December 2009

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Ecuador wilderness animal trade

Wildlife Trafficking

A reporter follows the lucrative, illicit and heartrending trade in stolen wild animals deep into Ecuador's rain forest

Handel Messiah


A musical rite of the holiday season, the Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners more than 250 years after the composer's death

La Flute Enchanteuse
Semir Osmanagic

The Pyramid Man

An amateur archaeologist says he's discovered the world's oldest pyramids in the Balkans. But many experts remain dubious


Glee Mail

Seasonal greetings from artists such as Alexander Calder and Philip Guston celebrate the handmade holiday card

Puebla Mexico

Savoring Puebla

Mexico's "City of Angels" is home to gilded churches, artistic treasures and a delectable culinary culture

Ethiopia Monkey Geladas

Ethiopia's Exotic Monkeys

High in the Simien Mountains, researchers are getting a close-up look at the exotic, socially adventuresome primates known as geladas

Waldseemuller Map

Putting America on the Map

Two obscure 16th-century German scholars named the American continent and changed the way people thought about the world


Indelible Images

Mr. Rockwell's Neighborhood

A new book offers a revealing look at how the artist created his homey illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post


Cosmic Harvest

Dust captured by a spacecraft from a comet's tail holds clues to the origin of the solar system



From the Castle

Our Plan

Around the Mall

Timing is Everything

Understanding how corals reproduce is critical to their survival; Smithsonian's Nancy Knowlton investigates the annual event

The Object at Hand

Special Delivery

In 1934, a zeppelin originating in Germany and bound for Brazil carried a cargo of Christmas cheer


Q&A: William T. Wiley

For over 50 years, the artist has approached serious topics with wit and a sense of the absurd

What's Up

What's Up

This Month in History

December Anniversaries

The Last Page

Shopping Maul

The first rule of holiday shopping: There are no rules