminded of this by his minders, who chose the facilities he visited. He picked his subjects—though sometimes the minders would argue the person was too ugly, old, or unkempt. Taken alone, each portrait could look like smiling propaganda for the authoritarian regime. Together, they have an unsettling uniformity. The…

8 min
greed vs. the common good

I TEACH UNDERGRADUATE psychology courses at the University of Maryland, and my classes draw students with diverse interests. But every one of them perks up when I pose this question: Do you want two extra-credit points on your term paper, or six points? I tell my students that the extra-credit offer is part of an exercise illustrating the interconnectedness of choices individuals make in communities. I explain that the exercise was inspired by an ecologist named Garrett Hardin and an address that he delivered 50 years ago this summer, describing what he called “the tragedy of the commons.” Hardin said that when many individuals act in their own self-interest without regard for society, the effects can be catastrophic. Hardin used the 19th-century convention of “the commons”—a cattle-grazing pasture that villagers shared—to…

1 min
fungi fresh

When you hear the words “laundry detergent,” what comes to mind? Probably not mushrooms. But a Danish firm called Novozymes is using the fungi to make laundry cleaners more effective, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient. Specifically, the company extracts mushroom enzymes that break down the sometimes tough materials that the fungi feed on. Finding the most effective enzyme to remove any stain—chocolate ice cream, say, or grass—could lead to better detergents that work at lower temperatures, using less energy per load. And they’d be biodegradable. “Enzymes are nature’s own technology,” says Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen. DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION 6 FEET 1.7 METERS Mooraffe? Girmoose? A newly discovered giraffe ancestor from about nine million years ago looked more like a huge moose than a modern giraffe, fossils show. Its neck…