Winter 2013

Cover Story

A New Birth of Reason

Robert Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic, inspired late-19th-century Americans to uphold the founders’ belief in separation of church and state

by Susan Jacoby


On Friendship

The intimacies shared with our closest companions keep us anchored, vital, and alive

by Edward Hoagland

Our Imperiled World

It took billions of years to make the earth habitable for humans. A distinguished astronomer warns the United Nations how quickly that can be reversed.

by Owen Gingerich

Water in the Empty Part of the Map

The treacherous quest for the source of the Nile was the downfall of John Hanning Speke

by Sierra Bellows

Survival Skills at a School in LA

Street killings of students are so familiar in South Central that kids practice their own grim rituals

by Anne P. Beatty

A Song for Molly

In which I tell how I fell hard for a dog, why I have problems with women, and what I know about Ludwig Wittgenstein

by Jeremy Bernstein