Smithsonian Magazine November 2021

Smithsonian Magazine takes you on a journey through history, science, world culture and technology with breathtaking images from around the world.

United States
Smithsonian Institute
kr 35,24
kr 176,55
11 Utgaver

i denne utgaven

2 min
a sustainable planet

IN FEBRUARY 2010, a Smithsonian off-site collections storage facility collapsed from the heavy weight of snow during one of the most severe winter storms in Washington, D.C. history. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused severe flooding at the Smithsonian’s George Gustav Heye Center in Lower Manhattan in New York City. This past summer and fall delivered another wave of environmental catastrophes across the nation: destructive hurricanes and floods, punishing droughts, devastating wildfires and more. For the Smithsonian and other cultural institutions, we are confronting not only threats to our collections and infrastructure, but threats to the values we hold most dear: preserving the heritage, culture, health and livelihood of the communities we serve. The climate crisis touches on nearly every aspect of human lives—where we live, how we work, what we eat. That…

3 min

TWITTER: @SmithsonianMag INSTAGRAM: @smithsonianmagazine FACEBOOK: smithsonianmagazine “I find it very encouraging that a serious scientist can still keep an open mind.” For Sake’s Sake I read “Sake in the USA” (October 2021) with pride to be an American. An entrepreneur named Atsuo Sakurai was discouraged in his home country because of unnecessary and unproductive government regulations. He legally immigrated to the U.S. and worked hard to achieve his dream. The Holbrook, Arizona, City Council supported him, and even though the residents of his new home don’t look like him, and may not partake of his product, they are happy for his success. Even the governor of Arizona gave congratulations. This is the America I know. — Paul Johnson | Orlando, Florida Aliens and Astronomy Avi Loeb truly is a wonder—a scientist with pedigree who is not fearful of…

4 min
high and dry

AS THE LEGEND GOES, it was 19th-century Mormon settlers who gave the Joshua tree its name, inspired by the plant’s bent and clubbed branches, which recall the biblical Joshua raising his arms in prayer. The etymology is apocryphal, but given the threats posed by climate change, these eccentric plants, and the California park named after them, might well need divine intervention—as well as new legal protections and conservation measures. Ringed by mountains and covering parts of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, Joshua Tree National Park’s rugged landscape features granite boulders, miles of cactus-filled flats, animals like the darkling beetle that can go a lifetime without a sip of water and the park’s namesake plant in all its twisted glory. Now completely arid, the land cradling the park once contained grasslands where mammoths…

1 min
to the rescue

THE LONG VIEW MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST SEED BANK Since 2016, this organization has collected seeds and spores from more than 500 Mojave Desert species to provide an insurance policy against the plants’ extinction. Specimens are harvested, cleaned, documented and stored in refrigerators. The group has already deployed seeds from the depository in restoration projects, including in places where wildfires have destroyed wide swaths of vegetation. DNA DELIVERANCE THE JOSHUA TREE GENOME PROJECT As climate change threatens to eliminate the Joshua tree, these scientists are working to sequence the plant’s genome. With help from citizen scientists and local conservation organizations, the project has also planted thousands of Joshua trees at four different sites that represent the climatic range spanning the Mojave. By monitoring these plants, scientists hope to pinpoint the genes that help seedlings survive. SAFEGUARDING…

1 min
creation stories

FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS to traditional African religions, human stories about the beginning of the universe are often remarkably similar, says Yannis Davy Guibinga, whose new series of photographs, “Tales of the First Sunrise,” imagines what that long ago dawn might have looked like to those who witnessed it. “There’s always an Adam type, and an Eve, two or three people who do something that triggers the rest of creation,” says Guibinga, who grew up in the central African nation of Gabon and is fascinated by indigenous spiritual practices. Now based in Montreal, the 26-year-old has been unable to return to Gabon because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but his art—with its vivid colors and aesthetic inspired by African woodcarving—helps him stay in touch with his homeland. “With photography, I…

8 min
the sauce detectives

GARUM HAS LONG BEEN considered the dodo of gastronomic history. The fishy sauce was beloved by the ancient Greeks and Romans, but until recently, classicists believed it to be as extinct as the flightless birds of Mauritius. And garum hardly sounds like something that would tempt 21st-century taste buds. Many recipes that survive from antiquity call for allowing fish to putrefy in open vats under the Mediterranean sun for up to three months. Complicating matters, the term could refer to both a sauce used in the cooking process—sometimes also called liquamen—and to a condiment, made with the blood and viscera of fish, that writers such as Petronius, Ausonius and Seneca knew as garum sociorum (“garum of the allies”). In either case, for most scholars, the lesson of garum (pronounced gah-room) has…