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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
After I Buy National Geographic
Who doesn't know National Geographic? Despite the term 'national' in the title, this is a publication that has an international reputation, and has set its sights on exploring every inch of the globe, and beyond. School children everywhere use National Geographic as a resource. It is a periodical, however, that goes far beyond the school library. Interesting, erudite, broad-ranging and fascinating (in addition to being, dare I say it, educational), National Geographic has something for everyone.
Articles involve history, culture, sociology, biology, architecture, archaeology, and physical science in addition to the trademark item, geography. Recent issues have included articles on archaeology of the Indus Valley, earthquakes in Turkey, Samoan culture, jellyfish, and dinosaurs. National Geographic has a knack for combining the timely with the timeless to make each issue interesting from a current events perspective (recent articles on the Golan Heights and touring London show this) as well as being worthy of retaining for future reference by combining history and other details.
Coupled with the articles, National Geographic has fantastic photography. In the June issue, there is a 'family photo' that was taken at the annual photographic seminar in Washington, D.C., in which more than half of the regular contributors to the magazine were present and photographed around the great seal of National Geographic. According the caption:
'The 47 men and women shown have collectively logged some 700 years taking pictures for this magazine alone. They've photographed roughly 715 articles, and at a current average of 29,000 frames shot per story, that works out to about 20.7 million images.'
Authors and photographers for National Geographic are perhaps one of the most diverse lots of people working for any periodical. From urban to rural, civilised to exotic to remote and desolate locations; from peaceful and happy events to battlefield and disaster situations; from home life to professional life to religious life and beyond, these women and men have covered almost every aspect of the world (and beyond!). Photographic and journalistic excellence is a hallmark of this magazine, and it shows in every issue.
But the maps! What about the maps? Oh, yes, this is perhaps the distinguishing feature of National Geographic, something that is also well-known from school days. Teachers always loved to put National Geographic maps up on the walls, and issues continue to include the most up-to-date maps of countries, physical features, even the moon, planets, and star systems.
The National Geographic Society was founded in 1888 as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization, and has in that time supported more than 6500 explorations and research projects. They have also included in more recent times to support students with scholarships. For instance, since 1993 they have given a scholarship each year to a British student in conjunction with the British Cartographic Society, in recognition of the outstanding mapmaking student in the UK. This will help continue the tradition on National Geographic.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
After I Buy National Geographic Traveler
I have subscribed to National Geographic Traveler for almost a year and find it fairly enjoyable. The destinations are good, the photos are good and the articles are good. But also nothing to knock your socks off.
Why only four stars and not five? The magazine doesn't wow me very often and I have found that most of the articles focus on white bread middle to upper class Americans. I am not the sort of traveler who is going to be staying in $350 a night room when I go to Bali. The do have budget conscious or "nitty gritty" tours/hotels/destinations etc but there are fewer of those than luxury tours/hotels/destinations.
They also occasionally focus on trips that are a bit too exotic and remote. What are the odds that I will decide to scale K2, Kayak 28 days in the Arctic Circle or run a marathon in the Sahara Desert? The articles are okay to read but not in depth enough to be educational nor practical enough to go to. They do nothing but peak your curiosity a tad and then you move on.
So for me the magazine is only a 4 out of five stars. Will I renew my subscription, yes. Its a good magazine, but if your looking for something with just as good destinations, articles and photos with a bit less posh and unattainable, scope out the aptly names Budget Travel. If you have the money to burn when you travel and enjoy reading about other peoples extreme adventures this magazine will be perfect.
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