December 2010

Subscribe magazine covers


Orangutan reserve

Mission Orangutan

Birute Mary Galdikas has devoted her life to saving the great ape. But the orangutan faces its greatest threat yet

Cliff face cavity

Searching for Buddha

An archaeologist insists a third giant statue lies near the cliffs where the Bamiyan Buddhas, destroyed in 2001, once stood

Xu Xuing with Psittacosaurus fossil

Dinosaurs' Living Descendants

China's spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today's birds

B Virdot letters

The Gift

Ted Gup learns the astonishing secret about his grandfather's generosity during the Great Depression

Hoover Dam bridge awaiting decking

Marvel Arch

The construction of the bridge that bypasses the Hoover Dam was an Erector Set dream come true for this photographer

San Miguel town

Under the Spell of San Miguel de Allende

Ever since American Stirling Dickinson arrived there in 1937, the Mexican town has been a magnet for artists and U.S. expatriates

Alexis Rockman Hurrican and Sun

Picturing Tomorrow

There's trouble ahead in the artist's eerie yet riveting paintings, now the subject of a major exhibition


From the Editor

Glorious Quests

Impossible dreams and heavenly causes



Indelible Images

All Shook Up

An Oval Office photograph captured the bizarre encounter between the king of rock and roll and the president


Fate of the Cave Bear

The lumbering beasts coexisted with the first humans for tens of thousands of years and then died off. Why?

From the Castle

Up with Science

Around the Mall

How to Crochet a Coral Reef

A ball of yarn—and the work of more than 800 people—could go a long way toward saving endangered sea life

The Object at Hand

Deck the Halls

It's 'Deck the Halls' with Christmas cheer at the beloved Victorian-style dollhouse at the National Museum of American History


Q & A: Tim Gunn

The co-host of Lifetime TV's Project Runway talks about what makes good design and more

What's Up

What's Up

This Month in History

December Anniversaries

Momentous or Merely Memorable

Presence of Mind

Rehabilitating Cleopatra

Egypt's ruler was more than the sum of the seductions that loom so large in history—and in Hollywood

The Last Page

Daughter Knows Best

Kids have discovered a diabolical new use for science: rebutting their parents