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2021 Archive (8 found)

Supposing They’re Wrong?

September 24, 2021  | 

In 1954 a young screenwriter received a summons for jury service in New York. For the rest of his life he would describe how he sat with his peers in a homicide case, helping argue the conviction down from manslaughter to assault. The accused had punched a loudmouth who had pulled a knife in a bar …

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When Every Minute Counts

August 13, 2021  | 

For generations, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich tested each of the British Navy’s chronometers. These precision instruments—deck clocks used to calculate longitude and thus fix a ship’s position at sea—helped ensure safe navigation. The observatory’s testing room hummed with activity: “What a wonderful instance of the proof of our maritime power is this apartment!” exclaimed one …

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Championship Points

August 12, 2021  | 

At the age of 15, Billie Jean King anticipated the trajectory of her life in a school essay. A tennis prodigy, she thought she would soon make it to Wimbledon but lose in the quarter-finals. On the flight to London she would meet a heart-throb and fall in love. In time she would be happily …

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The Would-Be Savior of Patagonia

August 5, 2021  | 

Patagonia as many of us imagine it was born in 1968. That year, the vast region of South America became an exotic destination for outdoor adventure. Of course, residents of Chile and Argentina did not need their backyard discovered any more than Native Americans needed Christopher Columbus. But to a group of young men in …

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The Ultimate Road Trip

July 2, 2021  | 

You’ve landed on the moon. Now what? Take a walk, plant a flag, gather rocks and fly home. When in 1969 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down at the end of the Apollo 11 mission, they fulfilled President Kennedy’s audacious dare. The animating goal of the space program had been met, and …

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Band of Sisters

April 15, 2021  | 

Abraham Lincoln had his team of rivals, but they were all white men with high opinions of themselves. Female alliances also worked to end slavery and perfect the union in 19th-century America. In “The Agitators” Dorothy Wickenden of the New Yorker profiles three neighbours who sought women’s rights and freedom for African-Americans. They banded together …

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The Hazards of American Justice

April 14, 2021  | 

A combination of scholarly insight and firsthand pain lends force to “Halfway Home,” a book about the inescapability of prison. Reuben Miller, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, interviewed hundreds of people to learn how former inmates navigate life after serving time. He himself grew up in poverty while his father was in …

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Dial Him for Murder

April 8, 2021  | 

The profile is unmistakable. A few lines establish nose, lip, regal forehead, modest hairline and the great round jowl. From behind this caricature Alfred Hitchcock emerged to introduce a weekly television show filled with the bizarre and the macabre. Yet if many people recognise the sketch, most won’t know that he drew it himself. The …

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