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December 2011

Smithsonian December 2011

Opening Announcements, Cover, Contents

From the Editor, Letters, Indelible Images, Wild Things, Now on our Website

Phenomena, The Civil War, Interview, Around the Mall

Into the Volcano

A trip to the floor of Maui's Haleakala Crater still promises an encounter with the "raw beginnings of world-making"

By Tony Perrottet

Hawaii’s Hotspot

The fiery forces beneath the island chain still mystify geologists

By Erin Wayman

Green Cement

Concrete, the number one construction material, is a major source of climate-warming gases. Meet one engineer who hopes to build a better world

By Michael Rosenwald

An Amber Wave

Giving factory flour the heave-ho, small farmers from New England to the Northwest are growing long-forgotten varieties of wheat

By Jerry Adler

Seeing the Sublime

A new museum devoted exclusively to the work of Clyfford Still is opening in Denver. A leading critic takes a close look at one masterwork

By Peter Plagens

Call of Leviathan

Scientists plumbing the depths to decode sperm whale signaling have discovered elaborate buzzes, clicks and squeaks that spell doom for the animal's prey

By Eric Wagner

Breaker of Rocks

That's what Africans called the explorer Henry Morton Stanley, whose astonishing determination is analyzed in a new book

By Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Native Journey

Now that the nation's most ambition dam-removal project is underway in Washington State, members of the Klallam tribe are poised to experience sacred sites flooded for a century

By Abigail Tucker

Presence of Mind

Darrow in the Dock

Was America's most famous lawyer a felon? The author of a new biography uncovers fresh evidence

By John A. Farrell

The Last Page

The Tour Bus Has Landed

The ups and downs of a lunar vacation

By Bruce McCall