Magazine article Geographical

Pitting Old against New. (from the Editor)

Magazine article Geographical

Pitting Old against New. (from the Editor)

Article excerpt

WHEN FACED WITH ADVANCES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, our tendency is to grasp each innovation and disregard old techniques. But sometimes, and for some people, new doesn't mean best. In Libya's scorched desert, inhabitants that were moved from traditional mud brick houses into purpose-built apartments can't wait to move back. The thin walls of the new houses just can't keep the searing heat and cold nights at bay in the same way as those built using ancient methods. You can read about a UN project to renovate the old city and repatriate its inhabitants on page 20.

Far from the desert, in Russia's icy wilderness, Siberian villagers are also looking to the past for guidance. As explorer and author Benedict Allen found out on a journey by dog sledge across the wastes, recent winters have been some of the worst in living memory. And with communities cut off from fuel stocks, and temperatures as low as -40 [degrees], what use is an engine-driven vehicle? Faced with the urgent need to reach supplies, Russians have been dusting down their dog-handling skills and finding that the old form of transport really is the best. …

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