National Geographic

Published by: National Geographic Society

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            National Geographic Magazine has been around longer than I have.  As a kid, I noticed that the magazine was always prominently displayed on all of the library magazine racks.  I always thought the covers looked interesting, but I never picked one up and read it.  In school, I used articles from National Geographic as resources for reports and projects, but all I did was look these articles up in the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature.  I read the whole article, but I didn’t read the entire magazine, regardless of how insightful the article was.  The other day, I finally decided to read the entire magazine and began my journey by purchasing the March 2011 edition of National Geographic Magazine.

            I opened the magazine to a bunch of amazing photos from readers and the professional photographers of National Geographic Magazine.  Before I go on about the article content, I must discuss the photos found in the magazine.  In my opinion, National Geographic Magazine employs some of the best photographic journalists around.  Both the photos that accompany each article and the stand alone photos that tell their own stories are incredibly striking and thought-provoking.

            Now, back to the articles.  There were some short and informative articles about technological breakthroughs like he Tűranor Planetsolar,  the world’s largest solar-powered yacht; new information about the moon gleaned through new technology; and the successful growth of body parts from a patient’s own cells.  Then it was on to the main part of the magazine - the meat and potatoes of National Geographic.

            Ever wonder how the domestic dog came about?  Scientists believe it has to do with genes and they’ve gone to great lengths to discover whether they are correct.  They have successfully done so with foxes and they tale is told in Taming the Wild, an incredibly interesting article by Evan Ratliff with photos by Vincent J. Musi.  We follow this article with a segment of the year long series on global population, Seven Billion by Elizabeth Kolbert.  This segment discusses the various “ages” Earth has gone through and how humans have created their own age, the anthropozoic era in which the effects of our population growth has vastly effected our Earth.  This article provides some scary food for thought, reminding us how we have destroyed our world in more ways than one and may eventually cause our own destruction.  Another interesting article, Battle for the Soul of Kung Fu by Peter Gwin with photos by Fritz Hoffmann, discusses how Shaolin Kung Fu has changed over the years.  We learn ho some Shaolin monks have abandoned their ancient traditions in an effort to attain prosperity.  Many traditionalists scoff at the new direction the Temple is taking, but the leaders of the Temple argue that this is the only way for the Temple to survive.

            Why have I never read this magazine before?  It boggles the mind that I passed it up for so long.  Incredibly informative and strikingly beautiful, National Geographic Magazine is an educational experience from cover to cover.  This is not just a coffee table magazine.  The cover cries out for exploration and I urge you not to wait as long as I have for the exciting, intellectual, eye-opening experience.


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