This Is What Nuclear Weapons Leave in Their Wake

Decay and desolation scar the landscape of a remote corner of the Kazakh Steppe. Unnatural lakes formed by nuclear bomb explosions pockmark the once flat terrain, broken up only by empty shells of buildings. It appears uninhabitable. And yet, ghosts – living and dead – haunt the land, still burdened by the effects a nuclear testing program that stopped nearly 30 years ago.

The site, known as the Polygon, was home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear tests during the Cold War. The zone was chosen for being unoccupied, but several small agricultural villages dot its perimeter. 

A Dystopian Vision of the Refugee Crisis

The refugee crisis is becoming increasingly politicized; less about the safe guarding of human rights and more about the safe guarding of national borders. Though forced migration is nothing new, the numbers are unprecedented; 65.3 million people around the world are currently displaced by war or persecution, according to the UNHCR. It's a modern problem of biblical proportions and as the figures rise, the individual refugee is increasingly regarded as little more than a troubling statistic.

Among the Ruins of Mosul

The city of Mosul, though officially retaken by Iraqi forces as of Tuesday, lies in ruins. At the end of nearly nine months of grueling combat, thousands are dead, roughly 900,000 civilians have been displaced and entire neighborhoods are destroyed. The cost of military victory is dear.

For AP photographer Felipe Dana, who has been posted in the northern Iraq city since October, the victory marks the end of the battle but not the war. “If it’s finished today, I don’t think people will just go back and rebuild their lives and everything is going to be fine, it’s not going to be like that,” Dana tells National Geographic. He is concerned not just for the civilians’ rehabilitation, but also about Islamic State beliefs manifesting themselves in other, more insidious ways.

A Haunting Photographic Record of Life in a Nazi Ghetto

Sometimes a camera is more than a tool to document, it is a weapon of resistance. When Henryk Ross carefully recorded daily life at Lodz Ghetto from 1940 to 1944, he was defying a fascist regime with the unequivocal power of photography.

Today, more than 3,000 photographs and negatives – as well as collected historical ephemera – stand testament to the enduring scars of the Holocaust. A new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and accompanying book, both entitled Memory Unearthed, draw together this work and offer an extraordinary insight into the brutalities of ghetto life