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Alan Huffman

  • American author

Alan Huffman is an American author and journalist. He is the author of five nonfiction books, three of which deal with history related to the American South. He is notable as an opposition researcher.


Most of the planet's terrestrial surfaces are visually accessible through video cameras and satellite imagery, if not physically within reach. Even the approaches to Mount Everest are now littered with human debris. One can drive to Timbuktu, which for centuries was synonymous with inaccessibility.




In our quest to define and describe the world, we have crisscrossed the oceans and continents, compiling exhaustive knowledge about its life forms and features, and extended our physical reach through technology, which provides us instantaneous and pervasive access to information about seemingly everything.




Anyone who was alive during the outbreak of the bubonic plague in the 14th century experienced something terrifyingly close to the widespread death and chaos of an apocalyptic event.




Historically, maritime travelers had to pass around the entire mass of North and South America, including the bottom tip, the tempestuous Cape Horn, which was littered with shipwrecks.




The slow pace of trains in the U.S. can be maddening, particularly during delays on rail sidings for an hour or more to enable freight trains - which have the right-of-way - to pass.




Many Americans have a romanticized view of trains, rooted in a bygone era of elaborately adorned rail cars lit by flickering gas lamps and pulled by smoke-belching steam locomotives.




Right up until the late 18th century, when the first weighted lines were used to probe the ocean depths, many people believed the seas were bottomless - the watery equivalent of infinite outer space.




The Singaporean government, which represents legal migrant workers in employment disputes and claims of exploitation, requires that they stay in the country until the disputes are settled. If they leave, their claims are closed.




Long-distance train conversations are unlike the perfunctory exchanges one normally associates with strangers, or the truncated, cut-to-the-chase kind that sometimes take place between seatmates on a plane.




Conflict photographers grapple with two worlds that are themselves often in conflict - the one where bombs fall and bullets fly, where adrenaline runs high, and the other, back home, which is comparatively secure, and where the big event of the day may involve selecting swatches of fabric for a new sofa.




Poor laborers from all parts of Asia as well as Africa, the Americas and even Europe are transported by plane each day to wealthier nations where low-tier jobs are plentiful; sometimes the travelers board without even knowing their final destination.




Left to their own devices, epidemic diseases tend to follow the same basic process: A virus or bacteria infects a host, who typically becomes sick and in many cases dies. Along the way, the host infects others.




Life feels more vivid in a conflict zone. It is clear what matters, and who you can count on, for what.




Without an adequate response, an epidemic can develop into a pandemic, which generally means it has spread to more than one continent.




Historically, war journalists have embedded themselves with one side, which means the greatest threat comes from the clearly delineated enemy of that side.




When President Teddy Roosevelt posed for the cameras astride a massive steam shovel during construction of the Panama Canal in 1906, it was more than a simple photo op. Though the scene was clearly staged, it symbolized a crucial moment in American history.




Aside from its parks and nature areas, Singapore is intensively developed, and due to the shortage of land, is building up, down and on manmade islands and landfills.




Like so much in Singapore, admission to the Marina Bay's casino is hierarchical: Free for anyone with an international passport, costly for locals, off-limits to migrant workers altogether.




Based on German prototypes, green walls and roofs are a natural idea in Singapore's tropical environment, where mosses, ferns, philodendrons, orchids and other epiphytes literally grow on trees.




Without effective human intervention, epidemics and pandemics typically end only when the virus or bacteria has infected every available host and all have either died or become immune to the disease.




The ocean is the last frontier of human empirical knowledge; even the contours on that eighth-grader's globe are the product of a mix of scientific measurement, inference and conjecture.




My own experience with trains dates to long-ago childhood trips with my family in Mississippi to see my grandmother off at the station in Jackson, bound for Memphis.




Architecture students are generally given theoretical projects, often located at distant locations, and told to come up with a design.



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