Fading Indelibility

Old habits die hard. So, it turns out, do new ones. Back when I was living in Japan, I had a friend who was born near Tokyo in the 1950s. His family wasn’t poor, but with the scarcity of protein that Japan faced for many years after World War II, he grew up eating whale…

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Shifting Outlines

How a map is drawn says more about the interests and intentions of the cartographers than it does about the space it describes. Take, for example, these various maps of the Arctic. For most of human existence, the Arctic has been a place of myth, fascination and exploration. For a very few, it’s been home.…

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The Whale in the Water

The Dutch painting here, by Hendrick van Anthonissen, has led a double life. In its original form, it showed an object of fascination: a freshly stranded whale at during the mid-17th century. There was a widespread public interest in these large creatures around this time, which saw an expanding Dutch whaling industry and widespread use…

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