Planning for Next Time

Ask any hurricane expert, any disaster planner. Or ask anyone who knows about evacuations and he’ll tell you: There are always some people who stay behind. During Hurricane Elena in 1985, 10 percent of the inhabitants of the washed-out coastal barrier islands refused to leave, despite repeated warnings and despite their relative wealth.

Solidarity Remembered

Walk down Long Market Street, past the shops selling amber beads and cavalry swords, through the medieval gates of the city of Gdansk, Poland. Cross the highway, head toward the shipyard and look up. When I did so a few days ago, I saw an enormous billboard featuring a list of cities: “Gdansk. Budapest. Prague. …

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The Discreet Charm of the Terrorist Cause

Since the bombing attacks in London last month, a welter of columnists, writers, talking heads and ordinary people have puzzled over the mystery of British Muslims, one in four of whom recently told pollsters that they sympathize with the July 7 suicide bombers.

Let a Thousand Filters Bloom

In 1949, when George Orwell wrote his dystopian novel “1984,” he gave its hero, Winston, a job at the Ministry of Truth. All day long, Winston clips politically unacceptable facts, stuffs them into little pneumatic tubes, and then pushes the tubes down a chute.

The Low-Odds Factor

By now we’ve all had that feeling. You’re waiting in a crowded underground station, about to step onto a train. Suddenly you think: What if it happened here? What if this station, or this escalator, or this train, is a target? If you’re like most people, the feeling passes. You shrug, get out your newspaper, …

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Live 8 Meets Big 2

For reasons that don’t merit elaboration, I spent several hours over the past weekend stuck in European airports. That unexpected chunk of downtime — a little gift from the airline industry — gave me the equally unexpected opportunity to read all of the British and French newspapers, or at least all of the ones they …

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Give This ‘Attic’ A Story To Tell

According to its director, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History needs new plumbing, new wiring and better lighting. So desperately does the building require renovation, in fact, that there is talk of shutting the whole place down for a year or two, of bringing in some fresher architecture, even of designing a “museum for the …

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