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Michael Levitin's Posts

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Reflections from the scene of this weekend’s G8 protests

Michael Levitin is a freelance journalist living in Berlin. He has written for Newsweek, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Tuesday, 5 Jun 2007 ROSTOCK, Germany If you dress head to foot in black, set cars on fire, launch stones and beer bottles at police, and brave hand-to-hand scuffles amid clouds of tear gas with choppers thundering overhead, best bet is you'll make the evening news. Which is too bad, because in the case of Saturday's late-afternoon riots in Rostock, the images of unrest have obscured and altered what most of us adults would have called the real …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Germany says auf Wiedersehen to nuclear power, guten Tag to renewables

For a people as addicted to order as the Germans, this country is floundering in uncertainty. The economy has sputtered to a post-World War II record 5 million unemployed. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's exhausted left-of-center coalition is close to coughing up the fall elections to conservatives. And soccer fans aren't even sure if their team can defend the country's pride when it hosts the World Cup next summer. Protesters have been up in arms. Photo: Rosenthal/Greenpeace. About the only thing most Germans are sure about right now is the dire need to abandon nuclear power, evidenced by the "Switch Off and …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Joe Sherman’s Gasp! explores the history of air and finds it’s anything but empty

Gasp! by Joe Sherman, Shoemaker & Hoard, 417 pgs., 2004. Oxygen may not strike you as a likely protagonist for a book. It's invisible, it's all around you, it's something you inhale 19,000 times a day and take utterly for granted. But Joe Sherman's Gasp! The Swift and Terrible Beauty of Air is a masterfully inventive biography of air, weaving together geology and history, myth and science, to deepen our understanding and appreciation of life's most precious gas. "Understanding air, which is both big and amorphous, and small and right in front of you, demands a few mental oscillations," Sherman …

Read more: Living