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March 2013

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Lost Tribes of the Amazon

Often described as “uncontacted,” isolated groups living deep in the South American forest resist the ways of the modern world—at least for now

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Amazon Warriors

Napoleon Chagnon’s new memoir reignites the firestorm over his study of the Yanomamö

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Light Fantastic

From tracking a giant squid to decoding jellyfish alarms in the Gulf, a depth-defying scientist plunges under the sea

Billy Collins

The Deep

A new poem from the former poet laureate of the United States

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The Beauty of Life

Artists are borrowing from biology to create dazzling "biodesigns" that challenge our aesthetics—and our place in nature

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Mean Girls

A scientist studying female elephants—usually portrayed as cooperative—makes a surprising observation about their behavior

Egret

No Egrets

Birds like the snowy egret were on the brink of extinction, all because of their sought-after plumage

Angkor Wat

Roots of a Naturalist

After studying chimpanzees for decades, the celebrated scientist turns her penetrating gaze on another life-form

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First Blood

Bernard Bailyn, one of our greatest historians, shines his light on the nation’s Dark Ages

Departments

Contributors

Contributors

Letters to the Editor

Discussion

From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Castle

From the Castle

Phenomena

Light

For a large chunk of the Earth’s existence, flora have used the Sun’s light to turn the planet green

Alone in the Dark

Artist Kevin Cooley has traveled the world capturing landscapes where one light shines on the horizon

Phenomena

Liquid Light

At 50, the legendary relic of the college dorm room is still groovy after all these years

Phenomena

Power to the People

Researchers at MIT are investigating how to turn houses in Cambridge, Massachusetts, into mini-power plants

Phenomena

Dark Truths

Want to know where the poor live? Look at where the light isn’t

Phenomena

Rhapsody in Blue

The one gem that can rival the Hope Diamond is finally on display at the Natural History Museum

Phenomena

Night Games

Modern games find inspiration in the techniques of classic film noir

Phenomena

50 Shades of Gray Matter

Neuroscientists prove what we always suspected: the two sexes see the world differently

Phenomena

Flashes of Light

As the fastest thing in the universe, light certainly gets around

Around the Mall

No Fluke

The freelancer’s new exhibit at the Natural History Museum captures the beauty, and fragility, of sea life

Around the Mall

Playlist

Around the Mall

This Just In

Carlotta Walls LaNier recently donated the dress she wore on what would've been her first day at the desegregated high school

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

Clouds, bluegrass, chipmunks and Picasso round out this month’s batch of questions

Around the Mall

Spotlight

Books

Books

Read the latest on subliminal message, body snatching, and Sheryl Sandberg’s insights on the rise of women