Siberia’s Whale Bone Alley: Stonehenge’s Eerie Russian Cousin

  So, imagine this, if you will… You’re a deck hand on a North Atlantic fishing boat.  You’ve been at sea for a couple months, you’re tired, you’re cold, and you think the rest of the crew might be planning to eat you if the food stores run out.  Then one day, while you’re on deck doing whatever it is that deck hands do (I don’t think it has anything to do with caressing the deck with your hands, but I could be wrong), you glimpse something odd on the shore of a tiny island by which you just happen to be passing.  You see towering white spires, arranged in a double row all along the shoreline.  You see the huge skulls of giant whales dotting the landscape, and to you (being a lowly deck hand – I think deck hands are lowly, aren’t they?) it looks like the […] Read More

2013: Is There Anything You Can’t Buy in America? Should There Be?

Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel investigates what happens to a society where everything is for sale. If you’ve got the money, there’s hardly anything you can’t buy in America. You can purchase a cushy upgrade to your prison cell, an internship at a famous magazine, or a fast-track through airport security. You can even buy someone’s virginity in an online auction. Sky’s the limit. Oh, wait, it’s not: You can purchase naming rights to stars, and no doubt we will soon have the David H. Koch Galaxy winking at us from outer space. What’s the biggie? says the free marketeer. It’s up to the market to “decide” what can be bought and sold, and we’re all free to make up our own minds about participating or not. The market is our liberation, say the advocates, unshackling us from arbitrary restraints and some other guy’s moral hangups. But hang on a […] Read More

Giants in the Americas: Yesterday and Today

By Scott Corrales Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser, the first explorers to venture into the pathless northwestern areas of Canada, were cautioned by the native tribes he encountered that hideous, destructive creatures prowled the region: the tall peaks of British Columbia were home to eight-foot tall Sasquatches, the broad river to which Mackenzie would give his name was the lair of the “Brush Man of the Loucheaux”, a yellow-eyed monster who, like Beowulf’s Grendel, feasted on human flesh, showing preference for tender helpings of women and children. The rocky barrens held even greater terrors, such as the dreaded Weetigo, a fanged giant. Even scarier were the towering headhunters of the Nahanni Valley, and the invisible creatures said to haunt the shores of the Great Slave Lake. While primitive peoples are fond of creating all manner of monsters to occupy regions beyond their immediate scope of action, could it be […] Read More