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September 2012

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Features

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Keep It Simple

Passionate to the point of obsessive about design, Steve Jobs insisted that his computers look perfect inside and out

"Pattern and Snarl"

Read the latest poem that was "inspired by a delight in design and pattern"

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Better Living Through Imitation

Creative minds are increasingly turning to nature—banyan tree leaves, butterfly wings, a bird's beak— for fresh design solutions

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China's Most Dangerous Man

Arrested and harassed by the Chinese government, artist Ai Weiwei makes daring works unlike anything the world has ever seen

The At Symbol

Overnight Sensation

Once a rarely used key on the typewriter, the graceful character has become the very symbol of modern electronic communication

Extreme Pogo

Extreme Pogo

Three lone inventors took the gadget that had changed little since it was invented more than 80 years ago and transformed it into a gnarly, big air machine

Plastic Flamingos

National Treasure: Pretty in Pink

From its start in Massachusetts, of all places, to its inspiration of a John Waters film, the lawn ornament has some staying power

Rem Koolhaas

Koolhaas Country

Age has not tempered the Dutch architect, who at 67 continues to shake up the cultural landscape with his provocative designs

Departments

Contributors

Contributors

From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Castle

From the Castle

Letters to the Editor

Discussion

Phenomena

Invisibility

We just have to look to literature to learn that there’s always been a real danger to the prospect of being invisible

Nowhere Man

Look closely at these photographs. Shut down by the Chinese government, Liu Bolin has mastered the art of disappearing

Phenomena

Gorillas in the Midst

The most effective cloaking device is the human mind

Phenomena

Parasight

The stealthy parasite kills one million people a year; there may be a drug that can stop its deadly damage

Phenomena

The Unseen

When a powerful 1963 piece laid out the stark poverty in America, the White House took action

Phenomena

Shaken, Not Stirred

Engineer William Parnell may have found a way to save at-risk cities from destruction

Phenomena

Stealth Invader

One of the world's most devastating predators is brainless, slow and voracious

Phenomena

For Your Eyes Only

Encoded mysteries have existed through history—especially imaginary ones

Faith

How She Overcame

The Nobel Peace Prize winner talks about the secret weapon in her decades of struggle—the power of Buddhism

Science

Planet Fever

New telescopes are allowing us to look at space more accurately than ever – and what they uncover could change our world

Interview

The Martin Chronicles

England’s most famous living novelist has moved to America—and tilted the literary world

Books

Books

A new history blows the cover on British spies in World War II

Around the Mall

Trunk Show

While renovating the Elephant House, construction workers discovered a mysterious box hidden in a wall

Around the Mall

This Just Out

Around the Mall

Playlist

What does jalapeno-spiced polka music sound like?

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

Why octopuses use tools, preserving flight plans, famous portraits and more

Around the Mall

Spotlight

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