Travel & Adventure

Climbing the wall

A desperate grunting sound reaches my ears. It is coming from Chris, my climbing partner, who is los­ing in his struggle with grav­ity. He is the equivalent of five sto­reys above me, and beyond him I can see the top of the wall, still three rope lengths away.



Jan - Mar 1997


Sea lions

Thermophilic bacteria

Kaipo wall




Postcard from Samoa

Symbol of the warmth and charm of fa'a Samoa—the Samoan way—the gaily decorated communal pool is a focus of village life. As children frolic, its waters rinse away the grime of the day. Later, adults will seek out its coolness, washing together and talking as the sun sets. Yet beneath an apparently relaxed surface run troubling undercurrents, as Western ideas of individual freedoms challenge a rigid, traditional society where family and village are everything.

Science & Environment

Some like it hot

Boiling water and the stench of sulphur hardly seem a combination conducive to life, yet some bacteria thrive in such hostile environments. Biologists are beginning to think that the first life forms on Earth may have been similar to these hardiest of living things.


Sea lions-pride of the southern seas

Like an Amazonian hunter , blowpipe at the ready, the zoologist stalks his quarry. Halfcrouching, his every movement slow, deliberate, noiseless, he lifts the metre-long pipe to his mouth, takes aim, and, with cheeks bulging, delivers a blast of air down the pipe.

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