On this page you will find links to some of my on-line journalism, mainly features written for National Geographic’s Daily News website. I hope you enjoy reading them:
The Knowledge – Ever since Victorian times London’s cabbies have had to undertake the world’s toughest geography quiz if they are to earn the coveted green badge that allows them to drive taxis in the city. It is a test that requires them to know by heart more than 10,000 streets and thoroughfares within a 6-mile radius of Charing Cross and more than 30,000 landmarks. You can read about it here.
Before Stonehenge – The discovery of a huge Neolithic temple complex, built centuries before Stonehenge on Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands has turned British prehistory on its head. You can read about it here – the online publication of the August 2014 cover story in National Geographic Magazine.
Just Press Print – As epoch-making as Gutenberg’s printing press, 3-D printing is changing the shape of the future. You can read about it here – in the on-line version of the story that was carried in the December 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine
The Panama Canal Turns 100 – A century ago, literally on the eve of World War I, the great gates of the Gatun locks swung open for the first time, changing the world’s seafaring routes forever. In that time more than a million ships of all shapes and sizes have passed through the world’s most colourful shortcut. It was originally designed to handle ships the size of the Titanic with ease. Nowadays most of the ships that pass through its locks are nowhere near that small. And so, on its 100th birthday, engineers are busy building a giant new set of locks to keep the old canal vital and current for the next hundred years. You can read about it here
The Lost Tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent – Legend holds that when Suleiman the Magnificent, the greatest of the Ottoman emperors, died at the battle of Szigetvår, Hungary, in 1566 his heart was secretly buried in a golden casket beneath the tent in which he died. Nearly 450 years later a Hungarian geography professor and a team of archaeologists are reconstructing the landscape in the hopes of finding the lost tomb and the lost Ottoman town of Turbek that sprang up around it. You can read about it here
Giving Voice to a Ravaged Region – India’s remote Chhattisgarh region is one of the poorest and most neglected and troubled areas in the country, and the backdrop to a long-running civil war with Maoist rebels. An innovative local journalist created a mobile-phone-based news service that is giving a voice to the tribal people in the region and letting them tell their stories to the world at large. You can read about it here
Nicaragua Canal – A Boon or a Boondoggle? For centuries Nicaragua has dreamed of having a trans-oceanic canal. Indeed they very nearly had one when the Americans under Teddy Roosevelt got into the canal building business at the turn of the last century. But Panama got the canal instead. Now a mysterious Chinese billionaire is promising to build the $50 billion project – one that threatens to divide the country in more ways than one. You can read about it here.