Our 10 Greatest Natural Disasters

There is something uniquely chilling about a natural disaster, the uncontrolled, unpreventable fury of normally benign elements: a blue sky now black exploding in water and electricity; the air around us suddenly quick, weaponized; a resort lake bewitched into a ferocious wall of water; the solidity of the very ground belied. In these moments nature proves its dominance, as if to remind us that there are some things in its arsenal before which we will always be powerless.

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How The Hurricane Got Its Name

It’s more than just whimsy

Our hurricane-naming system evolved much the same way our baby-naming system did. Just as it’s easier to say “Jane Q. Smith” than to reel off a list of her identifying characteristics, so forecasters in the nineteenth century grew tired of referring to every big storm by its longitude, latitude, and date of origin. But that was the official protocol until the early 1950s, and more than once it led to dangerous mix-ups.Read more »

“There Isn’t Any Such Thing As The Past”

DAVID McCULLOUGH tells why he thinks history is the most challenging, exhilarating, and immediate of subjects

 
 

“I think people are the most interesting subject of all, and I am thoroughly interested in those people who went before us,”

 
 
 
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The Scene Of The Crime

Long-lost views of sunny, easy days at a wealthy lake resort foreshadow a terrible tragedy

Two weeks after completing a film, in 1989, on the Johnstown Flood, I received word from a woman in New London, New Hampshire, that she had some photographs I might like to see. Read more »