Modern-day record attempts have come to rely heavily on cutting edge engineering and technology to turn dreams into reality. In the past, many of these feats would have been confined to the pages of science fiction, or at best academic discussions. Such is the pace of development, however, that fact and science fiction are now…

This story appears in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine. For most of the six million years of human evolution, all humans and protohumans lived like somewhat glorified chimpanzees, at low population densities, scattered over the landscape as families or small bands. Only within the past 6,000 years, a small fraction of human…

This story appears in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine. Rats are our shadow selves. We live on the surface of the city; they generally live below. We mostly work by day; they mostly work by night. But nearly everywhere that people live, rats live too. In Seattle, where I grew up, the…