National Geographic October 2013, Part 1

The Power of Photography, by Robert Draper

This isn’t so much of an article as just the text to go along with the fold-out pages of photographs for the cover story.  It’s mostly praise for the hard work that National Geographic photographers do, but there’s a side-order of “hey you kids get out of my yard” that makes this slightly uncomfortable reading for me.  Then there’s the line “global cacophony of freeze-frames” that me wonder what my high school sophomore year English teacher would say about it.

The Price of Precious, by Jeffrey Gettleman, photographs by Marcus Bleasdale

The Price of Precious chronicles the travel of Gettleman and Bleasdale into the Congo, where they investigated the ongoing war and the way that trafficking in precious metals has been supporting that war. It is likely that some of the precious metals in my computer, and in whatever device you are reading this on is, and probably the server that will host this file once I finish writing it, came from the Congo.

Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, some manufacturers of electronics are weeding the conflict out of their precious metals.  At the time this went to print (over two years ago now) some of the groups that were funding violence with precious metals had seen their profits drop 65% and the Congolese government were starting to inspect mines to ensure that they were not funding violence.

Meltdown, by Robert Kunzig, photographs by James Balog

This is another short page-length bit of text to accompany photographs, this time Balog’s photographs of glaciers of Alaska and Iceland.  Kunzig discusses glaciers in Montana, Switzerland.  And in the years since this was published, the glacier in Switzerland, the Rhône, has retreated so far that the Belvedere Hotel, which used to be open to house visitors to the glacier has closed.

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